Books & Fiction

Murder Comes to the Holler in Chris Offutt’s ‘Killing Hills’

Lee Polevoi

Mick Hardin, a military homicide investigator on leave from government service, has come home to try and salvage a failing marriage. He agrees to take part in the murder investigation led by his sister Linda, recently promoted to sheriff of Rocksalt. From there, the body count quickly escalates. Is the killer Curtis Tanner, arrested by an FBI agent on a tip called in by a local politician?

A Chronicle of the Never-Ending Virus in Lawrence Wright’s ‘Plague Year’

Lee Polevoi

As months passed, that reading grew more problematic. Too many people were still becoming infected and far too many were still dying. Cynical, opportunistic politicians jumped on an anti-vaccine bandwagon, while the voters they claimed to represent were succumbing to the terrible disease. People were (and still are) inexplicably rejecting science, clinging to a demagogue-inspired belief that somehow, in some way, vaccines against this deadly disease threaten their “individual freedom.”

A Doctor Slowly Unravels at the Height of the Vietnam War in ‘All Bleeding Stops’

Michael J. Collins

His war begins with a quiet palette of turquoise and green; soft, shaded layers of blue and white layered like quicklime over all the darkness to follow. The plane banks left. Their shadow, a hundred yards behind them, flits over the shimmering surface of the South China Sea. Ahead, blue waters lap against brilliant white sand. A canopy of jungle fronting the beach glows green in the slanting rays of the late-afternoon sun.

Love, Friendship Are Forged Amidst Conflict in ‘War With No Name’

Adam Gravano

The final installment of the series that is on the shelf, D'Arc, resumes Sebastian and Sheba’s story, just after Mort(e) has come to its dramatic end. The friends are pressed into service once more, for a more developed society that has resurfaced after the close of the main events of the War With No Name. Our friend, Sebastian, at this stage, would like to be left alone, but trouble finds him – and Sheba, too.

A Soul-Searching Mystery Unravels in Eyal Danon’s New Book

Eyal Danon

Harley peered up at the bridge. She had to continue her journey but lacked the strength to move. A small monkey was curiously looking at her, hanging on a tree branch. When she saw the monkey, she instinctively touched the pouch that her mother had given her back in New York. Taking a deep breath, she turned toward the flowing river. After a while she felt her body begin to calm. The current crashed against the smooth white rocks and her thoughts wandered to a time a few months back, to that fateful morning at faraway Columbia University in New York.

Intrigue and Deception Fuel Rebecca Starford’s ‘Unlikely Spy’

Lee Polevoi

Evelyn is charged with infiltrating the Lion Society, a group of homegrown fascists whom the authorities fear might help Hitler and the war effort. She conducts herself with maybe a little too much savoir faire, given that this is her first undercover experience, but soon enough the society’s members ask her to supply classified information from the British War Office. Then she discovers a surprising personal connection among the Nazi sympathizers—a connection that will return to haunt her in the years after the war.

Should Non-Diverse Authors Write Diverse Stories?

Angelo Franco

Perhaps what we as readers can do is just take everyone else’s opinions in strides. Take reviews with a grain of salt, and then decide on our own whether a book merits a place in our bookshelves, in our community book exchange program, or in the recycling bin. To read and consume consciously, patronizing the authors who gave us the stories that stirred our emotions, and then to tell everyone else about them until the industry finally gets the message.  

Rachel Kushner Has a Million Stories to Tell in ‘The Hard Crowd’

Lee Polevoi

While some of these essays feel slight and perhaps too condensed, several deliver the same impact as her best works of fiction. In “Bad Captains,” for example, she considers the repercussions of the infamous wreck of the Costa Concordia, which struck a rock off the Italian coast in 2012, resulting in dozens of passenger deaths. Absent among those fatalities was the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who chose to ignore the age-old maritime tradition wherein the captain always goes down with the ship.

Love, Death, and the West of Ireland in ‘That Old Country Music’

Lee Polevoi

Over the years, the small country of Ireland has produced a disproportionate number of great novelists and short-story writers. In addition to gods of literature like Joyce and Beckett, there’s a bounty of very talented Irish writers at work today, from Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, and Colm Toibin to relative newcomers like Colin Barrett and Sally Rooney. High up in that pantheon is another wonderful writer named Kevin Barry.

‘Watkins Glen’ Tells a Moving Story of the Remarkable Strength of Family Bonds

Eleanor Lerman

The gift shop where I worked was not near enough to the racetrack to be super busy, but during racing season we still brought in a steady crowd of visitors. We sold the usual  race-related memorabilia including hats, tee shirts, key chains and model race cars, but also kept  a few shelves stocked with homey items like scented soaps and car-themed potholders for the  people who owned or rented summer houses along the lake.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Books & Fiction