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DIE FOR Karin Slaughter’s ‘Cop Town’ Stalkers & strangers High school hysteria A haunting Amish crime and more for




JULY 2014

pap pa a perback perback picks picks PENGUIN.COM


A Tap on the Window

When Day Breaks

Then Came You

When Peyton Lockhart and her sisters inherit an oceanfront resort, vindictive saboteurs come after them. The threats quickly escalate and Peyton enlists the help of her childhood friend, FBI agent Finn MacBain, who saved her life once before.

P.I. Cal Weaver is consumed by grief for his dead son. So when a young girl asks him for a ride, he can’t refuse even though he senses something’s not right. Drawn into a nightmare of secrets and lies, Cal knows only the truth can save him—if he lives long enough to tell it.

The KGI handles jobs the government can’t. When battle-weary agent Swanson is assigned to protect Eden, a high-profile model, she stirs up emotions he’s never felt before. But a Beauty loving the Beast only happens in fairy tales—and the KGI doesn’t deal in fairy tales. Ever.

When veterinarian intern Emily gets an assignment in Idaho, the last person she expects to see is her gorgeous one-night-stand. But Wyatt isn’t just eye candy in a new town—he’s her new boss! And she soon learns he’s also a delicious distraction tempting her away from her plans.

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Dick Francis’s Refusal

The Last Witness


Blood of the Lamb

Six years ago, Sid Halley retired from P.I. work. But now he’s asked by racing chairman Sir Richard Stewart to investigate a series of dodgy races. And when Sir Richard is found dead, Sid’s family is threatened—so this enemy must be faced head-on.

A Russian sex-slave trafficking ring is at work in Philly. Teenage girls are being lured from foster homes, sources are turning up dead, and a key witness is in hiding. It’s up to detective Matt Payne and his Texas Ranger partner to unravel the ring—before someone else does.

Emberly is a phoenix cursed with the ability to foresee death. When her dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent it from happening—and stop her world from going down in flames.

When a document proving the existence of vampires goes missing from the Vatican, it’s up to a priest and a vampire to find it and prevent the truth from coming out. They are soon thrown into a cyclone of age-old secrets— some far too dangerous for man to ever know.

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“Reading Wendy Wax is like discovering a witty, wise, and wonderful new friend.”—Claire Cook, bestselling author of Must Love Dogs Maddie, Avery, and Nikki first got to know one another while restoring a beachfront mansion to its former grandeur. Now they’re putting that experience to professional use. But their latest project has presented some challenges they couldn’t have dreamed in their wildest fantasies— although the house does belong to a man who actually was Maddie’s wildest fantasy once. Rock-and-roll legend “William the Wild” Hightower may be past his prime, estranged from his family, and creatively blocked, but he’s still worshipped by fans—which is why he guards his privacy on his own island in the Florida Keys. He’s not thrilled about letting this crew turn his piece of paradise into a bed-and-breakfast for a reality show . . . though he is intrigued by Maddie. Hard as that is for her to believe as a newly single woman who can barely manage a dog paddle in the dating pool. But whether it’s an unexpected flirtation with a bona fide rock star, a strained mother-daughter relationship, or a sudden tragedy, these women are in it together. The only thing that might drive them apart is being trapped on a houseboat with one bathroom. 9780425263327 • $15.00

A Penguin Group (USA) Company


JULY 2014 B O O K PA G E . C O M


Private Eye July

04 SUMMER READING Let our flowchart lead you to your ultimate summer read

Fill your summer with thrills and chills as we celebrate all things suspense! Look for our magnifying glass to discover this month’s best mysteries and thrillers.

14 KARIN SLAUGHTER Two female cops smash barriers inside Atlanta’s police force

Cover image © Taylor Schena

17 STALKERS & STRANGERS Deadly games of cat and mouse


18 MEGAN ABBOTT When mass hysteria takes hold


19 JILL PATON WALSH Dorothy L. Sayers’ beloved detecting team is back

Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson Landline by Rainbow Rowell The Arsonist by Sue Miller Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique Abroad by Katie Crouch

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian The Vacationers by Emma Straub The Quick by Lauren Owen One Plus One by Jojo Moyes The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

Meet the author of The Dead Will Tell

20 DEBORAH HARKNESS The All Souls trilogy comes to its magical conclusion


A Dante scholar explores his Italian heritage

T he Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills

The French House by Don Wallace The Removers by Andrew Meredith My Two Italies by Joseph Luzzi The Victorian City by Judith Flanders

Meet the author-illustrator of R Is for Robot





05 05 07 08 08 10 12 13

California by Edan Lepucki






Tense and moving, secrets and lies… a killer’s release is the catalyst for shocking revelations in a small Southern town.







The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson


Fierce Patriot by Robert L. O’Connell North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person Liberty’s Torch by Elizabeth Mitchell

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

Conversion by Katherine Howe The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara Bringing Down the Mouse by Ben Mezrich A Horse Called Hero by Sam Angus Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo


Michael A. Zibart

Sukey Howard



Julia Steele

Allison Hammond



Lynn L. Green

Roger Bishop



Trisha Ping

Penny Childress



Cat Acree

Elizabeth Grace Herbert



Lily McLemore

Sada Stipe



Hilli Levin

Mary Claire Zibart




BookPage is a selection guide for new books. Our editors evaluate and select for review the best books published each month in a variety of categories. Only books we highly recommend are featured.

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A BookPage summer reading guide






What’s in your beach bag? Let our flowchart lead you to your ultimate summer read.








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Selected from nominations made by library staff across the country, here are the 10 books that librarians can’t wait to share with readers in July.


LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

St. Martin’s, $24.99, ISBN 9781250049377

A career woman places a phone call to the past—and reignites an old flame— in best-selling author Rainbow Rowell’s engaging second novel for adults. BookPage review on page 24.

ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

Pamela Dorman, $27.95, ISBN 9780525426585 A struggling single mother and an unlikely hero embark on a road trip to Scotland in a humorous and heartflet new novel from the author of Me Before You. BookPage review on page 20.

THE BLACK HOUR by Lori Rader-Day

Seventh Street Books, $26, ISBN 9781616148850 After being shot by a student who then killed himself, a sociology professor returns to campus determined to understand her assailant’s motives.


Harper, $26.99, ISBN 9780062290366 This thrilling debut is the launch of a magical new fantasy series following a young woman determined to reclaim her throne despite the threats around her. BookPage review online.


Doubleday, $25.95, ISBN 9780385534833 Bohjalian’s poignant new novel is set in a near future blighted by a nuclear accident, where young Emily struggles to survive life on the streets. BookPage review on page 22.

WORLD OF TROUBLE by Ben H. Winters

Quirk Books, $14.95, ISBN 9781594746857 The last installment in the best-selling Last Policeman trilogy finds Hank Pallas on a desperate hunt for his missing sister even as a metor plummets toward Earth.

CALIFORNIA by Edan Lepucki

Little, Brown, $26, ISBN 9780316250818 In a post-apocalyptic America, a young couple sets out in search of civilization. BookPage review on page 22.

DOLLBABY by Laura Lane McNeal

Pamela Dorman, $26.95, ISBN 9780670014736 A young girl comes of age in 1960s New Orleans in this warmhearted debut. BookPage review online.


Penguin Press, $27.95, ISBN 9781594205194 Mills, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, recounts the years she spent living next door to reclusive writer Harper Lee in smalltown Monroeville, Alabama. BookPage review on page 26.


Norton, $24.95, ISBN 9780393243024 When a corpse is discovered in a small Pennsylvania township, lone policeman Henry Farrell suddenly finds himself on the trail of a killer—and uncovering some deadly secrets. LibraryReads is a recommendation program that highlights librarians’ favorite books published this month. For more information, visit




Learning to love Tolstoy War and Peace. The very title incites both awe and no small measure of dread in many a reader’s heart. Indisputably one of the major achievements of the western literary canon—many would argue the greatest—Tolstoy’s masterwork is daunting in length and scope. At some 1,500 pages (depending on the typeface, of course), divided into 361 chapters, Kaufman’s tour with nearly will likely move 600 characters, its War and Peace sprawling to the top of narrative spans your literary the eight bucket list. years of Napoleon’s 1805-1812 invasion of Russia and beyond. It is a perennial bestseller, but how many who buy it actually read it? As the title of Andrew D. Kaufman’s engaging new book signals, the distinguished American Tolstoy scholar wants us to Give War and Peace a Chance (Simon & Schuster, $25, 256 pages, ISBN 9781451644708). And once you have taken Kaufman’s well-­ informed yet unintimidating tour of the Russian classic, it will very likely move up to the top of your literary bucket list. Kaufman’s mission is to share the wonder and power of this ageless novel he so clearly reveres and to make the case for its continuing relevance in the 21st century. He succeeds admirably. “War and Peace is many things,” Kaufman writes. “It is a war novel, a family saga, a love story. But at its core it is a book about people trying to find their footing in a ruptured world. It is a novel about human beings attempting to create a meaningful life for themselves in a country being torn apart by war, social change, and spiritual confusion.” Those human beings, so vividly drawn by the Russian master, make mistakes and suffer, just like us. But they also experience what Kaufman calls “moments of transcendent bliss or sudden illumination” that sharpen their

understanding of what it means to be alive. Kaufman divides the book into 12 chapters, each exploring a theme of the novel, from happiness and courage to family, love and death. Drawing not only on War and Peace itself, but on many of Tolstoy’s other writings as well, he delves into the writer’s profound and sometimes seemingly contradictory precepts as played out in the events of the novel and the lives of its memorable characters. Kaufman also introduces aspects of Tolstoy’s own life (and, less effectively, his own) to underscore the universality of the worldview the novel shares. Intertwining a close reading of the novel with interpretations from past critics and the colorful details of Tolstoy’s storied life makes Give War and Peace a Chance a nice mix of literary criticism and biography, served up for the general reader. Kaufman also places the novel within the historical context of Tolstoy’s times, as well as the period during which the novel is set. (It was, after all, a historical novel, written with hindsight a half century after the events it depicts.) Despite his scholarly credentials, Kaufman has not written a dry or academic book. Even without ever having cracked the spine of the novel itself, readers will feel as if they have, coming to know its characters and their dreams, failures and destinies. He brings them to life with such affection that even the most flawed among them becomes someone we wish to know better. Of course, it is Tolstoy’s genius that brings them to life with such complexity in the first place, Tolstoy who imparts the great truths of life.







“Genova’s novels are beautifully written, and poignant to the point of heartbreak.” — USA TODAY


An accomplished professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease learns that her worth is comprised of more than her ability to remember.

The extraordinary voice of a nonverbal boy with autism inspires two women to discover the universal truths that connect us all.

An overscheduled mother in her thirties learns to pay attention to what matters most after a car crash leaves her with a traumatic brain injury.





columns New paperback releases for reading groups

NATURAL SELECTION The Signature of All Things (Penguin, $17, 512 pages, ISBN 9780143125846) is Elizabeth Gilbert’s first work of fiction in 13 years. Set in the 18th and 19th centuries, this abundantly detailed historical narrative tells the story of the Whittaker family of Philadelphia. Patriarch Henry Whittaker amassed vast wealth in the quinine business in South Africa.

He passes on his fortune and his brilliant intellect to his daughter, Alma, whose interest in botany leads her into the study of evolution. Alma isn’t a beauty, and her bookish pursuits take precedence over romance. When she does fall in love, it’s with an artist named Ambrose Pike, whose reverence for the mystical is at odds with her own rational nature. Passages both literal and figurative ensue for Alma, as she sets out on a journey with stops in Tahiti and Holland to explore the natural world and her own inner terrain. Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) has written a fascinating, deeply authentic story of one woman’s quest to find herself, a book that demonstrates her remarkable range as an author.

FINAL CUT A smart, spellbinding mystery, Marisha Pessl’s Night Film (Random House, $18, 640 pages, ISBN 9780812979787) is a worthy follow-up to the author’s acclaimed debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Filmmaker Stanislas Cordova has an underground following—his dark, disturbing movies have been banned from theaters and become bona fide cult classics. Stanislas’ daughter, Ash-


Summer’s Hottest Reads New in Paperback

ley, a piano prodigy, is featured in his final film. Gorgeous and gifted, Ashley plays Carnegie Hall as a preteen and is dead by the age of 24, when, to all appearances, she commits suicide. Journalist Scott McGrath, an expert on Stanislas and his work, believes there’s more to Ashley’s demise than meets the eye. Along with two friends, Scott begins an investigation into the father-daughter bond and the circumstances surrounding Ashley’s death. Pessl bolsters the story with fictionalized documentary materials—transcripts, articles, screenshots—creating a sense of authenticity that adds to the novel’s appeal. This hypnotic, cleverly crafted thriller provides further proof that Pessl is a writer to be reckoned with.

Back in paperback from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train This beautifully wrought Southern saga, Kline’s debut, recounts a daughter’s search for the truth about her mother’s death.

New from the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Colors An abandoned baby, a glorious old Newport mansion, and awakening romance swirl the glittering waters of Breakwater Bay…

A work of literary fiction that brings to life a little-known chapter of the American Revolution “This is a superb novel. Don’t miss it.” —William Martin, Time bestselling New York Times author of Cape Cod

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement (Ecco, $16.99, 608 pages, ISBN 9780062107329) is a wide-ranging multigenerational saga that opens in 1914 Shanghai. Violet, the book’s primary narrator, lives with her American mother, Lucia, who’s the mistress of a popular courtesan establishment. When her mother inexplicably departs for San Francisco, Violet finds herself alone in Shanghai. An exotic beauty, Violet becomes a courtesan herself and has a daughter of her own. The novel flashes back to 1800s San Francisco to tell the story of Lucia, a woman very different from the one Violet grew up with. Tan’s rich descriptions of China in the early 1900s and her command of history make this a mesmerizing family epic. Her fans will savor this novel, which finds Tan at the top of her game 25 years after the publication of her luminous debut, The Joy Luck Club.

The latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd “A gripping whodunit haunted by the brutal realities of war and graced with the selfless determination of Bess to uncover the truth.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch



William Morrow Paperbacks

Book Club Girl

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The science around us

Getting the scoop

Did you know that your house or apartment is just a big physics lab waiting for you to get with the nerdy program? In Junk Drawer Physics (Chicago Review Press, $14.95, 208 pages, ISBN 9781613749203, ages 9 and up), high school physics teacher Bobby Mercer gives you 50 Awesome

Vanilla, chocolate—fugetaboutit! Jeni Britton Bauer is back with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (Artisan, $23.95, 224 pages, ISBN 9781579655921), her new foray into the world of the fabulous and the frozen. She serves up more than 50 luscious, flamboyantly flavored ice creams, with great header notes and detailed instructions.

Experiments That Don’t Cost a Thing, and they’re sure to rock your children’s world—sometimes literally, as in the case of the “Ball Blaster” or “Clothespin Catapult.” Mercer’s categorization of types of experiment—force, energy, momentum, light, magnetism and pressure—also describes his educational outlook. There’s no teaching more forceful or energetic—no pedagogical principle more suffused with light or magnetic force—than the one in Junk Drawer Physics. Look around you. Open up any drawer, turn on the closet light, peek under the bed: You’ve got everything you need to construct your own telephone, camera, telescope, spinning top and perpetual motion machine along with a wealth of scientific instruments. Who knew that learning could be just a bunch of junk?

BIG PROJECTS, SMALL HANDS Rachelle Doorley ups the ante in Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors (Roost Books, $21.95, 224 pages, ISBN 9781611800654, ages 6 and up). Where Bobby Mercer finds beauty in how the world around us works (that’s physics), Doorley stresses the artful pleasures of making beautiful things out of what the world offers (that’s aesthetics). Everything about this book is on a grand scale, from the glossy color photos to the interludes of philosophical reflection by various


experts, who show us how to help our children “see mistakes as gifts” or “set up a discovery area.” The names of her projects— “Gumdrop Structures” and “Glittery Egg Geodes”—give you a good idea of Doorley’s ambition to transform a child’s environment into a fairyland of unexpected pleasures, all created by the child herself, with the patient help of a generous mom or dad.

TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES In The Living Landscape (Timber Press, $39.95, 392 pages, ISBN 9781604694086), ecology professor Doug Tallamy and photographer Rick Darke present—in clear words and beautiful images—an entire pragmatic philosophy for how to live our lives and build our living environments from day to day, even as the light changes from hour to hour. Wherever you are, whatever sort of dwelling you inhabit, there is already an indigenous there there—especially in New Jersey, where Gertrude Stein famously said there wasn’t any. (The authors use their own mid-Atlantic region as the model for every ecological region of the U.S.) Native plants and animals— insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals—that coevolved are at the heart of every functioning bed, garden, yard and larger landscape. This book highlights many of the astonishing (and crucial) interconnections of species in a healthy ecosystem and teaches readers how to accommodate them in multiple layers, such as below ground, herbacious, shrub and vine, “edges” and canopy. The 77 pages of charts show the ecological and landscape functions of plants by region, proving we truly can have it all: a gorgeous garden that helps, not hurts, the Earth.

Bauer’s second cookbook is more expansive than her first, including a “Bakeshop” chapter loaded with big hits like Stone-Ground-Grits Pudding Cake, brandy-spiked Bananas Foster, Peoria Corn Fritters, a super-nutty flourless Macaroon Cake and crispy, jam-filled Sweet Empanadas, all more divine when topped with a Jeni-inspired scoop of Cumin & Honey Butterscotch Ice Cream, French Toast Frozen Custard or a vegan-friendly, dairyfree Rose Water & Pistachio Crème Sans Lait. Then, she moves the bar up even higher with ideas (and glorious photos) for composed desserts—spectacular sundaes, parfaits, ice cream layer cakes like Cocoa Rococo with four kinds of chocolate, and a few smashing icecream-centric cocktails.

SOAK IT UP! Amber embers glow, the savory scent of fire-flecked food wafts in the soft summer breeze—it’s July and the world is grilling. Now, all you need to make life, and dinner, even better is that little something that gives anything and everything you cook on the grill a special zing. We’re talking marinades, those easy-to-make blends that infuse grillables from steak to salmon, portobellos to porchetta with fabulous flavor, while you’re doing something else. Marinades: The Quick-Fix Way to Turn Everyday Food into Exceptional Fare,

with 400 Recipes (Harvard Common Press, $17.95, 320 pages, ISBN 9781558328273) is Lucy Vaserfirer’s remarkable, remarkably doable compilation, a virtual ode to the liquid concoctions that make the ordinary extraordinary. A world of flavors—built with herbs, spices, fruits, condiments, wine and beer, with the accents of Asia, India, the Middle East, Spain, France, Hawaii, Mexico and more—await that plain chicken breast, simple lamb chop and fresh fish fillet. Go for it, marinate and enjoy!

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS There’s a new way to follow the biblical exhortation to be “fruitful and multiply” without adding to the population explosion. Go through Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck’s beautifully illustrated Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes (Running Press, $27.50, 320 pages, ISBN 9780762445653), select from the 140 recipes and, as you add them to your repertoire, the number of delectable, peakpicked fruit dishes will multiply as will the compliments you get. Nicholson grew up on his family’s fruit farm in upstate New York tending and cultivating flavor, and he has imbued this cookbook with that same loving care. In seasonal sections, each fruit gets its full due, with practical growing tips, advice for preserving and sensational seasonal recipes. Now, while we’re in high summer heaven, you might try Smoked Duck and Cherry Confit Toasts, Apricot-Quinoa Tabbouleh and Stone Fruit-Mascarpone Gratin. And when fall showers us with apples, pears and quinces, you’ll know where to look and what to cook.

Bestselling author

takes you on heartfelt journeys of friendship, sisterhood and starting over in her charming new Icicle Falls novels.


one of ten signed copies of The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane and The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts!

Available now.

Enter the sweepstakes now at Entries must be received before July 31, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EDT. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Purchase or acceptance of a product offer does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes opens 7/1/2014 at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) and closes 7/31/2014 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). Enter online at Open to legal residents of the U.S. who have reached the age of majority or older in their state of residence. Void where prohibited by law. Ten (10) prizes available to be won consisting of an autographed copy of each of THE COTTAGE ON JUNIPER RIDGE and THE TEA SHOP ON LAVENDER LANE by Sheila Roberts (total ARV approx. $15.00 USD). Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Full details and Official Rules available online at Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

Find excerpts, recipes and the latest Icicle Falls news at

Meet the girl before she became Manhattan’s most famous dominatrix I N T ER N AT I O N A LB E S T S EL L I N GAU T H O R O F T H EO R I G I N A LSI N N ER SS ER I E S


columns Married to a mystery A woman risks her heart and then her life in Firewall (Tyndale House, $14.99, 416 pages, ISBN 9781414389936) by DiAnn Mills. Genius software developer Taryn Young thinks she finally has everything: a great job, a man who loves her, a brand-new marriage. But disaster strikes before the honeymoon can begin when an

Discover the highly anticipated sexy and seductive prequel to The Original Sinners

“I worship at the altar of Tiffany Reisz! Whip smart, sexy as hell— The Original Sinners series knocked me to my knees.� —New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James


airport bombing injures Taryn, and her husband disappears. At the hospital, it’s clear the authorities suspect Taryn might be involved in the death and destruction. FBI Special Agent Grayson Hall’s gut tells him the beautiful woman is truly bewildered by what’s come to pass, but that doesn’t stop him from investigating her and the man she married. Fingers are pointed in several directions, but as the truth comes to light, so does more danger for Taryn and Grayson. When a child is kidnapped, the two must work together to stop evil in its tracks. A skillful blend of suspense, romance and spirituality, this book’s intricate storyline will keep readers guessing.


AVA I L A B L E N OV E M B E R   U N V E I L I N G   

How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781402286056) by Elizabeth Michels pits an unusual earl’s daughter against a very proper lord. The dignified Andrew Clifton, Lord Amberstall, is thrown from his horse and lands at the estate of Katie Moore. When he wants to put his injured horse out of its misery, Katie insists on trying to heal the animal. Stymied by the stubborn miss, Andrew is forced to wait out the recovery. While doing so, he learns to appreciate the quirks of his hostess: her blunt manners,

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her affinity for wearing breeches and the fact that she lives alone in the gamekeeper’s cottage instead of in her stately home. As word of trouble at his own estate reaches him, Andrew reluctantly leaves the fiery beauty, only to confront a nefarious villain bent on taking his lands and life. Katie follows her heart and rushes to the nobleman’s aid, even though it appears she will be too late. This is a touching tale of two people learning to look below the surface.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE The importance of family and the emotional hazards of love are explored in Sarah Morgan’s Suddenly Last Summer (HQN, $7.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9780373778867). Dedicated surgeon Sean O’Neil puts plenty of distance between himself and his family’s mountain resort in Vermont. To him, it’s always felt like an albatross. But when a relative’s illness forces him back into the family fold, he begins to see the place and his past through different eyes. He can thank French chef Élise Philippe for that—and for the way she’s making it hard for him to sleep at night. Élise wants a no-strings relationship. Which sounds fine to Sean . . . until it doesn’t. Will he be able to convince wary Élise that they have more than just sexual chemistry? Will he find a way to reconcile his devotion to medicine and his responsibility to the O’Neils and their resort? Élise has her own troubled history that makes the resort her haven, but falling for Sean and then losing him might jeopardize the peace she finds among the mountains. In this engaging novel, the stakes aren’t life-or-death, but life-andlove, which readers will find just as entertaining.

#1 New York Times bestselling author

returns to Thunder Point with an uplifting story about overcoming loss and finding unexpected love. Scott Grant has a bustling family practice in the small Oregon community of Thunder Point. The town and its people have embraced the widowed doctor and father of two, his children are thriving and Scott knows it’s time to move on from his loss. But for this small town’s only doctor, the dating pool is limited. That is, until a stunning physician’s assistant applies for a job at his clinic.

Available now.

Available now. “With her trademark mixture of humor, realistic conflict, and razor-sharp insights, Carr brings Thunder Point to vivid life.” —Library Journal on The Newcomer

Coming August 26.


for $9.99






BILLY BOYLE by James R. Benn THE DRAGON MAN by Garry Disher JADE LADY BURNING by Martin Limón MURDER IN THE MARAIS by Cara Black RANDOM VIOLENCE by Jassy Mackenzie OUTSIDER IN AMSTERDAM by Janwillem van de Wetering BLOOD OF THE WICKED by Leighton Gage SIREN OF THE WATERS by Michael Genelin 12



 One desperate day




The Accident (Random House Audio, $40, 11.5 hours, ISBN 9780804165976), flawlessly read by Mozhan Marno, is Chris Pavone’s second nail-biting foray into espionage-tinged thrillerdom (following his best-selling debut, The Expats). This time, the action takes place on one harrowing whirlwind of a day. As the bodies pile up on two

residents when they started taking a week in August as a no-guys getaway. For 15 years Maddie, Rachel, Barbara and Melinda took a beach house together, but after their beloved Melinda died in a car crash, they drifted apart. Now, three years later, Melinda’s husband has a new, very young continents with almost careless wife, aptly called Baby, with a fabuabandon, you’ll constantly revise lous beach house on isolated Tiger your assumptions about motives, Island. “The girls” set off again identities and what might be true. with this flaky, gorgeous 22-yearAnd it all hinges on a manuscript old in tow to find themselves deep written on paper, the old-fashioned in reveries, revelations—sad and way. Isabel Reed, a well-known glad—and, once more, forging a literary agent, has been up all formidable four-way friendship. night reading an unputdownable TOP PICK IN AUDIO tell-all bio of a world-famous, On a snowy evening, Barrett super-powerful media mogul with Meeks sees a swirling aqua light in a full dose of murder, cover-ups the sky over Central Park and beand CIA subterfuge that was lieves it sees him. It could be a sign, mysteriously left at her office and an apparition that will brighten his mysteriously authored by Anonylife and alter his catalog of regrets mous. She knows it’s the real deal and failures. Barrett, a prodigy who and the biggest thing ever to come never blossomed into his potenher way. By 7 a.m. she hands the tial, has just been dumped by yet manuscript over to the perfect another boyfriend; he’s broke, a bit editor, a longtime admirer of hers; by lunchtime her assistant is dead, broken and living with his older brother, Tyler, and Tyler’s mortally and by the next dawn betrayals, ill girlfriend in their dingy Brooklyn discoveries and deceptions litter apartment. Tyler, in his mid-40s, the blood-spattered landscape. is still an aspiring musician, still SEA, SAND AND SISTERHOOD leaning on lines of coke to get A good “beach audio” is one of him through his constant metasummer’s most delightful guilty physical emergencies. The Snow Queen (Macmillan Audio, $29.99, pleasures. If you’re ready to treat 6.5 hours, ISBN 9781427233387), yourself, relax in your waterside Michael Cunningham’s beautifulchair, comfy hammock or porch ly written, hauntingly perceptive swing and listen to The Girls of August (Hachette Audio, $30, 6 new novel, explores the inner hours, ISBN 9781619696501), Anne geography of the brothers’ lives at midpoint, at a time when the right Rivers Siddons’ 19th novel, wonthing might still happen. Gracefully derfully performed by Kate Readnarrated by actor Claire Danes, ing, who always gets pitch, pace and personalities just right. The this quiet story of yearning and “girls of August” were best friends, connection becomes a surprisingly the young wives of medical school poignant audio.


These boots are made for kicking butt Think Catwoman in plain clothes. Lisbeth Salander sans dragon tattoo. Jack Reacher with an extra X-chromosome. Whatever— Vanessa Michael Munroe has to be among the cleverest, fightingest and all-around baddest heroines in contemporary suspense fiction. Gifted with a lithe, athletic stature, Munroe (who typically goes by “Michael”) can easily pass for a man, but add some makeup and a party frock, and she will turn heads in any crowded room. Her latest adventure, The Catch (Crown, $24, 352 pages, ISBN 9780385348935), by award-winning author Taylor Stevens, finds her in Djibouti of all places, where she inadvertently becomes a key player in one of the infamous acts of piracy for which the Somali coast is well known. As is the case with previous Munroe novels (The Informationist, The Doll, The Innocent), The Catch is all action, all the time. Backstory? Not so much. Touchy-feely moments of introspection? Nope. A tender romantic subplot? Nah, not really. Just a straight-up adventure tale about a woman who thinks on her feet (that is, when she is not using them to kick bad-guy booty) and always stays one step ahead of her adversaries. My prediction: This will be one of the summer’s most popular beach reads.

A MENTOR’S MYSTERY After establishing himself as the king of the travel thriller genre with his series featuring Bangkok-based travel writer Poke Rafferty, author Timothy Hallinan made an abrupt change in direction and embarked on a new series featuring L.A. cat burglar (and occasional private eye for crooks) Junior Bender. Junior’s latest escapade, Herbie’s Game (Soho Crime, $25, 400 pages, ISBN 9781616954291), pays homage to Herbie Mott, Junior’s mentor in his life of crime. When Wattles, a wellknown local hood, discovers that

an incriminating list of contacts has been stolen from his safe—yet all the other valuables remain untouched—he knows just whom to blame: Junior Bender. Except that Junior didn’t do it. But he has a pretty good guess as to who did: Herbie Mott. Threatened with stick, bribed with carrot, Junior agrees to look into the case for Wattles. Then, one by one, people on the list begin

to turn up dead, including Herbie. With complex characters, spicy dialogue, clever plot devices and a liberal dose of humor—as is always the case with Hallinan—Herbie’s Game is a fine read.

IN THE DOGHOUSE Following The Summer of Dead Toys, Inspector Hector (I love the sound of those two words together) Salgado is back for an encore in Antonio Hill’s atmospheric The Good Suicides (Crown, $26, 352 pages, ISBN 9780770435905). Set in and around Barcelona, the story begins with a gruesome email sent to the inboxes of a group of cosmetics industry managers on an executive retreat. The message is cryptic: “Never forget.” Attached to the message is a photo of dead dogs hanging from a tree. Bizarre though that may be, things get weirder in short order, as one by one the executives creatively commit suicide. The connection between the suicides and the message is unmistakable—albeit baffling—and it falls to Salgado to unravel the mystery, preferably before the next suicide takes place. Meanwhile, another storyline— this one much more personal to Salgado—underlies every move he makes: the abrupt and unexplained disappearance of his wife. Hill cuts deftly back and forth be-

tween these two disparate tales, keeping the reader on seat’s edge throughout.



Avon Romance

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY Let me say this at the outset: The Saints of New York (Overlook, $26.95, 464 pages, ISBN 9781590204610) were anything but. A good argument could be advanced that these corrupt cops—charged with combating the Mafia in the ’80s—were among New York’s leading sinners, and policeman John Parrish was a key member. If there was an illegal pot of gold to be found within the five boroughs, there was a good chance that the Saints had dipped their fingers into it. Nonetheless, 30-odd years later the group remains revered for having broken the backbone of the Mafia, a legacy that Parrish’s son Frank, also a cop, must live up to (or down to) every day of his life. Faced with the choice of administrative leave or daily consultations with a shrink after a badly botched hostage negotiation, Frank grudgingly opts for the therapist. Naturally, questions are raised about his childhood, most particularly his relationship with his father, and he responds by launching into a narrative about the Saints, a decades-spanning story of the Mob, police corruption and the arcane interactions between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” that reached the highest levels of government. Meanwhile, Frank’s investigation into the murder of a teenage girl becomes more convoluted. And so author R.J. Ellory weaves these two tales together, in what can only be called a “big novel”—big in the manner of Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River or T. Jefferson Parker’s Silent Joe—that may well be the standout suspense novel of the summer. Or the year.






Busting the all-boys club on the Atlanta police force


n a meteoric career that has produced two series and 13 crime novels in as many years, Georgia native Karin Slaughter rocketed to international bestseller status by granting women their rightful place at murder scenes and morgues.

Yet while her growing fan base eagerly awaits each new installment of her Atlanta series featuring Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent Will Trent (Triptych, Fractured, Broken) and its country cousin starring Grant County medical examiner Sara Linton (Faithless, Indelible, Blindsighted), the restless Slaughter has kept busy crafting her new novel, exploring time travel—and bracing herself for space flight. What!? Time travel? Space flight? Whose genre is this, anyway? Slaughter admits her unquenchable thirst to break new ground has prompted a mid-career interest in exploring neighboring galaxies, literary and otherwise. How did a small-town Southern girl wind up doing weightless somersaults aboard the infamous suborbital “vomit comet,” much less set her sights on a future space flight aboard the Virgin Galactic?


By Karin Slaughter

Delacorte, $27, 416 pages ISBN 9780345547491, audio, eBook available



More about that later, though in a way, the process accelerated with Cop Town, her first standalone novel, which takes place Slaughter back in mid1970s Atlanta interviewed when cops six retired were men and officers to get women weren’t a feel for the welcome. Slaughter first challenges wrote about the period faced by in Criminal female cops (2012), in in the 1970s. which she united characters from her two series. “I had so much fun that I wanted to visit that time period again,” she explains. Just one problem: “I couldn’t come up with a good reason to put my characters Will and Sara back there, mainly because they would have been children then,” she says. Slaughter herself was only 3 years old at the time. So she created two very different protagonists: veteran patrolwoman Maggie Lawson, whose brother and uncle are part of the all-male good-ol’-boy network on the Atlanta force, and her new rookie partner Kate Murphy, a Jewish neophyte from a privileged background whose husband was killed in Vietnam. Together, they battle the blatant racism, sexism and cultural ostracism of the day, while working their way into the search for a serial killer who is targeting their ranks. Slaughter called upon the best possible resource to bring her characters to life. “I talked to six female police officers who are now retired and

in their 60s. If you want to get the truth about something, talk to a 60-year-old retired woman!” she chuckles. “I thought it would be really interesting to explore the lives of patrol officers, because that’s something I haven’t really done before; normally, they’re detectives. And because there was so little structure to Atlanta policing at the time, a lot of patrol officers did detective work. Sometimes they had to, because the detectives were passed out drunk in their cars. Honestly, that was a real problem!” To prepare for her immersion into the disco era, Slaughter chose her bedside reading accordingly. “One of the books I was reading while working on Cop Town was Fear of Flying by Erica Jong,” she says. “Reading it now, this line stuck out to me: ‘An unmarried woman is taking a vow of poverty.’ And for a lot of women today, that’s true. When you combine households and you have someone—a spouse or partner—it makes things easier. If you look at the number of

single mothers who are trapped in poverty, it really resonated for me.” So did the changes America was facing back then. “It definitely mirrors what we’re going through today: coming out of a very disastrous war, the economy was in the toilet, women’s pay equality, homophobia, racism. It’s easier to talk about these things in the past, because if you talk about them in the present, then you’re kind of a whiny bitch. But if you say, hey, look how bad it was in the ’70s, then you can let people draw their own conclusions,” she says. She was shocked to hear firsthand accounts of the outright sexism of the day, which was slowly crumbling, in large part due to federal intervention. “It was a huge change, and like any change, most of the guys didn’t want it to happen,” she says. “In Atlanta, they were also dealing with the fact that the good-ol’-boy network wasn’t white anymore; it was black, and [women] were excluded from it. As Maggie says in the book,

‘The good-ol’-boy network is fine as long as you’re one of the good old boys.’ They didn’t like being left out.” Why did the women pursue crime fighting? “I asked every woman I talked to why they did it when no one wanted them to, and every single one of them said they did it because someone told them they shouldn’t,” Slaughter says. A similar instinct may have inspired the author’s interest in space flight. How in the world did she wind up on the vomit comet? “I was talking to the people at Virgin Galactic about doing the space flight, but my dad said I would have to let a hundred people go up before I go up,” she chuckles. “But one of the things they sponsored was letting us go on the vomit comet. It was really wonderful! If you plan to do it, do it with somebody you know or make friends with somebody, because you can do stuff together in weightlessness, roll people in circles and all that. I had a really great time.” Slaughter hopes to not only go up in space, but back to the future as well with sequels to Cop Town. “Maybe every two or three [series] books, I could do one of these, and maybe take Kate and Maggie into the Atlanta child murders in the late ’70s,” she says. “A lot of women worked on the Atlanta child murders. Although they were still plainclothes officers at that point and weren’t really called detectives, they were given what were called ‘vagina crimes,’ so if it came into or went out of a vagina, a woman was the investigator.” After a series of child murders terrified the city, “Women were the ones who started to put the pieces together, and then, of course, the men said, ‘Oh, we need to take this over because it’s a serial killer.’” Would she one day take the leap into that final frontier, science fiction? “Oh yeah, absolutely,” she readily admits. “The Centers for Disease Control are right up the street from me, and my neighbors are doctors there, so I’d like to do something, maybe about a virus and some horrible mishap happens. I’d love to do that.”


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Watching her every move


hether they feel watching eyes or hear the sound of quickening footsteps behind them, the potential victims in these unnerving stories sense a predator’s approach, and so can we. As these characters hurry to the relative safety of their homes and rush to lock the doors behind them, readers of these smart and suspenseful books will be turning pages faster and faster in hopes of catching the criminal before it’s too late.

EYES IN THE WOODS The smartest, and perhaps most sarcastic, private investigator in Atlanta has lost none of her spunk in the third installment of Amanda Kyle Williams’ Keye Street series. In Don’t Talk to Strangers (Bantam, $26, 336 pages, ISBN 9780553808094), the worldly Street is a little out of her element. Instead of working from her high-tech office in the city, she’s drawn deep into the woods of rural Whisper, Georgia, to help solve two murders with the same M.O. but a decade between them. The killer keeps young girls captive for months, maybe years, before disposing of their bodies in the same remote location. Street is determined to stop it from happening again, but she finds herself in a precarious position: The locals don’t want her help and make their feelings menacingly clear. With potential enemies all around, our tenacious detective is clearly at risk. The reader feels the pressure, too, and shares the intense need to solve this mystery right alongside the intrepid investigator.

ESCALATING DANGER A world away from the wilds of Georgia, Detective Inspector Mike Lockyer faces a different kind of killer on the streets of south London. In Clare Donoghue’s debut novel, Never Look Back (Minotaur, $24.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9781250046079), the murderer is brazen, practically daring the authorities to discover the women’s bodies he leaves poking out of alleys. Three victims into his warped scheme, the killer’s timetable is

accelerating, and Lockyer doesn’t have much time to stop him from striking again. As with the most compelling cases, Lockyer’s quest isn’t merely police work; it’s personal. The victims are young and bear a startling resemblance to his daughter, Megan. Plus, Lockyer’s more than a little attracted to stalking victim Sarah Grainger, who may be next on the killer’s list. By involving the detective so intimately in the details of the case, Donoghue shows how a stalker’s threats infiltrate the lives of his victims on every level. Readers will be just as desperate as Lockyer, Megan and Sarah to see the end of this killer’s spree.

ON-AIR VICTIM Eyes on You (Harper, $25.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9780061576638), the new standalone novel from Kate White, author of the Bailey Wiggins mystery series, is set in the brutally competitive world of modern media. Television news personality and rising star Robin Trainer is the co-anchor of a successful, gossipy news show, so she’s used to the political backstabbing that’s part of every day on set. However, she never expects it to turn deadly. When threatening notes start to appear in her purse and gruesome dolls turn up in her office chair, she begins to realize that the threat is real. But in the house of mirrors that is the media, who can she trust? Trainer’s first-person narration lets us in on every thought and interaction— from her reluctant attraction to her charming co-host to her confrontations with a vicious competitor— leaving us feeling as vulnerable as

our haunted heroine.

UNDER HER NOSE Clever and likable Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan has appeared in three previous books by Jane Casey. In her newest adventure, The Stranger You Know (Minotaur, $25.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9781250048837), Kerrigan returns to the London police office where she works with her abrasive, yet intriguing, partner, Josh Derwent. On her latest case, Kerrigan faces a serial killer who performs bizarre rituals on his victims—after he

kills them. He leaves a scrupulously clean crime scene and no clues. Kerrigan has little to go on, and even less help from Derwent than usual, as he’s been abruptly banned from the case. As Kerrigan creeps closer to secrets from Derwent’s past that parallel the current crime, she can’t stay away from him. But will her presence help exonerate him, or does it put her own life in jeopardy? Casey expertly dangles the solution just out of Kerrigan’s reach, putting readers in the roles of the pursuer and the pursued until the final pages.

Don’t Miss This KILLER BOOK by New York Times Bestselling Author

Lorena McCourtney M cCourtney

ONCE AGAIN PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CATE KINKAID finds herself in more danger than her pay grade should allow when a straightforward case of attempted robbery turns out to be so much more. Lorena






An unsettling contagion exposes dark fears behind high school girl world


ith her 2012 novel Dare Me, Megan Abbott transformed high school bullying into a startling tale of reckless teenage chaos. In her new novel, The Fever, another group of young women find themselves at the center of pandemonium, as one by one girls fall to a mysterious infection that causes terrifying, gruesome seizures. The author shares how this haunting tale was inspired by a real-life “mass hysteria” outbreak in Le Roy, New York, in 2012. She’s pretty, fresh-faced. A cheerleader in a hoodie, her nervous smile lurking. But something’s wrong. “I was always so active,” she says, her words broken up by a sharp vocal outburst, her head jerking. “Everyone was always so happy to be around me. I just don’t feel like myself anymore.” Her name is Thera Sanchez, and I first saw her on the “Today” show in January 2012, a time when she and several other female teens in Le Roy, New York—all with similar vocal tics and twitches—were appearing everywhere: the morning shows; CNN; every major newspaper and magazine. All these lovely, panicked girls begging for answers to the strange affliction that seemed to be spreading through their school like a plague. Watching them and their terrified parents, I couldn’t look away.


Within days of first hearing about the young women—18 in all—of Le Roy, I began writing The Fever, which chronicles a mysterious outbreak in a small town. In the novel, we see everything through the eyes of the Nash family: Tom, a high school teacher, and his two teenage children, Eli and Deenie. One by one, Deenie’s friends are struck by terrifying, unexplained seizures, and fear and hysteria spread through the town. For several months in early 2012, it seemed like the Le Roy story was amplifying in size, with concerned parents, the media and various activists pointing the finger at environmental toxins, the HPV vaccine, rare autoimmune disorders and other potential threats. Ultimately, the medical diagnosis—accepted by most—was that the girls were suffering from “conversion disorder,” a condition in which the body “converts” emotional distress into physical symptoms. Though psychological in origin, the symptoms are involuntary and completely real. When it occurs in groups, spreading from one to the next, it is called “mass psychogenic illness,” or “mass hysteria.” While The Fever’s plot diverges dramatically from what happened in Le Roy, I was continually reminded of the stakes for these afflicted girls, for their parents, for the community. And that fear in the girls’ eyes, which was so complicated, so haunting and real: What’s happening to me? When will I be myself again? And, perhaps most hauntingly of all, What if no one believes me? Comparisons to the Salem witch trials appeared (and remain) everywhere, except in this case it

was the afflicted girls themselves who were put on trial, accused of faking their symptoms, of being dramatic look-at-me teenagers, of making it all up, as if it were a game. One needs only to survey a few Internet comments on the articles written about the case to get a sense of what the girls faced: “This is how the herd mentality works. These little heifers are enjoying the show they’ve produced for themselves.” The young women of Le Roy had undergone significant emotional upheavals (a sick parent, domestic abuse) that triggered the symptoms we all saw on TV, but they were being treated as unruly drama queens. Perhaps in some way, their tics made us deeply uncomfortable. And it was easier to minimize them, dismiss them. Place blame. Last month, The Fever long finished, I began to wonder how it might be for the girls now, reportedly recovered and no longer under the media glare. I contacted Dr. Jennifer McVige, the neurologist who treated 10 of them. We talked for a long time about the experience and the aftermath, but one thing she said has hummed in my brain ever since: “I’d tell the girls, what you’re going through now is so challenging, but you’re going to come out stronger, smarter. You’re going to look back to this time in your life and say, I got through that, I can get through this. I can do anything now.” It felt like such a parable of female adolescence, writ large. I think back to Thera Sanchez on the “Today” show, to the words she said—which, on one level, could be the words of any teenage girl, any young woman ever. There’s

part of her that wants to please (“Everyone was always so happy to be around me.”), part of her that wants to do (“I was always so active.”) and part that feels lost (“I just don’t feel like myself anymore.”). She knows she’s changing, and it’s so hard because it feels like everyone’s watching, judging. And she’s just asking to be heard and understood.

Megan Abbott is the Edgar Award-winning author of seven novels. She lives in Queens, New York.


By Megan Abbott

Little, Brown, $26, 320 pages ISBN 9780316231053, audio, eBook available



Q: What’s the title of your new book?



A successful series reboot fter writing several acclaimed novels, British author Jill Paton Walsh was tapped by the Dorothy L. Sayers estate to bring back Sayers’ iconic detecting duo, Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.



would you describe the book Q: How in one sentence?

Walsh’s fourth Wimsey/Vane mystery, The Late Scholar (Minotaur, $25.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781250032799), has just been published. When did you discover the Wimsey novels? I was about 14, I think, and voraciously reading everything I could lay my hands on. I loved the elegance and wit of both the detection and the characters, and fell hopelessly in love with Lord Peter. I still am. In The Late Scholar, Harriet and Peter are drawn back to Oxford, the city where they got engaged (memorably, in Latin). You attended Oxford not many years after this book is set. Did you enjoy revisiting it? Oh, it has been lovely for me to have an excuse to write about Oxford, and to bring Lord Peter very close to my own (nearly) adult experience. Oxford is extraordinarily beautiful, built of local limestone which is a gorgeous golden color that reflects even dull light. Being a university city, it is full of dazzled and happy young people, of whom I was once one, and nobody ever forgets the happiness of their youth. In Sayers’ original works, Peter and Harriet had both been changed (and scarred) by World War I. You had to bring them through World War II. How did this change them? To freeze them where Sayers left them would turn them into paper cutouts. From Peter’s attitude to his rank, and Harriet’s attitude to his rank, I felt pretty sure they would in a way welcome the hardships of the war, and the way it leveled people in Britain. Everyone had a ration book, and bombs were indiscriminate. I think it would have been Bunter, the manservant, who minded it most, and that’s how I have written them. Peter and Harriet are one of the few egalitarian detecting teams. Do you think it presents more of a challenge to the reader when there’s not a “sidekick” acting as the reader proxy? It is indeed a challenge to the reader—and a compliment. Sayers assumed her readers did not need a less-than-brilliant person to identify with. She was writing unashamedly for an elite. They share the mystification of the two detectives, and are entitled to feel satisfaction when the clouds of confusion part and the puzzle is solved. I like it as a narrative strategy, very much. If you could meet Dorothy Sayers, what would you ask her? I would ask her why she abandoned Lord Peter, and Harriet with him. Although I can guess—having brought her two protagonists a long way round into, at last, happy marriage to each other, Sayers had run out of her own experience. She herself, alas for her, had very little experience of a happy marriage. You have said Lord Peter is “the best company who has ever lived in my inner world.” Why? He is complex and modest; he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he does take love and duty, good and evil seriously. And he is endlessly witty. I shall be devastated if he deserts me.

Q: Why do you think readers are drawn to stories about the Amish?

Q: What three things do you admire most about Kate Burkholder?

Q: What’s your favorite obsession?

Q: Words to live by?

THE DEAD WILL TELL Linda Castillo grew up in western Ohio, not far from

the area where her best-selling Amish mysteries are set. In the latest entry in the Kate Burkholder series, The Dead Will Tell (Minotaur, $25.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781250029577), the Painters Mill police chief investigates two murders that might be linked to the slaying of an Amish family 35 years before. Castillo and her husband, Ernest, live in Texas, where she enjoys riding horses and barrel racing.




A vampire, a witch and a manuscript


or most mere mortals, a position as a full-time historian and tenured professor at the University of Southern California would be sufficiently demanding. But not for Deborah Harkness, who has also managed to squeeze “best-selling novelist” onto her list of already impressive credentials.

In an apt parallel to the alchemists she studies in her scholastic life, Harkness appears to have created literary gold from an unlikely mixture of ingredients. The All Souls Trilogy is an addictive blend of history, science, romance and fantasy that chronicles the complicated relationship between a witch named Diana Bishop and a vampire named Matthew de Clairmont. The two embark on a quest for Ashmole 782, an enchanted manuscript believed to contain the secrets of their species’ origins. The first book in the series, A Discovery of Witches, was published in more than 30 languages; its sequel, Shadow of Night, was even more popular and debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. For someone whose prior experience with the publishing world was limited to academic works, the success of the series has been astounding. “I don’t know if you can even imagine what it’s like if you haven’t done it—to make stuff up


By Deborah Harkness

Viking, $28.95, 576 pages ISBN 9780670025596, audio, eBook available



and for people to take it into their hearts,” Harkness tells BookPage from her home in Los Angeles. “When I write scholarship, people take it into their heads. With this [series], I had a woman in her 80s say to me, ‘I had better not die before I find out what hap“I don’t know pened to my if you can friends!’ That even imagine was amazing for me.” what it’s like Happily, if you haven’t fans need wait no longer to done it—to discover the make stuff thrilling fate of their friends. up and for With The people to Book of Life, Matthew and take it into return their hearts.” Diana to the present day after the time-travel adventures of Shadow of Night for the last leg of their fraught journey to uncover the secrets of Ashmole 782. For readers who have spent the past few years living in the All Souls universe, this end of the series is highly anticipated, but also heralds the end of an era. Harkness herself has mixed emotions about closing the book on Matthew and Diana after six years in their company. “It’s a bit strange, actually. I really have been living with [these characters and books] for a while, and it is kind of strange to wake up in the morning and to not immediately start thinking about [them],” she reflects. “But at the same time, I’m really pleased that we managed to deliver three books in a fairly reasonable timeframe.” Sticking to her three-book goal wasn’t simple, however. “As it turns out, a trilogy is not an easy thing to write!” Harkness says. “When you set out to write a series,

you are able to keep pursuing new plotlines and new characters and just let it organically resolve. But when you set out to write a trilogy, you have to be fairly disciplined. There were moments when I got frustrated because I wanted to introduce a new character or develop a side plot, but couldn’t. I had to be really mindful about tying things up.” Not that she hasn’t had the space to do so. The Book of Life is the shortest installment of the trilogy, but at 576 pages, it’s still no lightweight. At a time when attention spans are dwindling and even the most dedicated readers have countless demands upon them, it’s a bold move to offer up such a hearty book. Yet Harkness insists that the length of her novels is actually part of their allure. “You can curl up inside the world. They are so lush, so rich, and they don’t spare details,” she explains. “There’s nothing like knowing all day that after dinner you get to go back to bed with your big book.” It’s safe to say that fans of the series agree, and the sparks that fly between Harkness’ prickly protagonists have proven to be particularly captivating. Despite their otherworldly allegiances, their relationship is “real in all of those emotional ways that aren’t really handled in mainstream fiction,” as Harkness puts it. “I have always found the traditional ‘will they, won’t they?’ arc really boring,” she confides. “Obviously they’re going to get together.



So why not just cut to the chase and then say, ‘OK, now what?’ That’s when it gets complicated.” That question of “now what?” will surely plague fans after they’ve raced to the end of The Book of Life. When pushed as to whether this is truly the end for this universe, Harkness says, “Whatever else may happen with the world of the Bishops and the de Clairmonts, we’re certainly not going to be returning to Diana and Matthew falling in love and establishing a family. That story is now told and I’m happy that that’s the case.” Disappointing news for some, certainly, but take heart: Harkness won’t be disappearing from bookstores. Although it’s too early for her to divulge the details, she assures us that she has ideas for at least five different projects. “People can count on seeing new titles come out from me. Maybe not in six months, but certainly soon. Right now I don’t have any plans other than to sleep!” With a book tour on the horizon, sleep may have to wait. Lucky for Harkness, once The Book of Life hits bookstores, she’ll be in good company—more than a few readers will be pulling all-nighters to find out whether Diana and Matthew live happily ever after.

“Fisher is an amazing author.

She has written a believable story about those who embrace their flaws.” —RT Book Reviews on The Calling In this riveting conclusion to THE INN AT EAGLE HILL series, bestselling author SUZANNE WOODS FISHER pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and just the right dose of romance.

Don’t Miss Books 1 and 2





ical novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures. The Vacationers begins as the Post family is getting ready to leave their Upper West Side apartment for a two-week vacation on the island of Mallorca. Franny is a CALIFORNIA zaftig travel writer who treats food as a means of therapy; her husREVIEW BY MATTHEW JACKSON band, Jim, was just fired from his Stories of human survival and hope after an apocalyptic event are longtime job as a magazine editor well worn at this point. As a result, the themes and tropes of these after having an affair with an editotales often feel so trodden and predictable that they become little rial assistant barely older than his more than echoes. Then, there are stories like California. daughter. Only mildly aware of her In the near future, civilization as Cal and Frida know it has crumparents’ marital problems, Sylvia is bled. Hoping for a new life, they flee the ruined city of Los Angeles and focused on starting at Brown in the settle in a small shed in the wilderness, carving out the best life they fall, far away from the brutality of can with what little they have. It’s hard, but they have each other, and high school bullies. that seems comfort enough—until Frida discovers she’s pregnant. Joining the group is Sylvia’s older Fearing what might happen if they try to survive the pregnancy brother Bobby (a Miami real estate alone, Cal and Frida set out for a mysterious nearby settlement, but agent) and his personal trainer when they arrive, it becomes clear that this hoped-for sanctuary is girlfriend, Carmen. Rounding instead a world where it seems no one can be trusted. out the bunch of vacationers is The real secret to the greatness of California, aside from its fully reFranny’s best friend, Charles, and By Edan Lepucki alized characters and thoughtful narration, is an attention to detail that his husband, Lawrence, who are Little, Brown, $26, 400 pages draws you immediately into Edan Lepucki’s mysterious new world. awaiting possible good news from ISBN 9780316250818, audio, eBook available This isn’t a place of easy answers, but it is a place of layered, constantly an adoption agency. DEBUT FICTION unfolding ones. Frida and Cal’s journey is a web of secrets, fears and But while Franny meant for the truths old and new, and Lepucki deftly creates the sense that these trip to celebrate her and Jim’s 35th elements are simultaneously happening all at once and feeding off each other, crafting a truly unpredictanniversary along with Sylvia’s high able tale of human frailty and determination. Here, the world ends messily, like an ugly relationship, and school graduation, the vacation the ways in which the characters have to put their lives back together are equally fractured. The result is not turns into something much heavier only a singular post-apocalyptic novel, but a debut you won’t want to miss. California will lure you in with as tensions are inflamed, jealousies its mysteries, seduce you with its secrets and haunt you long after you’ve finished it. are ignited and, ultimately, those pesky family secrets are revealed. Straub transports her readers to Although Bohjalian’s latest novel an idyllic paradise of cobblestone crafting a young female protagonist CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS who is fatally flawed, but neverthe- is unflinchingly raw in its depiction streets, olive-tree-strewn hillsides, of homelessness and the devastaless immensely likable. stunning beaches and rich, foreign Emily Shepard is a high school tion of a nuclear meltdown, it never delicacies, even as she creates an By Chris Bohjalian student struggling with a typical feels preachy or maudlin. Instead, it all-too-real family drama. The Doubleday adolescence—until her comfortresonates with a message of hope, Vacationers is as refreshing as a $25.95, 288 pages truth and the fragility of life. able life is torn asunder after a catfrozen strawberry daiquiri and full ISBN 9780385534833 Audio, eBook available astrophic meltdown at a Vermont — K A R E N A N N C U L L O T T A of crisply drawn characters you’ll nuclear plant, where her parents feel you’ve come to know. COMING OF AGE are employed. As Armageddon an—MEGAN FISHMANN THE VACATIONERS nihilates the once idyllic Northeast THE QUICK Kingdom, Emily’s father, who was By Emma Straub If the dystopian coming-of-age once disciplined for drinking on Riverhead novel has been the inspiration for the job, and her mother, who is also $26.95, 304 pages By Lauren Owen renowned for her alcohol-fueled many a Hollywood blockbuster ISBN 9781594631573 Random House in recent years, the increasingly escapades, become scapegoats. eBook available $27, 544 pages Orphaned and alone, Emily ubiquitous genre more closely reISBN 9780812993271 POPULAR FICTION sembles literary fiction in critically joins the ranks of homeless teens Audio, eBook available acclaimed author Chris Bohjalian’s wandering the streets of BurlingDEBUT FICTION ton, her intelligence and passion Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. For readers who discovered Boh­ for poet Emily Dickinson coexistEmma Straub’s delightful second ing warily alongside a tawdry life jalian after his luminous Midwives novel, The Vacationers, is the best riddled by drugs and prostitution. became an Oprah’s Book Club work yet from this Brooklyn-based Warning to the reader: It is imselection, the prolific author’s latest Indeed, it is Emily’s inherent inwriter, who previously penned the possible for this review to proceed novel will not disappoint: He once tegrity and capacity to endure that quirky short story collection Other without a number of spoilers. In again reveals an uncanny talent for proves her salvation. People We Married and the historcase anyone still holds the charm-

After the end, a new beginning


FICTION ing belief (as I do) that the mechanics of plot have a bearing on our enjoyment of a novel, the reviewer feels obliged to perform his task up front. I shall do it The Quick (pardon the pun) way: If you are a fan of literary Gothic—think Susanna Clarke or John Harwood—buy this book. You won’t regret it. Now to details. Debut author Lauren Owen possesses the delightful knack of devising the bleakest possible permutations of the vampire myth. It is as if she made a checklist of the most abysmal variations on Bram Stoker’s blood-pounding themes in Dracula. Owen is explicit about the connection. The Quick is set in the same decade as Stoker’s masterpiece, and in a number of the same places, right down to the London-Yorkshire axis. There’s even a reprise of the sweet-cowboy-turned-vampire-hunter (duly embittered, thank goodness). These connections with Dracula only enhance the originality of Owen’s much darker vision. On every score, this brilliant young novelist (now pursuing her Ph.D. in English Literature at Durham University) trumps Stoker in nightmarish excess. As a late-Victorian author, Stoker could barely touch upon the grisly anatomical facts and sexual overtones of vampirism. Owen wallows in all these unsavories. What is most disturbing about the novel—and thus most satisfying for dedicated fans of horror—is the fragility, astonishing painfulness and absolute contingency of every human and creaturely emotion. Yes, that’s right: The creatures have feelings, too. The ordeals of the quick (“human”) can have all the more purchase on the reader’s imagination in contradistinction to the acute sufferings of the undead (or “undid”). A long gallery of beautifully drawn characters makes the many pages of The Quick turn as swiftly as those of a Wilkie Collins novel (Collins is Owen’s obvious and acknowledged stylistic model). The loving ties that bind the quick and the undead—like the heroic Charlotte and her brother, James— are all clotted in blood. The final image of the novel promises a

sequel. Let it come quick. —MICHAEL ALEC ROSE

Visit for an interview with Lauren Owen.

ONE PLUS ONE By Jojo Moyes

Viking/Pamela Dorman $27.95, 384 pages ISBN 9780525426585 Audio, eBook available

Available for the first time in print!

Politics can be murder... Discover heart-pounding novels of deadly suspense from New York Times bestselling author

Marie Force


In One Plus One, British novelist Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) once again introduces her readers to two mismatched lovers who have troubles of their own but find a safe haven in each other. Jess is always just one missed paycheck away from disaster. A single mother with two jobs, a disappeared husband, a bullied stepson and a brilliant daughter, she is also desperate to deliver her daughter Tanzie to Scotland to take a math exam that will win her a scholarship to a good school. In steps Ed Nicholls, one of Jess’ housecleaning clients—and a millionaire. Recently accused of insider trading, he’s lost his company and his best friend. Through chivalry or simply a desire to redeem himself, Ed decides to drive Jess and her family (and their gigantic dog) up to Scotland, a trip of several days. Jess accepts, but she has a secret: In an act of desperation, she registered her daughter for that school using money she stole from Ed’s wallet. The road trip that follows is part comedy, part tragedy. One Plus One is full of quirky characters and absurd situations, but it is written with authenticity, humanity and warmth. It is impossible not to root for Jess, a compassionate woman who knows she hasn’t always chosen wisely, but who is determined to make life bearable for her kids. With her characteristic blend of heart and humor, Moyes takes her characters on a journey, and despite the roadblocks, they find their way home. —MARIANNE PETERS

Available now. Available now.

Available now. Available June 24. •


reviews THE HUNDRED-YEAR HOUSE By Rebecca Makkai

Viking $26.95, 352 pages ISBN 9780525426684 eBook available

FICTION respect for literature and literary culture, as well as a wry sense of humor. Though no one character ever knows all the house’s secrets, the reader does, and putting all the facts together is half the fun of this clever and utterly delightful work of fiction. —LAUREN BUFFERD

former society, beauty hides among the growing horrors—a necessary foil to our gleeful fascination with the grotesque. While lacking some of the intensity of Wilson’s blockbuster debut, Robogenesis is rife with promises we can’t wait for Wilson to keep. —CAT ACREE


ROBOGENESIS Rebecca Makkai’s The Hundred-Year House is an appealing mixture: part archival mystery, part ghost story, part historical novel, starring a house with as much personality as Manderley or Hill House. Told in reverse chronology, it unfolds as a kind of bookish scavenger hunt, uncovering clues and putting pieces of the fictional puzzle in place. The house in question is Laurelfield, a historic estate on Chicago’s wealthy North Shore. Built as a private home for the Devohr family, it was briefly an artist’s colony and then a private home once again. Since the story is told from the present to the past, each segment reveals a new facet of the house’s history or an important clue to a character’s identity. The story begins in 1999, with husband and wife Doug and Zee living in the coach house at Laurelfield, thanks to the generosity of Zee’s mother, Grace, whose family owns the estate. Doug is supposed to be completing a biography of obscure poet Edwin Parfitt, who was a resident of the artist colony at Laurelfield, but he is instead secretly ghostwriting a young adult series. After Zee’s stepfather invites his son and daughter-in-law, Case and Miriam, to move into the coach house with the other young couple, Doug finds himself infatuated with Miriam. When Miriam agrees to help Doug locate the colony archives, they discover long-held secrets that threaten Doug’s marriage and the existence of Laurelfield as the 100year history of the house and its residents is slowly unfurled. Both the story and the telling of The Hundred-Year House are more ambitious than Makkai’s acclaimed first novel, The Borrower, but this novel is similarly infused with a


By Daniel H. Wilson

Doubleday $26.95, 384 pages ISBN 9780385537094 Audio, eBook available

LANDLINE By Rainbow Rowell St. Martin’s $24.99, 320 pages ISBN 9781250049377 Audio, eBook available



and Rowell’s description of adult relationships lacks the authentic feeling of her description of young love. Still, her characters are incredibly true-to-life, and her writing is consistently fun. We may not all have access to magic phones, but Landline gives us all a way to travel back in time and remember the emotional roller coaster of loves we may have left behind. —C A R R I E R O L LWA G E N


Knopf $25.95, 320 pages ISBN 9780307594792 Audio, eBook available


Robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson’s 2011 debut, Robopocalypse, blurred the line between man and machine in a world on the brink of human extermination. In the second act, the line threatens to disappear altogether. With the help of freeborn robot Nine Oh Two, an extraordinary girl with prosthetic robot eyes and an army from the Osage Nation, the New War was won. The powerful artificial intelligence Archos R-14 was decimated, and his legions were left orphaned. But in the months following the New War’s end, a new battle takes its place—the True War. This time, the remnants of Archos may be humanity’s best hope. Like Robopocalypse, ­Robogenesis is pieced together in postwar vignettes. A narrator named Arayt Shah shares stories pulled from the minds of Robopocalypse survivors to recount how he won the True War. But there’s something off about our storyteller, and as in so many post-apocalyptic thrillers, humankind has a tendency to become its own worst enemy. As the stage resets for even bigger problems, Wilson’s imagination gains new heights. His new creations recall the biomechanical designs that might be found in H.R. Giger’s garden of twisted delights, and an army of zombie human-­ robot hybrids rivals the ice zombies of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. In the wreckage of our

First love, young love, unexpected love—any kind of love with a deep vein of naiveté and innocence—this is Rainbow Rowell’s wheelhouse. She manages to capture raw emotion with a wave of nostalgia that captivates not only her primary audience of young adult readers, but also those of us who, at least in theory, have moved past the age of soaring crushes and crushing heartbreak. Rowell’s new novel, Landline, aims to capture adult fans with the story of sitcom writer Georgie and the conflict between her relationship with her best friend, the womanizing Seth, and her husband, the long-suffering Neal. Thankfully, Rowell avoids the played-out chick-lit love triangle and creates a much more interesting story of the tension between friendship and love, and between a successful woman’s work life and her family life. Georgie has complicated choices even before she discovers the magic telephone. That’s right—the title refers to an old phone Georgie uses to call college-age Neal, the boy she fell in love with. Rowell uses the phone to play with the differences between old technology and new, and she leverages it to echo the differences in the relationship between youngin-love college students and the married adults they grow up to be. The sci-fi elements make Landline a bit of a bumpy ride,

Someone is setting fire to the houses of Pomeroy, New Hampshire, in Sue Miller’s latest novel, but that’s beside the point. The important thing is that Francesca “Frankie” Rowley has returned from a long sojourn in Africa as an aid worker and she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Besides, the thing that lights her fire is Bud Jacobs, the local newspaper editor whose life is just as up in the air as hers is. The two launch a passionate affair even as everyone else’s summer home is being torched. But there are other things that concern Frankie, who’s a little, er, burned out from both the futility and tiny, ephemeral triumphs of her work in Africa. She’s moved back in with her parents and neither she nor they know whether the move is permanent. Moreover, her father, who has never been attentive to Frankie, her sister Liz or their mother Sylvia, is sinking into dementia. Miller’s skill as a writer has always allowed her readers to stick with a story no matter how self-absorbed her characters are. Part of this success is because Miller (Lake Shore Limited, The Senator’s Wife) tends to focus on intelligent women forced to choose between passions and duties that seem irreconcilable. Should Frankie stay

FICTION near her parents, who need her? Should she stay with Bud? Should she return to Africa, where she can do her best work and where there are no doubt other men waiting? The Arsonist is a worthy snapshot of the dilemmas faced by certain women of a certain time and how they choose to tackle them. —ARLENE M�KANIC


Riverhead $27.95, 368 pages ISBN 9781594488337 eBook available


Set against the colorful backdrop of the Virgin Islands from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning weaves an intricate tale of the legacy of an island family as it grapples with love, magic and death over more than six decades. A heartbroken patriarch purposefully sinks his ship into the Caribbean, leaving two daughters and their half-brother to make their own way, each in possession of a particular magic and unusual beauty. Rumors of witchcraft, adultery and incest surround the orphaned Bradshaw children, and as the siblings set out to form their own future on the steadily changing island, they discover family is important, but also inescapable. The islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and tourism becomes king; however, just as St. Thomas is coming into the modern world, a fearsome hurricane reveals forgotten priorities. Tiphanie Yanique is a native of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and the author of the story collection How to Escape from a Leper Colony. Alternately told in neat, concise speech and fiery Caribbean dialect, Land of Love and Drowning is well researched—much of Yanique’s family history is woven into the storyline—and the novel’s careful structure keeps the reader from getting lost amid the historical context. Yanique’s vivid writing, echoing Toni Morrison and

Gabriel García Márquez, builds a whole world within its language and cadence. Exhilarating, fierce and effortless, Land of Love and Drowning is the imaginative tale of a family’s fight to endure.

Discover the highly anticipated new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE,


Visit for a behindthe-book story by Tiphanie Yanique.

ABROAD By Katie Crouch

FSG/Sarah Crichton $26, 304 pages ISBN 9780374100360 eBook available


An artfully ripped-from-theheadlines tale of college girls studying in Italy, Abroad is a riveting story about the intersection between jealousy and friendship. Taz, an Irish girl studying in the ancient Etruscan town of Grifonia, spends her first weeks wandering around the city, lonely and lost. When she’s taken in by a group of Brits who, while not particularly kind, always seem to have money and find adventure, Taz is flattered. She spends more and more of her time with the self-named “B4,” who insist on buying her clothes and taking her to exclusive parties. Taz’s American roommate, Claire, senses the girls are no good and warns Taz. But Taz, who’s never been part of an in-crowd, can’t bring herself to break it off, and things sour further when Taz and Claire fall for the same man. Their once-simple friendship hurtles toward an inevitable conclusion. Abroad is gorgeously written, with a steady drumbeat of dread infusing every page. Loosely inspired by the Amanda Knox case, it is astonishingly self-assured and perfectly paced without ever taking on a whiff of tabloid sensationalism. Author Katie Crouch (Girls in Trucks) captures the intoxicating— and sometimes dangerous—freedom of being a young student with seemingly limitless choices.

One innocent mistake can have life-altering consequences....

Little Mercies Available now! “Fans of Jodi Picoult will take an instant liking to Gudenkauf.”


14_287_BookPage_LittleMercies.indd 1

—Library Journal Read the riveting prequel novella,

LITTLE LIES, now in ebook.

25 2014-06-03 3:33 PM




Scribner $24, 192 pages ISBN 9781476761213 eBook available

The riddle of Harper Lee REVIEW BY HENRY L. CARRIGAN JR.


“In the summer of 2005, I was at a Burger King with Harper Lee.” With those tantalizing opening words, former Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills has us hooked. We want to know not just why the reclusive Harper Lee is talking to a journalist, but also why she and the novelist are sitting in a Burger King, of all places. In The Mockingbird Next Door, a winning and affectionate account of her friendship with the noted author, Mills invites us to sit down on her front porch while she regales us with tales of Nelle Harper Lee and her sister, Alice, and the denizens of their hometown. In 2001, Mills’ editor offered her what would turn out to be the assignment of a lifetime: Go to Monroeville, Alabama, and report on her experience of the town. Within a short time, she is chatting with Alice, and later Nelle, as she is known to family and friends, comes over to Mills’ motel room for a talk. A friendship eventually blossoms, and in 2004, Mills moves in next door to the Lees for almost two years. By Marja Mills Penguin Press, $27.95, 288 pages Mills reveals no great secrets here, nor does she tell us more about ISBN 9781594205194, eBook available the author than Lee herself wants to share. She offers no clues to solve the mystery of why Lee never wrote another novel after the 1960 PulitMEMOIR zer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird. As Alice Lee simply declares: “There were so many demands made on her. . . . People wanted her to speak to groups. She would be terrified to speak.” What Mills’ portrait of the Lees does show is a pair of sisters who love feeding ducks at the local pond, who enjoy language and a good pun and who admire all things British. Nelle is spirited and can be impatient and suspicious, and Alice, who is still practicing law in her 90s, is the “steady, responsible, older sister.” During her stay in Monroeville, Mills discovers a woman who is fiercely private yet willing to share her thoughts about the small-town South, her family and her writing life with a stranger whose own life has been deeply shaped by Lee’s famous novel. The Mockingbird Next Door offers a tender look at one of our most beloved and enigmatic writers, as well as the town that inspired her.


Sourcebooks $14.99, 336 pages ISBN 9781402293313 eBook available


It’s easy to understand why Don Wallace and his wife Mindy were captivated by a beautiful French island called Belle Île. Don, who grew up in California, and Mindy, who was from Hawaii, were living in a cramped, dark Manhattan apartment. Belle Île’s sunshine and surf spoke to their soul. Nonetheless, their decision


to buy a dilapidated house on the small island off the coast of Brittany didn’t make financial sense, as Wallace readily admits in The French House. The purchase wiped out their savings, and the structure still needed major repairs (or more accurately, rebuilding). As this pair of writers struggled to make a living, they had neither the time nor money to return to Belle Île for years. When they finally did, they were met with surf and sun, but also a battered home with “dust, dirt, mold everywhere.” Don and Mindy feared they had made a terrible mistake, a view bolstered by Don’s mother’s observation: “This isn’t at all like A Year in Provence!” In the end, the 30 years needed to restore the house did fill the

Amid the 21st-century glut of overindulgent memoirs, The Removers is a poignant, near-perfect addition to the genre. Andrew Meredith writes of growing up in a crumbling Philadelphia neighborhood, his family quietly imploding in the wake of a scandal that cost his father his university job. A once promising student, Meredith drops out of various colleges and halfheartedly dates various women throughout his 20s. His zombie existence is punctuated by possibly the worst job in the world: Transporting bodies from houses and hospitals to a funeral home, then cremating them. He is joined in this work by his father, a poet and professor who is reduced to moving bodies to make ends meet. This story is bittersweet, but also frequently, improbably hilarious. “Philadelphia, you big bitch, throw me a bone,” Meredith writes. “It’s June 1998. I’m twenty-two. I’ve bounced from failure at school to crappy job and back for two years. family’s soul. Along with the dust, I spend my time outside the house dirt and construction, they eneither dragging the local dead countered a village full of kind (and around or getting drunk listening sometimes crusty) characters. Min- to rock and roll before coming dy, Don and their son, Rory, spent chastely home to sleep ten feet idyllic weeks and months on the down the hall from my parents. island, roaming its paths, enjoyI’ve now handled far more dead ing picnics and Breton delicacies, women than live ones.” watching shooting stars and soakMeredith is clear-eyed and gening up the sun. They added their erous in his storytelling, relaying own touch to island life, teaching with skill and honesty everything their friends and neighbors to surf. from his first sexual encounter to Despite their brief stays each year, his family’s inability to communithey became part of the village. cate. While he creates a powerful The French House is a wondersketch of a very specific time and ful summer read, a spirited mixture place—a family in crisis in 1990s of joy and nerve-wracking nitty Philadelphia—this book will ring gritty. No, it may not be A Year in true to anyone who ever yearned to Provence, but it’s the heartfelt story grow up, only to find that coming of a 30-year love affair with an of age is more painful and beautiunforgettable place. ful than they ever imagined. —ALICE CARY


MY TWO ITALIES By Joseph Luzzi

FSG $23, 224 pages ISBN 9780374298692 eBook available


Florence, realizing that her concept of Italy will always be a world distant from his. He stresses that he has never viewed himself as “Italian-American.” Rather, he says, “I was Italian and American—a little of each, yet not fully either. . . . It is left to my daughter’s generation to inhabit the hyphen.” —EDWARD MORRIS

Although he speaks repeatedly of his “two Italies”—a phrase he borrows from the poet Shelley—Joseph Luzzi is neither fully at home among the coarse elements of Calabrian culture his immigrant parents brought with them to America nor within the borders of Italy itself, what with its infuriating mix of high art and low purpose. But it is this unresolved quality of Luzzi’s musings—the back and forth tugging of a splendid mind— that makes this book so alive and such a pleasure to read. Now director of Italian studies at Bard College, Luzzi was the first of five siblings born in the U.S. His harsh, demanding father, Pasquale, worked in an airplane-parts factory and cultivated a small farm in Westerly, Rhode Island. He never fully assimilated, nor did he seek to. “For my father,” Luzzi observes, “life abroad meant never being able to express himself in the language of the people in charge.” Luzzi first went to Italy in 1987, when he was a 20-year-old junior at Tufts. He thought he might study art or, at least, try to reconcile the mythic Italy with its pop culture manifestations in America. Over the next 20 years, he visited Italy regularly and found the glories of Dante and Michelangelo juxtaposed with the stifling bureaucracy of Italy’s civil service. Back home, he pondered the larger meanings of The Godfather and “Jersey Shore.” In 2007, Luzzi’s wife, Katherine, died in a car accident, leaving him with a newborn daughter to raise. He returned to Rhode Island, where his mother, brother and four sisters instantly “turned their lives upside down to help.” His grief kept him away from Italy for the next three years, but in 2012, he took his 4-year-old daughter to

THE VICTORIAN CITY By Judith Flanders Thomas Dunne $27.99, 544 pages ISBN 9781250040213 eBook available


At the age of 12, when his father was imprisoned for not paying his debts, Charles Dickens was sent to work in a factory. He walked to his job, to his meager lodgings, to find his dinner in a market stall and to visit Marshalsea prison, where the rest of his family was living. Dickens never lost this habit of walking. And as Judith Flanders reveals in her stunning new book, The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London, the sights, sounds and smells of the city that infuse his novels were not simply the work of a brilliant imagination but “the reportage of a great observer.” No mean observer herself, Flanders packs her narrative with intriguing details that bring the Victorian streets alive. She begins, as working people did, in early morning, when long lines of carts and costermongers converged on Covent Garden. Weaving a tapestry as colorful as a market flower display, Flanders not only describes such things as changes in transportation but takes us right into the streets, to battle the mud and to be smothered in dust. The Victorian City is social history at its finest, a must-read for Dickens fans or anyone who loves London. It reminds us why this time period is endlessly fascinating to read about, but probably not a place we’d really want to live. —DEBORAH HOPKINSON



Italy’s contrasts


oseph Luzzi recounts his immigrant childhood and complicated relationship with his parents’ home country in a new memoir, My Two Italies.



Why did you decide to write this book? I’ve wanted to write My Two Italies for some 20 years now, ever since I began my graduate studies in Italian at Yale in 1994. From the moment I decided to turn my love for Italian into my career path, I felt a strong desire to share my fascination with the immigrant southern Italian world I came from and the cultural treasures from northern Italy I was studying. But, of course, back then I wasn’t nearly knowledgeable or capable enough to write a book of this nature; I had lots of learning ahead of me. You say that you’re “Italian and American” as opposed to being an “Italian-[hyphen] American.” What’s the distinction—as you see it? When I was growing up, I wanted nothing to do with either the “Italian” world of my parents and older siblings—all of whom were born in Calabria in the Italian south—or the “Italian-American” world of spaghetti and meatballs, “There was Godfather movies and bocce tournaments that surrounded me. Like most kids, I just wanted to no hyphen fit in with the other americani. I was in between for me, two worlds: too much a child of my Calabrian with its parents to fit in with the kids in the cafeteria, implication yet too attuned to the English language and the American games and sports of my classmates of seamlessly to be as authentically “Italian” as the Calabrian branch of my family. There was no hyphen for blended me, with its implication of seamlessly blended ethnicities.” ethnicities. That feeling of being both a bit Italian and American reminded me that I inhabited an ethnic limbo, separated from my parents’ Italian homeland while also wondering if I would ever truly fit into this new American world. Has your daughter taken on any Calabrian traits and values? My daughter Isabel is a wonderfully sweet and loving kid, but she has this iron will—she simply will not give in on certain things, no matter how much she is asked to do so. This has made for some trying moments as a parent—but I can also sense her Calabrian ancestry speaking through her, and deep down I pray that this testa dura quality will stay with her (or at least fully blossom when she’s 18 and away at college!). Do you ever feel that Italy—apart from its art—has little new to offer you? Obviously, I love Italy, as I have made teaching and writing about it my life’s work. I’m aware, however, that at times my connection to Italy has been affected by the experiences of my parents and the distance that they set between themselves and Calabria after emigrating from it in the late 1950s. . . . Their journey has always seemed arduous, ferociously demanding, even cruel at times—and yet, more than anything, it has been a remarkable gift. Their gift to me, one that no child can ever repay, has been a life of boundless opportunity free Visit to read the from the hardships of Calabria. full Q&A with Joseph Luzzi.


reviews FIERCE PATRIOT By Robert L. O’Connell

Random House $28, 432 pages ISBN 9781400069729 eBook available


Robert L. O’Connell’s Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman includes a photograph of the celebrated Civil War general with his staff. While the other men strike classic poses and gaze into the middle distance, Sherman sits slightly slumped, legs crossed, jacket unbuttoned, glittering eyes focused directly on the camera. It fits with the popular notion of Sherman, the man who invented “modern war” and whose soldiers burned a path of destruction through the American South.

NONFICTION O’Connell’s biography envisions Sherman not as one man, but three, shaped by his own personality and his circumstances: “the strategic man, the general, the human being.” He tackles each persona sequentially, emerging at the end with a fully realized portrait of a complicated individual. O’Connell displays warmth and occasional humor as he considers Sherman’s more memorable traits. An acclaimed talker, Sherman was “a veritable volcano of verbiage,” he writes. O’Connell doesn’t overlook Sherman’s darker characteristics, especially his treatment of Indians and his overwhelming belief in Manifest Destiny, no matter who or what was in the way. Sherman was not cruel, the author argues, but a man committed to duty and accomplishing his goals. O’Connell devotes a final section to Sherman’s relationship with his family, particularly his tempestuous marriage to his foster sister,

New York Times bestseller

has sold more than 6 million copies! Don Piper’s amazing story of heaven continues to capti captivate, inspire, and comfort readers around the world. “A friend handed me this book at about midnight, and come two or three in the morning, I was still reading, my heart pumping, bumps on my arms, the hairs on the back of my neck on end. [This is] a wonderful and inspiring story.” —DONALD MILLER, bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz

10th Anniversary Edition

N Available Wherever Books Are Sold • Also Available in Ebook Format


Ellen. Despite his adultery and her manipulations, they were each other’s best friends and allies—a remarkable relationship in a truly remarkable life. —MARIANNE PETERS

NORTH OF NORMAL By Cea Sunrise Person

Harper $25.99, 352 pages ISBN 9780062289865 eBook available


to normal, whatever that is. There’s not a shred of self-pity here, which makes the depiction of a child adrift in hippie decadence all the more affecting. North of Normal offers readers a well-crafted story and a sensible, clear-eyed narrator. —CATHERINE HOLLIS

LIBERTY’S TORCH By Elizabeth Mitchell

Atlantic Monthly $27, 384 pages ISBN 9780802122575 eBook available


There are many reasons to love a good misery memoir: In my case, reading about other people’s dysfunctional childhoods offers a sense of community, a sisterhood of resilient Gen Xers who survived a 1970s childhood. Cea Sunrise Person’s engaging new memoir, North of Normal, evokes both the miserable excesses and occasional beauty of growing up in a counterculture family in the wilderness of the Me Decade. For the Person family, the wilderness was real. Cea’s grandfather Dick was not only committed to living off the land, but highly skilled at doing so and deeply suspicious of Western civilization. He takes his family—grandma Jeanne, baby Cea, her teenage mother and two aunts—from California into the Canadian outback to live in a tipi and survive off game and wild plants. Clothing is optional, sex is out in the open, and much pot is smoked. This outback idyll of sorts is broken up by Cea’s mother, who follows one man after another into questionable circumstances. Cea is lucky, she is told, to have a mother who loves her, but as Cea grows older she wants the one thing her mother can’t give her: normality. Leaving home at 13, Cea breaks with her family toward independence, which is seen as a betrayal. While the strength and resilience Cea learns in the wilderness help her survive the predators of the “civilized” world (she goes on to become an internationally successful model), it’s a long journey

French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi is best characterized by the following passage: “He was an egoist in human affairs; a humble man in the scale of the cosmos.” This elegant writing comes from Elizabeth Mitchell in Liberty’s Torch, the tale of how Bartholdi proposed the creation of the Statue of Liberty and spent much of his life making it happen. He knew that the statue’s completion would bring him fame. But he also knew that it would become a lasting symbol of what America represents: freedom and opportunity. Liberty’s Torch challenges many of the myths surrounding the neoclassical statue. Legend has it that France donated the statue to the United States in 1886 as a gesture of respect to a longtime ally. In reality, Mitchell writes, the Statue of Liberty was the brainchild of Bartholdi, who had to sell both countries on the idea. His biggest challenge came in raising funds, which took 15 years. He staged shows and exhibitions of the statue’s renderings and models, while also encouraging Americans to donate their pennies. Liberty’s Torch gets behind the regal facade of the Statue of Liberty to show that an iconic figure of freedom grew out of the inspiration and hustle of a single man, someone who longed to be honored during his life and to be remembered through the ages. —J O H N T. S L A N I A




There are all kinds of lies and prevarications in the aptly titled The Kiss of Deception, the new book from award-winning author Mary E. Pearson. Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia (or Lia, as she prefers to be called), First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, does not want to marry the unseen prince from a neighboring country. Lia—accompanied by her lady’s companion, Pauline—forsakes her parents’ wishes and runs away on her wedding day. These two young women are clever and resourceful, capable of obscuring their tracks and making a life in a small village many miles from the court intrigue they left behind. But, of course, it is not to last. The prince, miffed and insulted by her rejection, comes looking for her, and a political schemer sends an assassin to kill her. The handsome young men find her at the same time, but neither does anything at first. Lia thinks they are traveling workmen in town for a festival, and By Mary E. Pearson they let her think so. Even the reader is not sure which one of the men Holt, $17.99, 544 pages is the assassin and which is the prince, and the reveal makes for an ISBN 9780805099232, eBook available exciting moment in the story. Ages 14 and up The book’s slow build takes off when Lia realizes that what she wants FANTASY is not as important as her power to help thousands of people. Pearson’s writing is beautiful, and her ability to twist a plot into knots keeps the reader wanting more. It’s going to be frustrating to wait for the sequel!

CONVERSION By Katherine Howe Putnam $18.99, 432 pages ISBN 9780399167775 Audio, eBook available Ages 12 and up


Senior year is a stressful time, especially at the prestigious St. Joan’s Academy for Girls, outside of Boston. Between prepping for AP History pop quizzes, jostling for class rank and trying not to compete with her friends for top college acceptances, Colleen has enough on her mind even before a mysterious illness suddenly strikes the most popular girls in school. A media frenzy follows as more and more students show strange and varied symptoms. Possible explanations abound, but none seem right to Colleen until she makes an extraordinary connection.

The primary narrative is interrupted by interludes from another voice and time: Ann Putnam Jr., a teen whose accusations helped fuel the witch hunt in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. At first the two stories are connected only by Colleen’s research into Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. But as teenage social pressure, power struggles and unexplained illness combine, the narrative threads begin to intersect in subtle and revealing ways. Even readers who initially suspect a link between St. Joan’s and Salem are likely to be surprised by Colleen’s conclusion and its reception. With echoes of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma and even “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Conversion keeps readers guessing until—and even after—the last page. —J I L L R A T Z A N

Visit for a Q&A with Katherine Howe.

the Chinese organized crime ring that controls Hank’s town. Failing to wear a mask, Hank exposes his identity and puts his whole family at risk. Luckily for him, a kind, ancient spirit has been watching over Hank for years, and it makes him a promise that changes his life. With The Shadow Hero, National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang revives and reinvents the story of the Green Turtle, the first Asian-American superhero. Accompanied by Sonny Liew’s epic artistry, the story captures the familial, racial and criminal tensions of a time, place and people as old as they are new. —J U S T I N B A R I S I C H


Holt $16.99, 272 pages ISBN 9780805098525 eBook available Ages 12 and up



In the first in a thrilling new young adult mystery series from By Gene Luen Yang best-selling author April Henry, Illustrated by Sonny Liew three teens join Portland’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team for very First Second different reasons. For Nick, who $17.99, 170 pages lost his father in the Iraq War, volISBN 9781596436978 Ages 12 and up unteering with SAR represents true courage and leadership. For Alexis, GRAPHIC NOVEL SAR means overcoming a broken home and standing out on college applications. But for awkward and Set in the Chinatown neighborlonely Ruby, SAR is everything. hoods of the fictional California When the three teens are called city San Incendio, The Shadow in to find a lost autistic man, they Hero is the tale of a young man’s find a dead girl instead. Ruby fears discovery of his noble and ancient Portland has a serial killer targeting powers. Hank, the 19-year-old homeless girls, but the lead detecson of two Chinese immigrants, tive doesn’t believe her. Ruby, Nick is content to work in his father’s and Alexis investigate the murder grocery store and lead a quiet, unon their own—but the killer soon complicated life. When his mother turns his attention to them. is saved by the local superhero, she Filled with facts about real crime starts scheming to make Hank into scene investigations and search a superhero as well. Out of respect and rescue teams led by highly for his mother, Hank trains in mar- trained teenagers, this engaging tial arts, but on his first night as a new series will appeal to “CSI” fans superhero, he bumbles into a fight and mystery readers alike. with members of the Tongs gang, — K I M B E R LY G I A R R A T A N O




An atlas through time REVIEW BY NORAH PIEHL

S.E. Grove’s debut novel is set in 1890s Boston, a place that anyone who has read history or historical fiction set in that era will recognize—or will they? This world shares geography with our own, but thanks to the Great Disruption, which happened almost a century earlier, the Earth’s regions became unmoored from time. Although New Occident (where Boston is located) lies firmly in the 19th century, other countries are in the Dark Ages, prehistory or even the future. This fluidity of time means that cartologers, like Sophia’s uncle Shadrack, must make maps that depict not only place but also time. Like Sophia’s long-absent parents, Shadrack is an explorer. Just when he is beginning to show Sophia the mysteries of maps and mapmaking, he is kidnapped, leaving Sophia with a cryptic message—and an even more mysterious glass map. Now, Sophia and her new friend, Theo, must travel south to the Baldlands, where they find themselves By S.E. Grove threatened by shifting time boundaries and constantly pursued by Viking, $17.99, 512 pages others who want the map. ISBN 9780670785025, eBook available The Glass Sentence is the first book in the Mapmakers Trilogy, and Ages 10 and up it’s a great start. The narrative, which alternates between Sophia’s and MIDDLE GRADE Shadrack’s perspectives, is action-packed; the world that Grove has created is rich and interesting; and the characters are complex and endearing. It’s hard to say which part is more compelling—Sophia’s world travels or her internal journey, as she figures out who she can trust and how to trust herself.

NINJA RED RIDING HOOD By Corey Rosen Schwartz

Illustrated by Dan Santat Putnam $16.99, 40 pages ISBN 9780399163548 eBook available Ages 3 to 5


The creators of The Three Ninja Pigs kick up the high—or rather hi-yah—intensity with another fractured fairy tale. Starting where the previous book ended, the hungry and defeated wolf secretly enrolls in a martial arts school, where he “jackknifed and flipped / and at last felt equipped / to once again catch a good meal.” When he meets Red deep in a bamboo forest, the carnivore quickly thinks up a plan to score a treat. As the wolf beats Red to her grandmother’s house and dresses


up in one of the grandmother’s kimonos, young readers will recognize many elements from the original tale. But before the wolf can gobble up Red, she tears off her cloak to strike a defensive pose . . . because she went to ninja school, too! Santat shows off his animation skills with digitally enhanced illustrations featuring comic-style, action-packed frames with Japanese cultural details. They serve the story well as the wolf and Red spar in an even match. The rhythmic rhyme sets the hilarious tone in this energetic story. And in one of the funniest twists, it’s not the woodsman but a gi-clad Gran, back from tai chi, who helps save the day. After the wolf concedes and there are polite bows all around, Gran encourages the wolf to relieve his stress with some yoga instead. A familiar story wrapped in combat and h ­ umor— what more could a budding ninja want? —ANGELA LEEPER

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY By Kazuno Kohara Roaring Brook $16.99, 32 pages ISBN 9781596439856 eBook available Ages 3 to 6


“Once there was a library that opened only at night.” Thus begins Kazuno Kohara’s endearing story of one devoted librarian who gets the job done—and gets it done right. A young girl, braided hair flying as she zooms around with stacks of books, runs the library with the help of three assistant owls. It’s a busy library, but it’s quiet, as libraries are expected to be. When a band of squirrels playing loud music shows up (they’re researching the next best song for their upcoming show), she shows them to the activity room. When a wolf cries copious tears over a

sad story, she sits down with him, and they read together. After all, she and her assistants know the story has a happy ending. When a tortoise refuses to leave when it’s time to close the library (he has 500 pages of his book left), she makes him a library card—to his utter delight. As the sun rises, she reads a “bedtime” story to three tired owls. And who wouldn’t want such a librarian? She knows how to match her readers with the perfect book; she tells stories to comfort her patrons; and she knows the wisdom of having a room in her library for raucous noise and fun. Best of all, she loves to read and encourages others to do so. Kohara’s expertly wrought linocut prints are bright and appealing, dominated by simple shapes, heavy outlines and primarily blue, black and vivid orange. Children will delight over the library’s patrons, an array of creatures from farm animals to woodland creatures. This is an affectionate and joyous tale that will resonate with young readers—and book lovers of all ages. —J U L I E D A N I E L S O N


Simon & Schuster $16.99, 336 pages ISBN 9781442496262 eBook available Ages 8 to 12


What happens when a group of middle school geniuses trains for months to win a special contest at a Disney World-style Florida theme park called Incredo Land? That’s the premise of Bringing Down the Mouse, a page-turning caper whose hero is sixth-grader Charlie Lewis, known as “Numbers,” the nerdy son of an MIT professor dad and a mom with two Ph.D.s. Charlie’s life is usually uneventful, until one day when two seventh-graders invite him to join the Carnival Killers, a group led by college student Miranda. Sworn

CHILDREN’S to secrecy, they covertly hone their skills at mastering several seemingly impossible games in the hopes of earning a chance at spinning Incredo Land’s Wheel of Wonder and winning eight lifetime passes to the park. As one of the seventh-graders explains, “It’s not a trick. It’s math, chemistry, and a little physics.” Charlie is eager to use his knowledge to calculate exactly where the wheel will land until he realizes that Miranda isn’t who she says she is at all. Author Ben Mezrich is best known for his adult nonfiction, the true stories of young geniuses toeing the ethical line for the sake of a big payoff—such as in Bringing Down the House (about MIT students playing blackjack in Vegas) and The Accidental Billionaires. With Bringing Down the Mouse, Mezrich has brought this theme to middle school fiction, and the result is a clever, breathtaking escapade with a likable cast. —ALICE CARY


Feiwel & Friends $16.99, 336 pages ISBN 9781250045089 eBook available Ages 9 to 12


Sam Angus, author of the World War I historical novel Soldier Dog, takes readers to World War II-era Great Britain in her new novel. Like other children, Wolfie and his older sister Dodie have been sent by their caretaker to the countryside to protect them from London bombing raids. Their beloved Pa has returned safely from the war, but their joy is short-lived, as Pa is being held and tried for cowardice. While Pa tries desperately to prove his innocence, the shadow of suspicion follows the children to the countryside. They are turned out of their first home, but not before Wolfie finds an abandoned foal he fights to keep alive. Hero becomes the light of the young


boy’s life, and when Hero and other ponies mysteriously disappear, Wolfie is determined to find his horse again. Angus intertwines Wofie and Dodie’s story with actual events from World War II, as well as facts about the Exmoor pony, one of Britain’s native breeds that was often used as pit ponies in mines. Fans of War Horse will enjoy this heartfelt coming-of-age story. —DEBORAH HOPKINSON


FSG $16.99, 240 pages ISBN 9780374369989 eBook available Ages 9 to 12


When Jade gets caught making up school reports about her summer vacations, her parents send her to have a real summer adventure in Wyoming with her aunt. From stargazing on the roof to meeting a boy who claims to be related to Butch Cassidy, Jade’s world starts rapidly expanding. Skies Like These isn’t all sunny weather, but even the storms make for great slumber parties. Jade has a lot of eccentricity to cope with, and the story feels a bit overstuffed at times—with a kennel full of dogs, a planned art heist, cowboy poetry contest, wild neighbors and Aunt Elise expanding her rooftop parties to include astronomy classes—but it’s sweet to see Jade making new friends both young and old and finding her own way. This story would be ideal for a youngster traveling for the first time, as it’s ultimately about finding contentment wherever you are and making the best of what you find there. Aunt Elise moved to Wyoming to find a sense of peace but left family ties behind; her time with Jade lets her renew that connection. Skies Like These is a jumble, but a warm and friendly one. —HEATHER SEGGEL

R IS FOR ROBOT In Adam F. Watkins’ picture book, R Is for Robot (Penguin/Price Stern Sloan, $16.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780843172379), kids learn the letters of the alphabet through goofy sounds, from “ahoogah” to “zap,” with help from some quirky robots. Watkins lives in Ohio with his wife and their two children.





it’s not clear how this use might have been translated into the “inDear Editor: side information” sense. It could be An associate of mine sometimes that skinny was meant to suggest talks about getting the skinny when straight, unembellished facts, referring to getting all the inforstripped of any verbal padding. mation on a subject. Can you shed In any case, this use of skinny has some light on this particular usage? continued to gain in popularity, K. O. and it now occurs fairly commonly.  West Orange, New Jersey 


Dear Editor: Would you kindly explain the origin of the expression crossing the Rubicon? K. L. Petersburg, Virginia

The use of skinny to mean “inside information” originated in American slang. As is the case with many slang terms, the story of exactly when and why it first occurred is mysterious. Our evidence suggests that its origins may be nautical. Our earliest example of this use of skinny is from 1938, in a book whose author tells of his adventures as a merchant seaman. At one point he wonders, “had she really given me the skinny of an actual legend?” Another possible nautical connection is suggested by an earlier use of skinny by midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis to refer to the subjects of physics and chemistry, although

The expression crossing the Rubicon has been used in English since the early 17th century for an irrevocable act or decision. Its origin, however, is many centuries earlier, in Roman history. The Rubicon is a small river that once served as the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaul and Italy itself. Julius Caesar was the military governor of the province in the year 50 B.C., when the Ro-

man Senate made some decisions favoring his rival Pompey, governor of Spain. Caesar led his troops to the Rubicon in January of the next year, and when he crossed it, he committed the first act of war in a civil war that would see both Caesar and Pompey assassinated and would last for some 19 years. At the crossing of the Rubicon, Caesar is supposed to have uttered the Latin words usually rendered in English as the die is cast, thus giving us yet another proverbial expression.


Dear Editor: Could you please explain the terms ­poison pill, greenmail and golden parachute as they are used on Wall Street? N. S. Golden, Colorado A poison pill is a financial tactic used by a company to avoid a hostile takeover by another corporation or an investor. A variety of tactics may be used by the target company to effectuate a poison pill

defense, such as the assumption of heavy debt or the issuance of certain kinds of stock to make outstanding stock less valuable. These tactics are designed to make the raider fear that it may be poisoned financially by swallowing the target company. In some circumstances a raider has no intention of actually taking over a company, and is instead engaging in greenmail. This is the name given to the raiders’ practice of buying a great quantity of a company’s stock, thus engendering fear of a takeover, and then demanding higher than market value prices for the repurchase of the stock by the company. A golden parachute is an agreement ensuring that an executive will receive a large lump sum or other valuable consideration upon stepping down after a takeover.

Send correspondence regarding Word Nook to: Language Research Service P.O. Box 281 Springfield, MA 01102

Test Your Mental Mettle with Puzzles from BANANA FILLING


to each of the words below

For each word below, rearrange the letters to spell two

and then rearrange the letters in each

new words that are both kinds of food. For example,

word to form a new six-letter word.









Add a


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