Englander, Lagercrantz, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2017

Denfeld, Rene. The Child Finder. Harper. Sept. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780062659057. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062659071. CD: HarperAudio. POP FICTION
Naomi is a child finder, an investigator who’s especially good at locating lost children denfeldbecause once upon a time she was lost herself. Now she’s after Madison Culver, who vanished three years ago when her family was Christmas tree hunting in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. Her search brings up bits and pieces of memory that promise to deliver something dark if they ever coalesce. Big in-house love; Denfeld’s The Enchanted was an ALA Notable Book of the Year.

Englander, Nathan. Dinner at the Center of the Earth. Knopf. Sept. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781524732738. 27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732745. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY THRILLER
A PEN/Malamud, Sue Kaufman, and inaugural Bard Fiction prize winner, plus a Pulitzer Prize finalist for What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Englander illuminates the tense and often violent relationship between Israelis and Palestinians and the moral complexity of their situation by portraying a prisoner locked in a secret cell and the guard who has spent 12 years making sure that door remains closed. As their story stretches out to connect an American waitress in Paris, a young Palestinian man in Berlin, and a fearsome Israeli leader near death, we start to wonder who is guarding whom. With a seven-city tour to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

Kent, Hannah. The Good People. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780316243964. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316243933. CD: Hachette Audio. HISTORICAL THRILLER
Having caught our attention with Burial Rites, which was short-listed for the Guardian First kenthannahBook Award, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Australian-based Kent returns to the 19th century but moves the action from Iceland to rural Ireland. With the help of servant girl May, the widowed Nora frets over grandson Micheal, a once happy child unable to walk or talk after the deaths of his mother and grandfather. Learning that Micheal is being blamed for the run of bad luck in the valley—in fact, folks dangerously consider him a changeling, left behind by fairies—they enlist the help of reclusive healer Nance for his protection. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Lagercrantz, David. Untitled. Knopf. Sept. 2017. 416p. tr. from Swedish. ISBN 9780451494320. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451494337. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. THRILLER
Lagercrantz’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web picked up where Stieg Larsson’s phenomenal “Millennium” trilogy left off, to readers’ satisfaction; more than a million copies have sold so far in the hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook formats, and a premium mass-market edition arrives in May. Now the fifth volume is coming, with no hint of plot but plenty of planning for a coordinated international laydown. Big promotion at BEA and a national tour, too.

Locke, Attica. Bluebird, Bluebird. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780316363297. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316363266. THRILLER
Locke gets headlined as a writer and producer of the Emmy Award–winning Fox TV show Empire, but, more important, she’s the author of the Edgar-nominated Black Water Rising, the Ernest Gaines Award–winning The Cutting Season, and Pleasantville, winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Again dealing pointedly with issues of race and justice, Locke gives us Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger struggling in a not altogether welcoming environment. Now he must deal with the murder of a black lawyer from Chicago andmcbride a local white woman in the little town of Lark. With a 50,000-copy first printing and a five-city tour.

McBride, James. Five-Carat Soul. Riverhead. Sept. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780735216693. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735216716. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. SHORT STORIES
Author of the revelatory memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a one-of-a-kind, unexpectedly riotous work among other fine novels, McBride now give us not one but many jewels: a collection of previously unpublished stories. They range widely, from the unhinged lives of members of the Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band to the fate of a toy commissioned by Gen. Robert E. Lee, now owned by a black minister in Queens. McBride’s first fiction since The Good Lord Bird and his first story collection, too; don’t miss.

Mullen, Thomas. Lightning Men. 37 Ink: Atria. Sept. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781501138799. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501138812. MYSTERY
Mullen won awards for his debut, The Last Town on Earth, but made his mark with last year’s Darktown, a LibraryReads pick and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist that won rave reviews. Set in 1948 Atlanta, that book featured Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith, among the first African American officers in the Atlanta Police Department. Now they’re back, dealing with ever-shifting color lines in 1950 and the tensions that arise when Smith’s sister and brother-in-law move into the formerly all-white neighborhood where fellow officer Denny Rakestraw lives. The reaction, including Klan violence that leaves one man dead, forces tallentRakestraw to side with family or the law.

Tallent, Gabriel. My Absolute Darling. Riverhead. Aug. 2017. 432p. ISBN 9780735211179. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735211193. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY
Fourteen-year-old Turtle wanders the northern California coast but always circles back to her troubled father, the center of her life since her mother’s death. But then she meets Jacob, who lives comfortably in a big house and thinks she’s awesome, and suddenly Turtle understands that life with her father is both unhappy and dangerous and cannot continue. How good is this late August title? Good enough to make the BEA Buzz panel, and in-housers are tap-dancing with joy.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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