Even as daylight lingers toward evening, many releases of early spring are plenty dark. Here are five examples, ranging from true crime to debut thrillers to the current “it” book.
- American War by Omar El Akkad (Knopf).
The book of the moment is El Akkad’s dystopian literary debut, which looks toward a future second American Civil War. The story considers a time when we once again take up arms against one another, fighting across drawn lines, as the U.S. empire falls apart.
- Ragdoll by Daniel Cole (Ecco: HarperCollins).
Cole’s first novel introduces British detective William Fawkes, who lands a gruesome case featuring six corpses sewn together. The body count is promised to rise, and Fawkes finds that the killer he’s seeking is also hunting him in return. Expect grit, ample tension, and, oddly enough, some laugh-out-loud humor.
- Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday).
The best-selling author of The Lost City of Z returns with another gripping and immersive historical true account. Steeped in the grim revelations behind the murder of members of the Oklahoma-based Osage Nation, Grann’s investigation probes the horrible reasons why so many Native Americans were targeted.
- The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn (S. & S.).
Nine hundred people died at the behest of cult leader Jim Jones (1931–78), who induced his followers to commit mass suicide by drinking cyanide. Journalist Guinn details the life and motivations of this religious radical and walks readers through the tragic fate of those who believed in him.
- If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (Flatiron: Macmillan).
Deadly obsessions, mixed with the poetry and plays of William Shakespeare, form the framework of this chilling debut novel, being compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. An elite college conservatory provides the setting, where the big shots on campus turn from friends to deadly rivals.