Fiction from Burke Fille, Moore, Reynolds, Winslow, and Winspear | Xpress Reviews

Week ending January 5, 2018

Burke, Alafair. The Wife. Harper. Jan. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780062390516. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062390530. SUSPENSE
Reclusive Angela, beautiful and happily married with a 13-year-old son, lives with a dark secret that she zealously protects. She and Jason, her seriously hot media darling husband, are the perfect couple. His brilliant career as an NYU economics professor and successful consultant derails when he is accused of sexually harassing a young intern, and the publicity threatens the couple’s idyllic lifestyle. When a business contact accuses Jason of rape and then disappears, their world implodes. NYPD detective Corrine Duncan tenaciously pursues these assault claims, even when they fall outside her jurisdiction, circling ever closer to Angela’s closely guarded secret and Jason’s deceptions. Angela’s traumatic past is revealed bit by bit, but it is the shocking conclusion that provides an almost unbelievable twist. Burke’s knowledge of criminal law and police procedures shines in this tangled plot with an unreliable narrator. Is anyone whom they seem to be?
Verdict Edgar-nominated Burke (The Ex) has written a timely, riveting, and deeply resonant psychological suspense novel focused on sexual harassment and varying degrees of assault in both domestic and workplace settings. Fans of Linda Fairstein will devour this. [See Prepub Alert, 7/24/17.]—Gloria Drake, Oswego P.L. Dist., IL

Moore, Jonathan. The Night Market. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780544671898. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780544931855. THRILLER
San Francisco inspector Ross Carver wakes up on Sunday in his own bed; everything smells like burnt metal and he can’t remember anything since Thursday night when he was called to a crime scene involving a corpse covered in an unknown substance. Focusing on the few clues he has to go on, he embarks with his mysterious neighbor Mia on what becomes a dangerous investigation. Their probe soon exposes a vast conspiracy that may cost them their lives in the search for answers. Moore’s third novel (after The Poison Artist and The Dark Room) is a chilling near-future thriller that could be described as Blade Runner meets Raymond Chandler. The conspiratorial plot at the center of this dark, gritty novel will make anyone feel paranoid. The meandering pace serves to keep the reader wanting more as each clue unearthed leads the characters closer to a frightening, all-pervasive truth.
Verdict Readers of noir mysteries as well as lovers of near-futuristic sf will adore this title and will probably want to pick up the other two novels in this loosely connected yet interrelated trilogy.—Laura Hiatt, Fort Collins, CO

Reynolds, Alastair. Elysium Fire. Orbit: Hachette. Jan. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9780316555678. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316555661. SF
British Science Fiction Award winner Reynolds sets his latest space opera in the Glitter Band, a ring of thousands of worlds in a planetary orbit. Each world has its own culture and society, but all participate in a real-time democracy in which every citizen votes several times a day on legislation that impacts them all. Panoply is the organization tasked with ensuring through its prefects that the democracy runs smoothly and without corruption. But something is killing citizens at an increasingly frequent rate, and Prefect Tom Dreyfuss must figure out what’s happening before an uncontrollable panic breaks out. Dreyfuss and the Panoply must also deal with a demagog seeking to undermine the organization’s authority, encouraging worlds to break away to self-rule.
Verdict In this follow-up to The Prefect, Reynolds has created a vivid universe with beautiful settings and engaging, dynamic characters. There are instances of violence but nothing too graphic, making this appropriate for young adults. Fans of sf will definitely want to pick up this title, especially if they also enjoy mysteries or police procedurals.—Matt Schirano, Univ. of Bridgeport Lib., CT

Winslow, Emily. Look for Her. Morrow. Feb. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780062572585. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062572592. MYS
Annalise Wood disappeared on her way home from school in 1976. Her tiny town of Lilling, England, was shocked, and her story became a local legend. Her body was later found, but the killer remains at large. Parents are still wary of letting kids travel to and from school alone. When DNA linked to Annalise turns up in a present-day investigation, suspects and shirttail relatives come out of the woodwork, and the cold case cops, detectives Morris Keane and Chloe Frohmann, have their hands full. Is the body they found really Annalise? Whose semen is on her skirt? Is her death somehow linked to the recent drowning of another local girl? Cracking the case could seriously enhance the careers of the town’s tiny police force, but the convoluted evidence and eccentricities of the potential suspects don’t make it easy. What seems at the outset to be a textbook psychological thriller is anything but. The twists and turns make Winslow’s fourth Keane and Frohmann’s mystery (after The Red House) a compelling read.
Verdict Former games creator Winslow has turned her talents to a very entertaining and readable thriller that can hold its own with the best of the current crop. A good choice for mystery book groups.—Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA

starred review starWinspear, Jacqueline. To Die but Once: A Maisie Dobbs Novel. Harper. Mar. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780062436634. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062436658. MYS
A somber mood sets the tone for the 14th Maisie Dobbs mystery (after In This Grave Hour) as World War II has begun. Local pub owner Phil Coombes wants Maisie to find his son Joe, who had been working as a painter for a military contractor. Coombes is concerned because Joe had complained of persistent headaches while working with fire-retardant paint. When Joe’s body is discovered, Maisie must investigate whether it was a case of murder or just an accident. She finds more than she ever bargained for in the way of Coombes family secrets and military operations. Everyone has something to hide. Meanwhile, the drama of the British troops trapped at Dunkirk is made personal when Maisie’s godson jumps on a yacht to help rescue the men. She is also balancing her own personal life with her investigative business as she explores the possibility of adopting Anna, her family’s orphaned evacuee.
Verdict Winspear has created another rich reading experience for Maisie’s many fans, but this title could be seen as entry point for new fans as well. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a thoughtful mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 9/11/17.]—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX

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