15 Key Thrillers | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


Armstrong, Ross. The Watcher. Mira: Harlequin. Apr. 2017. 302p. ISBN 9780778330721. $26.99. THRILLER Noted actor Armstrong (he’s appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in Hamlet on Broadway) launches his writing career with psychological suspense that Harlequin UK is dubbing a lead breakout title. When an elderly neighbor turns up dead shortly after birdwatcher Lily […]

17 Key Thrillers | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4


Billingham, Mark. Rush of Blood. Atlantic Monthly. Feb. 2017. 480p. ISBN 9780802125910. $25. THRILLER Never before available here in a standard print edition despite its 2012 publication in the UK, this thriller is Billingham’s only novel set partly in America—Florida, to be specific, where the author has a home. Three British couples bond when they […]

Laird Hunt, Yiyun Lee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3


Dennett, Daniel C. From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Norton. Feb. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780393242072. $28.95. PHILOSOPHY/MIND & BODY Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and winner of the Erasmus Prize, Dennett knows how to talk to lay readers; he’s published numerous books, not just with academic presses […]

Missy Franklin, Siri Hustvedt, Dava Sobel | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2106, Pt. 3


Franklin, Missy & others. Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion. Dutton. Dec. 2016.320p. ISBN 9781101984925. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101984932. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR Having won five medals—including four golds—at the London Olympics, Franklin will be one of the highest-profile members of the U.S. Olympics team in Rio this summer. Meanwhile, she’s just gone […]

Queen Victoria, Pixar, Space Travel, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4


Alvarez, Walter. A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves. Norton. Nov. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780393292695. $26.95. SCIENCE/COSMOLOGY If you’re familiar with the “Impact Theory,” which blames dinosaur extinction on a crash-landed asteroid, then you’re familiar with Berkeley geologist Alvarez; he originated the idea. Here he argues that Big History, which […]

Harlan Coben, James Patterson, Anne Perry, & More | Pop Fiction Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4


Coben, Harlan. Home. Dutton. Sept. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780525955108. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698411449. THRILLER Two boys from golden-glazed families are kidnapped and never heard from again—until ten years later, when Myron Bolitar and friend Win apparently find one of them. What can the rescued teenager say about the intervening years and the fate of his […]

Anderson/Rovin, Jennifer Chiaverini, J.A. Jance, Karin Slaughter | Essential Pop Fiction, Sept. 2016, Pt. 1


Anderson, Gillian & Jeff Rovin. The Sound of Seas. (The EarthEnd Saga, Bk. 3). Simon451: S. & S. 320p. ISBN 9781476776590. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781476776613. SF Having proven herself as a writer with her well-received “EarthEnd Saga” series, written with New York Times best-selling author Rovin, award-winning actress Anderson wraps up the series with some […]

A Celebrity Friendship, a Musician as Healer, & More | Biography/Memoir Previews, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1


Achon, Julius & John Brant. The Boy Who Runs: The Odyssey of Julius Achon. Ballantine. Aug. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780553392159. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392166. Downloadable: Random Audio.  BIOGRAPHY Born into poverty in Uganda, Achon was forced into the horrific Lord’s Resistance Army at age 12 but escaped to become a gifted local runner. He was […]

The Idiot Brain, Fashion Photography, the Microbiome, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2016, Pt. 3


Burnett, Dean. Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To. Norton. Jul. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780393253788. $26.95. COGNITIVE SCIENCE Ever popular, books about the brain typically extol its wonders, but Burnett lets us in on all the weird things it does, ranging from blackouts to insomnia, and all the mistakes we’ve made in trying […]

Sean Carroll, Janine di Giovanni, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Nathaniel Philbrick | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1


Carroll, Sean. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Dutton. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780525954828. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698409767. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SCIENCE A theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, Carroll won the Royal Society Winton Prize for The Particle at the End of the Universe, his […]