Four Rising-Star Novelists | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 2

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Butler, Nickolas. The Hearts of Men. Ecco. Mar. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780062469687. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062469700. LITERARY Butler, who debuted with the heartfelt Shotgun Lovesongs, which won honors ranging from the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award to France’s Prix Page/America, returns after the story collection Beneath the Bonfire with another look at male bonding. At Camp […]

Eliot Ackerman, Han Kang, Mark Kurlansky, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 1

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Ackerman, Elliot. Dark at the Crossing. Knopf. Jan. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781101947371. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947388. LITERARY A Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ackerman is among the soldier-writers who have returned home to give us a considered view of the fighting. He’s […]

From Archer to Steel | Fiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

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Archer, Jeffrey. This Was a Man. St. Martin’s. Nov. 2016. 416p. ISBN 9781250061638. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466867512. $28.99. SAGA A lot of stuff happens in this seventh and final volume of Archer’s New York Times best-selling “Clifton Chronicles,” starting with a gunshot—but who fires and who’s targeted is anyone’s guess. As Giles Barrington discovers unsettling […]

Debuts Not To Miss | Fiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 2

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Barnett, Lisa. The Versions of Us. Houghton. May 2016. 416p. ISBN 9780544634244. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544634473. POP FICTION Sparks fly when Eva and Jim meet on a street in Cambridge, England, but what happens next is uncertain; journalist/theater critic Barnett gives us options. Do they kiss or turn away; get together briefly, marry quickly, or […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

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Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]

Christopher Buckley, James Lee Burke, Paolo Giordano, & Ruth Rendell | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2015, Pt. 1

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Buckley, Christopher. The Relic Master. S. & S. Dec. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9781501125751. $26.95. HISTORICAL Buckley, who’s been called “the funniest writer in the English language” by Tom Wolfe and has a Thurber Prize for American Humor to prove it, offers a boisterous tale of 16th-century relic hunting that should have broad appeal. It’s 1517, […]

Bagshawe Gets Reckless, Donaldson Does Novellas, Sandford Goes SF, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

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Bagshawe, Tilly. Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless: A Tracy Whitney Novel. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062304056. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062304070. THRILLER New York Times best-selling author Bagshawe has done a half-dozen Sidney Sheldon novels, including Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow, which picked up powerhouse heroine Tracy Whitney from 1985’s If Tomorrow Comes. Here, Tracy is back, having […]

Nobel Prize Winner Pamuk, Game of Thrones Martin, Shocking Houellebecq, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 3

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Campbell, Bonnie Jo. Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories. Norton. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780393248456. $25.95. SHORT STORIES Campbell smashed into our consciousness with her terrific 2009 academic-press story collection, American Salvage, a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her subsequent novel, Once Upon a River, got big praise, too, but it’s […]

Gregory Maguire, Anthony Marra, David Mitchell, Jane Smiley | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Maguire, Gregory. After Alice. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780770436445. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062410825. CD: HarperAudio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Known for his revisionist take on children’s classics, particularly his Wicked-ly good series drawing on The Wizard of Oz, the first of which inspired the hit Broadway musical, Maguire turns his attention to Lewis Carroll’s immortal Alice’s Adventures […]

Ringing in Christmas (Yes, Christmas) with Jennifer Chiaverini, Debbie Macomber, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Chiaverini, Jennifer. Christmas Bells. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780525955245. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698407091. WOMEN’S/HISTORICAL Though she sets her new work partly in present-day Boston, Chiaverini stays in keeping with her recent historical work (e.g., Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule) by referencing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s rousing “Christmas Bells.” Written as Longfellow mourned the death of […]