Benjamin Black, Mark Bowden, Janice Lee, & an Afghan Romeo and Juliet | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 3

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Black, Benjamin. Even the Dead: A Quirke Novel. Holt. Jan. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781627790666. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781627790673. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY In this seventh in a series from Black, the alter ego of Man Booker Prize winner John Banville, Dublin-based pathologist Quirke gets quite a workout. Even as he’s worried that the blackouts and […]

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 […]

Chills from Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline, Stuart Woods, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015. Pt. 3

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Belfoure, Charles. House of Thieves. Sourcebooks Landmark. Sept. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9781492617891. $25.99. THRILLER Like its author, whose recent The Paris Architect was a national best seller (catch the starred LJ review), the protagonist of this 1880s New York–set thriller is an architect, though he uses his knowledge in an unusual manner. To pay off […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

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Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

Geraldine Brooks, J.M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, & the Return of Lisbeth Salander | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3

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Brooks, Geraldine. The Secret Chord. Viking. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780670025770. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION Brooks, who wins both prizes (e.g., the Pulitzer for March) and audiences (there are two million copies of her books out there), has always triumphed with historical subjects, and she’s back at it with this novel about King […]

Best-Selling Thrillers from Jussi Adler-Olsen to Kathy Reichs | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 2

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Adler-Olsen, Jussi. The Hanging Girl. Dutton. Sept. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9780525954941. $28. CD: Penguin Audio. THILLER In the sixth Department Q thriller (after The Marco Effect), a cold case involving a 17-year-old girl found hanging in a tree leads Det. Carl Mørck and his assistants, Assad and Rose, to a sun-worshipping cult on the remote […]

Linda Fairstein, Sophie Hannah, Michael Koryta, & More | Essential Thriller Titles, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4

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Burdett, John. The Asset. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307272683. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353205. POLICE PROCEDURAL Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a Buddhist detective with the Royal Thai Police Force, returns after Vulture Peak for some seriously techy trouble. With female inspector Krom, as capable socially and technologically as he’s not, Sonchai peers through a raging typhoon at […]

Coulter, Kadrey, McCall Smith, Silva, & More | Hot Commercial Fiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 4

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Abercrombie. Joe. Half a War. Del Rey. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780804178457. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780804178471.  FANTASY First Half a King (July 2014), then Half the World (February 2015), and now the wrap-up to a trilogy featuring Yarvi, unassuming heir to the throne, who avenges his father’s murder and, with a warrior-hopeful young woman named […]