Fiction Reviews, June 15, 2012

starred review starde Jonge, Peter. Buried on Avenue B. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780061373558. $25.99. F

Gus, a former junkie and petty criminal, and now an Alzheimer’s patient, confesses to have killed and buried his old partner in an East Village community garden off Avenue B 17 years earlier, but instead homicide detective Darlene O’Hara (Shadows Still Remain) uncovers the skeleton of a ten-year-old boy. The body is in an advanced state of decomposition, yet it was carefully buried within the last few weeks with an odd array of mementos. Having access to the fringe community of New York’s Lower East Side, O’Hara sets off in search of the street urchin’s killer. VERDICT The author’s hard-drinking, hard-living protagonist returns in a second edgy investigative thriller, which comes full circle in a stunningly creative manner. His hard-boiled prose and urban slang transports readers of serious crime fiction through gritty, harsh scenes populated with colorful characters Another stellar read from de Jonge‚ or as O’Hara would say, Avenue B‘s friggin’ amazing! [See Prepub Alert, 2/5/12; library marketing]‚ Jerry P. Miller. Cambridge, MA

starred review starWilson, G. Willow. Alif the Unseen. Grove. Jul. 2012. c.440p. ISBN 9780802120205. $25. F

Known for her award-winning memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, and her comics (Cairo; Air), Wilson instills imaginative storytelling in her debut novel set in the modern Middle East. Alif, a hacker by trade who provides systems security for the rich and poor alike, falls in love with a young woman from a privileged family. She is engaged to a member of the state police who is leading the hunt for the secret programming code Alif unwittingly created. Following the clues in an ancient manuscript titled The Thousand and One Days, Alif allies himself with his Muslim neighbor, an American convert, the sheikh of the local mosque, and an army of shapeshifting jinn to solve the code. VERDICT
Wilson skillfully weaves a story linking modern-day technologies and computer languages to the folklore and religion of the Middle East. For readers ready for adventure and looking for original storytelling, this excellent novel supersedes genres as easily as its characters jump from one reality to another. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/12.]‚ Catherine Lantz, Morton College Lib., Cicero, Il

Healy, Dermot. Long Time, No See. Viking. Jul. 2012. c.448p. ISBN 9780670023608. $27.95. F

Philip Feeney, known as Mister Psyche to the locals of the Irish fishing village Ballintra, spends his days tending to odd jobs and his granduncle Joejoe while waiting for the results of his school exams. When Joejoe’s best friend, a curious, sweet-smelling soul known as the Blackbird, badly injures himself, Philip tries to navigate the swelling grief that threatens to overwhelm his family and friends. Philip’s own mind and heart, still fragile since the untimely death of his best friend, Mickey, the year before, prove resilient and true. VERDICT Healy’s (Sudden Times; A Goat’s Song) first novel in ten years is a triumphant return by the author Roddy Doyle considers Ireland’s greatest writer. Philip’s voice, at once tender and odd, like Joejoe’s slightly out-of-tune accordion, narrates. His easy familiarity with Ballintra’s seasonal rhythms, landscapes, and inhabitants credibly shapes the contours of an interior life open to all perceptions and ideas that existence offers him. A beautiful account of one person’s acceptance of his own quiet heroism.‚ J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman

The following titles are reviewed in the June 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.

Bakopoulos, Natalie. The Green Shore. S & S. Jun. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9781451633924. $25. F

Brandon, John. A Million Heavens. McSweeney’s. Jul. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9781936365739. $24. F

Cain, Chelsea. Kill You Twice. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780312619787. $25.99. F

Chen, Pauline A. The Red Chamber. Knopf. Jul. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9780307701572. $26.95. F

Dung Kai-Cheung. Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City. Columbia Univ. Jul. 2012. c.168p. tr. from Chinese by Anders Hansson & Bonnie S. McDougall. ISBN 9780231161008. $24.50. F

Edwards, Selden. The Lost Prince. Dutton. Aug. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9780525952947. $26.95. F

Fields, Jennie. The Age of Desire. Pamela Dorman: Viking. Aug. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9780670023684. $27.95. F

Gregory, Philippa. The Kingmaker’s Daughter. Touchstone: S. & S. (The Cousins’ War). Aug. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781451626070. $26.99. F

Henkin, Joshua. The World Without You. Pantheon. Jun. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780375424366. $25.95. F

Itani, Frances. Requiem. Atlantic Monthly. Aug. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780802120229. $24. F

Kay, I.J. Mountains of the Moon. Viking. Jul. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780670023677. $26.95. F

Koenig, Joseph. False Negative. Hard Case Crime: Titan. Jun. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9780857685803. pap. $9.95. F

Lasser, Scott. Say Nice Things About Detroit. Norton. Jul. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780393082999. $25.95. F

Lawson, Mike. House Blood: A Joe DeMarco Thriller. Atlantic Monthly. Jul. 2012. c.432p. ISBN 9780802119940. $25. F

Leotta, Allison. Discretion. Touchstone: S. & S. Jul. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9781451644845. $25. F

Monroe, Mary. God Don’t Make No Mistakes. Dafina: Kensington. Jun. 2012. c.304p.ISBN 9780758238634. $24. F

Perkins, Emily. The Forrests: A Novel. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Aug. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9781608196777. pap. $15. F

Powell, Padgett. You & Me: A Novel. Ecco: HarperCollins. Jul. 2012. c.208p. ISBN 9780062126139. $23.99. F

Shipstead, Maggie. Seating Arrangements. Knopf. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307599469. $25.95. F

Shumway, Charity. Ten Girls To Watch. Washington Square: S. & S. Aug. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9781451673418. pap. $15. F

Short stories

Donoghue, Emma. Astray. Oct. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780316206297. $25.95. F