Fiction Reviews | January 2014

redstarMoore, Lisa. Caught. Grove. Feb. 2014. 322p. ISBN 9780802122124. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780802192899. F

caught012914Childhood friends David Slaney and Brian Hearn grow up in 1970s Newfoundland to become college slackers, potheads, and drug runners—unsuccessful drug runners, that is. On their first big score, they’re nabbed and arrested on their return from Colombia. While Slaney gets jail time, Hearn manages to skip out on bail, flee across the country, and change his identity. Four years later, Hearn concocts a bold new scheme. He arranges Slaney’s escape from jail and pulls together a team of old friends and new investors for one more big operation. One of the “investors” is undercover detective Patterson, an overweight and underappreciated Toronto cop who hopes that, with the assistance of brand-new satellite surveillance, this case will be his big career break. VERDICT Moore, recent winner of Canada Reads and author of February, a New Yorker Best Book of the Year, provides a rollicking ride to an outcome that is never really in doubt. With pitch-perfect dialog and endearingly human characters, this finalist for Canada’s prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize is a fantastic read. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/13.]—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.

redstarReichl, Ruth. Delicious! Random. May 2014. 368p. ISBN 9781400069620. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780679604617. F

delicious012913Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet magazine and best-selling author of culinary memoirs (Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples), makes her fiction debut with a story set at an iconic food magazine in New York called Delicious. Billie Breslin has recently been hired as an assistant and soon is writing for the magazine, too, but her exciting new job comes to a halt when the magazine is abruptly shut down. Billie, however, is asked to stay on to handle calls for the “Delicious Guarantee,” which promises money back if a recipe doesn’t work. A guarantee question leads Billie to the magazine’s locked library, where she stumbles upon letters written during World War II from a young girl named Lulu Swan to chef James Beard. Billie follows card catalog clues to find the remaining letters and goes to Ohio to look for Lulu. Her journey finally helps Billie see the truth about her own family and gives her the courage to realize her dreams and maybe even give love a chance. VERDICT Reichl’s vivid descriptions of food will have readers salivating, and an insider’s look at life at a food magazine is fascinating. Her satisfying coming-of-age novel of love and loss vividly demonstrates the power of food to connect people across cultures and generations. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/13.]—­Melissa DeWild, Kent District Lib., Comstock Park, MI

redstarKupersmith, Violet. The Frangipani Hotel. Spiegel & Grau. Apr. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780812993318. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780679645146. F

frangipanihotel012913What is most haunting in Kupersmith’s nine multilayered pieces are not the specters, whose tales are revealed as stories within stories, but the lingering loss and disconnect endured by the still living. With an American father and a Vietnamese “former boat refugee” mother, the author channels her bicultural history to create contemporary, post–Vietnam War glimpses of reclamation and reinvention on both sides of East and West. In “Skin and Bones,” two Houston sisters visit their Ho Chi Minh City grandmother “to rediscover their roots” but more realistically because “Vietnam Was Fat Camp.” In “Guests,” a pair of American expat lovers have diverging expectations. A dying youth tries to steal another’s body in “Little Brother,” and an insistent knock at the door demands retribution 40 years after the war in “One-Finger.” In “Reception,” set in the titular Frangipani Hotel, the clerk’s family’s past overlaps with the coming new brand of the ugly American. VERDICT The wunderkind moniker will soon enough be attached to the 1989-born Kupersmith, who wrote most of these stories as a Mt. Holyoke undergraduate. Her mature-beyond-her-years debut deserves equal shelf space with other spare, provocative collections, such as Paul Yoon’s Once the Shore, Lauren Groff’s Delicate Edible Birds, and Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/13.]—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

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Abani, Chris. The Secret History of Las Vegas. Penguin. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780143124955. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780698140189. F

redstarAckroyd, Peter. Three Brothers. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780385538619. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385538626. F

Afrika, Tatamkhulu. Bitter Eden. Picador. Feb. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781250043665. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781250043672. F

redstarBarr, Nevada. Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780312614584. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466841680. F

Black, Benjamin. The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel. Holt. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780805098143. $27. F

Black, Robin. Life Drawing. Random. Jul. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781400068562. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780812996036. F

redstarBoyden, Joseph. The Orenda. Knopf. May 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780385350730. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350747. F

Buck, Pearl S. The Eternal Wonder. Open Road. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781480439702. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781480439665. F

redstarCalhoun, Kenneth. Black Moon. Hogarth: Crown. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780804137140. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780804137157. F

redstarCameron, Claire. The Bear. Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780316230124. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780316230100. F

Collins, Jackie. Confessions of a Wild Child. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250050939. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466851924. F

Condit, Sonja. Starter House. Morrow. Jan. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062283054. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062283061. F

Corona, Laurel. The Mapmaker’s Daughter. Sourcebooks Landmark. Mar. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781402286490. pap. $14.99. F

redstarDean, Averil. Alice Close Your Eyes. Mira: Harlequin. Jan. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780778315865. pap. $14.95. F

redstarde Vigan, Delphine. Nothing Holds Back the Night. Bloomsbury USA. Mar. 2014. 352p. tr. from French by George Miller. ISBN 9781620404850. pap. $16. F

redstarDonoghue, Emma. Frog Music. Little, Brown. Apr. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780316324687. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316324663. F

redstarDoyle, Brian. The Plover. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250034779. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250034786. F

Go, Justin. The Steady Running of the Hour. S. & S. Apr. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9781476704586. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476704609. F

Grossman, David. Falling Out of Time. Knopf. Mar. 2014. 208p. ISBN 9780385350136. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350143. F

Harris, Robert. An Officer and a Spy. Knopf. Jan. 2014. 464p. ISBN 9780385349581. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385349598. F

Harun, Adrianne. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain. Penguin. Feb. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780670786107. pap. $16. F

redstarHayes, Terry. I Am Pilgrim. Emily Bestler: Atria. May 2014. 624p. ISBN 9781439177723. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781439177747. F

Henríquez, Cristina. The Book of Unknown Americans. Knopf. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780385350846. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350853. F

Hicks, Patrick. The Commandant of Lubizec. Steerforth. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781586422202. pap. $15. F

Hoffman, Alice. The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Scribner. Feb. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781451693560. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781451693584. F

Hustvedt, Siri. The Blazing World. S. & S. Mar. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476747231. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476747255. F

Kilroy, Claire. The Devil I Know. Black Cat: Grove Atlantic. Feb. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780802122377. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780802192691. F

LaPlante, Alice. A Circle of Wives. Atlantic Monthly. Mar. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780802122346. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780802192745. F

Leuthardt, Eric C. RedDevil 4. Forge. Feb. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780765332561. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466800984. F

Levine, Daniel. Hyde. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780544191181. $24. F

Levine, James. Bingo’s Run. Spiegel & Grau. Jan. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781400068838. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781588369475. F

Li, Yiyun. Kinder Than Solitude. Random. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781400068142. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812996029. F

redstarLoewenstein, Laurie. Unmentionables. Kaylie Jones: Akashic. Jan. 2014. 320p.

ISBN 9781617751943. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617752056. F

Lovric, Michelle. The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters. Bloomsbury USA. Aug. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9781620400142. $28. F

Magnuson, James. Famous Writers I Have Known. Norton. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780393240887. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393242782. F

redstarMiller, Mary. The Last Days of California. Liveright: Norton. Jan. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780871405883. $24.95. F

Mones, Nicole. Night in Shanghai. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780547516172. $25; ebk. ISBN 978054751778. F

Ness, Patrick. The Crane Wife. Penguin Pr. Jan. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781594205477. $26.95. F

Nguyen, Bich Minh. Pioneer Girl. Viking. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780670025091. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698151376. F

redstarOates, Joyce Carol. Carthage. Ecco. Feb. 2014. 496p. ISBN 9780062208125. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062208149. F

O’Connor, Scott. Half World. S. & S.Feb. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476716596. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476716619. F

O’Keeffe, Patrick. The Visitors. Viking. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780670024636. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698151352. F

Park, David. The Poets’ Wives. Bloomsbury USA. Apr. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781620405246. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781620405260. F

redstarPitigrilli. Cocaine. New Vessel. 2013. 261p. tr. from Italian by Eric Mosbacher. ISBN 9781939931092. pap. $16.49; ebk. ISBN 9781939931085. F

redstarRyan, Donal. The Spinning Heart. Steerforth. Feb. 2014. 160p. ISBN 9781586422240. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781586422257. F

Schaffert, Timothy. The Swan Gondola. Riverhead. Feb. 2014. 464p. ISBN 9781594486098. $27.95. F

redstarScott, James. The Kept. Harper. Jan. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780062236739. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062236661. F

Sharma, Akhil. Family Life. Norton. Apr. 2014. 192p. ISBN 9780393060058. $23.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393242317. F

Thompson, Ted. The Land of Steady Habits. Little, Brown. Mar. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780316186568. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780316215831. F

redstarTownsend, Jacinda. Saint Monkey. Norton. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780393080049. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393242959. F

Troy, Judy. The Quiet Streets of Winslow. Counterpoint. Feb. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781619022393. $25. F

Wicomb, Zoë. October. New Pr. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781595589620. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595589675. F

Zackheim, Michele. Last Train to Paris. Europa Editions. Jan. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781609451790. pap. $17. F

Zarhin, Shemi. Some Day. New Vessel. 2013. 450p. tr. from Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan. ISBN 9781939931054. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781939931047. F

Short Stories

Cantor, Jay. Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories for Franz Kafka. Knopf. Jan. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780385350341. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350358. F

Gilchrist, Ellen. Acts of God. Algonquin. Apr. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781616201104. $23.95. F

redstarKlay, Phil. Redeployment. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781594204999. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698151642. F

Novak, B.J. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories. Knopf. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780385351836. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351843. F

Spencer, Elizabeth. Starting Over. Liveright: Norton. Jan. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780871406811. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780871407832. F

Historical Thrills

redstarFortier, Anne. The Lost Sisterhood. Ballantine. Mar. 2014. 608p. ISBN 9780345536228. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345536235. F

While lecturing at Oxford, Diana Morgan, philologist and expert on the legendary female warriors known as the Amazons, receives a tantalizing offer from a stranger who invites her to visit a new excavation that promises to rewrite history. Taking leave of her academic responsibilities and possibly her senses, she sets off to North Africa. At the ancient temple, Diana recognizes writing, not from her research as a philologist but from her grandmother’s journal. Her father, presuming his mother insane, had condemned her to psychiatric procedures and confinement. As a young girl, Diana had facilitated her grandmother’s disappearance, thus resulting in a lifetime of regret and longing. Now suddenly faced with written evidence of the historical existence of the Amazons, Diane realizes that her grandmother’s journal is not a memoir of delusions. Are the Amazons still among us? VERDICT Through her time-shifting narrative, Fortier (Juliet) offers us a front-row seat to the mythological stories we have learned through epics and poetry. Grounded in a thorough knowledge of classical literature, this skillful interweaving of plausible archaeological speculation, ancient mythology, and exciting modern adventure will delight fans of such authors as Kate Mosse and Katherine Neville. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/13.]—Laura Cifelli, Fort Myers–Lee Cty. P.L., FL

Mosse, Kate. Citadel. Morrow. Mar. 2014. 704p. ISBN 9780062281258. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062281289. F

The final book of Mosse’s Languedoc trilogy (Labyrinth and Sepulchre) is set in southern France against the backdrop of World War II. There is a large cast of strong females, including some returning characters as this installment has a parallel time line that overlaps some events from the previous books. Protagonist Sandrine, an orphaned teen living with her older sister, is rescued by resistance fighter Raoul. After Raoul is falsely implicated in a bombing, he and Sandrine must flee the region for their safety. The second story line involves a young monk who is tasked with hiding a regarded magical Codex from the church to preserve for future generations. By the 1940s, the Codex’s guardian, Audric Baillard, is also being sought by opposition forces. VERDICT Very detailed and well researched, this dramatic finale is a compelling mix of romance and historical fiction that succeeds as an epic tale of mystery and adventure. Fans of the first two books of the trilogy will be satisfied. Recommended for historical fiction, fantasy fiction, and adventure/thriller enthusiasts. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/13.]—Carolann Curry, Mercer Univ. Lib., Macon, GA

This article was published in Library Journal's January 1, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.