RA Back Pocket: Genre Fiction | Wyatt’s World

It’s been a good year for genre fiction, with notable series continuing strong and new titles breaking through and captivating readers. Highlighting the work of key authors, these five sure bets will serve readers’ advisory librarians for a long time to come.

  • An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (Kensington).
    Set during the Civil War, Cole’s novel centers on Elle Burns, a former slave working undercover as a spy, risking her life and freedom to help the Union cause. While on a mission she meets Malcolm McCall, a Pinkerton agent who is also undercover. Willing to risk everything to ensure the Union succeeds—even each other—the two chart a romance that is at once a deftly told story of brave commitment to country and an exploration of personal bonds.
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (Harper).
    Two mysteries in one, Horowitz’s novel within a novel delivers a grand golden age mystery in the form of a mystery author’s final manuscript. When the writer dies, his editor embarks on a contemporary case as she tries to figure out what happened to him. The first part will delight Agatha Christie fans, while the second is equally entertaining.
  • Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (Viking).
    Terrifying, gripping, and almost unbearably intense, Phillips’s work is, sadly, very much of the times. It tells the story of a mass shooting and what one mother will do to save her son—and what she sees, thinks, and feels while trying to do so.
  • The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury USA).
    Readers who relish extravagant detail, subtle storytelling, and silky writing will welcome Pulley’s second novel (after the acclaimed The Watchmaker of Filigree Street). Merrick Tremayne travels to Peru for the East India Company on a mission to steal quinine trees. What he finds instead is a mysterious priest wrapped up in time.
  • Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (MCD).
    VanderMeer is at the top of his game here, offering readers lavish and smart worldbuilding full of wondrous and creepy ideas. At first, Borne takes a bit of acclimating to, but once readers pick up the story line they will be more than happy to follow protagonist Rachel, as she struggles to survive in a world in which the Company’s experiments ravaged and took all control.


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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at nwyatt@mediasourceinc.com.

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