Novel

Crash Landing

Crash Landing

There are two great, gripping scenes in Noah Hawley’s novel Before the Fall. I’ll tell you about the first, but not the second. The second offers the story’s only startling, intake of breath moment, and I won’t dash that for book hounds interested in how the “Fargo” TV series creator…
All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls

I heard about All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda everywhere, but reviews were mixed. Some people hated that this mystery was told backwards. Some people loved that. Some people didn’t like the characters; others loved them. And even though I laughed when Kirkus said, “Feel free to give these…
Mystery at a Northwestern Minnesota Lake

Mystery at a Northwestern Minnesota Lake

Lucy Evans is the last of the Evans sisters and as she’s dying she writes her life story, recalling the summer of 1935 when her younger sister Emily mysteriously disappeared at the family’s lake home in Northwestern Minnesota. Upon Lucy’s death in 1999, Justine, a single mother living in San…
How I Spent My Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

CITY ON FIRE City on Fire kept popping up in front of me, the way some things do. I read raves and a few people recommended it so I barely blinked as I downloaded and dug into this buzz novel set in some of the darkest mosh pits of NYC’s punk…
So Much Whining

So Much Whining

When the first six or seven chapters of Jennifer Close’s The Hopefuls were nothing but backstory and a comparison of how vasty superior New York was to Washington, D.C. I should have stopped reading. I didn’t and I gained nothing for having slogged through this book of aimless whining and…
Despicable People, Good Reading

Despicable People, Good Reading

Fern and Edgar Keating are awful people. They are spoiled, wealthy brats who meet, marry, have three children, and live a charmed life bouncing from a home in Boston to a summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, with a brief stint in awful military housing. Things are going swimmingly for them.…
The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library

In Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, Irene is a librarian spy for a magical library that stands in another plane of existence and stores masterpieces from alternate worlds. We first meet Irene as she’s stealing one of these masterpieces from a magical school like Hogwarts, but as soon as she…
Charcoal Joe

Charcoal Joe

Set in the 1960s, Charcoal Joe, the 14th book in Walter Mosley’s popular Easy Rawlins series, picks up right where Rose Gold left off, with Easy using money he earned from that case to start a new detective agency. When an old friend wanders into the agency talking about a…
The Woman Upstairs

The Woman Upstairs

Nora Eldridge, the main character in Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs is a pissed. The late thirty-something third grade teacher and part-time artist is mad as hell and she’s gonna tell you all about it. Her fury burns on every page and makes a book that builds to a sad-trombone-let-down…
The Book of Unknown Americans

The Book of Unknown Americans

There is a scene in the beginning of Cristina Henrîquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans that shook me. It’s one of those scenes that makes you pause and think about what it must be like to come to America and try to operate in a country where you don’t know…
The Girls

The Girls

The Girls by Emma Cline is a haunting novel set in the late 1960s where Evie, a young, impressionable girl, is drawn into a Manson-like cult. Bouncing between young Evie and her grown up self, Cline beautifully tells Evie’s coming-of-age tale. Most of us probably know the story of the…
Before the Fall

Before the Fall

In the opening of Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall, a private plane crashes, leaving alive just one struggling artist and a small boy, not related to him. At least that’s all we think are alive, because no bodies are found. Where are they and why did the plane crash? It…