Best New Books: Week of 2/27/2018

History lovers have a lot to be excited about this week. Not only do we have 3 exciting, new historical fiction releases to look forward to, but many of the other most-buzzed about books could fit into the genre as well. We also have Joy Fielding’s latest suburban suspense novel, which promises a shocker of an ending, and 4 of what are sure to be the most-talked-about nonfiction titles of 2018.



MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



The Bad Daughter by  Joy Fielding

bad daughterWhat first appears to be a random home invasion reveals a family’s dark secrets in this domestic ticking-clock suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of See Jane Run.

A hostile relationship with her sister and a complicated past with her father’s second wife have kept Robin estranged from her family for many years. But when her father’s new family is attacked in their house, with her father, his wife, and young daughter in critical condition in the hospital, she returns home to await their fate and hopefully mend fences.

It looks like a random robbery gone awry, but as Robin spends more time with her family members, she learns they all had their secrets — and one of those secrets may have put them all in horrible danger.

Description from Goodreads.

“[Keeps] the reader turning the pages until the bombshell final shocker.” – Publishers Weekly

“So expert is [Joy] Fielding at seeding clues that readers will never see the final plot twist coming. The acutely portrayed family dynamics lend pathos and a certain schadenfreudian frisson to the proceedings. An author who knows her way around suburban angst.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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Chicago by  David Mamet

chicagoJackie Weiss, Mike Hodge wrote, had died of a broken heart, it being broken by several slugs from a .45 . . .

From his perch at the Chicago Tribune, Mike Hodge—scarred veteran of the Great War—had gotten to know the underbelly of the metropolis like few others. Politicians, gangsters, prostitutes, bootleggers, opium addicts, jazz musicians and con artists— he’d observed them all. So perhaps he should have known better when he fell for Annie Walsh, whose family was deeply involved with the mob.

Then, again, maybe the man who killed Annie Walsh should have known better than to trifle with Mike Hodge.

A big shouldered, big trouble thriller set in a mobbed up 1920s Windy City, Chicago is the first novel in more than two decades from David Mamet, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “The Untouchables and “Wag the Dog; and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Glengarry Glen Ross. Across the canvas of a city, peopled exclusively by the corrupt, the cynical, and the deceived, Mamet crafts a wicked and tough saga of retribution and double-cross. Mixing some of his most brilliant fictional creations with actual figures of the era (among them Al Capone), he explores–as no writer can—questions of honor, deceit, devotion and revenge.

Set in his hometown, Chicago is the book that David Mamet has been building up to for his whole career. From its opening fusillade to its astonishing conclusion, Chicago is that rarest of literary creations: a book that combines spectacular elegance of craft with a kinetic wallop as fierce as the February wind gusting off Lake Michigan.

Description from Goodreads.

“Acclaimed playwright (“Glengarry Glen Ross) and screenwriter (“The Untouchables”) Mamet unpacks his literary arsenal in his first novel in two decades…. Mamet offers a master class on dialogue…. For readers of Elmore Leonard and Dennis Lehane.” – Booklist

“The story moves at a careening pace… Of a piece with character studies such as E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime and John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out, Mamet’s book does Chicago—and organized crime—proud. An evocative, impressive return that Mamet fans will welcome.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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The Hush by  John Hart

hushThe only writer in history to win consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel, New York Times bestselling author John Hart returns to the world of his most beloved novel, The Last Child.

Building on the world first seen in The Last Child (“A magnificent creation” —The Washington Post), John Hart delivers a stunning vision of a secret world, rarely seen.

It’s been ten years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; the fascination remains. Living alone on six thousand acres of once-sacred land, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. What they shared. What they lost.

But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.

More than an exploration of friendship, persistence, and forgotten power, The Hush leaves all categories behind, and cements Hart’s status as a writer of unique power.

Description from Goodreads.

“Chandler himself would be a big fan of John Hart for reasons clearly on display in The Hush… Like Chandler, Hart is a brilliant novelist as well as mystery writer, a lyrical wordsmith as comfortable turning a phrase as tension-riddled screws.” – Providence Journal

“A testament to friendship, an exploration of family, a meditation on slavery and its legacy, a lament on the prison of the past ― and a grisly and gritty ghost story ― The Hush displays Hart at his best. With richly imagined characters and depth of ingenuity, Hart forges a thoughtful and disturbing novel, one that delivers shocks in his story and joy in his storytelling. The author, who splits his time between North Carolina and Virginia, builds on his trademark take on the literary Southern gothic; the result is his most powerful work yet, one that plants a flag at the intersection where William Faulkner and Stephen King meet in unexpected harmony.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Hart continues to deepen his palette in this ambitious sequel, which is distinctive enough in story and tone to be read as a stand-alone. Recommended for fans of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island and Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

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HISTORICAL FICTION



A Long Way From Home by  Peter Carey

a long way from homeIrene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in rural south eastern Australia. Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive.

A Long Way from Home is Peter Carey’s late style masterpiece; a thrilling high speed story that starts in one way, then takes you to another place altogether. Set in the 1950s in the embers of the British Empire, painting a picture of Queen and subject, black, white and those in-between, this brilliantly vivid novel illustrates how the possession of an ancient culture spirals through history – and the love made and hurt caused along the way.

Description from Goodreads.

“Peter Carey’s new novel is a pretty remarkable beast. . . . Strange, tender, always somehow comical . . . A wild, strange, magical ride of a book.” – The Telegraph

“A major work of fiction by the writer who will probably be regarded, in a hundred years, as the leading Australian novelist from the early part of the twenty-first century. . . A highly enjoyable reading experience.” – Australian Book Review

Available Formats:

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Winter Sisters by  Robin Oliveira

winter sistersFrom the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter comes a rich and compelling historical novel about the disappearance of two young girls after a cataclysmic blizzard, and what happens when their fate is discovered.

New York, 1879: After an epic snow storm ravages the city of Albany, Dr. Mary Sutter, a former Civil War surgeon, begins a search for two little girls, the daughters of close friends killed by the storm who have vanished without a trace.

Mary’s mother and niece Elizabeth, who has been studying violin in Paris, return to Albany upon learning of the girls’ disappearance–but Elizabeth has another reason for wanting to come home, one she is not willing to reveal. Despite resistance from the community, who believe the girls to be dead, the family persists in their efforts to find the two sisters. When what happened to them is revealed, the uproar that ensues tears apart families, reputations, and even the social fabric of the city, exposing dark secrets about some of the most powerful of its citizens, and putting fragile loves and lives at great risk.

Description from Goodreads.

“Oliveira crafts a complex, multifaceted historical novel that is both a captivating story and a commentary on the laws that have, for far too long, oppressed and endangered women. . . . Entertaining at times, deeply political at others; a perfect example of a historical novel that also illuminates present-day issues.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“The real charm of Winter Sisters is the story of family, love, and perseverance, and the commentary on how women were and still are treated in society. . . . Populated with strong female characters and an oft-lyrical prose, this is a definite must read.” – The Historical Novels Review

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Promise by  Minrose Gwin

promiseA few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, Mississippi, killing more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures.

When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son.

Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one, including Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, who has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him.

During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.

Description from Goodreads.

“[An] impressive novel. Promise takes on the page-turning pacing of a mystery while remaining solidly literary.” – BookPage

“A gripping tale of racism, power, and the bonds that make a family.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

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ROMANCE



Hello Stranger by  Lisa Kleypas

hello strangerA woman who defies her time.

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule.

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Description from Goodreads.

“Witty, often hilarious, and delightfully passionate, this compelling, thrill-laced Victorian romance is another superb series entry.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Unforgettable, beautifully etched characters; a flawless sense of pacing; and a perfectly executed plot imbued with an abundance of desire and danger are the outstanding literary hallmarks of the latest splendid addition to Kleypas’ Ravenels series.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



NONFICTION



I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by  Michelle McNamara

ill be gone in the darkA masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

Description from Goodreads.

“A singular, fascinating read. It’s lifelike in its incompletion… a posthumous treasure that feels thrillingly alive. A-” – Entertainment Weekly

“Remarkable…. A modern true crime classic.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Eat the Apple: A Memoir by  Matt Young

eat the appleEat the Apple is a daring, twisted, and darkly hilarious story of American youth and masculinity in an age of continuous war. Matt Young joined the Marine Corps at age eighteen after a drunken night culminating in wrapping his car around a fire hydrant. The teenage wasteland he fled followed him to the training bases charged with making him a Marine. Matt survived the training and then not one, not two, but three deployments to Iraq, where the testosterone, danger, and stakes for him and his fellow grunts were dialed up a dozen decibels.

With its kaleidoscopic array of literary forms, from interior dialogues to infographics to prose passages that read like poetry, Young’s narrative powerfully mirrors the multifaceted nature of his experience. Visceral, ironic, self-lacerating, and ultimately redemptive, Young’s story drops us unarmed into Marine Corps culture and lays bare the absurdism of 21st-century war, the manned-up vulnerability of those on the front lines, and the true, if often misguided, motivations that drove a young man to a life at war.

Searing in its honesty, tender in its vulnerability, and brilliantly written, Eat the Apple is a modern war classic in the making and a powerful coming-of-age story that maps the insane geography of our times.

Description from Goodreads.

“Inventive, unsparing, irreverent and consistently entertaining.” – New York Times Book Review

“This honest war memoir will shock and horrify, will cause readers to tear up, and will make them wish they could tell a 19-year-old marine that everything will be okay. Highly recommended.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by  Steven Pinker

9780525427575_Enlightenmen_JKF_REPRINT_NEONSIM.inddThe follow-up to Pinker’s groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Nowmakes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.

Description from Goodreads.

“The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.” – Bill Gates

“Elegantly [argues] that in various ways humanity has every reason to be optimistic over life in the twenty-first century…. A defense of progress that will provoke deep thinking and thoughtful discourse among his many fans.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

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Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by  Mark Hyman

food#1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman sorts through the conflicting research on food to give us the skinny on what to eat.

Did you know that eating oatmeal actually isn’t a healthy way to start the day? That milk doesn’t build bones, and eggs aren’t the devil?

Even the most health conscious among us have a hard time figuring out what to eat in order to lose weight, stay fit, and improve our health. And who can blame us? When it comes to diet, there’s so much changing and conflicting information flying around that it’s impossible to know where to look for sound advice. And decades of misguided “common sense,” food-industry lobbying, bad science, and corrupt food polices and guidelines have only deepened our crisis of nutritional confusion, leaving us overwhelmed and anxious when we head to the grocery store.

Thankfully, bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman is here to set the record straight. In Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? — his most comprehensive book yet — he takes a close look at every food group and explains what we’ve gotten wrong, revealing which foods nurture our health and which pose a threat. From grains to legumes, meat to dairy, fats to artificial sweeteners, and beyond, Dr. Hyman debunks misconceptions and breaks down the fascinating science in his signature accessible style. He also explains food’s role as powerful medicine capable of reversing chronic disease and shows how our food system and policies impact the environment, the economy, social justice, and personal health, painting a holistic picture of growing, cooking, and eating food in ways that nourish our bodies and the earth while creating a healthy society.

With myth-busting insights, easy-to-understand science, and delicious, wholesome recipes, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? is a no-nonsense guide to achieving optimal weight and lifelong health.

Description from Goodreads.

“Food and the way we produce and consume it is at the center of most of our world’s health, environmental, climate, economic, and even political crises. With his new book, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, Mark Hyman, MD, shows us that food is powerful medicine, and it contains information that speaks to our environment and our genes, programming our body with messages of health or illness.” – Deepak Chopra

“Finally, a book that puts common sense and integrity back into the discussion about what to eat — despite decades of being fed a steady diet of nonsense by so-called ‘trusted authorities.’ Bravo, Dr. Hyman. this book is good medicine.” – Christiane Northrup, MD

Available Formats:

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