Jeff VanderMeer's "Annihilation," his first book in the new Southern Reach Trilogy, became my obsession for a few days. I could've read it in one day -- it's just south of 200 pages -- but I didn't want this riveting, bizarre story to end.
Derek B. Miller's "Norwegian by Night" is as intense as it is entertaining -- a crime story taking place in Oslo and the hinterlands of Norway, featuring an octogenarian Korean War vet who deserves a place in the Colorful Characters Hall of Fame,
Mark Slouka's new novel takes place in the late Sixties, in a small town. Here two teenagers form a bond that becomes their salvation. Seductive, nostalgic prose, vivid, likable characters and a masterful story. It's all here.
Europa Editions publishes some of the best world literature, and that includes Caryl Férey’s "Mapuche." It's absorbing crime fiction that draws from Argentina's dark time of "the disappeared." Intense and gratifying.
A. X. Ahmad has created an intriguing protagonist in his first novel, “The Caretaker.” Add to that India’s nuclear capability, an American hostage in North Korea, a nervous U.S. Senator and a bunch of thugs, and you've got an exciting literary thriller.
Neil Gaiman is the author of more than twenty books and the recipient of numerous literary honors. His newest novel is "The Ocean at the End of the Lane."
Constance Schuyler is another one of Patrick McGrath's emotionally unstable characters. In this, his 10th work of fiction, he’s based the psychological twist on Constance's bad relationship with her father. Unfortunately, it creates a bit of a dull dramatic thump. Here's why.
Here is a debut novel that's rich in setting and very fun to read. Its odd events are highly entertaining, and the narrator is a good guy with a clever sense of humor. He's tracking birds in deep forests at 5 a.m. and experiencing hilarious situations. Killer tornado included.
Here's a novel categorized for teens, but just like "The Hunger Games" and "The Book Thief," "Code Name Verity" is a good bet for adult readers. It's an involving story created with an unusual narrative strategy, making this Edgar Award-winner a five-star read.
Once again, Sam Savage brings his unique insight and humor to another noteworthy novel. "The Way of the Dog," similar to Savage's previous novels, uses a strong first-person narrator whose personality rises up off the page, as if talking to you in person. His name is Harold Nivenson, and he has a lot to say.
"City of Dark Magic" is a fun novel to read. It's filled with mystery, time warp, musical references (Beethoven in particular) and a cast of colorful characters, including a 400-year-old dwarf. Pure entertainment.
Michael Kardos published his debut novel this fall, a thriller that starts with an annual golf get-together among three Princeton grads and turns nightmarish. His narrative style is brisk, making "The Three-Day Affair" a fast-paced read with surprises you won't see coming.
Mention the hippies of the 1960s and 1970s and those of that generation will instantly remember their peace signs, tie-dyed clothing, LSD trips and anti-government protests. Reading "Arcadia," a novel set in a hippie commune in upstate New York, those memories came back, only I experienced what felt like a more intimate view of this countercultural group. A moving fictional story written by the talented Lauren Groff.
In Jennifer Miller's debut novel, a biology teacher instructs his students how to think for themselves, using information about extreme-loving microbes called extremophiles. These microorganisms become a sort of metaphor for what happens in this literary mystery that takes place in a fictional preparatory school in NW Massachusetts. "The Year of the Gadfly" keeps you wondering and page-turning to the very end.
Ben Loory's new "Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day" is a paperback collection of magical, fable-like stories that explore our inner-most fears and desires. They're short, enthralling and addictive.