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HEAVEN'S A LIE by Wallace Stroby (Mulholland). One of the best pure crime novelists—writers of dark doings by people that we root for without quite approving of them—one of the best we've … more
THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS by Pip Williams (Ballantine). A novel, even a historical romance (of a sort), and certainly not a dictionary. It is fond of words, and of the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY. … more
WE BEGIN AT THE END by Chris Whitaker (Holt). A dark, demanding but rewarding thriller/noir/small town family novel—very American, convincingly so, though by an established British thriller writer. … more
THE HARDEST PLACE: THE AMERICAN MILITARY ADRIFT IN AFGHANISTAN'S PECH VALLEY by Wesley Morgan (Random House). Brilliant, intimately reported, narrow-focused history of one of the few wars in our (or … more
THE DARK HEART OF FLORENCE: A LADY EMILY MYSTERY by Tasha Alexander (St. Martin's). The sixteenth of a series that might as well be acknowledged, at last, as classic (you noticed, “sixteenth?”). … more
THE HOSPITAL: LIFE, DEATH, AND DOLLARS IN A SMALL AMERICAN TOWN by Brian Alexander (St. Martin's). There are medical dramas in this intimate account of a small-town hospital struggling to serve its … more
THE SANATORIUM by Sarah Pearse (Pamela Dorman/Viking). This terrific debut suspense/thriller/gothic/detective novel—really, it's all of those at once, and maybe most surprising of all, given the … more
THE DELUSIONS OF CROWDS: WHY PEOPLE GO MAD IN GROUPS by William J. Bernstein (Atlantic Monthly Press). This big, serious history and study of manias concentrates on financial and religious wigouts, … more
UNDER A WHITE SKY by Elizabeth Kolbert (Crown). Hard to say whether this deeply intelligent, enlightening book on human fiddling with the natural world—its benefits and its inevitable, sometimes … more
THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's). I don't suppose Hannah is a “great American writer” in the most solemn, in-a-deep-voice sense, but she's enormously popular among the best readers … more
FLOATING IN A MOST PECULIAR WAY by Louis Chude-Sokei (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Unspectacularly but irresistibly beautiful memoir by a man whose life would probably sound disorderly in my … more
YELLOW WIFE by Sadeqa Johnson (Simon & Schuster). The voice of this stirring historical novel is that of a surreptitiously educated enslaved woman, in Virginia in the 1850s. It isn't didactic—this … more
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