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TROUBLE THE SAINTS by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Tor). Opening this week with yet another young literary writer, one of particularly brave imagination and daring style. This is alternate-history fiction … more
CROOKED HALLELUJAH by Kelli Jo Ford (Grove). The column's new favorite book of the year is full of scruffy, rough-edged poor people who are not exactly easy to love; but once they're in your head … more
MOTHER LAND by Leah Franqui (HarperCollins). It would probably trivialize this emotionally strong and simply beautiful novel to compare it to a romantic comedy—as smart as the best of those have … more
THE SON OF GOOD FORTUNE by Lysley Tenorio (HarperCollins). A first novel, and a very important American literary novelist to introduce oneself to. What a pleasure it is that the book is also … more
THE NICKEL BOYS by Colson Whitehead (Anchor). It may be impossible at this exact hyper-fraught moment in America's history to be quite convincing about how important, scarifying and horrifying and … more
THE MOUNTAINS WILD by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Minotaur). Beautifully written, realistic first mystery of a series. Set in New York and Dublin, told in first person by an Irish-American police detective … more
THE KILL CHAIN by Christian Brose (Hachette). A sophisticated but intelligible introduction to cyberwarfare, for nongeeks and not only for professionals, by any means—but let's hope some in our … more
A PRIVATE CATHEDRAL by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster). The big new Dave Robicheaux crime epic (but then, more)—as always, self-contained, can be read as a stand-alone. And after all these years … more
THESE WOMEN by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco/HarperCollins). This is Pochoda's third novel—I haven't seen her earlier two, but this one is really strong, with character depth and emotional complexity and … more
DARK MIRROR: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State by Barton Gellman (Penguin). There is a portrait of Snowden, here, at no great length but thoughtful and in depth enough to confirm … more
THE HOUSE OF DEEP WATER by Jeni McFarland (Putnam). Hardly a commanding recommendation for me to say that a novel gets real life in a small middle-western town really right. I couldn't get out of … more
BECOMING WILD: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace by Carl Safina (Holt). Enormously gifted explainer, clarifier, of natural history. And a writer both welcoming and … more
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