January books

The Arts

January 2, 2020

Notable new releases

compiled by Sally Brewster

American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins 

Lydia Pérez lives in Acapulco, where she runs a bookstore, and her life with her son and journalist husband is fairly comfortable. One day, a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy, two of them her favorites. Javier is charming and well-read, but unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. Lydia’s husband publishes a tell-all profile of Javier, and none of their lives will ever be the same. After her extended family is executed, Lydia and her 8-year-old son Luca are forced to run from the city. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia — trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people heading north, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed — see why John Grisham, Stephen King, Ann Patchett and many others are declaring American Dirt the book of the year.

Long Bright River, by Liz Moore

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. Kacey lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. Mickey walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling. Then Kacey disappears, and at the same time a mysterious string of murders occurs. Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit — and her sister — before it’s too late. Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction and the formidable ties that persist between place, family and fate. Perfect for fans of Michael Connolly or Dennis Lehane.

Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict 

Marie Benedict always dreamed of unearthing and writing hidden historical histories of women when she was working as a corporate lawyer. Her fourth book is a compulsive, thrilling novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill.In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston, and an angry woman emerges from the crowd, attacking and shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband. Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.

Agency, by William Gibson 

William Gibson has been looking to the future for decades, writing about the internet before there was one in his debut novel Neuromancer. His new book is about Verity, an app whisperer, who is hired to test a new AI called Eunice and who quickly realizes that she is working with the very latest in artificial intelligence. Eunice is a self-learning agent; a cross-platform, individual user-based, autonomous avatar; sentient and self-aware. Eunice has different plans for Verity, and the two go off the grid in a page-turning adventure.

Big Lies in A Small Town, by Diane Chamberlain

When Morgan Christopher’s life was derailed after taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career as an artist is put on hold — until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment is to restore an old post-office mural in the sleepy southern town of Edenton. Although she knows nothing about art restoration, she is desperate to leave the prison, so she accepts the offer. What is found under the layers of grime is a painting that was part of the WPA in the 1930s, unearthing a story of madness, violence and a conspiracy of secrets.

High Five, by Joe Ide 

In Joe Ide’s stellar fourth IQ novel, genius detective Isaiah Quintabe, who usually helps those in need in his impoverished East Long Beach, Calif., neighborhood, takes on a paying client. Angus Byrne, a vicious white supremacist who’s also a major arms dealer, wants Isaiah to investigate the shooting murder of an employee, Tyler Barnes. A wonderful, page-turning series inspired by Joe Ide’s love of Sherlock Holmes is a welcome addition to the genre.  SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com

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