Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Seven top workplace thrillers

Chandler Baker lives in Austin with her husband and toddler where she also works as a corporate attorney. Whisper Network is her adult debut. Baker is the author of the young adult thriller, Alive, as well as the High School Horror series.

At CrimeReads she tagged seven "workplace thrillers guaranteed to make you feel better about your job," including:
Force of Nature by Jane Harper

This book will make you think twice about going on next year’s corporate retreat. A woman goes missing in the midst of a weekend of team-building exercises and it turns out not only did she not have the rosiest of relationships with her coworkers (#relatable), but she also was onto some less than savory financial behavior by the company’s CEO. Harper revisits Aaron Falk, who is one of my favorite book detectives and some readers might remember from the book, The Dry, which—bonus points—will soon be a movie starring Eric Bana. So, jump on the bandwagon before it’s cool. Actually, wait, sorry it already is cool, but do it anyway.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top historical novels

The King’s Evil is the third novel in acclaimed author Andrew Taylor's Marwood-and-Lovett series set in the aftermath of the Great Fire, which began with The Ashes of London.

Taylor has won many awards, including the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, an Edgar Scroll from the Mystery Writers of America, the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award (the only author to win it three times) and the CWA’s prestigious Diamond Dagger, awarded for sustained excellence in crime writing.

He lives with his wife Caroline in the Forest of Dean.

At the Waterstones blog Taylor tagged five favorite historical novels, including:
Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian

This is the first novel in the O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series. Read it, and then plunge joyfully into the next nineteen of them. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, the series deals with the adventures of a British naval officer and his ship’s surgeon, a Catalan-Irishman who also works as a spy and as a naturalist. The novels combine an absorbing narrative with a total immersion into another time, another culture.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Aubrey/Maturin Series appears on Jeff Somers's lists of five great books that will expand your vocabulary and top five books and series for old-fashioned adventure in the 19th century, the Telegraph's list of the ten best historical novels, Bella Bathurst's top ten list of books on the sea. Master & Commander is one of Peter Mayle's six best books. Dr Stephen Maturin is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best good doctors in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Eight true crime books that combine the personal and the literary

Lisa Levy is a columnist and contributing editor at LitHub and CrimeReads.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight true crime books that combine the personal and the literary, including:
Beverly Lowry, Crossed Over: A Murder, A Memoir (Vintage)

In this unusual book Lowry, a novelist, recounts the hit-and-run death of her son as she begins to visit one of the most notorious female murders in history, Karla Faye Tucker, who committed her crime in the Houston area where Lowry lived. Tucker, on imprisoned for stabbing two people she was burglarizing with a pickaxe, was an unusual death row inhabitant. Not many women end up on death row, let alone being executed, as Tucker was in late 1984. Lowry begins to visit Tucker because she needed something to help her grieve her lost son, but the friendship Tucker and Lowry develop goes both ways. Tucker also lost a son, Peter, and recounts a biography full of violence and heartbreak which bonds the unlikely pair of women together.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 29, 2019

Piper Kerman's book recommendations

Piper Kerman is the author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison from Spiegel & Grau.

The book has been adapted by Jenji Kohan into an Emmy Award-winning original series for Netflix.

Kerman is a graduate of Smith College. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her family and teaches writing in two state prisons as an Affiliate Instructor with Otterbein University.

At The Week magazine, she recommended six books, including:
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (2013).

This elegiac book stands as a memorial to five young men lost to Ward and to her close-knit small-town community in Mississippi. It is a personal reckoning with death, with family history, with racial inequality, and with the undeniable pull homeward.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight tales of deep, dark family lore

Victoria Helen Stone, formerly writing as USA Today bestselling novelist Victoria Dahl, was born and raised in the flattest parts of the Midwest. Now that she’s escaped the plains of her youth, she writes dark suspense from an upstairs office high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. She enjoys summer trail hikes with her family almost as much as she enjoys staying inside during the winter. Since leaving the lighter side of fiction, she has written the critically acclaimed, bestselling novels Evelyn, After; Half Past; Jane Doe; and her latest Amazon Charts bestseller, False Step.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight favorite crime books that are full of family secrets, including:
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King

A complex true-crime story set in rural Florida during the Jim Crow era, this book tells a brutal tale of racism, rape, murder, and a sheriff famous for his cruel stranglehold on a small town. For some families, justice isn’t nearly as important as keeping their secrets close.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The ten best British political novels

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged ten of the best British political novels, including:
The Line of Beauty
Alan Hollinghurst

A profound panorama of British politics and society in the Thatcherite 1980s, Hollinghurst’s Booker Prize-winning novel sees naïve Nick Guest enter the orbit of a Tory MP and his glamorous family. Politically acute, emotionally nuanced and written with dazzling style and grace, The Line of Beauty is a sophisticated delight and a modern classic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Line of Beauty is among Deborah Parker and Mak Parker's ten biggest bootlickers from literature and history and Kwasi Kwarteng's top ten books about Thatcherism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The five children’s books every adult should read

Katherine Rundell's books include Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), The Wolf Wilder, The Explorer, and The Good Thieves. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Rundell begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.

At the Guardian, Rundell tagged five children’s books every adult should read, including:
One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

In a world that prizes a pose of exhausted knowingness, children’s fiction allows itself the unsophisticated stance of awe. Eva Ibbotson escaped Vienna in 1934, after Hitler declared her mother’s writing illegal; her work is full of an unabashed astonishment at the sheer fact of existence. In One Dog and His Boy, Hal, a child with everything he could wish for except love and care, releases five dogs from the cruel Easy Pets agency. He and his friend Pippa and the small sea of dogs go on the run to his grandparents’ home.

On the way, each dog finds the place in which they can be themselves; the Pekingese Li-Chee, who once guarded the temples of monks, lying at the feet of a girl in a foster home; Francine the poodle, a natural comedian, performing in a travelling circus. It’s a story about finding your place and your people; about not pausing or doubting until you find them.

It’s also, like many of Ibbotson’s books, a shot across the bow at an increasingly consumerist world; Hal’s parents shower goods on him, “a gift pack from Hamley’s and another from Harrods … but in the whole of the house there was nothing that was alive”. It’s a sharp attack on the tide of acquisition that threatens to swamp us; to keep your neck above it, the book tells us, you must find something alive to love, be it beast or man, and hold on with both hands. Keep close, because the world will be cold, and frenetic and plastic, and only with each other will we make it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 26, 2019

Five crime novels about overcoming self-doubt

Kerry Lonsdale is the bestselling author of emotionally charged domestic drama. Brimming with suspense, mystery, and romance, her chart-topping stories take you from the beach, to the bay, and beyond. Her new novel is Last Summer.

At CrimeReads Lonsdale tagged "five favorite page-turners that draw momentum from the protagonist’s quest to overcome their own self-doubts," including:
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper (Crime Thriller)

What a ride! She Rides Shotgun is about family, sacrifice, and yes, another kidnapping thriller. This time, 11-year-old Polly, who doesn’t talk much and is wise beyond her years, is kidnapped from school by her estranged father Nate, recently released from prison and marked for death by the Aryan Brotherhood. The group has already killed Polly’s mom, and Nate suspects Polly is next. What ensues is a pulse-pounding, run-for-their lives adventure of survival. Nate has doubts, about himself, his daughter, and their chances of survival. But as they grow close and form an unlikely father-daughter bond, Nate accepts that he’ll do anything to ensure Polly’s safety. What appealed to me the most about this book is the raw grittiness of the storytelling. The pacing is spot on and the writing style so visceral that I visualized the story unfolding in the vintage, yellow tones reminiscent of 1970s car chasing movies like Dirty Mary Crazy Larry.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Ten top books about Baltimore

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working full-time and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001.

Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards.

Lippman's new novel is Lady in the Lake.

At the Guardian she tagged ten top books about Baltimore, including:
The Corner by David Simon and Ed Burns (1997)

I didn’t know David Simon that well at the Baltimore Sun; he took a buyout in 1995 and began working in television. But in 1997, he published his second non-fiction narrative (co-written by Burns, his collaborator on The Wire) – at about the same time as I published my second novel, so I spent some time hanging out with him in bookstores. The Corner feels – oh, dreaded word, but true here – Dickensian. It’s a sweeping epic about those touched by the drug trade in one west Baltimore neighbourhood. Yes, I married him in 2006, but I think even his enemies have to concede he’s one of the city’s great chroniclers. Um, not that he has any enemies. He is a man of famously mild and easygoing temperament. Pity about the puny backlist.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ten suspenseful horror novels featuring housebound terrors

T. Marie Vandelly has wanted to write her entire life but (after a career change) has only recently been granted the freedom to pursue her dream full-time. She lives on Gwynn’s Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, with her husband and their two dogs. Theme Music is her first novel.

At CrimeReads Vandelly tagged "ten suspenseful horror novels featuring housebound terrors will scare the hell out of your inner child," including:
Attica Locke, The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke finds a single mother, Caren Gray, as the general manager of an antebellum plantation that has been turned into a tourist attraction for destination weddings and historical re-enactments. Having been raised on the grounds by a single mother herself, Caren knows all too well the haunting stories of Belle Vie. When the body of a local migrant is found face down in a ditch at the edge of the property, Caren begins to understand that more than a haunted cabin in the eerily well-persevered slave quarters is threatening her tranquil existence. The past and the present collide as the crime scene further divides two worlds—that of the picturesque plantation and a booming sugar cane industry—neither of which are prepared to give up their rightful claim to the land. But in order to solve one murder, which would save both the plantation and an innocent man, Caren must first solve another, one that might explain the continued and ghostly presence of her great-great-great grandfather, Jason, and expose a shocking secret that has been buried beneath the “loamy topsoil” of Belle Vie for over a century.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Cutting Season is among Wil Medearis's seven favorite novels that explore real estate swindles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Six notable novels involving alternate realities

Helen Phillips's new novel is The Need.

Her other books include a novel, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, a story collection, And Yet They Were Happy, which was named a notable collection by The Story Priz, and the children’s adventure book, Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green.

At The Week magazine, Phillips tagged six top novels involving alternate realities, including:
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017).

In this novel, magical doorways enable people to step from one place on Earth to another, allowing the characters to shift between many different global realities. The conceit serves to collapse our planet, illuminating the challenges refugees face as they search for a feasible future.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 22, 2019

Eight thrillers featuring ambitious women

Layne Fargo is a thriller author with a background in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the cocreator of the podcast Unlikeable Female Characters. Fargo lives in Chicago with her partner and their pets.

Her debut novel is Temper.

At CrimeReads Fargo tagged eight thrillers featuring ambitious women, including:
Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert

As with [Amy Gentry's] Last Woman Standing, Pretty Revenge proves that vengeance and ambition can go hand-in-hand. Kerrie O’Malley wants revenge on Jordana Peterson, who ruined her life when she was young. Kerrie gives herself a chic makeover so she can con her way into a position at Jordana’s wedding concierge company and, hopefully, ruin her life right back. Like most ambitious women, Kerrie is excellent at multi-tasking: sure, she wants to destroy her enemies, but that doesn’t mean she can’t also kill it in her new career.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Twenty books for fans of Hilary Mantel

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged twenty period dramas for fans of Hilary Mantel, including:
Oscar and Lucinda
Peter Carey

A panoramic vision of the nineteenth century in all its bustling, energetic detail, the Booker Prize winning Oscar and Lucinda teems with life and dexterous, interlinking plotlines. Ostensibly charting the eccentric relationship between two inveterate gamblers, Carey’s great novel is a master-class in historical world-building.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Oscar and Lucinda also appears among David Haig's six best books list, Katharine Norbury's top ten books about rivers, the Guardian's ten best unconsummated passions in fiction, and Elise Valmorbida's top ten books on the migrant experience, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best horse races in literature, ten of the best fossils in literature, ten of the best thin men in literature and ten of the best card games in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ten thrillers featuring a dance of girlfriends & deception

Allison Dickson is the author of the new thriller, The Other Mrs. Miller.

Dickson lives in Dayton, Ohio, and when not writing, she is typically gaming, blogging, or exploring.

At CrimeReads, she tagged ten thrillers featuring a dance of girlfriends and deception, including:
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

The challenge with including Abbott on this list was only picking one of her books. Give Me Your Hand centers on Kit and Diane, whose teenage friendship was interrupted when Diane told Kit a chilling secret about her past. Skip several years forward, and now both women are working together in the same lab with that big ugly secret squatting between them, threatening their respective futures and ambitions. Awkward much? Abbott is the queen of crafting these complex female relationships with an institutional backdrop, with a narrative pace and voice that keeps the pages turning long after you tell yourself “one more chapter and then I’ll go to bed.”
Give Me Your Hand is among Carl Vonderau's nine notable moral compromises in crime fiction.

Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 19, 2019

Eleven books celebrating 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing

At the B&N Reads blog Ross Johnson tagged eleven books celebrating 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing, including:
One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon, by Charles Fishman

When President Kennedy challenged us to go to the Moon, no one really knew if it was even possible; nor what the Moon’s surface would really be like; nor how to build a rocket large enough or computer small enough to get us there. Fishman’s book focuses on the people involved: not only the engineers, astronauts, and researchers, but also ordinary Americans like the factory workers (typically women) who sewed spacesuits and parachutes and even computer hardware (which, believe it or not, often involved weaving) by hand. Ultimately, over 400,000 people contributed to the Apollo mission, and many of their stories told here.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ten notable historical crime novels

Laura Purcell worked in local government, the financial industry and a bookshop before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England, with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Fascinated by the darker side of royal history, Purcell has also written two historical fiction novels about the Hanoverian dynasty. Her new novel is The Poison Thread.

At CrimeReads, Purcell tagged a few of her "favorite novels that play with the theme of guilt and will have you questioning your own morality," including:
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

We are often told that evil triumphs when good people do nothing. In her Booker-Prize-winning masterpiece, Atwood explores precisely that. Can you be so caught up in your own life and troubles that your actions inadvertently lead to another’s death?

The tale of sisters Iris and Laura Chase is separated into three narrative threads: Iris’s recollections as an elderly woman, newspaper articles from the past and passages of Laura’s posthumously-published novel. Layer by layer, Atwood peels down to the darkest depths of human nature and its capacity for self-deception. While the story has profound and serious themes, reaching far beyond the relationship between the two sisters, it is nonetheless full of Iris’s acerbic wit.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Blind Assassin is among K Chess's five top fictional books inside of real books, Brendan Mathews's ten epic page-turners, Ciarán Hinds' six favorite books, and Lee Kelly's five favorite books with unforgettable sisters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Seven of the best books about doppelgangers

Laurence Scott’s essays and criticism have appeared on and in the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. He is a lecturer in writing at New York University in London and lives in London.

Scott’s new book is Picnic Comma Lightning: The Experience of Reality in the Twenty-First Century.

At the Guardian, he tagged his favorite books on convincing imposters. One title on the list:
“The real world isn’t just real … It’s virtual too.” So claims a character in Joanna Kavenna’s new tech-dystopian novel Zed, which explores how digital life is making doubles of all of us. With our “real selves” now living alongside our lookalike online avatars, we have domesticated the spooky figure of the doppelganger.

Yet unsettling moral and political questions about the uniqueness of identity will inevitably proliferate in our doubled world of the physical and virtual. Deepfakes threaten to make audiovisual evidence inadmissible in court. Indeed, why should we be held accountable for the slanders, confessions, or virtually violent actions of our rebooted evil twins?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Erin Lee Carr's 6 favorite books

Erin Lee Carr is a director, producer, and writer based in New York City. Named one of the “30 Under 30” most influential people in media by Forbes, Carr directed At the Heart of Gold, about the USA Gymnastics scandal, and I Love You: Now Die, about the Michelle Carter murder-by-texting trial, both for HBO. Her memoir, All That You Leave Behind, deals with the loss of her father and guiding light, former New York Times journalist David Carr.

At The Week magazine Carr shared her six favorite books. One title on the list:
Lit by Mary Karr (2009).

I remember reading this profound memoir of alcoholism while I was struggling with substance abuse myself. Because I identified with a lot of Karr's behaviors and thoughts, Lit gave me insight into what was going on inside my brain and body. I loved and hated and appreciated reading it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Lit is on Lindsay Lohan's jailhouse reading list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 15, 2019

Eleven of the best “ragtag crews” in space opera books

Jeff Somers is the author of Writing Without Rules, the Avery Cates series, The Ustari Cycle, Lifers, and Chum (among many other books) and numerous short stories.

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged eleven of the best “ragtag crews” in space opera books today, including:
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, by Alex White

In a past life, Boots Elsworth was a treasure hunter—one of the best. Now past her prime, Boots has been reduced to selling information about fake salvage opportunities and hoping no one comes back for a refund. But then she unexpectedly stumbles onto some real information: the story of what happened to the legendary warship Harrow, one of the most powerful weapons ever created. And then there’s Nilah Brio, once a famous racer in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation, until she was framed for murder. On the run to prove her innocence, Nilah chases her one lead—the real killer, now hunting someone named Boots Elsworth. They eventually wind up on the same ship, the Capricious, the captain and crew of which have been manipulated by these crafty and desperate women. That crew, and especially the cynical and snarky quartermaster Orna, are ragtag without being silly, presented as individuals who have come together with common purpose and are now faced with an increasingly short list of options and reacting accordingly. It’s terrific stuff—and those titles: book two is A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy and the forthcoming finale promises a visit to The Worst of All Possible Worlds.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

The Page 69 Test: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ten top crime novels with small-town settings and big social issues

Terry Shames grew up in Texas, and her Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, is based on the fascinating people, landscape, and culture of the small town where her grandparents lived.

The first book in the series A Killing at Cotton Hill received the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery of 2013.

The newest (and eighth) book in the series is A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary.

At CrimeReads, Shames tagged ten favorite crime novels that "use small-town settings to explore the day's most important and complex issues," including:
Margaret Maron, Home Fires

Issue: Bigotry

Race is also the subject in Margaret Maron’s Home Fires. Judge Deborah Knott is faced with racism, anger, and betrayal as she tries to see justice done in Colleton Country, North Carolina. The novel deals with church burning, desecration of a family graveyard, secrets and betrayals. In the course of investigating and trying to walk the fine line of the town’s politics, Knott is challenged to reevaluate her own beliefs.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Top ten reads for "Stranger Things" fans

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged ten top books for Stranger Things fans, including:
Neverworld Wake
Marisha Pessl

From the mercurial pen of Marisha Pessl comes a typically polished high concept thriller that will entrance readers of her acclaimed Night Film. A group of friends face an unbearable choice that will see one of them killed – and the others guilty of their murder. Pulsating with jeopardy and finely drawn characters, Neverworld Wake is a chilling literary thrill-ride.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 12, 2019

Seven unlikeable female characters

Kristen Lepionka is the Shamus Award-winning and Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated author of The Last Place You Look and What You Want to See. Her newest Roxane Weary mystery is The Stories You Tell. She grew up mostly in her local public library, where she could be found with a big stack of adult mysteries before she was out of middle school. Lepionka is a co-founder of the feminist podcast Unlikeable Female Characters, and she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats.

One of Lepionka's seven favorite unlikeable women characters, as shared at CrimeReads:
The Best Bad Things (Katrina Carrasco)

A Shamus Award nominee for Best First PI novel, this is a historical mystery featuring a genderqueer investigator in a gritty Washington State port town. Alma is an undercover operative who is credible as a man or as a woman, a useful skill to have in what turns out to be a small world.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ten top books on Burma

David Eimer is the author of the critically acclaimed The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China. A former China correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, Eimer was the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Daily Telegraph between 2012 and 2014. He is currently based in Bangkok.

His new book is A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma.

One of Eimer's top ten books on Burma, as shared at the Guardian:
From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe

Pascal Khoo Thwe writes about his extraordinary journey from Shan state to Cambridge University in prose that makes a nonsense of the fact that English is his “second” language. From his earliest years in a remote village still gripped by the animist beliefs that held sway in Burma before Buddhism arrived, it takes in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising that made Aung San Suu Kyi a global name and his time as a soldier in a rebel army in the jungles of southern Burma. The story would be almost unbelievable if it wasn’t true.
Read about the other entries on the list.

See Rory MacLean's top ten books on Burma.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Nine of the greatest moral compromises in crime fiction

Carl Vonderau is the author of Murderabilia, a thriller that takes place in the upper crust world of private banking. Like the protagonist, William McNary, he has been a private banker and was raised in a Christian Science family.

At CrimeReads Vonderau tagged nine of the greatest moral compromises in crime fiction, including:
Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell

Family loyalty and history are also huge determinants in the work of Daniel Woodrell, who writes wonderful descriptions of the winter landscape in a third-person voice thick with the Ozarks. In Winter’s Bone, Ree Dolly is sixteen. She must protect and care for her mentally ill mother and her two young brothers. Her one hope is to someday be free enough that she can join the army. As the story opens, her father, a meth cooker, has jumped bail and disappeared. A deputy marshall shows up and informs the family that their father put up the house and their timber acres as collateral for the bail bond. If Ree doesn’t make her father show up in court the next week, she, her mother, and her two brothers will lose the little that they own.

Ree must align with the murderers and drug dealers her father worked with in order to find him and save her family. As with Michael Corleone, it is as if a whole society is pulling her back into what she is trying to escape. Through force of will, she manages to convince the criminals around her to rise above their deadened selves and help, perhaps to prove to themselves they are still capable of compassion. This story is a devastating portrait of a society crushed by inescapable drugs and poverty, where violence hides tenderness, and where loyalty to family is everything.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Winter's Bone is among Adam Sternbergh's six top crime novels that double as great literature and Lauren Passell's ten must-read books that take place in the Midwest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Five sweltering Southern Gothic horror novels

At Emily Hughes tagged five deliciously creepy Southern Gothic horror books, including:
Those Across The River by Christopher Buehlman

Christopher Buehlman has been writing world-class horror for years now, and if you haven’t read him yet, it’s time to change that. Those Across the River is a book that never went where I expected it to go, but I loved where it ended up.

Frank Nichols and his not-yet-wife Eudora arrive in Whitbrow, Georgia, in the hopes of a fresh start. Frank has been left the remains of his family’s old estate, where he plans to write the history of his family, particularly his great-grandfather, a slave owner of legendary cruelty and brutality who was killed when those he enslaved rose up and revolted.

But the legacy of the Nichols family’s brutal past lives on in the forest across the river, on the original site of the plantation, and before long, Frank will find out why the townsfolk of Whitbrow send a couple hogs off into the woods every full moon.

Read if you love: Spanish moss, insular small towns with dark secrets, shifters, grappling with the demons of American history in an often literal manner, and stories that will send chills down your spine like condensation down a glass of sweet tea.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 8, 2019

Five great literary dystopias

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged five great literary dystopias, including:
Yevgeny Zamyatin

OneState is a society predicated on mathematical principle and any creativity or independent thinking is brutally stamped out. But when D-503 discovers that he possesses a soul the revelation sets in motion a chain of events that threaten OneState’s very existence. Suppressed for decades by the Soviet authorities, We pioneered the concept of the literary ‘superstate.’
Read about the other entries on the list.

We is among Christopher Hill's top ten books about tyrants, Weston Williams's fifteen classic science fiction books, and Lawrence Norfolk's five most memorable dystopias in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Six novels that examine the dark side of female relationships

Emily Liebert's new novel is Pretty Revenge.

At CrimeReads she tagged six novels that explore the dark side of female relationships, including:
Temper by Layne Fargo (Gallery Books)

Kira, an ambitious actress, has finally landed the role of a lifetime. Unfortunately, she still has to work with the theater’s co-founder, Joanna, who considers Kira a threat to her own foiled artistic ambitions, her perverse relationship with volatile director Malcolm, and the scandalous secret she’s been hiding about the show. With opening night approaching, readers will realize that Malcolm’s perilous disposition is nothing compared to what Kira and Joanna are capable of.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The best books to help with coming out

At the Guardian, Charlotte Mendelson tagged the best books that might help with coming out, including:
[I]f you want to feel that there is hope, despite everything, read Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, a moving, riveting account of how families with children who are different do sometimes find a way through the complexity and increase the world’s sum of love, and pride.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 5, 2019

Ten top Spanish-language authors

At O: The Oprah Magazine, McKenzie Jean-Philippe shared a list of ten Spanish-language authors whose books will change your literary world. One entry on the list:
Rosa Montero

Notable works: The Cannibal's Daughter, The Crazed Woman Inside Me, The Story of the Translucent King

A renowned journalist and long-time correspondent for Spain's El Pais newspaper, Montero's award-winning contemporary fiction is delves into the complexities of femininity and the rollercoasters of emotions and responsibilities that come with it. She's won Spain's Qué Leer Prize and has won multiple awards in journalism.
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--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Six mysteries that capture the essence of England's capital

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. Sweet Little Lies is her first novel.

Frear's new book is Stone Cold Heart, her second novel featuring DC Cat Kinsella.

At CrimeReads the author tagged six mysteries that capture the essence of London, including:
London Rules, by Mick Herron.

London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one: Cover your arse.

I’ve chosen London Rules, the fifth in the Jackson Lamb spy series, simply because of the obvious nod to the capital, but frankly, any of these novels can be picked up for a lesson in how to blend character and setting and lace it with a huge dollop of humour. The series follows the misfortunes of a number of exiled M15 agents (exiled for good reason) and at the heart of the rabble is head spook, Jackson Lamb—foul-mouthed, obnoxious with questionable personal hygiene standards. London Rules follows Lamb’s crew on the trail of a terrorist cell, with Herron perfectly capturing the zeitgeist along the way. Brexit. Addiction. Trial by media. Nothing is off limits. I defy anyone not to enjoy this series.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Nineteen self-love books that will lift you up

At O; The Oprah Magazine Sharon Choe and McKenzie Jean-Philippe tagged nineteen of the best self-love books. One title on the list:
The Course of Love by Alain De Botton

In this novel, Alain de Botton—the philosopher who founded the global emotional intelligence organization The School of Life—explores the oft-overlooked story of what happens after you fall in love through the lives of a modern couple in Edinburgh.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue