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March 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more The Reading List
Broken Monsters. By Lauren Beukes. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $26 (9780316216821).
Detroit serves as the economically battered backdrop of this inventive, visceral suspense story about a series of bizarre murders that draws a group of memorable characters into a complex web of violence. Smart, stylish, and addictive, this page-turner shows how the American Dream has failed many on a personal level.
Read-alikes: Kathe Koja’s Skin, Donato Carrisi’s The Whisperer, and True Detective (TV series, HBO).
Shortlist: Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King (Scribner); The Runner, by Patrick Lee (Minotaur); The Son, by Jo Nesbø (Knopf); Those Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown).
The Goblin Emperor. By Katherine Addison. Tor, $25.99 (9780765326997).
Following the sudden, suspicious deaths of his entire family, exiled half-goblin Maia becomes emperor, a role requiring diplomacy and adherence to strict protocols. Focusing on the intricacies of court life, this elegant novel unfolds at a pace that allows readers to savor the rich tapestry of character, setting, and plot.
Read-alikes: Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Spirit Ring, Kate Elliott’s Cold Magic, and Melanie Rawn’s The Ruins of Ambrai.
Shortlist: Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey); Hot Lead, Cold Iron, by Ari Marmell (Titan); The Paper Magician, by Charlie N. Holmberg (Amazon/47 North); Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen (HarperCollins)
Bitter Greens. By Kate Forsyth. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $25.99 (9781250047533).
Banished from the court of Versailles, spirited Charlotte-Rose de la Force meets a nun who weaves together the strands that form the Rapunzel fairy tale, revealing its surprising origins. A captivating marriage of history and folklore featuring characters true to their time periods yet timeless in their dreams and desires.
Read-alikes: Sarah Dunant’s In the Company of the Courtesan, Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, and Vonda McIntyre’s The Moon and the Sun.
Shortlist: Flight of the Sparrow, by Amy Belding Brown (NAL); Hild, by Nicola Griffith (Farrar); Wayfaring Stranger, by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster); The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress, by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday).
The Lesser Dead. By Christopher Buehlman. Berkley, $25.95 (9780425272619).
Beneath the streets of 1970s New York, Joey meets the merry children, a gang of ancient child vampires, and discovers that immortality isn’t all fun and games. Gritty, clever, and gonzo, this fresh take on the vampire mythos gets darker and creepier as the pages turn.
Read-alikes: John Skipp and Craig Spector’s The Light at the End, Michael Rowe’s Enter Night, and Chuck Wendig’s Double Dead.
Shortlist: Butcher’s Road, by Lee Thomas (Lethe); Horrorstor, by Grady Hendrix (Quirk); The Supernatural Enhancements, by Edgar Cantero (Doubleday); The Troop, by Nick Cutter (Orbit).
Murder at the Brightwell. By Ashley Weaver. Minotaur, $24.99 (9781250046369).
This classic English mystery follows Amory and her estranged husband, Milo, whose paths cross at a seaside resort where suspicious deaths implicate Amory’s former fiance, Gil. A vivid mystery that sparkles with personality as Amory and Milo puzzle out the truth behind the murders and negotiate their own complicated relationship.
Read-alikes: Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence series, Kerry Greenwood’s Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery, and Walter Satterthwait’s Escapade.
Shortlist: Wolf, by Mo Hayder (Atlantic Monthly); A Burnable Book, by Bruce Holsinger (Morrow); Talus and the Frozen King, by Graham Edwards (Solaris); The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man, by W. Bruce Cameron (Forge).
A Bollywood Affair. By Sonali Dev. Kensington, paper, $15 (9781617730139).
Comic misunderstandings ensue when playboy Bollywood director Samir travels to America to secure an annulment for his brother, married at age four to Mili in a traditional arranged Indian wedding ceremony. Appealing protagonists, a diverse supporting cast, and a colorful multicultural backdrop lend this charming story unexpected emotional depth.
Read-alikes: Bride and Prejudice (Miramax Films, 2004, dir. Gurinder Chadha), Nell Freudenberger’s The Newlyweds, and Sundari Venkatraman’s The Malhotra Bride.
Shortlist: My Beautiful Enemy, by Sherry Thomas (Berkley); It Happened One Wedding, by Julie James (Jove); The Raider, by Monica McCarty (Ballantine); Three Weeks with Lady X, by Eloisa James (Avon).
The Martian. By Andy Weir. Crown, $24 (9780804139021).
Stranded on Mars, wisecracking botanist Mark Watney proves that an astronaut has to be smart, resourceful, and, perhaps, a little crazy to survive. Strong characterization, well-researched but accessible technical detail, and a deft blend of suspense and humor will please science enthusiasts and fans of survival stories on any planet.
Read-alikes: Gravity (Warner Brothers, 2013, dir. Alfonso Cuarón); Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, and Robert Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky.
Shortlist: Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar); Fortune’s Pawn, by Rachel Bach (Orbit); Lock In, by John Scalzi (Tor); Shovel Ready, by Adam Sternbergh (Crown).
My Real Children. By Jo Walton. Tor, $25.99 (9780765332653).
Patricia Cowan, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, remembers two different lives, two different careers, two different families, and two different worlds. A striking novel of how tragedy turns to joy and heartbreak turns to love, with a narrative twist that hooks the reader and never lets go.
Read-alikes: Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life; Sliding Doors (Miramax Films, 1998, dir. Peter Howitt); Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Shortlist: After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Washington Square); The House We Grew Up In, by Lisa Jewell (Atria); How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran (Harper); The Story Hour, by Thrity Umrigar (Harper).
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