Novel

Nix The Nix

Nix The Nix

The Nix by Nathan Hill was the It book of late summer. Everywhere you turned there was effusive praise and comparisons to John Irving and Charles Dickens, and while I can generally avoid these kinds of books, the author’s local connection (he’s on leave from a teaching gig at St.…
The Masked City

The Masked City

At the end of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, a book I really enjoyed, we uncover a secret about librarian Irene’s assistant Kai. His secret plays a big part in book two of the Invisible Library series, The Masked City. In The Masked City, we begin by seeing that…
Not the GenX Novel I was Looking For

Not the GenX Novel I was Looking For

When I read a review of Alice Adam’s Invincible Summer that described it as a novel that attempts to define a generation, specifically GenX, I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough. I’m all in for GenX novels, being a GenXer myself and kind of loving the zeitgeist we…
Dark Matter

Dark Matter

I’d never heard of Blake Crouch until I stumbled upon the TV show “Wayward Pines.” I don’t remember exactly what episode I stopped watching the show, but it was the one where they revealed the big secret I know would’ve looked way better in my head than it did on…
All the Pretty Words

All the Pretty Words

Tess is a twenty-two-year-old running from, I think, boredom, claiming she was reborn when she crossed the George Washington bridge. Upon arriving in New York City, Tess gets a job at one of the best restaurants in town. The kind of restaurant where “back waiters” can make $60K a year,…
A Few Thoughts on Recently Read Mysteries

A Few Thoughts on Recently Read Mysteries

I’ve become intrigued by mysteries lately. Mostly since one of my writing group friends mentioned how he was writing a bunch of “work for hire” choose-your-own-adventure mysteries. I was confounded by the idea. Writing a choose your own adventure book sounds really hard and then to make it a mysteries…
Underground Airlines

Underground Airlines

In Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, slavery still exists in the United States. This alternate history imagines a world where four southern states, called the “Hard Four,” still enslave black people because instead of losing many lives in the Civil War, the United States came to an agreement: leave the…
Smug Narrator Ruins Everything

Smug Narrator Ruins Everything

First things first, Wendy Walker’s All is Not Forgotten starts with a pretty graphic description of rape. Teenage Jenny Kramer is brutally raped for an hour outside a party in her affluent Connecticut town. When her parents get to the hospital where their daughter has been taken they are given…
Sticking the Landing

Sticking the Landing

Not much will keep Katie and Eric Knox from helping their fifteen-year-old achieve her Olympic gymnastics dream — not mountains of credit card debt, falling apart cars, or their younger son, maybe not even murder. Things are going swell for Katie and Eric and their coterie of gymnastic boosters, coaches,…
Crash Landing

Crash Landing

There are two great, gripping scenes in Noah Hawley’s novel Before the Fall. I’ll tell you about the first, but not the second. The second offers the story’s only startling, intake of breath moment, and I won’t dash that for book hounds interested in how the “Fargo” TV series creator…
All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls

I heard about All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda everywhere, but reviews were mixed. Some people hated that this mystery was told backwards. Some people loved that. Some people didn’t like the characters; others loved them. And even though I laughed when Kirkus said, “Feel free to give these…
Mystery at a Northwestern Minnesota Lake

Mystery at a Northwestern Minnesota Lake

Lucy Evans is the last of the Evans sisters and as she’s dying she writes her life story, recalling the summer of 1935 when her younger sister Emily mysteriously disappeared at the family’s lake home in Northwestern Minnesota. Upon Lucy’s death in 1999, Justine, a single mother living in San…