Novelist J. Ryan Stradal spent months working on his vibrant first novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, without ever knowing if anything would come of it.
A world-famous actor (a former Disney Channel star who’s back for a reunion special—think Ryan Gosling meets Justin Timberlake) walks into the small-town Florida bar where three 19-year-old friends are drinking their way through another dull night.
Kevin Kwan is not where one might expect to find a best-selling, New York City-dwelling author. “I’m taking a little break before the craziness of three solid months of touring,” Kwan says from an undisclosed southwestern location far, far away from Manhattan. “I thought I’d look at rabbits frolicking in a field for a while first.”
When Judy Blume was a teenager in Elizabeth, New Jersey, three commercial jets crashed in her town within months of each other, each narrowly avoiding schools and orphanages. In retrospect, it’s shocking that she hasn’t considered telling this dramatic story before. But only now has Blume written about it in a novel, In the Unlikely Event.
Teddy Todd, who first appeared in Kate Atkinson’s thrilling Life After Life (2013), served as a British pilot in World War II. As a young man in the throes of a brutal war, he “didn’t expect to see the alchemy of spring, to see the dull brown earth change to bright green and then pale gold.”
In Where They Found Her, former lawyer Kimberly McCreight tells the story of a small town that’s rocked by an unthinkable crime. We asked McCreight, who hit the bestseller list with her debut, Reconstructing Amelia, a few questions about this shocking and suspenseful second novel.
The body of a newborn girl has been found in an idyllic New Jersey town. It’s not the best assignment for a newspaper reporter who so recently delivered a stillborn child, but Molly Sanderson wants to prove to her editor that she can cover hard news. So—despite her husband Justin’s trepidation that covering this story might cause Molly to lapse back into serious depression—she dives in, determined to find out how the child ended up abandoned beneath a bridge.
Lizzie Vogel has grown up in what she, even at age 9, understands is “a very good situation.” She has a nice home with a nanny and a chauffeur, two siblings and a dog. Then one day, her mother learns that Lizzie’s father has had an affair. The next thing Lizzie knows, her parents have split and she has been shuffled off to live in the country with her mother, brother and sister.
This radiant collection of short stories features a set of flawed yet sympathetic women in a whole mess of compromising positions.
With The Girl on the Train, British author Paula Hawkins has written one of those books with a plot so delicious, you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.