Diana Morgan has focused her career as a philologist (one who engages in the study of literary text and written records), on the Amazons, the legendary warrior women of ancient Greece—and with good reason. They’re rooted in her own family history. Before disappearing without a trace, Diana’s grandmother used to regale her with stories about the lost tribe of warrior women.
There’s nothing more peaceful than a 3 A.M. jog on an ocean boardwalk with waves lapping in the distance and no one around—or is there? In Runner, the debut novel in Patrick Lee’s new thriller series, retired special forces op Sam Dryden finds he’s not jogging alone but running for his life, along with a young stranger—an 11-year-old girl who’s fleeing from some smart, devious pursuers . . .
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, March 2014
Alice Hoffman’s latest novel has the word “extraordinary” in the title for good reason: The best-selling author of The Dovekeepers has served up another historical novel that will dazzle readers until the last page.
The term “Middle Ages” contains a prejudice: that the era was merely an unremarkable void straddling antiquity and modernity. Recent scholarship has eroded this perception. The era produced Dante, Chaucer and Boccaccio as well as significant leaps in mathematics and even algorithms and cryptography. It was, moreover, a time when the lust for life was great and the powerful had lust aplenty. Bruce Holsinger’s captivating historical novel A Burnable Book is testimony to this more accurate view of a fascinating period.
William Shaw, an award-winning pop-culture journalist, does a standout job with his debut novel, She’s Leaving Home. This British crime thriller has a compelling whodunit plot staged in ’60s London, rampant with racism, sexism and an ever-growing counterculture of groupies clinging to the belief that love is all you need.
As World War II is to the United States, a conflict endlessly memorialized, representing the nation's crowning achievement before its inevitable decline, so World War I is to Great Britain. Little surprise, then, that on the latter war's centennial, another novel that centers on it should appear: Wake, by British author Anna Hope. As the homonym title suggests, however, Wake is less about the war than its aftermath. It's also less about men than women.
A middle-aged and miserable American woman reaches the end of her mental rope and absconds to some foreign or underdeveloped place to find herself—and possibly a mate. This new genre encompasses the wildly popular if dissimilar Eat, Pray, Love and Wild. Add to these a novel, A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker, where the unlikely foreign setting is Myanmar, aka Burma.
Maya Banks is a powerhouse contemporary romance and erotica writer whose Breathless Trilogy sprinted to the top of several bestseller lists. Because Banks is renown for her explicitly steamy love scenes and suspenseful storytelling, the launch of a new series is a highly anticipated event. Her latest novel, Letting Go—the first in her new Surrender Trilogy—definitely delivers the heat. (In fact, be advised that it contains graphic erotic content à la Fifty Shades of Grey.)
Who knew that in 2014, with the book world awash in knit-and-craft cozies, Scandinavian noir and genre detectives competing with hot new sleuths of every description, there’d be room for a couple of fresh, intriguing characters, or a series with both dark local realism and laugh-out-loud moments? It’s all here, in M.R.C. Kasasian’s immensely pleasurable debut mystery, The Mangle Street Murders.
Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it can also make the mind grow suspicious. That’s what happens in Laura Lippman’s insightful new mystery, After I’m Gone, when the wealthy, charming Felix Brewer chooses to escape his shady past by simply disappearing. While Felix makes a clean getaway, it’s not so easy for his widow, daughters and mistress to pick up the pieces of the schemes and dreams he has left in his wake.