Naomi Jackson's The Star Side of Bird Hill is a lush and lyrical debut set in Barbados during the summer of 1989. Ten-year-old Phaedra and her 16-year-old sister Dionne are sent away from their home in Brooklyn to spend some time with their maternal grandmother, Hyacinth, in the Caribbean, but neither girl is quite prepared for what the summer holds in store. Jackson centers her tale around four women in the same family, but from four different generations, and acutely sifts through the emotional landscapes of coming-of-age, claiming a cultural identity, grief and mental illness while including plenty of moments of brash humor and poetic insight. We asked Jackson a few questions about her own ties to Barbados, her writing process, what she's working on next and more.
Antonio Hill follows up his Spanish sun-soaked crime debut The Summer of Dead Toys with his second Inspector Salgado mystery, The Good Suicides. A cryptic and unnerving message is sent to a select group of managers at a cosmetics company: a horrifying photo of dogs hanging from a tree accompanied by the line, "Never forget." Soon, those on the receiving end of the email begin committing suicide in grotesquely creative ways, and the rattled Salgado is thrust into the investigation. We caught up with Hill and chatted about Barcelona's best (and not-so-great) qualities, his work in literary translation and more in a 7 questions interview.
Malla Nunn's fourth Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper novel, Present Darkness, is our June Whodunit Top Pick! Set in 1953 Johannesburg during the early years of Apartheid, DS Cooper is grappling with the secret of his mixed race identity while aiding in a highly publicized murder investigation. But when one of the suspects turns out to be the son of Cooper's friend, Zulu DS Samuel Shabalala, Cooper can't shake the feeling that police corruption is playing a part. Our columnist, Bruce Tierney, can't get enough of Nunn's "fast-paced, intricate storylines . . . deeply flawed hero and Oscar-worthy cast of supporting characters."
Katherine Hall Page’s award-winning Faith Fairchild mysteries have delighted readers since 1991, when she released her debut, The Body in the Belfry, and introduced the world to her charming caterer and sleuth. Small Plates, Page’s first collection of short stories, is filled with wit and intricately spun mysteries, along with decadent descriptions of all things culinary. While Faith makes plenty of appearances in stories such as “The Body in the Dunes,” new characters shine just as brightly in “The Would-Be Widower” and “Hiding Places.” Cozy mystery lovers are sure to find a tale to sate their appetite here.
British author Emma Healey may be only 29 years old, but she has created a poignant portrait of a woman with dementia in her luminous debut novel, which contains a double mystery.
Was there a specific inspiration for the character of Maud?
Although my father’s mother, Nancy, has dementia and her experiences gave me ideas for some of the scenes in the book, it was my mother’s mother, Vera, who most influenced the character of Maud.
Peter Robinson's absorbing new novel, Children of the Revolution, is our April Top Pick in Mystery! In a 7 questions interview, Robinson shares his thoughts on keeping his beloved character fresh, the Inspector Banks television series and more.
As a investigator who specializes in death penalty cases, Rene Denfeld had a wealth of real-life material to draw on when she wrote her first novel, The Enchanted, which is set on death row in a crumbling prison. A mute inmate narrates this mesmerizing story in which love and unimaginable horror coincide, making for a uniquely powerful page-turner.