The Civil War has been over for five years, but half a decade is not enough time to rid America of the demons the war left behind. Postbellum Philadelphia is populated by families mourning their lost sons, and streets full of men with missing limbs serves as a reminder that time does not heal all wounds. Such is the backdrop for Alan Finn’s Things Half in Shadow, full of spellbinding tales of the supernatural.
This exciting historical novel is about mountain man and trapper Hugh Glass, who is working for the newly formed American Fur Company, founded in 1823 and owned by Jacob Astor when beaver pelts were worth serious cash. For men like Glass, there’s serious pressure to produce pelts and a profit for the young business—even it if means entering the land of the hostile Ariakra tribe.
Of the dramatic plot twists that routinely occur in suspense fiction, one character in Harriet Lane’s Her complains that they are “unsatisfying . . . nothing like life, which—it seems to me—turns less on shocks or theatrics than on the small quiet moments, misunderstandings or disappointments, the things that it’s easy to overlook.” Lane’s novel, in which a vengeful woman infiltrates the life of an old acquaintance, features many potential shocks. But Her eschews cheap drama, instead building suspense by shedding light on two women’s inner worlds.
It’s no easy feat to cast a German who admits to cheering Hitler’s election as the lead detective in a murder mystery. But readers quickly discover that little is as it seems in this dark historical thriller based on an actual gruesome crime spree that shook Nazi Germany in the months before the U.S. entered World War II.
The first book in a new crime series, Winter at the Door introduces Lizzie Snow, a Boston cop turned police chief, now ensconced in the remote town of Bearkill in northern Maine’s Aroostook County, which runs right up against the Canadian border. Bearkill barely manages the necessities with a supermarket, Laundromat, luncheonette and corner bar appropriately named Area 51.
Scott Blackwood’s latest addition to the Texas literary canon, See How Small, is a brilliant, heartbreaking meditation on grief, parenthood and time.
Edith Pearlman has been publishing award-winning stories since the late 1970s, but became more widely known in 2012, when her story collection Binocular Vision won both the PEN/Malamud and National Book Critics Circle awards and was a finalist for numerous others. Her new collection, Honeydew, gathers tales from the last 15 years, each one a closely observed look at the ordinary graces and sorrows of everyday life.
Tim Johnston’s latest novel has an unusual take on the parent’s-worst-nightmare scenario of child abduction. He doesn’t focus so much on the abductee, Caitlin Courtland, but instead on what Caitlin’s disappearance does to the men in her life.
The stories we consume in youth—whether through books, television, film or song—often become the defining narrative of our lives. A shared affection draws people together, and a mention of a character or a trace of a lyric can immediately transport us to another place and time.
Mr. Heming, the narrator of A Pleasure and a Calling, is more than an uninvited guest: He’s the guest you never knew you had. Channeling the socially detached and unnerving personality of Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, Phil Hogan creates a character that will inspire intrigue as well as ire.