Though they often deal in dark themes—humanity’s rampant destruction of the earth is a common backdrop—Lydia Millet’s books are also, paradoxically, hilarious. Granted, it’s a grim humor, laced with sadness—but even so, it’s probably no surprise that the author in conversation is warm-voiced and inclined toward laughter.
Three novels exploring the confines of art and artistry make great picks for reading groups this month.
The Killer Next Door is the second thriller by Alex Marwood (aka Brit novelist Serena Mackesy), whose first novel, The Wicked Girls (2013), won an Edgar for Best Paperback Original.
Elephant Beach used to sparkle. Before the boardwalks rotted and the hotels and mansions along the bay boarded up their windows, there were ballrooms, parties, dancing. Now, the town smells of cigarettes. The streets are filled with drugs. Haunting screams accompany moonlight as traumatized veterans relive pieces of Vietnam in their sleep.
A blend of mystery, supernatural tale and love story, The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man borrows from several genres but ultimately gets by on its humor. W. Bruce Cameron, best known for his dog-centered fiction series and the memoir 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, uses his own past as a repo man to craft the character of Ruddy McCann, failed college football star who now plays the sometimes dangerous game of seizing autos from their delinquent owners.
Curtis and Kathleen Kaufman are living every parent’s worst nightmare: Their son Daniel, a musical prodigy attending Oberlin College, was mowed down by a drunk driver. In The Fragile World, Paula Treick DeBoard explores the aftermath of this shattering event.
In his 2009 bestseller One Day, British actor-turned-screenwriter-turned-novelist David Nicholls traced the inevitable romantic collision of star-crossed college acquaintances via snapshots, taken on the same calendar date each year, over their 20-year journey to togetherness.
And so Netherton enlists Flynne in an investigation in his world that could never have been possible in hers. Leave it to Gibson to break down our innate resistance to time travel by using our uncertainty about the mechanics of high-speed computing to make the impossible seem plausible.
It’s rare to find two successful writers in one household, and even more rare when both authors have new books published at the same time. But for Tasha Alexander and Andrew Grant, it’s all part of the everyday reality (and delight) of being a married couple who share the same profession: writing novels.
This fast-paced and gripping novel is part thriller, part crime story, part mystery. It tells the story of Bobby Drake, a deputy sheriff in a small Pacific Northwest town trying to outlive the sins of his larger-than-life father, Patrick. He is doing a good job of it, until his father is let out of prison and the cycle of crime and violence begins again—threatening the peaceful existence Bobby has created.