If anyone is well positioned to convince people that the threat of a blackout-inducing cyberattack on America is real, it’s Ted Koppel. A respected and award-winning journalist, longtime “Nightline” anchor and current news analyst for NPR and the BBC, Koppel has the credibility and visibility to both conduct a thorough investigation and broadcast the results widely. In this clear-eyed analysis of the pending threat of cyberattacks and our government’s shockingly insufficient plans for surviving them, Koppel crunches the numbers that make a doomsday scenario look not only possible, but likely.
Tightly paced and furiously entertaining, The Witch of Lime Street tells the fascinating story of the rise of spiritualism in the years after World War One. With an entire generation lost to the trenches and the Spanish flu, charlatans and hucksters emerged in force to put grieving families in touch with their beloved dead. This was the era of séances, table rapping, ectoplasm and “spirit photography”—done with a camera that supposedly captured an image of you posing with your dearly departed’s ghost.
After the Germans occupied Paris in 1940, Dr. Sumner Jackson, a high-profile American-born surgeon, found himself in the perilous position of living a few doors down fashionable Avenue Foch from the Gestapo headquarters.
It’s hard to follow a debut that immediately became an international phenomenon, was published in 40 countries and is in the works to become a movie (hopefully with the same mind-blowing visual effects Warner Bros. brought to movies like Inception, The Lego Movie and The Matrix). The thing that made Ernest Cline’s first book, Ready Player One, so good was a nearly impossible balance between where-the-hell-did-that-come-from originality and the familiarity of Gen-X pop-culture references. There’s no such balance in his second novel, Armada. Familiarity surpasses originality—intentionally.
This month's best new mysteries include four top-notch, globe-trotting tales that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Jean Perdu is a self-described literary apothecary. From his barge-turned-bookshop on the Seine, he doesn’t just sell books; he prescribes them as a pharmacist prescribes medicines, matching books to their perfect readers to help customers overcome life’s difficulties. And he does so with near perfect success. The only exception to the rule is Perdu himself.
When eight-year-old Carolyn stood in the kitchen in her home, helping her mother make potato salad for a Labor Day picnic, she had no idea her life was going to change drastically in a few short hours. Soon, she and several other children from her quiet suburban neighborhood of Garrison Oaks would be orphaned and forced into apprenticeships with a man who could raise the dead and make light from darkness.
In his novels, Peter Clines likes to dwell in the overlap of genre niches. With his Ex-Heroes series, Clines has created a world where super heroes are a thing, but so is the zombie apocalypse. In 14, he keeps things apocalyptic in flavor, but adds a healthy dose of building-based horror. With his latest, Clines seems to have shifted course a few degrees once more.
A powerful read from an impressive new voice, Freedom’s Child is an intricate portrait of a crass, swears-like-a-sailor woman who has lost everything and is fueled by an unabated fervor to find her daughter.
If you’re searching for a gift for dear ol’ dad, two celebrity memoirs and two accounts of unusual personal quests are among our recommendations for a Father’s Day reading list.