Stratford, Sarah-Jane. Radio Girls.

NY: New American Library, 2016.

It’s the fall of 1926 and young Maisie Musgrave, born in Toronto and raised in New York by whomever her actress mother was able to dump her on, has returned to her adopted home of London. Moreover, after several years as one of the barely-working poor, she has just been hired as a secretary at the four-year-old BBC up on Savoy Hill. Mostly, she’s the typing assistant to the executive assistant to the Director General, John Reith, who hates being forced to hire so many women.

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Atwood, Margaret. Moral Disorder and Other Stories.

NY: Random House, 2006.

To my mind, Margaret Atwood is one of the very best living writers in English and has been for some time. Her novels are never less than first-rate, and so too are most of her short stories. Not that many people are equally good at both. This volume actually falls somewhere between the two forms. The stories were written and originally published separately, and over a period of years, but they all are episodes from the life of Nell, a Canadian woman now (apparently) in her seventies, as she looks back and remembers her life.

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Published in: on 16 April 2018 at 4:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Egan, Jennifer. Manhattan Beach.

NY: Scribner, 2017.

I was aware that one of Egan’s previous novels had won a Pulitzer, and that the others had all been shortlisted for one major award or another, but somehow, I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading any of them until now. But I’m a sucker for a good historical, and this one is set on the Brooklyn home front during World War II, and it’s extremely well written.

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Moebius. The World of Edena.

Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2016.

Like most Americans of my generation, I first discovered French graphic novelist Moebius (whose real name was Jean Giraud, and who died in 2012) in the highly innovative and much-mourned Heavy Metal Magazine. His work, like that of his European peers, was a far cry from the DC approach to comics. This epic (it runs to 360 pages) started out in 1983 as a contracted series for the Citroen car company, whose vehicles were always very “French” in design. But then it took off on its own and the resultant volume became an overnight collector’s item.

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Published in: on 10 April 2018 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lovesey, Peter. Another One Goes Tonight.

NY: Soho Press, 2016.

When this series started, back in the early ’90s, I wasn’t at all sure it was going to work. Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, head of Bath CID, in the West Country, was an abrasive and overweight bully. In fact, his high-handedness got him sacked and he spent the second book working security for a London department store. But Lovesey got him under control and Diamond settled down to a continuing and successful police career chronicled in writing and plots of generally high quality.

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Corey, James S. A. Nemesis Games.

NY: Little, Brown, 2015.

This is the fifth volume in what has become one of the best-written space opera adventures to appear in many years. By this point, the reader has become thoroughly invested in the four main characters, as well as the half-dozen recurring supporting players, and there’s a tendency to hold one’s breath at key points in the story — because there’s never a guarantee than everyone will survive.

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Griffiths, Elly. A Room Full of Bones.

NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

This is the fourth in the series featuring Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist — a bone specialist — working in Norfolk and living in near-isolation out on the edge of the Saltmarsh. She’s become a regular consultant for the cops, in the person of DCI Harry Nelson — by whom she also managed to get pregnant, but he’s married so she’s now also a single mother, something that doesn’t really come naturally to her.

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Grisham, John. Sycamore Row.

NY: Doubleday, 2013.

Many of Grisham’s non-courtroom-oriented stories are lightweight and rather fluffy, but he’s also capable of solid writing, tense plotting, and very well-drawn characters. This one, happily, is one of those. It’s also a semi-sequel to his very first book, A Time to Kill, set in small-town northern Mississippi, an area the author knows well. It’s 1988, only a few years after the sensational trial detailed in the earlier book, in which defense attorney Jake Brigance had his house burned down and his dog killed by the KKK for defending a black man who had killed a white man in revenge.

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Belle, Kimberly. The Marriage Lie.

NY: MIRA, 2016.

This appears to be the author’s third novel, though it’s the first I’ve of her, and she certainly knows how to write an exciting and occasionally emotionally wrenching story. Iris and Will have been very happily married and living in Atlanta for the past seven years and they’ve finally decided to start trying for a family. Will is a software designer of considerable skill and he’s flying off to be keynote speaker at a professional conference in Orlando — but then a plane from the same airline bound for Seattle goes down and Will’s name is on the manifest. Iris is devastated. It can’t be him, right? Why would he have been going to Seattle?

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Published in: on 27 March 2018 at 5:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Connelly, Michael. Two Kinds of Truth.

NY: Little, Brown, 2017.

Harry Bosch, longtime star of homicide for the LAPD, may be retired now but he hasn’t quit. He did the private eye thing for a little while, then found a home as an unpaid volunteer detective for the tiny San Fernando PD out in the Valley. He’s pursuing cold cases (using a cell in the old, now unused jail as an office), helping out with new cases that come up, and also mentoring their young and relatively inexperienced detectives. But then his ex-partner from shortly before he retired turns up, accompanied by a Deputy DA.

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Published in: on 25 March 2018 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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