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How would you feel if your friend of 15 years turned out to be a con man and a murderer? Walter Kirn knows. This is the true story of Kirn’s friendship with a man who pretended to be a Rockefeller until his arrest for murder and the subsequent trial. This is true crime at its best—personal and shocking, it seems like it must be fiction, yet isn’t. I couldn’t put this down.
Rene Denfeld’s first novel is a stunning and captivating read. Set in a high security prison, our main protagonist, a death row inmate, states that prison is a place of enchantment. And he convinces us that it is: There is a mythic beauty to the prison’s stone walls, to the sounds of a hundred keys turning at once to lock the gates; there is an epic pull in the collective dreaming of men who must reach into their memories and imaginations to remember movement and love from an unconstrained time. Told mostly from the perspective of this poet turned prisoner, we are also introduced to the jail’s faithless priest and a woman, known only as “the lady” who is there to exonerate the condemned men. When the lady discovers the truth of one prisoner’s past, we are asked to look at the potential for violence that lives in each of us, and more so, to discover the beauty and humanity that exists even in the darkest shadows. This is a beautifully written book that begs for conversation; readers will find themselves walking the line of trying to separate that which makes us flinch, with that that makes us imagine and empathetically open.
Nici introducted me to Elizabeth Haynes some time back, and I’ve loved her smart, edgy mysteries ever since. In Behind Closed Doors, the most recent of her new series, the tough, dedicated DCI Louisa Smith is pulled into an old case when a missing person resurfaces. A former police analyst, Haynes integrates police reports and areas of investigation in interesting ways, giving the police procedural a fresh feel. I can’t wait for the next book!
A cynical society, where terrorism is almost as banal as the political marketing machines that address it—were it not for the few who still believe they can make a difference, hiding desperate passion and machinations equally behind official masks. Set in a near- future cosmopolitan world, Persona focuses less on technology than on the social and political developments we point towards, sneaking up and lingering with its threat—and its hope.
This novel is one heck of a read—fast paced, fluid, impossible to put down. Set during the six riot-filled days following the Rodney King trial, Gattis lays out racial tensions, gang violence, and broken systems in the extreme by exploring the interconnected stories of people swept up in the lawlessness, vengeance and betrayal of the moment. All Involved is as smart as it is thrilling, as socially important as it is purely enjoyable.
McKinty lovers rejoice! Gun Street Girl, his fourth book in the Troubles Trilogy, is out and detective Sean Duffy is on the trail of disappeared missiles, suspicious American agents, and some decent tunes. Duffy has the fascinating perspective of a Catholic cop on an almost entirely Protestant police force in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. If you haven’t already read McKinty, rush in and get a copy of the first Sean Duffy novel, The Cold Cold Ground. My friend Larry blames me for introducing him and says “All I want to do now is sit around and read McKinty.”