Bloodroot by Amy Greene
Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies-of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss-that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.
The novel is told in a kaleidoscope of seamlessly woven voices and centers around an incendiary romance that consumes everyone in its path: Myra Lamb, a wild young girl with mysterious, faint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain; her grandmother Byrdie Lamb, who protects Myra fiercely and passes down "the touch" that bewitches people and animals alike; the neighbor boy who longs for Myra yet is destined never to have her; the twin children Myra is forced to abandon but who never forget their mother's deep love; and John Odom, the man who tries to tame Myra and meets with shocking, violent disaster. Against the backdrop of a beautiful but often unforgiving country, these lives come together-only to be torn apart-as a dark, riveting mystery unfolds.
With grace and unflinching verisimilitude, Amy Greene brings her native Appalachia-and the faith and fury of its people-to rich and vivid life. Here is a spellbinding tour de force that announces a dazzlingly fresh, natural-born storyteller in our midst.
The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
The story of Kemal, the half-hearted industrialist who is the hero of The Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk's first novel since he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, is a deeply private one, built around an often inexplicable obsession that he attempts to justify to the reader. In honor of Fsun, the poor, beautiful cousin he had a short affair with when he was 30 and engaged to another, he has hoarded a museum of relics, both of their time together and of the much longer time when, like Gatsby drawn by the green light on Daisy's dock, he hovered at the edge of her life, held in check (but yet held nearby) by the proprieties of Turkish society. From Kemal's passion Pamuk constructs a masterful meditation on time, desire, and possession, saturated with the details of the city of Pamuk's youth: the brand names, the film stars, the streets, the intricate social relations between classes and between modernity and tradition. It's as if the museum of the title was built in honor not of Fsun but of Istanbul, circa 1975. By Tom Nissley for amazon.com
The Anarchist by John Smolens
On a stifling, hot afternoon in September 1901, a young anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, who has been stalking President William McKinley, waits in line to meet the president, his right hand wrapped in a handkerchief and held across his chest as though it were in a sling. But the handkerchief conceals a .32-caliber revolver. When the president greets him, Czolgosz fires two shots.
The nation quickly plummets into fear and anger. A week later, rioting mobs attempt to lynch McKinley's assassin, and across the country, political dissidents such as the notorious Emma Goldman are tracked down and arrested. Driven by a sense of duty and by his love for a beautiful Russian prostitute, Czolgosz's confidant, Moses Hyde, infiltrates an anarchist group as it sets in motion a deadly scheme designed to push the country into a state of terror.
The Anarchist brilliantly renders a haunting and belligerent twentieth-century landscape teeming with corrupt politicians, kind-hearted prostitutes, dissidents, and immigrants eager for a fresh start. It is an America where every allegiance is questioned, and every hope and aspiration comes at a price.
The Long Division by Derek Nikitas
At the start of Nikitas's stellar second novel (after his Edgar-finalist debut, Pyres), Jodie Larkin, a house cleaner in Atlanta, succumbs to temptation-she steals $5,000 and a car from a client-and sets off to visit the son she gave up for adoption and whom she hasn't seen in five years. Cal Nowak, Jodie's now 15-year-old son, lives in Cape Fear, N.C., and is struggling with his sexual identity. Together, Jodie and Cal set off north on a desperate, doomed journey. Meanwhile, SUNY student Wynn Johnston is trying to help a friend rescue the friend's missing sister, and Weymouth, N.Y., deputy Sam Hartwick must deal with his dying wife and a double murder. Sentences, paragraphs, even chapters don't so much end as act like synapses jumping to the next sequence. Nikitas effectively picks up and drops each thread. Beautifully realized characterizations power complex story lines that meet and connect this disparate group with the inevitability of Greek tragedy. From Publishers Weekly.
The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin
At the start of Theorin's intense and atmospheric thriller, his second after Echoes from the Dead, Stockholm schoolteacher Joakim Westin has just joined his wife, Katrine, and their two young children at their new house on Eel Point on the northern island of land. When Katrine mysteriously drowns in shallow water near Eel Point's twin lighthouses, Joakim can't shake the feeling that Katrine is still with him. Though the police declare Katrine's death an accident, a new rookie cop in the area, Tilda Davidsson, isn't convinced and quietly pursues her own investigation. Joakim and Tilda's paths intertwine as they both uncover disturbing secrets about Eel Point's past. Theorin crafts a modern ghost story, expertly weaving together the present with glimpses into the lives-and deaths-of Eel Point's previous residents. Fans of dark Scandinavian crime fiction will welcome this new voice. From Publishers Weekly.