a few months ago

A mystery set in a remote corner of Siberia

I’ll say this about Disappearing Earth: I have never before read a novel set in Kamchatka. I doubt you have either. And I suspect you might be having trouble even locating Kamchatka on the globe. It’s not exactly a popular destination for Europeans or Americans (or anyone else, for that matter). Yet, for some unstated […]

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a few months ago

A murder mystery in the British Raj

In the far northeastern corner of India, on land near a border disputed by China, lies the tribal village of Jatinga. There, every year following the monsoon rains, thousands of birds dazed by high winds descend toward the village’s lights on foggy, dark nights. Local people, convinced they are spirits come to terrorize them, capture […]

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a few months ago

Special Forces are up to no good in Somalia

Somewhere in the world, and probably in a dozen countries or more throughout the Global South, American Special Forces operators are engaged in action. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and other, less-well-known units, operating in small groups on top-secret missions, are involved in what has been called—romantically, ungrammatically, and probably misleadingly—the “War on Terror.” What are […]

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a few months ago

An all-too timely thriller about a pandemic

Lawrence Wright’s novel debuted as COVID-19 flared up around the world, so it’s no surprise that the book has been marketed as a thriller about a pandemic. It is that, of course, but only in part. More accurately described, The End of October is a story of human folly and the self-destructive tendencies of the […]

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a few months ago

A lawyer is murdered in the Elizabethan Age

The year is 1586, the Spanish Armada two years in the future. A brilliant young English lawyer named Francis Bacon is headed for glory and high office. He was the youngest man yet to have been admitted to the bar and still is only twenty-five. Yet his impulsive nature has landed him in disrepute with […]

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a few months ago

A hurricane, a murder, and a nursing home scam

John Grisham is widely regarded as a master of suspense. His facility with plots that steadily build anticipation toward a shattering and often surprising climax is legendary. But in his latest, he departs from the pattern. Camino Winds is a curious example of a novel that’s really two books in one. The first is all […]

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a few months ago

The CIA and the PLO in Cold War Beirut

What we Americans know about Lebanon is sadly limited. Those of us who have followed international news since the 1960s are likely to have vague memories of the Lebanese Civil War, the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, and the bombing of the Marine barracks near Beirut in 1983. Few will […]

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a few months ago

V. I. Warshawski: the private eye as investigative reporter

Private eye V. I. Warshawski is the fictional creation of Chicago novelist Sara Paretsky, but she stands in for that city’s best and brightest investigative reporters. Yes, Vic, as she prefers to be known, is a detective, not a journalist. But the cases she pursues, often without being paid to do so, lead her into […]

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a few months ago

A classic mystery novel about a creepy criminal

If you check out just about any list of classic mystery novels, you’re likely to come across The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1921-95). And it’s easy to understand why. When it was published in 1955, it must have created a sensation. Kirkus published a brief spoiler review of the book on November 30, […]

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a few months ago

John Sandford’s millionaire investigator takes on the alt-right

Lucas Davenport is one of the most engaging protagonists in all of crime fiction, and he has proven as popular as he is commanding. Davenport’s creator, John Sandford, has just published Masked Prey, the thirtieth bestseller in the Prey series that features the millionaire investigator. Here, in the latest entry in the Lucas Davenport series, […]

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