‘The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death’
By Charlie Huston (Ballantine, $25)
Webster Fillmore Goodhue has one of the most unpleasant jobs in Los Angeles. When there is a gruesome death, he is called in to clean up the nasty mess. A Malibu suicide brings him into contact with the dead man’s daughter, who has a strange request. Brimming with black humor, this crackerjack of a story will keep readers fully engaged until the final page. Sharp, edgy and brilliantly written, this is the stuff of which great novels are made.
‘Stray Dog Winter’
By David Francis (MacAdam, $24)
This taunt, suspenseful story of KGB intrigue is elegantly written and perfectly executed. Set in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, the story tell of Darcy, a restless young artist who travels to the Soviet Union to visit his half-sister, Fin. Darcy soon finds himself plunged into political and sexual intrigue. Original, gripping and chilling, this multilayered story is the second novel by one of Australia’s most promising young writers.
‘The Private Patient: An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery’
By P.D. James (Knopf, $25.95)
Rhoda Gradwyn arrives at the private clinic in Dorset of the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell to have a facial scar removed. When she is murdered two days later, Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called in to investigate. When the detective begins examining the backgrounds of those connected with the dead woman, it appears that almost everyone has a motive. This well-written story has all of the depth and unexpected twists that readers have found so appealing in her previous best-sellers.
‘Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage’
By Jeff Benedict (Grand Central Publishing, $26.99)
In 1997, Susette Kelo, a 40-year-old nurse going through a divorce, scraped up enough money to buy a modest cottage in an industrial neighborhood overlooking the seacoast of New London, Conn. Just weeks later, Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, announces plans to build a research facility in the immediate area. This triggers the City of New London to begin an aggressive campaign to buy out all the nearby property owners so that a five-star hotel, a corporate park and new upscale housing can be constructed near the proposed facility. When Susette and her neighbors find condemnation papers tacked to their front doors, the fight begins, which ends in one of the most controversial eminent domain cases of our time, Kelo v. New London.
‘Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life’
By Jane Brody (Random House, $26)
Brody, a personal health columnist for The New York Times and a bestselling author, has become a trusted authority on health-related issues. Her new book is an invaluable resource that will guide readers emotionally, spiritually and practically as they make preparations for the end of life. Comprehensive and humane, this book brims with wise, sensible advice that is characteristically straightforward and accessible.
‘Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans’
By Dan Baum (Random House, $26)
Baum’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath for The New Yorker remains a stunning achievement, as well as being the definitive account of the disaster. As he observed New Orleans and its people, he looked beyond the devastation to ask why the citizens of the region are so emotionally attached to a place, which even before the storm, was one of the most corrupt, impoverished, and violent corners of America. In documenting the lives of nine people over four decades bracketed by two major storms, Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in the 1960s, and the more recent Katrina, he found not only what was lost in the storms but also what was saved. This incredible book is so well-written, it will leave you breathless.
‘Bluegrass: A True Story of Murder in Kentucky’
By William Van Meter (Free Press, $24)
Katie Autry was 5 feet 2 in heels, had a wonderful smile and was considered sweet, kind and, yes, utterly naïve by many of those who knew her. During the autumn of 2002, she enrolled as a freshman at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. She majored in the dental program and worked to make extra money at a local smoothie shop. Like many of the students her age, she partied at night. On May 4, 2003, Katie was raped, stabbed, sprayed with hairspray and set on fire in her dormitory room. This true story of one of Kentucky’s most shocking crimes is riveting, graphic and haunting.
‘Jetpack Dreams: One Man’s Up and Down (but Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention that Never Was’
By Mac Montandon (Da Capo, $25)
Inspired, perhaps, by the space cadet movies of the 1930s, Montandon, a Brooklyn-based writer and frequent contributor to such publications as The New York Times, Spin, and Details, asks two simple questions: Where is the jetpack that was promised to us years ago, and if it’s out there, when can we catch a ride? In this fascinating new book, Montandon traces the history of the greatest invention that never was, the jetpack, and along the way attends the first ever International Jetpack Convention and unearths the true story behind a bizarre mid-1990s case of kidnapping, imprisonment and murder, all involving jetpacks. His entertaining narrative is fun, rollicking, and witty.
‘In Lincoln’s Hand: His Original Manuscripts’
Edited by Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk (Bantam Books, $35)
This unparalleled and revealing look at Abraham Lincoln is seen through reproductions of his handwritten letters, speeches and even childhood notebooks. They are being presented in book form for the first time marking the 200th anniversary of his birth. The 40 examples featured are drawn from the more than 2,000 Lincoln pieces housed in the Library of Congress collection including his first and second inaugural addresses, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the words are familiar to most Americans, seeing them as they were originally written by the president is extraordinary. For example, the Emancipation Proclamation went through several revisions and following this “work in progress” gives us a rare look into Lincoln’s thought process.
‘No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels’
By Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton (Crown, $25.95)
Tucson-based ATF Special Agent Jay Dobyns spent 21 months undercover to gain the trust of the outlaw Hells Angels motorcycle club to build a case against many of its members. In order to fit in and survive the operation, he covered his arms with tattoos, befriended methheads, bad-ass bikers, and even placed the relationship he had with his wife and children in jeopardy. His gritty account reveals the underbelly of a landmark federal investigation.
‘Seymour and Henry’
By Kim Lewis (Candlewick Press, $15.99)
Seymour and Henry are young ducklings who love to swim in the pond and play. When a storm moves in and it starts to rain, their mommy is nowhere to be seen. Can Seymour and Henry find their way back to her? (Ages 3-7)
‘The Girl Who Wanted to Dance’
By Amy Ehrlich with illustrations by Rebecca Walsh (Candlewick Press, $17.99)
Clara lives with her father and grandmother in a small village. When she sees a troupe of dancers performing, she follows their wagons deep into the forest and what she discovers there changes her life forever. (Ages 3-8)
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