‘Moonflower’ Has Double the ‘Murders’

There’s a particular brand of murder mystery that’s tough to replicate: a quaint little town in England whose residents hide secrets behind the shutters of their neat little cottages, and when blood is spilled, a twee investigator from the outside comes to expose those secrets one by one. Anthony Horowitz may not have invented theContinue reading “‘Moonflower’ Has Double the ‘Murders’”

‘Tram Car’ More Fun Than ‘Haunting’

The fact the main characters are bored with a haunted, semi-sentient, magically propelled tram car in 1910s Cairo is a pretty good indication of things to come in P. Djeli Clark’s The Hunting of Tram Car 015. This slim novella may be a little light in character development or narrative indulgence, but packs in aContinue reading “‘Tram Car’ More Fun Than ‘Haunting’”

‘Klara’ Shines like the Sun

There are many things Kazuo Ishiguro does brilliantly, but one he does perhaps most uniquely—especially as we move past the glut of thrillers using Gone Girl and/or The Woman On The Train as a comp title—is create a thoroughly unreliable narrator. Unlike the tipsy or mentally ill women who have largely come to define theContinue reading “‘Klara’ Shines like the Sun”

‘Paradise’ has 2/3 of a Great Book

CW: Suicide, Incest, Sexual Abuse There’s this seafood restaurant downtown that is pretty pricy, but once my husband and I were given a gift card for it. The first two courses were incredible—fresh, flavorful, succulent. The third was bizarre and borderline inedible, though we may have just thought it was so gross because we’re unculturedContinue reading “‘Paradise’ has 2/3 of a Great Book”

‘Iraq + 100’ Gives Unique View of Future

For longer than I’ve been alive, Iraq has been either at or adjacent to war. In fact, writes editor Hassan Blasim in the introduction to Iraq + 100, “Iraq has not tasted peace, freedom, or stability since the first British invasion of the country in 1914.” A century of war makes it hard to imagineContinue reading “‘Iraq + 100’ Gives Unique View of Future”

‘The Answers’ Raises Questions

Something I’ve noticed in a lot of millennial literature, as it were, is a thread of dystopia interwoven into what begins—and often ends—with the illusion of being contemporary or realistic. Like Ling Ma’s Severance, about a young woman who keeps her dead-end job after the rest of her office flees in a deadly pandemic inContinue reading “‘The Answers’ Raises Questions”

Leave ‘Only Kid Left’ Behind

I did it. I finally did it. Last year, as I was starting this project, I ordered a bunch of the books I couldn’t find at my library and didn’t already have. (Fitting, then, that I’m posting this on the one-year anniversary of this blog.) One of the first to arrive from that inaugural batchContinue reading “Leave ‘Only Kid Left’ Behind”

‘Outlaw’ Lets Characters Ride Free in the Old West

I opened Anna North’s Outlawed expecting a leisurely and thoughtful exploration of misfits forced into a life of crime in the days of cowboys and covered wagons. Outlawed has misfits forced into a life of crime. It has cowboys and wagons a-plenty. But while it does explore misfits of various stripes, it does so in,Continue reading “‘Outlaw’ Lets Characters Ride Free in the Old West”

No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’

In the opening chapter of The Only Good Indians, Ricky, one of the titular “Indians” has stepped outside a bar to take a leak when a massive and possibly hallucinatory elk appears, stomps on a bunch of cars, and leaves him to the mercy of a bunch of drunk white guys who mete out swiftContinue reading “No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’”

A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s

The nice thing about being a little late to the game is that often the books I love already have sequels or the authors have otherwise published other work, so I can linger a little longer in the world or language than I would have if I had read them when the ink was stillContinue reading “A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s”