See Best Books from: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009     Summer: 2014 | 2013 | 2012

The Scarecrow

Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

Reporter Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, after he's laid off from the L.A. Times, in a nail-biting thriller that charts the demise of print journalism and shows why Connelly is one of today's top crime authors.

LIST

The Fate of Katherine Carr

Thomas H. Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Edgar-winner Cook eloquently explores the often cathartic act of storytelling as George Gates, a former travel writer who after seven years still broods over his eight-year-old son's murder, looks into the unsolved disappearance of reclusive poet Katherine Carr 20 years earlier.

LIST

Spooner

Pete Dexter (Grand Central)

Dexter's crowd-pleasing wiles are razor sharp in this long-awaited novel, the madcap and touching, assured and (ahem) dexterous story of a very Dexter-like Warren Spooner.

LIST

Dark Places

Gillian Flynn (Crown/Shaye Areheart)

Flynn tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects, with a second crime thriller, centered on the slaying of a mother and two daughters in their Kansas farmhouse witnessed by the youngest, surviving daughter. It builds to a truth so twisted even the most astute readers won't see it coming.

LIST

The Man in the Wooden Hat

Jane Gardam (Europa)

Old Filth with this witty and very British love story, taking on with aplomb loyalty, lust, ambition and longing as she excavates the holes in all of our hearts.

LIST

Ravens

George Dawes Green (Grand Central)

Two con men hold a family hostage in rural Georgia in order to get half of their $318 million lottery winnings in this masterful, often comic novel of psychological suspense, Green's first since 1995's The Juror.

LIST

Tinkers

Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)

George Crosby's deathbed reveries wander through memories of his own life as a boy and the lives of his father and grandfather, in this sumptuously written first novel that has been the darling of indie bookstores.

LIST

The Believers

Zoë Heller (Harper)

Heller zeroes in on a liberal Jewish Greenwich Village family whose perfect lefty household falls into some hilarious setups as the dysfunctions pile up and eventually spill over when the patriarch's feet of clay are revealed. Hilarious, readable and atmospheric.

LIST

The Vagrants

Yiyun Li (Random)

Wrenching and bleak are understatements for Li's magnificent gothic account of life in provincial 1979 China, centering on the execution of a counterrevolutionary. For all the morbid happenings--and there are many of them--the novel's immediately involving and impossible to walk away from.

LIST

Await Your Reply

Dan Chaon (Ballantine)

Chaon was a National Book Award finalist for Among the Missing, and this gripping account of colliding fates, the shifty nature of identity in today's wired world and the limits of family is easily as good, if not better. It's a literary page-turner, a cunningly plotted and utterly unputdownable novel.

LIST

How to Sell

Clancy Martin (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Martin's peerless debut novel about a naïve Canadian's crooked education in the jewelry business is horrifying and sad and very funny. Truth is always elusive; here, it's a dire liability, too.

LIST

New World Monkeys

Nancy Mauro (Crown/Shaye Areheart)

An outstandingly original debut that takes the ridiculous (a couple kill a wild pig on their move to the burbs that turns out to be their new town's beloved mascot) and renders it psychological in this sendup of academia, advertising, peeping toms and young marrieds.

LIST

The Last War

Ana Menendez (Harper)

A deeply moving story of a photojournalist in Istanbul waiting to join her war correspondent husband in Iraq. Her reluctance, suspicions and flashbacks of their time spent in Afghanistan create a dark background for the brilliance of her descriptions and observations.

LIST

Nemesis

Jo Nesbø (Harper)

Oslo Insp. Harry Hole discovers that a bank robbery is linked to the apparent suicide of a woman friend he hasn't seen in years in this lush crime saga from the Norwegian author.

LIST

Lark and Termite

Jayne Anne Phillips (Pantheon)

This elegant unraveling of parallel narratives--a grunt's Korean War tour of duty and the story of a family struggling through hard times nine years later--is at once intensely personal and loaded with themes of identity, duty and renewal, all the while maintaining a tight coil of suspense.

LIST

The Cry of the Sloth

Sam Savage (Coffee House)

The increasingly desperate letters dispatched by the editor of a middling literary magazine provide a glimpse into the soul of a minor writer ravaged by existential dread. As Savage slowly deflates the narrator's self-importance, he provides a caustic and supremely funny portrait of a man in decline.

LIST

Drood

Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)

Narrated by Wilkie Collins, this unsettling and complex thriller imagines a frightening sequence of events that prompts Collins's friend and fellow author, Charles Dickens, to write The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dickens's last, uncompleted novel.

LIST

Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese (Knopf)

Verghese's move to fiction is sweeping and fabulous, starting in India, settling in Ethiopia and moving on to the U.S. in a magnificent epic that follows twin boys as they negotiate medical training, revolution, the search for their roots and their relationship with each other.

LIST

The Little Stranger

Sarah Waters (Riverhead)

A finalist for the Man Booker Prize, this subtle, creepy haunted house story chronicles the decline of an aristocratic county family after WWII as seen through the less than reliable eyes of a bachelor doctor, whose mother once served as a maid at the family's manor.

LIST

Sag Harbor

Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Whitehead's intellect, gorgeous prose, measured nostalgia and sheer storytelling prowess raises the bar for coming-of-age novels. It's as sublime as you're likely to read.

LIST

Once the Shore

Paul Yoon (Sarabande)

The eight stories in Yoon's remarkable collection revolve around the inhabitants of a small South Korean island rocked by Japanese occupation and later by the Korean War and are no less powerful for their quiet introspection. Yoon's delicate exploration of heartache places him high in the firmament of old souls.

LIST

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

Daniyal Mueenuddin (Norton)

An NBA finalist (we found him first), Mueenuddin delivers Pakistan through the stories of its people: yearning, struggling, plotting, in a heartbreaking story collection that is specific and universal all at the same time.

LIST

Captive of Sin

Anna Campbell (Avon)

Campbell pulls out all the stops with this heart-wrenching historical romance. A hastily wed heiress must help her husband, a war hero, recover from post-traumatic stress that leaves him unable to bear human touch.

LIST

Soulless

Gail Carriger (Orbit)

Carriger combines Victorian romance, supernatural creatures, steampunk sensibilities and a healthy dose of the bizarre in her hilarious debut.

LIST

Big Machine

Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)

LaValle's brilliant second novel is unlike anything else out there: Ricky Rice, an ex-junkie African-American bus station porter, gets sucked into the bizarre machinations of a rural Vermont cult dedicated to studying “The Voice.” The narrator is blisteringly funny in chronicling his bizarre quest, providing both a blazing story and an astute commentary on race.

LIST

A Dark Love

Margaret Carroll (Avon)

Carroll develops what could be a stock story of an abusive marriage into a pulse-pounding romantic thriller with a strong, inspiring heroine determined to save herself.

LIST

Child of Fire

Harry Connolly (Del Rey)

Connolly's intense first novel heralds the next generation of urban fantasy (city not required) with a nearly powerless hero who must rely on his smarts and threadbare ethics to survive.

LIST

Hunt at the Well of Eternity

Gabriel Hunt (Hard Case Crime)

Reasoner launches the Gabriel Hunt series with a fast-paced tale of purely entertaining Indiana Jones--like adventure, smartly updated for modern sensibilities.

LIST

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

Geoff Dyer (Pantheon)

Dyer creates an aging hipster grinding it out as a freelance journalist who pursues the girl instead of the story: covering the Biennale. Then, depending on your point of view, he either loses or finds himself when he's sent to Varanasi. Dyer has many books to recommend him, but all you need is angst-ridden Jeff: funny, frank and utterly charming, and if you haven't walked in his shoes, you'll wish you had.

LIST

© PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

X
X

Loading...