Reviews

‘One Kick’: Iowa City Name reads from thriller Monday

Chelsea Cain’s latest thriller, “One Kick” (Simon & Schuster, 309 pages, $25.99), is the first book in a new series featuring Kick Lannigan, a young woman who suffered the horror of abduction and child pornography. Ten years a [...]

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‘The Secret Place’: Deep dive into drama detracts from story

Fans of acclaimed mystery writer Tana French can be a bit, well, fanatical about her work. I should know. I’m one of them.

And while her latest novel, “The Secret Place,” delivers on a number of French’s trademar [...]

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‘Dear Boy’: Weber’s memoir doesn’t let readers in enough

In a 2009 interview with The Paris Review, acclaimed poet and memoir writer Mary Karr explained that the biggest problem with memoirs today is “they’re not reflective enough. They lack self-awareness. I always tell my students that i [...]

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‘I Am China’: Book translates power of a voice

At first glance, Xiaolu Guo’s new novel, “I Am China” (out last Tuesday), seems like a quiet book. British translator Iona Kirkpatrick is handed a stack of correspondence between two Chinese lovers and is given little context [...]

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‘Lock In’: Sci-fi novel transports to new world

“Lock In” (Tor, 336 pages, $24.99) features an eager rookie FBI agent tackling his first case with his hard-bitten, world-weary partner. It’s a fairly standard setup, but in John Scalzi’s new novel, the rookie is not wh [...]

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‘Feast for Thieves’: Non-fiction author excels at fiction writing

Marcus Brotherton is known as a best-selling author for his books based on real people, including those who fought during World War II.

Staying in the time period of the 1940s and with his main character a war veteran, Brotherton eases his [...]

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‘Inappropriate Behavior’: Farish doesn’t falter in debut collection of short stories

Appropriately enough, Murray Farish’s debut short story collection, “Inappropriate Behavior” (Milkweed Editions, 189 pages, $16), is filled with characters behaving inappropriately.

Some of those characters are historica [...]

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‘Skygods’: Second in ‘Hydraulic’ series meets bar set by first novel

The second book in the Hydraulic series, “Skygods” was released on Aug. 26.

In “Hydraulic Level Five” whitewater rafting terms are used throughout. In Benton County native Sarah Latchaw’s second book, it&# [...]

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Iowa City Library buzzing with books, DVDs about bees

IOWA CITY — “Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten. Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.” [...]

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‘The Family Romanov’: Historical figures developed like characters

It’s been a while since I sat in a world history class — a long while, let’s be honest. But I do remember how difficult it was to relate to events that happened long ago.

Historical figures seemed like wooden caricature [...]

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‘The bone seeker’: Story as inacessible as the island it’s set in

It’s safe to say that few of us will travel to the Arctic Circle in our lifetime.

That being the case, British writer M. J. McGrath’s new mystery novel “The Bone Seeker” should be intriguing from the word go, sin [...]

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‘Borderline’: 1970s noir’s still dark in audiobook telling

Author Lawrence Block recently put out a call to reviewers via social media.

He was looking for folks willing to review the audiobook version “Borderline,” a novel first published under a pseudonym in 1962 and republished earl [...]

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‘One Nation’: Author, neurosurgeon Ben Carson credits reading with success

Renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson grew up in poverty in Detroit and was encouraged by his mother to pursue education.

He went on to become the youngest major division director at Johns Hopkins at the age of 33, and was the firs [...]

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‘Dear Committee Members’: Novel composed of letters a happy surprise

Dear Esteemed Readers:

I write today with the happy task of commending to your attention “Dear Committee Members” (Doubleday, 180 pages, $22.95), the new novel by Julie Schumacher.

In the interest of impressing upon you [...]

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Heartbreaking novel follows fairy tale format

Roxane Gay’s powerful, heartbreaking debut novel, “An Untamed State,” (Grove Press, 368 pages, $16) takes you square by the shoulder from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the final chapter.

“Once [...]

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