In a rare move, The New York Times Book Review devotes a full issue to a single genre. Summer Thrills, offers 19 reviews, some covering multiple titles, that highlight buzzy books (reviewed by buzzy authors) and titles new to the scene.
Sophie Hannah (Woman with a Secret) reviews Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), a novel about murder and an Olympic hopeful. Hannah says that Abbott “sticks the landing,'”admiring the “glittering carapace of [her] lush, skillful, subtle writing,” praising some of the novel’s “radical and satisfying” elements, and calling it “brilliant” and “excellent.”
Lee Child, whose Jack Reacher thrillers are reliable best sellers, reviews The Death of Rex , by C.B. George (Hachette/Lee Boudreaux Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), set in contemporary Zimbabwe and focused on three married couples.
Part of the buzz around the novel is the author. George is a pseudonym for a writer Child doubts is new at the game, writing that it is unlikely the novel is a debut, in fact “it would be astonishing if it were — like being able to play the Moonlight Sonata with no prior experience of the piano. Therefore ‘C.B. George’ must be a pen name, and speculating about who — or, more accurately, what kind of established writer — lies behind it became a matter of ongoing interest, illuminated by what I took to be clues scattered throughout the text.” In the end Child decides “C.B. George is a screenwriter — and now also a novelist of great quality.”
Another best-selling author, Joseph Finder, reviews two books by insiders. The first is the latest by Stella Rimington (the former director general of MI5 said to be the model for 007’s M). Breaking Cover (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA; OverDrive Sample) is the ninth Liz Carlyle thriller and Finder says Rimington writes it with “crisp authority.”
Matthew Palmer works in the US State Department, with stints on the National Security Council, and has written two novels previous to The Wolf of Sarajevo (PRH/Putnam; OverDrive Sample). This one Finder says contains “some
truly exciting scenes … And its conclusion is thrilling … The aura of authenticity on the smaller scale helps lend gravity to plot twists that, in other hands, might have seemed outlandish.”
A debut, the historical thriller The Devils of Cardona, Matthew Carr (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample), is the first crack at fiction by a nonfiction author. It is set in 1584, Spain and involves the Inquisition and the murder of a priest. Reviewer/author Esmeralda Santiago says that it advances through “well-structured chapters and harrowing scenes” and that it “is as exciting as it is enlightening from its first pages to its satisfying end.”