9 new books we recommend this week


All thrills, no filler this week. You want contraband, you want a trap, you want murder? Check, check, check.

This week’s fiction features a small-town Texas legal thriller, a Spanish murder mystery that bends the rules of the genre, a classic noir homage that follows the rules. Before you can even catch your breath, we’re off to sell a stolen gemstone, peddle counterfeit handbags, hunt a mysterious figure in the future, and search for spy secrets after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Even this week’s two works of non-fiction get the pulse racing: a study of the Lincolns, the Booths, and the spirit world; and an inside look at the world of timber poaching.

—John Williams

In this terrific legal thriller, set in the island criminal justice community of a small town in East Texas, a patent attorney finds himself in the middle of a murder case. The plot is captivating and Hartstone, a seasoned screenwriter, sketches his characters with great verve and affection.

Doubleday | $28

A Murder Case opens this first novel in a trilogy by Spanish writer Cercas, which bends the rules of classic crime fiction by delving deep into the detective’s past. With nods to “Les Miserables,” the book alternates between the protagonist’s troubled early years in Barcelona and his current quest for the truth in a rural county called Terra Alta.

Nieh’s second novel, a sequel to 2019’s ‘Beijing Payback’, is a thriller for the global age, with characters entangled in cross-border disputes and international intrigue as they attempt to find a buyer for the gemstone. rare that they stole from a storage locker.

Eco | $28.99

Did Abraham Lincoln, like his killer, find solace in the prospect of an afterlife? Probably not – but Alford’s thin, meticulously referenced narrative, taken from the story’s footnotes, is a page-turner’s delight.

Chen’s entertaining novel is a con artist tale, a pop feminist hug, and a fashionable adventure about a pair of friends who team up on a clever scheme involving handbags.

William Morrow | $27.99

In this homage to classic film noir (namely the movie “Chinatown”), a lonely, misanthropic lawyer plays detective when a wealthy young woman hires him to set up her husband, a rare book dealer. The novel, set in mid-2000s New York City, takes an early turn when the lawyer discovers his client is not who she claims to be.

viking | $26

The scramble for the secrets of the Stasi, East Germany’s Cold War intelligence service, serves as the backdrop for this historical thriller, set in the chaotic months after the fall of the wall. from Berlin. After the death of a colleague, a disillusioned Stasi agent wants out and he has information to sell if he can stay out of harm’s way.

Davis’ new novel is a queer noir about the hunt for a mysterious character, X, in a near-future fascist society filled with violence and sexual deviance in which the authoritarian government encourages undesirables to leave the country.

Catapult | Paper, $16.95

Bourgon’s captivating study of timber poaching reveals it to be full of mixed motives and gray areas, gathering sympathy from both sides.

Little Brown Sparkle | $28


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