A list of newly released paperbacks.
“Dark Voyage” by Alan Furst (Random House, $13.95). From a writer of historical suspense novels at the height of his powers, Furst, a former Seattle resident, takes readers out to sea during World War II, where a Dutch freighter has been sent on a secret, anti-Nazi mission by Dutch government operatives and the British navy.
“Birds Without Wings” by Louis de Bernières (Vintage, $15). The author of “Corelli’s Mandolin” returns with what reviewer Deloris Tarzan Ament called “a novel of epic proportions” that offers an intimate view of sweeping change in a Turkish hill town during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
“Resistance” by Barry Lopez (Vintage, $12). National Book Award recipient (“Arctic Dreams”) and Oregon resident Lopez pens nine fictional narratives by dissident expatriates — writers, artists, activists and translators — who are summoned by the Office of Inland Security for “terrorizing the imaginations” of their fellow citizens.
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“Cruisers” by Craig Nova (Vintage, $14). Nova returns to his 1980s top form with this story set in Vermont that explores the intersecting lives of a state trooper, at odds with his girlfriend about his dangerous line of work, and a computer repairman with deep-seated issues stemming from the murder of his mother when he was 12. “It’s a novel as visceral and noirish and, yes, symphonic as any he’s written since the 1980s,” Michael Upchurch wrote.
“D.B.” by Elwood Reid (Anchor, $14.95). Reid spins a work of fiction from the unsolved mystery of real-life hijacker D.B. Cooper, who in 1971 commandeered a Boeing 727 flying from Portland to Seattle and then disappeared during the getaway flight. In Reid’s take, Cooper is Phil Fitch, a disgruntled Vietnam vet who escapes the plane and flees to Mexico, where he becomes a drifter. A frustrated FBI agent tails him. More meditation than thriller, said reviewer Mark Lindquist.
“The Queen of the South” by Arturo Pèrez-Reverte (Plume, $14). Pèrez-Reverte (“The Fencing Master”) sends his heroine Teresa Mendoza, the girlfriend of a Mexican druglord, on a thrilling and scary odyssey into the international underworld.
“Port Mungo” by Patrick McGrath (Vintage $13). McGrath (“Asylum,” “Spider”) takes readers to a river town on the Gulf of Honduras, where a British artist and his American artist lover retreat so he can create masterpieces. Instead, the couple descends into debauchery and psychological disarray. Unlikable characters and a foregone ending might leave some disappointed in this McGrath outing, said reviewer Ellen Emry Heltzle.
“The Pacific and Other Stories” by Mark Helprin (Penguin, $15). In stores Tuesday: sixteen stories ranging in setting from Seattle to New York, Israel, Italy, France and beyond. John Freeman noted how the collection “opens with pieces in an almost classical mode and then cycles from fabulist yarn spinning to roman á clef style intimacies.”
“Osprey Island” by Thisbe Nissen (Anchor Books, $13). A satisfying read from a technically gifted writer, this story focuses on a New England resort in the summer of 1988 that, for several reasons, is not having a great high season.
“A Good Year” by Peter Mayle (Vintage, $13). In his fifth novel, travelogue writer Mayle whips up a charming soufflé set in his beloved Provence. The novel’s hero is a London banker who inherits — what else? — a vineyard in Provence. Wine and intrigue ensue. “A delightful divertissement,” raved Robert Allen Papinchak.
“Cannabis: A History” by Martin Booth (Picador, $15). Just this month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws allowing people to use marijuana for medical reasons don’t protect users from federal laws banning the drug. Booth, who died of cancer last year, lays out a historical analysis that suggests, “in a rational world, cultivation of the hemp plant would not only be decriminalized but prized,” according to reviewer Deloris Tarzan Ament.
“I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick” by Emmanuel Carrère (Picador, $15). The French writer Carrère paints a psychological portrait of the science-fiction cult icon who brought us “Minority Report” and “Total Recall.”
“Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II” by Robert Kurson (Random House, $14.95). Weekend scuba divers Richie Kohler and John Chatterton pushed themselves to the limit exploring deep-water shipwrecks, but their discovery of an undocumented German submarine in 230 feet of water off the coast of New Jersey in 1991 widens into a perilous quest to piece together the U-boat’s past.
“On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense” by David Brooks (Simon & Schuster, $14). New York Times Op-Ed columnist and frequent public-radio commentator Brooks takes readers on a fun, metaphorical drive through the new American suburbia, one filled with as many fine restaurants as Olive Gardens, and as many hopeful immigrants as SUV-driving corporate climbers.
“One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner” by Jay Parini (Harper Perennial, $15.95). Using new material, including letters and interviews, Parini reassesses the troubled life and extraordinary talent of one of the South’s most piercing novelists. “Parini’s biography is not only readable but downright enthralling,” reviewer Clarence Brown said.
“Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil” by David Goodstein (Norton, $13.95). Something to think about next time you fill up: Goodstein, a California Institute of Technology physics professor, says civilization itself will be at stake if the world’s fossil-fuel supply runs dry before societies figure out how to function without it. With a new postscript by the author.
“A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan” by Christiane Bird (Random House, $14.95). Bird, a journalist, spent three months traveling through Kurdish regions in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran in 2002, collecting varied and insightful notes on what it means to be an oppressed people, what it means to be a people without a state and, finally, what it means to be a “people.” With a new afterword by the author.
“The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongues” edited by Wendy Lesser (Anchor Books, $13.95). Amy Tan, Luc Sante, Bharati Mukherjee, Ariel Dorfman and other multilingual contributors offer original essays on how a native language shapes the speaker.
“The Grand Idea: George Washington’s Potomac and the Race to the West” by Joel Achenbach (Simon & Schuster, $14). Achenbach’s lively portrait of the nation’s first president shows him as a visionary general after the War of Independence who dreamed of holding his fractious new nation together by turning the Potomac River into a unifying commercial corridor linking the settled East Coast with the frontier Ohio River valley.
Compiled by Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times staff reporter, with contributions cited from staff or freelance critics for The Seattle Times.