A real-life Sherlock Holmes story, an award-winning biography and four intriguing works of fiction — there’s something for everyone in this week’s new crop of paperbacks.
“Give Me Your Hand” by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown; $16.99). The latest in Edgar Award winner Abbott’s irresistible string of woman-centered crime thrillers is this tale of three scientists, two of whom share a terrible secret. Taking place mostly in the sterile gleam of a research lab, it’s a time-shifting page turner about women in intellectual competition — and was acquired for TV adaptation even before its publication last year.
“Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous” by Chris Bonanos (Picador, $20). Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Biography of 2018, this book tells the story of Usher Fellig, an Eastern European immigrant who reinvented himself as Weegee, chronicler of Manhattan nightlife in the 1930s. “The book is a zesty read,” wrote Seattle Times reviewer Michael Upchurch, “steeped in the history of photography (Bonanos’ first book was “Instant: The Story of Polaroid”) while creating an indelible portrait of his subject.”
“Conan Doyle for the Defense” by Margalit Fox (Random House, $18). Fox, a former obituary writer for The New York Times, brought the “clarity, precision and devotion to historical context” she learned in that job to this book, wrote Seattle Times columnist Mary Ann Gwinn last year. The book is a true-crime story in which Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, becomes enraged by a wrongful murder conviction. “If you are a Holmes devotee,” wrote Gwinn, “you will love watching his creator take apart a flimsy criminal case through reason and meticulous examination of the evidence.”
“My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin, $16). This novel, by the author of “Eileen,” follows a young Manhattan woman who vows to cope with grief by spending a year sleeping; it’s been optioned for film by Margot Robbie. “Because this is a novel by the superabundantly talented Moshfegh,” wrote a New York Times reviewer, “we know in advance that it will be cool, strange, aloof and disciplined.” The author writes “with such misanthropic aplomb … she is always a deep pleasure to read.”
“John Woman” by Walter Mosley (Grove Atlantic, $16; available July 16). The latest work from the author of the popular Easy Rawlins detective series is “a little bit crime story and also a meditation on history, identity, power and sex,” wrote Seattle Times reviewer Jerry Large. The main character is a history professor who has his own complicated history. “A novel by Walter Mosley always prods a reader to think beyond the mundane, in part because Mosley’s mind darts all over,” wrote Large, admiring the author’s way of taking old questions “and making them fresh again.”
“All the Names They Used for God” by Anjali Sachdeva (Random House, $17). “The strange and wonderful stories that make up Sachdeva’s debut begin on this side of reality and slip to the other — often so gracefully, and with such a precise rendering of the fantastical, that we become inadvertent believers,” wrote a New York Times review of this short-story collection, named one of the best books of 2018 by NPR. “The brilliance of these stories — beyond the cool, precise artistry of their prose — is their embrace of both the known and the unknown, in a combination that feels truly original.”