RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewIt wastes no time making its intentions known. The story opens on a kaleidoscopic set piece worthy of a James Bond movie as directed by Robert Altman ... This opening gambit is exciting, if slightly worrisome. Whom are we meant to invest in here? Will there be characters for us to care about? Don’t worry. They’re on their way ... In lesser thrillers, this necessary erection of plot scaffolding can be tedious, the impatient reader skimming ahead while waiting for the bullets to start flying. But character back story, and the entanglements it reveals, seem to be where Parish’s true interests lie ... His other interest is language—and Love and Theft is expertly and (a rarer accomplishment) artfully written ... a precision-cut sentence can quicken the reader’s pulse as reliably as a surprise twist or a character’s excruciating dilemma. When a novel delivers all of the above— as Love and Theft ultimately does, its racecar engine revving to a smooth and satisfying purr—it can feel to the reader like a kind of miracle. In a word: thrilling.
Juli Zeh Trans by. John Cullen
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewIf you want to write a dystopian novel in these quasi-dystopian times, you need to go dark. Really dark. And the premise of Juli Zeh’s bracing, furious novel, Empty Hearts, is so dark that I laughed out loud when I read it on the book’s back cover ... bracing, furious ... has the veneer of a thriller but it’s more accurate to call it a chiller: chilling in the accuracy of its satire and chilling in its diagnosis of our modern malaise. The novel may appear at first glance to be a facile \'Wake up, yuppies!\' parable, but it guides us with assurance toward thornier terrain.
RaveVultureJonathan Lethem has not necessarily written the first great novel of the Trump era, but he’s arguably written the first great novel about the Trump era, disguised as a rollicking detective story ... The Feral Detective is the rare novel that feels like it’s being typed onto the page as fast as you can read it ... Reading fiction since 2016 has felt, for the most part, like an exercise in escapism. But The Feral Detective emphatically reasserts the notion that a novel can grapple with a cultural moment, while also showcasing Lethem’s usual demolition derby of literary and genre influences ... The only downside of finishing the novel...is that you’re robbed of what has turned out to be a fiendishly effective literary salve—a form of non-escapist escape.