MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewSmith zigzags around the country — from Manhattan to San Francisco, from Venice Beach to Tucson — snapping photos that head up each chapter here. But nearly every time her travelogue gets up a head of steam, the narrative momentum is halted for Smith to describe another one of her damn dreams ... After Just Kids, Smith stopped using quotation marks in her memoirs — everyone is paraphrased, and in Year of the Monkey, almost everyone sounds like Patti Smith. At her best, her prose reads like Smith verbally riffing between songs onstage with her guitarist pal Lenny Kaye, burning up nights with rock poetry. But too often, her memory is now clouded by the wisps of dreams she values too much.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... a novel about a TV star that feels just right ... As duBois charts the history of her chosen era, she does a fine job of summoning up the atmosphere of confusion and dread in the years immediately before the AIDS epidemic had a name ... While I understand that duBois needed what screenwriters call an inciting event to propel her narrative forward — forcing Mattie to reckon with what his reckless on-air persona has set loose — I prefer the novel’s shrewder explorations of Semi’s and Cel’s intense lives and casual musings ... [The spectators] is full of small pleasures that accumulate as proof that this writer knows her stuff ... DuBois’s mastery of... details earns our trust as she expands The Spectators into a billowing meditation on the responsibility of public figures to contribute something worthwhile to the culture. Although her book takes place decades ago, duBois’s message has a contemporary urgency as well.\
Lars Kepler, Trans. by Neil Smith
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewAll this is told via 181 short chapters, many less than two pages long. The desired effect is to keep things moving; it’s as though the authors were editing each other as they wrote ... The phrasing is rudely blunt ... The scenes cut back and forth between hero and villain with brutal efficiency. Basically, a Lars Kepler thriller stops only to fixate on Joona’s eyes, which distractingly transfix any number of characters who take in this tall hunk of melancholia ... With this as its subtext, The Sandman sends us off to dreamland with a nightmare that can make us happy.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe veteran suspense novelist is off on a happy lark with Camino Island, a resort-town tale that reads as if Grisham is taking a vacation from writing John Grisham novels. Instead of hurtling readers down the dark corridors of the courthouses that dot his 20-plus legal thrillers, here he gently ushers us onto an island off the coast of Florida, a sleepy place whose town’s social life is enlivened by a busy independent bookstore run by a garrulous peacock who has a different-colored seersucker suit for every day of the week ... Cable, the colorful bookseller, is the glue that holds Grisham’s plotting together. He’s also a way for Grisham to have more fun than usual ... Sometimes, though, Grisham gets a bit too relaxed, letting his dialogue become both simplistic and florid ... Yet these flaws don’t impede the jolly appeal of the novel’s storytelling.
RaveThe Daily BeastWith The Son, Meyer grows expansive without becoming windy – this is not what has become commonly referred to in book-review clichés as a saga, one of those fundamentally sentimental stories in which floridly drawn characters love and brawl their way around an author’s research-library historical details. It’s something much sharper, with Meyer’s prose cutting across the page … The Son explores ideas: What it means to be a success in America, and how much ruthlessness is required to achieve that definition; how the legacies of fathers place the burden of history on the shoulders of sons who’d like to shrug them off; how women can find their own kind of power within male structures without losing their souls.