PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewDan Bilefsky...is a brisk, enthusiastic storyteller ... Bilefsky draws on interviews, court testimony and transcripts from the Metropolitan Police to put together a meticulously researched procedural. But the early sections of the book are weakened by the fact that the mastermind, Brian Reader—76 at the time of the burglary—provided no additional information to what was already in the public record. Bilefsky is left to make deductions about Reader’s motivations ... The prosecutor Philip Evans...[is] vividly rendered here; the book is at its best when focused on the good guys ... Bilefsky doesn’t try to explain [why the public didn\'t mind the robbery]...and maybe it’s not fair to wish that he had tried.
PositiveThe New York Times\"The best P.I. stories build slowly and keep the stakes relatively small. Osborne, who worked as a reporter along the border in the early 1990s, knows Mexico well and he passes that knowledge along to Marlowe ... The game is afoot, with just the right amount of reversals and double-crosses. If certain moments seem illogical—well, that too is part of the Chandler oeuvre. The book’s greatest suspense centers on Osborne’s fealty to Chandler’s Marlowe, especially in the description set out in Chandler’s 1950 essay, \'The Simple Art of Murder\'...I’m wide open to Osborne’s version of Marlowe, which forces us to wonder at times whether he’s still a man of honor.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Burning Girl is a story about stories — their power, necessity and inevitable artifice. What does it matter if the tale of how Julia and Cassie met is Julia’s own recollection or her mother’s memory grafted onto hers? Both, Messud suggests, are destined to be equally false ... In a bravura section later in the book, Messud describes a particularly awful rite of passage for teenage girls — accepting a ride from a not-quite-stranger, only to be terrified by what didn’t happen ... Messud, always an interesting novelist, a writer who crafts superb sentences, sometimes has trouble ceding the novel’s voice to Julia. Yes, Julia is a star debater and an 'A' student, but I wasn’t persuaded that she could form and express these ideas so elegantly, even within the stylized artifice of a novel that’s calling out stylized artifice. The Burning Girl is a Lifetime movie of a novel, one that argues that the inchoate pain caused by a friendship’s end is the story. As someone who doesn’t use 'Lifetime movie' as a pejorative term, I consider this high praise. But don’t overlook one salient tendency in this age-old tale: The beautiful girl may get the guy, but the smart girl gets the last word. This may make her the most unreliable narrator of all.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewLydia Millet’s Sweet Lamb of Heaven confounded me, delightfully so...It is Anna’s voice — cool, intelligent, passionate, contradictory — that makes this novel so affecting. I resisted it initially because I was overwhelmed by my sense of dislocation, my uncertainty about where we were headed. But how I missed it when it was gone, how I yearned for it to speak to me again.