RaveNew York Journal of BooksFor every musician on a stage, there is likely a hardscrabble story of sacrifice and determination. But it’s hard to imagine a more raw—and beautifully written—account than the one Amy Rigby serves up in Girl to City ... the precise beauty of Girl to City...documents Rigby’s slow, frustrating climb to relative obscurity ... Girl to City is a tale of a suburban girl from \'nowhere\' who transferred herself from vague to powerful and takes us all to that \'magical place.\' It would make an excellent read for any artist struggling to make their way and find their voice.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksDripping with atmosphere and laced with issues of identity, race, and heritage, Heaven, My Home is a powerful follow-up to Bluebird, Bluebird ... Some of the threads from Heaven, My Home connect back to Bluebird, Bluebird, and Locke doesn’t go out of her way to hold the hands of those who are starting the series with Heaven. With that small caution, Heaven, My Home is a well-wrought novel in the hands of a master storyteller.
Agnete Friis Trans. by Sinead Quirke Kongerskov
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksAgnette Friis knows atmosphere ... a novel first and an erstwhile mystery second ... The problem is focus. The back-and-forth switching around diffuses what little propulsion there might be to finding Ellen, and it’s hard to get in Jacob’s corner because he broods and muses about that lost summer way back when ... Architects may not own a private eye streak, but between the heavy memories and all that atmosphere, Jacob’s sense of drive to answer questions about the fate of Ellen never shift out of low gear.
Rachel Howzell Hall
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... a modern-day homage to Agatha Christie\'s And Then There Were None—and it’s, well, killer ... Readers familiar with the keen wit from Hall’s police procedural series starring Detective Elouise \'Lou\' Norton will recognize the sharp attitude and snarky world view as Hall introduces us to Miriam Macy ... rides on Macy’s raw, unfiltered takes ... Hall’s writing is a master class in strong, first-person voice. Readers are advised to not skim Macy’s recollections of her troubled life back in L.A. Macy’s biting wit, the near nonstop string of stinging commentary that might have put her in this very pickle, is her constant companion ... Where Dame Agatha went with a cinematic, omniscient third-person voice for And Then There Were None, Hall has chosen a first-person voice for They All Fall Down. That choice presents a challenge ... Hall takes this leap with a fearless flair—the same fearlessness she used to work in the shadow of Agatha Christie and give the story a fresh twist. In short, Hall makes it easy to take the plunge.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books\"Wild concept meets richly imagined narrative ... There is a Hogwartsian flavor as Malerman shows us around and explains how this closed-up world works ... Malerman’s writing is matter-of-fact, non-showy ... How the children were first rounded up requires a leap, and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that a giant laboratory in the woods—several miles of forest separate the two camps—has somehow gone unnoticed for a dozen years or more. Minor leaps. Check your own talents for close inspection at the door and go for an entertaining ride. Malerman’s world-building is rich, and Inspection’s quick chapters and brisk style make for a relentless, twisty read.\
Marc Levy, Trans. by Daniel Wasserman
MixedNew York Journal of BooksThe Last of the Stanfields asks readers to sit up straight and pay attention. The whirling plot is all in service to a big reveal that is a nifty, but underwhelming, twist ... The sheer number of major and minor players, combined with the shifting eras, diffuses tension ... the relaxed tone of the writing adds to the feeling of anticlimax, when it comes. The final reveal surfaces and is then dispatched in a rush to the too-perfect epilogue. Amusing at times, nostalgic and wistful at others, The Last of the Stanfields is a long and winding road. Depending on your tolerance for breezy yarns, you may end up humming \'You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me\' or \'Helter Skelter.\'