RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksA weighty, wonderful reflection on parenthood from an award-winning novelist and Vietnam vet ... profoundly wonderful ... Anyone who thinks O’Brien might do an easy literary backstroke into the lake of instructional memoir is mistaken ... Above all, this is a book about the art of storytelling. Through the prism of fatherhood, O’Brien tells his own stories beautifully.
PositiveWashington Independent Review of BooksIn The Darwin Affair, first-time novelist Tim Mason uses the release of Darwin’s book and Queen Victoria’s court as a backdrop for what turns into a thrilling mashup of The Devil in the White City and The Hound of the Baskervilles. At its black heart, the book is a serial-murder mystery ... Decimus Cobb...is one of the most fully realized terrors committed to print this year ... Along with the novel’s nail-biting pace, there’s a welcome gravitas that grounds everything. Nuanced accents from all strata of London, circa 1860, add rich flavor. Historical backstory about characters like Karl Marx...Dickens, and Robert Fitzroy, who captained Darwin’s HMS Beagle, provide believable context. Mason clearly has a good time conjuring what could have happened in the wake of an elegant, world-altering theory. It’s effortless storytelling and makes the implausible real. Granted, this is a bloodied yarn, but, like all great detective work, the threads leading to discovery can’t be ignored.
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"Jacobs, a gifted humorist... builds a literary scaffolding around [the notion that we\'re all related] to brilliant effect ... Because Jacobs is an adept storyteller, readers also ride shotgun with him as he heads down giddy rabbit holes in a quest to show our obsessions with identity ... [Jacobs has] offered a wonderfully smart and entertaining volley for how a world of mutts can get along.\
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewFortey realized that the account of his wood needed to be conducted on two levels, the human as well as the scientific, because the English countryside has been shaped for millenniums by people. The results, presented in The Wood for the Trees, are fascinating ... If it has a fault, it is that this is a book that does not really catch at the heart. Toward the end, Fortey proclaims his contempt for the emotional aspects of modern nature writing; he is inflexibly empiricist ... Yet these are trifling blemishes in an account of one small place that conveys unforgettably the staggering variety and abundance of the whole natural world.