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  • BN Editors 5:01 am on 2019/11/29 Permalink
    Tags: ali cross, , , book your black friday, , harry potter and the goblet of fire, , , sam haouston and the alamo avengers, stephen king, , , the pioneer woman cooks, wrecking ball   

    The Season’s Biggest Books Are 50% Off at Barnes & Noble During Black Friday Weekend 

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    It’s Black Friday at Barnes & Noble, which means there won’t be a better time all year to find the perfect read for every person on your gifting list—or to build up your own library. This year, we’re making it easy with our lowest prices ever (ever!) on some of the biggest books of the season*! Stop in and grab one, two, or 10—and if you should find your shopping energy flagging, don’t forget: our Barnes & Noble Cafés have plenty of coffee and tea on hand.

    The Institute, by Stephen King
    Harkening back to the kids-with-powers intrigue of Firestarter and It, King’s newest book concerns a group of children fighting back against monsters—but this time, the monsters are adults, and the fight takes place not in a creepy small town like Derry but the eminently sinister Institute. Each child at the Institute has been kidnapped; their parents murdered. Each child has paranormal abilities that are being exploited for an unknown purpose. Escape seems impossible, but staying at the Institute, where abuse runs rampant, is not an option either. Grab some popcorn and a big ol’ can of soda so you can stay up all night reading this one.

    The Guardians, by John Grisham
    John Grisham returns with a taut thriller that opens with the murder of a small town lawyer in Seabrook, Florida, more than 20 years in the past. The shocking killing offers few clues, but the police eventually arrest Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once the lawyer’s client. There is little doubt that Quincy has been framed, but for decades he languishes in prison without hope—until one day he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, an innocence group run by attorney and minister Cullen Post, who is also the firm’s only investigator. Post takes on Miller’s case, and soon finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous game as the powerful forces that framed Miller in the first place intend to prevent justice from finally being served—even if it requires another dead lawyer turning up dead.

    Criss Cross, by James Patterson
    James Patterson’s 27th Alex Cross thriller sets the bar high, as Cross and partner John Sampson bear witness to the execution of a killer they helped put behind bars. But then they’re called to a crime scene that seems to be the work of a copycat killer—except for the presence of a note telling Alex Cross that he “messed up big time.” A spree of killings seeded with subtle references to Cross’ career and family ensues, clearly the work of someone who knows everything there is to know about the skilled detective. As Cross desperately tries to piece the clues together, he realizes that the perpetrator has a horrifying goal in his sights.

    Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History, by Brian Kilmeade
    The conflict that made Sam Houston, David Crockett, and Jim Bowie household names was a pivotal moment for both Texas and the United States. But General Houston, the hero of Texas independence and its president, is often overlooked in popular history, despite his influence on this momentous event. Kilmeade seeks to remedy that with a fast-paced account of Houston’s life and career, culminating in the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texan victory that secured its independence from Mexico and ultimately set it on the path to statehood. Kilmeade brings Houston to life as a bold, flawed hero living in the midst of incredible events and surrounded by personalities large enough to match his own.

    Me, by Elton John
    It’s  hard to believe Sir Elton has never produced an autobiography until now. With a career that spans more than a half century, the one-time Reginald Dwight has plenty of stories to tell—some relating to the excesses and pitfalls that have plagued so many rockers, many others having to do with his run-ins with some of the most significant figures of our time, including Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. The suburban kid from Pinner grew up to be one of the most shocking and outrageous figures in glam rock, and soared to the heights of respectability as an icon, and also a father. This is the story of a living legend, told in his own words.

    Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, by Michelle Obama
    Michelle Obama’s Becoming was released just last year, and already it feels like a classic. It’s not just an essential memoir of the life and times of a First Lady of the United States, but an inspiring look at the everyday struggles and larger-than-life achievements of one of the world’s most respected women that can give you a push as you travel your own life’s journey. Now, readers can chart their own becoming(s) with this guided journal, which includes contemplative writing prompts designed to help you reflect on your own goals and challenges—where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you hope to get there on your own terms. This gift-quality tome features a new introduction by Michelle Obama and more than 150 motivational, inspiration quotes scattered throughout.

    The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier: 112 Fantastic Favorites for Everyday Eating, by Ree Drummond
    Bestselling author, Food Network star, busy businesswoman, and butter-loving country gal, Ree Drummond—better known as The Pioneer Woman—has made some time in her crazy schedule to show us just how her cooking has evolved as life on the ranch with her husband and kids continues to change. Packed with 112 all-new recipes, this new cookbook has an awesome mix of traditional and new flavors with hearty comfort food, lighter (but still flavorful!) low-carb recipes, family-friendly dishes, and more. We can’t wait to try out the Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal that just screams “FALL!” for breakfast, Cauliflower Fried Rice to bring for lunch at the office, and Blueberry Ricotta Crostini for next time we want to impress dinner guests.

    The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4), by Rick Riordan
    In Rick Riordan’s popular The Trials of Apollo series, Zeus has cast down his son Apollo to earth to punish him, forcing him to live as an awkward human teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to reclaim his godly existence, Lester has to restore five Oracles that have gone dark. He’s three down with two to go in this fourth exciting book in the series—and this time he’s off to Camp Jupiter in San Francisco, where the demigods are preparing to take on the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Can Apollo help them survive the battle and restore the fourth oracle? Bonus: This Barnes & Noble–exclusive edition includes a full-color poster of a scene from the book and diary entries of a Camp Jupiter “probatio.”

    Tales From a Not-So-Best Friend Forever (Dork Diaries #14), by Rachel Renée Russell
    Even though fall has arrived, readers can relish the feeling of summer just a little bit longer along with Nikki Maxwell in the 14th installment in Rachel Renée Russell’s bestselling illustrated Dork Diaries series. Nikki and her bandmates are heading out on a summer tour, opening for the Bad Boyz, which is super-exciting. But there’s an unfortunate catch: Nikki’s #1 frenemy,  MacKenzie Hollister, has landed herself a job on the tour—and what’s even worse? She’s going to be Nikki’s roommate! Is Nikki really going to let MacKenzie ruin her summer and her dream of going on tour with the Bad Boyz? Not if Nikki and her real friends have anything to say about it in this awesome new addition to the series.

    Ali Cross, by James Patterson
    James Patterson has been enthralling adult readers for nearly three decades with tales of homicide detective and FBI agent Alex Cross. Now Patterson is bringing the thrills to a new generation of young readers with the first book about Alex’s son, Ali Cross, who is eager to follow in his famous father’s footsteps. When Ali’s best friend Abraham is reported missing, Ali fears the worst. Alex warns his son not to get involved, but that won’t stop Ali from trying to solve this mystery and rescue his friend. But the clues Ali is following aren’t quite what they seem in this exciting page-turner from a master storyteller.

    *Cannot be combined with any other offer. While supplies last. Limit of 10 copies per book per order. Ends 12/1.

    What books are on your Black Friday must-buy list?

    The post The Season’s Biggest Books Are 50% Off at Barnes & Noble During Black Friday Weekend appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 1:00 pm on 2019/10/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , master of horror, , pet semetary, , , spooky season, stephen king,   

    Stephen King’s Scariest Stories, Ranked 

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    Stephen King has evolved into one of literature’s most complex cases: once more or less the only horror writer everyone in the country had read, he’s evolved into a subtle master of letters who moves nimbly between literary, fantasy, mystery, horror, and books that combine all of the above. But to this day, he’s still a master of scaring readers—and even his non-horror books pack in plenty of chilling moments. Below, we rank the ten most frightening King books ever.

    10. Gerald’s Game
    This underrated gem from the 1990s plays a weird trick: initially, the sordid sex game that initiates the plot, wherein a woman named Jessie, caught in a troubled marriage, is stranded in a remote cabin, handcuffed to the bed, after her husband has a fatal heart attack in the middle of a kinky experiment, promises titillation. Soon, the story swerves into what seems like a one of survival and emotional reckoning—and then dives into darker territory involving a seriously frightening encounter with a starving dog and a disturbing entity Jessie calls the Space Cowboy. As Jessie’s mental state deteriorates, King makes her desperation and sense of mounting doom visceral, and her powerlessness makes it almost excruciating.

    Most blood-curdling moment: While the moment Jessie degloves herself (which means just what you think it does) to escape the handcuffs is total body horror, we’d have to vote for the much quieter moment when the dog first enters the house and sees Jessie’s husband’s corpse as a potential feast.

    9The Dark Half
    The Dark Half regularly shows up in lists of King’s most underrated works. The premise—a famous writer finds an evil character of his own creation comes to life and launch a murder spree—doesn’t seem all that terrifying at first blush, but it’s what King does with it that makes this book scary. Exploring themes of sanity, creativity, and the creeping suspicion that we all have a dark half that might enjoy a little bloodletting, The Dark Half is both a creepy-as-heck horror story and an insightful commentary on how little control we have over our subconsciousness. King cleverly makes the evil dude, George Stark, so over-the-top so as to be comical, obscuring the fact that real horror is coming from inside the main character all along.

    Most blood-curdling moment: When author Thad engages in an “automatic writing” experiment and his hand goes rogue and stabs him. The idea of your body being under someone else’s control is terrifying.

    8. 1922 (from Full Dark, No Stars)
    1922 is a truly horrifying story of greed, emotional collapse, and the various ways a person can be punished for their crimes. Willfred, a farmer, manipulates his own son into helping murder his wife in order to gain her land and preserve the value of his own—and begins having seriously disturbing premonitions and run-ins with vicious rats almost immediately afterward. Every step Willfred takes on his way to rock-bottom feels inevitable, and that inevitability is part of the scariness. There’s something uniquely terrifying about being trapped in a fate you chose for yourself, and also something very satisfying in watching Willfred pay and pay and pay for his crimes—with his family, with his own body, then with the land he killed for, and finally with his life.

    Most blood-curdling moment: Since 1922 is all about the slow boil of fear, naturally it’s the ending, when Willfred gets what’s coming to him. Haunted and ruined, he thinks has a plan for when the rats come, but nothing is as it seems.

    7. Salem’s Lot
    King’s love for old-school horror has never been a secret, and in Salem’s Lot he indulges in a classic authorial “what if” experiment, wondering what would happen if Dracula showed up in a small town in 20th-century America. This is one of King’s most straightforward stories, and it’s scary precisely because King doesn’t try to spice up the vampire myth with new twists. Instead, he mines terror by exploring how the vampiric “infection” would race like fire along familial and friend connections, taking advantage of our closest relationships to turn us into literal monsters.

    Most blood-curdling moment: Two words: Infant vampire.

    6. Misery
    Misery proves King can absolutely terrify you without involving any sort of supernatural element. The key to horror in many ways is control—we all labor under the illusion that we’re in charge of our own lives. Shatter that illusion,and horror follows. Obsessive fan Annie Wilkes is terrifying because she’s so unshakably certain of her righteousness when she takes Paul Sheldon, the author of her favorite novels, prisoner after chancing on him in the wake of a terrible car accident—but also because of how completely she establishes complete control over Paul. Completely at her mercy, Paul soon discovers that the only way to survive is to play along with her insanity.

    Most blood-curdling moment: When Paul breaks the rules, Annie decides he has to be punished, so she does something to his body to make sure he can never run away again. Literally.

    5. The Stand
    The Stand is the very definition of literary sprawl, and by the end of the story it’s become a postapocalyptic epic about two groups attempting to rebuild society, one on the side of good and one in thrall to Randall Flagg, a supernatural evil presence. It’s easy to forget that the first part of the mammoth novel, in which the superbug called Captains Trips decimates the world in the most disgusting way possible, is absolutely horrifying. Anyone who can read the first part of The Stand without freaking out every time they hear someone cough in a crowded room has ice water in their veins.

    Most blood-curdling moment: Larry Underwood’s trek through a pitch-black Lincoln Tunnel filled with rotting corpses and… other things is terrifying.

    4. IT

    Oh, do we need to say more? Clowns are so inherently terrifying it’s difficult to understand how they became linked with children and harmless fun, and King makes serious hay by having his eternal, malignant force of evil in the town of Derry take on the form of Pennywise the Clown in order to lure children into its power. The true horror of the novel is how It turns the innocence and joy of childhood against us, weaponizing the imaginations and goodness of kids. The way It sneaks up on the kids, luring them into situations where they’re isolated and then turning their fears and insecurities against them, just curdles the blood.

    Most blood-curdling moment: When the Losers are going through the history of Derry and find Pennywise in all the photos… and then the photos start to move.

    3. Most of Skeleton Crew
    If there’s a more terrifying collection of short stories in existence, we haven’t read it. Skeleton Crew is Stephen King at 11 on a scale of least to most terrifying. The standout stories are “The Jaunt,” which takes a deceptively simple sci-fi premise and turns it into a white-haired horror that makes sleep almost impossible, and “Survivor Type,” which imagines a premise that’s terrifying in and of itself (being stranded on a deserted island without food) and cranks up the horror bit by bit—horror that’s twice as effective because you can easily imagine yourself in the same situation, and making the same awful mistakes.

    Most blood-curdling moment: “It’s longer than you think, Dad! Longer than you think!

    2. The Shining
    The Shining has been so thoroughly out-shined by Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation the novel’s reputation sometimes suffers as a result—people seem to forget that the original story had a different focus, but one just as scary. King plays with themes of alcoholism, insanity, and the possibility that we all have evil inside us, as well as the idea that all that stands between us and that evil are the restraints placed against us by society. Jack’s descent into madness is frightening because you can see yourself in his enraged, unhappy resentment, and because King does such a good job of making the Overlook Hotel both an evil and an inescapable presence.

    Most blood-curdling moment: The scene where Danny is attacked by the topiary animals shouldn’t work, but it does. It’s a white-knuckle sequence that establishes the Overlook’s malevolence beyond any doubt.

    1. Pet Sematary
    Pretty much everyone names Pet Sematary as King’s scariest (including the author himself). Part of it is the primal nature of the scares, centered on loved ones coming back from death wrong. Part of it is the emotional side—the relatable desire of the characters to bring someone back, no matter the cost. And part of it is King’s choices of victims: a beloved cat and a darling little boy, both of whom come back in the same bodies, but with vastly different spirits. Everyone knows loss, and everyone knows what they’d do to reverse the worst of those losses. And everyone knows the price would be terrible. King plugs into all of that expertly, engineering a truly horrifying novel.

    Most blood-curdling moment: “A cold hand fell on Louis’ shoulder. Rachel’s voice was grating, full of dirt. ‛Darling,’ it said.” It’s the “darling” that gets you.

    What’s on your personal list of King’s scariest books?

    The post Stephen King’s Scariest Stories, Ranked appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 2:30 pm on 2019/09/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , no other worlds, stephen king, ,   

    Stephen King’s The Institute Sidelines the Multiverse for Real Life 

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    Stephen King has made a career out of surprising us. Just when we had him pegged as a horror specialist, he veered off into more literary territory.

    After a near-death experience and a premature retirement announcement, he launched into the most productive period of his life.

    And just when he’s got us conditioned to look for connections to the King multiverse links in everything he writes, he drops The Institute, a novel that seems sure to be a perfect throwback to his ’80s heyday, crammed full of overt references to other King books featuring nefarious government scientists carrying out unspeakable experiments—but which actually stands (almost) entirely alone.

    Classic King

    The Institute initially seems like a slam-dunk for multiverse tie-ins—its bones are the stuff of classic Stephen King. The extended opening of the novel, which tells the rambling story of Tim Jamieson, a former Florida cop trying to figure out his next steps after losing his job under a cloud of controversy, has the unhurried pace and character focus of King’s small town-centric novels like Needful Things or The Tommyknockers. When we leave Tim working as a “night knocker” for the small local police force in DuPray, South Carolina, we pick up the story of Luke Ellis, an off-the-charts brilliant kid with a touch of telekinesis. Just as Luke is making plans for early entry into the Ivy League, his parents are murdered and he’s kidnapped and brought to the titular Institute, where he and other kids with mild telekinetic and telepathic abilities are imprisoned and experimented on—echoing both the psychic kid at the center of The Shining and the nefarious government agency that produced the pyrotechnic tyke on the run in Firestarter. Likewise, King centers this story on children—their fierce, surprising courage and sense of loyalty—such that the moment you meet the ragtag crew locked up in the Institute, you can’t help but be reminded of It.

    Real World Links

    But no: King swerves away from the intricate universe he’s been building for the last few decades and writes a robust, thrilling story that is focused on a slightly askew version of our own reality, and taking the opportunity to comment on some of its darkest parts. This is a story about the imprisonment and torture of children, after all—kids in cages, to rip a term from the headlines. Luke and his fellow exceptional kids are subjected to endless indignities—tests, injections, surgeries, and light beatings designed to jolt their mental powers into high gear. The staff at the Institute, with one exception, regard them less ass humans and more as lab animals, employing a combination of violence and bribery to keep them in line. Good behavior earns the kids tokens that can be used for candy, drugs and alcohol, or limited computer access. Obstinante behavior earns them a slap—or a whole lot worse.

    Eventually, the kids can look forward to graduating from the Institute’s relatively comfortable “Front Half” to the mysterious “Back Half,” from which no one returns. The parallels to the current refugee crisis in America—the novel’s children are being held in pseudo-prisons and treated like their humanity is inconsequential—are impossible to ignore. The potential links back to King’s larger fictional universe (the most obvious being whether the Institute is connected to or an evolution of the Shop from Firestarter and The Stand) are left out in favor of foregrounded links to our own all-too-real one.

    The Deep State

    As he’s condemning adults for treating their charges at the Institute poorly, King also takes care to position children as our best hope for a better future. As an author, he’s always displayed an immense faith in children—their innocence, their innate morality, and their inherent power—and he leans into that theme here (the novel is dedicated to his grandchildren). Like the genial sociopaths working at the Institute, it’s easy for us to forget Luke Ellis is a genius as he descends into the madness of the facility and becomes numb to its constant abuse and emotional exhaustion. As Luke loses the friends he’s made to Back Half one-by-one, he uses the new abilities the experiments have unlocked within him to risk a daring escape, and it doesn’t feel like too much of a spoiler to say that, should he make it, he’ll need the help of trustworthy adults to help those left behind (there’s a reason the novel begins with Tim’s story, after all).

    To say more would be revealing too much, but the ending, when it arrives, is unexpected and cathartic—and then King offers a sobering twist that puts a whole spin on the entire story, forcing you to question your own assumptions and attitudes. The fundamental question at the novel’s core isn’t about the poor treatment of specific people—even children—but one of fundamental morality: what are we willing to do to others, or to allow to happen to others, in order to keep ourselves safe?

    If The Institute doesn’t link into the King Multiverse (a vague mention of the town of ‘Salem’s Lot is its only relation to the author’s larger body of work), it seems the decision was made with sobering intent. It’s too easy, sometimes, if we’re reminded that what we’re reading is only part of a story.

    The Institute is available now.

    The post Stephen King’s <i>The Institute</i> Sidelines the Multiverse for Real Life appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Joel Cunningham 1:00 pm on 2019/09/04 Permalink
    Tags: audibooks, constant listeners, stephen king,   

    Explore the Many Worlds of Stephen King—With Your Ears 

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    At Barnes & Noble, the past few months have been, for us, the Summer of Stephen King. As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Stephen King’s new novel The Institute, we’ve been spending our days celebrating the many worlds King has created.

    One of the pleasures that shouldn’t be forgotten is that King novels don’t just make for darkly magical reading: they also make for marvelous listening.

    Here are excerpts from three of King’s most compelling works that are as thrilling in audio as they are on the page—and often in an entirely different way.

    Misery, 1987

    Doctor Sleep, 2013

    11/22/63, 2011

    And if you’re a King fan, don’t miss our podcast limited series King of the Dark—a journey through the most enthralling of Stephen King’s imaginative worlds with special guests Louis Peitzman and Liz Braswell—starting with his explosive debut Carrie and working up to the present day. Listen to the first episode here:

    And you can find all the episodes of King of the Dark here—the series is still ongoing, even as summer wanes.

    The post Explore the Many Worlds of Stephen King—With Your Ears appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 3:00 pm on 2019/08/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , lara prescott, , nothing ventured, quichotte, red at the bone, , stephen king, , the dutch house, , the secrets we kept, , , the world that we knew,   

    September’s Best New Fiction 

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    This month, heavy hitters such as Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Jeffrey Archer, and Jacqueline Woodson are back with highly anticipated, thought-provoking, perfect-for-your-book-club reads. They’re joined by the likes of Ann Patchett, Alice Hoffman, and Ta-Nehisi Coats (in his fiction debut), and if that’s not enough, fans of “meta” fiction will go crazy for Lara Prescott’s The Secrets We Kept, about the real-life spy craft surrounding the creation and dissemination of Doctor Zhivago.

    The Institute, by Stephen King
    With chapter two of It hitting theatres, it’s King’s world this month and the rest of us just live in it. As with It, King’s new book concerns a group of children fighting back against monsters—but this time, the monsters are adults, and the fight takes place not in a creepy small town like Derry but the eminently sinister Institute. Each child at the Institute has been kidnapped; their parents murdered. Each child has paranormal abilities that are being exploited for an unknown purpose. Escape seems impossible, but staying at the Institute, where abuse runs rampant, is not an option either. Grab some popcorn and a big ol’ can of soda so you can stay up all night reading this one.

    The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
    The long-awaited sequel to Atwood’s groundbreaking 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale promises to answer all the questions readers (and viewers of Hulu’s adaptation) continue to grapple with. Here’s what we know: it’s set fifteen years after the events of the first book, and employs three female narrators from Gilead—the dystopian society formerly known as the USA in which women have been stripped of autonomy—to continue the riveting story.

    The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
    When Maeve Conroy and her little brother Danny are expelled from the enormous, suburban Philadelphia estate in which they’ve been raised, the shared loss and subsequent poverty shapes their entire future. Abandoned by their socially conscious mother—who couldn’t abide the opulence of the so-called Dutch House and fled to India—the siblings couldn’t rely on their chilly, late father for love. Worse, their stepmother proves to be the fairy tale kind, full of resentment and greed. Over the span of 50 years, narrator Danny and his protective sister parse their history, attempting to come to terms with the past. Patchett’s mastery of family drama is on full display here.

    The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    For his first novel, Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power; and Between the World and Me, for which he won the National Book Award) depicts a version of the Underground Railroad never before seen. Readers will be transfixed by the story of Hiram Walker, a slave (known here as “the Tasked”) with a gift for conducting: a power to assist people (including himself) in getting across water. When his initial escape attempt falls apart, he joins the Underground, vowing to rescue his beloved Sophia, who remains in Virginia.

    The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman
    Using her trademark magical realism to great effect, Hoffman sets her latest novel during World War Two. Separated from her mother, twelve-year-old Lea flees from Berlin to Paris, accompanied by Ava, a golem brought to life by Ettie, a rabbi’s daughter. The trio of characters are forever linked in the months and years ahead, as Ettie becomes a resistance fighter and Lea and Ava eventually settle in a village atop a mountain, in which 3,000 Jews hope to be saved.

    Nothing Ventured, by Jeffrey Archer
    Archer fans already know Metropolitan Policeman William Warwick from the now-complete, seven-volume Clifton Chronicles. In this fresh, fabulous series opener, we get William’s backstory as a rookie detective knee-deep in art fraud, forgeries, and counterfeit antiques. Having defied his father by joining the police force instead of becoming a lawyer, William has a lot to prove and he’ll quickly get his chance. While investigating a missing Rembrandt, he falls in love with Beth, an enigmatic research assistant at the art gallery where the painting was stolen. He also goes up against a master thief and a seriously shady lawyer.

    The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott
    This powerhouse debut brings together historical spy craft, two sweeping love stories, and the true tale of the CIA’s use of Boris Pasternak’s seminal Doctor Zhivago to win Russian hearts and minds during the Cold War. Two secretaries in the CIA typing pool—experienced Sally Forrester and novice Russian-American Irina Drozdova—team up to retrieve a book from inside the USSR (where it’s unpublishable), get it out of the country, and then disseminate it among Russians attending the Vienna World’s Fair. Toggling between the events in D.C. and those happening to Boris Pasternak and his beloved muse Olga, this looks to be a gripping account of a little-known mission.

    Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
    Readers are always in good hands with Woodson, whose Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award (among others), and whose Another Brooklyn was a finalist for the same prize. Set in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2001, Red depicts the coming of age ceremony of 16-year-old Melody, while also exploring the reasons why Melody’s own mother, Iris, did not participate in a similar event, despite the fact that Melody’s dress was originally sewn for Iris. Issues of unplanned pregnancy versus ambition, independence versus family ties, and the ways in which those elements inform, expose, and intersect with race, class, and gender, are at the forefront of this moving and beautifully written novel.

    Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie
    Already longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Rushdie’s latest finds its inspiration in the classic Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Set in a surreal, at times horrifying, yet easily recognizable present-day America, this satire ties together the lives of a thriller writer, a pharmaceutical salesman, and a television actress. Not all of them exist, except in the minds of the other characters, but each one brings his or her own humor and pathos to this original reimagining.

    The post September’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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