Weekend Reading

Jon Foro on January 18, 2019
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In this edition, the Amazon Books Editors load up our book bags for a long weekend with: The hunt for the "deadliest animal in history," a man-eating tiger that claimed 436 victims; a favorite science fiction author turns her pen to a "mystery within a mystery within a fantasy"; a deeply affecting story of loss, grief, and family; and a criminal mastermind who ran a drug cartel from the comfort of his laptop computer.

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You might not have known that you could build a small library of books about being eaten by big cats. Or like me, you already have one. (I do not recommend a “little free library” of these books outside your home, however.) In the genre, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, The Tiger, and Man-Eaters of Kumaon stand out (and for a meatier roundup on this topic, see our feature on " The Best Books About Getting Eaten"). There is always room for more, IMO.  No Beast So Fierce (February 5) is the story of hunter Jim Corbett and his pursuit of the Champawat Tiger, which claimed 436 victims in India’s Himalayan foothills in the early 20th century. The jacket copy describes Dane Huckelbridge’s book as American Sniper meets Jaws; make what you will of that, but it’s good enough for me. —Jon Foro

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I always have mixed emotions when I hear that a favorite author has decided to write in a new genre. I'm grumpy, because I've enjoyed their marvelous books in the previous genre, SO WHY CHANGE!? I'm optimistic, because sometimes a genre jump leads to an astonishingly wonderful book, and I adore delightful surprises above all else. Ann Leckie, who captured multiple awards for her Ancillary Justice science fiction novels, has decided to turn her pen to fantasy with The Raven Tower (February 26). When a warrior returns to his city, he discovers that his father is missing and presumed dead, and his uncle has, against all protocol, taken the throne. Oddly, the city's god is fine with the switch in succession. (Normally usurpers are struck dead by the god. It's very efficient.) The heir's aide tries to track down what really happened, while another god's musings about humanity and power weave in and out of all the detecting being done. The Raven Tower is a mystery within a mystery within a fantasy, and Leckie is rocking it so far. I can't wait to see what happens when she pulls all the plot threads taut at the end. — Adrian Liang

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I am breezing through Little Faith, the latest by Nickolas Baker. It has been said about his writing, and it's true again for this novel, that he as such affection for his characters, and for the setting, that you can't help but be enamored too. In it a family, no stranger to grief, faces another devastating loss if they cannot save their grandson from his well intentioned, but dangerously misguided, mother. — Erin Kodicek

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I loved American Kingpin from 2017 about the man behind the dark website called Silk Road, so The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. looks like it's right up my alley. The Mastermind recounts the story of Paul Le Roux, a criminal genius who ran a drug and weapons cartel from his laptop and eluded the DEA for years. After his arrest Le Roux turned on his associates and become an informant. Author Evan Ratliff spent four years uncovering the story and this looks like a compulsive "truth is stranger than fiction" read. —Seira Wilson 


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