Weekend Reading

Jon Foro on November 09, 2018
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Halloween might be in the rear-view mirror, but judging by our choices in reading this weekend, the Amazon Books editors aren't quite ready to move on. Our picks include a trio of suspenseful books: an "intriguing debut" from a talented new novelist; a sophomore thriller that avoids the sophomore slump; and a twisty page-turner where nothing is what it seems. Throw in a Black Mirror-esque adventure about the pitfalls of "human perfection" and you've got the makings for a less-than-restful respite. 

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Tim Johnston’s Descent, a complex missing-person thriller set in the shadowy wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, was one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises. (You might even say it was decent if you were 15 years old in 1983, when that was high praise.) The Current, his follow-up due in January 2019, promises to be equally, if not more, impressive: Two young women are pulled from the frigid winter waters of a Minnesota river, one dead and the other barely alive. The incident—which is no accident—recalls a similar tragedy 10 years earlier, and the survivor soon releases their stories have deeper connections than just the river. —Jon Foro

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I'm so ready to just kick back and read something that's just plain fun. My brain needs a serious re-charge and yet there is still December Best of the Month to think about. Fortunately, one of December's releases is the young adult novel Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton. A sci-fi adventure story about humanity's quest for perfection and the lengths people will go to make themselves more beautiful, more intelligent, more...everything. It looks great, has been getting a ton of strong critical reviews and I think it's the perfect blend of exciting fun with meaning behind it.--- Seira Wilson

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I just started an intriguing debut called Sugar Run by Mesha Maren. In it Jodi McCarty has just been released from prison after serving 17 years for manslaughter. Instead of heading straight home, she embarks on a mysterious errand when she meets Miranda, another troubled soul who needs to hit the reset button on her life. There are so many red flags flying between these two, not to mention sparks, that I’m wondering if the meaning of the title is Sugar, run. We will see....

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We're now easing into cool, drizzly, and foggy weather in Seattle, which means plunking myself down in a coffee shop, grabbing a hot drink, and finishing up M. R. Carey's creepy Someone Like Me sounds like the perfect way to spend several hours this weekend. Two—or is it three?—characters drive the plot: Liz, who in the middle of fending off an attack from her ex-husband, feels something seize control of her body and respond with a violence she never expected; and teenager Fran, who was abducted as a child and suffers PTSD episodes that might not really be PTSD. There's still so much to be revealed, and I can't wait to find out how Liz and Fran's experiences intertwine. –Adrian Liang

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When I think back on the most monumental reads of the past five years (for me), I easily count A Brief History of Seven Killings among my top 5. That book blew me away, and I am convinced that Marlon James is a genius. A real genius. The Man Booker committee and Michiko Kakutani also liked it a lot. What stood out for me was the language, his ability to put me in the heads of his characters (or put them into my head), and the sweep of the story he was telling. And the violence was crushing, relevant, and not indulgent. That book was set in Jamaica in the 1970s. Now Marlon James has written a novel with a description that places it in the realm of fantasy—not what I was expecting to read from him next, but I'm in and I'm not planning on starting another book until I finish this one. — Chris Schluep

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