Amazon's best books of January: Today's releases

Erin Kodicek on January 21, 2020
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Today's releases include one of the most buzzed-about books of early 2020, William Gibson's highly anticipated sequel to The Peripheral, and a choice selection from our mystery/thriller category list.

Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.


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American Dirt: A Novel by Jeanine Cummins

Lydia Quixano Pérez runs a bookstore in Acapulco, Mexico, where she lives with her husband, Sebastián, who is a journalist, and their son, Luca. When a man starts visiting her store, buying books and striking up a friendship, she has no idea initially that he will be responsible for turning her life upside down. But Lydia and Luca will have to flee Acapulco, setting them on a journey they will share with countless other Central and South Americans-turned migrants. There is very little I can say about this novel that hasn't already been said, and it hasn't even been published yet. The buzz has been building early, and when it does go on sale it will likely be one of the most talked about (and widely read) books of the year. From the colossal opening chapter to the epilogue, American Dirt is a novel of crisp writing, urgent pacing, and remarkable empathy. It deserves the attention of a large audience. —Chris Schluep


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Agency by William Gibson

The year is 2017, and Verity Jane is a talented “app whisperer” who is hired to test a new artificial intelligence called “Eunice.” Verity soon becomes aware that the AI is quite powerful, something that she hesitates to share with her employers. But she can’t hide for long. While Agency opens in 2017, it is a book with both feet placed firmly in the future—a novel of variable timelines, including one set in London where shady characters can reach back into the past to manipulate Verity’s present. The book is a sequel of sorts to Gibson’s 2014 novel The Peripheral—it is set in the same universe and shares some characters—but it can be read on its own. With its pithy short chapters and mind-bending plot, with the recognizably erudite characters and Gibson-esque language and dialogue, and with the inventiveness of a great science fiction, this is a fun first read of the new decade. Agency will entertain you, but it will also leave you with thoughts to chew on. —Chris Schluep


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The Janes: An Alice Vega Novel by Louisa Luna

Alice Vega doesn’t suffer fools or criminals gladly, which promises trouble for whoever dumped the bodies of two Latina teenagers near San Diego. A private investigator, Vega is hired by San Diego PD to find out who killed the Jane Does. Vega is firmly in the driver’s seat as she and fellow PI Cap discover the dark, tangled story behind the Janes’ deaths; what she lacks in stature, she makes up for with fierce intelligence and a talent for improvising. With bolt cutters. Heartache, relentless plot developments, and explosive action mark this excellent sequel to Two Girls Down.

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