Amazon's best books of May: today's releases

Erin Kodicek on May 21, 2019
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Today's releases include the long-awaited latest from the author of The Silence of the Lambs, another tale involving the Winklevoss twins, and an uproarious and provocative work of satire.

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


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Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

Miami Beach, a white sand paradise with a history of violence, is an inspired choice of location for Thomas Harris’ harrowing new novel of greed and survival: Cari Mora. Somewhere in a mansion on Biscayne Bay there rests a thousand pounds of cartel gold that Pablo Escobar, now dead, will never retrieve. Hans-Peter Schneider—the new face in our nightmares from the man who gave us Hannibal Lecter—has plans to steal the gold but he’s not the only one looking for it. Cari Mora is the young caretaker of the Escobar mansion, and Hans-Peter has plans for her too; plans that involve his primary occupation as a flesh peddler of the most disturbing sort, catering to the fantasies of an incredibly wealthy clientele. Hans-Peter’s macabre interests and inventions are pure Thomas Harris--and Cari Mora, a woman who has already survived unspeakable things, is a worthy opponent for Hans-Peter in this complex cat-and-mouse thriller. Cari Mora is as cinematic as one might expect (and hope for), charged with smugglers and lawmen, gruesome deaths, and deceit that crisscrosses the ocean between Colombia and Miami. Just when you think you know what’s coming, Harris has another twist up his sleeve. His first novel in more than a decade, Cari Mora proves that Harris is a masterful storyteller who knows exactly how to get under our skin and into our heads. —Seira Wilson


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Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich

Those who have read Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, which was made into the movie The Social Network, will know the Winkelvoss twins. They were the big, square-jawed, square-shouldered identical twins/Harvard rowers who hired Mark Zuckerberg to work on their Facebook-like project in college. Zuckerberg wound up launching his own product, which grew into the Facebook that counts one quarter of the world as its members. A lawsuit followed, and after the settlement the Winkelvoss twins were substantial millionaires. Mezrich opens his new book, Bitcoin Billionaires, with a meeting in San Francisco between the twins, Zuckerberg, and an army of lawyers. But this book is not a sequel to the first book so much as a chronicling of the Winkelvosses’ second act. As the Winkelvosses tried to launch a career as venture capitalists, they soon realized that their fight with the Zuck had tainted their money: no one in Silicon Valley would take it. Then, in Ibiza of all places, they learn about a crazy new idea called cryptocurrency. Flash forward to November 27, 2017: the Winkelvoss twins became the first Bitcoin billionaires. If you’re wondering how that happened, this book tells the fascinating tale. —Chris Schluep


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Riots I Have Known by Ryan Chapman

Riots I Have Known is a spitfire of a novel: funny, abrasive, and intelligent. As a prison riot thunders in the background, an inmate narrates the action from the Will and Edith Rosenberg Media Center for Journalistic Excellence in the Penal Arts. For several years, the inmate has reported the facts of prison life in the literary journal The Holding Pen (a stunt led by the PR-savvy warden), which has garnered a national following. In the journal, he regales readers with the disquieting and daily events inside a prison, while meandering through bourgeoisie meditations on art, culture, religion—and there is no way you won’t laugh out loud. Like Proust and Knausgaard, his unflinching pledge to narrate his own thoughts is virtuous, ruthless, comical and addictive, and grows even more poignant as the mob closes in on the media center. Ryan Chapman is a gifted wordsmith, and his debut, which whips by, is intensely satisfying. —Al Woodworth

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