Like a Disneyland rollercoaster, this literary thriller twists and turns, combining heart-stopping suspense with a stunning view of California in the early 1980s. Whipsmart Lorena Saenz keeps her head down at high school, but when she’s paired with astrology fan Jenny Stallworth for a science project, events are set in motion that test her to unimaginable extremes. A resourceful heroine with a fatal attraction to scorpions (and Jenny’s dad), Saenz makes readers wish they weren’t turning pages so damn fast to find out what will happen next. This is that rare tale that works as hard on the nerves as it does on the brain cells. Enormously satisfying!
One day Beth Harmon wanders into the orphanage basement and discovers the janitor playing chess. It is the birth of not just a pastime, but an obsession, one which will take her a long way from Kentucky. Walter Tevis lays out his pieces on the very first page and moves them with the sure intent of a grandmaster. This book is a wonderful entertainment, with an endgame full of cheers and tears. Behind the moves, counter-moves, and checkmates, though, is a serious tale of the loneliness it takes to become the best at what you do – and to be seen, at last.
Kukafka's gripping novel turns the serial killer narrative on its head. While the clock ticks nearer to the execution of Ansel Packer, Kukafka tells the story of the victims and the women this psychopath has left in his wake. These include the mother who abandoned him to save herself, the twin sister of the woman he married, and the childhood acquaintance who grew into the detective obsessed with bringing Packer to justice. Kukafka weaves a narrative web that ensnares the reader, presenting in forensic detail the foibles and ordinary heroism that make up the very human people most crime stories tend to dismiss. An unforgettable page-turner.