Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from May 16–20 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday May 16
Pierced by the Sun, by Laura Esquivel
Mexican writer Esquivel, best known for Like Water for Chocolate (1992), ventured into historical fiction inMalinche (2006) and now uses the structure of a thriller to dramatize love and loss in another woman’s life, this time bringing readers into Mexico’s corrupt, drug-plagued present. Unlike Chocolate heroine Tita, a dutiful daughter who stays home and cooks, Lupita is less likeable and less well behaved, though she becomes more sympathetic as details of her brutal childhood (including being raped by a stepfather) gradually emerge and help explain some of her more horrendous past behavior.
Tuesday May 17
The Gallery, by Laura Max Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald (Under the Egg, 2014) gives the art mystery a new twist in her latest novel. She takes readers back to New York City in the late 1920s, where inquisitive, 12-year-old Martha O’Doyle joins her mother as a maid in the Sewell mansion. While much of the house gleams with impressive finery, it is also noteworthy for what cannot be seen, namely, an art collection and the impetuous Mrs. Sewell.
Wednesday May 18
Seven Days Dead, by John Farrow
Retired Montreal police detective Émile Cinq-Mars (The Storm Murders, 2015) still doesn’t quite understand vacations, and his wife, Sandra, fears that somehow Émile will find something to investigate, even on New Brunswick’s remote Grand Manan Island, where the couple is planning to spend a week in the sun. She’s right, of course; on the night previous to their arrival, a vicious storm wracks the island, and, in its wake, two bodies are discovered: that of a mean-spirited businessman who has ruled commerce on Grand Manan for decades and that of a minister, who is discovered eviscerated and tied to a tree overlooking the sea.
Thursday May 19
The Last Star, by Rick Yancey
Yancey takes no prisoners in this tense conclusion to a trilogy begun with The 5th Wave (2013). Well, maybe the one prisoner: Ringer, aka Marika, is still under the control of the wily Commander Vosch, who has implanted her with the 12th system, a piece of alien technology that enhances her body. Meanwhile, Cassie and Ben, unsure of whom they can trust, reach an uneasy understanding with renegade Evan Walker and batten down the hatches with their ever-dwindling group of survivors and prepare to make a final stand.
Friday May 20
Death at Breakfast, by Beth Gutcheon
Critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Gutcheon (Gossip, 2012) tries her hand at crime fiction and brings all of her talent for creating engaging characters to the task. Two retirees investigate the gruesome death of the obnoxious father of an out-of-control teen pop star in a fire at the Maine inn where they are attending a weeklong master cooking class. Hope Babbin and Maggie Detweiler have a lifetime’s worth of circumspection and acquaintances between them, especially Maggie, who has the advantage of those extra eyes she grew in the back of her head as a school principal.