Reviews of the Week: Emery Lord, Charles Cumming, J. D. Robb, and More!

Every weekday, we feature a different review on Booklist Online that highlights starred reviews, high-demand titles, and/or titles especially relevant to our current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from January 9 through 13 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.

book of american martyrs joyce carol oatesMonday, January 9

 A Book of American Martyrs, by Joyce Carol Oates

Oates often channels the inner voices of psychopaths, with morbid fascination modulating into empathy. In this robust, relentless, inquisitive, and astutely balanced novel of social conflict, she portrays with unfailing nuance two troubled men on opposite sides of the ever-fraught abortion-rights debate after roofer Luther Dunphy murders Dr. Gus Voorhees outside a women’s clinic in a small Ohio town in 1999.

 

 

beastly-brains-nancy-castaldoTuesday, January 10

 Beastly Brains, by Nancy F. Castaldo

With a menagerie of fascinating examples, Castaldo lays out the history of ideas about animal smarts before covering the myriad ways researchers evaluate intelligence. This eye-opening, cogent, and well-structured volume will enlighten students to both the richness of the animal kingdom and the nature of intelligence.

 

 

divided spy charles cummingWednesday, January 11

 A Divided Spy, by Charles Cumming

Add Cumming’s Thomas Kell to the growing list of chilled-to-the-bone spies craving warmth. After appearing to have made his break from MI6 following the death of his lover, Rachel, Kell can’t resist the opportunity to extract some sweet revenge. Learning that Russian spymaster Alexander Minasian, who may have green-lighted Rachel’s murder, has been observed having a lover’s quarrel with another man, Kell, working on his own, sets up a honey trap to ensnare his prey.

 

 

names they gave us emily lordThursday, January 12

 The Names They Gave Us, by Emery Lord

Life has a certain stability for Lucy, a rising high-school senior, swim-team captain, and preacher’s kid. She’s especially close with her parents, a side effect of her mother’s cancer, which has been in remission for years. Summer arrives along with disaster: her mom’s cancer returns.Lord explores the hardships in both Lucy’s life and the lives of the people around her—without forgetting about the joys of ordinary life, summer love, and the pitfalls of growing up.

 

 

51VktH33B9LFriday, January 13

Echoes in Death, by J. D. Robb

Late one night, while NYPD lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire businessman husband, Roarke, are returning home from a swanky party, they spot a bloody, naked, and extremely traumatized woman walking in the street. The author’s latest tautly constructed entry is every bit as addictively readable as the previous 43 installments in this highly entertaining series.

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About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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