Reviews of the Week, with Alice McDermott, Adam Silvera, Zinzi Clemmons, 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 July 17 through 21 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.


July 17

 The Whole Art of Detection, by Lyndsay Faye, read by Simon Vance

The characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson have been depicted in books and on stage, film, and TV for many years. Although some fans are deeply loyal to their favorite actor’s performance, they may change their minds when listening to Vance’s masterful presentation of Faye’s Holmes pastiches. This fine collection of short stories captures the flavor of Doyle’s original tales with memorable characterizations, an authentic feel of Victorian London, and a gritty tone.

July 18

 Release, by Patrick Ness

Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Foreverstrange bedfellows, yes, but nevertheless the twin inspirations for Ness’ introspective latest. In past works, Ness has gone big in scope: the distant dystopian planet of Chaos Walking; the apocalypse in The Rest of Us Just Live Here (2015). Unlikely, then, that this cautiously paced cross section of a life would be his most ambitious yet.


July 19

 The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott

In this enveloping, emotionally intricate, suspenseful drama, McDermott lures readers into her latest meticulously rendered Irish American enclave, returning to early twentieth-century Brooklyn. Like Alice Munro, McDermott is profoundly observant and mischievously witty, a sensitive and consummate illuminator of the realization of the self, the ravages of illness and loss, and the radiance of generosity.




July 20

 They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera

Imagine a world in which everyone who is about to die receives the shocking news in advance by phone, and you have the premise of the wildly imaginative new novel by Silvera. Eighteen-year-old Mateo receives such a phone call at 12:22 a.m., while 17-year-old Rufus receives his at 1:05. Both boys, who are initially strangers to each other, now have one thing in common: they will be dead in 24 hours or less.


July 21

 What We Lose, by Zinzi Clemmons

Clemmons’ spectacular debut is written in bursts, from single-sentence pages to sparse paragraphs, and combines photographs, diagrams, charts, articles, and blog posts to amplify an intimate story of personal loss into a larger narrative of identity, family, race, and socioeconomic access. Clemmons creates haunting authenticity by imbuing Thandi with autobiographical elements.






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