Reviews of the Week, with Zhou Haohui, Lauren DeStefano, and Bill Clinton

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 21–25 below.


Monday, May 21

Death Notice, by Zhou Haohui

When Captain Pei Tao of the suburban Longzhou police is found crouched over the bloodied body of Sergeant Zheng Haoming, Chengdu’s most revered detective, he insists that the murder is connected to Zheng’s investigation of a notorious cold case. Eighteen years ago, Pei’s girlfriend, Meng Yun; his police-academy roommate, Yuan Zibang; and a Chengdu police detective were killed by a vigilante using the moniker Eumenides. Now Pei, after receiving a letter from Eumenides announcing that his “final act” will take place soon, has come to Chengdu hoping to join forces with Zheng.



Tuesday, May 22

Dreaming Dangerous, by Lauren DeStefano

DeStefano’s newest dark tale takes readers to Brassmere Academy for the Extraordinary, secretly located deep within the woods. Here 200 orphans with peculiar abilities reside and are carefully monitored by headmaster Dr. Abarrane and his team of pink-suited adults. While this scenario will strike readers as ominous, it is quite normal to Plum, Vien, Gwendle, and Artem—four Brassmere students who lucidly dream in tandem. These dreams often house monsters that Plum and her friends must slay, but their nighttime exploits have grown stranger and more dangerous lately.


Wednesday, May 23

 The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware

Hal hasn’t had it easy in the three years since her mother died. She’s dropped out of school and taken over her mother’s tarot booth on Brighton Pier, but there was never much to be made from that. Now interest on the money from a loan shark has grown to an impossible amount, and he’s threatening to break her bones. So when a letter arrives on creamy stationery from a lawyer in Penzance saying she’s an heir to her grandmother’s fortune, Hal goes to claim it, even though she knows he has the wrong person.




Thursday, May 24

Smoke in the Sun, by Renée Ahdieh

Mariko is not the girl she was when she first left home to marry a stranger. After weeks of living, disguised as a boy, with a rogue samurai band, Mariko’s wit, always sharp, has become finely honed. And she will need every measure of it: she’s seemingly been rescued and is back where she started, preparing to marry the son of the emperor’s favored consort. Meanwhile, Ōkami, traitor to the throne and the boy Mariko truly loves, has been captured and is awaiting execution.


Friday, May 25

The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Despite the blockbuster names, it’s difficult to imagine a more unlikely pairing than Patterson, known for stripping away everything but the absolute essentials from his fiction, and Clinton, a gifted orator never known for keeping it short. Though the plot is convoluted, the premise is straightforward: a terrorist group, Sons of Jihad, led by one Suliman Cindoruk, is threatening to unleash a computer virus that could almost literally return the U.S. to the Dark Ages. President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan, battling the threat of impeachment, receives an offer to negotiate in person.



About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the former Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist.

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