Nerdy Special List August 2013
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking, It’s August already?? I think I fell into a time machine and accidentally hit the fast-forward button.
Well, summer might be wrapping up for those going back to school, but you can still squeeze in a few more summer reads before you have to crack open those textbooks. Here’s what my blogger pals and I found outstanding among August releases.
From Jen at Jen’s Book Thoughts:
Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz (St. Martin’s, August 20)
Gregg Hurwitz continues to amaze me as he tops himself year after year with incredible thrillers. His style is tight and his pacing fast, yet he still develops rich characters and wonderful worlds. That has never been as true as with his latest. A psychologist finds himself in a life-threatening race to publicly admit his lie. The only problem is, he doesn’t know what his lie is.
Hurwitz delves into his characters physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Meanwhile, he’s covertly developing San Francisco as a parallel character. The intricacy of this novel is astounding. Hurwitz’s attention to detail and vivid imagery add icing to an already delectable cake, so go ahead and dig in!
This is Hurwitz’s 13th novel and I’d say there’s nothing unlucky about this book! (Small side note: As fabulous as this book is, I wish the publisher could have come up with a cover that’s a little less cliche. Tell No Lies is in a league of its own, don’t be fooled by this overused cover image.)
From Danielle at There’s a Book:
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam by Tracey Corderoy, Illustrated by Steven Lenton (Nosy Crow/Candlewick Press, August 6)This fun picture book tells the tale of two bad dogs who happen to be quite bad at being bad. Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam want to be the best dog robbers ever, but instead, robbery after robbery goes terribly wrong. When they decide on their final robbery—stealing from the dogs next door—they decide an elaborate tea party is the only way to lure their neighbors out long enough to commit the crime. Of course things go poorly, and in a strange turn of events, these two dogs discover they’re much better bakers than burglars.
From Rory at Fourth Street Review:
Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet (Crown, August 6)
Kelly Braffet’s third novel is a gritty, atmospheric thriller. Patrick Cusimano’s life is not the way anyone would want their life to be. His father, an alcoholic, finally went too far, hitting and killing a little boy—then fleeing the scene of the crime. He returns to the home he shares with his two sons. Older brother Mike wants to sweep the incident under the rug. Patrick knows that is impossible and calls the police, turning in his dad. He waits 19 hours to do so, earning the scorn of Rachetsburg, PA.
To make matters worse, Caro, Mike’s troubled girlfriend, takes their relationship far beyond platonic, straight to sexual. On the opposite end of the spectrum, but equally scorned, are Layla and Verna Elshere. Complications ensue as their lives intertwine in unexpected ways. Save Yourself is a compelling meditation on grief and growing up in the shadow of your father’s sins. If you enjoy dark fiction with damaged but human characters, do yourself a favor and read this novel, one of my favorite releases this summer.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Random House, August 20)
After reading 8 unsatisfying books in a row, I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever find another good book, one I could fall in love with and take home to meet the family. And then I picked up Night Film.
Ashley Cordova, the daughter of reclusive, cult film director Stanislav Cordova, is found dead at the age of 24, an apparent suicide. Investigative journalist Scott McGrath is determined to discover why Ashley jumped to her death, or if she jumped at all. McGrath once publicly declared that the director spreads evil through his film, comparing Cordova to Charles Manson and Jim Jones. Cordova sued him for slander and McGrath’s career has never recovered. The journalist thinks the truth about Ashley’s death could vindicate him, but he slowly finds himself sucked into Cordova’s cinematic world of dark magic and horror.
This 600-page tome is something to be experienced, not just read. It comes with cross-media elements, so that when McGrath is doing research on a website, for example, we see the actual web pages and its contents. There are pictures of key characters, and images that serve as clues to the Cordovas’ story. The experience is truth- and mind-bending, unsettling and entirely gripping. Pessl’s prose contains equal measures of dread and dry humor, and she proves the success of her debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, was no fluke.
What are you looking forward to reading this month? (Check out past lists here.)