Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Reading Ahead: March 2014, Meg's picks, part 2

The last part of my March 2014 picks list has a little something for everyone, including a title that will have series fans cheering with joy.  Want in on it?  Let's get to it.

Be Careful What You Wish For, by Jeffrey Archer.  Archer returned to readers several years ago with a new series, The Clifton Chronicles, that has won hearts and critical praise--if you're unfamiliar with the series, now would be a great time to get started with the first installment, Only Time Will Tell, followed by book two, The Sins of the Father.  This latest, book three, has fans lining up for a copy, and with good reason.  Across oceans, spanning generations, this installment catches up with the tragedies and triumphs of the Clifton clan. 

The Blazing World, by Siri Hustvedt.  Siri Hustvedt first made impact on readers with 2003's What I Loved, and critics are calling this newest novel her most "urgent and masterful work" since then.  Here, artist Harriet Burden has spent years enduring critics who dismissed or ignored her work, but when she conducts her Maskings experiment (three solo shows of her own art under three different male identities), the work is acclaimed.  However, when Burden admits her deceit in the wake of the third show, there is doubt and then scandal.  Hustvedt's presentation of this tale is ingenious, an emotional and highly detailed puzzle.  I cannot wait.

The Accident, by Chris Pavone. Pavone's first novel, The Expats, was an Edgar-Award-winner and a New York Times bestseller.  I think this second novel, a suspenseful spy-story involving a literary agent with dark secrets in her past, a veteran CIA operative who would love to bury the story only to find his life hanging in the balance, and the author of the manuscript who has spent an expat life trying to make amends for years of lies and betrayal with the publication of The Accident, which has landed on the literary agent's desk.  Rich characters, a fast-paced plot, and action that zips from America to Europe and back again--I think fans of Dan Brown's work might really want to try Pavone's novels.

A Circle of Wives, by Alice LaPlante.  A renowned plastic surgeon, a respected family man, and an active community spokesman, Dr. Taylor was loved and admired. But, hidden from the public eye, he led a secret life—in fact, multiple lives. A closeted polygamist, Dr. Taylor was married to three very different women in three separate cities. And when these three unsuspecting women show up at his funeral following the good doctor's murder, suspicions run high. Palo Alto Detective Adams soon finds herself tracking down a murderer through a web of lies and marital discord. This feels a little like a cross between a Jane Green novel and a Linwood Barclay thriller--I'd say readers of either would find themselves intrigued.

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