What's on my radar for next month's new fiction titles? Read on!
Proving Ground, by Peter Blauner. Don't know Blauner's name? He covered crime and politics for New York magazine in the 1980s. His debut novel, Slow Motion Riot, won an Edgar Award, and more recently, he's been paying the bills by writing for television, including three shows in the Law & Order franchise, and by producing both for Law & Order: SVU and Blue Bloods. Here, in his first novel in more than a decade, Blauner returns to readers with a crime novel set in contemporary New York, where a troubled relationship between an infamous civil rights lawyer father and a war-hero son comes under scrutiny when Nathaniel Dresden's father is found dead in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. This has been slated as first in a new series, and I'd be doing my fellow readers a disservice if I didn't share this ASAP.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. In a debut that is billed as part comedic novel, part emotional thriller and part love story, readers meet Eleanor Oliphant, whose solitary existence and quirky, deadpan inner monologue are built around a timetable to keep her interaction with other people to an absolute minimum. She tends to say just what she's thinking and lacks social skills, but her rigid world is beginning to develop cracks. She's developing a crush on a bar musician. She's reluctantly being drawn into an odd sort of friendship with bumbling IT guy Raymond, and then with Sammy, an elderly gentleman whose life she and Raymond save. And as she is teased out of her shell, we begin to uncover just why that shell was constructed in the first place. This is right at the top of my own reading list for the summer.
The Scribe of Siena, by Melanie Winawer. Being recommended to fans of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Outlander, this debut novel is a portrait of medieval Siena as seen through the eyes of a 21st-century neurosurgeon. Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.