22 Booklist April 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
wrenching and hilarious confrontations and
meltdowns, Maum’s incisive, charming, and
funny novel ebulliently champions the healing
powers of touch, the living world, and love in
all its crazy risks, surprises, and sustaining radiance. —Donna Seaman
Where Jasmine Blooms.
By Holly S. Warah.
Apr. 2017. 392p. Skyhorse, $24.99 (9781628727494).
A novel that handles cross-cultural relationships with remarkable sympathy, weaves in
the personal and the political with finesse, and
explores the Palestinian question is worthy of
applause. Warah also beautifully portrays Palestinian Zainab Mansour and her American
daughters-in-law, Margaret and Alison, characters with depth and complexity, and for this
she deserves a standing ovation. Warah lays out
the challenges generated by religious, cultural,
and linguistic barriers as the various players interact in a sweeping tale that takes readers from
Seattle to Jordan and Jerusalem. Zainab’s sons,
Ahmed and Khalid, form strong foils for the
stories of the three women and bring further
dimension to Warah’s themes of home and immigrant identity. As we see the Mansour family
gathering for tea in diverse places and circumstances, Warah reveals how the most common
of daily choices reflects profound questions of
faith and self. With great storytelling finesse
and compassion, Warah brings readers into
lives that may be different from their own,
banishing stereotypes, illuminating the universal experiences underlying persistent political
clashes, and offering a heart-expanding perspective. —Shoba Viswanathan
By Diksha Basu.
June 2017. 304p. Crown, $26 (9780451498915).
It’s tough for Anil Jha to break the news to
his neighbors. After years living in their close-
knit community in an apartment building in
East Delhi, the Jhas are moving to an upscale
neighborhood, trading the smoky kitchen (and
neighbors with their noses in everyone’s busi-
ness) for the leafy green and quiet of a private
bungalow. Mr. Jha made a small fortune when
he sold a website he created, and he’s deter-
mined to start living up to his new means. But
his wife is less enthusiastic about the changes
coming their way, and it seems her anxieties are
warranted as Mr. Jha comes down with a severe
case of keeping up with the Joneses—or, in his
case, the Chopras. The Jhas’ changing fortunes
have repercussions for their son, studying for
his MBA in America, and their former neigh-
bor, a young widow who unexpectedly finds
romance. In her debut novel, Basu sprinkles
her send-up of social mobility in modern India
with gentle indulgence for her characters, pre-
senting the foibles of the Jhas with humanity
and humor. —Bridget Thoreson
By Barbara Allan.
May 2017. 256p. Kensington, $25 (9780758293121);
e-book, $11.99 (9780758293138).
Former theater diva, the irrepressible Vivian Borne and her sensible daughter, Brandy,
owners of the antique and collectible store,
Trash ’n’ Treasures, and stars of the reality TV show Antiques Sleuths, are wrapping
up the first season of the show as Brandy
deals with relationship issues. After serving
her estranged husband (and Brandy’s current boyfriend), Anthony Cassato, chief of
police, with divorce papers, Camilla Cassato has changed her mind and now wants
Anthony back. She has come to Serenity,
Iowa, opened her own antique store, and is
taking great pleasure in outbidding Brandy
for items on camera, while the show is being
filmed. When Camilla is found murdered,
Brandy is the chief suspect, and Vivian leaps
in to protect her daughter. A conversational
writing style, with both Vivian and Brandy
sharing the narration, adds to the appeal
here, along with the well-drawn mother-daughter relationship and the many details
of the antique business. This humorous series will appeal to readers who enjoy Jane K.
Cleland’s Josie Prescott mysteries, also set in
the antique world. —Sue O’Brien
Blood and Belonging.
By Vicki Delany.
Apr. 2017. 144p. Raven, paper, $9.95 (9781459812840);
Police Sergeant Ray Robertson is off duty
from his UN job training officers in Haiti.
He’s jogging on the beach at his resort, trying
desperately to enjoy a much-needed vacation
with his wife, when a dead body washes up on
the shore. The local police want to dismiss the
case as yet another nameless illegal immigrant
having fallen off a night boat, but Ray recognizes the victim as one of his Haitian police
recruits and suspects foul play. Vacation or
not, he’s getting involved in this case, and he’s
soon in over his head in the murky waters of
human trafficking. The latest installment of
the Ray Robertson Mystery series, this story
grabs the reader immediately (wasting no
time, the corpse appears, thrillingly, on page
3), and Delany spends the remainder of this
quick, dark book skillfully unfurling clues for
her readers while maintaining a delicate relational subplot about a struggling marriage.
This low-reading-level thriller deals unflinch-
ingly and tactfully with disturbing, timely
human-rights issues while remaining focused
on the mystery and its satisfying conclusion.
By Jennifer McMahon.
Apr. 2017. 304p. Doubleday, $25.95 (9780385541367);
McMahon’s latest (after The Winter People,
2014) is a bar-raising blend of her trademark
sense of nostalgia and taut suspense, and an innovative take on the hero’s quest built around
a perfectly assembled cast: a
resourceful heroine with a
haunting past; a high-school
girl dodging a drug dealer’s
wrath; a school lunch lady
with a circus-star alter ego;
a food-delivery man turned
private detective; and a
troupe of magical women
who see the beyond. After a flood drowns her
father and brother, Necco and her mother
take to the streets of Burntown, a declining
industrial burg leaning on its local university.
They’re hiding from Snake Eyes, whom her
mother claims is hunting them to learn their
family secret and to bury his own. When
Necco’s mom dies, Necco emerges from the
shadows to forge a new future with Hermes,
who promises a life-changing surprise but
is murdered before he can reveal his secret.
Necco is the prime suspect. Relying on her
expertise at hiding and the unique skills offered by the band of endearing misfits drawn
to her quest, Necco sets out to find Hermes’
killer. But when Hermes’ secret connects buried memories of the flood, her family’s cycle
of murders, and a machine that can channel
the dead, Necco realizes that her mother’s
crackpot theories are horrifically real. A
stunning genre blend of thriller and fantasy.
The Dying Detective.
By Leif G. W. Persson. Tr. by Neil
May 2017. 432p. Pantheon, $27.95 (9780307907639);
Persson is Sweden’s most renowned psycho-
logical profiler and considered the country’s
foremost expert on crime. He has authored a
number of police procedur-
als centered in Stockholm
that feature an ensemble
cast with characters from
the National Criminal Po-
lice who come and go in
the novels, much like Tana
French’s Dublin Murder
Squad detectives. The Dying
Detective centers on Lars Martin Johansson, a
living legend, “the man who could see around
corners.” Now retired, he has suffered a stroke.
His doctor inadvertently engages him in a
cold case, the rape and murder of a nine-year-
old girl. He undertakes an investigation that
starts out (à la Josephine Tey) in his hospital
bed and then continues at home, much to the
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