February 15, 2016 Booklist 29 www.booklistonline.com
She is proud of her accomplishments and
blissfully happy. But just when she feels she
has everything, the demons of the past return
to haunt her. Fighting these unrelenting forces, she watches everything she loves slip away,
until she believes just one option remains, one
that only she will ever truly understand. Munaweera’s style is richly descriptive and deeply
personal as she probes the link between childhood trauma and adult psychosis. Writing
with the same tantalizing prose that captured
readers in her debut novel (Island of a Thousand Mirrors, 2014), Munaweera explores the
relationship of mothers and daughters, tradition, honor, and sacrifice, with beautiful and
devastating results. —Cortney Ophoff
Why They Run the Way They Do.
By Susan Perabo.
Feb. 2016. 208p. Simon & Schuster, $24
(9781476761435); e-book (9781476761459).
The 12 stories in Perabo’s sublime third
collection feature characters young and old
grappling with watershed moments in their
lives. In “The Payoff,” two students embark
on a misguided attempt to blackmail their
teacher and principal after stumbling upon
the pair’s affair. When the plan goes inevitably
awry, the young narrator finds herself forced
to confront her own misgivings. “Michael,
the Armadillo” follows two parents after their
young daughter is given a stuffed animal she
innocently names after her mother’s ex-lover,
unleashing disconcerting memories between
husband and wife. In tales of mortality, adolescence, aging, or relational strife, Perabo
portrays characters whose internal justifications belie their external actions. “Shelter”
presents a headstrong woman who uses her
unexpected role as a kennel owner to shrug
off the responsibilities associated with her
own health and relationships. The solemn
“A Proper Burial” reveals the tormented dissolution of a marriage alongside the death of
a beloved family pet. Perado’s witty, nuanced
narratives deftly explore her characters’ inner
voices as well as the darker conversations and
realities of everyday life. —Leah Strauss
The Year of the Runaways.
By Sunjeev Sahota.
Mar. 2016. 480p. Knopf, $27.95 (9781101946107).
Half a dozen young men have left their
homes in India to occupy a run-down flat in
England, living and working under the radar.
Avtar, who arrived via the auspices of a student
visa, cannot afford to lose his documentation.
Tochi, a member of the untouchable caste,
fled a village massacre but traces of discrimination haunt his new life. Randeep struggles
to grow more comfortable with his wife, their
marriage arranged to secure visas. For each
thread of this multilayered tale, Sahota enlivens the characters’ plights with page-turning
prose and poetic texture, whether the untranslated dialect tossed about in conversation,
the fixings of home-roasted roti and mango
pickle, or the exquisite details of butterflies or
a woman’s glinting, gold wedding nose ring.
The novel’s nearly 500 pages fly by, a testament
to the interwoven narratives of Sahota’s many
characters, structured around the seasons of
the year. Shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker
Prize, and similar in style and subject to works
by Hanif Kureishi, Ru Freeman, and Laila Lal-ami, this is Sahota’s first book to be published
stateside. —Diego Báez
The 14th Colony.
By Steve Berry.
Apr. 2016. 464p. Minotaur, $27.99 (9781250056245);
e-book, $14.99 (9781466862616).
There’s a new president in the White
House, and you know what they say about
new brooms. The administration’s housecleaning involves one particularly interesting
initiative: closing down the Magellan Billet,
the Justice Department unit that focuses on
cases with an international element. But,
first, Cotton Malone, the agency’s top operative, has one final mission: to find a
notorious—allegedly retired—KGB agent.
Not a simple mission, to be sure, and soon it
becomes vastly more complicated when Cotton uncovers a world-spanning conspiracy
that reaches back into history. The Malone
novels are formulaic, sure, but it’s a solid
formula that always delivers the goods: a resourceful hero, a modern-day story involving
historical secrets, and plenty of action. Series
fans won’t be disappointed. —David Pitt
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A major
six-figure marketing campaign and the coveted “national one-day laydown” suggest
that, come April, The 14th Colony will be a
ubiquitous presence in the reading public’s
The Age of Treachery.
By Gavin Scott.
Apr. 2016. 336p. Titan, paper, $14.95 (9781783297801);
e-book, $9.99 (9781783297818).
In the winter of 1946, Duncan Forrester,
fresh from duty as a captain in the Special Op-
erations Executive (SOE), is back at Oxford as
a junior research fellow in archaeology when
scholar David Lyall is murdered. Lyall was a
less than admirable person with many adver-
saries, but the top suspect is Gordon Clark,
with whose wife Lyall was having an affair.
As Clark’s closest friend, Forrester goes after
the real killer, a quest that involves a missing
Norse manuscript and travel to Germany and
Norway as danger increases. The legacies of
war remain fresh, notably in Forrester’s loss
of the woman he loved; when informed that
Forrester was missing and believed dead, she
joined SOE and was sent to France, where
she was captured by the gestapo and shot. In
the first of a series, Scott provides brief but
vivid pictures of postwar austerity in a plot of
nonstop action, including interactions with
writers of note (Tolkien and C. S. Lewis at
Oxford, Fleming and MacLean in London,
Heyerdahl in Norway). Forrester, whose
personal life takes a turn here, is a strong
protagonist for this promising postwar series.
By Mark Greaney.
Feb. 2016. 528p. Berkley, $26.95 (9780425282793).
Greaney is known primarily for his work
with Tom Clancy, but his Gray Man novels
have attracted their own following. This latest in the series is his best yet. Court Gentry,
the Gray Man, used to work for the CIA,
but then the Company put
him on its kill list. For years
he has lived off the grid,
trying to figure out what he
did to earn the wrath of his
superiors. Now he’s decided
it’s time to stop running
and return to Washington,
D.C., to find answers. The
alphabet agencies discover he is in town,
however, and soon every possible hit squad is
on high alert. For the Gray Man, the price of
uncovering the truth appears to be to insure
not only his termination but also that of others in the agency. The bold conspiracy plot
and the vast cast of clearly delineated characters are impressive, and the novel’s length
(more than 500 pages) never seems padded.
Comparisons to the Bourne novels and films
are both expected and appropriate. Readers
looking for another great thriller writer in
the Brad Taylor camp best make some room
on their bedside tables for Greaney and the
Gray Man. —Jeff Ayers
The Considerate Killer.
By Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. Tr.
by Elisabeth Dyssegaard.
Mar. 2016. 320p. Soho, $27.95 (9781616955281).
The fourth in the Nina Borg series (Death
of a Nightingale, 2013) finds the Danish Red
Cross nurse once again in peril. Trouble follows Borg, and this time it has followed her
into a parking garage and tried to crush her
skull with a metal pipe. Her policeman boyfriend rushes to her side and runs interference
with the mother she’s been nursing through
cancer treatment and the children who are
tired of worrying about their mother’s safety.
Alternating chapters tell the story of Vincent,
a Filipino med-school dropout who has become indebted to a corrupt school friend. The
reader is led to assume that Vincent is the one
behind Borg’s assault, but what happened to
turn a scholarship student in the Philippines
into a would-be killer half a world away?
Borg’s backstory is skimmed over in this entry, making readers new to the series feel like
they’re missing a vital piece of information
about why the nurse seems to attract crime.
Still, for fans, this is a solid entry in an intriguing series. —Karen Keefe
Down the Darkest Street.
By Alex Segura.
Apr. 2016. 320p. Polis, $24.95 (9781943818099).
Readers might turn up their noses at