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A sampling of new books in December

What’s new in December

If there’s a theme to several of these selections, it is with the most anticipated authors. Do they thrill or disappoint regular readers? But that’s not unusual. Sometimes readers allow latitude for their favorite writers to venture forth in new ways, and sometimes they don’t. There’s no way to know until you try such books yourself and decide.

Certainly, the Stephanie Plum series is in this category. Janet Evanovich brings her cast of characters back in Fortune and Glory, the 27th book in the series. It’s ok to tell you that the book starts with the wedding night death of Grandma Mazur’s new husband. He’s left Grandma a hint about a fortune if she can find it. Stephanie is on the job, but, as it turns out, so are others on the same trail. Yes, Ranger and Joe Morelli are back vying for Stephanie’s favors, and yes, readers are still both entertained and irritated by the lack of progress. Will this be the one? (I’m more curious about Grandma Mazur’s new husband.)

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player Two has been anxiously awaited by fans. If you are one of those fans, you know that no less a cinematic light than Spielberg turned the first book in this series into a well-received movie. This sequel picks up where the first book left off, into the future in the virtual universe. Cline works in some gender politics in this sequel which either irritates or pleases readers.

A new young adult romance novel, Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer, features protagonist Pru who wakes up one day with the ability to dispense instant karma, for better or worse, on anyone. Which of us hasn’t mused on how slow the karmic wheel turns in the real world? Meyer plays with the good time one can have if we didn’t have to wait so long for karmic justice. Of course, a romance is involved as well as considering “the thin line between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed.”

Fans of Jo Nesbo’s Nordic noir have a new one to read, The Kingdom. Again, fans of Nesbo are of two minds on this one so far. Some, but not all, feel it is “too dark” which is an odd complaint for Nordic noir since the very definition is that it’s dark. Others feel it could be a little more action packed. On the whole, if you like Nesbo, you’re likely to enjoy this one.

Historical fiction and WWII reading fans will be pleased with V2 by Robert Harris. This thriller is set in Germany and features a rocket engineer working on the V2 program for the Nazis as well as a British female spy. (Thomas Pynchon was a rare writer about the V2 program in his novel Gravity’s Rainbow, 1973, a famously difficult book to read, so take your choice there if you’re interested or try both.)

Fans of Anthony Horowitz are not likely to feel conflicted about his newest, Moonflower Murders. He plays with his story within a story format that has worked for him as well as bringing some Magpie Murders characters back in play.

Last on the list is a rare mention of a true crime book, but one that has had a lot of excellent notice in, for example, The Boston Globe, which is fitting. We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper takes a look at a murder that went unsolved for half a century at Harvard University. Jane Britton, a Harvard anthropology student as well as the daughter of the Vice President of Radcliffe at the time (1969), was murdered in her apartment. Cooper came to Harvard as a student, became interested in this crime, and chased it down for the next decade. The truth turns out to be much more complex than the rumors. (Ethel, I’m thinking of you on this one.)

If none of these catch your fancy, it is only a small sampling of what’s new. We have something for everyone.

See you at the Library! (Published in the Frankenmuth News on Dec. 9, 2020, by Roz Weedman.)

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