Love and fear drive migrants in ‘American Dirt’

In her beautiful, suspenseful and timely new novel “American Dirt,’’ Jeanine Cummins succeeds in taking migration — one of the central issues of our time — and

Cat-and-mouse game skillfully told in debut novel

When Elizabeth Pfautz was a child in Pennsylvania, her twin sister was lured away by a stranger, never to be seen again. Years later, in 1941, Elizabeth is raising

Author lays out sturdy case in ‘From Russia With Blood’

In “From Russia with Blood: The Kremlin’s Ruthless Assassination Program and Vladimir Putin’s Secret War on the West,” author Heidi Blake lays out a sturdy case that

A technical feat, ‘1917’ is great storytelling, too

It’s been a good time for World War I buffs — especially if they’re also movie buffs. A year ago director Peter Jackson applied state-of-the-art technology to

‘A Small Town’ slick, somewhat predictable revenge fantasy

As Thomas Perry’s new thriller opens, little Weldon, Colo., is still reeling from a brilliantly planned escape from a federal prison on the outskirts of town.

Disney fans will enjoy Snow’s ‘Disney’s Land’

Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park that Changed the World,” Scribner, by Richard Snow Scores of books have been written on

‘19th Christmas’ a good fit for mysteries and chick-lit fans

Sticking with the fuzzy socks analogy, this book is a good fit for fans of mysteries and chick-lit. It’s not high gloss or terribly stylish (definitely

Jeff Lindsay has entertaining new thriller

Riley Wolfe gets his kicks executing spectacular robberies that no one else would even contemplate. His victims are always the super-rich, whom he despises as “smug, do-nothing,

17 stories inspired by great American paintings

Writers take their inspiration from a variety of sources: an unforgettable face, overheard conversation or perhaps, a painting. The well-known crime writer Lawrence Block has parlayed

Author Lee Child explores origins of hero concept

As time passed, people began to tell each other stories. The stories probably were basic at first and then over time heroic traits were added to keep the

Young priest confronts mysteries of past in Harris’ thriller

Fairfax quickly finds out things are different than they seem at first blush. The reader does, too, when Harris introduces a significant twist early in the

Reflections on writing about the lives of Beckett, Beauvoir

Deirdre Bair has spent her life writing well-received biographies of some of the 20th century’s most fascinating people, including Al Capone and Carl Jung. Yet the only two subjects

Sample a bit of Jenny Slate’s imagination in ‘Little Weirds’

Jenny Slate is an artist in the broadest sense of the word. You may know her as a comedian, an actress, or a co-creator of short films.

Jack Reacher is in deep trouble in Lee Child’s ‘Blue Moon’

The narrative in “Blue Moon,” the latest Jack Reacher novel by author Lee Child, has the feel of an old Western where the town needs the sheriff

Ali Wong’s Raunchy Humor Charms in ‘Dear Girls’

In comedian Ali Wong’s “Dear Girls,” Wong opens by declaring that she was nervous to write a book because she didn’t feel smart enough. She found her groove, she

Grisham’s ‘The Guardians’ is suspenseful thriller

In John Grisham’s latest novel, “The Guardians,” a former priest named Cullen Post works for an organization called Guardian Ministries that scours court transcripts and personal letters

Smith takes readers on a wild ride in ‘Grand Union’

Acclaimed author Zadie Smith’s “Grand Union” is an enchanting collection that examines the complexity of contemporary life. This book of short stories, the author’s first, refuses to

‘The Liar’ makes a good case for telling the truth

As expected in a novel titled “The Liar,” lies abound in this engaging story that is part mystery and part coming-of-age tale. Actually, it is just one

‘Letters from Hollywood’ is a movie nerd’s dream

Paul Newman passes on an offer to co-star with Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl,” saying he can’t carry a tune or dance. Col. Tom Parker suggests a story line

Author takes deep dive into creation of TV show ‘Friends’

In 1994, NBC was trying to find a show that could pull in ratings similar to the network’s mega-hit “Seinfeld.” Two writers pitched a show they saw as “Cheers”

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