This week: new novels from Richard Ford, Bruce DeSilva, and Jeffrey B. Burton, plus an Austen-centric debut from Kim Izzo; true crime in Tokyo and true love in the USSR; a look at America’s philosophical side; a survey of Cuba’s contemporary arts; and a tourist’s-eye-view of our pollution-choked planet. Plus: fantastic new fiction from Kim Stanley Robinson and Alyson Noël.

Canada by Richard Ford (Ecco, $26.99; ISBN 978-0-06-169204-8).

A new book from this American master is always an event, and there’s a lot to like in this portrait of a mid-century middle-American life in free fall. See our profile.

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished From the Streets of Tokyo--and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16; ISBN 978-0-3742-3059-3).

Tokyo thrums with energy in the case of disappeared 21-year-old Lucie Blackman—a terrifying account of sexual sadism and murder, the failings of the Japanese legal system, and a family ripped apart by tragedy. See the Q&A.

Cliff Walk by Bruce DeSilva (Forge, $24.99; ISBN 978-0-7653-3237-0).

DeSilva, 2010 Edgar-winner for his debut, Rogue Island, stands to garner more nominations with this sequel, in which Providence newspaper reporter Liam Mulligan looks into the murder of a strip-club owner found on the rocks below Newport’s famed Cliff Walk.

Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag by Orlando Figes (Holt/Metropolitan, $27; ISBN 978-0-8050-9522-7).

The remarkable tale of love and devotion during the worst years of the USSR finds a young couple separated for years by war and the horrors of the gulag, their heroic efforts to maintain contact, and their against-all-odds reunion.

America the Philosophical by Carlin Romano (Knopf, $35; ISBN 978-0-679-43470-2).

This surprising look at America finds philosophy driving the practical heart of the country, and is written with “addictive prose,” a “splendid sense of humor” and a “breathtaking intellectual range and passion.”

The Chessman by Jeffrey B. Burton (MacAdam/Cage, $25; ISBN 978-1-59692-370-6).

Burton’s outstanding serial killer thriller, which opens with the murder of the new SEC commissioner in Washington, D.C., offers plot convolutions that are both mind-boggling and well-conceived. Even seasoned practitioners of this subgenre will be impressed.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit, $25.99; ISBN 978-0-316-09812-0).

Robinson envisions the solar system 300 years from now, when an entire world can be a work of art and humans have a chance to become truly superhuman—if we can break the habits of political intrigue and warfare. See our Q&A.

Cuba: Contemporary Art by Andreas Winkler and Sebastiaan A.C. Berger (Overlook, $40; ISBN 978-1-590207-76-5).

More than 500 images make up this “beautifully produced and stunningly diverse” survey of the island nation’s contemporary art scene. Check out a preview.

Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell (Rodale, $25.99; ISBN 978-1-60529-445-2).

An ambitious experiment in ecotourism results in an “astute” but highly entertaining travelogue to some seriously screwed up places, including the poisoned Ganges river and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. See our Q&A.

The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo (St. Martin's Griffin, $14.99; ISBN 978-1-250-00345-4).

A self-professed Jane Austen addict tries her hand at gold-digging in Izzo’s charming debut novel, full of lavish parties, frothy escapist fantasy, and hilarious misadventures.

Fated by Alyson Noël (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-3126-6485-5).

Bestselling author Noël kicks off a new series, Soul Seekers, inspired by Native American mythology and featuring a ending that leaves fans hungry for the next.