The pick of our favorite books coming out this week include new titles by E.J. Copperman, Allie Rowbottom, and Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi.

Witness for the Persecution

E.J. Copperman. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5076-8

In Copperman’s outstanding third Jersey Girl legal mystery (after 2021’s Judgment at Santa Monica), Sandy Moss, a former New Jersey prosecuting attorney who moved to Los Angeles two years earlier to practice family law, has proven herself with her expert handling of two high-profile murder trials. Now, she’s the go-to lawyer for difficult cases with difficult clients, the latest being movie director Robert Reeves. The imperious Reeves has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of stuntman James Drake, which occurred during the filming of Reeves’s latest action extravaganza, Desert Siege. Though the director’s pomposity irks her, Sandy agrees to represent him, discovering “that it was possible to defend a man against murder charges without liking him at all.” The case is further complicated by threats against her life, the fact that her boyfriend starred in Desert Siege and might be called as a witness, and the fleeting feeling that her client might be guilty. Vibrant characters, a suitably complicated plot, sparkling dialogue, plenty of laughs, and some shrewd observations on L.A. and the film industry make for a rollicking good time. Copperman knows how to entertain. Agent: Josh Getzler, HG Agency. (Apr.)


Allie Rowbottom. Soho, $27 (264p) ISBN 978-1-64129-400-3

Rowbottom (Jell-O Girls) delivers a complex and deeply engaging portrayal of a woman looking back on her career as an Instagram model. The narrative fluidly alternates between the near future, when Anna is in her mid-30s, and her rise to influencer status in 2017 at 19. After moving from Houston to Hollywood straight out of high school, she’s quickly scouted by a seedy but famed manager, Jake Alton. Jake and Anna soon begin a sexual relationship that, while consensual, is centered on an uneven power dynamic; he also gives her drugs and talks her into breast implants. At 35, a much-transformed Anna has returned to Hollywood not for a comeback but an undoing. Alone in a hotel room, she drinks wine and pops pills the night before a risky facial procedure called aesthetica, which involves the reversal of her implants and rhinoplasties. “The in-between time,” Anna narrates, “before results are final, is my favorite of any procedure... my body working to heal, my brain acclimating to the bruises and swelling until one day they’re gone and the transformation is complete.” Rowbottom brings as much tension to the story of Jake’s manipulation in Anna’s past as she does to the aesthetica, which Anna knows she might not survive. The subplots are equally rewarding, among them Anna’s inability to save her troubled single mother, and the reappearance of Anna’s childhood best friend, a successful runner who is struggling with anorexia. It all builds to a scorching commentary on society’s blindness toward female pain. Fans of Mary Gaitskill’s work and Black Mirror will flock to this pitch-perfect novel. Agent: Erin Harris, Folio Literary. (Nov.)

Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger

Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi. Hachette, $29 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306-82648-1

Tetro, one of the most prolific art forgers of the 20th century, paints his own life story with flair in this cinematic memoir. Coming of age in Fulton, N.Y., during the 1960s, Tetro started by freehand drawing from examples in his mother’s photo magazines, and over time taught himself techniques from art books. As a teen dad (his girlfriend got pregnant when he was only 16), he’d stay up late making elaborate copies of the greats—Rembrandt, Renoir, Picasso. When his young family relocated to Southern California, he took low-paying jobs but also discovered museums. He dabbled in forgeries offered at auction in the early ’70s, selling a faked Chagall sketch to a local art gallery. Chasing clients and commissions, he learned to print serigraphs and developed methods to create provenance or realistic history to the paintings (for example, smudging cigarette ash on the back of a faux Dalí). What followed were fancy cars, lavish parties, and traveling the world. But soon, the law would catch up to him and his art forgery empire crumbled. Written in a colorful, conversational voice and blending memoir, art history, and true crime, Tetro’s account takes readers on a turbulent, fast-paced, high-stakes roller-coaster ride. This is the art world’s The Wolf of Wall StreetAgent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management. (Nov.)

Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power

Jefferson Cowie. Basic, $35 (512p) ISBN 978-1-5416-7280-2

Vanderbilt University historian Cowie (The Great Exception) examines in this gripping and haunting study the centuries-long tradition of localism by which white Americans have sought to exert their dominance over groups they have designated as “others.” He astutely grounds his study in one specific place—Barbour County, Ala.—and its struggles over land, citizenship, and democracy, from the violent theft by white settlers of land belonging by federal guarantee to Creek Indians in the 1830s and the eventual establishment on those lands of intensely profitable cotton plantations worked by enslaved people, through the rise of militant states’ rights groups such as the Eufaula Regency in the 1850s and the century following the Civil War, when local whites did all that they could to prevent African Americans from utilizing the rights granted to them by the federal government. Cowie also tracks the ascension of Barbour County native and avowed segregationist George Wallace to the Alabama governor’s office, detailing how his calls for freedom from federal oversight tapped into a deep vein of racialized politics running from the country’s founding to the January 6 Capitol riot. Cowie’s meticulous accumulation of detail and candid assessments (he calls out Lyndon Johnson for transforming the 1957 Civil Rights Act into the “weakest bill it could possibly be”) make for distressing yet essential reading. This is history at its most vital. Illus. (Nov.)

All the Blood We Share: A Novel of the Bloody Benders

Camilla Bruce. Berkley, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-10259-6

A real-life family of 19th-century killers provides the cast for Bruce’s stellar sophomore effort (after 2021’s In the Garden of Spite). In 1871, Kate Bender’s family flee their comfortable farm in Pennsylvania after one of them kills a local man. Desperate for money in their hardscrabble new home on the Kansas prairie, Kate’s mother, Elvira, concocts herbal remedies, and the Benders offer travelers meals and makeshift lodging. Kate, a gifted performer, is eager to cash in on the spiritualism craze by setting up as a medium, but Elvira argues that courting public recognition is too dangerous. The murder of one of their overnight guests who’s carrying substantial cash proves an easier solution. Plus, the man is a transient, making the crime also low risk. Bruce excels at illuminating the inner life of a family that’s at once roiled by tensions and staunchly loyal; as the Benders often say, “We take care of our own, and the rest can fend for themselves.” First-person chapters from Kate and Elvira are particularly strong in a novel rich with characters as convincing as they are sinister. This is a riveting portrait of the dark side of the American dream. Those intrigued by historical crimes won’t want to miss this one. Agent: Brianne Johnson, HG Literary. (Nov.)

G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century

Beverly Gage. Viking, $40 (864p) ISBN 978-0-670-02537-4

In this captivating biography, J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure as FBI director from 1924 to 1972 reveals “what Americans valued and fought over during those years, what we tolerated and what we refused to see.” Yale historian Gage (The Day Wall Street Exploded) meticulously tracks the highs and lows of Hoover’s career, including the Palmer raids of 1919–1920, the killing of gangster John Dillinger in 1934, the Kennedy assassination, and counterintelligence operations against the antiwar movement in the 1960s and ’70s. Special attention is paid to Hoover’s “extended campaign of vilification and harassment” against Martin Luther King Jr., which had some basis in anti-Communist paranoia, Gage notes, but mostly came from “the racism that often made [Hoover] see calls for justice as a threat to national security.” Gage also sheds valuable light on Hoover’s experience of his “gentle” father’s depression; his college membership in a Southern fraternity “founded in 1865 to preserve the cause of the white South,” whose members Hoover frequently recruited into the FBI; and his intimate relationship with his second-in-command, Clyde Tolson. Throughout, Gage persuasively explains how Hoover went from a nationally popular figure to becoming “a standard-bearer less for the unbounded promise of federal power than for its dangers.” Nuanced, incisive, and exhaustive, this is the definitive portrait of one of 20th-century America’s most consequential figures. (Nov.)

Men I Trust

Tommi Parrish. Fantagraphics, $34.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-68396-650-0

Lambda Award–winner Parrish (The Lie and How We Told It) delivers an unflinching examination of two women as they tentatively form a friendship while coping with messy personal circumstances. Thirty-something Eliza is a weary but loving single mother of a young boy, eking out a living and performing her poetry in local venues. She is also five years sober and attends AA meetings. Voluble 20-something Sasha is living with her parents in middle-class comfort “until I get back on my feet” and dabbles in sex work, most notably with an older man named Andrew. After Sasha attends one of Eliza’s performances, she’s smitten, and pursues Eliza hard, lending support and a sympathetic ear to Eliza’s problems. Initially guarded, Eliza warms to Sasha’s attentions, while becoming increasingly wary of Sasha’s neediness (Sasha tells her “I’m just constantly searching for someone to be with me”). Eventually the tense push-pull of their dynamic reaches a critical breaking point when Eliza uneasily agrees to accompany Sasha on a date with Andrew for extra cash. Parrish’s gift for nuanced characterizations and dialogue juxtapose with their distinctive, highly stylized art, in which characters sport exaggeratedly bulky, awkward bodies and small heads. This humane, insightful tale should further burnish Parrish’s reputation as a first-rate artist and storyteller. (Nov.)

At Midnight: 15 Beloved Fairy Tales Reimagined

Edited by Dahlia Adler. Flatiron, $19.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-250-80602-4

This expansive fairy tale anthology edited by contributor Adler (Home Field Advantage) comprises 14 reimagined fairy tales by Tracy Deonn, Malinda Lo, and Anna-Marie McLemore, among others, plus one “new fairy tale” by Melissa Albert. “Say My Name,” Adler’s “Rumpelstiltskin” retelling, features a genius teenage hacker who uses her skills to secure her best friend a spot in a coding competition. H.E. Edgmon’s rendition of “Little Snow White,” “Mother’s Mirror,” follows a transgender high schooler seeking freedom from their mother’s oppressive ideals. After learning his parents can’t afford their mortgage, an Apache teen teams up with a talking coyote to save his house in Darcie Little Badger’s “Coyote in High-Top Sneakers,” inspired by “Puss in Boots.” In Albert’s original fairy tale, “The Sister Switch,” a college student’s plans to break up with his girlfriend and date her best friend are foiled by the sudden appearance of a mysterious immersive theatrical experience. Intersectionally diverse and globally inclusive—stories take place across time in locales such as British-occupied India, Russia, New York City’s Chinatown, and suburban U.S. neighborhoods—this simultaneously whimsical, adventurous, and bone-chilling genre-spanning collection smartly riffs on the referenced source material to explore contemporary values. The original fairy tales conclude. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)