Reimagined pasts, possible futures—plus Election’s Tracy Flick, now in midlife—offer plenty for readers to dig into.
The Books of Jacob
Olga Tokarczuk, trans. from the Polish by Jennifer Croft (Riverhead) $35
Nobel laureate Tokarczuk weaves together the stories of characters searching for spiritual truth in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during the second half of the 18th century. They’re connected by their fascination with the novel’s central character, Jacob Frank, a charismatic Jewish merchant who proclaims himself the Messiah and gathers a following with his erotic and liberated vision of life. Tender, ebullient moments and Tokarczuk’s deep investment in her material will reward readers of this visionary masterpiece.
John Darnielle (MCD) $28
The latest from Mountain Goats singer Darnielle is a metafictional epic for true crime addicts and experimental fiction fans alike, interspersing a writer’s investigation into a murder committed at the height of the 1980s Satanic panic with excerpts from another of his books of gruesome reportage. The multilayered narrative adds up to a masterwork of suspense that entertains while critiquing the artifice of the true crime genre.
Barbara Kingsolver (Harper) $32.50
Set in Appalachia’s Lee Country, Va., this is a David Copperfield for the opioid age. Demon Copperhead, 11, is a budding cartoonist and the quick-witted son of a troubled young mother whose addiction places Demon in various foster homes; eventually, he finds some short-lived stability before becoming addicted himself. This is a powerful story, both brilliant in its many social messages regarding foster care, child hunger, and rural struggles, and breathless in its delivery.
Elif Batuman (Penguin Press) $27
The effervescent sequel to 2017’s The Idiot sees Selin beginning her sophomore year at Harvard. Batuman’s light touch and humor are brought to bear on serious questions, enabling the novel to move quickly between set pieces like an S-and-M-themed student party, poignant recollections of Selin’s parents’ divorce, and a harrowing travelogue as Selin begins a summer job in Turkey.
The Immortal King Rao
Vauhini Vara (Norton) $27.95
In a global society run by a corporate board, King Rao, legendary tech mogul and mastermind of the new world order, has died in mysterious circumstances. His daughter, Athena, is tasked with preserving his legacy—and has the brain implant to prove it. Alighting on colonialism, India’s caste system, climate change, social media, and more, Vara ingeniously identifies portentous links between history and the book’s present and makes her family portrait the stuff of myth.
Jean Hanff Korelitz (Celadon) $28
There’s no love lost among Salo and Johanna Oppenheimer’s IVF-conceived triplets—“the smart one,” “the weird one,” and “the girl”—as they head off to college in 2000. Salo and Johanna, meanwhile, live in Brooklyn Heights, summer in Martha’s Vineyard, and have little in common beyond their links to a tragic accident from their 1970s Cornell days. Korelitz builds several satisfying twists into the narrative, making for an irresistible dramedy of errors about a singularly unhappy family.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf) $29
This book club fave does for game design what Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry did for indie bookstores. After meeting then falling out as tweens, Sam and Sadie reconnect in college and collaborate on a blockbuster, controversial video game. The exhilarating novel ranges over popular culture, with characters alluding to Macbeth and Emily Dickinson as readily as they reference The Oregon Trail and Donkey Kong.
Tracy Flick Can’t Win
Tom Perrotta (Scribner) $27
The overachieving, ambitious teenager of Perotta’s Election—now a high school assistant principal and single mom in her mid-40s—may be beaten down a little by life but she remains determined to reach her goals. Her desperate, often cringeworthy bid to be voted her school’s next principal is at the heart of this telling, the rare sequel that lives up to the original.
Hernan Diaz (Riverhead) $28
Diaz presents four takes on fictional financier Andrew Bevel, who survives the Wall Street crash of 1929 and becomes one of New York City’s chief financial barons before dying a decade later at age 62. The result is a kaleidoscope of capitalism run amok in the early 20th century, which also manages to deliver a biography of its irascible antihero and the many lives he disfigures during his rise to the cream of the city’s crop.
The Women Could Fly
Megan Giddings (Amistad) $26.99
In this dynamite story of a Black woman’s resistance, all women must marry or register with the Bureau of Witchcraft by age 28. Main character Jo’s inheritance is contingent upon her visiting an island in Lake Superior, which, according to a story her mother had told her, only appears once every seven years. Giddings ingeniously blends her harrowing parable of an all-powerful patriarchy with insights into racial imbalances, placing her novel in the tradition of Octavia Butler and Margaret Atwood.
Mysteries & Thrillers
Spies, private eyes, and all manner of intriguing characters keep the crime fiction pages turning.
Ava Glass (Bantam) $27
Rookie British spy Emma Makepeace is off to a cinematic start in this series launch, in which Russian military spies have been killing dissident scientists now living in the U.K. She has just 12 hours to usher to safety Michel Primalov, the son of Russian physicists who spied for England, while under the watchful eye of London’s Russian-hacked CCTV cameras.
Anywhere You Run
Wanda M. Morris (Morrow) $17.99
Violet Richards flees Jim Crow–era Mississippi after killing the white man who raped her, knowing that as a Black woman she won’t get a fair hearing. Meanwhile, her older sister, Marigold, works with the Mississippi Summer Project to help Black residents register to vote. Powerful forces target each sister, ramping up the suspense.
The Bangalore Detective Club
Harini Nagendra (Pegasus Crime) $26.95
This cozy series launch set in 1920s India introduces 19-year-old Kaveri Murthy, who while at a society reception witnesses a man choking a beautiful woman. The man, a local pimp, later turns up dead in the garden, and Kaveri deploys her talent for mathematics, her physician husband’s medical knowledge, and her desire for justice to find the real killer.
Because I Could Not Stop for Death
Amanda Flower (Berkley Prime Crime) $17
Meet 25-year-old Emily Dickinson, amateur sleuth. When the brother of her family’s new maid is found dead in a seeming accident, the two young women determine to solve what they believe to be his murder. Their investigation takes them from Amherst, Mass., to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., where the real Dickinson’s father served as congressman in the mid-1850s.
Ellery Lloyd (Harper) $26.99
In this Reese’s Book Club–approved thriller, the latest branch of an exclusive international club is situated on a private island 90 minutes from London, accessible by car only by a causeway at low tide. After a Land Rover on its way to the elite playground doesn’t quite make it across, the so-called party of the year turns into the murder mystery of the decade.
Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries
Edited by Otto Penzler (Penzler) $27.95
Fourteen tales of impossible murder are served up by household names such as John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, and Clayton Rawson, as well as some who’ve slipped into obscurity, including Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist MacKinlay Kantor. The anthology offers a master class in classic puzzlers for those smitten with more modern fare like Only Murders in the Building.
Lev AC Rosen (Forge) $26.99
This queer spin on the traditional country house whodunit opens in 1952 with disgraced San Francisco PD inspector Andy Mills, picked up in a raid on a gay club two days earlier, contemplating suicide. Apparent salvation appears in the form of Pearl Velez, who offers him a job investigating her soap-mogul wife’s death—but no hands are truly clean on the secluded Lamontaine estate.
Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday) $28
Bohjalian’s latest transports readers to Tanzania in 1964, where a Hollywood star and her new husband are on a gin and tonic–soaked photo safari honeymoon with family and friends. The idyll turns to nightmare when the party is taken captive by Russian mercenaries, ramping up the shocking, twist-filled plot. Glamping in the Serengeti may sound appealing, but scenes of chaos and carnage leave no room for FOMO.
Murder in Westminster
Vanessa Riley (Kensington) $26
The first installment of the Lady Worthing mystery series paints a vibrant picture of the roles Black and mixed-race people played in Regency life. Abigail Carrington, daughter of a Jamaican mother and a Scottish father, discovers the corpse of her London neighbor while on her way to a secret meeting of antislavery crusaders, and sets out to clear her name and solve the crime.
Gary Phillips (Soho Crime) $24.95
This series-launching slice of L.A. noir is partly inspired by Black lifestyle photographer Harry Adams (1918–1985), known for his mid-century depictions of politicians, musicians, and everyday African American life. Phillips populates his story, which hinges on a car accident that may be no accident after all, with old guard lefties, rogue cops, Nation of Islam activists, and politicians on the make.
Love stories, whether sweet or spicy, warm things up on a cold winter’s night.
After Hours on Milagro Street
Angelina M. Lopez (Carina) $15.99
Alejandra’s attempts to revive her grandmother’s failing bar clash with sexy professor Jeremiah’s plans to turn the bar into a museum, until a local development company sets its sight on the property and the pair team up to save it. Lopez seamlessly blends high-heat rivals-to-lovers romance with discussions of Alejandra’s Mexican heritage and the fascinating history of 19th-century Mexican immigrants to the Kansas plains, making this a winner.
T.J. Alexander (Atria/Bestler) $17
This outstanding queer foodie rom-com will wow fans of Casey McQuiston. No-nonsense pastry chef Simone and distractingly cheerful kitchen manager Ray become reluctant collaborators on culinary videos together, then grow close after Ray comes out as nonbinary at work to mixed reactions from coworkers. This romantic comedy is masterful with its snappy banter, romantic chemistry, and ability to both embrace and subvert the rom-com tropes it’s working with.
The Dark King
Gina L. Maxwell (Entangled Amara) $15.99
In an erotic paranormal romance between a mortal and a faerie king—paging fans of Katee Robert and Sarah J. Mass—feisty submissive Bryn and dominant millionaire Caiden meet in Las Vegas and wake up married after a night of partying, unaware that a master puppeteer is pulling the strings that brought them together. This smart, sexy story delivers nonstop surprises and deliciously foreshadows the next novel in the series.
The Forever Farmhouse
Lee Tobin McClain (HQN) $8.99
The cozy Hometown Brothers series kicks off with a magnetic second-chance romance. Ryan returns to the Chesapeake Bay’s Teaberry Island to stay with his foster mother and slowly rekindles his relationship with Mellie, his high school girlfriend, who now has a 10-year-old son. McClain pits her appealing characters against realistic problems, making for a romance that’s deeply emotional but never soapy, and a safe gift for even the most blush-prone readers.
In the Event of Love
Courtney Kae (Kensington) $16.95
Santa Monica event planner Morgan returns to her hometown, where the Christmas tree farm owned by the family of Rachel, her teen crush, is in danger of being transformed into an outlet mall. This feel-good second-chance queer romance elevates the popular Christmastime trope of someone from the big city saving a small town from a heartless developer, balancing the sweetness of reconnection with passionate eroticism grounded in the feeling of coming home at last.
Not the Witch You Wed
April Asher (Griffin) $16.99
Things get hexy in this delightful paranormal rom-com as the granddaughter of a Prima witch and a wolf shifter fake a relationship to escape the Supernatural Community’s antiquated laws that require them each to find a mate. Asher artfully navigates themes of choice vs. destiny and power vs. oppression while weaving a steamy, heartfelt love story, in a hilarious, sexy, refreshingly modern take on the paranormal romance trope of fated mates.
Part of Your World
Abby Jimenez (Forever) $15.99
The charm and communal spirit of a small town bring an unlikely couple together in this layered, soul-stirring romance. ER doctor Alexis is expected to follow in her renowned father’s footsteps and marry for social position, but that falls apart when she meets Daniel, a laid-back carpenter 10 years her junior, and learns what unwavering love feels like. Jimenez writes an empowering tearjerker and tackles class differences all in one fell swoop.
The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hanes
Cat Sebastian (Avon) $15.99
In Georgian England, a lovable thief attempts to blackmail the Duke of Clare’s unhappy wife, instead striking up a correspondence that leads to witty sparring and, of course, love. Combining Gilbert and Sullivan–esque plot, Robin Hood morality, and contemporary gender dynamics, this is a rare m/f pairing from Sebastian. But with two bisexual leads, cross-dressing, and frank discussions of the pleasures of nonpenetrative sex, this refreshing romance brings
wonderfully queer sensibilities to bear.
Ivy Owens (Pocket) $9.99
Journalist Gigi spends a steamy night with childhood crush Alec, unaware that he’s become a K-drama star and British TV heartthrob—and has a personal connection to a scandal at the shady London nightclub that she’s investigating in what will be the biggest story of her career. The heated love scenes, fraught situations imbued with humor, and intense emotional connection between the leads are sure to win debut author Owens legions of fans.
The Sirens of Sussex
Mimi Matthews (Berkley) $16
This tender and swoonworthy interracial, cross-class romance set in Victorian London sees British equestrienne Evelyn Maltravers falling for half-Indian, half-English dressmaker Ahmad Malik over the course of various consultations and dress-fittings. Matthews strikes a delicate balance between grim period-typical attitudes and fluffy joy as her leads, whose impressive fierceness and understandable insecurities make them a couple to root for, conquer societal obstacles to be together.
Worth a Fortune
Sam Ledel (Bold Strokes) $16.95
This smart historical follows two ex-lovers who reunite in the wake of WWII. When N.Y.C. socialite Harriet posts an ad looking for a personal secretary, former country mouse Ava responds, hoping only to demonstrate her newfound self-worth to the woman who shattered her heart. Unexpectedly, Harriet hires her. Their romance burns tantalizingly slowly, leaving room for a for a love story that is subtle, lovely, and smoking hot.
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Imaginative works of speculative fiction will wow readers looking for an escape from reality.
Richard Butner (Small Beer) $17
This powerhouse fabulist collection melds ghosts, virtual futures, and the intricacies of friendship into 16 breathtaking, intimate stories that will delight readers of Ray Bradbury, John Crowley, and Sally Rooney alike. In these stories, Butner examines a broad range of interests—the aging process, acts of remembering, overreliance on technology—all in elegant prose, unique imagery, and with keen and generous human insight.
Age of Ash
Daniel Abraham (Orbit) $28
Bestseller Abraham, coauthor of the Expanse space opera series, returns to epic fantasy with this outstanding series debut, which instantly hooks readers with dual mysteries: Prince Byrn a Sal dies mysteriously after less than a year in power, while a violent death in the city’s underworld could be a revenge killing for a prison break. With its impressively complex social dynamics and smooth prose, this immersive book will amaze.
Robert Silverberg (Subterranean) $50
SFWA Grand Master Silverberg’s latest is a superior collection of first contact hard SF for genre traditionalists. Three novels and one short story are linked by the theme of humanity encountering intelligent alien life, or, as Silverberg puts it in his introduction, “reach[ing] out to meet each other with uncertain hands.” Silverberg introduces each piece, providing personal and editorial background to the stories, first published between 1967 and 1982.
The Book Eaters
Sunyi Dean (Tor) $26.99
Members of a clandestine community on the Yorkshire moors consume the pages of books for sustenance. Like all female book eaters, Devon lives on fairy tales and prim cautionary tales, while men dine on adventure stories. When her son is born with a taste for human minds rather than paper and binding, she begins to question the narrative she’s been fed. This is un-put-downable gothic horror for bibliophiles.
Adam Oyebanji (DAW) $27
Oyebanji’s brilliant debut is a vibrant exploration of society aboard a generation starship. Engineer-in-training Ravi is traveling with a three-ship fleet of humans who 132 years earlier fled an Earth overtaken by AI. He’s on track to become an officer when he unwittingly becomes entangled in a dark conspiracy. Innovative worldbuilding, a plot packed with surprises, and Oyebanji’s nuanced exploration of social and cultural shifts make this a must-read for space opera fans.
Cold as Hell
Rhett C. Bruno and Jaime Castle (Blackstone) $28.99
Bruno and Castle, coauthors of the Buried Goddess Saga, kick off a new collaboration in impressive style, with a gritty fantasy western mash-up sure to please fans of Jim Butcher and Mike Carey. Former outlaw James Crowly has reformed his ways, but only under duress—and only now that he’s undead. To stay out of Hell, he must serve Heaven’s White Throne as a Black Badge combating the supernatural.
Alan Moore (Bloomsbury) $30
Legendary graphic novelist Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and many others) burnishes his reputation in his first prose collection, which features nine career-spanning tales. The standout short novel “What We Can Know About Thunderman” is a scathing take on the American comic book industry and its impact on popular culture and politics, and his subversive talent is equally on display in shorter tales. This brilliant volume dazzles at every turn.
The Kaiju Preservation Society
John Scalzi (Tor) $26.99
A more ethical Jurassic Park meets the camaraderie of Parks and Recreation in a wonderfully witty and earnest adventure yarn from Hugo Award winner Scalzi. Atomic bomb tests in the 1950s revealed a parallel Earth inhabited by Godzilla-like kaiju, and ever since, the secret organization of the novel’s title has been charged with protecting them. When a present-day investor’s malfeasance threatens both Earths, a band of newbie KPS employees fight back.
The Memory Librarian
Janelle Monáe (Harper Voyager) $28.99
This triumphant collection returns singer Monáe to the dystopian world of her Dirty Computer concept album and short film, exploring the consequences of a totalitarian regime that monitors its citizens’ identities, thoughts, and relationships, and scrubs clean the memories of those who are labeled deviant. Though a special treat for Dirty Computer fans, readers won’t need to be familiar with the album to marvel at the big ideas, riveting action, and hopeful message.
Ainslie Hogarth (Vintage) $17
Hogarth turns the tale of a haunting on its head in this masterful novel. After Abby’s mother-in-law dies by suicide, she and her husband continue to experience the woman’s tangible presence, and Abby grows desperate to exorcise her from their lives. Abby fully engages reader sympathies until revelations about her childhood suggest she may be projecting her troubled emotions onto others. Filled with wry insights and frothy humor, this dark domestic drama packs a punch.
Nettle & Bones
T. Kingfisher (Tor) $25.99
This lovely feminist fairy tale from Hugo Award winner Kingfisher sees Marra, a young princess, unite a rag-tag team to defeat Prince Vorling after he murders Marra’s older sister and seems likely to murder his second wife, Marra’s middle sister, as well. Beneath the whimsy—Marra’s allies include a resurrected dog skeleton and a frazzled fairy godmother—this is a story of good
people doing their best to make the unjust world a fairer place.
Edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason (Morrow)
Stoker Award–winning editors Liaguno and Mason cleverly subvert the common horror trope of the monstrous other in this powerful anthology that spotlights 24 writers with marginalized identities. In these tales, which reimagine the creature story, body horror, and revenge narratives, LGBTQ and BIPOC people take center stage in both terror and terrorized roles. Impactful writing and authentically embodied characters make this a must-read for horror fans of all backgrounds.
Real Sugar Is Hard to Find
Sim Kern (Android) $18.99
Climate change, reproductive freedom, parenthood, and queer love resonate throughout these 11 powerhouse stories. A woman is forced to carry a doomed pregnancy to term in a near-future dystopia; a mother and child leave their privileged, domed community for rare cake ingredients; best friends join an ecoterrorist group to save their enchanted forest home. The result is a searing, urgent, and achingly tender work that will wow any reader of speculative fiction.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
Sangu Mandanna (Berkley) $17
Misfit witch Mika Moon is recruited to work at Nowhere House, home to a found family raising three young, untrained orphan witches. Once there, she falls for handsome house librarian Jamie, who’s determined not to love her back. Mandanna crafts a cast of winningly quirky characters, each with their own part to play in Mika’s path to belonging, in a charming romantic fantasy that’s sure to tug on readers’ heartstrings.