In John Renehan’s The Valley (Dutton), Lieutenant Black is disheartened by his time in the Army, insulted by superiors, confused by his mission, and ready to give up trying. When Black is assigned to investigate a seemingly frivolous complaint deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, his only concern is getting back in one piece. But Black soon finds himself battling for the truth in the dark heart of the war. The soldiers stationed there appear more than just suspicious of the lieutenant and his mission. While they may not be obstructing Black’s investigation, they are not enthusiastic about helping him find any answers. He realizes that to find the truth he must first understand the complicated history of this corner of the world. Renehan’s beautifully executed thrill ride brings this dramatic country and problematic war to life. It is a mystery novel in which the suspense builds while shedding light on a confounding war and the people who fight it. I cannot wait to delight my customers with The Valley, which will grab them from the first and surprise them throughout.

Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.