Books for the tottering pile

I just went over to Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind for day 2 of the BAFAB (Buy a friend a book) contest, which thankfully I see is a Sudoku after yesterday’s crossword (a bit tough for non-Americans and non-ancient-classical scholars 😉 ) , and found some more books which look well worth reading according to Sarah Weinman (so they probably are indeed worth reading). Oh no! Here they are (the blurbs are by Sarah):

Joe Meno: The Boy Detective Fails
This may well be one of the most heartbreaking, uplifting, amazing books I’ve read all year. Billy Argo is a boy detective whose penchant for solving mysteries plunges him into tragedy and despair he can barely climb out of. But with the help of a young brother-sister team and mining his own past, he might be able to do so. Read this when it’s out in September. Frankly, you must.

Olen Steinhauer: Liberation Movements
If you aren’t reading this fantastic series set in the midst of Cold War Eastern Europe, then do. This fourth installment’s a stunner set in the wake of an airplane bombing that’s terrible enough, but also stretches back seven years earlier to a seemingly unrelated, forgotten crime. But such things have a way of rippling forward, and Steinhauer evokes aftermath, revenge and staying power like few can, all at an amazingly fierce clip.

[Owen, incidentally, blogs at Contemporary Nomad with Robin Hunt, John Nadler and Kevin Wignall. I once, in my early days of blogging, had an argument with the last named about Zadie Smith’s nose, but it all ended amicably.]

Robyn Young: Brethren: An Epic Adventure of the Knights Templar
It’s a good thing I didn’t trust my instincts and dismiss this as "just another Templar" book. Otherwise I would have missed out on a sweeping historical adventure with strong characters and serious verve. Young obviously loves this time period – the 13th century preceding the last crusade – and hits all the big emotional points (love, honor, valor, loyalty, betrayal) in grand fashion. Can’t wait for the next two volumes in this trilogy!

Dan Fesperman: The Prisoner of Guantanamo
Can this book be any more timely? Hard to say, but Fesperman’s masterful ability as a writer takes current topics and builds them around a framework that includes wonderfully rendered characters and the specter of past mistakes and history. Yes, it’s about Guantanamo, but this is also about Revere Falk’s personal journey and how he grapples with prior events that haunt him now. I’m not sure how Fesperman does it but once again, he’s delivered an amazing novel.

[And these are just picks of the "week". Help!]