Carmen Clark

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The Dictionary of Lost Words

Enchanting, sorrowful, and wonderfully written, the book is a one-of-a-kind celebration of language and its importance in our lives. A must-have for every library collection.
PREMIUM

A River Called Time

Newland’s (The Gospel According to Cane) premise and his alternative world where Africa was not colonized by Europe are intriguing, however the plot is slow going and never quite reaches the potential teased from the beginning. Newland’s writing is stylish but tends to be overly descriptive, making the explanation of Markriss’s travels to parallel universes confusing and hard to follow. Markriss is a difficult protagonist to connect with, only adding to the disjointed feel of the book. Clearly a missed opportunity on the author’s part. Library collections should pass on this one.

The Wife Upstairs

With an even darker twist, this novel delivers a one-of-a-kind take on a well-known gothic tale. In addition to the suspenseful story line, the distorted love triangle and the impassivity of the Thornfield residents will have readers feeling simultaneously discombobulated and fulfilled. Recommended for all library mystery collections.
PREMIUM

Smoke

Readers will need to pay careful attention to keep all of Ide’s players straight, but the gritty action and sardonic humor will be sure to grab all IQ fans. Libraries with the previous four installments will want this one.

Overdrawn

Crosskey (Poster Boy) delivers a compelling look into an ageist culture motivated by concern for environmental sustainability but completely devoid of the true meaning of life. Yet despite the nefarious state of this postapocalyptic world, Crosskey proves that out of the darkest circumstances, kindness and selflessness can still reign. A must for all sf/dystopian fiction collections.
PREMIUM

The Nightworkers

The shifting perspectives, from Shecky’s heartbreaking reminiscences to Kerasha’s painful memories of her mother and therapy sessions, provide the desired emotional depth but may leave readers a bit disoriented. Fans of gritty, dark, mysteries with dysfunctional characters will appreciate this one.
PREMIUM

A Place Called Zamora

Gschwandtner’s (The Other New Girl) novel has an intriguing premise that shows signs of inspiration from Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” books and Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series. The story as a whole is chaotic and disjointed, often moving from past to present events without any break in the text. Libraries with well circulating sf/fantasy collections may want this one; otherwise, pass.

Fire in the Blood

Fans of Michael Connelly’s “Harry Bosch” series will appreciate Coop’s brusque, principled personality. [See Prepub Alert, 1/29/20.]

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

Throughout this adventurous, witty, and compelling novel, Green delivers sharp social commentary on the power of social media and both the benefits and horrendous consequences that follow when we give too much of ourselves to technology. An essential choice for all sf collections.
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