Beyond Recall

When Stephen King anointed Robert Goddard as his favorite literary discovery of 2008, his reasoning was that Goddard's novels offer "surprises that really surprise." The British author's backlist is in the midst of being reissued in full, and after reading Beyond Recall, nominated for the Best Novel Edgar Award when first published in 1997, I must concur with Mr. King's assertion. Goddard sets out his tales with the precision of a Swiss watch, mixing together a flawed hero with a dark past, long-buried secrets bubbling up thanks to historical documents and methodical detection, and steadily building tension that culminates in a satisfying but startling climax. Beyond Recall's variation on this theme centers begins when Christian Napier is accosted at a party by an old friend who insists that his father's death is Christian's fault. Then the friend hangs himself; spurred by guilt and a need for truth, Napier begins to piece together a tangled web of long-lost children, disputed inheritances, and unsolved murders -- a quest that naturally imperils his own life. There's a refreshing retro feel at work in Beyond Recall, reminding the reader that oldest of motives -- sex, money, and power -- still wield narrative force.

July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).