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precision of a Swiss watch, mixing together a flawed hero with a dark past, long-buried secrets bubbling up thanks to historical documents and methodical detection, and steadily building tension that culminates in a satisfying but startling climax.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.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."