Starred Review

Four by Four

by Sara Mesa, trans. by Katie Whittemore

"Is it better to live free and vulnerable or under control but with protection?" Four by Four examines freedom versus subjugation until the question itself, hauntingly, proves to be based on a fallacy. Acclaimed writer Sara Mesa, in a novel brilliantly translated from the Spanish by Katie Whittemore, wields language like a knife, cutting apart hidden secrets of abuse.

Wybrany College, a boarding school where wealthy parents send their teenagers to avoid urban violence nearby, has dark undercurrents of threat.

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Little Crew of Butchers

by Francine Pascal

Five mean-spirited kids threaten the life of a young con man in Francine Pascal's nail-biting thriller, Little Crew of Butchers.

Charming 22-year-old Lucas Baird jumps bail after he's charged with manslaughter in Los Angeles. He hitches a ride to New York City, hoping to disappear and start anew. Unfortunately, he gets stuck in a quiet beach town on Long Island, where he runs afoul of Big Larry, a 12-year-old bully who leads a gang of 10-year-olds named Charley, Benny and Dennis. When Lucas outsmarts Big Larry

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You Matter

by Christian Robinson

Pairing concise, compassionate text with playful acrylic paint and collage illustrations, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree Christian Robinson (Another and Last Stop on Market Street) offers heartfelt affirmations to "anyone who isn't sure if they matter"--and maybe even to anyone who is. You Matter is a bear hug of reassurance disguised as a delightful children's picture book.

Robinson speaks to "Those who swim with the tide... and those who don't." They matter, he insists. Robinson points

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Shelf Discovery

Untold Night and Day

by Bae Suah, trans. by Deborah Smith

This intriguing novel from a bestselling Korean author is a scathing, labyrinthine examination of the disconnects of contemporary society.

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Remain Silent

by Susie Steiner

The cracking good third book in the Manon Bradshaw series finds the detective inspector looking into the death of a young Lithuanian man who came to the U.K. for a better life.

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Always Human

by Ari North

In a technologically advanced near future, two young women bumble through their first dates and fights together as they enjoy the exhilaration of new love.

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Seven Years of Darkness

by You-Jeong Jeong, trans. by Chi-Young Kim

A South Korean thriller uses dual narratives set before and after a tragedy at a dam to reflect on how people's weaknesses give way to violence and cruelty.

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Out of Body

by Jeffrey Ford

A chilling, invisible world inhabited by dangerous entities is accessible only by dreamers in this short dark fantasy.

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Getty Publications: Finding Dora Maar: An Artist, an Address Book, a Life by Brigitte Benkemoun, translated by Jody Gladding

Media Heat

Thursday, June 4, 2020

KCRW's Bookworm: Mark Z. Danielewski, author of The Little Blue Kite (Pantheon, $25.95, 9781524747695).

Fresh Air: Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism (Doubleday, $25, 9780385545808).

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fresh Air: Wes Moore, author of Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City (One World, $28, 9780525512363).

Good Morning America: Emily Pilloton, author of Girls Garage: How to Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build the World You Want to See (Chronicle Books, $29.99, 9781452166278).

Thursday, May 28, 2020

KCRW's Bookworm: Andre Naffis-Sahely, editor of The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature (Pushkin Press, $16.95, 9781782274261).

The View: Michael Osterholm, co-author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs (Little, Brown Spark, $17.99, 9780316343756).

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Fresh Air: James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (Riverhead Books, $28, 9780735213616).

CBS This Morning: Senator Martha McSally, author of Dare to Fly: Simple Lessons in Never Giving Up (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062996282).

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

CBS This Morning: Senator Joni Ernst, author of Daughter of the Heartland: My Ode to the Country that Raised Me (Threshold Editions, $27.99, 9781982144869).
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