by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow)
The queen of the police thriller takes a more psychological approach with her 15th novel. Rather than writing from the cops’ POV, Slaughter hews closely to the story of two sisters, Claire and Lydia. Long estranged, they tenuously reconnect after Claire’s husband is murdered. Set in the familiar territory of Athens and Atlanta, the book has all the twists and suspense that readers expect of Slaughter, but from a more poignant perspective.
by Lynn Cullen (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster)
Cullen has a knack for weaving in small details to create rich fictional portraits of real-life figures. Her new novel explores the dark side of author Samuel Clemens, whose greatest fictional creation may have been his alter ego, Mark Twain. Drawing on a collection of his letters, along with the diaries of his beloved personal secretary, Isabel Lyon, Cullen digs into the dysfunctional nature of their relationship—and its sudden, vicious end.
My Father’s Guitar
by Joseph Skibell (Algonquin Books), available 10/27
The brilliant novelist detours from fiction with this collection of 16 essays, which range from a throwaway riff about earworms to deeply moving, slyly funny meditations on the limits of memory, the meaning of ghosts, and the value of stories. “You arrive with nothing but a story to tell,” he writes. “If you don’t tell that story, it disappears, and even if you do tell it, it might just disappear anyway.”
➸ Skibell reads from his book on 10/27 at the Margaret Mitchell House.
by Libby Ware (She Writes Press)
Ware’s gently rolling debut novel is set in the Shenandoah Valley during the Great Depression, as the impending construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway heralds earth-shaking changes for the region. Lum, a 33-year-old intersex woman, has spent her entire life tending to her relatives’ children and chores. But an unexpected friendship with an ailing curmudgeon empowers her to take the first step, in men’s shoes, toward an independent and happy future.
➸ Ware launches her novel on 10/28 at Charis Books.
by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton)
The Edgar Award–nominated Guinn sets this tense literary thriller on the eve of the 1881 International Cotton Exposition in Atlanta, where the city’s movers and shakers are nervous—and for good reason. A serial killer is stalking wealthy black entrepreneurs, inscribing a letter of the alphabet on each victim’s body. Paired with the city’s first African American police officer, a disgraced former detective is pressured to stop the murders while reckoning with intractable racism, as well as his own prejudices.
This article originally appeared in our October 2015 issue.