I hope to actually start to digging my way out of my read-but-not-reviewed hole this week. In the meantime, checkout these well reviewed works coming out in paperback (or will soon).
–> The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant
What could be more intriguing than the young writer Roald Dahl—destined to create such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—assigned by His Majesty’s Government to Washington, D.C., as a diplomat in the spring of 1942, charged with a secret mission? Dahl’s brief was to gather intelligence about America’s isolationist circles (indeed, he infiltrated the infatuated Claire Boothe Luce in more ways than one) and propagandize for prompt American entry into the European war. The United States had technically been at war with Germany since December 1941. However, the U.S.’s attention was focused mainly on the Pacific theater—and such pro-German political figures as Luce and Charles Lindbergh meant to keep it that way. Dahl’s most important job was to influence public opinion generally and the opinions of Washington’s powerful specifically. As bestselling author Conant (Tuxedo Park) shows in her eloquent narrative, Dahl’s intriguing coconspirators included future advertising legend David Ogilvy and future spy novelist Ian Fleming. Most fascinating, though, is Dahl’s relationship with the great British spymaster William Stephenson, otherwise known as Intrepid. This all boils down to a thoroughly engrossing story, one Conant tells exceptionally well.
Columnist and author Greenberg’s heartbreaking and inspiring memoir details his daughter’s downfall into insanity one hot summer in New York City. Greenberg writes with a raw passion and intensity, capturing the essence of every detail and event as if they were occurring in real time as he types. His reading is a heartfelt and honest attempt to relate the experiences with as much restrained emotion as possible, offering it as part headline news story, part editorial. With perfect pitch, tone and pacing, Greenberg is a talented narrator, who will surely capture and hold listeners’ attention.
Sally Thorning, part-time environment rescuer and full-time mother, struggles to maintain her sanity and juggle the overwhelming demands of work and home in this superior psychological mystery from British author Hannah (Little Face). During a week away from her husband and children, Sally has a brief affair. A year later a local headline tragedy—Sally’s lover’s wife appears to have murdered her six-year-old daughter then committed suicide—reveals that Sally’s lover was not who he claimed to be and she needs to find out why. After surviving a shove in front of a bus, Sally re-examines that unwise affair as she plays amateur detective and nearly loses all she values in the process. The story alternates between Sally’s confessional and a tight police procedural interspersed with evidence—pages torn from the diary of the alleged daughter-killer. Paced like a ticking time bomb with flawlessly distinct characterization, this is a fiercely fresh and un-put-downable read.