Reviews of new books by Northwestern’s Kevin Boyle, Michael Connelly, Louise Erdrich, Barry Eisler – Chicago Sun-Times

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History professor Boyle turns his eye toward America in the 1960s. Connelly again pairs two of his signature leading characters. Erdrich offers a ghost story, and Eisler pure action.
Here’s the lowdown on some of the best new book releases:
What it’s about: Northwestern University history professor Kevin Boyle, who won the National Book Award for “Arc of Justice,” turns his eye toward America from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.
The buzz: Kirkus Reviews calls it “a brilliantly achieved history of some unusually fraught years of American history.”
What it’s about: Michael Connelly — one of the best crime-fiction writers working today — again pairs LAPD Detective Renée Ballard with retired homicide detective Harry Bosch, the character who brought him fame, fortune and a guaranteed place on best-seller lists. The setting is: Pandemic Year 1, Los Angeles. The central case involves an unusual pair of “tag team” rapists. And that leads Ballard to an old case that Bosch worked, so she turns to him.
The buzz: “This is the fourth novel Connelly has written about Ballard, the third in which Bosch plays a significant role, and they just keep getting better,” the Tampa Bay Times writes.
What it’s about: The Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author of “The Night Watchman” returns with a ghost story. A bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted by its most annoying customer, Flora, who refuses to leave even in death. Bookseller Tookie struggles to get rid of her.
The buzz: “Erdrich has crafted a hard-won love letter to readers and to booksellers, as well as a compelling story about how we cope with pain and fear, injustice and illness,” USA Today writes.
What it’s about: The gang’s back together – that is, the mostly retired former assassin for hire, his ex-Mossad girlfriend, former Marine sniper buddy, his CIA connection and others including a Seattle sex-crimes detective, among others, most recently seen together in Barry Eisler’s 2019 “The Killer Elite.” Once again, they’re trying to use their special skills not to kill anyone but to protect a Jeffrey Epstein-like figure and find some justice for his child victims.
The buzz: “The world keeps supplying Eisler’s franchise heroes with real-life prototypes of serial child rapists,” Kirkus Reviews writes. “Another high-fatality, high-spirited revenge fantasy in which most of the casualties don’t even have names.” Publishers Weekly says: “Eisler juggles the complicated plot and large cast, imbuing his diverse characters with robust backstory and emotional motivation. Pure action seekers will gasp at the brutal violence and raw hand-to-hand combat.”
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