John Williams of The New York Times reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
As the year winds down, three under-recognized books published way back in January and February deserve your attention.
Holly Goddard Jones' "The Next Time You See Me" is a mesmerizing novel set in a hard-luck Kentucky town near the Tennessee border. The cast includes Emily, a 13-year-old who finds a body in the woods and keeps it a secret; Susanna, a schoolteacher whose hard-living sister has disappeared; and Wyatt, a lonely factory worker hazed by his younger colleagues.
The book is ostensibly a mystery, but you'll probably know who done it pretty early on. That won't matter. It's Jones' precise eye, well-rounded characters and her way of making this town come alive that make this one of the year's most memorable reads.
"Exodus" is the third novel in a very funny trilogy by the British author Lars Iyer. The books follow two intellectuals, Lars and W., on an absurd quest to save the life of the mind. The trilogy critiques capitalism, and it's full of references to thinkers like Kierkegaard, but that makes it sound like a chore when it's really a joy. Mr. Iyer's duo struggles and banters in the tradition of "Waiting for Godot."
In Gene Kerrigan's fourth crime novel, "The Rage," a character named Vincent Naylor has been released from jail. He begins putting together a crew, including his older brother, for a big robbery. When the well-told heist goes bad and a witness is endangered, a detective comes up with a risky plan to make things right.
It's been more than five years since the final episode of "The Wire," and fans of that show can find many of the same strengths in Mr. Kerrigan's work, which is also at home on both sides of the law and comfortable with moral murkiness.
For more book reviews, check out nytimes.com/books.