11 New Books We Recommend This Week


RECURSION, by Blake Crouch. (Crown, $27.) In this mind-bending, time-twisting science fiction novel with faint political undercurrents, people begin suffering from false memory syndrome, remembering lives they never led. The condition drives sufferers mad and turns them suicidal. Our reviewer, Victor LaValle, calls it a “heady campfire tale of a novel built for summer reading,” its narrative journey “a gloriously twisting line that regularly confounded my expectations. … The sense that our country’s center is not holding pulses through the novel.”

LADY IN THE LAKE, by Laura Lippman. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $26.99.) Part thriller, part love letter to journalism, “Lady in the Lake” traces the journey of Maddie Schwartz — a 1960s Baltimore housewife who craves more — as her investigation of two local murders leads to a newspaper job. Lippman balances a great mystery (what Edmund Wilson once called the “crossword puzzle” aspect of crime novels) with the story of an independent woman. Stephen King praises it in his review: “What makes this book special, even extraordinary, is that the crossword puzzle aspect is secondary. Lippman, who is the closest writer America has to Ruth Rendell, is after bigger game. The arc of Maddie’s character — her mid-1960s ‘journey,’ if you like — reflects the gulf which then existed between what women were expected to be and what they aspired to be.”

THE NEED, by Helen Phillips. (Simon & Schuster, $26.) Molly, the exhausted mother of a toddler and a newborn, thinks she hears an intruder in the house. As she panics, the story — which starts out as conventional suspense — veers into sci-fi and horror territory. “What-ifs animate this novel, the narrative splitting and looping back on itself as it tries out parallel possibilities, various fantasies and nightmares,” Harriet Lane writes in her review. “Like parenthood itself, ‘The Need’ is frightening and maddening and full of dark comedy.”

THE DOLL FACTORY, by Elizabeth Macneal. (Emily Bestler/Atria, $27.) There is hardly an aspect of Victorian London that Macneal has not mastered in her lush, evocative Gothic, which chronicles a sadistic taxidermist’s sinister obsession with an impoverished young painter. “Macneal’s immersive epic stays firmly rooted in historical fact,” writes our reviewer, Lyndsay Faye, who calls the book “a harrowing and a bewitching adventure.” “Macneal is clearly engrossed in the Pre-Raphaelite movement and especially in the plight of women who were churned through the gristmill of poverty and spat out again.”

EMPTY HEARTS, by Juli Zeh. Translated by John Cullen. (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $26.95.) In Zeh’s dark satire, a German woman runs a start-up that matches depressed people with terrorist organizations in need of suicide bombers. Reviewing it, Adam Sternbergh calls the book a “dystopian cocktail, served chilled: the internet as universal despair enabler, a global climate of societal chaos and a data-harvesting company well positioned to exploit both. … ‘Empty Hearts’ has the veneer of a thriller but it’s more accurate to call it a chiller: chilling in the accuracy of its satire and chilling in its diagnosis of our modern malaise.”



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