Deadly Virtues, a new mystery from Jo Bannister. Publishers Weekly review:
Stubborn morality and acid-tinged whimsy drive this superior stand-alone from British author Bannister (Liars All and eight other Brodie Farrell mysteries). Recovering mental patient Gabriel Ash looks pathetic and vulnerable as he rambles through the town of Norbold while talking to his dog. One day, at the local police station, where he’s recovering from a beating, Gabriel receives a cryptic message from a man who’s then killed by a crazed prisoner. Gabriel forces himself back into contact with normal humanity because he feels he ought to do something about the crime. Rookie policewoman Hazel Best is also dissatisfied with the official explanation of the tragedy. And so the three—the traumatized beating victim, the idealistic young cop, and the dog—begin sniffing under the pristine surface of the virtually crime-free town. They have no idea how dangerous good intentions can be. Bannister’s plotting is neat and her characterization smooth, with just enough irony to keep people from seeming ostentatiously noble
The Wanting is new this month in hardback from Schocken. Here’s Publishers Weekly’s blurb:
Lavigne’s second novel (after Not Me) confronts the moral questions surrounding religious extremism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The novel’s literally explosive opening takes place in Jerusalem in 1996, as a bomb goes off outside renowned architect Roman Guttman’s office, triggering a sort of fever dream that sends him into Palestinian territory and deep into memories of his communist youth in the U.S.S.R. Guttman narrates sections of the novel in language both vivid and disturbing. Also narrating is the suicide bomber, Amir Hamid, now dead, who has found in the afterlife not a martyr’s reward but rather the curse of following Guttman through the desert and retracing his own youthful journey toward violent extremism. Finally, Guttman’s 13-year-old daughter Anyusha, whose Zionist radical mother, Collette, died in a Soviet prison soon after giving birth, seeks answers of her own, revealing in diary form her attraction toward a messianic Jewish extremist group. Though some narrative digressions keep the novel from being truly elegant, Lavigne’s heartfelt examination offers what reportage never could: an intensely intimate and humane depiction of the forces that unite and powerfully divide this region and its people.