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Check These Out! Titles to Look for at the Library

Daryl M., Librarian, West Valley Regional Branch Library,
3 new book covers with a library logo

At Check These Out!, each month you will find a few recently published or upcoming titles that are worth “checking out” from the library. All titles are either currently available or have a record in the catalog where you can place a hold and be among the first to read them when they hit the library's shelves. For many of these titles, you will also find interviews with the author on the LAPL Blog and/or a longer, more in-depth review on LAPL Reads.

The City We Became
Jemisin, N. K.

N.K. Jemisin is a multiple award-winning speculative fiction writer. Currently, she resides in Brooklyn, New York, and, as evidenced by her new novel, The City We Became, she LOVES the “Big Apple”.

In The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin has written a love letter to New York City. It is a portrait of one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting locations, and Jemisin takes the time to describe the cultures and quirks present in each borough, providing a glimpse into not only what makes each one a unique community but how they all work together to make New York the city that it is as she describes how the city itself “evolves” into a living entity.

Readers of Jemisin’s earlier works will want to read this new novel. And The City We Became may be a wonderful entry point for those unfamiliar with her earlier novels. But both groups should be warned: reading The City We Became very well may leave you wanting to take a trip to New York to experience the city described for yourselves when that becomes possible.

Eight Perfect Murders: A Novel
Swanson, Peter

In Eight Perfect Murders, author Peter Swanson pays homage to the classic mystery literature he uses as a foundation for his clever and compelling new crime novel. The characters are likable, if not reliable, and the circumstances, a serial killer using a book list from an old blog post as a blueprint for murder, is simultaneously old school and contemporary. Swanson paces the novel perfectly, revealing just enough information about the crimes and characters to keep the plot moving along with just the right amount of jolts to derail speculations about “whodunit.” Eight Perfect Murders is an intriguing puzzle of a novel.

In Five Years: A Novel
Serle, Rebecca

Rebecca Serle, author of 2018’s excellent The Dinner List (in which the protagonist shows up for her 30th birthday party to find the five people she would most like to have dinner with, living or dead, in attendance), returns with another wonderful novel that plays with a question that we have all asked or been asked: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Dannie Kohan is a young woman who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Her life is progressing exactly as she has planned, until one night she wakes up in the middle of the night. It is five years in the future and she is sleeping with someone other than her fiancé. The experience only lasts an hour, and it shakes Dannie, but not for long. Soon after, she dismisses the experience and continues to pursue the life she has planned. Then, four and a half years later, Dannie meets the man she was in bed with during her foray into the future. As a result, she begins to question her plans, her decisions and everything that she has done in her life so far...

The Operator
Berg, Gretchen

In an age of handheld computers that also provide telephonic functions, it’s easy to forget that just a mere six decades ago if you wanted to place a phone call, ANY phone call, you needed the assistance of an operator. Operators were the, mostly, faceless voices that asked for the number you wanted to reach and then connected your call. First-time novelist Gretchen Berg resurrects this now defunct function of phone calls in a novel that chronicles the work of an operator in a small town in Wooster, Ohio and what happens when she hears something she shouldn’t have through her receiver. This is a heartwarming book with witty dialogue and a true sense of life in a small town over half a century ago.

American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI
Dawson, Kate Winkler

In American Sherlock, Kate Winkler Dawson, (author of Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City; documentary film producer; and lecturer on broadcast journalism at University of Texas – Austin) draws readers into the story of Oscar Heinrich, a detective, and chemist that laid the groundwork for the field we now recognize as forensics. Chronicling Heinrich’s work through the cases he solved, Dawson compellingly lays out a career that changed how law enforcement solves crimes through the use of science to connect the seemingly disparate events and elements into the solution they seek.

If you like this type of advance, or near advance, notice about upcoming titles, you can send a comment through the Contact Us page at LAPL.org and let us know. Also, if you read one of the recommended titles, send a comment and let others know what you thought of the book. In both cases, be sure to put Check These Out! in your message.