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Books

Mystery writer Palumbo keeps his voice set in Western Pa.

By Rege Behe
In Dennis Palumbo’s new novel, “Phantom Limb” (Poisoned Pen Press), a character walks into a therapist’s office and puts forth the following scenario: “I plan to kill myself at 7 o’clock tonight. Which means you have 50 minutes to talk …

Professor, lawyer with Pittsburgh ties earn MacArthur ‘genius grants’

By Adam Brandolph
Even after three decades away from his hometown, MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner Jonathan Rapping bleeds black and gold. “My kids are 6 and 10, …

Washington County author releases 2nd mystery novel in 6 months

By Rege Behe
Releasing two books in less than six months seems like a page from James Patterson’s marketing plan. But Annette Dashofy’s second novel, “Lost Legacy” (Henery …

‘Bone Clocks’ revisits story lines of ‘Cloud Atlas’

By Mike Fisher
Count on David Mitchell — whose novels regularly suggest a Borgesian library — to invoke one of the most famous literary labyrinths of all in “The Bone Clocks,” his extraordinary new novel: “Half way along our journey to life’s end …

Hurwitz delivers creepy thrills in ‘Don’t Look Back’

By Jeff Ayers
A single mother takes a vacation that descends into hell in Gregg Hurwitz’s latest thriller, “Don’t Look Back.” Eve Hardaway struggles at home as she cares for a young boy with severe dietary restrictions and a job that drains her …

Review: ‘Dirty Work’ is nuanced, thoughtful story

By Michelle Scheraga
At the start of Gabriel Weston’s “Dirty Work,” Nancy Mullion, an obstetrician-gynecologist, has choked during surgery and left her patient in a coma. She now faces four weeks of intense scrutiny from a medical tribunal that will decide whether she …

Suburban thriller ‘No Safe House’ tests a family

By Jeff Ayers
A family’s past continues to haunt Terry Archer and his family as they find it impossible to move on with their lives in Linwood Barclay’s latest suburban thriller, “No Safe House.” Cynthia Archer still remembers a tragedy in her upbringing, …

Author’s ode to crosswords right on the mark

By Dinesh Ramde
If you love solving crosswords, you know how it feels to be in the fraternity. There’s the rush of matching wits with a mysterious puzzle-maker, the thrill of nailing an elusive answer and the satisfaction of filling in the final …

‘Lucky Us’: A witty, powerful flashback

By Joy Tipping
I can’t think of a book that has more wittily and movingly encapsulated the years from 1939 to 1949, covering both the Second World War and the periods just before and after, than Amy Bloom’s latest, “Lucky Us.” This richly …

‘Hidden Account of the Romanovs’ banks on action

By Jack Markowitz
Every dictator has a Swiss bank account, or so we assume, his insurance policy against what he really deserves — the boot. Maybe even a …

Greensburg author’s Psi Fighters fiction captivates tweens, teens and oldsters

By Les Harvath
Greensburg High School junior Rinnie Noelle knows how bullying can hurt students her age. Rinnie, who has been tormented since fifth grade by bully Mason …

Video game powerhouse Minecraft now publishing sensation

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Like millions of parents, Aaron Sacharow welcomes those moments when his son — 7-year-old Tyler — takes a break from video games …

Stine’s timeless scares are coming  to a screen near you

By USA Today
R.L. Stine has fashioned a career out of kid-friendly horror stories for youngsters not ready for the likes of Stephen King, yet his scary stories are getting ready to creep out further than ever before. An icon in children’s literature …

Fall preview: Neil Patrick Harris among coming autobiographers

By Hillel Italie
So many memoirs are coming out this fall, written in so many ways. Neil Patrick Harris, for instance, decided that his early 40s was too …

Indiana native O’Dell’s latest book takes a stylistic turn

By Rege Behe
Tawni O’Dell’s first novel, “Back Roads,” was a publishing phenomenon: A literary bestseller that was tabbed as an Oprah Book Club selection. A native of …

‘String Diaries’ is a psychologically rich horror tale

By Joy Tipping
If there’s one thing I hate as a critic, it’s dancing around the possibility of giving too much away in a review. Spoilers are called …

Mira Jacob’s debut ‘Guide’ a beautiful saga

By Michelle Scheraga
At the start of Mira Jacob’s beautiful debut, “The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing,” Amina Eapen’s mother summons her home to Albuquerque, N.M., claiming that her father is acting strangely (though it’s possible the real reason Kamala wants her daughter home …

Murakami’s new novel journeys to the past

By Hillel Italie
Haruki Murakami’s new novel is yet another risky reunion with the past. “The past is my treasure chest, and once I open it, I have so many materials in there,” says the 65-year-old Japanese author, whose “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and …

Miranda Corbie confronts her own ‘City of Ghosts’

By Oline H. Cogdill
A love of San Francisco — its flaws, strengths and eccentricities — permeates Kelli Stanley’s intriguing novels about private detective Miranda Corbie. Stanley’s novels capture San Francisco — and the United States — in the years just before World War …

Little’s ‘Dear Daughter’ is engrossing novel

By Oline H. Cogdill
The unlikable protagonist with a biting personality and outrageous actions, but who is fascinating at the same time, has never been more popular. Just think of “Gone Girl.” In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on …