GIVE ME YOUR HAND, by Megan Abbott. (Little, Brown, $26.) Abbott, who always immerses readers in hothouse subcultures in her novels — cheerleading, gymnastics — here explores the relationship between competitive scientists at a cutthroat university laboratory. “The reason to read this compelling and hypnotic novel is not the execution of the plot or the sleight-of-hand final revelation,” Ruth Ware writes in her review. “What makes it stand out is Abbott’s expert dissection of women’s friendships and rivalries.”
THE SINNERS, by Ace Atkins. (Putnam, $27.) The latest crime novel featuring Sheriff Quinn Colson revolves around a high-end marijuana operation, Fannie Hathcock’s thriving strip joint/brothel and a crooked trucking outfit based in Tupelo, Miss., that cons drivers into hauling stolen goods across state lines into Louisiana, a land of lush landscapes and exotic place names like Turtle Bayou, Lake Charles, Breaux Bridge, the Atchafalaya River. “If you’re a romantic,” Marilyn Stasio writes in her crime column, “just reading these luscious names can make you smell the wisteria, feel the breeze and melt into the scenery.”
ONLY TO SLEEP, by Lawrence Osborne. (Hogarth, $26.) A thriller that jolts Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler’s iconic private investigator, out of his quiet Mexican retirement and back into the world of scams and seductions. Osborne, who worked as a reporter along the border in the early 1990s, knows Mexico well and he passes that knowledge along to Marlowe. “The book’s greatest suspense centers on Osborne’s fealty to Chandler’s Marlowe,” our reviewer, Laura Lippman, writes. “I’m wide open to Osborne’s version …, which forces us to wonder at times whether he’s still a man of honor.”
CONAN DOYLE FOR THE DEFENSE: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Writer, by Margalit Fox. (Random House, $27.) Fox, a recently retired obituaries writer for The Times, tells the thrilling story of Arthur Conan Doyle’s involvement in a real-life murder case that might have intrigued his hero, Sherlock Holmes, about an innocent man wrongly accused in the early years of the 20th century. “All of this is developed with brio by Fox,” Judith Flanders writes in her review. “She is excellent in linking the 19th-century creation of policing and detection with the development of both detective fiction and the science of forensics — ballistics, fingerprints, toxicology and serology — as well as the quasi science of ‘criminal anthropology.’”
A DOUBLE LIFE, by Flynn Berry. (Viking, $26.) In this thriller, a London doctor searches for her father, a man of power who long ago disappeared after a murder it appears he committed. Berry tells stories about women who seethe over the knowledge of violence and are fueled by a howling grief for its victims. “Her prose can be as blistering as it is lush,” according to Karen Valby’s review. “The writing is rich and moody, without any unnecessary fuss. … As desperate and consumed as our messy heroine may get in the process, Berry always lets her hold onto her humanity.”
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