Bethanne Patrick

Anthony Horowitz, well-known for, among other things, his Sherlock Holmes follow-on novels The House of Silk and Moriarty, returns with his second Inspector Hawthorne mystery, The Sentence Is Death (the first was The Word Is Murder; can I be faulted for hoping the next one will be titled A Novel Way to Die?).

While the peninsular Russian province of Kamchatka is not exactly in Sarah Palin's sightline, its far, far Eastern and Northern coordinates make it more like Nome than Moscow. Rife with wildlife, volcanoes, and treacherous topography, it's also almost inaccessible, with no major roads connecting it to the rest of Russia — because it was a closed military zone until 1989.

Josh Malerman's 2014 debut, Bird Box, remains one of the most surprising, electrifying books I've ever read, a chilling fable-cum-thriller about a young mother who must navigate herself and her two children to safety down a river while blindfolded.

Carve out some reading time before you pick up Laila Lalami's new novel The Other Americans. You won't want to get up from your chair for some time, maybe even until you've reached the last page. You're in the hands of a maestra of literary fiction, someone who has combined a riveting police procedural with a sensitive examination of contemporary life in California's Mojave Desert region.