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Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
Kamchatka Peninsula: if you can’t find it on a map, Disappearing Earth will show you why you should look harder. This debut literary mystery covers twelve months in the life of a community affected to varying degrees by the kidnapping of two young sisters. Each stand-alone story moves the plot forward in a compelling combination of the personal and the tragically epic. Disparate characters converge as Phillips peels back layers of race, sexuality and small town politics in service of finding the girls. The writing is excellent and the setting so visceral, you might be surprised not to find a Russian stamp on your passport should you wish to reminisce about your journey.
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
In a site-specific domestic and legal thriller, Kimberly McCreight does for Park Slope, Brooklyn what Julia Phillips did for the Kamchatka Peninsula. And once again the writing shines. Four couples in varying stages of marital success/distress intersect over the murder of one of their own. Complicated by an unreliable narrator, the entwined story lines could knot into an I-don’t-like-any-of-them gridlock in lesser hands. But McCreight wisely tempers the negative with a cast of likeable and believable Brooklyn-ites. You’ll care. If your idea of a satisfying read includes red herrings, the realistically flawed, and surprising reveals, this one’s for you.