Staff Picks by Tag

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Cahokia Jazz: A Novel By Francis Spufford Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668025451
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner - February 6th, 2024

This is speculative noir for readers of all stripes: classic hardboiled fiction fans, history buffs, worldbuilding junkies and “what-if” questioners. In the bustling metropolis of Cahokia, in an alternate vision of Jazz Age America in which Native populations were never decimated by European diseases, a municipal rooftop becomes the stage for a grisly and theatrical murder. As fallout from the crime threatens to plunge the city into chaos, we follow a classically conflicted detective–himself an outsider in this place, unsure if he ought to be a cop or a pianist–as he chases the case through underground speakeasies to the halls of power in this richly imagined, vividly rendered city. This book is a brain-tingling good time; I couldn’t wait to get back to Cahokia every time real life interrupted.

Review by Theo

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I Who Have Never Known Men By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (Translator), Sophie Mackintosh (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (Translator), Sophie Mackintosh (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781945492600
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Transit Books - May 10th, 2022

I Who Have Never Known Men will stick with me for a long time. Though the premise of the novel is disturbing, I found that the narrator’s stoic demeanor made the most unnerving moments more clear and profound. As Sophie Mackintosh says in the afterword, this book's refusal to give its secrets up to the reader is unwavering and impenetrable, and this is part of what makes the writing so fascinating. One of the most exciting works of speculative fiction I've read, especially impressive given that it was originally published 27 years ago. 

Review by Alyson

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Popisho: A Novel By Leone Ross Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9780374602451
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 20th, 2021

There's something about islands. In the islands of Popisho everything is brighter, more delicious, and the people are more magical, growing lungs on their hips or crying hummingbirds or instantly knowing what to cook for any person. If you're aching to travel but can't, read this book! I felt immediately at home in this unreal community, learning words I couldn't define but by the end somehow understood.


The Need By Helen Phillips Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982113179
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - July 7th, 2020

This speculative fiction starts off with a chilling home invasion (which had me double-checking every closet in my house), followed by a twisted path of paranoia, doppelgangers, and the varying limits of a mother's love when pushed to unspeakable brinks. The journey of the overwhelmed main character - explored in quick, disjointed segments - only raises more questions than answers, as well as the sneaking suspicion that she may just be losing her mind and dragging the reader along with her into the abyss.  

Review by Sarah C.