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Literary Hill: December Reviews

Red London

For those who love spies and thrillers, Alma Katsu’s latest Red London is a thrilling detour into the fictional world of CIA agent, Lyndsey Duncan. Duncan finds herself tasked with gathering intel on Russian oligarch Mikhail Rotenberg and his ties to the newest Russian leader, Viktor Kosygin, post-Putin (and, yes, Ukrainian war). Lyndsey must infiltrate a world of intrigue and danger, as she befriends Emily, the wife of target Mikhail Rotenberg, Russian Oligarch and banker. Katsu’s masterful storytelling and skillful depictions of intelligence-gathering—Katsu herself served in the CIA, an expertise that shines through her sensitive handling of intelligence-work—keeps the pages turning. Lyndsey Duncan is an intriguing protagonist, sensitive, principled, highly capable, but down-to-earth. As the story’s tension escalates it is sure to leave eager readers on the edge of their seats.

Christopher Datta

Christopher Catches a Fish

Christopher Datta’s second children’s book, with illustrations by Christine Vineyard, is the charming account of an unlikely friendship between Christopher, a boy who fishes in a lucky hat given to him by his father, and the Great Blue Heron who knows all the secrets of the lake. The two become companions, then accomplices, in plotting to catch an enormous fish. Certain to win over even those, like Christopher, who might find fishing boring.

Murder Crossed Her Mind

The fourth installment of the Pentecost & Parker Mystery series follows Lillian and Will as they sleuth the suspicious disappearance of a woman who might have known too much. Stephen Spotswood takes us on a journey to 1940s New York, where Vera Bodine, a former legal secretary, now-shut-in with a remarkable photographic memory, has disappeared. Forest Whitsun, a high-powered defense attorney, enlists the help of Lillian and Willowjean to uncover the truth behind Vera’s vanishing act. Despite the intriguing premise, an excellent historical eye, and a sharp first-person narration, it is the enduring camaraderie between Lillian and Willowjean that steals the show. Fans of the “hard boiled” will enjoy this pithy read that never takes itself too seriously. 

Stephen Spotswood. Photo: Daniel Corey

If Your Next Read is a Listen

Libro.fm supports all your audio book purchases. What’s more, like bookshop.org, which sends a portion of audiobook proceeds to the independent bookshop of your choice, Libro.fm allows you to choose a local bookstore to support via your audiobook purchases. Membership costs are comparable to other audiobook services; monthly membership allows you one credit toward the purchase of an audiobook. Members can purchase additional credits on demand and buy audiobooks à la carte. Canceling and/or pausing your membership does not erase your credits or audiobooks.  Libro.fm can be found at https://libro.fm/

Should the public library be more your speed, check out Libby. Libby allows you to use your DC library card to check out and listen to the DC Public Library systems audio book collection.  Available at overdrive.com/apps/libby.

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