The 2013 Lariat Reading List
The Best of 2012’s Adult Fiction
-- signifying outstanding fiction published during 2012, meriting special attention from readers.
Benaron, Naomi, Running the Rift. Algonquin Books.
For Jean Patrick Nkuba, growing up and training for the Olympics are intertwined with Rwanda's political descent into genocide, forcing him to learn powerful lessons about ethnicity, love and hope.
Blake, James Carlos, Country of the Bad Wolfes. Cinco Puntos Press.
Three generations of Wolfes drift from 1820's New England to Revolutionary Mexico to the Rio Grande valley. This swashbuckling saga is rife with unexpected romances and all manner of mayhem.
Brunt, Carol Rifka, Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Dial Press.
June loses the person she loves most when her uncle Finn, a reclusive painter, dies in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Complex, powerful and poignant, this novel paints a portrait of a family unraveled by secrets and loss.
Cash, Wiley, A Land More Kind than Home. William Morrow.
Deep in the Smoky Mountains up near Asheville, evil resides. A menacing preacher holds a town in his grip with infidelity, murder, guns and snake handling.
Evison, Jonathan, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. Algonquin Books.
Having hit rock-bottom, Benjamin trains to be a caregiver. His first client, Trevor, a fiercely stubborn and sexually frustrated young man, shows Ben how unprepared he really is to care for someone else. A road trip restores their sense of hope and gives their hearts an opportunity to heal.
Faye, Lyndsay, The Gods of Gotham. Amy Einhorn Books / Putnam.
Be transported to the mean streets in New York City, circa 1845, where "coppers" patrol neighborhoods teeming with immigrants fleeing the Irish Potato Famine. Tim Wilde's search for a prolific killer will lead him to the edge of heartbreak and beyond.
Frankel, Laurie, Goodbye for Now. Doubleday.
What if you could Skype with your lost loved ones? At the request of his girlfriend, Sam develops a computer program that allows people to interact with those who have passed away. This heartfelt novel delivers a charming and bittersweet romance.
Irving, John, In One Person, Simon and Schuster.
A coming of age story that captures unfulfilled love in all its aspects. Billy recalls his life growing up in First Sister, Vermont and the complications of life as a bisexual.
Ivey, Eowyn, The Snow Child. Reagan Arthur.
Inspired by a Russian fairy tale, this story weaves together reality and myth. A snow child is replaced by a young girl whose impact on Mabel and Jack is both magical and palpable.
Koryta, Michael, The Prophet. Little, Brown and Company.
Adam and Kent Austin, estranged since their sister's abduction and murder when they were teens, are now forced into a reunion when a new killing occurs in their small Midwestern town.
Landay, William, Defending Jacob. Delacorte Press.
Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber finds himself defending his 14-year-old son, Jacob, for the murder of a fellow student. As the trial intensifies, the family struggles with love, guilt and betrayal.
Lansdale, Joe R., Edge of Dark Water, Mulholland Books.
Set near Gladewater, Texas, during the Depression, Sue Ellen, Terry and Jinx set out on a harrowing journey to take the ashes of their friend May Lynn to her rightful home, Hollywood. Tom Sawyer meets East Texas gothic.
Locke, Attica, The Cutting Season. HarperCollins.
The body of an immigrant woman is discovered in a sugar cane field near Belle Vie, an antebellum estate in Louisiana. Caren, the property manager, finds her own fate intertwined with the dark legacy of the plantation.
McCoy, Sarah, The Baker’s Daughter. Crown Publishing.
Reba stumbles into Elsie's German bakery in El Paso at a low point in her life. As she delves into Elsie's youth in Nazi Germany, she discovers an evocative tale of families and relationships, courage and survival, guilt and regret.
Miller, Madeline, The Song of Achilles. Ecco.
In this fresh retelling of the Iliad, Patroclus is torn between fate and his love for Achilles. The gods and immortals take center stage in this epic story.
Morrison, Toni, Home. Knopf.
A vivid portrait of racism in the Deep South before integration as seen through the eyes of Frank, haunted by his experiences in the Korean War, and his beloved sister Ycidra. Morrison's lyrical prose captures the struggles of love, truth, justice and peace.
O'Malley, Daniel, The Rook. Little, Brown and Company.
Myfanwy wakes in a park, with no memory, surrounded by bodies wearing latex gloves. She must follow the clues her former self left behind to rebuild her life and uncover treachery within the supernatural secret service.
Powers, Kevin, The Yellow Birds. Little, Brown and Company.
Private Bartle and Private Murphy are both fighting in Al Tafar, Iraq, and do all they can to protect each other. Lean and explosive, this is a somber portrait of a young man who comes home as broken as his comrades who return under a flag.
Rash, Ron, The Cove. Ecco.
The cove is a secret place, hidden in the mountains of North Carolina and home to Laurel and her brother, Hank, a wounded veteran returned from WW I. Isolated by superstition, Laurel's discovery of a wounded man brings love and music to her life. He harbors a secret that could destroy them all.
Ratner, Vaddey, In the Shadow of the Banyan. Simon and Schuster.
Thrown out of their home in Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge who have taken power in Cambodia, seven-year-old Raami and her family endure years of loss, starvation and brutality. This autobiographical novel is beautiful, lush and rich.
Rutledge, Lynda, Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale. Amy Einhorn Books / Putnam.
Faith Bass Darling has been hiding in her mansion of treasured antiques for the last 20 years. On the last day of the Millennium, convinced she is going to die, Faith decides everything must go.
Scalzi, John, Redshirts. Tor.
It never fails. A redshirt crew member dies on every away mission on the spaceship Intrepid. WHY do they keep agreeing to go?
Sloan, Robin, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
After a layoff sidelines his advertising career, Clay takes a job at a mysterious bookstore in San Francisco and soon realizes the business is a facade for a secret society.
Trigiani, Adriana, The Shoemaker’s Wife. HarperCollins.
From a hamlet in the Italian Alps to Greenwich Village, backstage at the Metropolitan Opera and in the trenches of WWI, Enza and Ciro illustrate the American immigrant experience in this sweeping love story.
Walker, Karen Thompson, The Age of Miracles. Random House Publishing.
It began slowly, the days grew longer and soon it is sunlight 60 hours a day. The slow march of change creates chaos even as the population struggles to maintain normalcy. Julia's tween angst plays out against the end of the world.