Books

11 New Books We Recommend This Week

THE IRISH ASSASSINS: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England, by Julie Kavanagh. (Atlantic Monthly, $28.) Nineteenth-century Ireland was racked by poverty and famine, conditions exacerbated by the cruelties of English rule. Kavanagh’s fascinating history draws on this context to recount the 1882 murders by Irish nationalists of Britain’s chief secretary for Ireland and the top Irish civil servant. “Julie Kavanagh has done an adroit unpicking of the intricacies of the history,” John Banville writes in his review, “and her book is at once admirable for its scholarship and immensely enjoyable in its raciness.”

THE OTHER BLACK GIRL, by Zakiya Dalila Harris. (Atria, $27.) In Harris’s powerful, genre-bending debut novel, the lone Black woman at a New York City publishing company is surprised by the arrival of a new colleague. As she discovers what they have in common, readers can expect a major twist. “You may not agree with every opinion or every statement laid out in this work, but you will turn page after page after page in your eagerness to unravel this unique tale,” our reviewer, Oyinkan Braithwaite, writes. “If you are open to it, this novel will have you reviewing what your own biases may be, whether your skin is Black, white or orange.”

RAZORBLADE TEARS, by S. A. Cosby. (Flatiron, $26.99.) This sprawling, go-for-baroque pulp thriller is about two dads — one Black, one white, both ex-cons — who decide to avenge the murders of their sons. Cosby writes in a spirit of generous abundance and gleeful abandon and, unlike a lot of noir writers, he doesn’t shy from operatic emotion. “By the novel’s end,” Adam Sternbergh writes in his review, “I bet you’ll be eager for more. This is how crime writers establish a following: by priming readers to get excited about whatever’s coming next. If that’s the true measure of making a name for yourself, then Cosby’s already there.”

BATH HAUS, by P. J. Vernon. (Doubleday, $26.95.) In Vernon’s white-knuckle novel of love and infidelity, a young man’s decision to cheat on his partner sets in motion a series of nerve-shredding events. “Bath Haus” is a smart, steamy thriller laced with heady questions about control and shame. “Vernon tells most of the story in Oliver’s voice, and herein lies the novel’s strength,” Daniel Nieh writes in his review: “a fretful narrator who wavers between defying the rules that oppress his desires and hating himself for wanting what he thinks he can’t have.”

THE CASE OF THE MURDEROUS DR. CREAM: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer, by Dean Jobb. (Algonquin, $27.95.) In this true-crime investigation, Jobb tells the story of the Canadian obstetrician Thomas Neill Cream — who killed an unknown number of people on both sides of the Atlantic between the 1870s and 1892 — and also offers fascinating thumbnail histories of law enforcement, poison, early forensics and surgery. “Despite his repugnant subject, Jobb’s excellent storytelling makes the book a pleasure to read,” W. M. Akers writes in his review. “Jobb bolsters his narrative with fascinating supporting characters … and he takes palpable delight in Victorian newspapers’ weakness for puns.”

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