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‘Very Expensive Poison’ by Luke Harding among new books to read

"A Very Expensive Poison" by Luke Harding examines the assassination of exiled Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. Credit: Vintage

A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin’s War With the West, by Luke Harding. An English foreign correspondent re-examines the 2006 case of exiled Russian agent Litvinenko — a Putin critic — who was poisoned with radioactive Polonium after tea with two former KGB agents in London. The murder and its ramifications, Harding argues, are as pertinent as ever. (Vintage, $16 paper)

THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS, by Laurie Frankel. In this topical novel by the author of “The Atlas of Love” and “Goodbye for Now,” 3-year-old Claude — the fifth of five boys in the Walsh-Adams family of Madison, Wisconsin — announces, “I want to be a girl.” Claude becomes Poppy, and the family is supportive, but what happens when Poppy’s secret is made public? (Flatiron Books, $25.99)

LITTLE DEATHS, by Emma Flint. The case of Alice Crimmins — the Queens mother charged and convicted of murdering her two young children in 1965, despite the lack of evidence — was tabloid fodder in New York at the time. Debut novelist Flint has taken the story as the inspiration for her smart, atmospheric thriller about how a “loose” woman can be judged in the court of public opinion. (Hachette Books, $26)


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