It's super hot outside and if you're anything like us, you'd like to curl up in the shade with a nice new book. Here are some amNewYork staffers' summer reading recommendations:
'The Face Thief'
By Eli Gottlieb, $24.99
The first pages of "The Face Thief" extort sympathy for an articulate, gravely injured protagonist the reader does not yet know is a sociopathic grifter. Gottlieb's gambit is brilliant: He tricks the reader into pitying Margot, a journalist now devoted to double-crossing rich married men into surrendering their fortunes, just as Margot seduces and swindles her marks. Margot's weapon is female sensitivity and intuition: She "reads" a man's face to know just how he needs to be validated - and then delivers the appropriate assurance that he is competent, needed, sexy, heroic, powerful, desired or even ethical as she sucks away his savings in bogus investment schemes. This is a smart Spanish Prisoner suspense novel, exquisitely written, with beguilingly authentic, well-drawn characters and an ending that screams "sequel, please!" Bravo. (New in hardcover) (SHEILA ANNE FEENEY)
By Angela Davis-Gardner, $15
This fast-paced, crisply written "what if" novel based on a brainstormed coda to the "Madame Butterfly" story traces the life of the child conceived by Lt. Benjamin Pinkerton and the geisha Cio-Cio-San at the turn of the century. The ending is a bit wan, but the ride there is full of suspense and exquisitely imagined, with great details of Midwest farm life, early U.S. racialism, the impact of the suffragette movement and treatment of the mentally ill. (New in paperback)(SAF)
'Where We Belong'
By Emily Giffin, $27.99
(out July 24)
You're sure to spy lots of pale-orange book covers at the beach this summer, as Emily Giffin releases her latest in a series of successful "chick-lit" reads (which all have similarly designed pastel covers), including her book-turned-movie "Something Borrowed." Giffin's summer newbie, "Where We Belong," follows 36-year-old New York City TV producer Marian Caldwell as she reunites with the now 18-year-old daughter she gave up for adoption years ago. The book has heart, meat and realistic characters - without getting too heavy - my ideal choice for a beach read. (New in hardcover)(Julie Gordon)
By John Scalzi, $24.99
Veteran sci-fi author Scalzi sets his satirical sights on one of the beloved classics of the genre: "Star Trek." A redshirt, by the way, is the term for the nameless, disposable crew members on "Star Trek" who would accompany the stars on away missions, and often didn't return. Ensign Andrew Dahl arrives on the flagship of the Universal Union and discovers that whenever the dashing Captain Abernathy and his senior officers go on an away mission, the support crew die in some fashion. Not content to simply hide from the officers like his fellow crew members, Dahl and a few of his pals begin to investigate what exactly is going on. Your background with "Star Trek" will certainly amplify your enjoyment, but even without, "Redshirts" is a clever, witty read. (New in hardcover) (Scott A. Rosenberg)
By Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose and Langdon Foss, $24.99
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, the star of Travel Channel's "No Reservations" and "The Layover," and author Joel Rose tell the story of two warring food factions in this fun, futuristic graphic novel. The title hero, Jiro, is a master sushi chef living on the outskirts of town, and both sides want his services. "Get Jiro!" is instilled with a lot of Bourdain's famous food mantras - Jiro decapitates a customer who mistakenly orders a California roll. Langdon Foss provides excellent, highly-detailed art, which comes in handy considering the amount of rice in this book. (New in hardcover)(SAR)