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Books for Grownups - February 2012

Authors Thomas Frank and Susan Cain are featured in our monthly review of the best in publishing

Books for Grownups

AARP The Magazine and the editors of Publishers Weekly have teamed up to let you know about the latest fiction, nonfiction and how-to books of interest to you. Once you've checked out the selections below, visit Publishers Weekly for reviews, author Q-and-A's and more.


Boca Daze Book Review

Boca Daze
By Steven M. Forman
(Forge, $25.99)

The Boca Knight is back! That would be tough-talking, wisecracking P.I. Eddie Perlmutter, who describes himself as "just a 61-year-old ex-Boston cop trying to adapt to life's changes." The venue: Boca Raton, Fla., a "benign" place where "crime is malignant, so there was plenty of work for me." In this third mystery in the series (after Boca Knights and Boca Mournings), Eddie investigates unregulated "pill mills," the beating of a homeless man and a Madoff clone named B. I. Grover, whose "sure thing" for older investors is far from kosher.

The Orphan Master's Son Book Review

The Orphan Master's Son
By Adam Johnson
(Random, $26)

With this tantalizing glimpse inside North Korea, Johnson tells the picaresque and moving story of Jun Do, a man who lives according to the violent dictates of the state. After serving as a soldier, a surveillance officer and even a kidnapper, Jun Do suddenly — dangerously — finds himself on the other side.

Reefs and Shoals Book Review

Reefs and Shoals
By Dewey Lambdin
(St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne, $25.99)

It's 1805, and irreverent Royal Navy Captain Alan Lewrie returns in all his swashbuckling debauchery to wage his exciting brand of Napoleonic naval warfare. On the high seas between England and the Caribbean, the outgunned "rakehell" captain battles French and Spanish privateers preying on English merchantmen.

The Odd Book Review

The Odds
By Stewart O'Nan
(Viking, $25.95)

A couple on the brink of divorce and bankruptcy return to the scene of their honeymoon (Niagara Falls) seeking redemption. As the compact novel unfolds over the course of a Valentine's Day weekend, O'Nan shines in illuminating the doggedly persistent nature of betrayal.

How It All Began Book Review

How It All Began
By Penelope Lively
(Viking, $26.95)

The first domino falls in this intricately structured novel when Charlotte, a woman in her 70s, is injured in a mugging. That keystone event propels the actions of an entire cast of characters orbiting Charlotte — from her daughter (a teacher) to that daughter's middle-aged ESL students, the daughter's boss and the daughter's boss's niece. Trust us: It's all much easier to follow in the lively way that Lively tells it.

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