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Books for Grownups - May 2012

New Donald Westlake mystery, plus Arlen Specter, pain management and the Arab Spring

Books for Grownups

AARP The Magazine and the editors of Publishers Weekly read shelves full of books each month to find the latest fiction, nonfiction and how-to books of interest to you. Check out the selections below, then visit Publishers Weekly for full reviews, author Q-and-A's and more.


Another Piece Of My Heart

Another Piece of My Heart
By Jane Green
(St. Martin’s, $25.99)

Bestseller Green gets serious with a novel about a woman trying to decide whether to stay in a marriage being ripped apart by her dangerously rebellious teenage stepdaughter. Both characters ultimately come off as highly self-involved, but Green finds a welcome honesty in their alternating perspectives.

The Comedy Is Finished

The Comedy Is Finished
By Donald E. Westlake
(Hard Case Crime, $25.99) 

Set in 1977, this sharp, insightful novel from a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America examines the aftermath of the radical fervor that grew throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. A small group aims to reignite those passions by kidnapping a comedian known for his USO tours. This being a Westlake novel, things fall apart for everyone involved shortly after the plot gets rolling.

Stein Stung

Stein, Stung: A Harry Stein Soft-Boiled Murder Mystery
By Hal Ackerman
(Tyrus, $24.95)

Sly humor abounds in Ackerman's second mystery featuring aging L.A. hippie Harry Stein, who looks into the disappearance of some bee boxes and their inhabitants. Their owner, equally long of hair and tooth, lives in the hills above Ojai and answers to the moniker "Karma Moonblossom." Oh, and did we mention that Harry is deathly allergic to bee stings?


By David Snodin
(Holt, $30)

The hunt is on to find, capture and above all understand Shakespeare's cleverest villain in Snodin's debut novel. Iago comes to life through the eyes of a precocious Venetian youngster who gets involved with the famously evil character you first met in high school. Think street fights, torture chambers, daring escapes and an epic chase across medieval Italy.


By Thomas Mallon
(Pantheon, $27.95)

Mallon's latest historical novel, set in the 1970s, may feel too close for comfort to those who witnessed the collapse of the Nixon administration. Yet Mallon's intimate portraits of players previously relegated to the shadows (from Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods to "Bagman," as Mississippian Fred LaRue was known) turn his chronicle of an infamous scandal into a fascinating read.

Next: What's new in nonfiction? »

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