Here’s the lowdown on some of the latest must-read books:
Grand Central Publishing, fiction, $#
What it’s about: In his latest legal thriller set in the Cook County stand-in Kindle County, Scott Turow, the best-selling Evanston writer best known for “Presumed Innocent,” recounts the final case of acclaimed defense attorney Alexander “Sandy” Stern. The lawyer, introduced in “Presumed Innocent” to defend prosecutor Rusty Sabich, now is defending Nobel Prize-winner Kiril Pafko, an old friend charged with fraud and murder.
The buzz: “Turow remains in a class of his own in conveying the subtleties of criminal defense work while also entertaining his readers,” Publishers Weekly says.
Random House, fiction, $28
What it’s about: Curtis Sittenfeld, the author of “Prep,” weaves real-life events with fiction to image a world in which Hillary Rodham turns down Bill Clinton’s marriage proposal and blazes her own trail.
The buzz: “If her aim was to offer new insight into Hillary’s mind, she doesn’t succeed,” Time magazine writes. “But who cares? Even if the character isn’t compelling, her mission to break the glass ceiling is.”
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, fiction, $27
What it’s about: Mike Lupica’s second book continuing the story of Robert B. Parker’s female private detective Sunny Randall sees the female Spenser dealing with two unexpected developments: the return of her true love’s ex-wife to Boston and a job from gang boss Tony Marcus, who wants her to hunt down his missing girlfriend.
The buzz: “The superb plotting is enhanced by Lupica’s well-written scenes set during Sunny’s therapy sessions with Spenser’s love, Susan Silverman, which deepen the reader’s understanding of Sunny,” Publishers Weekly writes. “Fans of tough, competent female PIs such as V.I. Warshawski will approve Lupica’s continuation of the series.”
Catapult Books, nonfiction, $26
What it’s about: François S. Clemmons, the first black actor to have a recurring role on a children’s television program (“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”), tells his life story and writes about his remarkable friendship with Fred Rogers.
The buzz: “Clemmons’ thoroughly delightful, inspiring story will speak particularly to artists in marginalized communities,” Publishers Weekly says.
Orbit Books, fiction, $17.99
What it’s about: Five women — humanity’s last hope for survival — leave an Earth ravaged by climate change and embark on the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are “just right” for human habitation.
The buzz: “A slow-burning fire of a novel that begs the reader to keep turning the page,” Kirkus Reviews says.
Atria Books, nonfiction, $26
What it’s about: In her latest memoir, musician Tori Amos explores the artist’s role in society and art itself as a political act, beginning with playing the piano in bars in Washington, D.C., during her teenage years.
The buzz: “This memoir and call to action will delight Amos’ many fans,” Publishers Weekly says.
William Morrow, fiction, $28.99
What it’s about: This murder-mystery parody of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” stars court jester Pocket of Dog Snogging in a hilariously noir tale of love, magic and murder.
The buzz: “This cheeky homage will please lovers of Shakespeare and camp,” says Publishers Weekly, which calls the book a “raucous, crass and innuendo-filled romp.”
Viking, nonfiction, $30
What it’s about: A biography of the notorious Cold War villain and Soviet spy. Klaus Fuschs The Germany-born British scientist was convicted of espionage for handing over the designs of the plutonium bomb to the Russians.
The buzz: “Covers a lot of familiar ground, but where it is particularly thorough and revealing is when it deals with Fuchs’s youth in Germany,” The New York Times says. “Greenspan shows him becoming a militant and dedicated Communist once he perceived the threat to democracy posed by Adolf Hitler and his storm troopers.”
Riverhead Books, fiction, $27
What it’s about: When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident, it shakes up her life and the lives of those she loves: She decides to come clean with her family about her relationship with her female hairdresser. An affecting family saga that juggles weighty issues like abortion, gender identity and bullying with ease.
The buzz: “With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for,” Kirkus Reviews says.
Read more at USA Today.