Arts & Culture

Output: summer fiction

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The Gargoyle Hunters
John Freeman Gill ’88
Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95

New York, says protagonist Griffin Watts, is “the city that sets about erasing itself the moment you take it out of the box.” And Watts knows a lot about erasure. As a young teenager, he joined his dad’s illicit architectural salvage business and helped to filch, one step ahead of the wrecking ball, doomed gargoyles and other “endangered” elements. This even included, according to Gill’s yarn about urban and spiritual renewal, the entire Bogardus building, the pieces of which disappeared in an infamous heist in 1974 and whose fate was never determined—until, maybe, now.


The Futures
Anna Pitoniak ’10
Lee Boudreaux Books/Little, Brown, $26

It’s classic summer romance reading: boy meets girl—as Yale undergrads, of course. Boy and girl graduate and move to New York to make lives and careers together, he in finance, she in a nonprofit. Then comes the financial crisis. Things get messy. And illegal. And downright ugly. “It’s not easy, figuring out what you want,” is the advice that Julia, one half of the couple, hears from a friend. Will she and her former boyfriend Evan ever figure it out and get back together? Read on.


Washington Power Play
Allan Topol ’65JD
SelectBooks, $16.95

“The time has come to create a new world order with China in control,” says Liu Guan, who heads the Ministry of State Security. “We will wrest dominance from the Americans.” This is a thriller, so Liu has, of course, a nefarious plan. But he’ll have to get past Kelly Cameron, the woman in charge of the FBI’s newly created elite counterterrorism team. As this edge-of-your-seat story moves from Bethesda to Beijing to Washington to Bradley Airport, readers will find out whether Kelly was the right person for the critical job.


Our Little Racket
Angelica Baker ’10
Ecco/HarperCollins, $27.99

At the start of the financial meltdown in 2008, the investment bank headed by superstar financier Bob D’Amico goes bust, and the Greenwich CEO is in the crosshairs for malfeasance. The five women in his life—his wife, his daughter, a devoted nanny, and two family friends—are suddenly thrown into a kind of Survivor: Post-Privilege Edition. “No one knows what is lost at the moment it slips away,” writes Baker. But her characters will learn. Oh, will they learn.


The Accidental Agent
Andrew Rosenheim ’76
Overlook Press, $26.95

World War II is raging—but Jimmy Nessheim, until recently an FBI special agent, is studying law at the University of Chicago and hoping for relative tranquility. Not far from campus, physicist Enrico Fermi is engaged in fateful research that could lead to an atomic bomb. Soon, clues suggest that a Nazi may have infiltrated Fermi’s group, and Nessheim is pulled into a perilous race to find the spy before vital secrets are stolen.


Speed of Life
Carol Weston ’78
Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, $16.99

When she was 13, Sofia came home to her New York City apartment to find her mom dead on the sofa. This poignant story for tweens and early teens follows Sofia’s struggles in the aftermath, with help from her friends, her dad, and an advice columnist who will eventually take part in a major plot twist. With time, Sofia learns how “things get easier, then harder, then easier . . . and on and on and on.”


The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon ’77
Faber and Faber, $11.95

“You’d think that after my brother the snake was born they’d have stopped at one. But no,” says a part-goddess, part-giant named Hel—who was born top-half normal but bottom-half, well, dead. The Norse gods send the half-horrible youngster away to rule the Underworld. Although she declares, “I never asked to be Hel’s queen,” she warms to the task with a pitch-perfect petulance that teen readers (and their parents) will appreciate.

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