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Does 'The Girl in the Spider's Web' hurt the legacy of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander?

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  • 'The Beautiful Bureaucrat' a mind-bending, thrilling page-turner

    'The Beautiful Bureaucrat' a mind-bending, thrilling page-turner

    Part dystopian fantasy, part thriller, part giddy literary-nerd wordplay, Helen Phillips' "The Beautiful Bureaucrat," is both a page-turner and a novel rich in evocative, starkly philosophical language. That's a rare combination, recalling work such as Margaret Atwood's "MaddAddam" and "Positron"...

  • The strange, savage universe of Ottessa Moshfegh's 'Eileen'

    The strange, savage universe of Ottessa Moshfegh's 'Eileen'

    One of my favorite lines in poetry is the opener to Anne Sexton's 1962 "For Eleanor Boylan Talking with God," which begins, "God has a brown voice,/ as soft and full as beer." These lines swill around in my head whenever I enter one of the strange universes of Ottessa Moshfegh. Moshfegh has a brown...

  • 'Blue' delivers arresting portrait of L.A.'s policing problems

    'Blue' delivers arresting portrait of L.A.'s policing problems

    As seen in "Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing" by investigative journalist Joe Domanick, Los Angeles appears to be a city in almost continuous search for a great man to solve the problems of its police department and the racial rifts caused by its traditional heavy-handed...

  • John Scalzi conquers the publishing universe

    John Scalzi conquers the publishing universe

    If you're a certain type of person — the kind who's taken the JoCo Cruise or signed up for Nerdcon: Stories, say — you already know who John Scalzi is. "Within science fiction and fantasy literature, I'm an A-lister," Scalzi says. "But this is almost exactly like being the best-known bluegrass...

  • A cold, hard look at the work and influence of Robert 'Iceberg Slim' Beck

    A cold, hard look at the work and influence of Robert 'Iceberg Slim' Beck

    I taught Robert "Iceberg's Slim" Beck's compact gold and purple book, "Pimp: The Story of My Life," in my first college class 14 years ago. The course was called Narratives of the Underground. As an anxious 26-year-old teacher straight out of grad school, I hoped that my first-year students would...

  • Steph Cha talks about the L.A. immigrant noir of 'Dead Soon Enough'

    Steph Cha talks about the L.A. immigrant noir of 'Dead Soon Enough'

    Steph Cha might be the world’s only author of Korean American feminist noir. That might sound overly niche, but it isn’t. Her Juniper Song detective series featuring, you guessed it, a female Korean PI, plays by most of the conventions of the noir genre and does so with much finesse.

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