BY NICO VREELAND

[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers.]

Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes, reviewed by Gwyneth Jones (Guardian)

Zoo City came out last year in America, and I missed it entirely, so tally another save for the Guardian. It’s about a fantastic Johannesburg, where murderers attract animal familiars, who both mark their humans as killers and give them powers. William Gibson recommends it, this review calls it great cyberpunk, and it just won the Arthur C. Clarke award. It’s on my list. [Get Zoo City (only 8 bucks, too!) at Powell’s.]


Tabloid City
, by Pete Hamill, reviewed by Susan Salter Reynolds (L.A. Times)

Continuing the “city” theme, Pete Hamill’s novel concerns the death of print journalism, and stars a character who evidently bemoans that death to no end. That premise doesn’t interest me, but the review has some poetry to it, and it sounds like the book might, too, despite its singularity of purpose. [Get Tabloid City at Powell’s.]

The Floor of Heaven, by Howard Blum, reviewed by Dennis Drabelle (Washington Post)

Sounding more like a lost Charles Portis novel than the true story it is, Blum’s “rip-roaring” book follows three men who meet during the Yukon gold rush, America’s last gold gasp in the 1890s. The three are a con man, a Pinkerton detective, and a prospector, and their meeting revolves around a quarter-million dollars in gold. Worth a look. [Get The Floor of Heaven at Powell’s.]


Lost in Shangri-la, by Mitchell Zuckoff, reviewed by Alex Spanko (Boston Globe)

Zuckoff’s latest book reconstructs the story of a trio of three soldiers who crash-land in a patch of nearly uncharted New Guinea jungle. Zuckoff buoys the main story with material gleaned from interviews with the native tribesmen who encountered the soldiers. The Globe doesn’t pull its punches, even for one of their own like Zuckoff, and this mixed review lands on recommendation. [Get Lost in Shangri-la at Powell’s.]


In brief: Sean mentioned it briefly last week, but I think it bears repeating: if you were enthralled recently by the shrouded reports of Seal Team 6, keep an eye on the new book by the same name—it came out, with miraculous timing, last Tuesday. … What can we learn from Newt Gingrich’s many book reviews? Among other things, he thinks policymakers can learn from ridiculous “adventure novels.” In related news, should he be elected president, Newt has promised to bring dinosaurs back to life on a small, fateful island. … I’ve never been an Albert Brooks fan, but if you are, check out his new book.

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