Paperback Picks: Books by Roddy Doyle, Lisa Halliday and more


Here's a roundup of novels recently released in paperback — plus one intriguing nonfiction tale.

"Two Kinds of Truth" by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing, $9.99). Connelly's written more than 30 crime-fiction novels, and I've read more than a few — all of them are tight, smart procedurals populated with intriguing characters. My favorite is Harry Bosch, and this book is the 20th Bosch novel; the veteran detective, formerly of the LAPD, is now working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department. (And, presumably, still listening to jazz and breaking rules.)

"Smile" by Roddy Doyle (Penguin, $16). The Booker Prize-winning author's latest novel is a haunting, powerful tale set in contemporary Dublin. "Readers may be sharply divided over where Doyle takes them in the end," wrote Seattle Times reviewer David Wright, "but none will quickly dismiss this artful meditation on pain, memory, and how we build the stories of our lives. It is his most powerful and sobering novel since 'The Woman Who Walked into Doors.'"

"The Mitford Murders" by Jessica Fellowes (St. Martin's Press, $16.99). Need a "Downton Abbey" fix, while we all wait for the upcoming movie? Fellowes is the author of "The World of Downton Abbey" and other books (she's also the niece of "Downton" creator Julian Fellowes) and here kicks off a mystery series set in 1920s London among the famed Mitford sisters.

"Asymmetry" by Lisa Halliday (Simon & Schuster, $16). A national best-seller and winner of the 2017 Whiting Award for fiction, Halliday's uniquely structured novel at first seems to be the story of a love affair, then becomes something more. "The moment 'Asymmetry' reaches its perfect ending," wrote a Washington Post reviewer, "it's all the reader can do to return to the beginning in awe, to discover how Halliday upturned the story again and again."

"Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II" by Liza Mundy (Hachette, $16.99). For those who loved Margot Lee Shetterly's "Hidden Figures" (and the subsequent movie based on it), here's another tale of unexpected heroines: In this case, the 10,000 American women who, during wartime, learned to break German and Japanese military codes.

"Red Clocks" by Leni Zumas (Back Bay Books, $16.99). Zumas, a Portland-based author, set her novel in a near future in which abortion and in vitro fertilization are banned. What's remarkable about this "busy," "brainy" novel, wrote Seattle Times reviewer Jeff Baker, "isn't that the dystopia it presents is wildly imaginative but that it's so close to what's happening right now."