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updated 08/30/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/30/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

I'd Know You Anywhere

by Laura Lippman |

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REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT

People PICK

NOVEL

The biggest challenge in Eliza Benedict's comfy life in the D.C. suburbs is dealing with her sullen 13-year-old daughter-until she gets a letter from a man she's been trying to forget for 23 years. As a teen, Eliza was the only one of murderer Walter Bowman's kidnap victims to get away; now, two weeks before his scheduled execution, he's contacting her. To Eliza, it's like a New Orleans resident "getting a telegram signed 'Katrina.' Hey, how are you? Do you ever think of me?" Is the letter Walter's final act of contrition? Or, as Eliza suspects, does he have one last scheme up his sleeve? Lippman is at the height of her powers here, smoothly alternating between the horrors of Eliza's 15th summer and her present, excruciating, dilemma-does she respond, hoping to quiet Walter and preserve her hard-won privacy, or ignore him and risk his wrath? Sensitively examining capital punishment from every side, Lippman delivers an emotionally complex drama that cements her reputation as one of the smartest crime writers around.

My Hollywood

by Mona Simpson |

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REVIEWED BY VICK BOUGHTON

NOVEL

Actually, it's their Hollywood, because this wise, moving story unfolds in two distinct voices. One belongs to Claire, a married musician in her late 30s; the other to Lola, a 52-year-old nanny who looks after Claire's baby, William, while keeping a watchful eye on her own sprawling family in the Philippines. Neither woman feels at home in this quintessential company town, where, at parties, men chat about ratings and financing and women rattle off their nannies' shortcomings. As Claire struggles with doubts about her abilities as a mother and her flagging career, Lola finds herself torn by many loyalties: to her family, to William, to other caregivers for whom she's something of a mother figure as well. How these two women resolve their complicated relationship is the heart of Simpson's haunting novel, her first in 10 years. It's more than worth the wait.

The Rembrandt Affair

by Daniel Silva |

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REVIEWED BY DONNAMARIE BARNES

THRILLER

Hoping to live in peace in Cornwall, art restorer-Israeli spy Gabriel Allon is lured back into action to track down a stolen Rembrandt. Allon and his team ultimately zero in on a Swiss financier who will do anything to hide the painting's secrets-and his own ties to Iran's nuclear weapons program. Hypnotic prose, well-drawn characters and nonstop action will thrill Silva's fans and convert the uninitiated.

One Dog at a Time

by Pen Farthing |

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REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

NON-FICTION

Kindness flourishes in an Afghan war zone, where British Royal Marine Farthing begins rescuing the starving strays nosing their way onto his compound. Offering food and love is a temporary solution, so Farthing hatches a dangerous plan to transport the dogs to a rescue sanctuary. Readers will come to know and love each mutt and to admire Farthing, whose caring doesn't end when his tour does: He now runs the Nowzad Dogs charity for animals of war.

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