The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton (Ecco, $15.99)
Not many people know about the World War II battle fought on U.S. soil, but Brian Payton draws upon that story in the novel The Wind Is Not a River, involving the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands, a journalist stranded behind enemy lines and the wife who goes to heroic efforts to find him.
Black Skies by Arnaldur Indriðason, trans. by Victoria Cribb (Picador, $16)
Indriðason's popular Icelandic crime series continues, but this time Inspector Erlendur's colleague Sigurdur Óli takes the lead role when asked to dissuade a blackmailing husband-and-wife team from releasing explicit sexual photos. When Óli arrives at the blackmailers' house, he finds the woman beaten unconscious and chases her attacker before losing the man.
Cain's Blood by Geoffrey Girard (Touchstone, $16)
An ex-soldier and his unlikely sidekick pursue rampaging teenage clones of serial killers. At the top secret Dynamic Solutions Technology Institute (DSTI), Gregory Jacobson studies a gene nicknamed "Cain XP11" for its role in prompting murderous behavior, and encourages a number of DSTI's killers to escape. Recently retired Delta Force operative Shawn Castillo is recruited to clean up DSTI's mess.
The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell (Back Bay, $15)
Daniel Woodrell's The Maid's Version is as rich in mountain vernacular as it is in the history and character of a region steeped in rural Americana. Drawing on a 1929 West Plains, Mo., explosion and fire that killed 39 mostly young ballroom dancers, Woodrell tells a story of tragedy and economic inequality in a small Ozark town.
The Dead Run by Adam Mansbach (Voyager, $17.99)
The Mexican-American borderlands of Adam Mansbach's The Dead Run are crawling with crooked cops, religious fanatics, drug runners and rogue motorcycle gangs, but the irreverent and entertaining story isn't driven by drug cartel atrocities so much as the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca's plan to reclaim the continent from the Christian invaders.
On Migration: Dangerous Journeys and the Living World by Ruth Padel (Counterpoint, $16.95)
A lovely melding of prose and poetry on why and how animals and humans relocate, Padel's essays elaborate on the concepts she empathetically writes about in her poems. The great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin, she brings readers an intriguing look at the vast subject of migration--the movement of birds, animals, humans, thoughts, concepts and perceptions.
Wilson by A. Scott Berg (Berkley, $22)
A beautifully readable, impeccably researched biography of the man who went from running Princeton University to running the United States in a decade, Berg's portrait of the president whom Truman called the "greatest of the greats" is magnificent. Scholars call books like this definitive.
Just Tell Me I Can't: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time by Larry Platt and Jaime Moyer (Grand Central, $17)
A baseball player conquers physical and mental limitations to become one of the winningest pitchers in the major leagues. Jamie Moyer is the oldest pitcher to win a major league baseball game, and his passion for the game shines on every page of this detailed chronicle of what it takes to come back, time and again, amid the pressures of professional baseball.
Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw (Basic Books, $16.99)
John Bradshaw follows up Dog Sense by turning his attention to the domestic cat, the most popular pet in the world, in Cat Sense. Citing the old maxim "dogs have owners, cats have staff," Bradshaw sets off to examine feline science in an effort to understand better the enigmatic creature.
Marvelous Things Overheard: Poems by Ange Mlinko (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $15)
A startling, imaginative collection from one of the most fearless young poets working today celebrates the wonder of language while exploring its failings. Mlinkodraws on her time at the American University of Beirut and her travels in Morocco, Greece and Cyprus, all conflict-ridden places of visual and cultural density.
Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury, $16)
National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward's memoir is a searing look at racism in the U.S. today--and a loving tribute to a lost brother and four friends. Ward ultimately sees these deaths not as random, but as the consequence of racism so ingrained it is almost unremarkable, though its expression is not.
Hanns and Rudolf: The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz by Thomas Harding (Simon & Schuster, $17)
Hanns and Rudolf is a fascinating dual biography of Rudolf Höss, kommandant of Auschwitz, and Lieutenant Hanns Alexander, a German Jew in the British army who captured Höss during the chaos after World War II's end. Thomas Harding chronicles these two lives driven by very different notions of duty and honor.