Lock Every Door
A few kooky house rules—no visitors, no all-night stays elsewhere, no disturbing other tenants—seem like no sweat in exchange for a plum apartment-sitting gig on the Upper West Side … right? That’s certainly the case for Jules, whose life outside the tony Bartholomew is nothing to write (or go) home about. Riley Sager’s claustrophobic new thriller is the perfect beach read—in the sense that you’ll want to read it outside, in full daylight, with lots of company
The Last Pirate of New York
Albert Hicks was mad, bad, and extremely dangerous to know: it’s estimated that he killed more than 100 people over the course of his 19th-century international plundering spree. His sordid tale came to a spectacular end after a final, botched job in 1860, and tens of thousands of New Yorkers watched his execution from the harbor and Liberty Island. Rich Cohen has been transfixed by Hicks’s tale for decades—and after reading his explosive account of the Empire State at its wildest, you’ll be right there with him.
Time After Time
Grand Central Terminal’s magic (That starry ceiling in the concourse! The witchy whispering gallery!) becomes personal when, in 1937, Joe meets the woman of his dreams at its iconic gold clock. The catch is a big one: she can only materialize for Manhattanhenge (when the sunrise aligns with the city’s skyscrapers). Their ethereal, impossible love story is perfect for fans of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (and offers harried would-be couples the consolation that someone, somewhere, is having a harder time scheduling dates than they are).
That's What Frenemies Are For
Faced with an unexpected summer in the city, well-heeled Julia decides to take a hard look at herself and her Upper East Side privilege. Kidding, kidding: She stumbles upon a potentially-buzzy new fitness studio and decides that making an impressionable instructor her “project” will launch her back onto her peer group’s A list. StairMasters and social climbing, alas, are two very different things, and her plans go horribly and hilariously awry.
How Could She
Geraldine washes up on Manhattan’s shore like the survivor of a shipwreck: her engagement is over, and her print career is foundering. The two old friends who welcome her are weathering their own personal and professional storms, and they’re questionable support, to say the least. How Could She tackles twin uncharted territories as its castaway regains her feet: Geraldine stumbles through both the new-media landscape and the thirtysomething versions of the women who were once her lifelines. Her pratfalls are genuinely funny, to be sure—but How Could She’s laughs are the kind that leave you a bit sore.
Tara Isabella Burton
How does a religion reporter with a doctorate in theology from Oxford end up writing a novel about young women in New York City? Well, Tara Isabella Burton set out to explore how and why we worship (and demand worship) from one another—and in Social Creature’s hypermodern, media-saturated world of codependent relationships (this is a Talented Mr. Ripley for the 21st century), she does just that. The curated self has never been more seductive, or more sinister.
Food and the City
Ina Yalof is not a food writer—and, accordingly, her culinary exploration of New York is not (just) about food, and it’s definitely not about the trendiest new eateries. It’s a celebration of the generations of men and women who have developed the five boroughs’ distinctive culinary personalities, from street vendors and line cooks to executive pastry chefs and restaurateurs, and it goes right for the city’s heart through its stomach.
“I want to change this dirty world,” Abram Singer confides, “or at least to change myself, which may be even more difficult.” Abram and his world—Manhattan in the unsettled ‘70s—are intertwined: he feels close to God when he helps build the Twin Towers, then falls away from the tenets of his faith in the social turbulence that seeps into his work as a parish priest and exposes his irresistible lust. This is a confession, and a portrait, of the most intimate sort.
The Lost Night
It’s been a decade since Lindsay’s charismatic, fast-living best friend, Edie, was found dead of apparent suicide at their Brooklyn loft. That feels like a lifetime ago until Lindsay discovers a video that throws everything she thought she knew about the tragedy—and her own role in it—into question. As a magazine research chief, she knows how to find answers. Whether or not she’s prepared for the emotional fallout that ensues is another question entirely.
“It is ridiculous,” Agatha Christie once contended, “to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.” She’s half-right: The City That Never Sleeps is every bit as enigmatic as it was when she knew it, but it’s a fabulous backdrop for mysteries (and histories, thrillers, romances, comedies…you get the idea). It’s no accident, we’d argue, that Manhattan at a distance looks an awful lot like a procession of stacked books. Lay the foundation for a nightstand skyscraper of your own with these books set in NYC.
Featured image: @casiewphoto via Twenty20