Luisa's Picks

Luisa Smith is the Buying Director for Book Passage. She's been a part of the store staff for almost twenty years.






ISBN: 9780062349316
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - September 8th, 2015

Like the best country musicians, Ron Rash has the remarkable gift of being able to create a world that feels both nostalgic for a lost America and still vibrating with issues that are utterly contemporary. Above the Waterfall is a novel of beauty and grit that is Appalachia ravaged by the meth epidemic, and Les is the lawman that still has one last case to solve. Haunted by the missteps of his past, Les finds comfort in the equally damaged Becky, a park ranger who is drawn to the beauty and isolation of their surroundings. An attack on a fishing resort reveals the darkness that is underneath all of this beauty and the danger that comes from digging too deep.

ISBN: 9781501105432
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Published: Simon & Schuster - August 25th, 2015

Trying to have it all while it feels like everything is falling apart is a feeling common to every working mother. Alice Pearce discovers this sad truth as her husband abruptly quits his job, forcing Alice to go from part-time work she loves to a full time job that leaves her feeling cold. With humor and heart Alice balances the person she wants to be with the person she needs to be to navigate the rough waters of a family suddenly thrown off course. Elisabeth Egan references many wonderful writers in her debut; with this novel, it is safe to say she should count herself among them.

ISBN: 9781451694147
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Published: Simon & Schuster - March 3rd, 2015

One of the great mysteries of the Catholic Church, The Shroud of Turin, has inspired one of the great writers of our time to create this masterful thriller. Two brothers, one an Eastern Catholic priest the other a Roman Catholic priest, are drawn into the mysteries of the Shroud and the origins of the Church by the murder of their friend Ugo, an eccentric curator obsessed with the Shroud. Simon and Alex are dedicated brothers and priests, and yet as different in temperament and faith as they are similar in conviction and loyalty. Ian Caldwell reveals the fascinating world they reside in behind the Vatican walls along with the hidden feelings of the people that have devoted their lives to the church. The beautiful craftsmanship in weaving together this intricate plot, building tension as more is revealed, is a spectacular achievement. Some signed first printings.


ISBN: 9780802123329
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Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - March 3rd, 2015

The euphoric times of Ireland’s remarkable growth has passed and along with it perhaps the best parts of these characters lives. The grit, determination, and depression of post boom life is worn like a comfortable old suit. Colin Barrett’s characters are brimming with life, grim details glow like gems, and somehow lead to something akin to hope. Here we find jilted lovers, close friends, rivals, addicts, and criminals, often sharing a drink, and always a story. Barrett’s impressive debut, which brings to life a dark world both unique and familiar, will have the reader hoping for one more draught with this writer.


ISBN: 9780525954866
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Published: Dutton Books - March 10th, 2015

When Lieutenant Black is assigned to investigate a ridiculous complaint deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, his only concern is getting back in one piece. Already disheartened with the army and his situation, Black soon finds himself battling for the truth in the dark heart of the war. John Renehan’s beautifully executed thrill ride brings the characters and place to life with the adroitness of his prose. I cannot wait to surprise my customers with The Valley, which will grab them from the first and delight them throughout.


ISBN: 9781476798172
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Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 1st, 2015

Here is the book I want placed in the hands of each of our great fiction reading customers. With Bill Clegg's unique talent for writing about love and loss, the reader is taken on a beautifully rendered journey of grief and deftly shows us how one horrific event can redefine everyone touched by its cold hand. A tragic fire ravages the heart of June Reid and forever chagnes the texture of her life. June now drives as far as she can get from the scene of her loss, trying to find the direction that will heal her heartbreak. Did You Ever Have a Family will keep you riveted as it peels back the layers of this tragedy with both tenderness and strength until finally we come to see the depth of both love and sadness that can reside within ourselves.

ISBN: 9781594634475
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Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

Lauren Groff sets the stage for this drama of human connections, beautifully revealing the dark undercurrents of a modern marriage. Fate appears to have brought Lott and Mathilde together, and they have burnished this image to the envy of all who know them. The furies are revealed as Groff skillfully shifts from Lott’s perspective to Mathilde’s. With unforgettable characters and dramatic turns of events, we live through both sides of a long marriage. Fates and Furies is a magnificent novel that reminds us that the love we covet is always more complicated than it appears.

ISBN: 9780316247764
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Published: Little Brown and Company - May 12th, 2015

Sally Mann is a talented photographer who has startled us with the beauty and honesty of her vision. When asked to give a lecture series for Harvard, she is both flattered and terrified. Where to start? She goes back to the subject that acted as her artistic muse for so long: her family. She digs into old boxes that contain mementos from earlier generations as well as a distillation of her own memories. She finds beauty and tragedy in these boxes—and we find that she is a poet at heart. Hold Still allows us to experience her life in this honest and beautiful memoir.

ISBN: 9780802123459
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Published: Grove Press - April 7th, 2015

There are many stories to tell in any good war tale; in this one the narrator can speak to more than just his own. Intelligent and empathetic, the narrator confesses to having been a spy for the North Vietnamese Army while working for the South Vietnamese Army. He speaks of the tragedies of the war with intelligence and humor, and, as in the tradition of the great spy novels, his explanations lead to more mysterious questions. A brilliant account of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Some signed first printings.


ISBN: 9781501112317
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Published: Gallery/Scout Press - August 4th, 2015

The perfectly riveting mystery to lose yourself in over a weekend! Nora is baffled by an invite to the hen weekend for a long estranged friend. Agreeing to attend, she finds herself standed with an odd cast of characters and the feeling that something is distinctly wrong with the scene that has been set. An ominous cloud descends over the guests as tension builds and secrets are revealed during the celebrations. Readers will find themselves holding their breath as Nora uncovers the web of deceit she has stumbled into while attempting to heal the wounds of her past.

ISBN: 9781476775425
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Published: Scribner Book Company - May 19th, 2015

As reality intrudes on their post college bliss, Mickey and Halifax struggle to maintain their friendship while life pulls them in different directions. Traversing the globe from art parties in Seattle to war-torn Bagdad, connecting by updating an obscure Wikipedia page, they are witness to the chain reactions that reverberate from their personal choices. The War of the Encyclopaedists is tightly woven with dark humor and intoxicating intellect.


ISBN: 9781594633447
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 12th, 2015

Paddy Buckley works for the best funeral home in Dublin. Death does not disturb Paddy, but he finds life far more complicated. Late one night, distracted by recent turns in his life, he accidentally runs down the brother of Dublin’s top mobster. Finding himself on the wrong side of the Irish mob, his life takes an even more bizarre turn as he is entrusted with managing the funeral arrangements. With a deft hand, Jeremy Massey has written a dark comedy masked as a crime novel. Like the best Irish writers, he finds loyalty, love, and humor even in the face of death.