2023 Jane Smiley, A Dangerous Business (Alfred A. Knopf)

In this compulsively readable caper set in Gold Rush era California, a pair of intrepid amateur sleuths dare to go where it seems no one else will. When prostitutes start disappearing from the gorgeously situated, rough and tumble town of Monterey, two young women, Eliza Ripple and Jean MacPherson, use their sharp wits, their insatiable curiosity and all the skill and experience they’ve gained as workers in the sex trade, to track a serial killer and bring him to justice.

Jane Smiley has added another star to her crown as one of the great American writers for today or any day. She has gifted us with fully realized, unforgettable characters we want to keep knowing, a taut plot, and a historical setting that comes alive to all our senses. Dare we hope for a sequel? Or even a series?

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Last Hundred Years Trilogy: Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age. She is the author as well of several works of nonfiction and books for young adults.



Photo credit: Derek Shapton