Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, the staff from The Bookies Bookstore in Denver recommends Indigenous short stories, a novel about bringing back an extinct species and a Parisian mystery.
Never Whistle at Night
Edited by Shane Hawk and Theodore C. Van Alst Jr.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
From the publisher: Many Indigenous people believe that one should never whistle at night. This belief takes many forms: for instance, Native Hawaiians believe it summons the Hukai’po, the spirits of ancient warriors, and Native Mexicans say it calls Lechuza, a witch that can transform into an owl. But what all these legends hold in common is the certainty that whistling at night can cause evil spirits to appear—and even follow you home.
These wholly original and shiver-inducing tales introduce readers to ghosts, curses, hauntings, monstrous creatures, complex family legacies, desperate deeds, and chilling acts of revenge. Introduced and contextualized by bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones, these stories are a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ survival and imagination, and a glorious reveling in all the things an ill-advised whistle might summon.
From Krista Carlton, store manager: This anthology of Indigenous dark fiction is perfect for the chilly months when you want to be bundled in a blanket. Each story delves into native folklore and myth and brings it to the present day. I loved each story and marveled at how the authors used their cultures’ legends to take back the microphone. Authors represent the expanse of North America, including Denver where author David Heska Wanbli Weiden calls home. Ranging from horror to science-fiction, thriller to fantasy, these 27 authors deliver fantastic stories that twist and will certainly give you chills!
The Last Animal
By Ramona Ausubel
Penguin Publishing Group
From the publisher: Teenage sisters Eve and Vera never imagined their summer vacation would be spent in the Arctic, tagging along on their mother’s scientific expedition. But there’s a lot about their lives lately that hasn’t been going as planned, and truth be told, their single mother might not be so happy either.
Now in Siberia with a bunch of serious biologists, Eve and Vera are just bored enough to cause trouble. Fooling around in the permafrost, they accidentally discover a perfectly preserved, 4,000-year-old baby mammoth, and things finally start to get interesting. The discovery sets off a surprising chain of events, leading mother and daughters to go rogue, pinging from the slopes of Siberia to the shores of Iceland to an exotic animal farm in Italy, and resulting in the birth of a creature that could change the world — or at least this family.
From Bess Maher, event liaison: I loved being in the mind of whip-smart Vera as she tackles the problems of our modern world (sexism, climate change, etc.) but through the lens of her unique position: the daughter of a rising scientist, Jane, whose daughters’ discovery of a frozen woolly mammoth just might make her career. The family must wrestle with questions of whether Jane should even play this game and what it means to bring back an extinct species. In the end, though, they must learn how to come together as a family when so much threatens to pull them apart.
All the Devils Are Here
By Louise Penny
From the publisher: On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.
When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art. It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades. A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.
Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.
From Bess Maher, event liaison: This isn’t the first or most recent of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache novels, but it is the one I started with and as good a place to begin the series as any. If you enjoy traditional mysteries in the style of Agatha Christie, you will love this series. “All the Devils Are Here” is a smartly plotted detective novel that will keep you guessing who is behind the murders and whom you can trust. It is also beautifully written, free of clichés in both the plot and the writing style. You’ll love it even more if you are planning a trip to Paris.