By Ferdinand von Schirach (Knopf, $25)
Ready for a fireside break? Take a page from this thrilling collection of short stories with a literary bent toward guilt and justice. Written by one of Germany’s most prominent defense attorneys, these 11 gut-wrenching, sometimes gruesome tales — drawn from real cases — showcase a small-town doctor with a cruel wife, a pair of privileged but doomed siblings, and the young brother in a family of petty criminals.
The Paris Wife: A Novel
By Paula McLain (Ballantine, $25)
Sail away to 1920s Paris, where newlyweds Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson run wild and the Jazz Age is in full swing. The hard-drinking and fast-living pair mix with the Lost Generation — including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald — as Hemingway writes The Sun Also Rises and Hadley struggles to hold on to her husband.
Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart
By Stefan Kanfer (Knopf, $27)
Humphrey Bogart did not have it easy, charged with maintaining a reputation for integrity, stoicism and sexual charisma even after his death. Kanfer details Bogart’s life from his privileged New York childhood and stints in the Navy to his days on Broadway and debut on the silver screen, where he became the highest-paid actor of the day.
The Terror of Living: A Novel
By Urban Waite (Little, Brown and Company, $25)
Fictional Phil Hunt raises horses with his wife, Nora, near Auburn, Wash., but he moonlights as a drug smuggler, sneaking narcotics across the mountainous Canadian border. Phil’s spotty past gets in the way when the son of an old cohort catches him in the middle of an exchange. Then it’s back to life on the lam, as Phil desperately evades the law and a hired hit man.
Romanov Riches: Russian Writers and Artists under the Tsars
By Solomon Volkov (Knopf, $30)
Bone up on your Soviet history with this book, which explores the clashes between the Romanov dynasty and legendary Russian writers and artists between 1613 and 1917. The Romanovs were a moody bunch, befriending writers only to later decree them banished or burned alive. Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky all make appearances.