Books to read, Music to hear
ABSOLUTE RAGE
By Robert K. Tanenbaum (Atria Books, $25)


Another smart, gritty crime novel by one of the genre’s masters follows Butch Karp, chief assistant district attorney for New York County, as he leads a murder investigation with deep political roots. The case soon hits too close to home, as his wife and their three children are targeted by the killers.

OUR READ: TANENBAUM DOESN’T DISAPPOINT
THE WRITER AND THE WORD
By V.S. Naipaul (Knopf, $30)


Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in literature, Naipaul has been traveling and writing about the world’s uniquenesses for more than 40 years. In a collection of his shorter works of reflection and reporting, he once again puts forth an eloquent under- standing of the individual and the collective value of civilizations.

OUR READ: AS WITH ALL OF NAIPAUL’S WORK, A MUST READ
THE FIRST BILLION
By Christopher Reich (Bantam Dell, $27)


Former international-banker-turned-thriller-writer Reich takes readers behind the financial headlines and into the ruthless world of global economics. Bringing a Russian high-tech company to the U.S. stock exchange might be the deal of the century for Black Jet Securities and its chief, Jett Gavallon, until he discovers that the Russian company’s chairman is one of the country’s most ruthless mob bosses.

OUR READ: JAMES PATTERSON CALLS IT A “DYNAMITE THRILLER”; WE AGREE
LAST LIGHT
By Andy McNab (Atria Books, $24)


A former member of Britain’s Special Air Service, one of the world’s toughest and most respected elite commando forces, McNab knows the story behind his stories. In Last Light, top-secret operative Nick Stone makes a judgment call to abort an officially sanctioned assassination attempt at the Houses of Parliament. His bosses aren’t too pleased and order him to complete the mission. In a plot that involves Colombian guerrillas, the U.S. government, and Chinese big business, Stone tries to unravel the high-stakes conspiracy before innocent lives are lost.

OUR READ: A PAGE-TURNER OF HIGH ORDER