"The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America's Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas" (Crown, $24.95) by Todd Balf. Based on the actual journals of a doomed 1854 expedition to find a definitive route across the Isthmus of Panama, this book follows the tragic mistakes and miraculous rescue of explorers lost for two months in an uncharted jungle.
"The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty" (Penguin Books, paperback $15) by Caroline Alexander. Alexander sets the record straight on the world's most famous mutiny. The story shows the infamous Capt. Bligh not as a cruel taskmaster but as an incredible sailor, as he safely guides his 18 loyal crewmen back to safety on a 48-day, 3,600-mile navigation in an open boat.
"Skinny Dip" (Knopf, $24.95) by Carl Hiaasen. When Joey Perrone's husband realizes his wife has found out about his pollution scam, he tries to kill her by pushing her off a luxury cruise liner off the coast of Florida. However, he doesn't plan on her survival much less the blackmail campaign she launches against him.
"Mr. Paradise" (William Morrow, $25.95) by Elmore Leonard. Hired as a cheerleader for a retired trial lawyer with a penchant for watching old videotaped football games, Kelly Barr finds herself in the middle of a contract hit on the lawyer and the lawyer's girlfriend. But if she can assume the identity of the dead girlfriend then she can make out on the recently deceased's estate.
"The Narrows" (Little, Brown, $25.95) by Michael Connelly. Retired detective Harry Bosh, once again teamed up with FBI agent Rachel Walling, must hunt down the serial killer known only as the Poet. Building suspense on the gradual uncovering of clues rather than action, Connelly once again shows the mastery of his genre.
"Darkly Dreaming Dexter" (Doubleday, $22.95) by Jeff Lindsay. Lindsay's debut novel centers on Dexter Morgan, a Miami police lab tech who also moonlights as a sociopathic serial killer. When another serial killer begins his dark work on the streets of the city, the unbalanced Dexter can't decide whether the new killer should be captured, killed or even if he is doing the killing himself.
"A Carnivore's Inquiry" (Grove/Atlantic Press, $23) by Sabina Murray. Murray's first novel deals with the coldhearted narrator's fascination with cannibalism. While both grim and gripping, Murray's novel is a compulsively readable statement on the human condition.
"Hidden" (Free Press, $23) by Paul Jaskunas. After Maggie Duke is attacked in her rural Indiana farmhouse, her first thought upon awakening in the hospital is that her abusive husband is to blame. But when Nate Duke is released from prison after another man confesses to the crime, S
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