In Errands by Judith Guest (Ballantine, first published in 1997), a father dies of brain cancer, leaving behind a controlling mother and a self-castigating child. Thematic similarities to Guest’s hit Ordinary People won’t stop you from crying at the redemptive climax.
Jenefer Shute’s Sex Crimes (Delta, 1996) is a taunting bit of pulp fiction, icily narrated by a Boston lawyer charged with an oedipal act of assault against her young lover.
Yo! by Julia Alvarez (Plume, 1997) follows irreverent academic Yolanda Garcia as she erupts into the lives of those around her like a small volcano in this engagingly oblique third novel.
Gabriel Everett’s A Story of Scorpions (Fawcett, 1996) features a black plot: A minister whose wife and child were murdered plots revenge on their killer while pretending to absolve him. Dark and briskly paced.