Roundup Local Interest

The Baltimore Sun

Life Sentences

By Laura Lippman

William Morrow / 352 pages / $24.99

Cassandra Fallows must determine whether Calliope Jenkins killed her infant son. Fallows, the hero of the latest stand-alone mystery from best-selling author Laura Lippman, is a middle-aged writer who grew up in Northwest Baltimore. Brimming with bright chatter, Lippman's engaging standalone novel evokes nostalgia for 1960s and '70s Baltimore as it traverses neighborhoods and landmarks like Bolton Hill, Mount Vernon and Silber's Bakery. It begins as Fallows, whose career is faltering, plans to write a true crime story focusing on someone she knew peripherally in her youth. After spending much time reminiscing, Fallows learns that truth is no stranger to fiction.

The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education

By Craig Mullaney

Penguin / 386 pages / $28.95

A West Point graduate, Rhodes scholar, Army Ranger, combat veteran and Naval Academy professor, Craig Mullaney grew up in a Roman Catholic family in Rhode Island. He became a soldier because he loved the ritual, symbolism and honor code of the Catholic Church - characteristics that he found in the military - and because of his father's example of hard work. Then as Mullaney was deployed to Afghanistan, his father decided to ask for a divorce. That occasion became a pivotal moment in Mullaney's life and in this memoir - suggesting that this account is not just about becoming a man but also about learning to forgive.

Lincoln's Men: The President and His Private Secretaries

By Daniel Mark Epstein

Collins / 262 pages / $26.99

John Hay, John Nicolay and William Stoddard planned to have a good time while serving as secretaries to President Abraham Lincoln. But, according to their letters and journals, good times were few. Nationally known Baltimore author Daniel Mark Epstein tells the inside story of the three hot-blooded, idealistic young men who served Lincoln from his election to his death in 1865.

Diane Scharper teaches English at Towson University.

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