Books of the Week: Horror from Joe Hill, the History of Genes and a Buzzy Second Novel

The hot reads of the week include one from Stephen King's son, a 1950s-set novel and the follow-up to the prize-winnng 'Emperor of All Maladies.'
Courtesy of William Morrow
'The Fireman'

As Memorial Day fast approaches, this week’s hot books include a horror beach read from Stephen King’s talented son (The Fireman), a second novel from an up-and-coming writer and, for the wonks among us, everything (and more) about genes. Here’s more on the week’s big titles.

The Fireman by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
Stephen King 2.0. Having written under a pen name since the beginning of his career to establish his own worth, no one would think nepotism if he went back to Joe King, having penned the great comic series Locke & Key and the best-seller NOS4A2. His newest is a take on the post-apocalyptic genre in a story about the deadly Dragonscale spore — spread because of global warming — infecting most of the earth’s population. Hill has called this his “big book,” and at over 700 pages, it certainly is.


The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner)
The author of the surprise Pulitzer Prize-winning hit about cancer (Emperor of All Maladies, adapted by Ken Burns into a PBS doc) is back with another biography of biology — this time the gene. In a great piece of pop science about how genes do and do not shape who we are. Mukherjee is getting a ton of press for what is still a pretty dry subject, including a long excerpt in The New York Times and glossy feature with his wife in Vogue.


The After Party by Anton DiSclafani (Riverbed)
DiSclafani's sophomore effort features the same beautiful mid-century atmospherics the distinguished 2013’s well-received debut The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. This story, set in 1950s Texas, centers on two friends — free-spirit bachelorette Joan and her childhood best friend, the more conventional CeCe — and the bonds and tensions in their relationship.