San Francisco Public Library

Books by the Bay - Fiction

Book cover12th of never
James Patterson

After only a week at home with her new daughter, Lindsay is forced to return to work to investigate a grisly murder in which the prime suspect is a rising star in the San Francisco 49ers.

Book coverAnd the mountains echoed
Khaled Hosseini

Each of the varied characters tells his or her version of the same story of selfishness and selflessness, acceptance and forgiveness, but most important, of love in all its complex iterations.

Book coverBirds of paradise lost: stories
Andrew Lam

The thirteen stories in this collection shimmer with humor and pathos as they chronicle the anguish and joy and bravery of America's newest Americans, the troubled lives of those who fled Vietnam and remade themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Book coverBy blood
Ellen Ullman

In a story within a story within a story, each with vaguely unreliable narrators, three people explore their own "mysterious origins" as well as their current life situations.

Book coverThe bughouse affair: a Carpenter and Quincannon mystery
Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini

Victorian-era San Francisco-based Pinkerton detectives Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon have their hands full with two parallel cases that soon converge.

Book coverA constellation of vital phenomena : a novel
Anthony Marra

Marra's complex debut intertwines the stories of a handful of characters at the end of the second war in bleak, apocalyptic Chechnya. Though the novel spans 11 years, the story traces five days in 2004 following the arrest of Dokka, a villager from the small Muslim village of Eldar.

Book coverDying words: a novel
K. Patrick Conner

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Graydon Hubbell is the obituary writer for the paper. When he is diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, he is forced to confront his own mortality.

Book coverA history of the present illness: stories
Louise Aronson

These stories take readers into overlooked lives in the neighborhoods, hospitals, and nursing homes of San Francisco, offering a deeply humane and incisive portrait of health and illness in American today.

Book coverThe impossible lives of Greta Wells
Andrew Sean Greer

Greta Wells decides to undergo electric shock treatment after the death of her beloved twin brother and the abandonment of her long-time lover. During the course of the treatment she finds herself repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present. In one scenario her brother is alive, but masking his true identity, in the other her lover is now a devoted husband. Each reality has its own losses, its own rewards; each extracts a different price.

Book coverMr. Penumbra’s 24-hour book store
Robin Sloan

Clay Jannon, an unemployed web designer takes a job at a 24 hour book store where he stumbles upon a mystery about a secret society and the missing book store owner. Sloan balances a strong plot with philosophical questions about technology and books and the power both contain.

Book coverMurder on the house
Juliet Blackwell

Building contractor Mel (short for Melanie), Turner and another contractor spend the night in a haunted house to be renovated as part of the bidding process. Not only do the ghosts distract but tragically, at the same time, someone kills the elderly owner in the garden.

Book coverOld and cold
Jim Nisbet

In this offbeat, downplayed thriller from noir king Nisbet a homeless 62-year-old hit man occasionally takes on a $5,000 murder contract to finance another binge of bitterly cold martinis in his favorite San Francisco bar. Details of the contract drop and the kill never become as important as the interior monologue

Book coverThe orphan master’s son
Adam Johnson

This novel accomplishes the seemingly impossible: an American writer has masterfully rendered the mysterious world of North Korea with the soul and savvy of a native, from its orphanages and its fishing boats to the kitchens of its high-ranking commanders

Book coverUntold damage
Robert K. Lewis

Estranged from his wife and daughter, former undercover cop Mark Mallen has spent the last four years in a haze of heroin. And when his best friend from the academy, Eric Russ, is murdered, all the evidence points to Mallen as the prime suspect.

Book coverThe wanting
Michael Lavigne

Lavigne's second novel confronts the moral questions surrounding religious extremism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The novel's literally explosive opening takes place in Jerusalem in 1996, as a bomb goes off outside renowned architect Roman Guttman's office.

Book coverA Working Theory of Love
Scott Hutchins

Neil Bassett is working on a project at Amiante Systems whose scientists are using Neill's father's voluminous diaries to create a personality for the first "intelligent" computer capable of passing the Turing Test (able to fool a human user 30 percent of the time into believing that it is human). Neill spends his days in "conversation" with his dead dad.