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The Dark Monk
512 pages; Mariner
If you enjoy an unlikely hero, look no further. The Dark Monk comes with three, all living in the same 17th-century Bavarian village. Jakob Kuisl is the town hangman, shunned because of his profession. Magdalena is his daughter, and suspect due to her studies as a midwife. Medical-school dropout Simon Fronwieser is just too darn curious about everything—most especially about the murder of a kindly priest. Interestingly enough, their adversaries turn out to be a band of monks who poison townsfolk at will and seal a live man into a sarcophagus. But why? In this subtle, meticulously crafted story, every word is a possible clue, and the characters are so engaging that it’s impossible not to get involved in trying to help them figure the riddle out. 
— Nathalie Gorman