New in Paperback: ‘The Price You Pay,’ ‘No Good Alternative’

THE PRICE YOU PAY, by Aidan Truhen. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $16.95.) When his elderly neighbor is killed, things start to go south for Jack Price, the slick cocaine dealer at the heart of this thriller. The book is “brilliant, a latticework of barbed jokes and subtle observations and inventive misbehaviors, a high-end thriller, relentlessly knowing, relentlessly brutal,” Charles Finch wrote in his review. “It reads like Martin Amis on mescaline.”

NO GOOD ALTERNATIVE: Volume 2 of Carbon Ideologies, by William T. Vollmann. (Penguin, $20.) The writer packs voice and passion into his examination of what we are doing to the earth, taking aim at coal, oil and natural gas and filling his book with interviews with people whose lives have been disrupted by those industries. Vollmann’s intended readers, he says, are those in the devastated future.

TELL THE MACHINE GOODNIGHT, by Katie Williams. (Riverhead, $16.) This novel imagines an invention called the Apricity, which offers individualized “contentment plans” that tell us how to be happy. The book centers on Pearl, who works for the company behind the invention, and her son, who’s recovering from an eating disorder and refuses the technology. Williams’s characters are complex and deeply human.

GIVE PEOPLE MONEY: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World, by Annie Lowrey. (Broadway, $16.) Lowrey, who writes about economic policy for The Atlantic, marshals considerable research in her argument for a universal basic income. Even $1,000 given each month to every American would eliminate poverty by the government’s current benchmark, she says, outlining a number of ways to redistribute the nation’s money to make it possible.

A TERRIBLE COUNTRY, by Keith Gessen. (Penguin, $16.) A jilted American returns to Russia, the place of his birth, and is enthralled and horrified by the magic and misery he finds there. Our reviewer, Boris Fishman, praised Gessen’s novel of modern Russia, writing, “You won’t read a more observant book about the country that has now been America’s bedeviling foil for almost a century.”

THE VICTORIAN AND THE ROMANTIC: A Memoir, a Love Story, and a Friendship Across Time, by Nell Stevens. (Anchor, $17.) In this razor-sharp autobiography, the author tells of her obsession with Elizabeth Gaskell, the Victorian British novelist and the subject of Stevens’s Ph.D. As she founders in academia, Stevens finds comfort in her kinship with Gaskell.

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