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The Vampire Shrink

Lynda Hilburn

SilverOak, $14.95/paperback

Some might say the "vampire thing" is dead, but I've always enjoyed a good urban fantasy. The Vampire Shrink has quickly moved to the top of my list, along with Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and the revered show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kismet Knight, the main character in the first of Boulder author Lynda Hilburn's series, is a little bit smart-aleck, a lotta smart, and not so quick to believe in a hidden Denver underworld. But a new client turns the scene blood-thirsty for the always-rational psychologist, and Kismet finds herself in the middle of a fang-laden mystery with a 600-year-old vampire that puts her safety, and her love life, on the line. Book 2 in the series, Blood Therapy, is scheduled for release this fall. — Kirsten Akens

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Unterzakhn

Leela Corman

Schocken, $24.95/hardcover

Leela Corman's debut graphic novel, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for "underwear"), is the tale of twin sisters in early-20th-century New York. Esther and Fanya, children of Russian immigrants, observe their community on the Lower East Side as kids, grow into it as young women, and find disparate — if equally subversive — paths as adults. Their childhood is spent gathering insider knowledge of how the world works, but that's not enough to stop the world from grinding them up. Subtly feminist and thoroughly fascinating, Corman's story is captured in her detailed black-and-white art, revealing the complexity of life among working-class women and the harsh realities of attempting to make it in the "land of opportunity." — Kel Munger

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Radio Iris

Anne-Marie Kinney

Two Dollar Radio, $16/paperback

At its core, Anne-Marie Kinney's debut, Radio Iris, is an up-close-and-personal look at the life of 20-something Iris Finch. The reader follows the receptionist day-by-day to and from her work at a company of which she knows the name, but not the function. As her phone rings less and less, her co-workers begin to disappear, and her boss' requests become more and more erratic, Iris busies herself obsessing over a man who lives in a room next to her office. The plot flow is as odd as its characters — one of its defining moments was revealed almost too late for me to connect with it — but the language is gorgeous and, especially when spun into Kinney's apt and lyrical reflections on life, the real reason to read this book. — Kirsten Akens

  • The Vampire Shrink, Unterzakhn, Radio Iris

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