5 books not to miss: Alice Marie Johnson memoir ‘After Life,’ ‘Cari Mora,’ John Waters

“After Life,” by Alice Marie Johnson. (Photo: Harper)

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.

1. “After Life,”by Alice Marie Johnson (Harper, nonfiction, on sale Tuesday)

What it’s about: The true-life story of the woman who, thanks in part to the advocacy of Kim Kardashian West, had her life sentence for non-violent drug trafficking commuted in 2018, “After Life” is an inspiring memoir of faith, hope and prison reform and includes a forward written by Kardashian West.

The buzz: Helping to free Johnson put Kardashian West in the spotlight for her prison-reform work, and “After Life” promises a behind-the-scenes account of those life-changing efforts.

2. “Cari Mora,” by Thomas Harris (Grand Central Publishing, fiction, on sale Tuesday)

What it’s about: “The Silence of the Lambs” author Thomas Harris is back with new murderous psychopath Hans-Peter Schneider, a “flesh peddler” who abducts young women and surgically removes their vital organs to sell to his rich international clientele.

The buzz: This is Harris’ first book in 13 years, and a brand new psychopath from the mind that created Hannibal Lecter is something to look forward to.

3. “Where We Come From,” by Oscar Casares (Knopf, fiction, on sale Tuesday)

What it’s about: After his mother’s sudden death, 12-year-old Orly is sent to spend the summer with his aunt in the Texas border city of Brownsville. There he finds his aunt’s house turned into a way station for coyotes moving immigrants across the border. A timely book that tackles the complexity of immigration.

The buzz: A starred review from Kirkus Reviews says the book “delivers a truly timeless emotional punch.”

4. “Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder,” by John Waters (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, nonfiction, on sale Tuesday)

What it’s about: Transgressive filmmaker, countercultural icon and self-described “garbage guru,” John Waters is an elder statesman of perversion and an absolute delight. In this memoir/advice book, he shares highlights from his career and muses on subjects including music, Hollywood, architecture and LSD.

The buzz: “Wickedly smart and consistently laugh-out-loud funny,” raves a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

5. “Superbugs,” by Matt McCarthy (Avery, nonfiction, on sale Tuesday)

What it’s about: A doctor and researcher, McCarthy gives readers an insider’s look at the race to find treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs.” It’s one of the most pressing challenges in modern medicine, and the clock is running out.

The buzz: “The author’s storytelling is at once urgent and empathetic, a compelling combination that leaves readers feeling informed and optimistic,” says Kirkus Reviews.

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