New Books Focus On Private Prison Companies, and World War II Spy Craft

The author of the acclaimed 2013 book, “Life After Life” is back with a gripping novel set in World War II England.

By Joy DiazSeptember 27, 2018 10:56 am,

Forget all the light and airy books Clay Smith brought us this summer. For fall, he returns with two powerful books about heavy topics. Clay Smith is editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Reviews.

“Transcription” author Kate Atkinson is known for her 2013 bestselling novel, “Life After Life.” The Kirkus review for her latest book says “Transcription” is “another beautifully-crafted book from an author of great intelligence and empathy.”

The novel follows an 18-year-old woman in World War II England, who is recruited by the M15 spy agency.

“Her job,” the review explains, “is transcribing meetings of British citizens sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Soon, she’s pulled even deeper into the world of espionage, a world she will ultimately discover is hard to escape—even after she leaves the intelligence service to produce

Shane Bauer is an undercover reporter who looked into the business of private prison companies. “American Prison” tells the story of the four months he spent inside a privately owned prison in Louisiana as a corrections officer, carrying out an undercover journalism assignment.

“The author,” this review explains, “had also viewed prison from a different perspective, having been incarcerated for two years in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison because he had unwittingly crossed a border while hiking as a tourist. Despite the awful conditions in his Iranian cell, Bauer found many of the conditions in Louisiana to be even worse.“

“American Prison” is a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.