Simon & Schuster, $14

In 2007, Jean Thompson released Throw Like a Girl, a humorous collection of short stories from the woman’s perspective. Now the critically acclaimed author returns with a new set of short stories—this time featuring five male protagonists—in Do Not Deny Me. Though each account is brief, Thompson creates 12 vivid portraits of vastly diverse, yet equally flawed characters, all the while focusing on the complexity of everyday life. “It’s supposed to be a little bit of a battle, like ‘Do Not Deny’—every human experience is worth exploring,” says Thompson, a 1999 National Book Award finalist who lives in Urbana. From a man whose only concern is getting what he wants, even at someone else’s expense, to a couple on the brink of losing everything, Thompson uses the same wit and humor to create the exhilarating “aha!” moments that keep readers turning pages.



A young woman investigates the massacre of her family for cash in Dark Places, a thriller (Shaye Areheart Books, $24) by Gillian Flynn . . . former construction worker– turned–physician Dr. Michael J. Collins shares his transition from crushing rocks to repairing muscles and bones in Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs (St. Martin’s Press, $24.95) . . . UIC professor Lennard J. Davis seeks the truth of his genetic history in Go Ask Your Father (Bantam, $25) . . . and an attorney, Izzy McNeil, strives to discover who murdered her mentor in Red Hot Lies (Mira, $7.99), the first installment of a summer mystery trilogy by the Chicago contributor Laura Caldwell.