Also of successful family acts

Saul Bellow’s Heart; NOS4A2; Odds Against Tomorrow; Double Feature

Saul Bellow’s Heart

by Greg Bellow (Bloomsbury, $26)

Psychotherapist Greg Bellow “has done something complicated and remarkable,” said David Wolpe in the Los Angeles Review of Books. In this vivid memoir about his novelist father, the younger Bellow “spared none of the unsavory parts” of the older man’s character yet shows us why so many loved him. Even when the late literary legend is being described as a vain philanderer and a distant father, “the impression is less of score-settling than of sad truths wrung from a kind heart.”

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by Joe Hill (William Morrow, $29)

This horror novel fascinates for numerous reasons, said Tasha Robinson in the A.V. Club. The author, one of Stephen King’s sons, previously worked to distinguish his fiction from that of his father. This time Hill trots out a number of trademark King moves in a decades-spanning story about an 8-year-old who crosses paths with a serial killer. Even so, the book proves “profoundly satisfying” in its own right. “It’s a song played with familiar instruments, but following its own tune.”

Odds Against Tomorrow

by Nathaniel Rich (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26)

Parts of Nathaniel Rich’s second novel feel disturbingly prescient, said Michael Patrick Brady in The Boston Globe. He began writing his tale about a young disaster-prediction specialist years ago, yet the massive storm that engulfs New York halfway through the book “bears an uncanny resemblance to Hurricane Sandy.” The novel reveals how hypervigilance can blind a person to reality, but that’s a shortcoming that this storyteller, the son of columnist Frank Rich, need not worry about.

Double Feature

by Owen King (Scribner, $26)

As if two novelists in the family weren’t enough, said Brian Truitt in USA Today. Stephen King’s youngest son, Owen, here makes his literary debut with a “darkly humorous and often heartfelt work” about a Hollywood director and his oddball family. Owen has kept his surname but ditched horror, instead spinning a quirky yarn about a man deathly afraid of turning out like his father, a B-movie actor. Indeed, “the only scary thing here is the new novelist’s potential as a writer.”

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