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"Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangsters, JFK, and Castro" by Thomas Maier; Skyhorse Publishing (388 pages, $25.99) ___ We're awash in conspiracy theories these days, and most of them are laughable. But one reason we might tend to believe them is that every once in a while a conspiracy theory turns out to be true. The conspiracy recounted in Thomas Maier's new nonfiction book, ...

"Nights in White Castle" by Steve Rushin; Little, Brown (308 pages, $28) ___ There's life after childhood after all. And for Steve Rushin, life is good. In his 2017 memoir, "Sting-Ray Afternoons," the Sports Illustrated writer and author reminisced about growing up in 1970s Bloomington, Minn. The book ended as the '80s dawned, and a way of life seemed to have faded out with the previous ...

Rankings for hard-cover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected book stores: ___ Fiction 1."Nickel Boys," by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday: $24.95) A dramatization of American history told through the story of two boys sentenced to a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. 2."The New Girl," by Daniel Silva (Harper: $28.99) The chief of Israeli intelligence partners with the ...

"Everybody's Doin' It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917" by Dale Cockrell; W. W. Norton & Company (288 pages, $27.95) ___ Sex, booze and Irish jigs. That may not have the punch of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but the urges were the same. It didn't matter what parents, politicians or police said. This generation wanted pleasure, and it wanted it now. Except now was the 19th ...