Not every bookstore employs a graduate of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Her retired librarian chops, though, may be more what you’re looking for as you seek refuge from Winslow Way. She’s also the pit crew boss of our Mystery Book and Readers’ Circle Book groups, and will send you towards a pulse-pounding thriller if you let her.
This charming tale of two authors, eighty years apart, is as much an homage to the talents of the real Nancy Mitford and her life working in a bookshop in wartime London as it is the fictional story of young American Katie Cabot, struggling to follow-up her debut bestseller and survive an unraveling romance. Nancy’s wit and her irreverent descriptions of high society London life are delightful and Katie’s search for the mysterious missing Mitford manuscript make this story of books, war, and unexpected love a true page-turner. ~ Susan
Widower Mukesh grieves and passes his days in routine loneliness. Aleisha is working in her local library for the summer, escaping the troubles at home and tamping down university anxiety. When Mukash visits the library, Aleisha gives him a list of novels she discovered in a returned book. As they read through the list, their lives open in surprising directions, demonstrating once again the enriching qualities of the novel. This thoughtful and heartwarming debut joyfully joins The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, The Red Notebook, and The Little Paris Book Shop -- as yet another homage to the power of books and reading. It is an absolute delight and will be catnip to book groups craving a story that reminds us why we read and why libraries and book shops are so important. ~ Susan
In 1905 young Belle da Costa Greene was hired as a librarian at Princeton University to be the personal librarian of J.P. Morgan. Her job was to organize and enhance Morgan’s stunning collection of art and literature, making the J. Pierpont Morgan Library one of the finest collections in the world. In the process of her extraordinary career, she scaled the heights of high society in New York, London, and Paris, and navigated Mm the treacherous waters of the world’s most famous auction houses, museums, and galleries, as the lone woman. Her story is stunning by any measure—but the fact that she did it while denying her identity to protect herself and her family from racial persecution speaks volumes. Meticulously researched, her story is inspiring, moving, passionate and totally captivating!
Bestselling author Gerry Anderson is confined to bed in his Baltimore penthouse, the victim of an accident. When he receives a phone call from a voice purporting to be Aubrey, the central character in his latest bestseller, he descends into a muddled flashback of his marriages and affairs. Aubrey is fiction, so who is on the phone? Could it be his most recent ex, who threatened to destroy him with a lurid #MeToo expose? Then Gerry’s eavesdropping night nurse sets off a domino effect of jealousy, mayhem, blackmail, and murder. Following her award-winning thriller Lady in the Lake, Lippman has created a darkly comic thriller that takes gaslight to new heights and just might trigger a nightmare or two. ~ Susan
In what may arguably be his best legal thriller yet, Connelly places Mickey Haller in a desperate fight for his life as he defends himself against a murder charge. He’s been set up with a body in his trunk after a celebratory session at a local bar. To avoid a lengthy prison sentence, it will take the best work of his legal staff and his ex-wives and his half brother Harry Bosch to prepare him for his defense. The suspense is almost unbearable and the pace of the story exhausting, but worth every minute of your reading time! I loved it!
Mozley’s sophomore novel after Elmet (2017), proceeds to parse the relationships between inheritance and wealth, gentrification and squalor, and men and women. Agatha is a millionairess with loads of London properties inherited from her father. Her current focus is on the redevelopment of a dilapidated Soho building populated by a colorful clan of prostitutes, sex traffickers and small-time gangsters. Rumors of eviction grow and the residents do not plan to go quietly. What could have become a biting contemporary satire is a well-told, gently humorous tale of avarice, entitlement, and strength amidst one of London’s most historic districts. ~ Susan
Imagine that the 1998 Good Friday agreement hadn’t happened. Sisters Tessa and Marian Daly live in an IRA hotbed in Belfast, ever watchful for potential violence. Tessa is a single mom and a journalist for the BBC and Marian is a paramedic. When Marian is arrested as an IRA operative, Tessa is horrified, until the day Eamon comes calling and she too is recruited. How can she raise her son while waiting for a call to plant a bomb or assist in a murder? Can she really function as a double agent? Tense, terrifying, and briskly paced, this exceptional addition to the Dublin Noir genre deftly combines the emotions of love and motherhood with the desire for peace and stability amidst persistent terrorism.
Touted by many as a modern classic, this spare novel is a paean to the immigrant experience and the tragedy of the Colombian diaspora. Talia, a fifteen-year-old escapee from a Colombian girls’ detention facility, is desperate to get a flight to the US to reunite with her mother and siblings. Though born in the US, she has lived her life as a refugee, ever fearful of capture and incarceration because of her father’s unfortunate choices. In a time of both pandemic and merciless immigration issues, Engel’s book speaks to us about family, forgiveness, love, resilience, and strength in the face of tragedy. ~ Susan
Eve has just left a corporate career; Sally has just walked away from an unfulfilling marriage and Anastasia must move from her narrowboat on Britain’s famed canal system for medical treatment. They meet by chance, rushing to rescue Noah, Anastasia’s dog. Their personalities could not be more different, but the life challenges each is facing are very similar. To all three their decision makes perfect sense. Sally and Eve will spend six weeks moving the narrowboat through the canals for a haul-out and servicing and Anastasia will recuperate in Eve’s flat. Their experiences are instructive, heartwarming, and transformative. Following Youngson’s hugely popular Meet Me At the Museum, this is a charming, well-crafted, feel-good story perfectly suited for either beach chair or cozy fireside. ~ Susan
Born in 1930 Doris Payne learned early that opportunities were limited for a little black girl in the Depression-era South. But she was filled with a spunk that would carry her through an astonishing 60-year career as an international jewel thief. Beginning in Chicago in 1952, Doris and her married Jewish boyfriend started small, hitting local jewelry shops. This enabled her to buy a house, upgrade her wardrobe and begin to charm the socks off salespeople at Tiffany and others from New York to Rome to Monte Carlo. Defying society’s conventions and racial bigotry, Doris’ life of crime is a joy to behold. Her amazingly crafted persona got her everywhere! Written in a charmingly conversational style, Doris’ memoir is like chatting with her over a cup of coffee. I loved it!
This latest by Cleeves sets up a new series featuring Matthew Venn, a detective with the Devon and Cornwall Police, and follows his investigation of a man found dead on the beach. We meet Jen Rafferty, a young, strong character with a clearly solid career ahead of her. The plot unfolds around a local art center and the potential suspects who inhabit its studios. Meanwhile Matthew is confronted with a conflict of interest; should he withdraw from the case to pursue the killer full on? And a primary witness and central character is a young woman with Down's syndrome, which brings inclusion front and center. This new series, locale and central character show real promise and Cleeves’ masterful storytelling leaves the reader hooked on Matthew Venn, eager for book two. ~ Susan
When a lobster fisherman discovers a dead body in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, DCI Karen Pirie is called into investigate. Simple murder cut and dried, done and dusted. Well, not really... Number 6 in award winning Val Mc Dermid’s Karen Pirie series is arguably her most complex and tightly plotted. Karen dives into this multilayered case revealing a clever art forger, a skeleton in a suburban garage, false identities, and the required cooperation of police from Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. And just how are these elements connected and who’s the real villain you might ask? Ah, that is what makes this latest Val McDermid so propulsively readable and so very entertaining. Throw in a lot of Edinburgh urban detail and gorgeous Irish countryside and you will be delightfully entertained for hours! ~ Susan
It is 1867, the American Civil War is over and the Fenian uprising in Ireland is straining for freedom from England. Stephen Doyle, an Irish American veteran of the Civil War, fuels his appetite for adrenaline by joining the Fenian Brotherhood as a spy in Manchester, England. James O’Connell, an Irish Head Constable bearing a load of grief, heads to Manchester as well to start a fresh life and assist the local police in their hunt for Fenians. This is a tight-wound historical tale full of the grit and grime of industrial England that is bleeding Ireland dry and setting the stage for the rebellion of the next century. More a noir thriller than historical fiction, it is driven by a thirst for retribution and freedom.
Driving home on a snowy night, Vera sees a car that has skidded off the road and stops to help. There is no driver, but a cry from the back seat reveals a toddler in a car seat. Momentarily disoriented in the storm, she fetches the toddler from the car then realizes she is near Brockburn, the stately home of her late father’s estranged family. Not wanting to open old wounds, but feeling she has no choice, she drives up to the great house and presents herself and the child. It is not until the next morning that the body of a young woman, presumably the child’s mother, is found in the snow nearby. Vera is in her element and her team is hot on the heels of a killer. With homage to Robert Frost, she has stopped by woods on a snowy evening, has miles to go before she sleeps, and promises to keep! This is Ann Cleeves at her very best. If you are not a fan already, fasten your seatbelt for a most satisfying ride that will leave you craving more of Vera Stanhope’s adventures.
On a fall afternoon in 1999, teenage siblings Matthew, Duncan and Zoe are walking home from school when they encounter a boy lying in a field, unconscious and bloodied. The boy’s life is saved thanks to their quick thinking and concern, but as a result the lives of the siblings are forever changed. On the surface the story is a classic whodunit, but the deeper mysteries of the story lie within the lives of the siblings, their comings of age, their family, and an amazingly prescient dog. This is a spare, swift-moving story, superbly told by a literary master. Livesey’s novels always entertain and always leave the reader a bit breathless. As I came to the end of the story only one word sprang to mind – stunning!
Gabriel Allon and his wife Chiara are in Venice on holiday when the news breaks that the Pope is dead. The young Swiss Guard assigned to the Pope on the night of his death is missing, as is the letter he had been writing… to Allon! And this is only the beginning of this meticulously detailed and breathtakingly fast passed story. From Rome to Venice, to Assisi, to Florence the chase is on to find a missing gospel, and to protect the historic passing of the Keys of St. Peter to the duly elected new Pope. It is hard to imagine this is the 20th in the Gabriel Allon series! Daniel Silva certainly has not lost his touch and Gabriel is as charming and crafty as ever!
Part memoir, part meditation on the meaning of home, this thoroughly wonderful book is the story of Bauermeister’s love affair with a 100-year-old Port Townsend Victorian. Nearing the empty nest period of her life, Erica and her husband Ben come upon a rundown Victorian while on a visit to Port Townsend. In a series of essays, Bauermeister leads us from dumpsters of rubbish to the elegance of a well-restored old lady as she and her family scrape, peel, hammer and plaster. Just see if you can tell which Victorian is hers next time you wander through ort Townsend!
Years ago, bookseller and mystery buff Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders.” Now Mal’s the manager and co-owner of the Old Devil’s Bookstore in Boston, enjoying life and working his dream job, when the FBI shows up one day asking about a series of cold case murders that seem to be tied to his online list. The agent is convinced that someone (maybe Mal?) is using his list as a textbook for serial murder. In self-defense, he begins his own investigation, believing that there really may be a killer out there, bent on his demise. The story then picks up speed with s series of twists and turns (and a few unfortunate corpses) that will keep you engaged to the very last page. It’s a clever premise and a very fun read!
In this latest addition to Moseley’s new Leonid McGill series, P.I. McGill is contacted by an elderly Mississippi jazz musician, “Catfish” Worry, who asks him to deliver a letter to a wealthy young heiress. This seemingly simple task becomes immediately complex when the contents of the letter reveal the black lineage of the assumedly white young woman. The letter is from Worry’s late wife to his granddaughter. The young woman’s wealthy albeit corrupt father is Catfish’s estranged son. The task of delivering the letter and its explosive contents is tantalizing for Leonid but causes him to navigate some treacherous waters, putting himself and his son at great risk. This short but powerful story is not to be missed. Moseley is a fabulous storyteller and despite the book’s brevity, its impact is very powerful. More McGill books please!
Estranged sisters Mickey and Kacey were once very close but their lives took very divergent paths as teenagers. Mickey befriended a cop in her afterschool care program and went straight into her career as a cop as soon as she could. Kacey became a victim of Philadelphia’s opioid crisis, living on the streets and blaming her fate on their dead mother. When a string of murders coincides with Kacey’s disappearance from her favorite street corner, Mickey becomes obsessed with finding her. This propulsive police procedural is as thoughtful and complex as any I’ve read in a long time. The layers of family drama, police corruption and addictive behavior are peeled away so delicately and painfully that I had to remind myself to breathe while reading. Small wonder Barack Obama listed it as one of his favorite reads of 2020. It’s a must for anyone who likes Tana French, Ken Bruen, Dennis Lehane or Lisa Scottoline.
Golden Cove is a small, mostly Maori village on the coast of New Zealand where everybody knows everybody. So when a young, lovely, very popular woman goes out for a run and vanishes without a trace, her friends and family go into full blown panic. This debut by New Zealander Singh is a top notch crime novel set in a smothering town in an unforgiving landscape and populated by people haunted by past grievances, present secrets and just possibly a serial killer .Be prepared to do nothing else once you begin this hugely suspenseful story!
Detective Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Gemma James, travel to the picturesque Cotswolds in order to spend a holiday weekend at Beck House, a stately home. An auto accident soon after their arrival results in the deaths of a local woman and a notorious London chef, the sometime mentor to the owner of the local pub. This sets in motion all the requisite elements for a highly satisfying mystery. The setting is as delicious as the innovative pub fare, the characters solid and believable. Curl up by the fire with a cup of tea and savor a charming story by a real master.
Sara Jane Pullman is a dedicated cop with a sketchy beginning; from an abusive childhood in a chicken-raising small town to enforced military service to a stint as a short order cook after a short-lived marriage. Her life has given her a remarkably grounded grasp of reality that serves her well when she is suddenly promoted to de facto Sheriff in a small rural town when the real sheriff disappears. Respected by her peers, she finds her job in need of thoughtfulness and introspection. Small town policing is delicate at best. Everyone has skeletons in their closets and neither Sarah Jane nor her predecessor are exempt, and herein lies the tale. This book reminded me of Derek Miller’s wonderful American By Day, the sequel to one of my all time faves, Norwegian By Night. James Salis is a master of noir-- not too dark, characters not too broken, and writing full of ethical contemplation and honest reflection. Its slender size belies the significant impact of this wonderful story.
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages on the coast of Ireland, is a voyeur who tapes the goings-on in the bedrooms of the rentals. Natalie, a successful blogger finds Andrew a bit creepy. Against her better judgment, she stays in a cottage and doesn't come home. Audrey, an aspiring journalist, sees Natalie's disappearance as her big chance. Think Psycho meets Fatal Attraction as the village's young Garda tries to solve this murder caught on video. If you love books by Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn or have read any of Howard's previous thrillers, this is a must read - full of twists and turns and just the right touch of creepiness.
The body of a young woman is found in a well near St. Denis in the Perigord. She's the daughter of a wealthy couple with ties to the White House who was completing her thesis with a local art collector. He is a former Resistance fighter with a penchant for Renaissance art of dubious provenance. Enter Bruno, Chief of Police, who must solve the case with utmost discretion, lest it become an international incident. This latest in the Bruno, Chief of Police series is a feast for all the senses. As fans of Bruno expect, it is full of gorgeous countryside, eccentric characters, and wonderful meals whipped up with flair in Bruno's farmhouse kitchen.
Virginia Hall was an American spy who worked undercover as a journalist throughout WWII for the UK Special Operations Executive (SOE). Fond of languages and excitement, she became an underling for the State Department so she could live abroad. She constantly hit the glass ceiling at the State Department, so she volunteered for ambulance duty in France at the start of WWII, where she was recruited as a spy by SOE acting in occupied France. She soon became one of the most successful and decorated undercover agents in the French Resistance. This is an astonishing story of a truly amazing woman who slipped through Hitler's clutches and saved untold lives. Purnell's biography of Hall reads like a thriller!
This is one of Coben's most propulsive thrillers! Simon Green and his wife Ingrid have lost their daughter Paige to the Central Park drug scene. He and his wife attempt to follow Paige via sketchy leads from area junkies. When Paige's boyfriend is found brutally murdered, Simon intensifies his search and ends up a possible suspect. Simon is sucked into a dark and dangerous world beyond his imagining and his fight to save both his wife and his daughter is a stunning story. To call this a page turner is a gross understatement. I am a huge fan of Harlan Coben and I am excited to see that his stories just get better and better!
Richard Jury, Melrose Plant and Grimes' usual cast of quirky characters team with Patty Haight and her fellow street kids to solve a double murder on the steps of a posh casino in London. Patty's a better detective than many from the Met, though she's not yet 10! She can insinuate herself anywhere, and carries a tote bag full of disguises. Filled with the requisite twists and turns that make Grimes' mysteries so very delightful, this could be her best story yet. You may not learn the location of The Knowledge, but you'll visit enough pubs to make the trip worthwhile!
Accused but not convicted of a brutal abduction, Ted Conkaffy's police career is toast, his marriage is over, and he's banished to a tiny town in the Outback where everyone knows his alleged crime and he's public enemy number one. His lawyer sets him up with a PI job working for Amanda Pharrell, a convicted killer. This debut novel by Australian Candace Fox is a gritty but hugely enjoyable thriller. Ted is a knight errant with an Aussie accent who can't shed his police commitment to catch the bad guys and protect the innocent. I loved it!
A cold case in a cold country! In 1955 two couples move to an uninhabited, remote fjord in Iceland. Soon after, they abruptly leave when one of them dies under mysterious circumstances. The case is was never solved. Fifty years later, a photograph surfaces indicating that the four people may not have been the only ones living on the fjord. Who else was there? This intrigues young policeman Ari Thór, assigned to Siglufjörður, a nearby town. The town is under quarantine for a flu-like virus, no one is leaving their home, and Ari is bored and antsy, determined to find a crime to solve. But no one wants to help him. Secrets are a way of life for the townsfolk, and to their way of thinking this old mysterious death is best left unsolved. But Ari is undaunted, and the case slowly moves forward as he persuades the locals to speak. This is a deft blend of Nordic Noir and British Golden Age mystery! Haunting, frightening and complex, this is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers (who translated the Agatha Christie mysteries into Icelandic).
Kate Waters is a crack journalist who prides herself on getting great stories. When two eighteen-year-old girls disappear on a trip to Thailand, Kate rushes to be on scene. Fiona Barton ( The Widow, and The Child) is a stunning storyteller. Her journalistic career has given her just the right experience to make this story terrifyingly real. Every twist of the plot seems very authentic and very scary, tearing the central character between being a parent and a successful professional.
When Alice Somerville and her husband travel to a remote Scottish farm to retrieve an inheritance left buried at the end of WWII, they find more than they expected. Not only did they uncover two very rare military motorcycles, worth thousands, but a body shot between the eyes. Enter DCI Karen Pirie of Scotland’s Unsolved Crimes Unit. She’s the expert at unraveling aged and long cold cases and her work brings accolades to her department. But her dogged perseverance and unorthodox style often rankle her stodgy hierarchy. As she begins to peel back the story of the body in the bog, more than just the motorcycles are found to have been buried, revealing secrets that some locals had hoped never to revisit. Val Mc Dermid is a master of the police procedural and always gives fascinating insider views of the Scottish legal system, as well as delicious descriptions of Edinburgh and environs. This latest addition to her Karen Pirie series is solid, intelligent and hugely entertaining. Not to be missed!
Bombay, 1921 - Perveen Mistry is a recent Oxford law grad and one of the first female solicitors in India. She has joined her father's law firm, biding her time until women are granted full solicitor rights. She's sent to the home of three widows, whose common husband has died leaving an estate managed by a disreputable estate manager. When the manager turns up dead, Perveen assists the widows in navigating the labyrinth of Muslim law to insure the widows' security and find the killer. Much historical detail, lots of suspense, and Perveen is a totally captivating new character! This new series is a gem!
Berwald left a thriving career in ocean science to raise a family far from water in Austin, Texas. But the pull of current events, climate change, and coastal development, combined with an offer she couldn't refuse, brought her back to the sea and her first love, jellyfish. Part personal memoir, part scientific quest, her passion for the ethereal, gelatinous jellies is infectious! Who knew that their fragile, nomadic lives could be so enticing? If you loved Soul of an Octopus and Hidden Life of Trees, Spineless will draw you in and make you a fan of jellyfish.
Halliday's debut novel is stunning for several reasons, including her use of language and the unconventional blending of two seemingly unrelated stories. First, we encounter Mary Alice and her June/December affair with a Nobel laureate; then we swiftly shift to Amar, an American-Iraqi economist who has been detained at Heathrow Airport. As each story unfolds, the reader is enticed to find the threads that knit them together-fame, political turmoil, isolation, dissatisfaction, coming of age, and the search for passion. This is a high wire act of amazingly articulate proportions that deserves to be savored!
This stand-alone novel by young and immensely talented Tana French is deliciously atmospheric, masterfully articulate and both an insightful and critical look at lives of privilege. Her stories are wonderful blends of literary and crime fiction and this is just possibly her best yet!
At the age of 18, in 1940, Juliet Armstrong is recruited by an obscure department of MI5. Her job is to transcribe meetings of Nazi sympathizer groups infiltrated by top British spies. Later, after having been vetted by her spy bosses, she assists in several covert and often terrifying activities. Ten years later, while working for the BBC, she is confronted by persons from her past and realizes that though the war is over espionage is still very much alive. This is Atkinson at her very best! If you loved Women in the Castle, All the Light We Cannot See or any of the Masie Dobbs stories, Transcription will provide even more insight into the bravery and intelligence the young women of Britain applied to the war effort.
I eagerly awaited the next Cormoran Strike thriller like the kids who queued up for days to get the latest Harry Potter book, and was not disappointed! When a case involving the blackmailing of a prominent member of the House of Commons turns from bad to murder, Cormoran and Robin are drawn deeply into the convoluted lives of the titled and infamous. Predictably populated with complex characters, a full barrel of red herrings, possible art forgeries and a colorful array of London pubs, Rowling's latest thriller is an absorbing and thoroughly engrossing read!
This is the tale of a bright, robotics-coding AI specialist who changes her life when she learns to bake bread. Sloan delivers a mashup of mystery, magic and sci-fi that is a bit like sourdough itself. Quirky, funny, suspenseful and a little bit romantic, this is a thoroughly captivating story.
Attorney Dismas Hardy, mostly recovered from two recent gunshot wounds, is pondering retirement after more than thirty years in the law. But when a former client is accused of murdering her boss, a prominent business tycoon, Dismas just can't resist one more murder case. This is Lescroart's 27th deftly crafted and hugely entertaining legal thriller, featuring snappy dialogue, Hardy and his merry band of San Francisco cops, district attorneys, private eyes, and the wonderful atmosphere of the City by the Bay. Not to be missed!
Michael Hudson spends his days in prison devouring books recommended by the prison librarian and participating in a cell block book group. Suddenly, he is released after a PI manipulates a witness and Hudson’s court case disappears. Once on the outside, Michael gets a job, lives with his mom, rekindles some friendships from before his criminal days and he reads….voraciously. But one day the PI comes calling and expects Michael to help with a case. Reluctantly, he agrees and his world teeters on the brink of devastation. Will he slip back into a life of crime or can he keep the freedom he has worked so hard to retrieve? Will he go with the guy who got him out of jail or the woman who has shown him an alternate path? Pelecanos has created a stunning cast of characters whose daily choices thrust them into the high-stakes underworld of D.C. crime. If you haven’t read any of Pelecanos’ novels, this is a great place to start. Great atmosphere, nail-biting suspense and heartwarming redemption!
Willa Drake can count the defining moments of her life on one hand. From the whirlwind courtship with her college beau to marriage, parenthood and beyond, she floats along in comfortable bliss. But as her life as a widow begins she is drawn into a new chapter filled with not only grief and loss but twists and turns involving family, community, commitment and experiences she would never have envisioned in any of her former lives. How did she find herself here? Will she stay? Is this what she really wants? Ann Tyler's stories are always filled with humor, intricate emotions, warm friendship and complicated but wry moments of joy and this is no exception.
Kit Owens and Diane Fleming, friends since childhood, have both chosen to enter the male bastion of scientific research. Sailing through their PhDs, they are then thrust into the gender-power world of academic laboratories, grant battles, and politics that would rival anything in Washington. Though competitors, their friendship endures because they share a dangerous secret that could derail their careers and destroy their lives. Abbott often chooses a subculture in which to set her thrillers and the maelstrom of scientific research is perfect for this taut, emotion-steeped tale of ambition, competition, excellence and obsession.
Nina Hopgood is a farmer's wife in the English countryside. Anders Larsen is a curator in a museum in Denmark. Through a common interest in the Tolund Man, the topic of Seamus Heaney's famous poem, they begin a correspondence that enriches and changes them. Both plagued by loneliness and lives that have become something they hadn't anticipated, their correspondence spawns a deep and surprising relationship. There have been several meaningful epistolary novels of late, but this is something very special and heartwarming. If you loved the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society you will find Anne Youngson's debut novel every bit as wonderful!
Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, the brilliant hacker, the obstinate outsider, the volatile seeker of justice for herself and others, once again teams with journalist Blomqvist, ferreting out the painful details of a pseudo-scientific Swedish study on twins known only as the Registry. This hits very close to Lisbeth's own story and, of course, her evil twin Camilla is deeply involved undercover and is still bent on Lisbeth's demise. Once again Lagerkrantz has taken the story begun by Steig Larsson and brought it to greater heights of noir and pulse pounding suspense.
New Jersey Detective Napoleon Dumas has never stopped looking for his twin brother’s murderer. He was found with his high school sweetheart on the tracks of a railroad siding, the same night Napoleon’s girlfriend Maura walked away from him. The tragedy has haunted their town for fifteen years. When Maura’s fingerprints are found in the rental car of a suspected murderer, this episode from Napoleon’s youth is suddenly reopened and long buried secrets begin to surface. Coben is a great storyteller, one of my real favorites, and this new detective is one that must come back in a sequel…soon!
This tenth addition to the Ruth Galloway series is one of the best! Forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway gets a call from an Italian colleague (former lover?) asking for help with a skeleton. Craving some sun, she packs up her daughter and another colleague and heads for a romantic hill town still haunted by ghosts of the Resistance. Griffiths deftly balances the plot lines at home and abroad to deliver another hugely satisfying and entertaining Galloway mystery full of atmosphere and loose ends. Fans of this series will love it, and if you haven't been introduced to Dr. Ruth Galloway, don't miss it!
Derek Miller’s debut novel Norwegian By Night is one of my all-time favorites, and American By Day is an astonishingly good sequel. Police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård, last seen at the end of Norwegian By Night, must leave her native Norway and head to a tiny college town in upstate New York, where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. Dry-witted, charming and utterly compelling, this blend of Scandinavian crime thriller and literary police procedural is not to be missed! It will leave you eager to learn more about Sigrid Ødegård and her American counterpart.
This charming novel of 1930s New York revolves around Lillian Boxfish, ad writer for Macy's. Known for her snappy copy, Lillian paves the way for women in this formerly all-male profession. On New Year's Eve of 1984, 85-year-old Lillian goes on a ten mile walk around her beloved Manhattan. She dines at her favorite restaurant, visits a bodega, thwarts a bunch of thugs and attends a party in the Village, all the while reminiscing about her life and her city. Rooney has given us an homage to New York and the life of a feisty, brave, and forever curious lady.
Haruf’s tender and loving swan song reminds us that it is never too late for love, warmth and friendship... in spite of gossips and seemingly well-meaning relations.
Now on almost everyone’s book group list, this is the story of the widows whose husbands plotted the failed assassination of Hitler. Holed up in a crumbling manse in a small German village at the end of WWII, they must make choices to rebuild their lives as the town makes choices to rebuild its society and humanity in the face of crumbling defeat, poverty and prejudice. If you loved All the Light We Cannot Seeor The Nightingale, you will relish this look at a group of resilient women.
Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon. This captivating new page-turner from the undisputed master of spy fiction is sure to thrill new and old fans alike.
Celine is in her 60s, an artist, a New York blueblood and a crack PI who specializes in reuniting children with their families. Enter Gabriela Lamont, a fellow Sarah Lawrence graduate, who enlists Celine's help finding her father, whose disappearance is shrouded in suspicion. A legendary photographer, he was presumed killed by a grizzly in Montana. Celine and her partner Pete take off in her son's camper to investigate. Heller, author of the acclaimed Dog Stars, has hit it out of the park with this charming, compelling novel of suspense that leaves the reader panting for a sequel!
A young girl disappears from an English village. A massive search is mounted, but the girl is never found. Seasons come and go, villagers' lives change, but all events are colored by Rebecca's disappearance. It is a simple and familiar story, but McGregor's lyrical writing adds so very much, totally drawing the reader into the lives of the villagers as the years pass. I was absolutely captivated by this story and left nearly breathless at its end. This slender novel is utterly captivating.
French has hit it out of the park again! Antoinette Conway, scoring her dream job as a detective in Dublin’s Murder Squad, realizes it is not what she expected. Her days as a newbie are full of thankless cases and harassment from her colleagues. Her partner seems to be the only one who takes her seriously. Their latest case looks like just another lovers’ quarrel turned deadly until some curious pieces begin to fall into place that possibly point to a tainted colleague. Tightly written and intensely suspenseful, this is a story where nothing is exactly as it seems!
Part pop science, part history, part biology and part sociology, this book leads us through the evolution of our favorite house pet. Tucker shows how these tiny creatures have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet. From research on the psychological benefits of purr therapy to the impact of the cat upon the Internet, anyone who has been owned by a cat will find this book full of humor, surprises and reason to think twice about sleeping with these adorable, omnivorous, intelligent global overlords.
This charming small town tale is part mystery and part coming of age. Margaret Creasy is missing and the residents of the cul de sac where she lived with her husband are gossiping! Everyone harbors secrets about Margaret, and young Grace and her friend Tilly are determined to solve the mystery. The real joys of this story are the conversations between Grace and Tilly as they eavesdrop on the furtive conversations of adults. If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you will love this story of neighbors’ attempts to contrive little lies to conceal what happened one fateful day
It is the 1970s, and August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi are navigating the perils of adolescence on the mean streets of Brooklyn with minimal parental presence and tremendous social pressures. But they are a formidable force of young black womanhood, friends “always and all ways,” determined to make a difference and not throw their lives away. As one by one their lives take different turns, the memories of growing up together are powerful influences on them as adults. Woodson’s sensitive and heartrending coming of age story is lyrically written, and her spare yet powerful style will leave you breathless!
An antique map found in a bistro wall is at the heart of this exceptional addition to Penny’s Gamache series. Gamache uses the map as a project for a group of cadets at the Surité Academy. When one of the lecturers is murdered with a copy of the map in his rooms, Gamache himself becomes a suspect. Old tensions between Gamache and his former police colleagues compound the questionable circumstances surrounding the death of a man everyone seems to have hated. Once again Penny weaves a wonderful story of compassion and ultimate forgiveness amidst the quirky characters of Three Pines.
This family saga begins with a stolen kiss at a christening and sprints through the lives of two families—parents, children and grandchildren—affected by that one gesture. Told in the voices of the cousins in the families, the novel leads us through summers with children shuttled from parent to parent, breaking parental boundaries, fleeing nests and coming home again as parents become the children. The circuitous plot line takes some perseverance, but we are rewarded by a satisfying read from a master storyteller. As Patchett notes, “It turns out a novel isn’t the worst place to hide things.”
Travel journalist Lo Blacklock has been given a plum assignment: a week on a luxury yacht. Her fellow passengers are journalists and the ship’s owner, a titled billionaire. As they sail the North Sea, Lo witnesses a woman being thrown overboard. Her attempts to have the crew investigate are futile, and no one appears to be missing. As the week wears on, Lo finds herself trapped by someone desperate to cover up the crime! A classic set-up with a cleverly modern climax, and reminiscent of Agatha Christie, this spine-tingler will leave you nervously reading to the last page!
Ah, the joys of entitlement! The four forty-something Plumb siblings are soon to share the trust established by their successful father. Life in Manhattan is costly and all the Plumbs live beyond their means in anticipation of the family windfall. But the "Nest," as they call the trust, has been tapped by their mother to cover up the indiscretions of Leo, the eldest, and not much is left for the others. Will Leo pay back the money? Will the others become estranged as their finances shift? Will their marriages survive? Read on! This compelling novel of contemporary manners is a true page turner.
In 1943, Meridian Wallace leaves her ornithological studies to marry her physics professor and head for Los Alamos and the atomic bomb project. Trapped in a government town with other highly educated wives of scientists, she struggles to keep her passion for birds alive by studying desert crows. Her friendships are
meditation on ambition, love, identity and sacrifice at a time when women were beginning to dream of lives beyond housekeeping, this is a stunning debut, with wonderful characters and a story I didn’t want to end!
Based on the life of Caroline Ferriday, this debut novel follows three remarkable young women through the horrors of WWII. Caroline, a New York socialite, raises funds for orphaned French children. Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, gets sent to Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women. Herta Oberheuser is a young doctor who takes a job with the German government, only to find she must perform experimental surgery on women at Ravensbruck. Their stories of resilience and survival under unspeakable circumstances are haunting and heartbreaking. How their lives are woven together after the war is stunning!
This exquisite meditation on love, loss and the power of poetry takes place post-WWII in a seaside village in New South Wales. After Annikka Lachlan’s husband is killed in a railway accident, the village gives her the job of running the library, and she begins to blend her own love of reading with her neighbors’ requests for books. When Roy McKinnon, wounded by his war experience, struggles to return to his passion, poetry, Annikka borrows books from throughout Australia to encourage him. Both inspiring and heartbreaking, this is a must read by an astonishingly accomplished writer who deserves your time!
This smart and very funny lark through the halls of Oxford is a charming debut by a promising new writer! Samantha Whipple, a fictional descendent of the sisters Bronte, has come to Old College at Oxford to research her progenitors and solve a puzzle left by her enigmatic father. With the help of the Brontes’ curator and her very charming don, Samantha plumbs the depths of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, et al and uncovers a remarkable legacy. English majors take note! This is a literary mystery wrapped in a gothic scavenger hunt, enfolded in a romantic comedy! What a hoot!
Politics, espionage, and Cold War Russia are blended with wonderful descriptions of food, wine, and French scenery in this latest outing for Bruno, Chief of Police in the village of St. Denis. The Périgord looks lovely as autumn nears, and Bruno relishes his morning outings with his horse Hector. Life is good! But at the birthday celebration for the head of a winemaking family, a former French spy dies, setting off events that send Bruno criss-crossing his beloved wine country in search of clues and a killer. This is Bruno at his best, with wonderful recipes and an ending that’s a real shocker! ~
Former special ops pilot Maya sees her recently murdered husband on her nanny cam, playing with her two-year-old-daughter. Can she believe what she sees? Who can she tell? Her husband’s family is wealthy and unforthcoming. Only her pal from special ops seems to have her back as she investigates the truth, but the deeper she digs, the more she questions her relationship with the man she married. This well-crafted thriller is filled with twists and capped with a shocking climax! Another stand-alone page turner from the popular Harlan Coben.
An unvarnished tale of the Wild West from a very different viewpoint, this novel tells the story of Josephine Marcus, the feisty daughter of a prominent San Francisco Jewish family. She leaves home in 1880 to follow famed lawman and gunfighter Johnny Behan to Tombstone, Arizona. Lured by love and hopelessly naive, she hits the dusty streets with hopes of marriage, home and family, only to discover a faithless Behan, Doc Holiday, and love with Wyatt Earp. Told in the first person, this hot book group pick is totally captivating.
In 1938 Layla Beck is sent from her posh Washington, D.C. home to the town of Macedonia, West Virginia, on a job with the Federal Writers Project. Layla expects the task of writing the town’s history to be a bore, but her summer as a writer is filled with an astonishing cast of characters who change her life. Barrows has hit the mark with this charming and heart-wrenching story of life in a Depression-ridden town. The book’s blend of narrative and epistolary chapters help make this a warm-hearted Southern charmer
Welcome back Lisbeth Salander! This well written homage to the Steig Larsson trilogy by Swedish journalist Lagerkranz is just the ticket for those of us pining for more from Sweden’s odd couple of crime, Blomquist and Salander. The NSA has been hacked and geeks around the world are flailing about for clues. Blomquist gets a call from a guy willing to tell all and save Millenium from the recycle bin. It’s a great story, with the usual servings of Swedish grit and skillful interweaving of just enough back-story from the trilogy to keep the novice reader up to speed. More please!
McLain’s (The Paris Wife) biographical novel of legendary aviatrix Beryl Markham reaches back to her youth in colonial Kenya, where she is raised by her father and the tribe of Kipsigis who live on his estate. The young Kip boys teach her to hunt as they prepare for tribal leadership, and she later achieves renown as a horse trainer. As a teenager, she marries a man who loses interest in her, gets involved in a love triangle with author Karen Blixen, and becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Markham’s amazing life, coupled with McClain’s exceptional storytelling talents, make this a must read!
In the small town of Wells, Connecticut, a tragedy occurs just before a wedding; a gas explosion kills the wedding party staying in the family home. Rumors abound as they will in small towns, and the survivors go on as best they can. We learn of the event through a series of vignettes, from many viewpoints, all stunningly well written. Every emotion is teased out, examined and interwoven as each character tells the story. Reminiscent of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, this is an exceptional, sensitive, and masterfully crafted story that is a must for book group lists.
Mary Browning, eighty-seven, has spent much of her life hiding her past, haunted by fading memories of family and an exceptional career as a daring pilot in World War II. When fifteen-year-old Elyse joins Mary’s octogenarian writing group at the local library, she ignites Mary’s desire to tell her story. Elyse has problems of her own, but when Mary hires her to record her story, they form a friendship that leads them to discover the joys of second chances and the unique powers of forgiveness. This will be a great book group read, especially for those who enjoyed The Boston Girl or Circling the Sun!
Jean Perdu owns the Literary Apothecary, a bookstore barge on the Seine where he dispenses books to mend the reader’s broken heart. He succeeds in mending all but his own, broken twenty years earlier by the love of his life. When he learns what really happened to his beloved, he casts off the lines of his barge with his two cats, 8,000 books, and a young author aboard and heads downriver. Along the way they encounter friends for life and absorb the glorious countryside. This is a tender and enchanting homage to books and France, reminding us why we read and how much books can change our lives.
This stunningly written story of author Macdonald’s journey through grief and despair, guided by a recalcitrant, single-minded young goshawk, is an inspiration to us all. Mabel is not your typical bloodthirsty bird! I rooted for Mabel from start to finish!
The day Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa from her home in Sweden to meet her book-loving pen pal Amy, the townsfolk are leaving Amy’s funeral. The residents share stories of Amy with Sara, and Sara stays in Amy’s house, surrounded by her collection of books. Sara sets about turning the books into a book store in a derelict downtown storefront, and begins linking the books with Amy’s friends. How the town goes about ensuring that Sara can stay is at the core of this gentle, heartwarming novel that will captivate fans of Little Paris Bookshop and Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. It reminds us why we are booklovers.
Anita Diamant (The Red Tent) tells the story of a plucky young woman of immigrant parents who makes her way amidst the teeming multicultural North End of Boston in the early twentieth century. She becomes an astonishing role model for her granddaughter who asks her "How did you become the woman you are?" A wonderfully heartwarming and inspiring novel!
June 16th—the day the events of James Joyce’s Ulysses take place—is observed in Ireland and elsewhere as “Bloomsday.” It serves as a light construct for this novel; the main characters—Leo, his brother Stephen, and Leo’s fiancée Nora—are brought together for the annual celebration. Clever and poignant, the story delves into the tensions of love, friendship, family, and the desire to belong. As the day wears on, the three characters clash and embrace in stunningly well written prose that portrays the details of deeply felt friendships. You don’t need to be a fan of Joyce to appreciate this masterfully crafted debut novel.
This first novel by famed food critic Reichl revolves around Billie Breslin, whose superhuman palate can analyze the ingredients in any dish. When Delicious—the New York magazine for which she writes—suddenly folds, Billie is the surviving employee, left to man the phone and prowl the legendary building. She discovers a collection of letters from a young girl to famed editor James Beard during WWII, and a search ensues to find all of the letters and their author as well. Full of New York atmosphere, discussions of food, and colorful characters, this is the perfect beach read for foodies!
Sanctuary is a mountaintop lodge and home to a canine stray and rescue training and rehab center run by a handful of nuns. Evie, a bit of a stray herself, is fresh out of rehab and determined to start a new life when she signs up for the Sanctuary’s program, but it’s the dogs who teach her most. Evie finds the second chance she so desperately craves in the reciprocity of love between humans and canines. This is both a joyful romp and a thoughtful meditation.
Set against a backdrop of 1880s Paris, this is a novel of the turbulent relationship between Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. Cassatt moves to Paris in the late 1860s to pursue her art. She works away in her studio, despite rejection by the famous Salon. Just as she begins to doubt her resolve, she meets Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. The rest is history of course, but her relationship with Degas and the other Impressionists is a marvelous story, well written and rivetingly readable. ~
Rebekah Roberts, a stringer for a New York tabloid, goes deep into the Hassidic community to cover the murder of a Brooklyn industrialist’s wife. With the help of a Jewish NYPD detective, she learns of a young wife chafing at the restrictive Hassidic life, a safe house for questioning Jews that is her refuge, and keys to Rebekah’s own troubled past. Ultimately, Rebekah ignores her instincts and heads alone into the victim’s home in search of the real story. Readers of Faye Kellerman and Gillian Flynn will relish this taut story with a shocking albeit satisfying climax. A great airplane read!
The latest caper of Israeli spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon takes us from Venice to Geneva, Vienna, Paris and Corsica in search of a stolen Caravaggio. A British spy is found murdered and his home contains a stash of stolen masterpieces, among them a prized Caravaggio. He’s been an operative for a ring of thieves trafficking in stolen artworks for a dictator. Master spy Allon must infiltrate the world of private banking, break up the trafficking ring, redirect the wealth of a dictator and… oh yes, recover the Caravaggio! This sequel to last year’s English Girl is a must-read thriller.
This is an exceptional story of the long term impact of violence upon survivors, the mystery of memory, and the lengths people will go to uncover truth. In 1986, two tragedies struck Oklahoma City: the murder of six employees in a movie theater, and the disappearance of a teenager from a local carnival. Wyatt, a Las Vegas PI and the sole survivor of the movie slayings, returns to the city of his youth and is sucked back into the tragedy. Berney weaves a thoughtful and compelling tale full of questions, heartbreak and quirky humor. Wyatt is a guy you want to meet!
In this fictional meditation on marriage, a smart, witty, ambitious couple falls madly, blissfully in love and lunges toward marriage, financial strain, a colicky baby, career stalls, parental boredom, and terror that their marriage won’t last. What may seem like another “marriage on the rocks” novel is anything but! Written in an intense narrative style, the story rushes through the events that endanger marriage, and teases us into thinking that divorce is just a paragraph away. But there is something special about this couple that we only learn by persevering to the final page. What a refreshing read! Do it in one sitting!
Perry Rathbone was Director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1955 to 1972 when his meteoric career ended in scandal over the purchase of a small Raphael portrait of a young girl that turned out to be a fake. It rocked the art and antiquities industry as well as the city of Boston, where Rathbone was legendary. Written by Rathbone's daughter, this is both a biography and a fascinating mystery. If you loved The Art Forger and still wonder about the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist, you will love this bio-intrigue!
Prudencia Prim, an erudite young woman, takes a job as a personal librarian in a remote village of France. The town is hard to resist, and her employer is charming and enigmatic, albeit curmudgeonly. As Prudencia proceeds to organize her employer’s books, the women of the village begin to gently nudge her from her rigidly cast view of life into one that might even include love. Readers who loved Chocolat, Letters from Skye or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will find delight in this book. Already a best seller in Europe, this delightful debut novel is certain to be a hit with book groups.
A young antiquarian bookseller moves from North Carolina to Hay-on-Wye to rekindle his passion for books and heal from the loss of his wife. While browsing an 18th-century book in a used bookstore he finds a portrait that resembles his beloved Amanda. Thus begins a search for its provenance and ultimately an obsessive quest for a key to the origins of some of Shakespeare’s plays. The story’s twists provide a literary romp, and readers of Byatt’s Posession and Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind will love this charming and suspenseful literary quest!
Marcus Goldman, a best-selling writer, heads to a small New England town to visit his college mentor and cure his writer’s block. There he learns that his friend has been jailed, accused of the murder of a fifteen year old girlfriend in 1975. Marcus decides to write about Harry Quebert’s convoluted case in hopes of exonerating him. Murder, arson, insanity, police cover-ups, and a plot with more twists and turns than a Monte Carlo road race — there’s something for everyone in this page turner that’s guaranteed to amuse and entertain. It was a bestseller in France and Le Figaro compared it to Capote’s In Cold Blood.
Three iconic events form the bones of this amazing novel by the author of Let the Great World Spin. In 1919 Alcock and Brown set off from Newfoundland to Ireland in the first attempt of a transatlantic flight. In 1845 Frederick Douglas travels to Dublin to market his subversive memoir and seek abolitionist support. In 1998 Senator George Mitchell is tapped to travel to Belfast to broker a peace between Ireland and the North. Binding these events is a family of women whose strengths, struggles, and dreams link continents and generations. McCann’s skill at storytelling is eclipsed only by his gorgeous prose. This is a must read!
Eighty-two year old Sheldon Horowitz moves from New York to Oslo to be with his granddaughter Rhea. He’s tough, a Korean War veteran, a watchmaker and an acerbically humorous survivor. When he’s caught in the crossfire of an act of domestic violence in a neighboring apartment, he grabs the neighbors’ young son and runs for safety. With no common language, they hit the road in hopes of evading the bad guys who want the kid. This debut novel is smart, funny, suspenseful, and a worthy addition to the genre of Scandinavian crime fiction. Readers will clamor for more by Derek Miller!
What a page turner! When Amy Dunne disappears without a trace on her fifth wedding anniversary, her husband Nick becomes the prime suspect. This seemingly typical story, told in alternating chapters by husband and wife, is anything but typical. In a series of breakneck twists and turns, the real truth about Nick’s and Amy’s marriage is revealed against a backdrop of media frenzy. It’s a new twist on an old question, “How well does anyone really know his/her spouse?” This is an ingeniously plotted thriller that grips you from beginning to end.
What a read! Mae Holland can’t believe her luck to work for The Circle, the world’s most influential internet company. With a campus that encourages employees to eschew life outside, work at the Circle makes Mae’s life a frenzied pace of work, partying and corporate play choreographed via social media. As her life beyond the campus grows distant, a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, and her best friend crashes from stress. Mae’s role at the Circle becomes increasingly public and the mission of the Circle becomes globally questionable. This is a sobering look at social media gone rogue. Read Microsoft meets Philip K. Dick in this heart-stopping dystopian thriller.
This debut novel is not to be missed! Josephine Bell, a house slave in Virginia in 1852, is a talented artist whose work had been attributed to her owner, LuAnne Bell. In the present, Lina Sparrow, a newly minted New York attorney, is tapped to work on a class action suit to recover trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of slaves. After viewing Josephine’s paintings, she sets out to find a descendant. Told in alternating chapters, the lives of Josephine and Lina weave increasingly complex tales of art, history, love and mystery. Exceptionally well-written, this book asks penetrating questions about righting past injustices and carving paths toward truth. ~ Susan Braun, leader of the Eagle Harbor Reader’s Circle & the Mystery Book Group
If you need a reminder that humanity still exists in our world, read this book! After tragedy struck on September 11, 2001, 38 jet liners bound for the U.S. were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. The citizens of this small community took the passengers and crews in and gave ceaselessly of their time, resources and emotional support until the journeys could be safely continued. This amazing act of humanity got little publicity at the time, but DeFede set about interviewing those involved, and created an astonishingly wonderful and touching story. We should never forget what they did!