New Books

New Books - New library books - 20210413_SMSA-105

New Library Books

We are always adding new books to the SMSA Library’s collection, as well as eBooks and audiobooks.

New Library Books become available at the beginning of each month and remain listed as ‘New Books’ for two months.

The loan period for New Books is 2 weeks, and they may not be renewed while they are listed as a ‘New Book.’

To see what has been added to our collection this month see our list below.

NEW BOOKS – January 2023

 

BIOGRAPHY

Barty, AshleighMy dream time
Courtenay, ChristineBryce Courtenay
Ho, JessRaised by wolves
Le Carré, JohnA private spy
Linda, VikaNo Bull
Manning, PaddyThe successor
Mason, MegSay it again in a nice voice
McCurdy, JennetteI’m glad my mom died
Rose, HeatherNothing Bad Ever Happens Here
Sayer, MandyThose dashing mcdonagh sisters
Wilson, AshleighA year with Wendy Whiteley
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A Private Spy: The Letters of John le Carré by John le Carré

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, October 2022

The late author of The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and other seminal espionage thrillers probes life, deception, and writing in these sparkling letters. The missives span le Carré’s student days, his early career in Britain’s MI6 intelligence service (which shaped his famous character George Smiley and other morally conflicted Cold War spies), and nearly six decades as a bestselling novelist. Included are gushing notes to playwright Tom Stoppard (“I loved ‘Shakespeare in Love’, & loved you for writing it”); defensive apologies to an Oxford pal who he spied upon; ripostes to readers who caught mistakes in his works; thoughts on political events (“I hate Brexit, hate Trump, fear the rise of white fascism everywhere”); complaints about his father; and a withering dismissal of Salman Rushdie (“Nobody has a God-given right to insult a great religion and be published with impunity”). Le Carré’s letters are witty, affable, unctuous toward celebrities, tartly venomous toward unfair critics, and full of a subtle, penetrating literary sensibility. (He praised actor Alec Guinness’s portrayal of Smiley, with his “mildness of manner, stretched taut… by an unearthly stillness and an electrifying watchfulness.”) Le Carré’s fans shouldn’t miss this stimulating compendium.

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I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, May 2022

In this explosive debut, former iCarly star McCurdy recounts a harrowing childhood directed by her emotionally abusive stage mother. A narcissist and “full-blown hoarder,” McCurdy’s mother, Debra, pushed her daughter into acting at age six in 1999, doling out her scarce affection in tandem with the jobs McCurdy booked (while weaponizing her breast cancer—which eventually killed her in 2013—for good measure). After McCurdy hit puberty around age 11, her mother steered her to anorexia via “calorie restriction,” and later began performing invasive breast and genital exams on McCurdy at age 17. As she recounts finding fame on Nickelodeon, beginning in 2007 with her role on iCarly, McCurdy chronicles her efforts to break free from her mother’s machinations, her struggles with bulimia and alcohol abuse, and a horrific stint dating a schizophrenic, codependent boyfriend. McCurdy’s recovery is hard-won and messy, and eventually leads her to step back from acting to pursue writing and directing. Despite the provocative title, McCurdy shows remarkable sympathy for her mother, even when she recalls discovering that the man she called Dad while growing up was not, in fact, her biological father. Insightful and incisive, heartbreaking and raw, McCurdy’s narrative reveals a strong woman who triumphs over unimaginable pressure to emerge whole on the other side. Fans will be rapt.

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CRAFT

Kantrowitz, AndreaDrawing thought
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GENERAL FICTION

Backman, FredrikThe winners
Boyd, WilliamThe romantic
Brown, SandraBlind tiger
Chandran, ShankariSong of the sun god
Chung, BoraCursed bunny
Crace, JimEden
Haratischwili, NinoMy soul twin
Hays, KatyTHE CLOISTERS
Lu, SiangThe whitewash
Salom, PhilipSweeney and the bicycles
Toltz, SteveHere goes nothing
Webb, WendyThe stroke of Winter
Wilson, KevinNow is not the time to panic
Yu, AnGhost music
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The Winners by Fredrik Backman

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, August 2022

Backman (Anxious People) wraps up his Beartown trilogy with the satisfying if overlong tale of two small towns and their inhabitants’ traumas and rivalries. After a storm collapses the roof of the hockey rink in Hed, the town’s club must share the rink in Beartown, stoking long-held resentments between the clubs. To make matters worse, the editor of Beartown’s newspaper discovers someone from Beartown’s club is embezzling tax revenue. Meanwhile, after 14-year-old Matteo’s older sister dies from a drug overdose, Matteo grows increasingly bitter toward the people from the two towns, who show little regard for his family’s problems, and he eventually becomes violent. Backman’s narration often feels heavy-handed, and his aphorisms alternate from opaque to obvious (“Guilt is stronger than logic”; “In hockey we know who the winners are, because winners win”). Moreover, many of the chapter-length asides are entirely too aside and lead nowhere. The tension, however, remains palpable after a former hockey player returns to Beartown and everyone assumes he’s out to settle a score, and a series of threats escalate into explosive violence and a painful resolution. This will do the trick for insatiable Beartown fans, though others can take a pass.

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Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, October 2022

Chung debuts with a well-crafted and horrifying collection of dark fairy tales, stark revenge fables, and disturbing body horror. In “The Head,” a woman is terrorized by a creature in her toilet. In “The Frozen Finger,” a woman awakes in the dark, unsure how her car got stuck in the mud, and follows a voice before learning of the danger it leads her to. In “Snare,” a fox bleeds gold and curses the merchant who keeps her captive; her curse is enacted horrifically through the merchant’s own children. “Scars” features a nameless boy who escapes endless tortures in a monster’s cave only to find pain and horror in the world of men. In “Goodbye, My Love,” a woman falls in love with an “artificial companion” but comes to a shocking realization when she attempts to replace the AI with a newer model. The strangely touching “Home Sweet Home” starts as a somewhat traditional story of a woman whose hard work is taken for granted by her ne’er-do-well husband, but their house holds a powerful secret that brings her happiness. Clever plot twists and sparkling prose abound. Chung’s work is captivating and terrifying.

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Here goes nothing by Steve Toltz

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, February 2022

The clever latest from Toltz (Quicksand) follows a hapless husband who discovers that the afterlife is a bewildering, bureaucratic bore. Angus Mooney excels only at petty crime, laziness, and loving his pregnant wife, Gracie, a quirky wedding officiant. Despite their marital bliss, the couple is perennially short on cash, so when a stranger dying of brain disease offers to make Angus and Gracie his heirs in exchange for letting him die in their house, they agree. Shortly after the stranger moves in, he murders Angus, sending him to a banal afterlife, where he works at an umbrella factory and his fellow citizens complain of housing shortages and an ill-defined ongoing war. Finding death too much like life and missing Gracie, Angus becomes addicted to a machine that allows him to haunt his old home. He observes the dying man trying to seduce Gracie, who remains ignorant of how Angus really died, and he learns about the spread of a lethal virus that threatens to overwhelm the afterlife. Toltz’s wit and black humor transform a morbid premise into a rollicking ride. The result is an audaciously creative imagining of what awaits after death.

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The Cloisters by Katy Hays

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, November 2022

Hays debuts with a moody and suspenseful story of a floundering art history graduate. Though Ann Stillwell has been unsuccessful in pursuing a grad school offer, she nevertheless lands a coveted summer internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—but upon arrival, she learns the offer has been rescinded. Ann then hears of a vacancy at the Cloisters, where she joins the beautiful and supremely competent Rachel Mondray in assisting head curator Patrick Roland on a research project related to the tarot, which, according to Patrick’s hypothesis, has much older ties to the occult than scholars had previously assumed. Ann is dazzled by Rachel’s wealth, and a quick, intense friendship develops as she is drawn into the research, though she’s increasingly unnerved by Patrick’s fervor and seeming belief in the occult. Hays carefully leaves the supernatural elements open to interpretation, and Ann’s summer is ultimately shaped by a tragedy with a traceably human cause. Readers will be fascinated by the evocative setting as well as the behind-the-scenes glimpses into museum curatorship and the cutthroat games of academia. It makes for an accomplished debut.

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HISTORICAL FICTION

Goldsworthy, Adrian KeithWhose business is to die
McFarlane, FionaThe sun walks down
Styles, DaisyThe bomb girls
Turney, S. J. A.Caligula
Turney, SimonCommodus
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The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, September 2022

In McFarlane’s expansive latest (after The High Places), the search for a missing boy in the Australian outback in 1883 casts lights on the tensions roiling beneath the surface of the English colony. One day, six-year-old Denny Wallace goes for a walk and disappears into a dust storm. Members of the small farming community help Denny’s parents, Mathew and Mary, look for their son. Among the teeming cast are Minna Baumann, a newlywed who pines for her constable husband, Robert, after he joins the search party; Mr. Daniels, the sickly local vicar who is suspected of knowing what happened to Danny; Karl and Bess Rapp, itinerant artists who have come to paint the desert sunset; Cissy Wallace, one of Denny’s five sisters, who has her sexual awakening as a result of the search; and Jimmy Possum, an Aboriginal tracker whose talismanic cloak is coveted by Mrs. Axam, the community’s matriarch. But will their combined efforts lead to Denny’s ultimate rescue? Though there isn’t much of a plot, the vivid descriptions of the landscape, a lived-in feeling community, dozens of well-defined characters, and an honest look at the uneasy relationship between settlers and Australia’s Indigenous population carry the reader along. Fans of Richard Flanagan and Peter Carey will love this.

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MYSTERY

Adams, BrettBlood & ink
Barrie, SarahRetribution
Benedict, AlexandraMurder on the Christmas Express
Bennett, S J.Murder Most Royal
Bright, VerityA very English murder
Cambridge, ColleenMurder at Mallowan Hall
Deaver, JefferyHunting time
Fields, HelenOne for sorrow
Goldin, MeganStay awake
Gray, LisaDark room
Manansala, Mia P.Blackmail and bibingka
McGeorge, ChrisA murder at Balmoral
McPherson, CatrionaSCOT IN A TRAP
Moncrieff, AdaMurder most festive
Powell, J. P.The Brisbane line
Wilson, SeanGemini Falls
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Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, August 2022

In Agatha Award winner Manansala’s cheeky third culinary cozy (after Homicide and Halo-Halo), the trouble begins with the return of restaurant owner Lila Macapagal’s prodigal cousin, Ronnie Flores, during the annual Winter Bash in Shady Palms, Ill. After a 15-year absence and a suspicious stay in Florida, the “king of get-rich-quick schemes” has heady plans to buy a nearby winery and hawk a line of traditional vintages, especially a potentially lethal lambanog. He has lined up a group of out-of-town investors, including the “expensively beautiful” Denise Sutton and her suave fiancé, Xander Cruz. Things go awry quickly when Denise imbibes too much and dies. Denise’s twin stepchildren immediately suspect Xander of money-grubbing. But when Lila’s aunt, Tita Rosie, receives an email threatening to expose what happened in Florida with the claim that “Ronnie and Co. have blood on their hands,” amateur detective Lila widens the net. The sleuthing sometimes takes a back burner to food tastings, but Manansala’s breezy style makes for another brisk entry in this flavorful series, recipes included. Readers will be hungry for more.

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Dark Room by Lisa Gray

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, July 2022

Set in present-day New York, this taut, twisty standalone from Gray (the Jessica Shaw series) is dense with buried motives and betrayals. Freelance journalist Leonard Blaylock participates in a group that purchases old rolls of 35mm “mystery film” from strangers, which he develops in his dark room. One day, a roll includes a photograph of a beautiful, obviously murdered woman whom Leonard recognizes as Red. He had a one-night stand with Red five years earlier, a night when she died of what he believed to be a cocaine overdose, though he fled the scene, abandoning her in their hotel room without being certain. But the photograph shows that she was murdered recently, by stabbing, and the media reported the victim to be Anna Bianco. So what really happened that night five years ago? Told from multiple perspectives—including those of Leonard, his bitter ex-fiancée, his new girlfriend (also a mystery film fan), a man who cheated on his wife with Red, and Red/Anna herself—the novel stokes a profound unease that builds to an unsettling resolution. Fans of Colleen Hoover’s Verity will find much to enjoy.

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Scot in a Trap by Catriona McPherson

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, September 2022

A touch of pathos lifts McPherson’s darkly amusing fifth mystery featuring Scottish family therapist Lexy Campbell (after Scot Mist). In November 2020, the permanent residents of the Last Ditch Motel in Cuento, Calif., who have bonded during the Covid lockdown, are sharing a Thanksgiving dinner. When a heavily pregnant guest goes into labor, Lexy, a temporary resident, agrees to help out at the motel while others attend to the birth. The next morning, she dutifully prepares a breakfast tray for a new arrival, only to find him lying dead, a bullet hole in his forehead. Lexy recognizes him as Menzies Lassiter, her first love from her school days in Dundee, whom she hasn’t seen in close to two decades. As the only person who knew the deceased, Lexy becomes the main suspect. She must not only investigate Menzies’s murder but also delve into their fraught shared past. Certainly, she had motive enough to want him dead. This time the motel residents are the ones providing Lexy emotional support. McPherson keeps the laughs and the action rolling along. With any luck, Lexy will be back soon.

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NON FICTION

Barr, JamesA line in the sand 956.02 BARR
Clarke, PatriciaBold types 305.43 CLAR
Cumpston, ZenaPlants 581.63 CUMP
Doyle, PeterSuburban noir 364.109 DOYL
Figes, OrlandoThe story of Russia 947 FIGE
Imbler, SabrinaHow far the light reaches 578.77 IMBL
Kershaw, IanPersonality and power 940 KERS
Kosseff, JeffThe twenty-six words that created the Internet 343 KOSS
Lafargue, PaulThe right to be lazy and other writings 335 LAFA
Mackay, HughThe kindness revolution 306 MACK
Mahood, KimWandering with intent 824 MAHO
Mazzeo, Tilar J.Sisters in resistance 945.091 MAZZ
Nowra, LouisSydney 994.41 NOWR
Savva, NikiBulldozed 324.294 SAVV
Sebag Montefiore, SimonThe world 929.7 SEBA
Seo, BoGood arguments 808.53 SEO
Straw, Leigh S. L.The ballroom murder 364.152 STRA
Summerscale, KateThe book of phobias & manias 616.85 SUMM
Thévoz, Seth AlexanderBehind closed doors367.94212 THEV
Vallejo Moreu, IrenePapyrus 002.093 VALL
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Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World by Irene Vallejo

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, June 2022

Novelist and essayist Vallejo makes her English-language debut with this rewarding exploration of how books and libraries developed in the ancient Hellenistic and Roman eras. Detailing the influence of oral traditions on written narratives, changes in format from papyrus scrolls to tablets and codices, and the interplay between these early books and social, political, and cultural shifts, Vallejo contends that the history of books is closely intertwined with the development of Western civilization. She spotlights the creation, influence, and eventual decline of the Library of Alexandria; the subsequent burgeoning of libraries and booksellers in the Roman world; and the research methods and rhetorical techniques of Homer, Aristotle, Herodotus, and other Greek and Roman writers and philosophers. Throughout, Vallejo eloquently expresses her enthusiasm for literature and libraries, describing how the isolation and confusion she felt during a research fellowship at Oxford were alleviated by trips to the Sackler and Bodleian libraries and lamenting the social forces that imperil freedom of expression and maintenance of cultural memory. Written in a lush and immersive style and shot through with sparkling turns of phrase, this is catnip for bibliophiles and ancient history buffs.

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Sisters in resistance by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Reviewed by Kirkus Review, June 2022

A distinguished cultural studies scholar explores the web of intrigue surrounding the infamous Ciano Diaries. Before he became famous for condemning the Third Reich and its leaders, Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944) was better known as Mussolini’s playboy son-in-law and foreign minister. In her latest elegant book of European cultural history, Mazzeo offers a colorful account of Ciano and Mussolini, the affairs and double-crosses that surrounded the diaries, and the courageous women whose efforts saved the manuscripts for posterity. Ciano began keeping diaries about Hitler’s inner circle in 1939, the year he started to question the war in Europe and the Third Reich’s alliance with Italy. Though in the service of a dictator, Ciano realized Mussolini’s involvement with Germany would be Italy’s downfall. So he turned to his journals, where he expressed his virulent disgust with the Third Reich and recorded “the political squabbles” between men like Himmler and Goebbels who “vied for power and influence with Hitler.” By 1943, the foreign minister, who gossiped shamelessly about his diary, had become a liability to the Third Reich. The Germans then sent a beautiful, young, married spy to learn the location of the journals, which Ciano had hidden before using them as collateral for a passage into exile. Little went according to plan. The spy fell in love with Ciano and turned double agent for the Allies. In that role, she developed an unlikely alliance with Ciano’s wife, Edda, and an American socialite to protect as much of Ciano’s manuscript—portions of which still ended up in German hands—for postwar publication in the U.S. Intelligent and compelling, Mazzeo’s probing book delves intriguingly into the “moral thicket” into which a group of strangers found themselves plunged during the long, dark days of World War II. A tantalizingly novelistic history lesson.

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EBOOKS

General NovelsBackman, FredrikBeartown 
General NovelsKarunatilaka, ShehanThe seven moons of Maali Almeida
General NovelsReid, Taylor JenkinsCarrie Soto is back
General NovelsWilliams, BeatrizLost Summers of Newport
Mystery NovelsFoley, LucyThe Paris Apartment
Mystery NovelsOsman, RichardThe Bullet That Missed
Mystery NovelsSt. James, SimoneThe Book of Cold Cases 
Mystery NovelsWolhuter, LouiseAn Afterlife for Rosemary Lamb
Science FictionHendrix, GradyHorrorstor
Science FictionKingfisher, T.Nettle & Bone
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The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, March 2021

Set in 2017, this chilling paranormal thriller from bestseller St. James (The Sun Down Motel) stars 29-year-old Shea Collins, a medical receptionist in Claire Lake, Ore., by day, who by night runs the Book of Cold Cases, a blog devoted to unsolved true crimes. One morning at work, Shea recognizes one of the patients as Beth Greer, an elusive, affluent woman who was a suspect in the Lady Killer murders in 1977. Two Claire Lake men were shot in cold blood, and though a witness saw Beth fleeing the scene, she insisted she was innocent and was acquitted at trial. Since the crimes are still unsolved, Shea gets Beth’s permission to interview her. They often meet at Beth’s mansion, where Beth reveals her side of the story through vivid flashbacks involving her troubled adolescence and adulthood. Meanwhile, Shea becomes increasingly uneasy in the house and suspects it may be haunted. St. James keeps the suspense high, though some readers will wonder why she reveals a major plot twist in the middle of the book. Horror fans will want to check this out.

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Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Reviewed by Kirkus Review, August 2022

A retired tennis player returns to the game to defend her Grand Slam record. Carrie Soto is the best tennis player in the world, and she knows it. Her father, Javier, is a former tennis champion himself, and he’s dedicated his life to coaching her. By the time she retires in 1989, she holds the record for winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles. But then, in 1994, Nicki Chan comes along. Nicki is on the verge of breaking Carrie’s record, and Carrie decides she can’t let that happen: She’s coming out of retirement, with her father coaching her, to defend her record…and her reputation. Carrie was never a friendly player, preferring to focus on both a brutal game and brutal honesty, and now the media has a field day with her return to the sport as a 37-year-old. At times, it seems like everyone is waiting for her to fail, but when Carrie wants something, she doesn’t give up easily. Along the way, she reconnects with Bowe Huntley, a 39-year-old tennis player she once had a fling with. Now they need to help each other train, but Carrie quickly realizes she might need him for more than just tennis—if she can let herself be vulnerable for the first time in her life. Reid writes about the game with suspense, transforming a tennis match into a page-turner even for readers who don’t care about sports. Will Carrie win? And, more importantly, will she finally make time for a life outside of winning? Reid has scored another victory and created another memorable heroine with Carrie Soto, a brash, often unlikable character whose complexity makes her leap off the page. Sports commentators may call her “The Battle Axe” or worse, but readers will root for her both on and off the court. A compulsively readable look at female ambition.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, January 2022

This deeply satisfying and darkly funny feminist fairy tale from Hugo Award winner Kingfisher (What Moves the Dead) finds its unlikely heroine in Marra, youngest princess of the Harbor Kingdom. Marra is better at knitting than politicking, and is relieved to be sent to a convent while her older sisters make political marriages to nobles from the Northern Kingdom. However, when Marra learns that the wicked Prince Vorling has murdered her older sister and seems likely to murder his abused second wife, Marra’s middle sister, as well, Marra takes action. She assembles a rag-tag team bent on overthrowing Vorling—including Bonedog, a resurrected dog skeleton; a dust-wife (a kind of necromancer) with a demonically possessed chicken for a familiar; a suicidally honorable and surprisingly diplomatic knight rescued from a Christina Rosetti-esque goblin market; and a frazzled fairy godmother who can only grant gifts of good health. The plot snaps along as quickly as a good joke, and beneath the whimsy, there’s an underlying sympathy and sincerity that enables Kingfisher to handle tricky issues like domestic violence with great compassion and care. At its heart a story of good people doing their best to make the unjust world a fairer place, this marvelous romp will delight Kingfisher’s fans and fairy tale lovers alike.

AUDIOBOOKS

General NovelsAllen, JayneBlack Girls Must Die Exhausted
General NovelsHardy, MinaWe Knew All Along
General NovelsMartin, CharlesThe Water Keeper
General NovelsTaylor, SandyThe Irish Nanny
Historical NovelsWilson, AbigailA Vanishing at Loxby Manor
Mystery NovelsCahoon, LynnSecrets in the Stacks
Mystery NovelsTodd, MarionIn Plain Sight
Mystery NovelsGreene, MorganQuiet Wolf
Mystery NovelsThompson, VictoriaMurder on Sisters’ Row 
Mystery NovelsGill, JayKnife & Death
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Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, June 2021

Allen’s promising debut follows a Black reporter as she navigates matters of race, womanhood, and loyalty while gunning for a promotion at the L.A. TV station where she works. After 33-year-old Tabitha Walker’s father left her and her mother when Tabitha was little, she grew close to her white paternal grandmother and visited her weekly at her nursing home, dreaming of a time when she could move both of them into a house. Back in the present, Tabitha’s boyfriend reveals he’s not ready to marry and be a father, so Tabitha spends the money she’d been saving for a house on freezing her eggs. Meanwhile, Tabitha’s oldest friend separates from her husband after he admits his infidelity, and another friend dates a married man and starts keeping secrets. As Tabitha rises at work, she emphasizes the importance of perspective in her reporting on issues that affect Black people, such as gentrification and encounters with police, and Allen smartly mirrors the theme of perspective with the story of Tabitha’s personal life, as Tabitha considers how her own point of view has shaped her feelings for others. Though the writing can sometimes be clunky, with overly descriptive sentences, Allen has the chops to become a terrific storyteller. There’s a lot of potential here.

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson.

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, October 2020

Wilson’s fourth outing in G-rated Regency romantic suspense (following Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey) is dense with gothic incident. As a teenager, quiet and proper Charity Halliwell fell in love with Piers Cavanagh, heir to Loxby Manor. But Charity’s parents swept her away to Ceylon, and Piers fell into disgrace. Five years later, Charity improbably returns to Loxby Manor as a houseguest—just in time to be the last person to see Piers’s sister, Seline, before the girl disappears. Was it death or a worse fate that befell her? Charity braves a sea of disapproval from the Cavanagh family and associates to get to the bottom of the mystery. There is a whiff of the retrograde in Wilson’s lily-white depiction of the era and condemnation of French revolutionary ideas. That said, the pace is brisk and the improbabilities are engaged with gusto. The result is a light, atmospheric outing.

We Knew All Along by Mina Hardy

Reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, September 2022

At the start of this bizarre domestic thriller from the pseudonymous Hardy (After All I’ve Done), unhappy housewife Jewelann Jordan encounters surgeon and former classmate Christian Campbell, who broke her heart 17 years earlier, at their 25th high school reunion. A tryst in a hotel room during the reunion proves satisfactory for one party but not the other. Back home in Kettering, Ohio, Jewelann tends to her troubled 16-year-old son, Eli, and her controlling husband, Ken, who travels often for his software-troubleshooting job. To her surprise, Christian shows up and announces that Ken has agreed to rent out their carriage house to him. Jewelann, who keeps many secrets from her husband, ranging from a shopping addiction to her unresolved feelings for Christian, worries Ken will discover everything. Meanwhile, Ken’s increasingly odd behavior leads Jewelann to conclude that he’s having an affair. Readers will struggle to like the whiny and shallow Jewelann, though she becomes more sympathetic as she learns some disturbing things about Ken and Christian. The initially slow plot takes a dizzying number of unlikely twists that lead to a rushed if happy ending. This is for those who have a high tolerance for melodrama.

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