February 2024


Fitzgerald, DeborahHer sunburnt country
Hayes, ElizabethI’m Liz Hayes
Miller, AlexA kind of confession
Regan, IlianaFieldwork

Fieldwork by Iliana Regan

In her poignant memoir, chef Regan (Burn the Place: A Memoir) traces her path from growing up on a farm in Indiana to founding a bed and breakfast in northern Michigan. As the youngest of four sisters, Regan foraged in the woods for food, and knew from an early age that she didn’t identify as a girl: “I always thought I was a boy, even before Dad ever said I was,” she writes. In 2019, she opened the Milkweed Inn with her wife, Anna, and the business allowed her to honor her upbringing and flex her creativity. Regan’s lyrical prose evokes the natural world; recalling family dynamics during her childhood, she describes her mom as “the kitchen,” her dad as “the forest,” and herself as “the sheep’s head—wily, twisting—and the honey mushroom—stretching, symbiotic.” She also vividly describes time spent in the forest (“The echo through the trees is like a conch shell over your ear”), but the narrative excels when Regan recalls the grief she felt over the loss of her older sister, who died in jail at the age of 39: “Grief may be the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and at the same time the only thing that keeps me going.” Readers will be moved. Publisher’s Weekly, November 2022

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Beaumont, JackDark arena
Bergmoser, GabrielThe inheritance
Cole, TejuTremor
Conway, EllyArgylle
Cunningham, MichaelDay
Dixon, Joanne M.A shadow at the door
Harmel, KristinThe forest of vanishing stars
Hearst, Elise EstherOne day we’re all going to die
Heath, RebeccaThe dinner party
Hill, NathanWellness
Kassab, YumnaPolitica
Kinsella, SophieThe burnout
Lahiri, JhumpaRoman stories
Ledwidge, MichaelThe vault
Patterson, James12 months to live
Richell, HannahThe search party
Seymour, GeraldThe best revenge
Smaill, AnnaBird life
Taranto, JuliusHow I won a Nobel Prize
Taylor, BrandonThe late Americans

The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella

The giddy latest from bestseller Kinsella (Confessions of a Shopaholic) pairs two workaholics on vacation. Sasha has reached a breaking point in her tech startup job: her crowded email inbox makes her “chest spasm” and “left eye start twitching” and she finds no relief from her company’s “employee joyfulness program.” Instead, she heads to a British seaside resort hoping for some much-needed relaxation time. It’s the offseason, so she’s sharing the beach with only one other guest, Finn, who turns out to be just as cranky and burned-out as Sasha and, in her mind, not handling it half as well. The two are initially intent on avoiding each other, but they’re brought together by mysterious, anonymous messages written in the sand on the beach and addressed to them. As they investigate—and commiserate about their jobs—sparks fly and a relationship blossoms. The slow pace may frustrate some romance fans, but Kinsella peppers in plenty of humor as the protagonists share childhood memories and reach for happiness together. The banter is snappy, but what really sets this romance apart is its message of carving out time for life’s simple pleasures. Kinsella’s fans will not be disappointed. Publisher’s Weekly, July 2023


Tremor by Teju Cole

Critic and novelist Cole (Open City) explores such philosophical questions as, “How is one to live without owning others? Who is this world for?” in his remarkable and experimental latest. It begins like autofiction; a 40-something photographer and Harvard art history professor named Tunde, who is of Nigerian descent, meditates on authenticity and colonialism while shopping for antiques with his wife in Maine, where he buys a ci wara headdress from West Africa for $250, its only difference from those that go for six figures being its lack of “provenance.” Cole then takes a thrilling point-of-view swerve by addressing a mysterious “you” character, an unnamed friend of Tunde’s who died three years earlier. Another turn comes in the form of a lecture Tunde gives at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he poses discomfiting questions about the white art world’s paternalistic attitudes toward African art. Tunde also interrogates his own classism, remembering how as a young man he photographed African street vendors in Paris and incurred their rage, and explores his passion for what Americans call “world music,” including desert blues and Malian pop. Elsewhere, the narrative departs from Tunde and gives voice, successively, to 24 residents of contemporary Lagos, their vignettes depicting a taxi driver’s capricious client, a woman’s legal battle with her sexist siblings over their family estate, and a breathtaking description of a painter making public and ephemeral art on a bridge. Everything hangs together brilliantly, due to Cole’s subtle provocations and his passion for art and music. It’s a splendid feast for the senses. Publisher’s Weekly, August 2023

12 Months to Live by James Patterson

A Long Island attorney locked in the most crucial trial of her career learns that she has—well, you know. All things considered, things have been going pretty well for Jane Smith. Sure, she’s twice divorced; she’s not all that close to her sister, Brigid, who also has cancer; and Rob Jacobson, the client accused of killing Mitch and Kathy Gates and their teenage daughter, Laurel, is a lying piece of trash. But Jane and her investigator, tavern owner Jimmy Cunniff, have just been asked to look again into the high-profile Carson case, involving another family of three who were shot dead some years ago. Although she’s far from certain that Jacobson is innocent, Jane’s never yet lost a case, and she doesn’t intend to lose this one. She responds to the mountain of forensic evidence presented by Suffolk County D.A. Kevin Ahearn, who’s also never lost a case, by crowing that there’s no motive, until suddenly she’s confronted with a compelling motive and a whole new collection of lies that bring her up against crooked ex-cop Joe Champi, who may not have killed himself after all, and get Jimmy shot twice and beaten once, as if there were nothing else for him to be doing. Patterson seems entirely absent from this collaboration, which reads a lot more like Lupica, and not top-drawer Lupica. The overstuffed plot never seems any more believable than Jane’s damn-the-torpedoes response to her worsening symptoms. But it’s hard not to sympathize with an overstressed attorney who insists on performing herself daily because “crazy is kind of my thing.” As fast-moving and forgettable as that fly you keep swatting in vain. Kirkus Reviews, August 2023

The Search Party by Hannah Richell

The appealing latest from Richell (The River Home) injects new life into a familiar narrative scaffolding. In a prologue, a girl jumps off the edge of a cliff after an unidentified man urges her to do so. The action then shifts to an interview between the Cornish police and Dominic Davies, a Simon Cowell–like judge on the fictional reality TV show Star Search, about an unspecified tragedy. Davies says that he and his family were invited to visit his university friend, Max Kingsley, at a new glamping resort he’d set up with his wife, Annie, in rural England. After Davies concedes that he thinks everyone at that gathering did things they regret, Richell rewinds the narrative back two days to flesh out what led to the police interrogation, alternating perspectives and highlighting what each character eventually shares with Cornish authorities. She cleverly doles out key details in increments: Annie asks for news from the local hospital during her interrogation; several characters refer to the findings of a search party before Richell reveals what they are. While the book’s Rashomon structure is hardly original, Richell utilizes it well, providing her large cast with distinct voices and insights. It’s a diverting puzzle. Publisher’s Weekly, November 2023


Bird Life by Anna Smaill

Magic, mental illness, and sorrow drive this powerful offering from New Zealander Smaill (The Chimes). After Yasuko Kinoshita’s adult son, Junichiro, moves out of their shared apartment in Tokyo, Yasuko feels the return of a mystic power she’d long forgotten. Driven by a prophecy from a peacock (“We are sending you a girl,” the bird tells her) and looking to fill the void left by Junichiro, Yasuko befriends Dinah Glover, a visiting New Zealander and fellow English instructor at Saitama Denki University. As the relationship between the two women deepens, they divulge their tragic pasts to each other—Yasuko’s escape from an abusive marriage; the suicide of Dinah’s disturbed twin brother, Michael. Eventually, Yasuko uses her power to help bring Michael back from the dead. All is upended when Dinah, hoping to repay her friend, locates the absent Junichiro, who paints a very different picture of his mother than the one Dinah has come to believe. Ambiguity creeps in: is Yasuko a powerful psychic, a manic depressive, or both? Smaill excels equally at emotional drama, magical realism, and horror. Readers will find much to love. Publisher’s Weekly, November 2023

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Groff, LaurenThe vaster wilds
Lindsay, KieraWild love
Pook, LizzieMaude Horton’s Glorious Revenge

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff

Groff’s extraordinary latest (after Matrix) tracks the life of an adolescent servant girl who flees a Jamestownesque settlement in colonial America and sets out across the wilderness. Traveling in winter, the unnamed narrator sustains herself by hunting and gathering. Despite the harsh conditions, she delights in the natural scenery, which Groff depicts with wrenching beauty (“she saw in the dim and silvery light the wind lifting lighter snow and sculpting it into a shining city with rooftops and chimneys and a steeple and even the smoke of fires merrily ascending from the chimneys toward heaven”). Through the girl’s memories, the reader learns she was adopted at four from a parish poorhouse in England by a well-off woman and her husband and was tormented by the couple’s older son. Several years later, the husband dies and the woman marries an ambitious minister. They force the girl to accompany them to the New World and care for their newborn baby. The colony turns out to be a godforsaken place wracked by illness, lack of food, and violent confrontations with Indigenous people. There are many exciting episodes—the narrator encounters a bear, a wolf, and an unruly former Jesuit priest who also subsists in the wild—and the staggering ending reveals the details surrounding her escape. Groff builds and maintains suspense on multiple levels, while offering an unflinching portrayal of her heroine’s desperation and will to survive. This is a triumph. Publisher’s Weekly, May 2023

Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pook

Pook (Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter) delivers a brilliant historical about a woman’s search for the truth behind her sister’s death during an Arctic expedition. After a tantalizing prologue, Constance Horton, 20, disguises herself as a cabin boy to join the Makepeace on its 1849 journey to the Arctic in search of missing explorer Sir John Franklin, who sought the fabled Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Two years later, Constance’s sister, Maude, receives a letter stating only that Constance died by “misadventure.” Maude refuses to accept such a vague explanation, even though the British Admiralty is reluctant to provide her with further details about the accident. Eventually, a clerk surreptitiously hands over the diary that Constance kept while aboard the Makepeace. In it, Maude finds entries that cast suspicion on expedition scientist Edison Stowe. She cozies up to Stowe, accompanying him on a new—and rather grisly—business venture in order to extract whatever details she can about Constance’s death. Pook’s masterful pacing and meticulous attention to historical detail make this sing. Fans of Stuart Tarton’s high seas whodunits will be rapt. Publisher’s Weekly, November 2023

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Chapman, JuliaDate with evil
Coleman, ElizabethA dance with murder
Craven, M. W.Fearless
Finlay, AlexWhat have we done
Gerritsen, TessThe Spy Coast
Heath, JackHeadcase
Hindle, TomA fatal crossing
Marsons, AngelaBad blood
Massey, SujataThe mistress of Bhatia House
McIntosh, FionaFoul play
Moore, IanDeath and fromage
Nossett, LaurenThe professor
Patterson, JamesHolmes, Margaret and Poe
Roach, KamillePine Creek
Ryan, IainThe strip
Sten, VivecaClosed circles
Swann, LeonieThe sunset years of Agnes Sharp
Templeton, AlineBlind eye
Whish-Wilson, DavidI am already dead

The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp by Leonie Swann

This amusing ensemble cozy from Swann (Three Bags Full) features rambunctious retirees living out their twilight years at Sunset Hall, Agnes Sharp’s family home in the English village of Duck End. Sneeringly referred to by locals as a “load of senile hippies,” the residents of Sunset Hall are alarmed when the police knock on their door one afternoon. A neighbor has been shot dead on her terrace, and authorities think it might be the work of a burglar who targets elderly people. The group’s initial concern gives way to relief when the police fail to uncover another corpse they’ve been storing in their garden shed since they discovered it a few days ago and didn’t know what to do. As the group band together to solve both murders, personal secrets threaten to divide them, and each one fears they could be the next to die. Swann wittily conveys the infirmities of old age—memory lapses, vision impairment, hearing problems—alongside her characters’ flashes of insight and pluck. Though the pacing sometimes drags, cozy readers will gladly return to Sunset Hall for future installments. Publisher’s Weekly, May 2023


What Have We Done by Alex Finlay

In the prologue of this top-notch mystery thriller from Finlay (The Night Shift), five kids from Savior House, a group home for troubled teens—Jenna, Nico, Donnie, Benny, and Arty—take turns firing a gun into a shallow grave. Twenty-five years later, aging rocker Donnie is forced over the side of a cruise ship at gunpoint; an explosion traps gambling addict and reality show producer Nico in a coal mine shaft; and ex-assassin Jenna, the book’s action hero, is activated again to hit Arty, now a tech billionaire. Benny, a federal judge, has already been murdered in Chestertown, Pa., near the now-abandoned Savior House. The person who gave Jenna her assignment turns on her when Jenna intentionally botches the job. Eventually, Jenna, Nico, and Donnie—each a distinct, original character despite drawing on genre tropes—reunite to discover who’s trying to kill them and why. Amid multiple red herrings, Finlay slowly reels out his protagonists’ combined backstories. Readers will eagerly follow the maze-like plot, with its many twists and turns, to the exciting conclusion. This isn’t to be missed. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023


The Mistress of Bhatia House by Sujata Massey

Set in 1922 India, Massey’s provocative fourth entry in her Perveen Mistry series (following 2022’s The Bombay Prince) finds Perveen, Bombay’s only female solicitor, volunteering to defend a young ayah who has been arrested for inducing her own abortion. The woman denies she was ever pregnant, and as Perveen investigates, she slowly uncovers corruption, fraud, and possibly murder, all tied to the misappropriation of funds raised for a women’s hospital. Things get more complicated when Perveen’s sister-in-law, suffering from severe postpartum depression, leaves her newborn with Perveen’s parents and goes home to her mother. The complex mystery sometimes takes a backseat to Massey’s deep dive into social issues during the Raj, especially the lack of rights for women of all classes. Those matters are mostly well-handled, though—through Perveen, readers see an Oxford-educated lawyer from a privileged family plausibly contend with the sexism and racism of her time and place—and when Massey returns to the plot’s core mystery, she manages some nifty suprises. This is a transporting mystery. Publisher’s Weekly, May 2023


Death and Fromage by Ian Moore

Comedian Moore follows up Death and Croissants with another witty cozy featuring hapless former film professor Richard Ainsworth, who now operates a bed and breakfast in France’s sleepy Vallée de Follet, and his daring amateur investigator friend, Madame Valérie d’Orçay. At the outset, Richard and Valérie take a trip to a local Michelin-starred restaurant as guests of a lauded food critic. Dissatisfied with the meal, the critic revokes one of the restaurant’s stars, leading to local scandal and the suspicious suicide of the restaurant’s main supplier of goat cheese. Valérie smells a rat, and she once again ropes Richard into her unsolicited investigation. Suspects include two ego-swollen chefs and a local cheesemaker who is trying to enlarge his market share by producing vegan goat cheese. Added to the mix is the sudden appearance of Richard’s estranged wife, who has come to France to haul her wayward husband back home to England. The pacing is brisk, the jokes are plentiful, and the mystery is complex enough to satisfy diehard whodunit fans. It’s a generous helping of good fun, with authentic Gallic flavor. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2024

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Hickie, IanThe devil you knew
Holland, TomThe rest is history
Illies, FlorianLove in a time of hate

Love in a Time of Hate by Florian Illies

“What people in the ’20s desperately needed was love,” according to this kaleidoscopic English-language debut from historian Illies. Following celebrated artists of the decade as they tumble from one bed to another, Illies tracks Pablo Picasso as he flits from his former muse and lover to his former mistress, to his wife, and then repeats the cycle. Elsewhere, Marlene Dietrich sneaks quietly from her husband’s bed to roam the lesbian bars of Berlin, engaging in several affairs; Jean-Paul Sartre gets stood up at an outdoor Parisian café by Simone de Beauvoir, who will eventually become the great passion of his life; and two generations of Thomas Mann’s family write, wed, and wander in and out of love. In a narrative that meanders through the bars and the cafés of Montparnasse in Paris, studio backlots in Hollywood, the French Riviera, the streets of Berlin, and Broadway stage productions in New York, Illies demonstrates how these famous figures of the Lost Generation obsessed over and fixated on one another as the first rumbling of war haunted their imaginations. As the ’20s gave way to the ’30s, Illies shows how their thoughts turn from obsessive love to obsessive fear and agonized decisions over whether to flee or fight. Ethereal and intimate, this is an enchanting meditation on love and war. Publisher’s Weekly, September 2023

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Vuong, OceanTime is a mother
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Blake, OlivieThe atlas complex
Fawcett, HeatherEmily Wilde’s map of the Otherlands
Hobb, RobinFool’s quest
Kaner, HannahGodkiller

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett

Set in September 1910, seven months after the conclusion of Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries, the entrancing second volume in Fawcett’s Emily Wilde series focuses on her protagonist’s attempts to locate a faerie nexus in the alpine village of St. Liesl. Emily’s interest in the cozy-yet-sinister village is not strictly professional: though she aspires to publish a map of Faerie kingdoms, she also wants to help her colleague and love interest, Wendell Bambleby, find the mystical door leading back to his home realm. Joining them are straitlaced Farris Rose, the head of Cambridge’s dryadology department who is constantly threatening to fire them both, and Emily’s enthusiastic but inexperienced niece, Ariadne. The presence of these characters helps contextualize Emily’s personality, and her grumpiness plays better here than in the first installment. With Wendall’s stepmother out for his blood, their search becomes even more urgent. Along the way, they must rescue two other dryadologists who have been trapped in time. Fawcett handily expands the scope of the series, building on all that worked in the first volume and largely doing away with anything that didn’t. Upping the danger and the darkness while still retaining all the beauty of the prose, this takes Emily’s story to new heights. Publisher’s Weekly, October 2023


Godkiller by Hannah Kaner

Kaner thrusts readers into a grisly world of treacherous gods in her enthralling debut and fantasy trilogy launch. After Kissen witnesses a fire god murder her family, her hatred for all deities and thirst for revenge lead to a career as a veiga, or god killer. She has a reputation for being callous, but when Inara Craier, a young, recently orphaned noble girl, seeks Kissen’s help in finding a way to nonfatally sever the mystical bond between her and Skediceth, a “squirrel-sized” god of white lies who, unusually for this world, doesn’t have a shrine, Kissen reluctantly agrees to help, escorting the duo to Blenraden, the city of shrines. Meanwhile, the king is secretly dying, and his best friend, retired knight Elogast, vows to travel to Blenraden to find a god who will save him. Along the way, he meets Kissen, Inara, and Skediceth, and all warily agree to travel together. The road to Blenraden is perilous, and the unpredictable gods who live there are worse, but the unlikely allies have little choice but to seek the deities’ aid. Kaner’s bewitching world forms an ideal backdrop to the adventures of her dynamic and appealing cast. This marks Kaner as a writer to watch. Publisher’s Weekly, May 2023

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Andrews, KerriWanderers
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New additions to eBooks at SMSA

eBooks & Audiobooks help


General novelsDay, BeccaThe secrets we buried
General novelsGarbera, KatherineThe bookbinder’s guide to love
General novelsIngelman-Sungberg, CatharinaThe little old lady strikes back
General novelsMatlin, Lisa M.The stranger upstairs
General novelsOrr, KylieThe eleventh floor
MysteryBlake, MatthewAnna O
MysteryCorson, AbbyThe concierge
MysteryDenzil, Sarah A.The housemaid
MysteryGlass, Seraphina NovaOn a quiet street
RomanceGilliland, Raquel VasquezWitch of wild things

Anna O by Matthew Blake

Former political speech writer Blake debuts with a devilishly twisty psychological thriller about a woman accused of killing her best friends and then falling into a deep sleep. Forensic psychologist Benedict Prince specializes in sleep-related crimes, studying instances of reckless driving, murder, and robbery committed while the perpetrators were asleep. His article on a possible cure for “resignation syndrome,” or involuntary extended sleep, has brought him to the attention of officials at England’s Ministry of Justice, who want Prince to revive 25-year-old editor Anna Ogilvy, so she can be tried for murder: Anna’s been asleep for several years, ever since she was found beside a bloody knife in a cabin next door to the corpses of two of her friends. As Prince attempts to stir Anna, he looks into the factors that might have driven her to violence. Interwoven throughout Prince’s investigation are chapters focused on a pseudonymous character who’s researching the case for their own obscured purposes, as well as entries from Anna’s missing diary, which cover the days leading up to the murders. Blake never lets the reader, or his hero, get comfortable, delivering one game-changing twist after another all the way through to the final sucker punch. The exhilarating results are likely to shock even seasoned thriller fans. Publishers Weekly, December 2023

The Stranger Upstairs by Lisa M. Matlin

Perky social influencer Sarah Slade capitalizes on her wildly successful advice book and career as a therapist with the purchase of the notorious Black Wood House. For reasons that remain murky, she’s obsessed with the crumbling mansion where Bill and Susan Campbell died in a gruesome murder-suicide 40 years ago. Sarah’s husband, Joe, reluctantly goes along with her ambitious plans to renovate the house, Instagram the process to promote her brand, and turn a tidy profit. But the house has other ideas: wallpaper that refuses to be removed, doors that won’t lock, stains and smells and strange sounds. Joe hates it there, much as he has come to hate Sarah. The strain is overwhelming and as her marriage and health deteriorate, bodies pile up in the back yard. As if completing a checklist, Matlin hits all the classic notes of the gothic horror genre in her debut thriller: a malevolent house, intimidating neighbors, slippery identities, lurking shadows, and a heroine whose every choice inspires readers to want to call out, “No! Don’t do that!” A spooky, pulse-pounding sleep-robber. Booklist, August 2023


Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Gilliland (How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe) mixes magical realism, sisterhood, and, of course, love into a sparkling romance that will sweep readers off their feet. Eight years after the death of Sky Flores sent her guilt-stricken older sister, Sage, running from their witchy family, Sage reluctantly returns home to Cranberry, Va., to face those she left behind. As she works to mend fences with her youngest sister, her magical ability to communicate with plants lands her a job with the local nursery, where she works side by side with Tennessee “Tenn” Reyes, her first love. Tenn and Sage were digital pen pals as teenagers, but Tenn ended that relationship before it really became serious, and he doesn’t realize that Sage and silvergirl0917 are one and the same. Though Sage tries to protect her heart by keeping her distance, Tenn’s flirting is hard to ignore. Their rekindling romance is a delight to witness while the sister story line adds heft and heart. Fans of Like Water for Chocolate and Practical Magic will be enthralled. Publisher’s Weekly, June 2023


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General NovelCoble, ColleenDark of Night
Mystery NovelArceneaux, DanielleGlory Be
Mystery NovelEllis, JoyTrick of the Night
Mystery NovelHenry, AngelaThe Perfect Affair
Mystery NovelLin, HarperA Book to Kill For
Mystery NovelPenrose, AndreaThe Diamond of London
Mystery NovelRigby, SallyThe Hidden Graves of St Ives 
Mystery NovelThompson, VictoriaMurder on Union Square
Mystery NovelTodd, MarionA Blind Eye
Science FictionRiddle, A. G.Quantum Radio

Dark of Night by Colleen Coble

Coble returns to Michigan’s upper peninsula in the largely satisfying second entry in her Annie Pederson series (after Edge of Dusk). Annie, a park ranger, assists Sheriff Mason Kaleva in the search for Michelle Fraser, whose car recently turned up abandoned in the wilderness with a bloody sheet in the trunk. Meanwhile, Annie deals with upheavals in her personal life. A paternity test reveals that Annie’s eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, was fathered by Jon, her onetime fiancé and current romantic interest, and he pushes Annie to tell Kylie, who thinks her father was Annie’s dead husband. Additionally, Taylor, an enigmatic woman who worked under an adopted identity at the resort Annie owns, claims to be Annie’s younger sister, who was abducted when Annie was nine. Taylor, who blames Annie for not saving her, feels she can be a better mother to Kylie and tricks the girl into running away with her. After Kylie realizes that Taylor has no intention of ever taking her home again, she escapes into the woods, while Annie and Jon search for her, which leads to an unexpected development in the Fraser case. There’s not much spark between Annie and Jon, but Taylor’s malice toward Annie and Annie’s struggle to empathize with Taylor after she kidnapped Kylie powerfully speak to Coble’s message on the difficulty and necessity of practicing Christian forgiveness. Series fans will find this up to snuff. Publisher’s Weekly, October 2022

Glory Be by Danielle Arceneaux

Arceneaux’s delightful debut cozy introduces Glory Broussard of Lafayette, La., a self-described “old, fat, black woman” whose weeks revolve around churchgoing and her gig as a small-time bookie. One Sunday, while she’s crunching numbers at her usual table in CC’s Coffeehouse, Glory strikes up a conversation with police officer Beau Landry, whom she used to babysit. Partway through their chat, he’s called to a crime scene at the home of Amity Gay, an activist nun and Glory’s best friend. Glory insists on coming along, and when they arrive, the pair finds Amity strangled by her habit—one end is knotted around her neck, the other tied to a doorknob. The police are quick to declare it a suicide, but Glory’s not convinced. Determined to find justice, she employs the help of her daughter, Delphine, a high-powered New York City lawyer, and launches an investigation that takes them through Lafayette’s elite circles in search of answers. Arceneaux successfully avoids a mountain of cozy clichés—no bookshops, baked goods, or love interest for Glory—and works potent critiques of Southern racism into her well-oiled plot. Readers will be eager to spend more time with Glory in future installments. Publisher’s Weekly, August 2023


Quantum Radio by A.G. Riddle

Equal parts science fiction, political thriller, and alternative history, Riddle’s (Lost in Time) latest is a fast-paced adventure centered on the discovery of a pattern found among subatomic particles–a discovery that could change the course of history. Tyson Klein is a physicist at CERN who discovers the pattern in the Large Hadron Collider. What he doesn’t expect is to become a key player in a race against the clock as the U.S. government attempts to beat a shadowy organization in translating the “quantum radio’s” enigmatic message. Narrator Ray Porter expertly personifies the novel’s host of international characters with unique and distinct accents for each; this attention to detail further enlivens this expansive tale. Porter’s not shy about flexing his range as an actor to compel listeners even deeper into the twists and turns of the story. Those looking for Jason Bourne with a touch of Michael Crichton will find much to love in this intelligent and gripping series starter. Riddle’s intricate story and Porter’s masterful performance are a match made in heaven in this unputdownable thriller where science and history collide. Library Journal, June 2023


Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson

At the start of Edgar-finalist Thompson’s solid 21st mystery set in gaslight-era New York City (after 2017’s Murder in the Bowery), Sarah Brandt and her PI husband, Frank Malloy, are finalizing the adoption of Catherine, a child Sarah rescued and has been raising as her own. All the couple have to do is get Catherine’s legal guardian—actor Parnell Vaughn, who doesn’t want anything to do with the girl—to relinquish his parental rights. When Vaughn’s fiancée insists on a financial settlement, Sarah and Frank agree. But when Frank brings the money to Vaughn, Frank finds him beaten to death and becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Sarah and Frank must go behind the scenes of the cutthroat theater district to uncover the real killer. Meanwhile, Sarah is busy with the opening of a maternity clinic on the Lower East Side that will provide free services for women in need. Thompson’s command of period detail and her insight into such issues as the era’s blatant sexism put her in the forefront of historical mystery writers. Publisher’s Weekly, March 2018

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