Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.
A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.
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The Divines by Ellie Eaton
The girls of St John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys, and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cuttingly humorous in the way that only teenage girls can be. For Josephine, now in her thirties, the years at St John were a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shuttered its doors in disgrace.
Yet now Josephine inexplicably finds herself returning to her old stomping grounds. The visit provokes blurry recollections of those doomed final weeks that rocked the community. Ruminating on the past, Josephine becomes obsessed with her teenage identity and the forgotten girls of her one-time orbit. With each memory that resurfaces, she circles closer to the violent secret at the heart of the school’s scandal. But the more Josephine recalls, the further her life unravels, derailing not just her marriage and career, but her entire sense of self.
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Pianos and Flowers: Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind by Alexander McCall Smith
In these fourteen delightful tales, Alexander McCall Smith imagines the lives and loves behind some of the everyday people featured in pictures from the London Sunday Times photographic archive. A young woman finds unexpected love while perusing Egyptian antiquities. A family is forever fractured when war comes to Penang, in colonial Malaysia. Iron Jelloid tablets help to reveal a young man’s inner strength. And twin sisters discover that romance can blossom anywhere—even at the altar.
A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman
At seventeen years old, James and Amelia can feel the rest of their lives beginning. They have got this summer and this summer alone to experience the extraordinary. But they didn’t expect to find it in a house at the bottom of a lake.
The house is cold and dark, but it’s also their own. Caution be damned, until being carefree becomes dangerous. For the teens must decide: swim deeper into the house–all the while falling deeper in love? Whatever they do, they will never be able to turn their backs on what they discovered together. And what they learned: Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.
The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard
For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household’s all-black staff, along with “Miss Mamie,” the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices—the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to “civilize” boys like August.
But the Barclays fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie’s delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name “The Rib King”—using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label—Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy.
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa―a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks―alone, except for her fox companion―searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
At the Edge of the Haight by Katherine Seligman
Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, has made a family of sorts in the dangerous spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She knows whom to trust, where to eat, when to move locations, and how to take care of her dog. It’s the only home she has. When she unwittingly witnesses the murder of a young homeless boy and is seen by the perpetrator, her relatively stable life is upended. Suddenly, everyone from the police to the dead boys’ parents want to talk to Maddy about what she saw. As adults pressure her to give up her secrets and reunite with her own family before she meets a similar fate, Maddy must decide whether she wants to stay lost or be found. Against the backdrop of a radically changing San Francisco, a city which embraces a booming tech economy while struggling to maintain its culture of tolerance, At the Edge of the Haight follows the lives of those who depend on makeshift homes and communities.
Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War by Jessica Donati
In 2015, the White House claimed triumphantly “the longest war in American history is over.” But for some, it was just the beginning of a new and covert war, fought far from public view, with limited resources, little governmental oversight, and contradictory orders.
Take Hutch, a battle-worn Green Beret on his fifth combat tour in 2015, tasked with a high-stakes mission: lead a small band of men into Kunduz, recapture the city from the Taliban, and turn it over to the Afghan government. The U.S. role was meant to be a secret-after all, the war was over. Then, disaster struck. He called in an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing dozens of doctors and patients.
Or Caleb, who stepped on a bomb during a raid on a Taliban hideout in notorious Sangin. Or Andy, trapped in Marjah with a crashed Black Hawk and no air support. From Hutch to Caleb to Andy, Eagle Down is a dramatic and intimate portrayal of this ongoing forgotten war that moves from the desperate battlegrounds in muddy Afghan villages all the way to the White House.
Pulitzer Prize Finalist Jessica Donati, with big picture insight and on-the-ground grit, reveals how America came to rely on U.S. Special Forces, through successive policy directives that ramped up the war under the Obama and Trump administrations. Donati argues the covert war is failing to stabilize Afghanistan, and without a long-term plan, is undermining U.S. interests both at home and abroad.