The Suspect by Fiona Barton
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared? Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.
The Golden Tresses of the Dead: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger.
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Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros by Michael Chabon
In Bookends, Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon offers a compilation of pieces about literature—age-old classics as well as his own—that presents a unique look into his literary origins and influences, the books that shaped his taste and formed his ideas about writing and reading.
Chabon asks why anyone would write an introduction, or for that matter, read one. His own daughter Rose prefers to skip them. Chabon’s answer is simple and simultaneously profound: “a hope of bringing pleasure for the reader.” Likewise, afterwords—they are all about shared pleasure, about the “pure love” of a work of art that has inspired, awakened, transformed the reader. Ultimately, this thought-provoking compendium is a series of love letters and thank-you notes, unified by the simple theme of the shared pleasure of discovery, whether it’s the boyhood revelation of the most important story in Chabon’s life (Ray Bradbury’s “The Rocket Man”); a celebration of “the greatest literary cartographer of the planet Mars” (Edgar Rice Burroughs, with his character John Carter); a reintroduction to a forgotten master of ghost stories (M. R. James, ironically “the happiest of men”); the recognition that the worlds of Wes Anderson’s films are reassembled scale models of our own broken reality (as is all art); Chabon’s own rude awakening from the muse as he writes his debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; or a playful parody of lyrical interpretation in the liner notes for Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special, the true purpose of which, Chabon insists, is to “spread the gospel of sensible automotive safety and maintenance practices.”
The Kingdom of Copper by S. A Chakraborty
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
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The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli
Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…
As Raina’s life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams.
Golden State by Ben H. Winters
In a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else, Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, a nation standing where California once did, a place where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life and governance impossible.
In the Golden State, knowingly contradicting the truth is the greatest crime–and stopping those crimes is Laz’s job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths, to “speculate” on what might have happened.
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Holy Lands by Amanda Sthers
As comic as it is deeply moving, Holy Lands chronicles several months in the lives of an estranged family of colorful eccentrics. Harry Rosenmerck is an aging Jewish cardiologist who has left his thriving medical practice in New York–to raise pigs in Israel. His ex-wife, Monique, ruminates about their once happy marriage even as she quietly battles an aggressive illness. Their son, David, an earnest and successful playwright, has vowed to reconnect with his father since coming out. Annabelle, their daughter, finds herself unmoored in Paris in the aftermath of a breakup.
Harry eschews technology, so his family, spread out around the world, must communicate with him via snail mail. Even as they grapple with challenges, their correspondence sparkles with levity. They snipe at each other, volleying quips across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and Europe, and find joy in unexpected sources.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work–primarily done by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.
While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of overworked and underpaid Americans.
Talent by Juliet Lapidos
Anna Brisker is a twenty-nine-year-old graduate student in English at Collegiate University who can’t seem to finish her dissertation. Her project: an intellectual history of inspiration. And yet, for the first time, Anna has found herself utterly uninspired. Rather than work on her thesis, she spends her days eating Pop-Tarts and walking the gritty streets of New Harbor, Connecticut.
As Anna’s adviser is quick to remind her, time is running out. She needs the perfect case study to anchor her thesis-and she needs it now. Amid this mounting pressure, Anna strikes up a tenuous friendship with the niece of the famous author Frederick Langley. Freddy wrote three successful books as a young man, then published exactly nothing for the rest of his wayward, hermetic life. Critics believe Freddy suffered from an acute case of writer’s block, but his niece tells Anna that there’s more to the story: When he died, he was at work on something new.
With exclusive access to the notebooks of an author who was inspired, uninspired, and potentially reinspired, Anna knows she’s found the perfect case study. But as fascination with Freddy blooms into obsession, Anna is drawn irrevocably into the criminal machinations of his sole living heir.
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The Burning Island by Hester Young
Journalist Charlie Cates has always believed in facts, in what can be proved–her career depends on it. Which is why she has never truly accepted the supernatural visions that guide her to children in danger. After her work on a high-profile missing-child case brings unwanted fame, she reluctantly flees to the lush Big Island of Hawaii with her best friend, Rae. Determined to avoid her disturbing visions, Charlie begins writing what seems to be a harmless interview of a prominent volcanologist, Victor Nakagawa. But her hopes for a peaceful vacation are soon dashed by haunting dreams of a local girl who went missing six weeks earlier.
In the small and sleepy town of Kalo Valley, Charlie and Rae come to realize that even paradise has its ugly secrets, and the Nakagawa family is no exception. In order to find the missing teenager and stop a dangerous predator from striking again, Charlie is forced to embrace the gift she has always tried to conceal. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, and the closer Charlie gets to the truth, the more distant her chances of ever leaving the island alive.
The Current by Tim Johnston
In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scene—half frozen but alive.
What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may still live among them.
Determined to find answers, the surviving young woman soon realizes that she’s connected to the earlier unsolved case by more than just a river, and the deeper she plunges into her own investigation, the closer she comes to dangerous truths, and to the violence that simmers just below the surface of her hometown.
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