January’s Best New Fiction

January 1, 2014

 

January’s fiction brings debut books you won’t want to miss and novels from some of your favorite authors. There’s more than enough here to keep readers happy all month long, and then some. Click on the title to place your hold in the LION system.

alenaAlena by Rachel Pastan
In an inspired restaging of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca , a young curator finds herself haunted by the legacy of her predecessor. At the Venice Biennale, an aspiring assistant curator from the Midwest meets Bernard Augustin, the wealthy, enigmatic founder of the Nauk, a cutting-edge art museum on Cape Cod. It’s been two years since the tragic death of the Nauk’s chief curator, Augustin’s childhood friend and muse, Alena. When Augustin offers the position to our heroine (who, like du Maurier’s original, remains nameless) she dives at the chance and quickly finds herself well out of her depth.

andrewsbrainAndrew’s Brain by E L Doctorow
Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves. Written with psychological depth and great lyrical precision, this suspenseful and groundbreaking novel delivers a voice for our times–funny, probing, skeptical, mischievous, profound.

appletreeyardApple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
Yvonne Carmichael, a renowned geneticist, public authority, and happily married mother of two, sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Across the courtroom, not meeting her eye, sits her alleged accomplice. He wears the beautiful pin-striped suit he wore on their first meeting in the Houses of Parliament, when he put his hand on her elbow and guided her to a deserted chapel, where she began to undress. As the barrister’s voice grows low and sinuous, Yvonne realizes she’s lost herself and the life she’d built so carefully to a man who never existed at all.

ascendantThe Ascendant by Drew Chapman
Hidden deep within the figures tracking the ups and downs of the stock market lies a terrifying truth: America is under attack. Our government . . . our economy . . . our very way of life are in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy . . . and no one knows. Except Garrett Reilly. He has a knack for numbers. He sees patterns no one else can. His gift has made him a rising star on Wall Street. But when he notices that two hundred billion dollars’ worth of U.S. Treasury bonds are being sold off at a terrifying rate, his gift makes him the most wanted man alive. The U.S. military wants him for his extraordinary abilities. They need someone to lead a crack squad of rogue soldiers to act as the last line of defense in a war that could mean the end of everything America holds dear. And everyone else? They just want him dead.

bellecoraBelle Cora by Phillip Margulies
In the grand tradition of Moll Flanders and Vanity Fair , this is the story of a good girl who became a bad woman. At the old homestead her name is never spoken and her picture is turned to the wall, but in the vast world beyond everyone remembers her as the celebrated madam of the finest parlor house in San Francisco. Now, at the end of her life, after half a century of successfully hiding the details of her scarlet past, Belle has decided to reveal all her secrets.

CarthageCarthage by Joyce Carol Oates
Zeno Mayfield’s daughter has disappeared into the night, gone missing in the wilds of the Adirondacks. But when the community of Carthage joins a father’s frantic search for the girl, they discover the unlikeliest of suspects–a decorated Iraq War veteran with close ties to the Mayfield family. As grisly evidence mounts against the troubled war hero, the family must wrestle with the possibility of having lost a daughter forever. Carthage plunges us deep into the psyche of a wounded young corporal haunted by unspeakable acts of wartime aggression, while unraveling the story of a disaffected young girl whose exile from her family may have come long before her disappearance.

cranewifeThe Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
George Duncan is an American living and working in London. At forty-eight, he owns a small print shop, is divorced, and lonelier than he realizes. All of the women with whom he has relationships eventually leave him for being too nice. But one night he is woken by an astonishing sound a terrific keening, which is coming from somewhere in his garden. When he investigates he finds a great white crane, a bird taller than even himself. It has been shot through the wing with an arrow. Moved more than he can say, George struggles to take out the arrow from the bird’s wing, saving its life before it flies away into the night sky. The next morning, a shaken George tries to go about his daily life, retreating to the back of his store and making cuttings from discarded books a harmless, personal hobby when through the front door of the shop a woman walks in. Her name is Kumiko, and she asks George to help her with her own artwork. George is dumbstruck by her beauty and her enigmatic nature, and begins to fall desperately in love with her.

deadintheirvaultedarchesThe Dead In Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself.

executionThe Execution by Dick Wolf
A number of bodies are discovered on the United States’ border with Mexico, each carved with a bizarre symbol: a hummingbird. Detective Cecilia Garza–dubbed the Ice Queen among her colleagues at the Mexican intelligence agency because she’s famous for never showing an ounce of weakness–arrives at the scene and recognizes the image immediately; it is the calling card of a killer called Chuparosa, a man both feared and celebrated for his cunning and brutality. Known to be incorruptible in a seemingly lawless land, Detective Garza has pursued this killer for years, yet knows little about him, except that he’s merciless and heading to New York City–along with the rest of the world.

fearnothingFear Nothing by Lisa Gardner
The last thing Boston Detective D. D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear. . . . She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work. My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman. Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D. D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

gutsThe Guts by Roddy Doyle
The distinct wit and lively, authentic dialogue that are the hallmarks of Roddy Doyle’s fiction are on a full display as he reintroduces Jimmy Rabbitte in this follow-up to his beloved debut novel The Commitments . In the 1980s Jimmy Rabbitte formed the Commitments, a ragtag, blue-collar collective of Irish youths determined to bring the soul music stylings of James Brown and Percy Sledge to Dublin. Time proves a great equalizer for Jimmy as he’s now approaching fifty with a loving wife, four kids, and a recent cancer diagnosis that leaves him feeling shattered and frightened. Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay for their resurrected albums. As he battles his illness on his path through Dublin, Jimmy manages to reconnect with his own past, most notably Commitments guitarist Liam “Outspan” Foster and the still beautiful backup vocalist Imelda Quirk.

highlyunlikelyscenarioA Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel Cantor
In the not-too-distant future, competing giant fast food factions rule the world. Leonard works for Neetsa Pizza, the Pythagorean pizza chain, in a lonely but highly surveilled home office, answering calls on his complaints hotline. It’s a boring job, but he likes it–there’s a set answer for every scenario, and he never has to leave the house. Except then he starts getting calls from Marco, who claims to be a thirteenth-century explorer just returned from Cathay. And what do you say to a caller like that? Plus, Neetsa Pizza doesn’t like it when you go off script.

huntingshadowsHunting Shadows by Charles Todd
A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire becomes a crime scene when a guest is shot just as the bride arrives. Two weeks later, after a fruitless search for clues, the local police are forced to call in Scotland Yard. But not before there is another shooting in a village close by. This second murder has a witness; the only problem is that her description of the killer is so horrific it’s unbelievable. Badgered by the police, she quickly recants her story. Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge can find no connection between the two deaths. One victim was an Army officer, the other a solicitor standing for Parliament; their paths have never crossed. What links these two murders?

inthebloodIn The Blood by Lisa Unger
Lana Granger lives a life of lies. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to control­ling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers? When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways–to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her where­abouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.

inventionofwingsThe Invention Of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

keptThe Kept by James Scott
In the winter of 1897, Elspeth Howell treks across miles of snow and ice to the isolated farmstead in upstate New York where she and her husband have raised their five children. Her midwife’s salary is tucked into the toes of her boots, and her pack is full of gifts for her family. But as she crests the final hill, and sees her darkened house and a smokeless chimney, immediately she knows that an unthinkable crime has destroyed the life she so carefully built. Her lone comfort is her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, who joins her in mourning the tragedy and planning its reprisal. Their long journey leads them to a rough-hewn lake town, defined by the violence both of its landscape and of its inhabitants. There Caleb is forced into a brutal adulthood, as he slowly discovers truths about his family he never suspected, and Elspeth must confront the terrible urges and unceasing temptations that have haunted her for years. Throughout it all, the love between mother and son serves as the only shield against a merciless world.

lastdaysofcaliThe Last Days Of California by Mary Miller
Jess is fourteen years old and waiting for the world to end. Her evangelical father has packed up the family and left their Montgomery home to drive west to California, hoping to save as many souls as possible before the Second Coming. With her long-suffering mother and rebellious (and secretly pregnant) sister, Jess hands out tracts to nonbelievers at every rest stop, waffle house, and gas station along the way. As Jess’s belief frays, her teenage myopia evolves into awareness about her fracturing family. Using deadpan humor and savage charm belying deep empathy for her characters, Miller’s debut captures the angst, sexual rivalry, and escalating self-doubt of teenage life in America while announcing Miller as a fierce new voice.

lastdeadgirlThe Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan
On a rainy night in April, a chance encounter on a lonely road draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. Jana is an enigma: living in a run-down apartment and sporting a bruise on her cheek that she refuses to explain. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie until it’s too late. When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect. But as he sets out to uncover the truth about Jana, he begins to realize he’s treading a very dangerous path and that her killer is watching every move he makes.

lostdomainThe Lost Domain by Alain-Fournier
The arrival of Augustin Meaulnes at a small provincial secondary school sets in train a series of events that will have a profound effect on his life, and that of his new friend Francois Seurel. It is Seurel who recalls the impact of le grand Meaulnes, disruptive and charismatic, on his schoolmates, and the encounter that is to haunt them both. Lost, and alone, Meaulnes stumbles upon an isolated house, mysterious revels, and a beautiful girl. When he returns to Seurel it is with the fixed determination to find the house again, and the girl with whom he has fallen in love. But the dreamlike days in the lost domain are evanescent, and Meaulnes is torn between his love and competing claims of loyalty and friendship.

lostlakeLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.  That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires. It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.

mercysnowMercy Snow by Tiffany Baker
In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake. June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant neer-do-wells who live on a decrepit and cursed property, have brought her–and the town–nothing but grief. June will do anything to cover up a dark secret she discovers after the crash, one that threatens to upend her picture-perfect life, even if it means driving the Snow family out of town. But she has never gone up against a force as fierce as the young Mercy Snow. Mercy is determined to protect her rebellious brother, whom the town blames for the accident, despite his innocence.

northofbostonNorth Of Boston by Elizabeth Elo
Elisabeth Elo’s debut novel introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl with an acerbic wit and a moral compass that points due north. When the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat’s owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky. Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina, Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking#151;and Ned’s death#151;was no accident. It’s a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems.

onsuchafullseaOn Such A Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee
In a future, long-declining America, society is strictly stratified by class. Long-abandoned urban neighborhoods have been repurposed as highwalled, self-contained labor colonies. And the members of the labor class descendants of those brought over en masse many years earlier from environmentally ruined provincial China find purpose and identity in their work to provide pristine produce and fish to the small, elite, satellite charter villages that ring the labor settlement. In this world lives Fan, a female fish-tank diver, who leaves her home in the B-Mor settlement (once known as Baltimore), when the man she loves mysteriously disappears. Fan’s journey to find him takes her out of the safety of B-Mor, through the anarchic Open Counties, where crime is rampant with scant governmental oversight, and to a faraway charter village, in a quest that will soon become legend to those she left behind.

orfeoOrfeo by Richard Powers
Composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police on his doorstep. His home microbiology lab–the latest experiment in his lifelong attempt to find music in surprising patterns–has aroused the suspicions of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid, Els turns fugitive. As an Internet-fueled hysteria erupts, Els–the “Bioterrorist Bach”–pays a final visit to the people he loves, those who shaped his musical journey. Through the help of his ex-wife, his daughter, and his longtime collaborator, Els hatches a plan to turn this disastrous collision with the security state into a work of art that will reawaken its audience to the sounds all around them.

paganlordThe Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
At the onset of the tenth century, England is in turmoil. Alfred the Great is dead and his son Edward reigns as king. Wessex survives but peace cannot hold: the Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to invade and will never rest until the emerald crown is theirs. Uhtred, once Alfred’s great warrior but now out of favor with the new king, must lead a band of outcasts north to recapture his old family home, the impregnable Northumbrian fortress Bebbanburg. Loyalties will be divided and men will fall as each Saxon kingdom is drawn into the bloodiest battle yet with the Danes–a war that will decide the fate of every king, and the entire English nation.

perfectPerfect by Rachel Joyce
Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother’s heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year-old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same. What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan. . . .

PurityOfVengeanceThe Purity Of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen
In 1987, Nete Hermansen plans revenge on those who abused her in her youth, including Curt Wad, a charismatic surgeon who was part of a movement to sterilize wayward girls in 1950s Denmark. More than twenty years later, Detective Carl Mørck already has plenty on his mind when he is presented with the case of a brothel owner, a woman named Rita, who went missing in the eighties: New evidence has emerged in the case that destroyed the lives of his two partners, the case that sent Carl to Department Q. But when Carl’s assistants, Assad and Rose, learn that numerous other people disappeared around the same weekend as Rita, Carl takes notice. As they sift through the disappearances, they get closer and closer to Curt Wad, who is more determined than ever to see the vision of his youth take hold and whose brutal treatment of Nete and others like her is only one small part of his capacity for evil.

radianceoftomorrowThe Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah
At the center of Radiance of Tomorrow are Benjamin and Bockarie, two longtime friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones. As more villagers begin to come back, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they’re beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food; a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation; and the depredations of a foreign mining company intent on sullying the town’s water supply and blocking its paths with electric wires. As Benjamin and Bockarie search for a way to restore order, they’re forced to reckon with the uncertainty of their past and future alike.

rebellionRebellion by James McGee
October 1812: Britain and France are still at war. France is engaged on two battle fronts-Spain and Russia-and her civilians are growing weary of the fight. Rebellion is brewing. Since Napoleon Bonaparte appointed himself as First Consul, there have been several attempts to either kill or overthrow him. All have failed, so far! Meanwhile in London, Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood has been seconded to the foreign arm of the Secret Service. There, he meets the urbane Henry Brooke, who tells him he’s to join a colleague in Paris on a special mission. Brooke’s agent has come up with a daring plan and he needs Hawkwood’s help to put it into action. If the plan is successful it could lead to a negotiated peace treaty between France and the allies. Failure would mean prison, torture and a meeting with the guillotine.

redrisingRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow–and Reds like him–are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class.

saintsoftheshadowSaints Of The Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus’s team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends. Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion.

secretofmagicThe Secret Of Magic by Deborah Johnson
In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South. Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country. As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic , a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past.

StandupGuyStandup Guy by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington’s newest client does not seem the type to bring mayhem in his wake. A polite, well-deported gentleman, he comes to Stone seeking legal expertise on an unusual and potentially lucrative dilemma. Stone points him in the right direction and sends him on his way, but it’s soon clear Stone hasn’t seen the end of the case. Several people are keenly interested in this gentleman’s activities and how they may relate to a long-ago crime . . . and some of them will stop at nothing to find the information they desire.

StarForMrsBlakeA Star For Mrs Blake by April Smith
The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women. They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected: a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.

StillLifeWithBreadCrumbsStill Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

ThisDarkRoadToMercyThis Dark Road To Mercy by Wiley Cash
When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter Quillby and her six-year-old sister, Ruby, are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a little town not far from the Appalachian Mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, suddenly reappears and steals them away in the middle of the night. Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and quickly turns up unsettling information linking him to a multimillion-dollar robbery. But Brady isn’t the only one hunting him. Also on the trail is Robert Pruitt, a mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, a man determined to find Wade and claim what he believes he is owed.

UnderTheWideAndStarrySkyUnder The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium–with her three children and nanny in tow–to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires.nbsp; Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.” Fanny does not immediately take to the slender young lawyer who longs to devote his life to writing–and who would eventually pen such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson’s charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair–marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness–that spans the decades and the globe.

WayOfAllFishThe Way Of All Fish by Martha Grimes
In Grimes’s new sendup of a world she knows very well, Candy and Karl, hitmen with a difference– they have scruples–once again venture into the murky Manhattan publishing scene. This time they come to the aid of a writer who is being sued by her unscrupulous literary agent, L. Bass Hess, a man determined to get a 15 percent commission for a book he didn’t sell. The contract killers join forces with publishing mogul Bobby Mackenzie and megabestselling writer Paul Giverney to rid the mean streets of Hess, not by shooting him, but by driving him crazy. They are helped by other characters from Foul Matter and a crew of new colorful personalities, including an out-of-work Vegas magician, an alligator wrangler, a glamorous Malaysian con lady, and Hess’s aunt in Everglades City, who has undergone a wildly successful sex change.

WellTemperedHeartA Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker
The sequel to the international best-selling novel The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. Almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father’s native country. Though she is a successful Manhattan lawyer, her private life is at a crossroads; her boyfriend has recently left her and she is, despite her wealth, unhappy with her professional life. Julia is lost and exhausted. One day, in the middle of an important business meeting, she hears a stranger’s voice in her head that causes her to leave the office without explanation. In the following days, her crisis only deepens. Not only does the female voice refuse to disappear, but it starts to ask questions Julia has been trying to avoid. Why do you live alone? To whom do you feel close? What do you want in life?

WhatIHadBeforeIHadYouWhat I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell
Olivia Reed was fifteen when she left her hometown of Ocean Vista on the Jersey Shore. Two decades later, divorced and unstrung, she returns with her teenage daughter, Carrie, and nine-year-old son, Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Distracted by thoughts of the past, Olivia fails to notice when Daniel disappears from her side. Her frantic search for him sparks memories of the summer of 1987, when she exploded out of the cocoon of her mother’s fierce, smothering love and into a sudden, full-throttle adolescence, complete with dangerous new friends, first love, and a rebellion so intense that it utterly recharted the course of her life.

WindIsNotARiverThe Wind Is Not A River by Brian Payton
Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing war that claimed his own flesh and blood. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, after an argument they both regret, he heads north from Seattle to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government. While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as “the Birthplace of Winds.” There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese. Alone in their home three thousand miles to the south, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband’s disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is-and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows.

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