strecker

Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Susan Strecker’s debut novel, Night Blindness was released by Thomas Dunne Books in 2014 and garnered rave reviews: “Strecker builds fine portraits.” ―Kirkus Reviews; “the characters will pull you in.” ―Booklist; “a powerful beginning and characters who are easy to connect with.” ―Library Journal. Nowhere Girl, Strecker’s next novel with Thomas Dunne Books, seems destined to make her a household name for thriller readers who enjoy strongly-detailed characters and page-turning plotlines. Kirkus Reviews praised Nowhere Girl as “compulsively readable.” Join John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner, in a conversation with Strecker about her latest psychological thriller. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. Buy your copy ahead of time for $19 at the Library, beginning March 1. Refreshments will be served. This program is free and open to all.

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3 More Quick-Read Titles

December 23, 2015

You can read any of these in an evening, or less. They’ll stick in your memory for a long time though.

Suggested by Librarian Ann Thompson:

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The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
A beautifully-written novella about the pleasure of reading with Bennett’s inimitable manner of sending up both royalty and commoners but especially commoners around royalty.

The End Of The Alphabet by C. S. Richardson
What would you do if you had only a month to live and you were deeply, hopelessly, in love with your spouse? Sorry, cue the tissue box.

Three Men In A Boat: to say nothing of the dog by Jerome K. Jerome
A classic of English humor unscathed by time.

3 Quick, And Good, Reads

December 22, 2015

The Staff’s theme this week are titles for busy folks without a lot of time to read. Today’s titles are provided by Librarian Amy Kilkenny.

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I read this book in high school, but the passage about the imagined fate of a woman with Shakespeare’s genius in Shakespeare’s day has remained with me ever since.
 
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit.
I read this book after my daughter finished it for an elementary school assignment. It raises the telling question concerning whether we truly want to live forever.
 
Academy Street by Mary Costello.
I am looking forward to reading this character study describing the thoughts and emotions of a quiet woman who moves from Ireland to New York City.

It’s a short work week at the paying job, for most of us, so we thought we’d throw out suggestions for some great quick reads because we know you’re busy too. Essex Library Staff were challenged to come up with 3 books that can be enjoyed when you don’t have time for a longer novel.

Librarian Emily Boucher’s suggestions:

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84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff:
It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm, charming, feisty love affair.

We Were Liars: E Lockhart:
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf:
A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

narrowroadAustralian author Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Fiction Prize for his novel The Narrow Road To The North. He beat out some stiff competition, especially as this year marked the first time books by authors from the United States could be considered. The Prize carries with it £50,000 and a bounce in sales that will carry over to Flanagan’s 5 previous novels as well as the other novels shortlisted for the 2014 Prize.

The other shortlisted books were:

How To Be Both by Ali Smith
How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real–and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

J by Howard Jacobson
Kevern Cohen doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. When the extravagantly beautiful Ailinn Solomons arrives in his village by a sea that laps no other shore, Kevern is instantly drawn to her. Although mistrustful by nature, the two become linked as if they were meant for each other. Together, they form a refuge from the commonplace brutality that is the legacy of a historic catastrophe shrouded in suspicion, denial, and apology, simply referred to as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED. To Ailinn’s guardian, Esme Nussbaum, Ailinn and Kevern are fragile shoots of hopefulness. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme is determined to keep them together–whatever the cost.

The Lives Of Others by Neel Mukherjee
The aging patriarch and matriarch of the Ghosh family preside over their large household, made up of their five adult children and their respective children, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. Each set of family members occupies a floor of the home, in accordance to their standing within the family. Poisonous rivalries between sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business threaten to unravel bonds of kinship as social unrest brews in greater Indian society. This is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider. The eldest grandchild, Supratik, compelled by his idealism, becomes dangerously involved in extremist political activism–an action that further catalyzes the decay of the Ghosh home.

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Paul O’Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn’t know how to live in it. He’s a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God. Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online “Paul” might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul’s quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.” Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

 

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April’s new fiction releases will provide readers with memorable characters struggling with life’s big challenges: moral dilemmas, family rivalries, and elusive love. Click on the titles to place holds in the LION catalog now before the queues get long.

 

American Romantic by Ward Just
Harry Sanders is a young foreign service officer in 1960s Indochina when a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents–ending in quiet disaster–and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman, alter the course of his life. Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before eventual assignments in Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in worn-out upper New England and looking for an escape into Harry’s diplomatic life. On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple–but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harry’s thoughts, and May has her own secrets too. As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to bridge the distances between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him.

And The Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass
Kit Noonan is an unemployed art historian with twins to help support and a mortgage to pay–and a wife frustrated by his inertia. Raised by a strong-willed, secretive single mother, Kit has never known the identity of his father–a mystery that his wife insists he must solve to move forward with his life. Out of desperation, Kit goes to the mountain retreat of his mother’s former husband, Jasper, a take-no-prisoners outdoorsman. There, in the midst of a fierce blizzard, Kit and Jasper confront memories of the bittersweet decade when their families were joined. Reluctantly breaking a long-ago promise, Jasper connects Kit with Lucinda and Zeke Burns, who know the answer he’s looking for.

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
Astonish Me is the irresistible story of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star, the great Arslan Rusakov, defect in 1975. A flash of fame and a passionate love affair follow, but Joan knows that, onstage and off, she is destined to remain in the background. She will never possess Arslan, and she will never be a prima ballerina. She will rise no higher than the corps, one dancer among many. After her relationship with Arslan sours, Joan plots to make a new life for herself. She quits ballet, marries a good man, and settles in California with him and their son, Harry. But as the years pass, Joan comes to understand that ballet isn’t finished with her yet, for there is no mistaking that Harry is a prodigy. Through Harry, Joan is pulled back into a world she thought she’d left behind–back into dangerous secrets, and back, inevitably, to Arslan.

The Ballad Of A Small Player by Lawrence Osborne
As night falls on Macau and the neon signs that line the rain-slick streets come alive, Doyle – “Lord Doyle” to his fellow players – descends into his casino of choice to try his luck at the baccarat tables that are the anchor of his current existence. A corrupt English lawyer who has escaped prosecution by fleeing to the East, Doyle spends his nights drinking and gambling and his days sleeping off his excesses, continually haunted by his past. Taking refuge in a series of louche and dimly lit hotels, he watches his fortune rise and fall as the cards decide his fate. In a moment of crisis he meets Dao-Ming, an enigmatic Chinese woman who appears to be a denizen of the casinos just like himself, and seems to offer him salvation in the form of both money and love. But as Doyle attempts to make a rare and true connection, all that he accepts as reality seems to be slipping from his grasp.

Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman
Lauren Clay has returned from a tour of duty in Iraq just in time to spend the holidays with her family. Before she enlisted, Lauren, a classically trained singer, and her brother Danny, a bright young boy obsessed with Arctic exploration, made the most of their modest circumstances, escaping into their imaginations and forming an indestructible bond. Joining the army allowed Lauren to continue to provide for her family, but it came at a great cost. When she arrives home unexpectedly, it’s clear to everyone in their rural New York town that something is wrong. But her father is so happy to have her home that he ignores her odd behavior and the repeated phone calls from an army psychologist. He wants to give Lauren time and space to acclimate to civilian life. Things seem better when Lauren offers to take Danny on a trip to visit their mother upstate. Instead, she guides them into the glacial woods of Canada on a quest to visit the Jeanne d’Arc basin, the site of an oil field that has become her strange obsession. As they set up camp in an abandoned hunting lodge, Lauren believes she’s teaching Danny survival skills for the day when she’s no longer able to take care of him. But where does she think she’s going, and what happened to her in Iraq that set her on this path?

Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber
Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love. Lauren Elliott has waited years for her long-term boyfriend, Todd, to propose, yet he seems more focused on his career than their relationship. When Lauren learns that her younger sister is pregnant before she herself even has an engagement ring, she feels overjoyed yet disheartened. Knowing she can’t put her future on hold, Lauren prepares to make a bold choice–one that leads her to a man she never dreamed she’d meet.

Bread And Butter by Michelle Wildgen
Britt and Leo have spent ten years running Winesap, the best restaurant in their small Pennsylvania town. They cater to their loyal customers; they don’t sleep with the staff; and business is good, even if their temperamental pastry chef is bored with making the same chocolate cake night after night. But when their younger brother, Harry, opens his own restaurant–a hip little joint serving an aggressive lamb neck dish–Britt and Leo find their own restaurant thrown off-kilter. Britt becomes fascinated by a customer who arrives night after night, each time with a different dinner companion. Their pastry chef, Hector, quits, only to reappear at Harry’s restaurant. And Leo finds himself falling for his executive chef-tempted to break the cardinal rule of restaurant ownership. Filled with hilarious insider detail–the one-upmanship of staff meals before the shift begins, the rivalry between bartender and hostess, the seedy bar where waitstaff and chefs go to drink off their workday– Bread and Butter is both an incisive novel of family and a gleeful romp through the inner workings of restaurant kitchens.

Can’t And Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis
A new collection of short stories from the woman Rick Moody has called “the best prose stylist in America” Her stories may be literal one-liners: the entirety of “Bloomington” reads, “Now that I have been here for a little while, I can say with confidence that I have never been here before.” Or they may be lengthier investigations of the havoc wreaked by the most mundane disruptions to routine: in “A Small Story About a Small Box of Chocolates,” a professor receives a gift of thirty-two small chocolates and is paralyzed by the multitude of options she imagines for their consumption. The stories may appear in the form of letters of complaint; they may be extracted from Flaubert’s correspondence; or they may be inspired by the author’s own dreams, or the dreams of friends. What does not vary throughout Can’t and Won’t , Lydia Davis’s fifth collection of stories, is the power of her finely honed prose. Davis is sharply observant; she is wry or witty or poignant. Above all, she is refreshing. Davis writes with bracing candor and sly humor about the quotidian, revealing the mysterious, the foreign, the alienating, and the pleasurable within the predictable patterns of daily life.

Casebook by Mona Simpson
Miles Adler-Hart starts eavesdropping to find out what his mother is planning for his life. When he learns instead that his parents are separating, his investigation deepens, and he enlists his best friend, Hector, to help. Both boys are in thrall to Miles’s unsuspecting mother, Irene, who is “pretty for a mathematician.” They rifle through her dresser drawers, bug her telephone lines, and strip-mine her computer, only to find that all clues lead them to her bedroom, and put them on the trail of a mysterious stranger from Washington, D.C. Their amateur detective work starts innocently but quickly takes them to the far reaches of adult privacy as they acquire knowledge that will affect the family’s well-being, prosperity, and sanity. Burdened with this powerful information, the boys struggle to deal with the existence of evil and concoct modes of revenge on their villains that are both hilarious and naïve. Eventually, haltingly, they learn to offer animal comfort to those harmed and to create an imaginative path to their own salvation.

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy
Across town from St. Jarlath’s Crescent, featured in Minding Frankie, is Chestnut Street, where neighbors come and go. Behind their closed doors we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, and sensibilities. Some of the unforgettable characters lovingly brought to life by Binchy are Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son; Nessa Byrne, whose aunt visits from America every summer and turns the house–and Nessa’s world–upside down; Lilian, the generous girl with the big heart and a fiancé whom no one approves of; Melly, whose gossip about the neighbors helps Madame Magic, a self-styled fortune-teller, get everyone on the right track; Dolly, who discovers more about her perfect mother than she ever wanted to know; and Molly, who learns the cure for sleeplessness from her pen pal from Chicago . . .

Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley
Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibín, Tessa Hadley possesses the remarkable ability to transform the mundane into the sublime–an eye for the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. In Clever Girl, she offers the indelible story of one woman’s life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today. Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an Englishwoman named Stella.

A Family Affair by Fern Michaels
In a city built on dreams, Trisha Holiday makes her living moving like one. But out of her dancer’s costume, she’s as down-to-earth as they come. That’s why she ignores the admiring note—and the accompanying $1000 bill—that arrives backstage after one of her ethereal performances. Yet the sender, a wealthy foreign prince, isn’t easily dissuaded. Seven years living and studying in the United States have made Malik long for the freedom to choose his own bride—and the woman he wants is Trisha.

In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
In the winter of 1996, more than a hundred women and men of diverse nationality, background, and belief gather at the site of a former concentration camp for an unprecedented purpose: a week-long retreat during which they will offer prayer and witness at the crematoria and meditate in all weathers on the selection platform, while eating and sleeping in the quarters of the Nazi officers who, half a century before, sent more than a million Jews to their deaths. Clements Olin, an American academic of Polish descent, has come along, ostensibly to complete research on the death of a survivor, even as he questions what a non-Jew can contribute to the understanding of so monstrous a catastrophe. As the days pass, tensions, both political and personal, surface among the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to healing or closure. Finding himself in the grip of emotions and impulses of bewildering intensity, Olin is forced to abandon his observer’s role and to embrace a history his family has long suppressed and with it the yearnings and contradictions of being fully alive.

Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure–a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman–a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

Mimi Malloy At Last! by Julia MacDonnell
Meet Mimi Malloy: A daughter of the Great Depression, Mimi was born into an Irish-Catholic brood of seven, and she has done her best to raise six beautiful daughters of her own. Now they’re grown, and Mimi, a divorcée, is unexpectedly retired. But she takes solace in the comforts of her new life: her apartment in the heart of Quincy, the occasional True Blue cigarette, and evenings with Frank Sinatra on the stereo and a highball in her hand. Yet her phone is arguably the busiest in greater Boston–it rings “Day In, Day Out,” as Ol’ Blue Eyes would say. Her surviving sisters love to gab about their girlhood, while her eldest daughter, Cassandra, calls every morning to preach the gospel of assisted living. And when an MRI reveals that Mimi’s brain is filled with black spots–areas of atrophy, her doctor says–it looks like she’s destined to spend her days in “one of those storage facilities for unwanted antiques.” Mimi knows her mind is (more or less) as sharp as ever, and she won’t go down without a fight.

Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell
After a family tragedy, Kate Donnelly left the Caribbean behind forever. But a series of bad management decisions has left her family’s diving and marine-recovery business drowning in red ink. Now her brother pleads with her to come back to the island nation of St Vincent. Without Kate’s financial expertise, the iconic treasure-hunting enterprise started by her grandfather will go under. Unable to say no to the little family she has left, Kate heads back to the beautiful and terrifying ocean that still haunts her nightmares. Holden Cameron was addicted to the adrenaline rush of active duty–including narrowly surviving an underwater explosives accident. The last thing the former British military diver wants is to babysit a family of thieves on a tropical island–even if they are the world-famous Diving Donnellys. But in his new civilian job, Holden must investigate the suspicious activity surrounding a Donnelly dive to recover treasure from the ancient wreck of a pirate ship. When equipment, treasure, and even divers begin to disappear, Kate and Holden form an uneasy alliance to uncover the truth. But the deeper they plummet into the mystery, the closer they come to each other.

Off Course by Michelle Huneven
The year is 1981, Reagan is in the White House, and the country is stalled in a recession. Cressida Hartley, a gifted Ph.D. student in economics, moves into her parents’ shabby A-frame cabin in the Sierras to write her dissertation. In her most intimate and emotionally compelling novel to date, Michelle Huneven–author of Blame , which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award–returns with her signature mix of fine-grained storytelling, unforgettable characters, and moral complexity.Cress, increasingly resistant to her topic (art in the marketplace), allows herself to be drawn into the social life of the small mountain community.

The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay
Vacationing at a luxurious Tuscan island resort, Nicolas Duhamel is hopeful that the ghosts of his past have finally been put to rest… Now a bestselling author, when he was twenty-four years old, he stumbled upon a troubling secret about his family – a secret that was carefully concealed. In shock, Nicholas embarked on a journey to uncover the truth that took him from the Basque coast to St. Petersburg – but the answers wouldn’t come easily. In the process of digging into his past, something else happened. Nicolas began writing a novel that was met with phenomenal success, skyrocketing him to literary fame whether he was ready for it or not – and convincing him that he had put his family’s history firmly behind him. But now, years later, Nicolas must reexamine everything he thought he knew, as he learns that, however deeply buried, the secrets of the past always find a way out.

The Plover by Brian Doyle
Declan O’Donnell has sailed out of Oregon and deep into the vast, wild ocean, having had just finally enough of other people and their problems. He will go it alone, he will be his own country, he will be beholden to and beloved of no one. No man is an island, my butt, he thinks. I am that very man . . . . But the galaxy soon presents him with a string of odd, entertaining, and dangerous passengers, who become companions of every sort and stripe. The Plover is the story of their adventures and misadventures in the immense blue country one of their company calls Pacifica. Hounded by a mysterious enemy, reluctantly acquiring one new resident after another, Declan O’Donnell’s lonely boat is eventually crammed with humor, argument, tension, and a resident herring gull. Brian Doyle’s The Plover is a sea novel, a maritime adventure, the story of a cold man melting, a compendium of small miracles, an elegy to Edmund Burke, a watery quest, a battle at sea—and a rapturous, heartfelt celebration of life’s surprising paths, planned and unplanned.

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now. But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge; gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him as tenuous as it may be. For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so.

Redeployment by Phil Klay
Phil Klay’s Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford
In 1860, Alexander Ferguson, a newly ordained vicar and amateur evolutionary scientist, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the remote Scottish island of Harris. He hopes to uncover the truth behind the legend of the selkies–mermaids or seal people who have been sighted off the north of Scotland for centuries. He has a more personal motive, too; family legend states that Alexander is descended from seal men. As he struggles to be the good pastor he was called to be, his maid Moira faces the terrible eviction of her family by Lord Marstone, whose family owns the island. Their time on the island will irrevocably change the course of both their lives, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after they are gone. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets.

The Storied Life Of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island–from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore.

Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland
Raymond Gunt likes to think of himself as a pretty decent guy-he believes in karma, and helping his fellow man, and all that other good stuff. Sure, he can be foulmouthed, occasionally misogynistic, and can just generally rub people the wrong way-through no fault of his own! So with all the positive energy he’s creating, it’s a little perplexing to consider the recent downward spiral his life has taken.Could the universe be trying to tell him something? A B-unit cameraman with no immediate employment prospects, Gunt decides to accept his ex-wife Fiona’s offer to shoot a Survivor- style reality show on an obscure island in the Pacific. With his upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, in tow, Gunt somehow suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to reenact the “Angry Dance” from the movie Billy Elliot, and finds himself at the center of a nuclear war-among other tribulations and humiliations.

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Crime at the Library has never been more plentiful. April’s new releases include series installments by favorites Colin Cotterill, Donna Leon, Stuart Woods, Nevada Barr, and Ted Bell.  You’ll also find new adventures by popular authors Nora Roberts, Andrew Gross, Mary Higgins Clark, Lisa Scottoline, Greg Iles, Iris Joahnsen and David Baldacci. Emma Donoghue makes her mystery debut with Frog Music. Also included are new books by authors you’ll enjoy getting to know better.

The Axe Factor by Colin Cotterill
Since Jimm Juree moved, under duress, with her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she misses the bright lights of Chiang Mai. Most of all, she’s missed her career as a journalist, which was just getting started. In Chiang Mai, she was covering substantial stories and major crimes. But here in Maprao, Jimm has to scrape assignments from the local online journal, the Chumphon Gazette–and be happy about it when she gets one. This time they are sending her out to interview a local farang (European) writer, a man in his late fifties, originally from England, who writes award-winning crime novels, one Conrad Coralbank. At the same time, several local women have left town without a word to anyone, leaving their possessions behind. These include the local doctor, Dr. Sumlak, who never returned from a conference, and the Thai wife of that farang writer, the aforementioned Conrad Coralbank. All of which looks a little suspicious, especially to Jimm’s grandfather, an ex-cop, who notices Coralbank’s interest in Jimm with a very jaundiced eye.

By Its Cover by Donna Leon
One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem#151;the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn’t exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.

Carnal Curiosity by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington seems to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Manhattan’s elite are beset by a series of clever crimes–and Stone is a material witness–he and his former partner Dino Bacchetti find themselves drawn into the world of high-end security and fraud, where insider knowledge and access are limited to a privileged few, and the wealthy are made vulnerable by the very systems meant to keep them safe. As Stone and Dino delve deeper into their investigation, they learn that the mastermind behind the incidents may have some intimate ties to Stone . . . and that the biggest heist is still to come.

The Cold Nowhere by Brian Freeman
Lieutenant Stride goes home to his cottage on the shore of Lake Superior, where he is confronted with a crime he cannot ignore. He discovers a young woman, Cat Mateo, hiding in his bedroom, scared and dripping wet from a desperate plunge into the icy lake. The girl isn’t a stranger to Stride; she is the daughter of a woman he tried and failed to protect from a violent husband years ago. When Cat asks Stride for protection from a mysterious person she claims is trying to kill her, Stride is driven by guilt and duty to help her. Stride’s police partner Maggie Bei doubts the homeless orphan, who has been supporting herself as a prostitute and living rough on the streets of Duluth. She marvels at how easily the hard-bitten young girl, who sleeps with a knife under her pillow, has won Stride’s trust. As Stride investigates Cat’s case off the record, Maggie’s suspicions solidify and a single question haunts the void between them: should Stride be afraid for–or of–this damaged girl?

The Collector Nora Roberts
Lila Emerson lives a free-spirited life as a New York housesitter and author of paranormal YA novels. But her peace is irrevocably shattered when she witnesses a woman being pushed through a window to her death. While assisting the police with their investigation, Lila meets artist Ash Archer, whose brother, Oliver, was initially a suspect. Police thought Oliver killed the woman and then committed suicide, but soon it becomes apparent that he was a victim himself. Ash is instantly attracted to Lila, and as the body count rises, he draws her into his world of wealth and privilege in an attempt to keep her safe.

The Dead Of Summer by Mari Jungstedt
While vacationing on the Swedish island Gotland, a young father of two is shot on the beach while jogging. Assistant commissioner Karin Jacobsson, who must lead the investigation while Anders Knutas is on vacation, is at a loss until another horrific crime is committed. Mari Jungstedt successfully combines a thrilling, raw crime novel with a multilayered relational drama.

Dead People by Ewart Hutton
Detective Sergeant Glyn Capaldi, in disgrace and exiled from Cardiff to the deep heart of rural Wales, is called to the discovery of a human skeleton at a remote site in the hills during excavation work for a new wind farm. The body is missing its head and hands, making it unidentifiable. When other bodies are uncovered, Capaldi’s superiors assume that it is either the work of a hit squad or a serial killer, and that the site is just a dumping ground. Capaldi is not convinced. To him, the remoteness of the location points to some local knowledge. However, an apparent suicide in the valley, along with incriminating evidence, appears to back-up his superiors’ theory. Believing that they have found the killer, they move the investigation to the city to try and discover the identity of the victims. Capaldi is left in place to tidy up the loose ends. He sets about trying to discover a motive among the varied characters that inhabit the area.

Deal Killer by Vicki Doudera
Multimillion-dollar listings, hefty commissions, and cutthroat deals are the name of the game for Kyle Cameron, south Florida’s stylish and driven star broker. But her fast-track life ends abruptly when she is fatally stabbed at an open house. Suspicious of the cops’ haste in blaming the infamous “Kondo Killer,” real estate agent Darby Farr puts her sharp instincts to work. Along with a disputed listing worth a cool forty million, Kyle had a shocking secret–one that could’ve sealed her violent fate. Suspects include Kyle’s estranged suicidal husband; her ex-lover, a ruthless billionaire developer; and his resentful, politically ambitious wife. And Darby’s investigating puts her at the top of the killer’s hit list.

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr
Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation–an autumn canoe trip in the to the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is thirteen. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River. When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country.

Don’t Look For Me by Loren Estleman
Amos Walker doesn’t mean to walk into trouble. But sometimes it finds him, regardless. The missing woman has left a handwritten note that said, “Don’t look for me.” Any P.I. would take that as a challenge, especially when he found out that she’d left the same message once before, when having an illicit affair. But this time it’s different. The trail leads Walker to an herbal remedies store, where the beautiful young clerk knows nothing about the dead body in the basement…or about any illegal activity that might be connected to the corpse. She is, however, interested in Walker’s body, and he discovers he’s interested in hers as well. But he can’t tarry long, for the Mafia could be involved…or maybe there’s a connection to the porno film studio where the missing woman’s former maid now works. But when two Mossad agents accost Walker–and then are brutally killed–he realizes he’s discovered a plot far darker run by someone more deadly than either the Detroit Mafia or a two-bit porn pusher.

Everything To Lose by Andrew Gross
While driving along a suburban back road, Hilary Cantor, who’s just lost her job and whose deadbeat husband has left her to care for her son who has Asperger’s, witnesses a freakish accident when a deer suddenly darts in front of the car ahead of her. The driver careens down a hill and slams into a tree. Rushing to help, she discovers the car smoking, the driver dead–and a satchel on the floor stuffed with a half million dollars. That money could prevent her family’s ruin and keep her son in school. In an instant, this honest, achieving woman who has always done the responsible thing makes a decision that puts her in the center of a maelstrom of unforeseeable consequences and life-threatening recriminations. It isn’t long before someone comes looking for the money, and as they get closer and closer to Hilary, she is pulled into a terrifying scheme involving a twenty-year-old murder, an old woman whose entire life has been washed out to sea by the storm, and a powerful figure determined to maintain the secret that can destroy him.

A Few Drops Of Blood by Jan Merete Weiss
When the bodies of two men are found, shockingly posed, in the garden of an elderly countess, Captain Natalia Monte of the Carabiniere is assigned the case. Soon she finds herself shuttling betweennbsp; Naples’ decadent art galleries and violent criminal underworld. If she is to succeed in solving the heinous crime, Natalia must deal with not only her own complicated past and allegiances, but also those of the city as a whole.

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice–if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

The Intern’s Handbook by Shane Kuhn
John Lago is a very bad guy. But he’s the very best at what he does. And what he does is infiltrate top-level companies and assassinate crooked executives while disguised as an intern. Interns are invisible. That’s the secret behind HR, Inc., the elite “placement agency” that doubles as a network of assassins for hire who take down high-profile targets that wouldn’t be able to remember an intern’s name if their lives depended on it. At the ripe old age of almost twenty-five, John Lago is already New York City’s most successful hit man. He’s also an intern at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, clocking eighty hours a week getting coffee, answering phones, and doing all the grunt work actual employees are too lazy to do. He was hired to assas-sinate one of the firm’s heavily guarded partners. His internship provides the perfect cover, enabling him to gather intel and gain access to pull off a clean, untraceable hit.

I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark
When Laurie Moran’s husband was brutally murdered, only three-year-old Timmy saw the face of his father’s killer. Five years later his piercing blue eyes still haunt Timmy’s dreams. Laurie is haunted by more-the killer’s threat to her son as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn . . .” Now Laurie is dealing with murder again, this time as the producer of a true-crime, cold-case television show. The series will launch with the twenty-year-old unsolved murder of Betsy Powell. Betsy, a socialite, was found suffocated in her bed after a gala celebrating the graduation of her daughter and three friends. The sensational murder was news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting and with the cooperation of the surviving guests that night, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when the estranged friends begin filming, it becomes clear each is hiding secrets . . . small and large. And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too . . .

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline
Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater.  On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which treatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all.

Lion Plays Rough by Lachlan Smith
Leo Maxwell always lived in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, one of San Francisco’s most ruthless and effective criminal defense lawyers. Then a gunman shot Teddy in the head. Although Teddy survived the shooting, he has been left disabled and dependent on Leo, now a criminal defense attorney practicing in Oakland. The Maxwell brothers are living together in Oakland while Leo, chafing in his role as junior attorney in his former sister-in-law’s small criminal defense firm, is on the lookout for the big case that will make his reputation. He thinks he’s found that when a mysterious woman nearly runs him down, then appears at his office to hire him to defend her brother on a murder charge. One problem: Leo hasn’t actually met the client when he sets out to investigate what seems like a hot tip on a burgeoning scandal in the Oakland Police Department.

Live To See Tomorrow by Iris Johansen
Catherine Ling is one of the CIA’s most prized operatives. Raised on the unforgiving streets of Hong Kong, she was pulled into the agency at the age of fourteen, already having accumulated more insight and secrets than the most seasoned professionals in her world. If life has taught her anything, it is not to get attached, but there are two exceptions to that rule: her son Luke and her mentor Hu Chang. When Luke was kidnapped at the age of two, it nearly broke her. Now, nine years later, her son has astonishingly been returned to her and Catherine vows never to fail him again. But when her job pulls her away from home, she relies on the brilliant and deadly Hu Chang to safeguard Luke in her absence. Now Erin Sullivan, an American journalist with mysterious ties to Hu Chang, has been kidnapped in Tibet. If Catherine doesn’t agree to spearhead the CIA rescue mission, she knows that Hu Chang himself will go, a possibility she can’t risk.

Long Man by Amy Greene
A river called Long Man has coursed through East Tennessee from time immemorial, bringing sustenance to the people who farm along its banks and who trade among its small towns. But as Long Man opens, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plans to dam the river and flood the town of Yuneetah for the sake of progress–to bring electricity and jobs to the region–are about to take effect. Just a few days remain before the river will rise, and most of the town has been evacuated. Among the holdouts is a young, headstrong mother, Annie Clyde Dodson, whose ancestors have lived for generations on her mountaintop farm; she’ll do anything to ensure that her three-year-old daughter, Gracie, will inherit the family’s land. But her husband wants to make a fresh start in Michigan, where he’s found work that will bring the family a more secure future. As the deadline looms, a storm as powerful as the emotions between them rages outside their door. Suddenly they realize that Gracie is nowhere to be found. Has the little girl simply wandered off into the rain? Or has she been taken by Amos, the mysterious drifter who has come back to Yuneetah, perhaps to save his hometown in a last, desperate act of violence?

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
Raised in the historic southern splendor of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows of honor and duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor and pillar of the community has been accused of murdering Viola Turner, the African-American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Once a crusading prosecutor, Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom, stubbornly invoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses to even speak in his own defense. Penn’s quest for the truth sends him deep into his father’s past, where a sexually charged secret lies waiting to tear their family apart. More chilling, this long-buried sin is only a single thread in a conspiracy of greed and murder involving the vicious Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK controlled by some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the state.

Notorious by Alison Brennan
Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past. When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O’Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets. Now Max is home for Kevin’s funeral–after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She’s finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she’s not prepared for Kevin’s sister to stubbornly insist that he didn’t kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max’s old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin’s troubled life, but she agrees to do both.

The Poor Boy’s Game by Dennis Tafoya
When US Marshal Frannie Mullen gets one of her best friends shot during a routine apprehension, her career is over. Still reeling from the loss, Frannie is trying to sort out her feelings for Wyatt, the reformed outlaw who loves her, and to support her newly-sober sister, Mae, as she struggles with the fallout of their unstable, violent childhood. Their father Patrick Mullen is a thug, a vicious enforcer for a corrupt Philadelphia union, and when he escapes from prison, bodies of ex-rivals and witnesses begin piling up. Now Frannie is suspected as an accomplice in his escape and targeted by shadowy killers from the Philadelphia underworld. Unsure who to trust, drawing on the skills she’s learned as a Marshal and her training as a boxer, Frannie is forced to fight to protect her shattered sister and Patrick’s pregnant girlfriend from the most dangerous criminal she’s ever faced–her own father.

Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman
Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood. On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in. Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind–but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her.

Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman
A riveting tale from the author of The Orphanmaster about a wild girl from Nevada who lands in Manhattan’s Gilded Age society. Jean Zimmerman’s new novel tells of the dramatic events that transpire when an alluring, blazingly smart eighteen-year-old girl named Bronwyn, reputedly raised by wolves in the wilds of Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates, an outlandishly wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society. Bronwyn hits the highly mannered world of Edith Wharton era Manhattan like a bomb. A series of suitors, both young and old, find her irresistible, but the willful girl’s illicit lovers begin to turn up murdered.

The Target by David Baldacci
The President knows it’s a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he would face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel. Together, Robie and Reel’s talents as assassins are unmatched. But there are some in power who don’t trust the pair. They doubt their willingness to follow orders. And they will do anything to see that the two assassins succeed, but that they do not survive.

Warriors by Ted Bell
British counterspy Lord Alexander Hawke must rescue a kidnapped American scientist and catch a villainous megalomaniac–a man obsessed with horrifying experiments in state-of-the-art warfare–in Ted Bell’s latest mesmerizing, high-action thriller in his New York Times bestselling series, reminiscent of the very best of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, and Daniel Silva On the streets of Washington, D.C., a brilliant scientist in the high-tech military industry, the brains behind a revolutionary fighter aircraft prototype in development by the Pentagon, is snatched by masked thugs–along with his wife and children–and disappears without a trace. Now, five years later, an elderly professor at Cambridge University has been murdered, a victim of bizarre, ancient Chinese torture methods. Alex Hawke teams up with former chief inspector Ambrose Congreve, his Scotland Yard colleague and friend, to find the killer, but this death is merely the opening gambit in a tense and lethal game of geopolitical brinkmanship.

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There really is something for everyone in the forthcoming fiction in February; books by for your favorite authors and terrific debuts too. Love stories, naturally, appear in the month of Valentines accompanied by medical, espionage, and crime thrillers. Ghost stories, historical fiction, fantasy and a wee bit of science fiction round out the group. Click on the title to place a hold–some of the well-known names already have holds queues.

After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
Working a 26-year-old cold case involving the murder of a convicted felon’s mistress, retired Baltimore detective Roberto Sanchez becomes tangled up in a web of bitterness, jealousy, and greed that spans 30 years and connects five women whose lives will never be the same once the truth is exposed.

Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore
From the author of Birds In America…Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection . . . stories that show people coping with large dislocation in their lives, with risking a new path to answer the desire to be in relation–to someone.

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
A latest collaboration by the best-selling author of the Stephanie Plum series and the best-selling author of the Monk series finds FBI agent Kate O’Hare once again forced to covertly team up with brilliant con man Nicholas Fox to take down a big-league criminal.

The Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
When the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case. But once he arrives Harry discovers that this case is about much more than one random murder.

Concealed In Death by J D Robb
When her husband discovers evidence of 12 murders while demolishing a former New York shelter for troubled teens, Lieutenant Eve Dallas tracks down the stories of each victim only to realize that they are connected by someone Eve knows.

The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berensen
Unable to prevent the assassination of a CIA station chief by Iranian hostiles who are allegedly plotting a nuclear attack on the United States, John Wells goes undercover to discern the truth on an assignment that takes him from Guatemala and Thailand to Hong Kong and Istanbul.

The Daring Ladies Of Lowell by Kate Alcott
Moving to the mill city of Lowell in 1832 to escape farm life, young Alice is disillusioned by the local factory’s harsh working conditions and struggles to advocate on their behalf while recklessly falling in love with the mill owner’s son, a situation that is complicated by a murder and sensational trial.

This Dark Road To Mercy by Wiley Cash
After their mother dies unexpectedly, 12-year-old Easter and her 6-year-old sister Ruby are kidnapped by their errant father Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, while their court appointed guardian races against time to find them before a vengeful killer does.

The Free by Willy Vlautin
Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again. Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy’s group home, works two jobs yet still can’t make ends meet. He’s lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative–and dangerous–proposition. Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.

The Ghost Of The Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin
In 1872 the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo was intact and there was no sign of struggle, but the crew was gone. They were never found. This maritime mystery lies at the center of an intricate narrative branching through the highest levels of late-nineteenth-century literary society. While on a voyage to Africa, a rather hard-up and unproven young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle hears of the Mary Celeste and decides to write an outlandish short story about what took place. This story causes quite a sensation back in the United States, particularly between sought-after Philadelphia spiritualist medium Violet Petra and a rational-minded journalist named Phoebe Grant, who is seeking to expose Petra as a fraud.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson
When Liana Dector, a woman who is possibly a cold-blooded killer wanted by the police, storms into his favorite Boston tavern demanding his help, George Foss, unable to say “no” to his first love, is drawn into a world of murder, betrayal and secrets from which there is no escape.

The Good Luck Of Right Now by Matthew Quick
When his mother dies, 38-year-old Bartholomew Neil, who doesn’t know how to be on his own, discovers a letter in his mother’s underwear drawer that causes him to write a series of highly intimate letters to actor Richard Gere, while embarking on a quest to find out where he belongs.

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Greene
Found mentally altered in Central Park, the headmaster of an elite boarding school imparts a story that is shaped by complicated memories, the evolution of a loving relationship and a tragedy he cannot comprehend. By the award-winning author of Envious Moon.

I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira
The best-selling author of My Name is Mary Sutter presents a tale inspired by the romance between Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas that finds young Mary struggling with self-doubt after being rejected by the Paris Salon before entering into a tempestuous relationship with a fellow artist.

Killer by Jonathan Kellerman
Disregarding a death threat from an irate doctor who has been denied custody of a baby because of his court report, psychologist Alex Delaware is shocked to learn that a hit has been taken out on him, that the doctor has been found murdered and that the baby has been kidnapped. By the best-selling author of Guilt.

Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li
A tale set in America and China follows the experiences of three people who in their youths were involved in a mysterious accident that resulted in a friend’s fatal poisoning and who years later are haunted by the possibility that one of them actually committed a murder. By the award-winning author of The Vagrants.

The King’s Marauder by Dewey Lambdin
Ordered to conduct raids along the Spanish coast to address growing discontent in the spring of 1807, Captain Lewrie finds the mission complicated by an incompetent officer, a lurking Secret Branch agent and violent adversaries.

The Mangle Street Murders by Martin Kasasian
After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country’s most famous private detective.It is 1882 and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: a young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect. The victim’s mother is convinced of her son-in-law’s innocence, and March is so touched by her pleas she offers to cover Sidney’s fee herself.The investigations lead the pair to the darkest alleys of the East End: every twist leads Sidney Grice to think his client is guilty; but March is convinced that he is innocent.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Stranded on Mars by a dust storm that compromised his space suit and forced his crew to leave him behind, astronaut Watney struggles to survive in spite of minimal supplies and harsh environmental challenges that test his ingenuity in unique ways.

Moving Target by Judith Jance
B. Simpson teams up with Sister Anselm to investigate a suspicious accident that has left a teen prison inmate severely burned, while in England, Ali Reynolds investigates the decades-old murder of Leland’s father. By the best-selling author of the J. P. Beaumont series.

The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
The daughter of a Coney Island boardwalk curiosities museum’s front man pursues an impassioned love affair with a Russian immigrant photographer who after fleeing his Lower East Side Orthodox community has captured poignant images of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. By the best-selling author of Here on Earth.

Private L.A. by James Patterson
When Hollywood’s biggest superstar couple disappears without a word from their ranch, private investigator Jack Morgan confronts dangerous secrets to expose an underworld of desperation and deception. Murder is only the opening scene.

The Red Road by Denise Mina
Preparing to testify against a violent arms dealer, police detective Alex Morrow finds her efforts challenged by a privileged Scottish lawyer’s money laundering scheme and a vengeful woman prisoner. By the award-winning author of The End of the Wasp Season.

RedDevil 4 by Eric Leuthardt
A debut novel based on cutting-edge research follows the efforts of an obsessed neurosurgeon who is forced to set aside his personal and professional goals to help a technophobic detective investigate a string of brutal killings being committed by prominent citizens with no history of violence.

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz
Returning 13 years after an embarrassing incident from her teens to the hometown of her beloved late aunt, forensic genealogist Lucy Sheridan makes shocking discoveries about her aunt’s death, the disappearance of a cold-blooded local and an attractive former cop. By the best-selling author of Dream Eyes.

Somerset by Leila Meacham
Follows the lives of two antebellum southerners, Silas Toliver and his best friend Jeremy Warwick, as they head into a new territory known as “Texas” in search of black gold in this prequel to the best-selling novel Roses.

The Swan Gondola by Timothy Shaffert
Feeling apprehensive about how the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair will change him and his Wild West city, ventriloquist and con man Ferret Skerritt falls in love with traveling actress Cecily, who discounts their relationship until the night they share a fateful gondola ride. By the author of The Coffins of Little Hope.

That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay
A lonely British woman strikes up a pen pal friendship with a successful American author and they offer each other help and support with their relationship dramas before agreeing to finally meet up in Paris. From the author of The View From Here.

Thirty Girls by Susan Minot
Forced to witness and commit unspeakable atrocities after being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, Ugandan teen Esther struggles to survive and escape before crossing paths with Jane, an American journalist who has traveled to Africa in the hopes of advocating on behalf of children like Esther. By the award-winning author of Evening.

Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell
A tale inspired by the romance between genius composer Wolfgang Mozart and prodigy soprano Anna Storace follows her transformation from an ambitious and carefree girl to a passionate young woman facing the dilemmas of her choices in controlling 18th-century Vienna. A first novel.

Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke
When a brutal murder in Norway bears close resemblance to one in Virginia, two detectives half a world away investigate these similar murder cases and discover a link to The Book of John, a journal bound in human skin written by a serial killer back in 1529 Norway.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
Coming of age in an old farmhouse, 19-year-old Ruthie begins a search for her agoraphobic mother and discovers the century-old diary of the farmhouse’s long-ago resident, a grieving mother who died under mysterious circumstances. By the best-selling author of Island of Lost Girls.

The Wives Of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit
An emotionally charged debut told in the collective voices of the wives of the team who created the atom bomb traces their struggles to adapt and raise children in a rugged military town where everything their husbands are doing is an intense secret.

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bestbooksof2013

Amazon’s editors have selected their favorite books of 2013. Below is the list of their top 20 picks. To see all 100 books they selected click here.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier by Tom Kizzia

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

The Son by Philipp Meyer

A House in the Sky: A Memoir by Amanda Lindhout

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Who Owns The Future? by Jaron Lanier

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Sound Of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The Unwinding: An Inner History Of The New America by George Packer

“The Man Booker prize aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. To maintain the consistent excellence of the Man Booker Prize, judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction.

The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and, like all the shortlisted authors, a cheque for £2,500 and a designer bound copy of their book. Fulfilling one of the objectives of the prize – to encourage the widest possible readership for the best in literary fiction – the winner and the shortlisted authors now enjoy a dramatic increase in book sales worldwide.” (Man Booker Prize website)

The dozen books on this year’s longlist:
(click on the bold titles to put a hold on the book in the LION catalog. You’ll need your library card barcode.)

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton  (due for U.S. release in October)
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris (due for U.S. release in September)
The Kills by Richard House (not available yet)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Unexploded by Alison MacLeod (not available yet)
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson (not available yet)
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (not available yet)
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín