Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Workman Publishing: The Spectrum of Hope: An Optimistic and New Approach to Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias by Gayatri Devi

From My Shelf

Crown Books for Young Readers: My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly, illustrated by Andre Ceolin

New World Library: Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart by Scott Stabile

Novel Escapes by Car

There are plenty of good "beach reads" in our reviews below; here are a few books if you're thinking about a road trip.

For the literary-minded driver who gets lost in thought, How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu recounts travels from Peoria to Nashville, as a flawed man, facing a painful divorce, retraces a road trip his parents made on their honeymoon in an effort to understand his past and rediscover himself.

The long road to forgiveness is the route taken in A Gift for My Sister by Ann Pearlman, which reunites two estranged half-sisters who are forced to travel from California to their old home town in Michigan. Miles of highway and the stifling confines of a car prove a ripe breeding ground for resentment and sibling rivalry.

For those who get behind the wheel and often forget where they're going, try Bill Warrington's Last Chance by James King. In this novel, Bill, an absentminded 79-year-old kidnaps his 14-year-old granddaughter; together, the pair set off from the Midwest in an old Chevy Impala, heading toward California and hoping to force a dysfunctional family reunion.

And for the adventurous who love to hop in the car and just take off, The Lion Is In by Delia Ephron offers a wild, whimsical, often bumpy car ride out of Baltimore when three women, each bearing burdens and secrets, are forced to go on the lam. A retired circus lion they encounter in North Carolina ultimately changes their lives.

No matter the destination, buckle up and enjoy the ride offered by each of these literary getaways. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines


PuddleDancer Press: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg


Book Candy

Women Writers at Work; Penguin Book Cover Wallpaper

"Genius, captured on camera," Buzzfeed observed in introducing its collection of "16 wonderful photos of women writers at work."

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Lauren Cahn shared "9 kids' books with powerfully useful life-lessons" at the Huffington Post.

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"Five young adult novels that should be movies" were suggested by Word & Film.

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Author Simon Mawer, whose latest book is The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, shared his picks for "five best war novels" in the Telegraph.

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The publishers of popular French dictionary Le Petit Robert have released a list of new words to be included in the 2014 edition. Mental Floss highlighted "11 mots merveilleux" that are recent additions.

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Penguin Book Cover Wallpaper "lets you coat your walls in literature," io9 reported.


Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham


The Writer's Life

Book Brahmin: Chris Kluwe

photo: David Bowman

"Chris Kluwe grew up in Southern California among a colony of wild chinchillas and didn't learn how to communicate outside of barking and howling until he was 14 years old. He has played football in the NFL, once wrestled a bear for a pot of gold and lies occasionally. He is also the eternal disappointment of his mother, who just can't understand why he hasn't cured cancer yet. Do you know why these bio things are in third person? I have no idea. Please tell me if you figure it out."

Kluwe's first book, the essay collection Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities, will be published by Little, Brown on June 25, 2013.

On your nightstand now:

A lamp.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Anything by David Eddings.

Your top five authors:

Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Iain Banks, Brandon Sanderson, L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Book you've faked reading:

None. I wish I faked reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Book you've bought for the cover:

All of them. The pages get very damaged if the book lacks a cover. Plus, if you swat a fly, you're going to want to protect the words from fly juices.

Book that changed your life:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Favorite line from a book:

"Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!" --"The Call of Cthulhu" by H.P. Lovecraft.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Use of Weapons by Iain Banks.

Why do you like sci-fi/fantasy so much?

Because sci-fi/fantasy allows us to take scenarios from what was/is, and imagine what could be. Without that imagination, the sun is just a flaming ball of gas around which boring chunks of rock orbit on a regular basis, and death comes far too quickly.


University of California Press: A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore


Book Review

Fiction

The Widow Waltz

by Sally Koslow


It's not often a main character dies in the first chapter of a literary novel, but that's what happens in Sally Koslow's The Widow Waltz. The story opens from the point of view of Ben Silver, a charming, seemingly successful Manhattan lawyer who goes for a run in Central Park and suffers a massive heart attack. His sudden death comes as a complete shock to those who love him--most especially, his devoted wife, Georgia Waltz. What's even more troubling is the news that he has left his well-to-do family practically insolvent.

His widow and their two adult daughters had been living, thanks to Ben, an upscale, privileged existence; now they face financial ruin. Ben's death might make him physically absent from the lives of his loved ones, but his presence becomes more palpable as the trio slowly begins to uncover reasons why the family's fortune might have evaporated. Was Ben the man they thought he was? Was he harboring secrets? As Georgia and the girls reinvent their lives by selling off assets and scrambling to find work to support themselves, unforeseen circumstances, people and impulses--some romantic--alter their plans in unpredictable ways.

Koslow (The Late, Lamented Molly Marx) is a skillful, meticulous writer attuned to the absurdities of life, death and the multi-generational bonds of family. Pitch-perfect details and alternating narrative voices allow her to explore fully the emotional intricacies of these richly woven characters in crisis. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Discover: The sudden death of a Manhattan lawyer forces the most important women in his life to view him in a whole new light.

Viking, $27.95, hardcover, 9780670025640

Andrews McMeel Publishing: Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm (Phoebe and Her Unicorn #6) by Dana Simpson


Trains and Lovers

by Alexander McCall Smith


"Journeys are not only about places, they are also about people, and it may be the people, rather than the places, that we remember," Alexander McCall Smith writes in Trains and Lovers, a compact stand-alone novel about four people, strangers to one another, on a train bound from Edinburgh to London. As they ride through the British countryside, the foursome strike up a conversation and share stories of how love has touched each of their lives.

Andrew, a recent college graduate from Scotland, is trying to launch a career as an art historian. He tells of how he became smitten with a female coworker from a different social class and how that impinged upon their relationship. Forty-something David, an American, recounts how he met the great love of his life as a teenager when he summered in Maine. Kay, a 50-year-old woman, conveys the story of her parents' marriage and how their union changed the course of their lives--and hers--in the Australian Outback. And finally, there is Hugh, a 20-year-old Brit who once exited a train at a wrong stop and met a woman with a mysterious past who played a significant role in his perceptions about trust.

The four characters might be onboard, riding the same rail, but they are all at different stages of life. As each interwoven story gracefully unfolds, trains themselves play a part in the individual narrative arcs where the fleeting nature of love emerges as a unifying theme. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Discover: The creator of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and other mystery franchises shifts gears for a stand-alonenovel about four strangers and the heartfelt stories of love in their lives.

Pantheon, $22, hardcover, 9780307908544

Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Lilac Lane by Sheryl Woods


Instructions for a Heatwave

by Maggie O'Farrell


In London, in 1976, a record-breaking heat wave makes everyone uncomfortable and on edge. One morning, Gretta Riordan discovers that her newly retired husband, Robert, has cleaned out his bank account and disappeared. Maggie O'Farrell (After You'd Gone; The Hand that First Held Mine) starts Instructions for a Heatwave with this premise, then takes readers on journeys interior and exterior--recounted in flawless prose that will have you reading while strap-hanging, standing in line or waiting at a stop light.

Gretta calls upon her three children--Michael Francis, Monica and Aoife--to help her suss out what happened. The baggage they bring is not in suitcases. History teacher Michael Francis is perpetually disappointed that he had to cut his Ph.D. studies short to provide when his wife became inconveniently pregnant, and she knows it. Everyone loved Monica's first husband, Joe, but he left her when he found out that she did something he found unforgivable; now she's married to a distracted antiques dealer whose two daughters loathe her.

Problem child Aoife is bright, intuitive and creative, but she still can't read, and has arranged her life so that no one knows. She's been in New York for the last three years, estranged from her sister, Monica, all this time--for the same reason Joe left Monica. Gretta, meanwhile, is hooked on pills given to her by helpful doctors; still, she keeps herself together most of the time.

Long-held personal and family secrets are unearthed when they all go to Ireland because someone has seen Robert there. Gretta knows more than she has ever told anyone--even Robert--but all is revealed. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

Discover: An Irish family saga replete with secrets, rivalries and misbehavior becomes a compelling and entertaining story in Maggie O'Farrell's hands.

Knopf, $25.95, hardcover, 9780385349406

A Hundred Summers

by Beatriz Williams


A Hundred Summers, the unrelentingly romantic second novel from Beatriz Williams (after Overseas), delivers swoons and intrigue against the backdrop of the 1938 New England hurricane.

During their college days in 1931, New York socialite Lily Dane and handsome quarterback Nick Greenwald fell desperately in love. Seven years later, though, Lily is single and helping to raise her six-year-old sister, Kiki, while Nick is married to party girl Budgie Byrne, Lily's sometime best friend. In alternating chapters, Williams unravels the bittersweet story of Lily and Nick's young romance and their reunion when Lily and her family make their usual move to their summer home in Seaview, R.I., only to find Nick and Budgie taking up residence nearby.

Budgie immediately tries to wriggle back into Lily's good graces while Lily and Nick struggle against their reawakened feelings. Although Lily clings to the moral path, as the summer passes she cannot ignore Nick, especially since Kiki adores him. When she discovers the truth behind Nick and Budgie's marriage, Lily also unleashes a storm of secrets--about her family's rejection of Nick, about Budgie, even about Kiki--that rivals the vicious hurricane that could rip Nick and Lily apart just when they might have a second chance at love.

Williams evokes the era effortlessly and delights in ripping the rug out from under the reader just when the riddles seem easiest to solve. Filled with delicious scandals, catty socialites and true love, this beach read deserves pride of place in every vacationer's tote bag. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager at Latah County Library District and blogger at Infinite Reads

Discover: Sparks fly when thwarted lovers reunite against the backdrop of the 1938 New England hurricane.

Putnam, $26.95, hardcover, 9780399162169

Mystery & Thriller

Loyalty

by Ingrid Thoft


Fina Ludlow is a private investigator for her family's law firm, but the case she gets assigned in Ingrid Thoft's debut novel, Loyalty, is personal. Her sister-in-law Melanie is missing, and the police are looking at the obvious suspect--her husband, Rand, Fina's brother and a partner at the firm. Carl, the steely patriarch, wants Fina to find Melanie and make the bad publicity go away.

Fina has help from two hot guys: Milloy, her friend with benefits, and detective Cristian Menendez, with whom she exchanges sexy sparks. Neither can protect her from dangerous situations, however, as Fina's investigation leads her to money launderers, porn mongers and someone with a vendetta against the Ludlows. How far will Fina go to uncover the truth? Will it destroy her loyalty to her family?

The setup of a female private investigator working for the family business calls to mind Lisa Lutz's Spellman series, and Fina's vacillation between two attractive men echoes Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, but Loyalty is much darker than either series--and Fina is way deadlier. She doesn't hesitate to use her gun and gets scrappy in bloody fights. She's no fancy martial artist, just a resourceful, impatient woman who refuses to be a victim.

Thoft is adept at showing the Ludlows' dysfunction, and the impossible mother is someone readers might love to hate. Thoft also has a good ear for dialogue, a nice eye for character-revealing details and a firm handle on a PI's shoe-leather process. If she keeps it up, she'll gain the loyalty of fans as this series continues. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, writer and editor blogging at Pop Culture Nerd

Discover: A debut novelist introduces a series starring an appealingly irascible female private investigator working for her dysfunctional family.

Putnam, $25.95, hardcover, 9780399162121

Death of the Demon

by Anne Holt, trans. by Anne Bruce


Anne Holt's Death of the Demon brings back Oslo detective Hanne Wilhemsen, the protagonist of 2012's 1222--although this novel was published more than a decade ago in Norway and is just now appearing in English.

Hanne, recently promoted to chief inspector, is having a hard time letting go of fieldwork and delegating to her colleagues. Trying to be everywhere and do everything is not endearing her to her subordinates, even though everyone reluctantly admits she's a very clever detective. She will need all her brilliance in this case: Agnes Vestavik, director of Oslo's only group foster home for troubled children, has been found dead--an Ikea knife shoved into her back. A 12-year-old boy named Olav, who hadn't been in the home long, has vanished. Olav was notoriously troubled; could he have stabbed Agnes and fled?

As Hanne and her team delve into the case, she is troubled on several levels. Secrets about foster home staff members keep emerging, proving that nearly everyone is hiding something. Meanwhile, Hanne's own personal life is getting rocky; her girlfriend wants to have children, and Hanne adamantly doesn't.

Holt makes Hanne's prickly intelligence all too real, as are the troubled children in the foster home and the variously motivated people working with them. Death of the Demon brings questions of "nature versus nurture" into play, as the police are forced to determine whether a 12-year-old is truly capable of the crime, and as Hanne struggles with her reasons for not wanting children. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Discover: In an earlier case starring the Norwegian detective heroine of 1222, the director of an Oslo foster home has been brutally stabbed to death, and now it seems a child did it.

Scribner, $16, paperback, 9781451634808

Crime of Privilege

by Walter Walker


After a successful run of five novels (starting with 1983's A Dime to Dance By), Walter Walker took a two-decade hiatus from writing to build his San Francisco law firm. Now, with Crime of Privilege, he's back, his legal know-how focused on the power of the wealthy to protect themselves from laws that routinely punish those less connected. His target: a Massachusetts senator whose legacy of wealth and influence insulate his family from the consequences of their profligacy, alcohol-fueled rapes and murder.

The senator's nemesis is George Becket, a divorced, low-level assistant district attorney in Cape Cod. His life took a critical turn when he witnessed two members of Senator Gregory's family at a Palm Beach blowout molesting a drunken teen socialite. He was persuaded not to say anything about it, and he's regretted his silence ever since. Now he coasts at his job, eating his dinners alone at the local tavern. Then Bill Telford takes a barstool next to him and tells the story of his daughter's murder nine years earlier. He claims she was killed at a party at the Gregory family's compound--which the police and district attorney's office conveniently didn't investigate.

Telford's urgent plea rouses Becket from his lethargy, and the investigation takes him across the world to wherever the Gregory's hush money has hidden potential witnesses. Walker manages the entangled plot with sure-footed writing and more than a touch of irony--and if the fictional senator and his family sound familiar, well, so be it. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: A veteran crime writer who knows the law--and knows how the wealthy can shield themselves from prosecution--returns after a long absence.

Ballantine, $26, hardcover, 9780345541536

Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway

by Sara Gran


Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway gives us a refreshingly bizarre twist on the classic private investigator. Readers of Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead will recognize Claire's copious and indiscriminate drug use (she never fails to check a medicine cabinet and pocket the contents; she seeks dealers like she seeks clues) and her generally hard-bitten lifestyle. Similarly unconventional is her somewhat metaphysical style of detection, guided in part by a controversial dead French detective who speaks to Claire through his book.

When Claire's ex-boyfriend Paul is murdered, and several of his valuable guitars go missing, his wife, Lydia, hires Claire to look into things. A simultaneous case involves a diminishing herd of miniature horses up in Marin County: Claire suspects they may be committing suicide. The action shifts from contemporary San Francisco, where Claire hunts Paul's guitars and his killer, to the Brooklyn of Claire's adolescence, where she and two friends once investigated a missing girl. One of those friends will later go missing herself; and the whispers of the missing Tracy, the dead Paul and the possibly suicidal miniature horses haunt Claire as she tries to keep it together and solve a murder through the haze of various uppers and downers.

Strange, distinctive characters are one of Gran's greatest strengths, coupled with a strong sense of place and a gritty atmosphere of depravity and mysticism. Dark, classic PI adventures with an unprecedented zaniness mixed in make Claire DeWitt a rare reading experience. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: A singularly weird and drug-fueled private eye, not for the faint-hearted.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20, hardcover, 9780547429335

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Lexicon

by Max Barry


As the digital world gets closer and closer to approximating a human brain, this mind-bending novel by Max Barry (Syrup; Jennifer Government) imagines the workings of the human mind as a sort of machine itself--a machine that can be sabotaged by a carefully chosen word, lobbed like a sabot into its gears. Funny, fast-paced and remarkably unmuddled for this type of reality-warping story, Lexicon is an action novel that nicely exercises the brain as well as the heart rate.

Emily is living as a street hustler in San Francisco when she is discovered by "the poets," a secret society that invites her to attend its exclusive boarding school. There, after years of training, she becomes a master of the poets' method of persuasion through a perfectly calibrated collection of syllables to disable their victims' thought processes. Obviously, sinister work is afoot among the poets and, in a whirl of global manhunts, recovered memories, car chases, epic battles--and one mysterious town in the Australian Outback full of corpses--the true nature of their plans comes to light.

With hints of Scientology's cultish approach to higher thinking and a whiff of apocalyptic frenzy, Lexicon takes its clever premise and races through all the delectable stations of sustained suspense. By the final, body-filled showdown, Barry's chilly yet entertaining vision of free will rendered inert by sounds has turned every adage about actions and words on its head. --Cherie Ann Parker, freelance journalist and book critic

Discover: A mind-bending action novel about a secret society that has mastered persuasion using only words.

Penguin Press, $26.95, hardcover, 9781594205385

Essays & Criticism

Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities

by Chris Kluwe


The overall theme of NFL punter Chris Kluwe's Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies can be summed up in a sentence from his piece called "Graduation." He advises his audience, "Our world is only as good as we're willing to make it, and that means treating others how we want to be treated, letting others live in freedom so they'll let us do the same." In the letters, essays and stories that make up this debut, Kluwe emphasizes empathy with humor, passion and even philosophy.

The collection includes some content previously posted to Kluwe's former blog on the Pioneer Press website, as well as his famous open letter in defense of same-sex marriage (with a revised version for those who took issue with the profanities in the original). He employs side-splittingly funny analogies, like a comparison of toilet paper to short-term/long-term gains. When he talks to or about his family, there's genuine warmth under his clever wit. But he's also vehemently frank when he addresses topics such as societal values or gun control, challenging readers to "never be afraid to stand your ground for something worth fighting for."

These pieces are short, but Kluwe's unpredictability will keep readers curiously turning the pages all the way to his self-composed eulogy that includes a funeral drinking game and mandates cake and ice cream. Intelligent and thought-provoking, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies is relentlessly honest; Kluwe pulls no punches, spares no language and writes a rip-roaring debut. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

Discover: A pro football star's candid, hilarious observations on life.

Little, Brown, $27, hardcover, 9780316236775

Children's & Young Adult

Zero Tolerance

by Claudia Mills


It's the fear of every goody-two-shoes: getting in trouble for trying to do the right thing.

When Sierra Shepard accidentally takes her mom's lunch to school, she goes from teacher's pet to troublemaker so quickly that she doesn't have time to finish her lunch. Her mom's lunch included a small knife to cut an apple, and when Sierra tries to be good by turning it in, she's told she's in violation of the school's "zero tolerance" policy. Her principal and her lawyer dad stake their positions. Neither will back down, and Sierra is caught in the middle--and stuck with an in-school suspension. The TV cameras come to town, and everyone in school starts to take sides--including her crush. But Sierra just wants things to go back to normal.

Most readers will be aware of a zero tolerance policy but likely will never have seen it challenged, and the conflict here provides an accessible entry point into the world of moral ambiguity. The book is engaging, and Sierra's voice is pitch-perfect. Readers who are feeling the first pangs of rebellion will be thrilled by the depiction of Sierra's principal and father behaving badly for all the right reasons, as well as by some of Sierra's anti-establishment choices.

The book resolves neatly, but discussion about it will be heated. Though there is some mature (though well-chosen) language, ultimately it's a great choice for book groups, and any reader looking for more complexity in a novel. --Stephanie Anderson, head of readers' advisory at Darien Library and blogger

Discover: A thoughtful book that introduces the shades of grey in life with a lovable cast of characters.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, hardcover, 240p., ages 8-12, 9780374333126

Zits Chillax

by Jerry Scott, illus. by Jim Borgman


This hilarious window into the world of adolescent males, based on the Zits comic strip, also reveals moments of surprising poignancy.

Author and artist create a hybrid of text and comics, as 16-year-old Jeremy Duncan describes his life with insight and humor. Readers meet Jeremy's girlfriend Sara ("the 'H' is invisible") and her best friend, D'ijon ("coolest dreads since Bob Marley"). They also meet his best friend since age four, Hector ("6'6" and pushing 230 pounds"), with whom he started a band called Chickenfist, along with a drummer named Pierce and bass player Tim. Tim has given Jeremy and Hector tickets to the band Gingivitis ("Their music is the basis for everything our band is and wants to be"). The only wet blanket on this high point of Jeremy's life thus far is the reason Tim can't use the tickets: his mother has cancer, and Tim has to undergo a marrow transplant for her.

Scott and Borgman hit all the right notes. When Tim tells them the sad news, Pierce says in a speech balloon, drumsticks aloft, "This is not supposed to be happening!! Cancer is supposed to just belong in stupid direct-to-cable movies!!!" Sara and Jeremy have a fight because she doesn't think he's supportive enough of Tim. One of the book's funniest moments is Borgman's illustration of girls "deal[ing] with each other... like three-dimensional chess" and contrasting that with the way guys "keep things simpler." Readers will hope this is just the start of Jeremy's adventures. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A novel-comics hybrid featuring the characters from the comic strip Zits, filled with humor and poignancy.

Harper Teen, $9.99, paperback, 256p., ages 13-up, 9780062228512

Wicked Deeds
by Heather Graham
ISBN-13: 9780778331063
Mira Books
09/19/2017


an exclusive interview with bestselling author Heather Graham
 

This novel, WICKED DEED, takes on the riddle of the death of Edgar Allan Poe, among other things. Why do you think his fate exerts such a pull on you?

“To this day, we can only speculate on what did happen to Poe. There are hints and clues, but no definitive answers. That is something I would want to know. He was discovered in a delirious state and never did become coherent. Many believe he was taken in a voting fraud. He was wearing clothing that wasn’t his own. Others believe that, even though the trip was to bring his deceased wife’s mom (his aunt) to Virginia to live with him and his new wife, the proposed new wife’s sons went after Poe. All speculation! If I could, I’d want to smack him, of course. And then not. I, as so many people today, have loved ones who have been addicts. I’ve seen the struggle, and what torture it can be. I would want to help him—and convince him that a genius such as himself should have guarded his health and been around to create more and more fantastic stories for readers—such as me!”

 Read the rest of the interview here.

 

ALSO FEATURED ON THE the big THRILL…

A CASUALTY OF WAR by CHARLES TODD: In the latest in Todd’s World War I nurse mystery series, an English captain’s claim that he was shot on the battlefield by his own relation is disbelieved by everyone but Bess Crawford, and she sets out to learn the truth of his injury, even when her persistent questions draw danger. Read more at The Big Thrill.

THE NAMES OF DEAD GIRLS by ERIC RICKSTAD: Best-selling author Rickstad delivers a story of detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test’s tracking a depraved killer through rural Vermont, one who killed a couple years ago and is now freed from prison and seems to be out to get their college-student daughter. Find out more here.

KEEP HER SAFE by SOPHIE HANNAH: In this domestic thriller, an English wife and mother desperate for time for herself checks into an Arizona resort, only to stumble across a girl who all of America thinks is dead in a famous true-crime scandal, but seeing her alive and with an older man causes chaos. Learn more at The Big Thrill.

THE NINJA’S ILLUSION by GIGI PANDIAN: In the fifth outing for spunky historian Jaya Jones, Jaya flies from her native San Francisco to Kyoto, Japan and comes across a master illusionist and a ninja whose murderous intentions in present-day Japan connect the deeds of a long-dead trader who was much more than he seemed. Visit The Big Thrill for more. 

BOOK OF JUDAS by LINDA STASI: When her infant son is placed in mortal danger, New York City reporter Alessandra Russo is forced to save him by tracking down the missing pages of the Gospel of Judas, a heretical manuscript unearthed in Egypt that says Judas was the beloved, not the betrayer, of Jesus. Read more here.

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