GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin

    Never Look Back by Alison GaylinQuentin Garrison is working on a true crime podcast about a series of murders from the 1970s, committed by a teenage couple. Quentin thinks April, the female of the murderous couple, is the mother of Robin Diamond, a website columnist. At first Robin thinks this is ridiculous at first. But the more she looks into it, the more she's unsure of her conviction.

    This is one of those books where very early on, you're SURE you know what the twist is and you're disappointed. But you keep reading to confirm your suspicions. But then the book throws you a curve and you were totally wrong. Soon you have no idea who really did what and you can't wait to find out.

    Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

    Big Sky by Kate AtkinsonKate Atkinson's beloved and often beleaguered detective, Jackson Brodie, is back in another twisty and darkly comic literary mystery. Jackson is bumming around Yorkshire with his teenage son and a dog while his former partner Julia shoots her TV show. He stumbles into the dark underbelly of the town and helps to mete out some much-needed justice. Part of the joy of reading Kate Atkinson is her ability to fit so much in few words. Brodie's reflections on the state of the world will make you laugh while breaking your heart. I absolutely loved this and cannot recommend it highly enough.

    Big Sky by Kate Atkinson ($28.00*, Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Union Ave Books, Knoxville, TN.

  • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

    Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean KwokThe international search for a sister gone missing is the basis of Searching for Sylvie Lee, a mysterious drama by Jean Kwok. When Amy finds out her sister never returned home from a trip to visit a dying family member in the Netherlands, it sets off a chain of events that uncovers long lost secrets about her family, her parents’ immigration, and secret relationships. Amy’s quest to find Sylvie takes her across the ocean, where she meets an entire family she’s never know who played a fundamental part in her family’s life. Dark, complicated, and engrossing, this literary thriller will capture your emotions and keep you turning pages long after dark.

    Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz

    The Sentence Is Death by Anthony HorowitzAnthony Horowitz keeps getting better and better. A continuation on the clever conceit he initiates in The Word Is Murder, Horowitz once again finds himself as a character in his own detective novel. He begrudgingly teams up with Hawthorne in order to solve not one, but three suspicious deaths.

    Horowitz has developed a unique storytelling method and I hope this is not the last one we see.

    The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz ($27.99*, Harper), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

    Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. JacksonSteph, Jarrell, and Quadir are best friends, going to high school in Brooklyn, when Steph is murdered in the street. Jarrell and Quadir, along with Jasmine, Steph's sister, are left wondering who killed Steph and why. When they discover boxes upon boxes of CDs and tapes of Steph's rap songs, they decide that they are too good to remain unheard. They also figure they can raise money and hire a detective to find out what happened to Steph since the police don't seem to care to find out.

    This story takes place in the late 90s and is told through the point of view of Jasmine, Quadir, and Jarrell with a few flashbacks from Steph. Fans of urban fiction, 90s rap, and mystery alike will all enjoy this one.

    Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson ($17.99*, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • Spy School British Invasion

    Spy School British InvasionStuart Gibbs's books fly off our shelves constantly. After kids, teachers, and librarians recommended him, I finally picked up Spy School and promptly fell in love. That's why I am so excited for this seventh installment in the series. This is James Bond for middle grade readers, with constant action and humor. They are so fun to read I am not sure kids realize they are also learning about dealing with bullies, standing up for yourself, the importance of friendship, and all the things a non-spy middle schooler learns. This is a perfect start to summer reading.

    Spy School British Invasion ($17.99*, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

    Little Darlings by Melanie GoldingLauren has just given birth to twin baby boys when she's awakened in the night, alone in the hospital, by singing. In the bay next to hers is a disheveled woman with a basket who wants to trade Lauren's babies for her own. Lauren locks herself in the bathroom with her own children and calls the police. But when the police send the hospital staff to Lauren, there's no one there and nothing on CCTV to show that anyone ever was there. It's all attributed to Lauren's fragile mental state.

    This book is a blend of the currently popular domestic thriller and supernatural horror. It has just the right amount of creepiness and action and fans of either genre will enjoy it.

    Little Darlings by Melanie Golding ($26.99*, Crooked Lane Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Like Lions by Brian Panowich

    Like Lions by Brian PanowichLike the writing of David Joy or Taylor Brown? Then you'll want to check out Brian Panowich. Panowich's Southern crime fiction is so very entertaining. Despite being sheriff, Clayton Burroughs is also the last living son of the Bull Mountain crime family which means everyone wants a piece of him. You'll find yourself rooting for the good guys who may actually be bad guys. Don't let Panowich's epilogue sneak up on you in this one. It's mind-blowing.

    Like Lions by Brian Panowich ($26.99*, Minotaur Books), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

    A Spring 2019 Okra Pick

  • The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

    The Mother-in-Law by Sally HepworthFamily relationships are often complicated and misunderstood especially between mother and daughter in laws, but do they usually end in murder? This is the question to be answered in Hepworth's masterfully plotted novel of families and expectations each has of the other. Lucy yearns for a mother figure since her mother died when she was young. Diana seems to be the total opposite of what Lucy hoped for in a mother-in-law. Lucy begins to believe that Diana doesn't even like her at all. When Diana, a prominent and very wealthy member of the community is found dead of an apparent suicide and the police begin to believe foul play we finally see the characters as they really are. Did Diana finally push Lucy too far? Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.

    The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

    Miracle Creek by Angie KimWow! What a powerful story and terrific courtroom drama from a debut novelist. Kim’s background as a trial lawyer and a teen aged immigrant from Korea really brought to life the struggles the Yoo family face trying to get to America for the sake of their daughter and makes the courtroom drama so intense that you wish you were there to hear the lawyers’ interrogations in person.

    Miracle Creek is a remarkably written story about families and what sacrifices are made and what lies are told to try and protect those near and dear. But, the lies – which seemed harmless by themselves – stack up like dominoes and soon cascade to a tragic end, one that might not have happened if just one small seemingly insignificant act or one small seemingly insignificant lie had not occurred.

    Miracle Creek by Angie Kim ($27.00*, Sarah Crichton Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

    Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne YoungA fantastic feminist YA novel with shades of  Stepford Wives and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse TV series. I have been a longtime fan of Young's Program series, and this new book blew me away!  A sinister school for exceptional young ladies, a group of young women whose bond is stronger than any classroom programming, and a grasping patriarchy not prepared for the revolution. This book will have you flipping pages and sharpening sticks of your own.

    Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young ($18.99*, Simon Pulse), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

    Beautiful Bad by Annie WardBeautiful Bad opens with a police detective at the scene of a murder, but we have no idea who is murdered. More than a murder mystery it is a compelling story of the complex love between two friends and the hurt that results when their lives change. I loved reading about Maddie and Joanna’s adventures in the dangerous places they lived and played. I liked both characters (at first) and thought I understood why their friendship ended. Hidden desires, dark secrets, much manipulation, and an ultimate murder come painfully together as all lives are torn apart.  Beautiful Bad is a riveting story with a surprise ending…is this a fight for survival, or something much more sinister?

    Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward ($26.99*, Park Row), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle

    A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William BoyleYowza, did I just maybe read a future crime fiction classic? Possibly. It has all the right elements. Great characters: two ex-porn stars, a 14-year-old girl, and a psycho with a sledgehammer; dialogue that tickles the ear; and a sense of place so vivid I thought I was reading in 3-D. And the plot! I'm not going to say anything other than $500,000 in a briefcase and a frisky octogenarian are involved. My only regret? I read the book way too fast, just couldn't stop turning the pages. Oh well...there are worse things in life.

    A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle ($25.95*, Pegasus Books), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

     A Winter 2019 Okra Pick

  • The Huntress by Kate Quinn

    The Huntress by Kate QuinnFrom the author of The Alice Network comes a haunting post war story of a battle haunted journalist turned Nazi hunter, a female Red Army bomber pilot in exile and young American girl trying to figure out her path in life. The story shifts between past and present as they pursue Nazi killer that haunts them both. The reader will wonder who is the huntress and who the hunted. It is a story of love and loss, trust and betrayal, past and present, and revenge and redemption. Great for lovers of historical fiction, mystery and detective novels.

    The Huntress by Kate Quinn ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • American Heroin by Melissa Scrivner Love

    American Heroin by Melissa Scrivner LoveWow, this starts with a bang and doesn't let up as Lola consolidates her power on the L.A. drug trade that she first grasped in the previous book in the series (Lola). With a cold blooded detachment she does whatever needs to be done to protect her family, neighborhood, and soldiers. Written in a tough, gritty, style that brings to life the streets of L.A. in ways that reminded me of James Ellroy and Michael Connelly, Scrivner Love has crafted a winner that I'm sure will be nominated next year for McIntyre's mystery award, The Beltie Prize. 

    American Heroin by Melissa Scrivner Love ($27.00*, Crown), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

  • Watching You by Lisa Jewell

    Watching You by Lisa JewellThe picturesque painted houses at the top the of the street hide a delicate web of past and present intrigue. Complicated relationships abound: sisters and brothers, teacher and student, innocent love and the timeless theme of marital infidelity, and of course, a murder. Jewell's understating of human psyche and its idiosyncrasies makes for a deliciously hard to put down whodunnit that feels all too close to home. She is a story-weaver like no other and she had me guessing the whole way through.

    Watching You by Lisa Jewell ($26.00*, Atria Books), recommended by The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL.

  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper

    The Lost Man by Jane HarperJane Harper has created yet another masterpiece, this one a standalone set in the outback region of Queensland Australia. It is a beautifully written character driven novel where the extreme hardship of living and surviving in the outback is one of the major characters.

    It is the story of the Bright brothers told from the perspective of Nathan--the oldest of the three--as he tries to make sense of how his middle brother, Cameron, ended up alone in the middle of the desert dead of dehydration when he had a well-stocked and working car not far away. Was it something sinister or was it suicide as the authorities seem to believe. If suicide, what might have driven this charismatic well liked young man with a wife and two young daughters to take his life. The Lost Man is a story of family dynamics, of abuse and of lots of what if's.

    The descriptions of the scenery and life in the outback would be enough alone to keep up your interest, but added to that is a cast of characters who you feel like you know intimately by the end of the book. A cast of characters who all have secrets and who make you wonder did Cameron kill himself or did one of them do the unspeakable?

    The Lost Man by Jane Harper ($27.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox

    The Smiling Man by Joseph KnoxThe Smiling Man is a contemporary thriller that reads like an old-fashioned noir. Joseph Knox did a brilliant job telling two parallel stories and tying them together towards the end. While I began to have an inkling of the connection, Knox kept the details sparse enough and the suspense high enough that I was never sure of what I knew and what I had missed completely. Like any noir hero, Aidan Waits is flawed and often unlikable, but he has a core of decency that you can't help but root for. I did not realize that this was the second in a series until after I completed the book. I think it stands alone nicely and I enjoyed it even without any backstory that I may have missed from Book I.

    The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox ($26.00*, Crown), recommended by The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL.

  • The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

    The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher GreeneWhen single mom and widow Susannah meets mysterious artist Max W at a party, they quickly connect. Having both overcome turbulent pasts, they find solace together and Max bonds with Susannah's son Freddy. Their idyllic life is threatened when Susannah finds a note on their front door that says I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. The couple worries separately about what the note means and who left it and things start to unravel when Max figures it out - or does he? This is a fast, twisty story about how your past can come back to haunt you and how you never really know your partner as well as you think. 

    The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene ($26.99*, St. Martin’s Press), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

    An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenWho knows better how to manipulate someone for their own nefarious purpose than a psychiatrist who understands when a person is damaged and vulnerable because of past trauma. That  is the premise of An Anonymous Girl, a terrific psychological thriller with a complex plot that is both sick and twisted. Jessica Farris lies her way into what she thinks is a psychological study on ethics and morality conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Shields because she needs the money. She quickly comes to greatly admire Dr. Shields (because Dr. Shields knows how to manipulate her) and doesn’t realize that she is being used to help Dr. Shields build a case against her cheating husband. You won’t want to miss this one.

    An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen ($27.99*, St. Martin’s Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Current by Tim Johnston

    The Current by Tim JohnstonIf you read literary suspense, this is your book.

    If you are looking for a book you can't put down, this is your book.

    If you need a story that will follow you for days, this is your book.

    New wounds open old wounds in this superb tale of unresolved loss and crime.

    Two nineteen year-old college girls are frantically driving away from a terrifying encounter on a dark, icy Iowa road when their car goes into a river. Only one survives, the daughter of a dying sheriff across the state line in Minnesota. This tragedy brings to surface the loss of another young girl ten years prior, found in a river. A case this dying sheriff was never able to solve. Both cases are filled with direct and indirect links. Tim Johnston instills both grief and grace, twists and escalating tension, and the tenacity of those left behind in this deftly written novel.

    The Current by Tim Johnston ($27.95*, Algonquin Books), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

     A Winter 2019 Okra Pick

  • The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk

    The Night Agent by Matthew QuirkThis is literally a stay-up late, can't put it down action thriller. Peter Sutherland is an FBI agent whose career is tainted by the sins of his father, but guided by his own strong sense of right and wrong. When he receives a panic-stricken call from a young woman named Rose on a secret FBI hot line, he has no idea of the challenges he will soon be facing, or how the decisions he must make will test his moral codes. Sutherland is an approachable and honest character, not imbued by the author with superhuman strengths or abilities. The story is intricate and fast-paced, yet still feels legitimate and real. I really liked this book and expect it will be a runaway best seller!

    The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus 

    Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus Two Can Keep a Secret proves that there are still twisty, devious mystery stories to be told. No matter how many times I thought 'they're the killer!', the ending still shocked and wowed me. It'll appeal to the My Favorite Murder fan in us all- I couldn't put it down. Just don't read it at home, alone, at night. Speaking from personal experience, that would be a mistake. The final line still has me shivering.

    Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus  ($19.99*, Delacorte Press), recommended by One More Page Books, Arlington, VA.

  • The Au Pair by Emma Rous

    The Au Pair by Emma RousLaura was an au pair for the young son of the Mayes family for a year before Ruth Mayes's twins were born. The day the twins were born Ruth committed suicide by jumping off a cliff and Laura mysteriously went away and never returned to the town.

    Now, 25 years later one of the twins, Seraphine, finds a photograph while looking through her deceased father's possessions. This photograph taken on the day of her and her twin Danny’s birth presents many unanswered questions. Ruth, their mother, looks serene and happy and not like someone who would commit suicide several hours later. And she is only holding one infant. Seraphine has never quite felt like she belonged and she becomes obsessed with finding out who she really is.

    The Au Pair is brilliantly told from two perspectives as Laura and Seraphine both tell their stories. When the narratives come together, they do so with the force of two trains colliding. The lies, deception, and betrayals give an ending that I never expected.

    The Au Pair by Emma Rous ($16.00*, Berkley), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. Gailey

    The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. GaileyGreat for readers of Mary Kubica and Paula Hawkins! Alice O'Farrell lives a quiet, nomadic life after an accident killed her younger brother when she was left in charge. Unable to let go of the guilt she feels, she keeps to herself and works one-off jobs that don't require much from her. Waking up in a bad situation one morning, Alice finds herself in possession of a duffel bag full of cash and hits the road, hoping to outrun her guilt (and maybe a couple of bad guys too). Drama runs high as Alice and a runaway she encounters along the way work to outwit the owners of the duffel bag. You'll be breathless as you get to the fiery conclusion.

    The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. Gailey ($26.95*, Oceanview Publishing), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

    This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea PitcherFive teens are invited to a locked-room, murder mystery night and the one who solves the mystery will will a $50,000 scholarship. But when they arrive and find out who their competition is for this scholarship, they realize that they have an actual death (murder?) in common.  They quickly realize that the scholarship was a ruse and they're really there to figure out/confess to what happened a year about when another boy died.

    This is a fast paced thriller, very much in the vein of I Know What You Did Last Summer,very much Clue meets Pretty Little Liars.

    This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher ($17.99*, Margaret K. McElderry Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza

    Hearts of the Missing by Carol PotenzaAfter being forced to move and give up law school Nicky Matthews is finally doing something she really loves. She is a police sergeant with the Pueblo, New Mexico police force and she is the liaison with the Fire-Skye Indian reservation. Nicky has made many friends on the res and she is respected by the residents, but she is not liked at all by her boss who can’t wait to catch her doing something wrong. When a suicide seems to be linked to other missing Fire-Skye people, Nicky defies her boss and investigates. Ancient beliefs and culture, greed, revenge, and modern day genetics all mix together in this beautifully written police procedural.   

    Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza ($26.99*, Minotaur Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

    The Winters by Lisa GabrieleRaised in the Caymans, the nameless female character is working off a big debt alone and lonely for a boating company when she meets Max Winter, a state senator who has recently been widowed.  A short month after they meet, he proposes and pays off her debt, taking her back to his island estate in New York where she has to contend with her future step daughter, Dani. Dani is difficult, to say the least.

    I'm a big fan of the gothic novel, so a modern retelling of du Maurier's Rebecca is RIGHT up my alley.  I very much enjoyed this story and it kept me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep!

    The Winters by Lisa Gabriele ($26.00*, Viking), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • Melmoth by Sarah Perry

    Melmoth by Sarah PerryWith its echoes of Mary Shelley and menacing creature in Frankenstein, Melmoth reads deliciously like an 18th-century Gothic novel. Mysterious pages describe a legendary shrouded figure--Melmoth the Wanderer--who watches those who have sins and secrets to hide.

    Propulsive, eerie, heartrending, and hopeful, Sarah Perry's worthy successor to The Essex Serpent bring a chill of recognition to each of us who has acted badly and peered over our shoulder to see if someone was watching.

    Melmoth by Sarah Perry ($27.99*, Custom House), recommended by Malaprop's Books and Cafe, Asheville, NC.

     

  • The Witch Elm by Tana French

    The Witch Elm by Tana FrenchReading Tana French means disappearing into another life for a while. Her stories aren't meant to be slick or flashy, but deliberate, intricate studies of characters and their motivations. The Witch Elm is no different, as it follows the unraveling of Toby starting the night he surprises two burglars in his apartment. As you learn the secrets and weaknesses of Toby and his family, you begin to realize that while finding out what happened is enjoyable and surprising, finding out the how and the why is even better.

    The Witch Elm by Tana French ($28.00*, Viking), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

    Bitter Orange by Claire FullerA tense, psychological novel that fully immerses you in the mind of our narrator Franny. I couldn't get enough of the slowly revealed, atmospheric story or the constant feeling of bated breath. 

    Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller ($25.95*, Tin House Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Wrecked by Joe Ide

    Wrecked by Joe IdeJoe Ide is back with the third installment of the IQ series, and this may be Isaiah's diciest situation yet! Isaiah has a crush on Grace, and when she asks him to help her find her mom, who's been missing for ten years, he sees it as a way to her heart. But he finds himself getting crossed up with members of a security firm who are all ex-military and spent time at Abu Ghraib, and they have something to hide. All our favorite characters are back, and Ide's combination of comedy and action packed, Hood detective vibes make for a great time (well, for us, maybe not for him)!

    Wrecked by Joe Ide ($27.00*, Mulholland Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • November Road by Lou Berney

    November Road by Lou Berney Don't make the mistake of considering this a work of historical fiction (it is, set against and intertwined with the assassination of JFK). Don't consider it a suspense novel (it is, with Frank Guidry on the run for his life from a ruthless assassin and an organized crime boss with contacts everywhere, who are pursuing Frank for what he might know or have done in relation to the killing of JFK), and by no means consider it a love story (although, implausibly it becomes one when Frank falls for a young woman traveling with her two small children, and on the run for reasons of her own). This book is most simply a story, and one that is exceptionally well told. Lou Berney has crafted a very compelling tale with very human and relatable characters, each with their own flaws, secrets, dreams and desires. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, but mostly it's the story that grabs hold of you and keeps you turning the pages to the very end. This book was a joy to read.

    November Road by Lou Berney ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Fall 2018 Okra Pick

  • A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

    A Spark of Light by Jodi PicoultWhen this ARC came in, I squealed out loud and claimed it for my own before I'd even finished opening the package. Taking place during an active shooter situation in a women's clinic, each chapter is told from a different character's point of view. Every viewpoint is represented so no matter where you stand on women's health care issues, you'll find a connection. Hugh McElroy is the police negotiator that's trying to talk the shooter out of the building and his fear is amplified when he discovers his daughter Wren is one of the hostages.

    Picoult never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat and this might be her best book yet. I had a book hangover for days after I finished this and I'm probably going to read it again immediately. There are some detailed descriptions of medical procedures towards the end but they're fitting with the topics and more educational than graphic. I truly can't recommend this book enough. 

    A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult ($28.99*, Ballantine Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan

    I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillanI Know You Know is framed through a series of true crime podcasts produced by Cody Swift, whose two best friends were murdered 20 years earlier, when they were just 10 years old. Cody is convinced the man who was convicted of their murders was not guilty and hopes that time will uncover facts that weren’t discovered then. Coincidentally, as the podcast starts the bones of a long missing man are discovered near the spot that the boys’ murder took place. Detective Fletcher, one of the two detectives who discovered the murdered boys 20 years earlier is given the new case.

    The story switches back and forth from 20 years ago to present and is told mainly from the view point of Cody, Detective Fletcher, and Jessica Paige, the mother of one of the murdered boys. Cody is vigilant in trying to find the truth, even when being threatened and told to stop. Or, does he have an ulterior motive? Jess, who has a new life with a husband and 16 yo daughter, has not told her daughter about the son she had when only 16. She has vowed to be a real mother to Erica and is riddled with guilt because of how neglectful she was as a very young mother. Or, is she riddled with guilt because she actually had something to do with harming her son? Fletcher has always been overly ambitions and has ignored procedure to accomplish what he thought was justice. But, was he a good guy who just wanted to catch the bad guy or was he corrupt?

    Gilly MacMillan gives us a thrilling saga that spans 20 years, a saga you are immediately pulled into. Switching back and forth from the past to the present lets you really get to know the characters and why they developed as they did. You will go from loving them to hating them and back again until you finally find out their true character and what really happened 20 years ago.

    I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz

    The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzDean Koontz rarely disappoints and such is the case in this fourth installment of the Jane Hawk series. In a conspiracy theorists delight, a secret organization has infiltrated all levels of government and is intent on instilling their radical philosophies to control society. Jane Hawk is standing in their way with the proof that could bring them down, but before she can, Jane first needs to find and save her young son before her enemies do. From the first few pages this book is a headlong rush of action and suspense as Jane marshals all of her wits and resources to find her son before they do. Be prepared to lose some sleep on this one, as once the action starts, it never stops, making this book very difficult to put down. This is a great action thriller and will leave you yearning for the next installment of Jane's quest to bring justice to those who would do us wrong.

    The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz ($28.00*, Bantam), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Die Me a River by Denise Swanson

    Die Me a River by Denise SwansonSkye and Wally are back and struggling with being new parents to twins while living out of an RV because of the recent tornado.  Their living situation is cramped and being a mom to twin babies is exhausting for Skye. Things are finally starting to settle down a bit when they meet with their priest about the babies' christening when there's a loud explosion at the nearby bowling alley. Though it was closed at the time, you guessed it: there's a body inside!  This is exactly what Skye needs while on maternity leave and living out of a glorified box.

    There are SO many cozy mysteries out there, but it's rare that I find a series that I really like and want to stick with for 20 books, but this is definitely one of the few. I enjoy this crazy little town and its funny cast of characters. This title is no exception and I look forward to more.

    Die Me a River by Denise Swanson ($7.99*, Sourcebooks Landmark), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Wildlands by Abby Geni

    The Wildlands by Abby GeniEngrossing and so smart and introspective. Somehow, Abby Geni does it all. Her language is gorgeous, and the relationships she builds between the McCloud siblings and how they relate to the world felt so real. I just fell into the story and couldn't put down this tense and heartbreaking novel.

    The Wildlands by Abby Geni ($26.00*, Counterpoint LLC), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

    The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie HannahWhen you love a classic series, it is hard sometimes to read a contemporary writer who, like Sophie Hannah, is continuing the story in present day. However, I have loved each one she has done and this is my favorite yet. Honestly, while reading this book, I forgot that Agatha Christie didn't write it. The story is exactly what you would expect from Christie and Hannah handles the voice and character of Poirot expertly. A well done addition to the canon.

    The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah ($27.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

    Trust Me by Hank Phillippi RyanRiveting and spellbinding, this brilliantly written thriller takes us into the hearts of two grieving mothers…one innocent; the other…well! I’ll let you determine that after you read this captivating story. Lots of twists and turns, and a good surprise ending that will keep you turning pages.

    Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan ($25.99*, Forge Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

    Sweet Little Lies by Caz FrearA woman’s body is found strangled in a garden in London. When the victim’s identity is discovered it throws Detective Catrina Kinsella’s life into a nightmare that she couldn’t have imagined.  The victim, as it turned out, was actually someone that Cat had once known. She was someone who had disappeared from Ireland years earlier and was never seen again. While on vacation in Ireland with her family when she was 8, she witnessed her father give the then young girl a ride. Later when the girl disappeared, Cat heard her father lie to the police about ever knowing her. Now, years later the woman’s body is found not far from where her father now lives and works in London. Was it coincidence or something far more sinister?

    Cat is flawed, she’s sassy-mouthed, she’s complex and deep-down, and she’s compassionate. But most of all she believes people should have to pay for their crimes. Sweet Little Lies is a debut mystery that really delivers. It is a dark story with a touch of humor and a wonderfully developed character who I would love to see again. 

    Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear ($26.99*, Harper), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Line That Held Us by David Joy

    The Line That Held Us by David JoyWith the Southern grit of Daniel Woodrell and the rich Appalachian cadence of Ron Rash, David Joy is the new voice of Southern noir. In The Line That Held Us, Joy drags the reader by the gut on a dark and twisted journey of violence and vengeance in a story that will not be soon forgotten. 

    The Line That Held Us by David Joy ($27.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • Paradox by Catherine Coulter

    Paradox by Catherine CoulterThe is the best Savich and Sherlock novel I have read in recent memory. Savich and Sherlock face real perils and react as any person would, not only as FBI agents. With Sheriff Ty Christie as an incredibly strong and intuitive supporting character and another FBI agent the pace is fast and satisfying. Does a serial killer prowl the local area, is a business corrupt, how far will someone stray off the path for greed? All are asked and answered in the pages of this book.  The ending is a surprise and the different yet intersecting plot lines keep you glued to the pages. Even if you have never read Coulter's FBI series you will enjoy this book, and probably return for more.

    Paradox by Catherine Coulter ($27.99*, Gallery Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

    The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer WiseA young man reluctantly takes over the family business (a shoe factory in China) and discovers the corruption and exploitation inherent in the system there. In the midst of coming to terms with all of that, Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy and they become close. But Ivy has an ulterior motive and while it aligns with some of Alex's sympathies, he's been manipulated and knows it.

    Beautiful writing and a plot that pulls you in and won't let go! 

    The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise ($26.99*, Hanover Square Press), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

    The Ruin by Dervla MctiernanAs a new, wet-behind-the-ears guard (or cop to those of us in the US) Cormac Reilly was called out to a domestic disturbance that turned out to be a death.  He finds fifteen year old Maude and her five year old brother Jack in a dilapidated home, malnourished, bruised, and broken while their mother lies dead upstairs.  He takes the pair to the hospital and while Jack is being seen to, Maude disappears, never to return.

    Twenty years later, Jack is in a  happy relationship when he disappears one evening.  The guarda receive an anonymous phone call saying someone saw him jump into the river, killing himself.  His partner, Aisling is in disbelief, but accepting of the fact until Jack's long long sister Maude returns to shake things up.

    This is the first in a new series focusing on Cormac Reilly.  There are SO many twists and turns in this story, making it hard to predict what will happen next.  There are so many elements at play that you'll be reading long into the night just to satisfy your curiosity.

    The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan ($16.00*, Penguin Group USA), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty

    Those Other Women by Nicola MoriartyMarried, single. Children, no children. Work outside the home, stay at home. These are all choices that women everywhere face at one time or another.

    Poppy, Annalise and Frankie work together. Poppy is recently divorced and not handling the split very well. Annalise is contentedly single, trying to be a caring friend while keeping her life of lies straight. Frankie is a wife and mom trying to balance motherhood and work, trying to make a friend or two, and keeping a secret that may destroy her marriage. As a way to restore some of her confidence, Poppy decides to start a private on-line group for child-free-by-choice women.

    What starts out as a way for women who have chosen to remain child-free to encourage and support other like-thinking women soon turns into a war of words and actions with the local private moms' online group. A mole has infiltrated the child-free group and begins leaking malicious private posts to the moms' group. Suddenly lives are spinning out of control, and long held lies and secrets are close to erupting.

    Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

    The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay Wen and her dads are taking a break from everything by visiting a remote cabin for vacation. Wen is studying grasshoppers in their yard when a man comes up and makes friends with her. He warns her that she and her dads are going to have to make a decision.  And that's about all I can tell you without spoiling you.

    This book was SO creepy in a very good way. I'd classify this as horror, but in a very real way.

    The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay ($26.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley

    The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy FinleyWhen four-year-old William disappears from the woods behind his house in Nashville, the only witness is his seven-year-old brother who says "the lights took him" and then refuses to speak again. William’s grandmother, Lynn Roseworth, the wife of a senator and potential VP candidate is afraid she knows what those words mean. They are a link to her past--a past she has never talked about with her family, and one she fears will destroy her entire family.

    The Darkest Time of Night is a truly remarkably written story.  It is fast-paced and suspenseful...a thriller that is a combination of science fiction and government cover-up. Once you start, you can’t put this one down. A little bit scary, a whole lot heartrending: a complex plot, and many brave people make this a book that will make you question what might or might not actually exist.  

    The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley ($26.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Spring 2018 Okra Pick

  • Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin

    Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin Bearskin is not a typical action filled thriller. It is a beautifully written literary adventure set in a pristine area of Appalachian Virginia. The action, while slow at times, builds into something powerful and intense by the end. Rice Moore is trying to get his life back together after a vicious run in with the Sinaloa Mexican cartel. He is a biologist who cares deeply about the environment and the animals in his job as caretaker of a private Virginia nature reserve. Rice must figure out how to deal with bear poachers, a cartel member who tracked him from Arizona and members of a biker gang who beat up and raped the previous reserve caretaker. At the same time Rice must answer to his own moral compass and not do anything to jeopardize the life he has come to love.

    Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin ($26.99*, Ecco Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Spring 2018 Okra Pick

  • The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

    The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet Could not put down! A couple recovering from a troubled marriage swaps houses with a stranger for a quick getaway vacation. Slowly, they discover that the stranger knows much more about them than they can imagine.

    The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet ($26.00*, Pamela Dorman Books), recommended by CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY.

  • Star of the North by David John

    Star of the North by David John

    Whatever you thought about North Korea before--including the risk of a nuclear attack--you will soon realize that it could be much, much worse.

    Jenna Williams is a young very well respected professor of foreign affairs. She is Korean American and the identical twin of Soo-min (Susie) who disappeared from a South Korean beach 12 years earlier while a student in Seoul. Soo-min supposedly drowned while picnicking with a fellow student. Mrs. Moon is a North Korean peasant woman who after spending the last 20 years on a prison farm decides to try her hand in the market place after finding and secretly keeping the contents of a balloon that landed in the woods near her home. Cho is a high ranking official in the regime who believes he is doing what is right.

    Star of the North may be fiction but each of the extremely well developed and interesting characters and each of their stories are based on facts gleaned from intelligence operations, stories from escapees, stories from prison camp guards and knowledge of the way our State Department works. When their three storylines intersect we are treated to a remarkable spy thriller that is as timely as it is terrifying.

    Star of the North by David John ($27.00*, Crown Publishing Group), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Run, Hide, Fight Back by April Henry

    Run, Hide, Fight Back by April HenryTense, terrifying and thrilling!  Teens find themselves in mortal danger when a shooting at the mall traps them together, and they must depend on one another to have any chance of survival  Some of these teens are hiding secrets, but then again, so are the terrorists who are holding them hostage. All too realistic considering the world we live in now, based on the question we all have asked ourselves: What would you do if you were in danger in a place you should have been safe?  Sometimes you run, sometimes you hide, and sometimes you fight back! 

    Run, Hide, Fight Back by April Henry ($17.99*, Henry Holt and Co.), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

    Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall Talk about a book for our times! Mike, our narrator, is one seriously messed-up guy pining over his lost Verity. But is he, or is it a game they are just playing? Lust and obsession: what a great combo. Probably the creepiest, most disturbing, novel I've read since the Gillian Flynn's out-of-this-world good Sharp Objects!

    Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall ($26.00*, MCD/Farrar Straus and Giroux), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

  • The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

    The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy It started out as a Mommy Group, fragile friendships in the making. They seem like typical modern day mothers, reading all they can and trying to follow all of the new trends and ideas in having a healthy baby and caring for a newborn. They have concerns, they have guilt, they have fear and they all have secrets. And then baby Midas is abducted and the lives of the women in the group are turned upside down. Too many past histories become lies, and then betrayals, as the women become too focused on finding this missing child while letting their personal lives fall apart. The author did an excellent job of misdirection and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. The Perfect Mother is a must for fans of Big Little Lies.

    The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy ($27.99*, Harper), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

    After Anna by Lisa ScottolineI knew from the first page that After Anna was going to be something really different. It starts with alternating excerpts from the trial of Noah who is accused of killing his stepdaughter Anna and the story of what happens before the murder told from the viewpoint of his wife. We know that Maggie reunites with her daughter Anna after giving up custody to her ex 17 years earlier. We know that less than 3 weeks later Anna is dead. We know that Noah swears he is innocent and still loves his wife, even though she kicked him out of the house and believed that he was abusing Anna. We know from Noah that Anna isn’t the sweet teenager that Maggie thinks she is.

    I couldn’t begin to imagine how this could turn into a story that I could be happy with. I felt for Noah and truly believed he was innocent, but I also understood why Maggie didn’t believe him. Never in a million years did I guess the turn of events that made this one of the best books I have read this year. Lisa Scottoline has truly outdone herself with this one.

    After Anna by Lisa Scottoline ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

    Macbeth by Jo Nesbo The Hogarth Shakespeare series has been a mixed bag, so I was a bit hesitant when I picked up Macbeth. However, Nesbo did an excellent job of melding the theatre of Macbeth with the grittiness of a 70s drama--think Serpico on the Elizabethan stage. I devoured this book in two sittings; though the story is familiar, this book is an engrossing page turner.

    Macbeth by Jo Nesbo ($27.00*, Hogarth Press), recommended by The Oxford Exchange Bookstore, Tampa, FL. 

  • Tangerine by Catherine Managan

    Tangerine by Christine ManaganIn the beginning I wasn't sure what Tangerine was trying to be--a Gothic thriller like Rebecca? a symphony of unreliable narrator voices, like in the TV drama The Affair? a love triangle?

    As I read on, I decided that it reminded me of nothing more than The Talented Mr. Ripley. Maybe in its setting: a hot, tropical place like Tangier, where expat Americans and Brits love to feel free of all constraints and even laws. In its voice, too, though instead of being narrated entirely by Ripley, Tangerine takes turns between the voices of its two heroines. Both are flawed and both are entirely relatable, up to a point. Take nothing for granted in this debut that is much more than the sum of its influences.

    Tangerine by Christine Managan ($26.99*, Ecco Press), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

    The Italian Party by Christina LynchThis funny, historical, spy novel takes place in 1950's Italian countryside and gives you a front row seat to what Italy was like after WWII. Thoroughly enjoyable!

    The Italian Party by Christina Lynch ($25.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • Bad Seeds by Jassy MacKenzie

    Bad Seeds by Jassy MacKenzieIf you like stories set in South Africa well you need to check out Jassy MacKenzie. This contemporary series casts a gimlet eye on a society of such disconcerting contradictory opposites that I'd rather travel there vicariously than go in person. Good stuff!

    Bad Seeds by Jassy MacKenzie ($15.95*, Soho Crime), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

  • Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate, Courtney Cole

    Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate, Courtney Cole This is a dark book about the impact of a traumatic event in childhood and how it can haunt your life in many ways. Corrine and Jude have the perfect relationship. Great home, both physicians with great jobs. The facade is marred by Corrine's past and Jude's inability to communicate his feelings. Jude's twin is a Catholic priest and very close to the couple. A seemingly innocent introduction sends this relationship careening off the rails in manners that are hard to imagine. It is hard to resist skipping ahead to see how it ends.

    Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate, Courtney Cole ($15.99*, Mira Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • People Like Us by Dana Mele

    People Like Us by Dana MeleFrom page one, this book draws the reader. Prep schools, a dead body, main characters with secrets, grumpy detectives, unrequited love and emailed blackmail from the aforementioned dead body- and that's all just in the first few chapters. Kay might be a scholarship student, but she's also a queen bee, desperate for a soccer scholarship and even more desperate to keep her secrets. As she uncovers the mysteries of a dead girl, she also unveils secrets of the people she thought she knew best, people just like us. A thrilling page turner!

    People Like Us by Dana Mele ($17.99*, G.P. Putnam's Sons for Young Readers), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The Hush by John Hart

    The Hush by John HartOh yeah, John, you have a winner here! The Hush continues the story of Johnny Merriman that began in The Last Child. Now, 12 years later, he's trying to save the land he has inherited and strange things are occurring. A bit of a change of pace from his previous books, The Hush kept me up all might and I can't wait to talk to people about it.

    The Hush by John Hart ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

     A Winter 2018 Okra Pick

  • Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

    Blood Sisters by Jane CorryBlood Sisters opens with a radio announcement that a murder has occurred at a men’s prison, with details to come. Allison is leading a lonely single life barely making ends meet teaching art lessons when she sees an advertisement for a job teaching art in a men’s prison takes the job. She is guilt ridden and unhappy and we slowly discover why as the story of Allison and her younger half-sister Kitty is told in flashbacks from two points of view.

    Blood Sisters is a sad story of sibling rivalry, parents who don’t always do the right thing, teen violence, and a childish prank all of which probably contributed to the tragedy which occurred when Kitty was 11 and Allison was a senior in high school, and which kept Allison so filled with guilt. We think we know what happened 15 years ago, and we think we know what just happened at the prison. But, as the story is slowly revealed we find that truths and lies become totally intertwined and what really happened both at the time of the accident and in the present at the prison is a total surprise.

    Blood Sisters by Jane Corry ($26.00*, Pamela Dorman Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns, Barbara Fisinger (Illustrator)

    Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans Russell Ginns, Barbara Fisinger (Illustrator)Samantha Spinner feels slightly slighted when from her (now missing) uncle, her sister receives $2,400,000,000; her brother is given the New York Yankees; and all Samantha gets is a ratty, rusty, red umbrella. But when the umbrella is revealed to contain a map with secret passageways throughout the entire world, Samantha feels very, very lucky indeed.

    Clever, smart and sometimes even a bit silly, this fun mystery from game designer Russell Ginns also includes a few extra secrets for the especially inquisitive mind.

    Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns, Barbara Fisinger (Illustrator) ($16.99*, Delacorte Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Look for Her by Emily Winslow

    Look for Her by Emily WinslowA beautiful young girl disappears on her way to school. Years later her body is found but the murderer is never caught. Morris Kaufmann is now a cold case inspector and when DNA is finally recovered from the clothes of the young girl he thinks he is well on his way to making a huge name for himself, as the abduction and murder of Annalise Wood received much notoriety at the time of the abduction and years later when the body was found. He seeks help from his old partner, Chloe, and they soon discover that the one thing they thought they knew – that the body was that of Annalise - is now in question. Look For Her is a terrific psychological thriller with many twists and turns. The sensationalization of the abduction and murder affected many people as did the lies told by those close to Annaliese. It is up to Morris and Chloe to figure out who was buried in Annalise’s clothes and who murdered her, and how two unrelated patients of a local psychiatrist, both of whom were obsessed with Annalise, might be involved in the case.

    Look for Her by Emily Winslow ($15.99*, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

    The Woman in White by Wilkie CollinsAnother classic I'd never read! Although The Woman in White received mixed reviews when it was published in the mid-19th century, it was an immediate hit with the reading public. I can see why. For one thing, Wilkie Collins is a master of the cliffhanger: I lost count of how many there were throughout the book, and each was put to excellent use. For another, he draws wonderful characters, making them beautifully (and horribly) specific, and thus, hard to forget. I admit that I had little patience with Laura Fairlee, the book's angelic ingenue, who seems always on the verge of fainting, but I recognize that she is a contrivance of the age in which the novel was written, and the other characters are all so deliciously wrought that it seems unfair to quibble over Laura's "girly" characteristics.

    The Woman in White is not only a mystery but a true thriller, and it was said at the time that Collins had written "something completely new." It's not often that I am moved as I was when reading this novel: in fear, anticipation, sadness, and excitement. Ultimately, Collins is simply a marvelous storyteller. Aspiring writers can learn much about how to engage readers' interests and emotions effectively; readers will find a novel that they can completely and gladly lose themselves in. And isn't that something we all want and need from time to time?

    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ($12.99*, MacMillan Collector's Library), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

  • The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

    The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani A huge best-seller in France, The Perfect Nanny packs a punch that its brief length belies. It addresses issues both topical and enduring through the lens of the relationship of a young professional Parisian couple and the caregiver they hire for their two young children when the mother has a chance to return to work.

    The shock of the novel's chilling first sentence, "The baby is dead," is elegantly balanced by the complex issues Slimani addresses: our expectations of mothers' responsibilities, our connection to the people we employ, our view of immigrants, and the ways in which how see ourselves differs from the realities of who we really are.

    This is a striking, powerful novel that, rightly, leaves us with more questions than answers. It's a book that doesn't let go easily, and as a reader, I was the better for that.

    The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani ($16.00*, Penguin Books), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC.

  • Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

    Behind Her Eyes by Sarah PinboroughThis was a big staff favorite last year. Nearly the whole staff read it! Great to be able to sell it in paperback this season. David and Adele seem like a perfect couple but when Louise, David's secretary, starts looking at their relationship harder, secrets begin to emerge. Everything you want in a thriller with a twist at the end. You'll get the hashtag associated with the release #WTFThatEnding! Oh. And it doesn't have "Girl" in the title. Bonus!

    Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough ($15.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

    Need to Know by Karen ClevelandClear your calendar because you won't want to do anything until you finish this book! This was intense without being over the top - fans of espionage thrillers are going to love it!

    Need to Know by Karen Cleveland ($26.00*, Ballantine Books), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Alone by Cyn Balog

    Alone by Cyn BalogDespite its title, you should most definitely not read this book while you're alone. Isolated in a rundown, sprawling mansion that was once an elaborate murder mystery retreat, Seda and her family are mostly immune to their temporary home's creepy and eccentric history. But when a group of teenagers come seeking refuge, a scavenger hunt meant to entertain ends up entangling everyone into one horrific night of terror. Is it the house, or something else that is haunting Seda as she tries her best to protect her family and the unwelcome guests from harm? Balog interjects the house's past throughout the novel, and I've never wanted to visit a fictional place more. The perfect book for thrills and chills, with a devious and delightful ending!

    Alone by Cyn Balog ($17.99*, Source Fire), recommended by Fountain Bookshop, Richmond, VA.

  • Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

    Robicheaux by James Lee Burke James Lee Burke for the Nobel Prize! Why not? The award goes to a writer for a body of work that is singular to the psyche and culture of that author's nation. As the U.S. is, arguably, the most violent nation on earth with more guns per capita than the majority of the world combined why not a nod to the man who explores our violent nature better then anyone else? Robicheaux is a perfect example of his skill and grace relating a difficult and often sordid subject. The man can flat out write.

    Robicheaux by James Lee Burke ($27.99*, Simon & Schuster), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

  • Day In, Day Out by Hector Aguilar Camin

    Day In, Day Out by Hector Aguilar CaminA fast-paced little noir that constantly circles around the conventions of its genre (sex, drugs, murder), and instead manages to become more of a meditation on hopeless desire than a pure, simple crime novel.

    Day In, Day Out by Hector Aguilar Camin ($14.95*, Schaffner Press), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC.

  • The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

    The Ultimatum by Karen RobardsBook one in The Guardian series by Karen Robards, The Ultimatum (MIRA $26.99), kept me on the edge of my seat. It was funny and witty, which aren't always the same thing. It was badass while leaving room for emotions, was detailed without boring me, and Bianca St. Ives was fierce, sexy, smart, and alluring. It has the richest of backstories which is developed slowly over the course of this fast-paced thriller, including a shocking reveal at the end, of course, meaning I am counting down the days until book two. This is the first Karen Robards I've ever read and I am proud to admit I am a new KR/Bianca St. Ives convert.

    The Ultimatum by Karen Robards ($26.99*, Mira Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny

    Glass House by Louise PennyThis is the thirteenth Chief Inspector Gamache mystery, but it’s the first one I’ve read—proving that you can start anywhere in this series and throughly enjoy it. There’s a reason this series, set in Montreal and the tiny village of Three Pines, continues to grow in popularity with each book.

    Glass Houses by Louise Penny ($28.99*, recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

    Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica LockeHooray! I can whole-heartedly recommend this mystery/thriller about a black Texas Ranger working a suspicious case in East Texas. The book takes on many big American problems, so it is both timely and wildly entertaining.

    Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke ($26.00, Mulholland Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

    Bull Mountain by Brian PanowichThis reads like The Godfather if it took place in the mountains of Northern Georgia. An ATF agent with a chip on his shoulder tries to take down a crime family that has been operating for generations. Moonshiners, gun fights and a sheriff who has to decide between family or the law. Goes well with a Waylon Jennings record and a glass of bourbon.

    Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich ($16.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

     A 2016 Southern Book Prize Winner

  • Genuine Fraud by E. Lockheart

    Genuine Fraud by E. LockheartFrom Lemuria Books' blog: "Lockhart introduces a new and captivating suspense and psychological horror novel with Genuine Fraud. The book starts off with chapter 18, in June 2017. Hint: you should pay attention to the dates. The story is mainly told in flashbacks over the course of the past few years. The story is about Imogen and Jule and their friendship and time together. It’s a story of those who lack morals. It is a story about those that lack ambition and others who will do whatever it takes to get what they want. It’s a story about liars and cheaters (in more ways than one). It’s about accidents and premeditation and telling more would give too much away.”

    Genuine Fraud by E. Lockheart ($18.99*, Delacorte), recommended by Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

    See What I Have Done by Sarah SchmidtLizzie Borden took an axe... or did she? Sarah Schmidt takes us inside the Borden household before and after the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. Schmidt's writing is so good that you can feel the pressure building in the house, taste the sweetness of the pears and sharpness of tainted mutton on the tips of tongues, imagine the smell as the hot summer days weighs heavily, suffocatingly on the inhabitants of the Borden home. Did Lizzie simply snap, did Bridget the maid hack her way to new employment, did Lizzie's uncle intervene to protect his nieces, or was it a stranger? Prepare for sharp-edged read!

    See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt ($26.00*, Atlantic Monthly Press), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The Western Star by Craig Johnson

    The Western Star by Craig JohnsonMy weak spots are trains, westerns and mysteries, so I was compelled to pick up the new Longmire mystery by Craig Johnson. I flipped through the first few pages and tried to feign disinterest--as a brooding Western lawman would do--but I failed spectacularly and found myself riding alongside Sheriff Walt Longmire, back to his early days as a Wyoming deputy. His efforts to stay alive then serve as the backdrop for his current challenge to confront his darkest enemy. The gun- and book-toting Longmire, and the cast of unique characters on the Western Star kept me guessing as I rode the rails with them for miles through the Wyoming wilderness.

    The Western Star by Craig Johnson ($28.00*, Viking), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

    The Salt Line by Holly GoddardI was not planning on getting addicted to a novel, but after reading the first scene of The Salt Line I was hopelessly riveted. Let me say that Holly Goddard Jones' take on post-apocalyptic fiction involves an America ravaged by a particularly vicious species of tick, so this book might get you feeling phantom itches. I loved The Salt Line for its combination of suspense, social commentary, and a well-drawn cast of characters that had me constantly questioning my loyalties. Pick up this top-notch literary thriller and pack the bug spray-- not that it will save you.

    The Salt Line by Holly Goddard, ($2600*, GP Putnam's Sons), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

    A Summer 2017 Okra Pick!

  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

    See What I Have Done by Sarah SchmidtLizzie Borden took an axe... or did she? Sarah Schmidt takes us inside the Borden household before and after the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. Schmidt's writing is so good that you can feel the pressure building in the house, taste the sweetness of the pears and sharpness of tainted mutton on the tips of tongues, imagine the smell as the hot summer days weighs heavily, suffocatingly on the inhabitants of the Borden home. Did Lizzie simply snap, did Bridget the maid hack her way to new employment, did Lizzie's uncle intervene to protect his nieces, or was it a stranger? Prepare for sharp-edged read!

    See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt ($26.00*, Atlantic Monthly Press), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay

    Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay A teenager disappears into the woods one night under mysterious-- and spooky-- circumstances, but his mother believes there's something more sinister going on. Revolving around an old legend and a fantastic set piece-- a giant split rock in the woods known as Devil's Rock-- Paul Tremblay's latest novel does an excellent job building the mystery before it hits you with the true horror of what happened that night. Also recommended: A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay's previous scary novel!

    Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay ($14.99*, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Brutal Silence by Margaret Dardess

    Brutal Silence by Margaret DardessMargaret Dardess skillfully brings to life one of the most terrifying realities of our time while blending it inside a fantastic thriller. The characters were drawn expertly by being relatable, flawed, and and unexpectedly evil. Our main character is a a strong intelligent woman who was kidnapped while on vacation in Mexico and forced in a life of sex trafficking. She is deftly able to escape, returning home to her country club upbringing and job leading a clinic. This experience changes her dramatically and she puts up a valiant fight when she becomes a target.

    The pace of the book made it a highly recommended page turner. I love learning about different topics while being led through a fast-paced mystery and this doesn't disappoint.

    Brutal Silence by Margaret Dardess ($13.95*), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • You Should Have Left. by Daniel Kehlman

    You Should Have Left by Daniel KehlmanDaniel Kehlmann's novella sent shivers down my spine and kept me asking, "Just what is happening here?" A screenwriter tries to break through writer's block during a vacation with his family at a mountain house in Germany, but soon finds himself confronting sinister and physics-defying phenomena. I picked this up looking for a quick and entertaining read, but the story grabbed my wits and tossed them into its skewed events--and compelled me to read it again. A deliciously frightening tale.

    You Should Have Left. by Daniel Kehlman ($18.00*, Pantheon Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Force by Don Winslow

    The Force by Don Winslow

    A truly explosive novel, boldly written, raw at time, of epic proportion. A wild roller-coaster ride, highs and lows, ups and downs, dizzying at times. You will love this character, you’ll pull for him to succeed. You’ll laugh with him, and you’ll cry with him. And hope the book never ends...

    The Force by Don Winslow ($27.99, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

    The Essex Serpent by Sarah PerryAlready a beloved book in the UK, The Essex Serpent is as gorgeous and complex as its cover. The narrative subtly blends together a rich cast of characters and manages to feel familiar even as it travels down unexpected paths.

    The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry ($26.99, Custom House), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

    Magpie Murders by Anthony HorowitzWhat's better than a murder mystery by the man who created "Foyle's War"? Two murder mysteries, combined into one devilishly delightful package. We're presented with an Agatha Christie-like period mystery--whose ending is missing and whose loathed author has died. Or was he killed? His editor is hot on the case in modern day, not sure of much except she needs those missing pages.

    Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz ($27.99, Harper), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

    Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica HesseFrom the publisher: "Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion. Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times." The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

    Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse ($9.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Writer's Block Bookstore, Winter Park, FL.

  • Shadow Man by Alan Drew

    Shadow Man by Alan DrewShadow Man is supposed to be the story of a serial killer who was horribly abused as a child and the efforts of the police to track him down and keep him from killing others. However, the book is really about Ben Wade, one of the detectives on the case. While the victims affect him greatly and he gives his all to catch the killer, it is the apparent suicide of a young teenager that really shakes up his world. Shadow Man is about others living in the shadows of what happened in the past. Set in the 1980s in a small one-time ranching community near LA, the beautifully described scenery and small town feeling make the setting a character on its own. Shadow Man could be called a thriller, but it is really much more than that, with characters that are so real you can feel their pain.

    Shadow Man by Alan Drew ($27.00, Random House), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Broken River by J. Robert Lennon

    Broken River by J. Robert LennonFrom the onset, it is clear that Broken River is a novel that will have you dreading what lies on the next page but leave you no choice other than to keep reading. A family of three, seeking a fresh start after the father's infidelity, has just moved from the city to a house in upstate New York that's been left dormant for years after its previous tenants were murdered in an unsolved crime. At the expense of their own familial bonds, each member of the family finds their own way of coping with the change in scenery, and both mother and daughter find themselves drawn to the unsolved crime that took the lives of the home's previous occupants. Meanwhile, other individuals who may be linked to the murders are doing some sleuthing of their own. Lennon's characters are among the most believable and terrifying that I've encountered, and an always tangible and at times bordering-on-the-supernatural sense of foreboding casts its shadow over the character's choices and pushes them towards their inevitable convergence.

    Broken River by J. Robert Lennon ($16.00, Graywolf Press), recommended by Lane, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

    The Marriage Lie by Kimberly BelleCould it happen to you? The divergence between what Iris thinks she knows about her partner of more than seven years and what she learns about him through digging into his past, after an unforeseen event, tugs emotionally and rationally. Throughout the story, Iris finds many reasons to question every decision she is faced with. Hold on, this one has plenty of twists right up to the last page.

    The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle ($15.99, Mira Books), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • American War by Omar El Akkad

    American War by Omar El AkkadThis debut novel by a Canadian journalist who has reported on war from Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement imagines a Second Civil War in the US in the years 2074-2093 and its aftermath. Not surprisingly, the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia ("the MAG") secede over oil issues from a Union that has quite literally, mostly due to climate change, deteriorated into a smaller country whose capital is Columbus, Ohio. Mexico has reclaimed its old territories, a president has been assassinated, the Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Sea... Well-drawn southerners struggle to keep body and soul together and to undermine the northern aggressors One woman in particular, Sarat, emerges as a hero but....no spoilers! Compelling and scary.

    American War by Omar El Akkad ($26.95, Knopf Publishing Group), recommended by Lisa, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

    Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

    A harrowing survival thriller set in the Blue Ridge Mountains about a teenage equestrienne kidnapped by a serial killer who must dig down deep to find the will to first survive then triumph. You won't be able to put this one down!

    Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams ($10.99, Simon Pulse), recommended by Jill, Fiction Addition, Greenville SC.

  • The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

    The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

    Unputdownable! Full of secrets and revenge and temptation, this is a book that has layers of dark, murky mystery. Literally everyone's a suspect, even main character Leah Stevens, who's keeping plenty of secrets or her own. I came for the twisty thriller, but stayed for the small town intrigue, the heated romance, and the haunted pasts. Watch out for papercuts, because this is a page turner!

    The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda ($25.00, Simon & Schuster), recommended by Kelly, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • White Tears by Hari Kunzru

    White Tears/Hari KunzruIn a guest post on Lemuria Books' blog, writer Jim Ewing recommends White Tearsby Hari Kunzru.

    "What if there's a subtle, hidden sound, a tone, or chord, a riff that can transcend time and space, communicating through music a key or gate to hidden truths? This is the essential question that leads a New York acoustic engineer named Seth on the path toward solving a mystery in Hari Kunzru's novel White Tears...It's a saga that leads to madness, blood, and shame. Readers will be left reeling, wondering how many more mournful, deadly vibrations still reverberate all around us, just beneath the surface of our world." Continue reading...

    White Tears by Hari Kunzru ($26.95, Knopf Publishing Group), recommended by Jim, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

    Universal Harvester/John DarnielleA customer returns a copy of She's All That to a late-90s video store complaining about footage from a bizarre home movie spliced in. The mysterious scene shows hooded figures and vague, quietly horrifying movement.

    Universal Harvester will keep you up an night. It sneaks up on you and scares you when you least expect it. Quick and beautifully written-- highly recommend!

    Universal Harvester by John Darnielle ($25.00, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), recommended by Colin, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

    Seventeen year old Gwen's father has disappeared. She refuses to accept that he just abandoned her while on a diplomatic assignment. She uses a "certain set of skills" gained by her father's resources to track him to the underbelly of Europe. Think Taken, except the bad-ass daughter has to save her father. Full of action and excitement.

    The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom ($18.99, Feiwel & Friends), recommended by Mary, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Tony and Susan by Austin Wright

    From the publisher: Fifteen years ago, Susan Morrow left her first husband, Edward Sheffield, an unpublished writer. Now, she's enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor's wife, when out of the blue she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband's first novel. He writes asking her to read the book; she was always his best critic, he says. As Susan reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a math professor driving his family to their summer house in Maine. And as we read with her, we too become lost in Sheffield's thriller. As the Hastings' ordinary, civilized lives are disastrously, violently sent off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, forced to confront the darkness that inhabits her, and driven to name the fear that gnaws at her future and will change her life.

    Mary at The Country Bookshop says Tony and Susan is a "truly creepy novel that will have you checking over your shoulder."

    Tony and Susan: The Riveting Novel That Inspired the New Movie Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright ($14.99, Grand Central Publishing), recommended by Mary, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

    From the publisher: The author of the wildly popular The Kind Worth Killing returns with an electrifying psychological thriller--as tantalizing as the cinema classics Rear Window and Wait Until Dark--involving a young woman caught in a vise of voyeurism, betrayal, manipulation, and murder. Told from multiple points of view, Her Every Fear is a scintillating, edgy novel rich with Peter Swanson's chilling insight into the darkest corners of the human psyche and virtuosic skill for plotting that has propelled him to the highest ranks of suspense, in the tradition of such greats as Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Patricia Highsmith, and James M. Cain. Julia at The Country Bookshop says, "A true Hitchcockian thriller, à la Rear Window."

    Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson ($26.99, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Jamie, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

    Behind Her Eyes took me totally by surprise. From the beginning I knew it was the story of a very disturbed person, but which one was the sick one? I knew something happened in the past that was driving two of the main characters, and I thought I was discovering the truth about the past - but, boy, was I wrong. A very dark and eerie psychological thriller of love and obsession that you will not be able to put down until you discover the truth.

    Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough ($25.99, Flatiron Books), recommended by Nancy, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.