New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here are some of the new books coming to our shelves this week for you to add to your book list!

The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story by James Patterson & Benjamin Wallace – Takes readers inside the courtroom to witness defense lawyer and Bronx-native Barry Slotnick, known for his brilliant legal mind, sharp suits and bold courtroom strategies, as he never loses a case for his notorious and dangerous clients.

The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard – When her son is released from prison after serving time for the negligent homicide of his girlfriend, Thea is committed to helping him make amends until attempts on their lives are made, leading her to believe that those who are threatening them having something to hide.

Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang – An ICU physician at a busy NYC hospital, 30-something Joan, a workaholic with little interest in having friends, let alone lovers, is required to take mandatory leave until the day she must return to the city to face a crisis larger than anything she’s encountered before.

You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays by Zora Hurston – Spanning more than 35 years of work, this anthology showcases the writings of one of the most acclaimed artists of the Harlem Renaissance, providing a window into her world and time.

Robert B. Parker’s Bye Bye Baby by Ace Atkins – Boston PI Spenser takes on a new case in this installment in Robert B. Parker’s iconic New York Times best-selling series.

Lightning in a Mirror by Jayne Ann Krentz – When her speed dating experiment leads her to Harlan Rancourt, who—long believed dead—needs her help locating a legendary lab, psychic investigator Olivia LeClair must use her unique gift to get them to the top-secret lab before innocent people die.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn – A 30-something, Oxford-educated, British Nigerian woman with a high-paying job and good friends, Yinka, whose aunties frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, must find a date for her cousin’s wedding with the help of a spreadsheet and her best friend.

Desolation Canyon by P. J. Tracy – While coping with the loss of her brother, an LAPD detective discovers the body of a successful attorney in Swan Lake at the Hotel Bel-Air bar, leading to a series of shocking revelations about a sinister cabal.

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner – Searching for a young man who disappeared without a trace, missing persons expert and recovering alcoholic Frankie Elkin, with her very life on the line, goes up against something very dark to find what she is looking for.

Targeted by Stephen Hunter – When the court in where he is accused of reckless endangerment from his last assignment is attacked by violent operatives, Bobby Lee Swagger must rely on his instincts, shooting skills and the help of a mysterious rogue sniper on the outside, to save the very people who accused him.

~Semanur

Warm Up With a Crime Fiction Trilogy

If you are a fan of good crime fiction, start the year right with Kathleen Kent’s “Detective Betty” trilogy, which follow the ups and (mostly) downs of a tough-as-nails, Brooklyn-born, Dallas-based narcotics detective. Betty Rhyzyk was raised by a family of policemen, but was all but destroyed by the death of her brother and the rampant police corruption in Brooklyn. For love, Betty has followed her partner Jackie to Dallas, where she is also hoping for an easier gig. Unfortunately, Betty is still haunted by her past, and not only are the good old boys in blue just as corrupt in Texas, Betty’s new batch of bad guys aren’t afraid of her one bit, even if she is carrying and badge and a gun.

In Betty’s first outing in The Dime, a vengeful cult leader Evangeline Roy tortures and nearly kills Betty. Both women survive and Roy escapes, leaving Betty perpetually looking over her shoulder, even as she throws herself into chasing down the next criminal. In the subsequent volumes of her adrenaline-filled story, The Burn and The Pledge, Betty’s dogged sense of right and wrong get her in more trouble than most of her male counterparts, and her inability to let go of an investigation or listen to authority figures has her on the outs with her superiors more often than not. Even when she’s closing drug cartel cases, catching criminals and getting promotions, Betty faces adversity as a female detective and as a lesbian on the force, and finds she must work that much harder to get respect. No worries –Detective Betty Rhyzyk thrives under pressure. Fans of Michael Connelly’s books and smart, high-octane crime fiction should snap this trilogy up and get ready to enjoy.

-Carol

Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

It’s been some time since I read a novel that truly surprised me and Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street not only surprised me, it astonished me. This strikingly original, difficult, and heartfelt novel disguises itself as a horrific story about a serial killer and a missing child, leading readers down disturbing paths and in all the wrong directions as it slowly but surely reveals itself to be much more.

Told through the perspective of multiple narrators, we follow the life of Ted, a strange and lonely man who lives at the end of the forebodingly named Needless Street. He has boarded up all the windows in his house, which sits at the edge of a deeply wooded park and regularly hosts visits with his estranged daughter. His only friend appears to be his cat Olivia- who is also a narrative voice and is quite charming.

The tale opens on the anniversary of the disappearance of a young girl, a disappearance that Ted was initially suspected of causing, and we also meet the vengeful sister of the missing girl who is still trying to track down her sister’s potential murderer years later. This deeply layered plot is revealed little by little with each chapter, and keen readers will note right off the bat that all is not as it seems with each narrator, and we are clearly not getting a complete picture.

The final few twists of this novel are stunning, and absolutely heartbreaking, making this a standout novel of psychological horror, but also an emotional story of trauma and finally, and most importantly, hope. A detailed author’s note at the end further explains Ward’s excellent work on this story and why this is a very realistic tale of trauma. Highly recommended for fans of deeply woven mysteries, unreliable narrators, and psychological horror.

Note: There are some very upsetting and intense scenes in this novel, particularly depicting animal abuse and child abuse, so please proceed with this trigger warning in mind.

Request a copy here or snag a digital copy here!

True Crime Book Review

Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Victims by Denise Huskins

What happens when you are accused of fabricating the worst night of your life? How do you deal with the fact that the people meant to help you think you’re the criminal? This case is wild! With a stranger abduction, rape, mistaken identities, secret organizations, cops with tunnel vision, it’s no surprise that this case was referred to as the real life Gone Girl. Victim F follows Denise and Aaron through Denise’s abduction, the tragic aftermath, and ultimately their recovery efforts as well as lawsuits. A fantastic true crime read. 

For more True Crime content visit us on Facebook-Riverinos True Crime Discussion Group

Warm Up With a Literary Whodunit

In his smart and funny “Hawthorne and Horowitz” series of whodunnits, author Anthony Horowitz writes himself directly into the books, playing a bumbling, self-deprecating sidekick to the often gruff and sometimes mysterious, private detective Daniel Hawthorne. The results are three (so far) very readable and enjoyable crime novels, in which Hawthorne finds his killer and Horowitz documents the investigation along the way, hoping for his next bestseller.

In book 3, A Line to Kill, Horowitz (the character) is wanting to impress his editors and finally introduces them to Hawthorne, a move that backfires when both men are sent to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England. Horowitz is aghast that Hawthorne has been included, as Hawthorne hasn’t written a single word, but is happy enough to have the investigator along after a local bigwig is found dead under mysterious circumstances.

The island is locked down until the murderer is found, and the suspects include a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of angry locals feuding over a planned power line that threatens to wreck the island’s ambiance and environment. Hawthorne finds himself enjoying the literary festival after all, and certainly won’t let anything stop him from finding the killer, not even the local cops who have never seen a dead body before.

These character rich mysteries are like modern day Agatha Christie novels -leisurely paced, rich in detail and plot points, along with plenty of dry humor that is often directed towards the world of books and writers. While A Line to Kill can be enjoyed on its own, I recommend first reading The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death. And then, like me, you’ll be eagerly waiting for the next in this original series.

-Carol

Nicole’s Top Ten of 2021

Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley– An iconic work of early English literature is updated in Headley’s feminist adaptation, bringing to light elements never before translated into English.

A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben– A suspenseful, dark tale of family trauma, abuse of power, and the bonds of sisterhood that centers on supernaturally gifted twins Abby and Martha Waite and follows Abby’s choices after she discovers she has been diagnosed with late stage melanoma.

The Push by Ashley Audrain– A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family and one woman’s deeply affecting and difficult story of motherhood, womanhood, grief, and guilt.

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith– Haunting and inspired, this novel looks at the stories of three women in Vietnam, weaving together Vietnamese folklore and themes of national and racial identity, women’s bodies and their burden, and sweet revenge.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca– A standout novella featuring an interesting combination of atypical structure, beautiful writing, and body horror about two women who meet in a queer chat room. This book, and the ending in particular, will keep you thinking long after you finish this short work.

Love and Fury: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft by Samantha Silva– An amazingly well-crafted and beautiful historical fiction novel of Mary Wollstonecraft – arguably the world’s first feminist and one of the world’s most influential thinkers. Inspiring and enlightening.

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel– Perhaps my most favorite book of the year, this heartbreaking and remarkable novel is inspired by the life of McDaniel’s own mother. Set in rural Ohio during the 50s, readers follow Betty Carpenter, as she endures terrible discrimination, violence, loss, and love in this luminous and often emotionally difficult book.

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling– A beautifully written gothic romantic thriller with a dash of magic and horror. Drawing inspiration from such classics as Bluebeard and working the dangerous bridegroom trope, Starling delivers an engaging and tense tale.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo– A skillful and fantastical reimagining of The Great Gatsby that reimagines Jordan Baker as a queer Vietnamese immigrant, embellishing upon Fitzgerald’s original plot  with commentary on gender, race, and  sexuality, set in a magical Jazz Age New York.

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke– A timely and moving meditation on isolation and longing, both as individuals and as a society, delivered in a beautiful graphic novel.

New Books Tuesday @RRPL

Take a look at some of the exciting new releases coming to our shelves in this week…

The Sleep Fix: Practical, Proven, and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shift Work, and More
by Diane Macedo – A renowned ABC News anchor/correspondent and former insomniac presents cutting-edge research, expert advice, intimate stories and easy-to-implement solutions to help millions of people get the sleep they need.

Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino, Keigo – When the suspected killer of two young girls—20 years apart—dies during the annual street festival, Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi turns to his friend Detective Galileo to help solve the string of impossible to prove murders.

Jane Austen’s Lost Letters by Jane K. Cleland – When she comes into the possession of two previously unknown letters by Jane Austen, antiques appraiser Josie Prescott, as she sets out to authenticate these letters, learns that someone is willing to kill to keep her from finding out the truth.

Agent Sniper: The Cold War Super Agent and the Ruthless Head of the CIA by Tim Tate – This look at one of most important Cold War spies details how he was able to smuggle out a huge amount of Soviet bloc intelligence and military documents.

Everyday Trauma: Remapping the Brain’s Response to Stress, Anxiety, and Painful Memories for a Better Life by Tracey Shors – A neuroscientist explores how trauma impacts the brain, especially for women—and how we can learn to heal ourselves.

Tailored Brain, The: From Ketamine, to Keto, to Companionship, a User’s Guide to Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter by Emily Willingham – Helping us understand cognitive enhancement, a journalist and science writer explores the promises and limitations of well-known and emerging methods of brain customization, including new research on the power of your “social brain.”

Fixed: How to Perfect the Fine Art of Problem Solving by Amy E. Herman – An art historian and attorney uses works of art to present a new paradigm for problem-solving that focuses on critical thinking skills to help recognize and overcome biases that prevent us from seeing problems clearly.

Creative Types: And Other Stories by Tom Bissell – Writers, video-game developers, actors and other creative types who see the world a little differently and are each on the verge of artistic and personal crises populate a new collection of stories from the best-selling co-author of The Disaster Artist.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week. Whether you are looking for a romantic page-turner, an autobiography, or a historical thriller, we have something for you!

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim – After her desperate family sells her to a courtesan school, Jade befriends JungHo, an orphan boy begging on the streets of Seoul, and must decide to pursue her dreams or risk everything in the fight for independence.

Sharpe’s Assassin by Bernard Cornwell – The New York Times best-selling author returns with his iconic hero, Richard Sharpe—outside, hero, rogue and the one man you want on your side.

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-dale – Returning to the Palais Garnier Opera House to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart her career—and finally make things right with her former friends, ballerina Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed—and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw – An expert at locating missing people is asked to find the vanished, well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books and is led to Pastoral, a reclusive community found in the 1970s that many believed to only be a legend.

W. E. B. Griffin Rogue Asset by Brian Andrews & Jeffery Wilson – To save the secretary of state from an army of terrorists in Cairo, the President revives the Presidential Agent program and calls Charley Castillo out of retirement to direct a new agent, Killer McCoy, to get the job done.

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding – Haunted by her failed career and lingering childhood trauma, a former stage performer turns to alcohol but is saved from the brink of the abyss by her son whose love redirects her towards rehabilitation and redemption.

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths – Newly minted PI Emma Holmes, while investigating the murder of retired music-hall star Verity Malone’s husband, discovers they have a mutual connection—a man who is married to a Hollywood star who could blow this case wide open, but who could also be the killer.

City of Shadows by Victoria Thompson – Elizabeth Miles Bates investigates when a friend’s mother begins paying a medium increasingly large amounts of money to make contact with her son who recently died of influenza, in the fifth novel of the series following City of Schemes.

Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde – The son of prosperous landowners in rural California befriends the sons of field workers who must contend with the changes that occur after the bombing of Pearl Harbor scatters one each into the army, an internment camp and into hiding.

The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters by Rachel Trethewey – Drawing on previously unpublished family letters from the Churchill archives, this biography paints a vivid portrait of the Churchill girls—Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary—who were eyewitnesses to some of the most important events in world history.

~Semanur

Review: All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

Find it here.
Ellice Littlejohn escaped her poor, small-town Georgia life at 14 and has rarely looked back since building a successful life and law career for herself in Atlanta. She does the best she can to help her younger brother, Sam, but his past run-ins with the law and her fancy corporate lawyer gig means that Ellice keeps the two parts of her life separate. She was successful at that until the morning she arrives at work to find her boss and lover, Michael, dead in his office. In a whirlwind of events in the aftermath of Michael’s murder Ellice finds herself in the center of a conspiracy that she never saw coming. 

This debut novel has it all-secrets, lies, murder, and suspense. Mixed in with all the action and drama are themes of racism, white supremacy, and family secrets. 

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