Book Review- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

I recently finished Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel, The Only Good Indians, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The book is amazing, and unlike anything I’ve read. Teetering along a fine line between literary horror (yes, there is some disagreement as to whether that exists but I strongly support the notion that it does), a straight-up revenge story, and multi-faceted narratives of various Native American experiences, it delivers some serious gore alongside real emotional pain. It’s wildly atmospheric and to put it plainly, weird. Weird in the very best way, of course.

The revenge plot centers on four Native American men getting their just deserts after disrespecting the sacredness of an elk herd while hunting on elder tribal lands. The group’s excessive spray of bullets decimates an elk herd that includes a pregnant elk, who struggles with every thing she has to survive for her calf. She succumbs to her wounds and the Blackfeet reservation’s game warden discovers their trespass which results in them being forced to leave all the elk meat behind, except for the cow who fought so hard. The four pals are banned from hunting on the reservation for ten years as further punishment, but their real punishment arrives years later.

Without spoiling too much of the story, because there are indeed some surprising twists and turns, I can say this moment of carelessness and disregard results in very serious repercussions for the four men, their friends and family, and even their pets. In the beginning readers increasingly question what is real and what is being told to us by an unreliable narrator. Eventually, through a very clever shift in perspective, readers see the truth of what is happening and the story really picks up speed as we hurtle towards a conclusion.

The Only Good Indians is a stellar example of how horror can also be literary, as Jones has crafted a deeply felt look at cycles of violence, identity and the price of breaking away from tradition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the power of forgiveness and hope. I can’t promise it will all make sense in a neat, tidy way in the end but it doesn’t really need to honestly. A #ownvoices title that is highly recommended reading for fans of horror, literary fiction, strong character writing, and twisty plots.

Trigger warning: When I say there is gore in this, I am not exaggerating. It does include some brutal ends for specifically dogs. I assure you, the book overall is worth reading and you can breeze past some of the grisly paragraphs if need be.

Check out the ebook here or request the print copy here.

The Only Good Indians is the November selection for Novel Scares book club, my book club devoted to all things horror. Please join us for a lively discussion on Zoom November 12th @ 7 pm! Registration for fall programs begins September 1st and you can register for Novel Scares here. This program is also part of the county wide One Community Reads, taking place now through September, inviting you to read and reflect about race, injustice, history, and a better future.

Happy reading and stay safe!

I Read YA! Do You?

Regular readers will remember that I have already shared all of my 5-star YA reads of 2020. It’s now time to start sharing some of my 4-star recommendations.

American Panda by Gloria Chao. Seventeen year old Mei is a pre-med at MIT. Her whole life is already mapped out-become a doctor, marry a parents-approved, successful, Taiwanese guy with an Ivy League degree, and have babies. It’s the least she can do for her parents who have sacrificed everything for her and who have already been betrayed by her older brother. There are a couple of problems with this plan. She is a germaphobe. She loves to dance. Darren is not Taiwanese. This is a funny and heartfelt coming of age story about a young woman stuck between two cultures. It’s also about first love and family secrets and following your passions, all things teens of any ethnicity can relate to. A solid 4-star read.

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban. What happens when the scholarship dinner you’ve been invited to turns out to be a trap? This debut thriller reads like an Agatha Christie novel. The class valedictorian, the popular girl, the music geek, the stoner, the loner, and the star athlete all think they are being honored with a scholarship. Instead, they are locked in a room with a bomb, a syringe of poison, and a note that tells them to pick a person to die or they all die. The clock is ticking. This is an edge of your seat read that literally takes place over the course of an hour. Will they panic? Escape? Kill someone? This is a wild ride from a new voice in YA thrillers.

One of Us is Next by Karen McManus. Speaking of thrillers…If you aren’t reading Karen McManus, go do it now. This is the sequel to her hit One of Us is Lying. It’s been a year since the incidents at Bayview High and there is a new game circulating- Truth or Dare and this version is dark and dangerous. This is another strong addition to the YA thriller genre. I am definitely a fan of the author and look forward to more great reads by her.

Deadly Little Secrets by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Here’s another thriller and a sequel. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes and will read anything she writes. This one picks up where Little White Lies leaves off. If you like southern charm and wicked family secrets and secret societies, you really need to read the Debutantes series. What I love about all of Barnes’ books is that there is plenty of humor to cut through the tension of her rather dark tales.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. This one is actually the final book in the Folk of the Air trilogy. You’ll want to start with The Cruel Prince, followed by The Wicked King. I always think I do not enjoy stories about the fae, and yet, any time I decide to read one, I like it, so I guess I am wrong about myself! Holly Black knows her stuff. She is the queen of the fairy tale and she returns to her fairy roots with this brutal and twisty trilogy. It’s full of magic and betrayal and the ending is fantastic. Highly recommend.

~Megan

Listen Up! The Shadows by Alex North Reviewed

Paul Adams hasn’t been back to his childhood village in twenty-five years. He left everything, including the horrible crime committed by his classmate Charlie Crabtree, behind. It’s his mother’s failing health that has brought him reluctantly back home. There is no joyful homecoming for Paul. His mother is distraught, something horrible is in his childhood home, someone is following him, and he has caught the attention of Detective Amanda Beck. Detective Beck is investigating a crime that is eerily similar to one that happened twenty-five years ago. Is it a strange coincidence that Paul is suddenly back in town? Is Charlie Crabtree back? What did happen to Charlie?

This new offering from the author of The Whisper Man, is a haunting psychological thriller with strong Stand By Me vibes. The story alternates between the past and Paul’s recollection of the crime and the present as Paul struggles to reconcile his memories with what is happening in this new case. The tension builds slowly as the the strange truth behind both cases is slowly and deliberately revealed. The skillful narration of Hannah Arterton (Safe, The Five on Netflix) and John Heffernan (Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Collateral) bring the story to life and draw the listener in.

The Shadows is a great pick for readers and listeners who enjoyed The Chalk Man and other titles by C.J. Tudor and the Family Upstairs and other titles by Lisa Jewell.

Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan audio for an advance reader/listener copy for review.

~Megan

Favorite Books of 2020 (So Far)

Can you believe that we are more than halfway through 2020?! I know I surely cannot. Little did we know in January how very different this year would look compared to years past, and really March to now have been a bit of a foggy blur. Not only does my handy dandy planner help me with my to-do lists now more than ever, it also helps me remember what day it is (which was not so much of an issue pre-2020).

One thing that remains constant though is the joy of reading. Despite whatever madness might be occurring, I can always find a comfy perch somewhere and escape into a book for a few hours. Books have been a reassuring friend to me these past five months and I hope you have been able to curl up with a fabulous book as well.

Below you’ll find some of my most favorite books I’ve read so far this year!

Circe by Madeline Miller

Miller’s novel is absolutely amazing. Circe is a beautifully written, smart, feminist tale that takes readers into the world of Greek mythology but with an entirely new vantage point. Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of sun and mightiest of the Titans. She is strange, empathetic, and viewed as weak by her family and peers, turning to mortals for friendship and comfort. Eventually she discovers she holds the power of witchcraft, particularly the power of transformation, and is subsequently banished to live in exile on a remote island. Here is where she truly finds herself and her power. This complex story has it all- complicated heroines, magic, monsters, romance, tragedy, and adventure. It is also very much a story about families and finding our own paths independent of our familial bonds. I wept at the ending not only because of how perfect it was, but because I could have easily read another 300 pages of this masterpiece.

The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer

I’ve written about my fangirl love for Jeff VanderMeer’s work on this blog before, but this is perhaps my most favorite book of his to date. It is also the one that ripped my heart out. It is an exploration of the beauty of humanity, conversely also about the cruelty humanity is capable of, and the endurance of love- all packed into under 100 pages. Readers will be mostly lost if they haven’t read any of the other Borne stories (Borne; Dead Astronauts) so I would highly recommend picking up at least one of those before diving into The Strange Bird. Here we follow a new character- a biotech bird mixed of human, avian, and other creature’s genetic material, known only as the Strange Bird. Following her escape from the lab that made her, she is plagued by mysterious dreams, drawn by some invisible beacon inside her to a faraway location. A difficult and gorgeous story that will stay with you long after you close the cover.

In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

Perhaps my favorite spooky book so far this year (and you know I love spooky books!). An eerie and atmospheric horror story of women and witchcraft, that also reads as a psychological thriller. The story is set in colonial New England and follows a young woman who is lost in the woods while picking berries for her family- or did she leave her family on purpose? Much is unclear about her circumstances. Eventually she runs into a helpful older woman in the woods, who leads her to yet another mysterious and generous woman with a cozy cabin and plenty of food. Quickly it is made clear that all is not what it seems in this forest and these women may not truly be trying to help her return home. Elements of classic fairy tales and folklore, combined with an unreliable narrator and surreal, dreamlike moments unfold into a disturbing story that I could not put down.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

I wasn’t sure I liked this book until I was more than halfway through it, but I’m glad I kept reading, because it turned out that I actually loved it. The writing is extraordinary and what kept me turning the pages, but I wasn’t confident this tale of wealth, white-collar financial crimes, and ghosts would all come together and hit me with the emotional impact I expect of a book. Well, The Glass Hotel delivers and in many unexpected ways. The story looks at multiple characters, but begins and ends with Vincent, a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass palace on a remote island in British Columbia. Readers travel to Manhattan, a container ship, the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, and back, as we follow the connecting threads of one devastating Ponzi scheme and the various people it’s long tendrils dragged down with it.

White Tears by Hari Kunzru

This book is tricky- it wants you to think it is one story, but it twists and turns into another story and then yet another story. It is difficult to share why it is so captivating and amazing without spoiling too much of the plot, but I can say the early parts of the book introduce you to two particularly irritating white hipster men. They have an obsession with “real” music which essentially means any music that is from black culture and eventually this morphs into a hyper-focused interest in blues from the pre-war era for one of them. There are some seriously funny but bothersome passages discussing audiophile interests, vinyl collecting, and expectations of “real” musicians. I assure you, it is worth it to keep reading through the annoying narrator. The story really goes off the rails maybe halfway through and takes readers on a a new narrative that shifts our sense of reality and time, eventually ending with a note of satisfying and thought-provoking vengeance. Alternatively, this is also a story about white privilege, appropriation of black culture (especially music) in America, white wealth created from the exploitation of black bodies, the industrial prison system, and many more deep seated themes.

Have you read any of my favorites? What are some of your favorites that you have read in the past six months? Share with me in the comments!

What to Read While You Wait for Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz

Daughters of Erietown is Connie Schultz’s debut novel. It’s the story of Ellie and Brick McGinty, two rural Ohio teens whose lives were changed by an unplanned pregnancy. While Ellie and Brick learn to be a married couple in the 1950’s they also battle with the demons of their past. The young couple navigate societal norms, limited opportunities, and dreams deferred. They raise a middle-class family on a union job salary.  They watch their children grow up and forge their own paths in the world. It’s a quiet story, rich in character and it’s likely on your summer TBR list. You aren’t alone. So, while you wait for your library hold to come available, check out some of these generational stories.

~Megan

Imagine Your Story – Books

I may have mentioned that I’m finding it a bit hard to stick with an entire book right now. So when I find a novel that compels me to read it in one sitting, not only do I want to celebrate, I want to share!

darcy

My eBook for Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell became available on Saturday morning and as soon as I started it, I knew my chore list was shot. This fast-paced and suspenseful domestic thriller stars unreliable (and mostly unlike-able) characters who have shady pasts and who make many bad choices and stir up plenty of family drama.

Floral shop owner Charlotte has the perfect life, including money, a fabulous apartment, a beautiful daughter named Daisy, a handsome husband and a super successful business. Unfortunately, she is wracked by anxiety, is overprotective of her family, and can’t always sleep at night. Adding to her woes is her brother Rocco, who barely has his life together and whose taste in girlfriends has always been horrible, each one less tolerable than the last. But when Charlotte meets his newest girlfriend Ruth, she thinks maybe this time Rocco got it right.

In Ruth’s eyes, however, it is Charlotte who isn’t perfect. Ruth, who didn’t have a good relationship with her mother, thinks that Charlotte doesn’t appreciate what she has. Ruth longs for a daughter just like Daisy–or maybe even Daisy herself. Before too long, Ruth will turn Charlotte’s life upside down and will take readers on a journey filled with twists, turns, and plenty of juicy secrets.

Like cotton candy, this novel won’t overly fill you up or ruin your appetite for your next read, but it sure tastes good as a treat. If this sounds like your type of read, place a hold in our catalog here.

Your Library Staff at Home- Favorite Comics on Hoopla

Revisiting favorites is a comforting and fun activity during these uncertain, and often stressful, times. Whether it is a favorite film (I just watched Back to the Future last night!) or a favorite book, there is something about that second or fifth re-watch or re-read that feels like visiting with an old friend.

Maybe you will notice a small detail in the plot you never caught before, or a line will hit you in a new way, or maybe the story will read entirely different to you this time around! I’ve been perusing some of my all-time favorite comics series and have shared them below. Maybe you’ll spot a favorite of your own or find a brand new series to pick up!

East of West by Jonathan Hickman

A weird series that has it all- dystopian future Earth, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, epic robot/monster battles, political intrigue, forbidden romance (with Death!), sci-fi spaghetti western tones.. .and the art is gorgeous. This series hasn’t ended yet so snag Volume 1: The Promise now on Hoopla and prepare for the end!

Locke & Key by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s talents as a terrific horror and thriller author shine in this amazing series! Readers follow the Key family as they move into the mysterious Keyhouse mansion, which they discover is filled with mysterious and powerful keys. The Key kids also soon find other nefarious forces are at work to obtain the keys- will they survive? You may have recently caught the new Netflix series based on the comics, but I can assure you the books are much weirder, darker, and spookier than the show- in the best way. You can read the entire series from beginning to end on Hoopla, starting with Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft.

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

This is the series that truly began my love affair with comics. Sure, I’d read X-Men and Spider-Man plenty, but when I picked up Gaiman’s brilliant tale of Morpheus aka Dream I was blown away by how philosophical and creative The Sandman world was. The imaginative weaving together of mythology, fairy tales, Shakespeare, and more will entrance you. The impressive cast for the Audible adaptation was announced last week and inspired me to want to read this series for a third time! You can read the entire series, including the 30th anniversary edition of Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes, on Hoopla now.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga is a huge, sweeping sci-fi epic that is actually about love and parenting- but also super weird, graphic in more ways that one, and sometimes soul-crushingly sad. But it is so so good! Two soldiers on opposite sides of a long-running war fall for each other and have a child, quickly making them the most wanted fugitives in perhaps the entire galaxy. Saga is their story, as told by their daughter, Hazel. The series is on a hiatus, so while we patiently await the next new issue (or not so patiently), you can get caught up on Hoopla starting with Volume 1!

If you are a comics fan be sure to check out our online programming celebrating comics, graphic novels, and fandom kicking off June 6th- RiverCon! Originally envisioned to be a mini-con in the library, we have revamped our plans to offer you some awesome goodies and activities to safely enjoy at home! Register for a RiverCon@Home activity kit now on our event calendar and keep your eyes peeled on our website for more great stuff. I’ll be posting next week with a sneak peek of some of the cool content coming your way in June.

Stay safe and happy reading!

Your Library Staff at Home – Pageturning Fiction & a Binge-Worthy Comedy

Feeling overwhelmed? Slow down. At the very least you can at least control what you are watching and reading. Here are some recommendations, just in time.

If you are looking for something different to binge-watch, “Raised by Wolves” is available via our free Acorn TV service https://rockyriveroh.rbdigital.com/  and is a “pleasantly raunchy British comedy,” according to the The New York Times. Portraying the eccentricities of a home-schooled family of six children, their headstrong single mother, and randy grandfather, this show isn’t for everyone, but its two seasons are refreshingly honest and original and filled with moments of comic gold.

In need of a satisfying page-turner? Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid fits the bill. Deceiving in appearance with its cute title and cover art, this novel about the connections between two women—a twenty-eight-year-old black babysitter and the well-meaning woman who employs her, will make you think about race and privilege, and is reminiscent of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Find a digital eBook or audio copy of the book at https://clevnet.overdrive.com/clevnet-rrpl/content/

If these sound like your cup of tea, enjoy. And, stay safe!

Your Library Staff at Home- Classic Films on Kanopy

We all have films that we’ve always meant to watch, or meant to re-watch, but never seemed to have the time. For me, many of the films I’ve hoped to give another viewing were new and old classics that I wanted to share with my husband, who is very much not a film buff but enthusiastically watches my picks on movie nights.

One of my favorite digital library resources and an amazing place to find classic films is Kanopy. Using your RRPL library card you can get access to an amazing array of films- typically you are allowed 7 “play credits” per month (once you press play on a video, you will automatically use 1 play credit and have 3 days to watch it as many times as you’d like.) To help us all get through these long days of social distancing, Kanopy is currently offering a variety of viewing that is credit-free! You can take a look at all of the credit-free choices available to you here.

So what are some of my top picks for classics on Kanopy right now? Below you will find my top 5 recommendations!

Suspiria (1977)

Image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076786/

This suspenseful Italian classic from Dario Argento is a must-watch for any horror fan. Highly stylized, with an amazing soundtrack and inspiring color palette in nearly every scene, this interesting film follows American ballet dancer Suzy after she arrives in Germany to attend a prestigious ballet academy. Murder, secrets, and the supernatural abound, and she soon discovers the school is much more than it seems. If you saw the 2018 remake of this film (which I also recommend!) make sure to watch the original.

Modern Times (1936)

Image from https://www.criterion.com/films/27526-modern-times

I love Charlie Chaplin movies, and my all-time favorite of his is the romantic comedy City Lights, but Modern Times is a joy to watch and currently available on Kanopy! (Unfortunately, City Lights is not at the moment.) This comedic film was Chaplin’s last time playing the iconic Little Tramp and depicts him working as a factory employee who falls for a woman, while also sliding in some Great Depression commentary amidst the humor.

Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038348/

This beautiful French film from Jean Cocteau adapts the classic fairy tale story into a piece of cinematic wonder. We all know the story of a beautiful girl whose love saves the heart and soul of a wild but gentle beast, but the gorgeous cinematography and wonderful performances in this black-and-white version is one of the best adaptations and is a stand-out piece of fantasy film history.

Ikiru (1952)

Image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044741/

I watched this film for the first time two years ago and was astonished by this touching work from the always impressive Akira Kurosawa. Viewers will follow Kanji, an aging bureaucrat who reassesses his life and priorities after he discovers he has stomach cancer and not much time left. Told in two parts, this movie examines the human condition and will surely leave you with much to contemplate.

Metropolis (1927)

Image from https://rrpl.kanopy.com/video/metropolis-0

Metropolis is a very famous and influential film and warrants at least one viewing no matter where your film interests lie because of it’s historical importance. The movie takes place in 2026 (just 6 years from now!) and is an amazing science fiction film that looks at a divided future in which workers and the wealthy enjoy wildly different lives. Still entertaining, thought provoking, and visually striking, this silent film will not disappoint.

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 classics on Kanopy and that something strikes your fancy! What are some of your favorite classic films? Have you been watching treasured movies you’ve seen many times over or are you using this time at home to watch all the newer movies you’ve missed in recent years? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Thanks for stopping and stay well dear readers.

What we’re reading now….

Secret Historian by Justin Spring

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This the biography of Samuel Steward, a man who would go by many other names in his life. Born in Southeast Ohio, Steward would attend Ohio State University, work as a university English professor, befriend Alfred Kinsey and Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder, collaborate and contribute to the work of the Kinsey Institute, begin working as a tattoo artist, be ousted from his university job, move to California, and write gay pulp novels. The story of his career is intertwined with his identity as a homosexual man and his intimate personal life. This book uses the treasure trove of personal letters and personal effects to give a frank depiction. An exploration of Pre-Stonewall and gay liberation that gives the reader a glimpse into this man’s world and life.  Greg

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Daisy is a girl coming of age in the late sixties.  She is a free spirited, beautiful young woman with a fantastic voice.  The Six is a band led by the  brooding Billy Dunne.  Daisy and Billy eventually cross paths in the world of music, and a producer realizes that the key to massive success is to put the two together.  What happens next is the story of rock legends.    Mary

Chapters in the Course of My Life by Rudolf Steiner

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Steiner was a 19th century Austrian philosopher and “Anthroposophist” – anthroposophy is a spiritual movement Steiner founded, that believed there was a spiritual world accessible to human experience.  Steiner was also the founder of Waldorf education, which focuses on the child as a holistic being, with an emphasis on imagination and creativity. His autobiography is absolutely fascinating, both as a chronicle of his own intellectual and spiritual development, as well as a record of the amazing thinkers, poets, and artists that Steiner associated with and learned from. Andrew

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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This book, often touted as a very Millennial love story, follows Connell and Marianne and their shifting relationship as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.  During high school, Connell is a star athlete, popular and well liked while Marianne is an aloof loner.  They begin to grow closer during the times Connell picks up his mother from her work as Marianne’s family’s housekeeper, eventually starting a secret relationship.  As time passes, so does the nature of their relationship and personal circumstances.  Both Connell and Marianne are relatable, though at times, unlikable characters, leading them to make upsettingly poor choices.   A quick read with a lasting impact. Trent

Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls

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In 2017 much was being written about the rediscovered classic Mrs. Caliban. That was the year Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water featured a similar story of love between a woman and an amphibious creature. Earlier this year the author died and I decided to add this to my reading list for something a little different. This novella moves along at a fast clip. Despite the character Dorothy’s unhappy marriage and humdrum domesticity in the suburbs, Ingalls writes with a droll voice. The creature goes by the human name Larry although the news reports warn people that he is a dangerous monster. I’ve read analysis that Larry could just be a figment of Dorothy’s imagination, a representation of an exciting liberation from her mundane mechanical life. I tend to think of Larry as real, but until I reach the end I have yet to fully make that determination. What do you think? Byron

Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander

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This is the Russian story of Katya who inherits an old Bluthner piano in 1962. She loves music and her piano. Katya marries Mikhail, who becomes a violent drunk, and eventually settles in California. Sadly, the piano is gone. Years later Clara receives a Bluthner piano from her father on her 12th birthday. At 26 years old Clara, suddenly homeless, leases her piano to photographer Greg Zeldin who uses it for a photo series in Death Valley. Greg travels to places he remembers visiting with his mother. Clara follows the adventure ultimately making a connection with Greg, his mother, her father and the piano. This is a beautiful story with lots of attention to detail. Emma

Crimson Lake  by Candice Fox

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Set in a small town in Australia, this series opener stars a disgraced former cop trying to hide from his past and start over.  On the advice of his lawyer he seeks out a local PI who has her own dark past. They make for an odd couple, but they are soon teamed up to work a case involving a missing author. As they work the case Ted and Amanda each start poking around the other’s past. One odd couple, three cases, and a box of geese all make for a fantastic series opener. Megan

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

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This book is a fictional depiction of the very real, very heinous Tennessee Children’s Home Society.   Through alternating timelines we learn about one politically powerful family’s ties to this heartbreaking institution and how so many lives would forever be changed.  Beth

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

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Marie Mitchell is working for the FBI during the 1980s Cold War when she’s recruited to travel to Burkina Faso as a spy to take-down their revolutionary leader, Thomas Sankara. Black, female, French-speaking and repeatedly snubbed in her FBI career, she’s the ideal candidate for the job. Marie chose to be an FBI agent to pay tribute to her recently deceased sister, who died mysteriously. Now, still grieving, she’s heading to Africa, knowing she’d been chosen for her looks, not her talent, and questioning whether Thomas Sankara is as destructive as the U.S. claims him to be. Told as a letter she’s writing to her two young sons, American Spy is a fascinating look at espionage, the Cold War, African politics, race, gender and imperialism, with a dose of romance and suspense thrown in for good measure. Bahni Turpin does an incredible job narrating the audiobook! Dori

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

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Cody Swift is doing a podcast with his girlfriend in an attempt to re-open an investigation into the deaths of his two best friends which occurred twenty years ago when the boys were only eleven years old. As Cody interviews old detectives, parents and witnesses, he frightens someone into threatening his and his girlfriend’s safety. It seems that no one told the whole truth about everything that happened that night. Told in the present, and also through the eyes of 11-year-old Cody in flashbacks, the book is an engaging, page turning read. I felt that the ending had a good twist to it that I did not anticipate, but it was a bit too rushed which made it somewhat anticlimactic. I still would recommend it. Sara