New Fiction Books: December 2016

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General Fiction


In Sunlight or in Shadow - Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopp.jpgIn Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopp

“Edward Hopper is surely the greatest American narrative painter. His work bears special resonance for writers and readers, and yet his paintings never tell a story so much as they invite viewers to find for themselves the untold stories within.”

So says Lawrence Block, who has invited seventeen outstanding writers to join him in an unprecedented anthology of brand-new stories: In Sunlight or In Shadow. The results are remarkable and range across all genres, wedding literary excellence to storytelling savvy.

Contributors include Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, Nicholas Christopher, Jill D. Block, Joe R. Lansdale, Justin Scott, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Warren Moore, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, and Lawrence Block himself. Even Gail Levin, Hopper’s biographer and compiler of his catalogue raisonée, appears with her own first work of fiction, providing a true account of art theft on a grand scale and told in the voice of the country preacher who perpetrated the crime.

In a beautifully produced anthology as befits such a collection of acclaimed authors, each story is illustrated with a quality full-color reproduction of the painting that inspired it.

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Mystery / Suspense


Curtain of Death by W.E.B. Griffin.jpgCurtain of Death by W.E.B. Griffin

January 1946: Two WACs leave an officers’ club in Munich, and four Soviet NKGB agents kidnap them at knifepoint in the parking lot and shove them in the back of an ambulance. That is the agents’ first mistake, and their last. One of the WACs, a blond woman improbably named Claudette Colbert, works for the new Directorate of Central Intelligence, and three of the men end up dead and the fourth wounded.
The “incident,” however, will send shock waves rippling up and down the line and have major repercussions not only for her, but for her boss, James Cronley, Chief DCI-Europe, and for everybody involved in their still-evolving enterprise. For, though the Germans may have been defeated, Cronley and his company are on the front lines of an entirely different kind of war now. The enemy has changed, the rules have changed—and the stakes have never been higher.

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Expecting to Die by Lisa Jackson.jpgExpecting to Die by Lisa Jackson

Some places earn their bad reputation through tall tales or chance. Grizzly Falls is different. Here, killers aren’t just the stuff of legends and campfire lore. Someone is in the nighttime shadows, watching the local teens in the moonlit woods. Waiting for the right moment, the right victim. Waiting to take away a life.

Detective Regan Pescoli is counting the days until her maternity leave. Exhausted and emotional, the last thing she needs is another suspected serial killer. Especially when her daughter, Bianca, is swept up in the media storm. When a reality show arrives in town, the chaos only makes it harder for Pescoli and her partner, Selena Alvarez, to distinguish rumour from truth.

Another body is found…and another. And as the nightmare strikes closer to home, Pescoli races to find the terror lingering in the darkness, where there are too many places to hide…and countless places to die…

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The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe.jpgThe Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe

For fans of Jo Nesbo and The Bridge, The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .

A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway.

The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.

But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?

Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation.

As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover?

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The Midnight Bell by Jack Higgins.jpgThe Midnight Bell by Jack Higgins

In Washington, D.C., on a night full of rain, a woman is struck down and killed by a hit-and-run driver. But she is not just any woman—she is the assistant to the head of the secret White House department known only as the Basement. And she had secrets of her own.

In the Virgin Islands, former president Jake Cazalet receives a warning. He is recuperating on a diving trip after successfully helping Sean Dillon and the rest of the “Prime Minister’s private army” defeat an Al Qaeda operation in London. But though AQ may be weakened and facing competition from other terrorist upstarts, it is far from dead—and it intends to prove it.

Soon the ripples from these two events will spread and overlap, not only in Washington but around the world. Everyone involved will find themselves in the most desperate battle of their lives—and the midnight bell will toll.

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The Seventh Plague by James Rollins.jpgThe Seventh Plague by James Rollins

If the biblical plagues of Egypt truly happened–could they happen again–on a global scale?

Two years after vanishing into the Sudanese desert, the leader of a British archeological expedition, Professor Harold McCabe, comes stumbling out of the sands, frantic and delirious, but he dies before he can tell his story. The mystery deepens when an autopsy uncovers a bizarre corruption: someone had begun to mummify the professor’s body–while he was still alive.

His strange remains are returned to London for further study, when alarming news arrives from Egypt. The medical team who had performed the man’s autopsy has fallen ill with an unknown disease, one that is quickly spreading throughout Cairo. Fearing the worst, a colleague of the professor reaches out to a longtime friend: Painter Crowe, the director of Sigma Force. The call is urgent, for Professor McCabe had vanished into the desert while searching for proof of the ten plagues of Moses. As the pandemic grows, a disturbing question arises.

Are those plagues starting again?

Before Director Crowe can investigate, a mysterious group of assassins leaves behind a fiery wake of destruction and death, erasing all evidence. With the professor’s body incinerated, his home firebombed, Sigma Force must turn to the archaeologist’s only daughter, Jane McCabe, for help. While sifting through what’s left of her father’s work, she discovers a puzzling connection, tying the current threat to a shocking historical mystery, one involving the travels of Mark Twain, the genius of Nikola Tesla, and the adventures of famous explorer, Henry Morgan Stanley.

To unravel a secret going back millennia, Director Crowe and Commander Grayson Pierce will be thrust to opposite sides of the globe. One will search for the truth, traveling from the plague-ridden streets of Cairo to a vast ancient tomb buried under the burning sands of the Sudan; the other will struggle to stop a mad genius locked within a remote Arctic engineering complex, risking the lives of all those he holds dear.

As the global crisis grows ever larger, Sigma Force will confront a threat born of the ancient past and made real by the latest science–a danger that will unleash a cascading series of plagues, culminating in a scourge that could kill all of the world’s children . . . decimating mankind forever.

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Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney.jpgTom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney

The #1 New York Times–bestselling series is back with the most shocking revelation of all. After years of facing international threats, President Jack Ryan learns that the greatest dangers always come from within. . . .

It begins with a family dinner in Princeton, New Jersey. After months at sea, U.S. Navy Commander Scott Hagan, captain of the USS James Greer, is on leave when he is attacked by an armed man in a crowded restaurant. Hagan is shot, but he manages to fight off the attacker. Though severely wounded, the gunman reveals he is a Russian whose brother was killed when his submarine was destroyed by Commander Hagan’s ship.

Hagan demands to know how the would-be assassin knew his exact location, but the man dies before he says more.

In the international arrivals section of Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, a Canadian businessman puts his fingerprint on a reader while chatting pleasantly with the customs official. Seconds later he is shuffled off to interrogation. He is actually an American CIA operative who has made this trip into Iran more than a dozen times, but now the Iranians have his fingerprints and know who he is. He is now a prisoner of the Iranians.

As more deadly events involving American military and intelligence personnel follow, all over the globe, it becomes clear that there has been some kind of massive information breach and that a wide array of America’s most dangerous enemies have made a weapon of the stolen data. With U.S. intelligence agencies potentially compromised, it’s up to John Clark and the rest of The Campus to track the leak to its source.

Their investigation uncovers an unholy threat that has wormed its way into the heart of our nation. A danger that has set a clock ticking and can be stopped by only one man . . . President Jack Ryan.

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the-divided-city-by-luke-mccallinThe Divided City by Luke McCallin

A year after Germany’s defeat, Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, but tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power and influence with Berlin’s new masters.

When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters only escalate when it’s discovered that one of the victims was the brother of a Nazi scientist.

Reinhardt’s search for the truth takes him across the divided city and soon embroils him in a plot involving the Western Allies and the Soviets. And as he comes under the scrutiny of a group of Germans who want to continue the war—and faces an unwanted reminder from his own past—Reinhardt realizes that this investigation could cost him everything as he pursues a killer who believes that all wrongs must be avenged…

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Don’t Turn Out the Lights by Bernard Minier.jpgDon’t Turn Out the Lights by Bernard Minier

“You did nothing.”

Christine Steinmeyer thought the suicide note she found in her mailbox on Christmas Eve wasn’t meant for her. But the man calling in to her radio show seems convinced otherwise.

“You let her die…”

The note and the call are only the beginning. Bit by bit, her life is progressively turned upside down: someone is trying to destroy her. But who among her friends and family can hate her that much? And why?

Commandant Martin Servaz is on leave in a clinic for depressed cops, haunted by the latest crime committed by his nemesis, serial killer Julian Hirtmann. Then he receives a key card to a hotel room – the room where an artist committed suicide a year earlier. He soon realises that the key opens up a most intriguing mystery. Could someone really be cruelly, consciously driving women to kill themselves? Both he and Christine are about to find out…but it may already be too late.

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how-will-i-know-you-by-jessica-treadwayHow Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway

On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled. As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy’s mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy’s best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town’s police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy’s death.

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Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth Duncan.jpgIll Met by Murder by Elizabeth Duncan

It’s the most important night of the year for the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company–the annual fund raising performance at the country estate of the wealthy widow Paula Van Dusen. And this year promises to be even more special as the company will give a moonlight performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of the wedding celebrations for Paula’s daughter, Belinda Van Dusen, and her fiance Adrian. But “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and in the aftermath of a disastrous after party, the stage is set for murder.

Hugh Hedley, son of a prominent upstate New York family and Adrian’s rival in the cut-throat world of high end Manhattan real estate, is found murdered with a stolen prop from the play. Mrs. Van Dusen is desperate to keep her daughter’s name of out of the paper, so Charlotte Fairfax is drawn into yet another murder case amidst her costume design responsibilities and finding a home for the company’s new theater school.

But Charlotte nevertheless throws herself into an investigation of shady business deals, a missing dog, and long buried family secrets because “though she be but little, she is fierce!”

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The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson.jpgThe Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson

“Dandy Gilver is marvelously, hopelessly, hilariously wonderful. If you haven’t discovered Catriona McPherson yet, it’s time to start!” —Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery series

On the rain-drenched, wind-battered Banffshire coast dilapidated mansions cling to cliff tops, and tiny fishing villages perch on ledges that would make a seagull think twice. It’s nowhere for Dandy Gilver, a child of gentle Northamptonshire, to spend Christmas.

But when odd things start to turn up in barrels of fish—with a strong whiff of murder most foul—that’s exactly where she finds herself. Enlisted to investigate, Dandy and her trusty cohort, Alec Osborne, are soon swept up in the fisherfolks’ wedding season as well as the mystery. Between age-old traditions and brand-new horrors, Dandy must think the unthinkable to solve her most baffling case yet.

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Resume Speed by Lawrence Block.jpgResume Speed by Lawrence Block

From the legendary author of A Walk Among the Tombstones comes this gripping tale of sudden endings and new beginnings. When a man called Bill spots a sign in a restaurant window, he grabs his carry-on and gets off his bus. Within an hour he’s got himself a job as a short-order cook, and a start on a whole new life in Cross Creek, Montana. Things just fall into place. He applies for a library card, and the next thing you know he’s having dinner with the librarian. One thing leads to another, and he can see a whole new life stretching out before him…

Lawrence Block (b. 1938) is the recipient of a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and an internationally renowned bestselling author. His prolific career spans over one hundred books, including four bestselling series as well as dozens of short stories, articles, and books on writing. He has won four Edgar and Shamus Awards, two Falcon Awards from the Maltese Falcon Society of Japan, the Nero and Philip Marlowe Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association of the United Kingdom. In France, he has been awarded the title Grand Maitre du Roman Noir and has twice received the Societe 813 trophy.

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Romance


Four Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia Quinn.jpgFour Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia Quinn

“Something Old”
Julia Quinn’s prologue introduces her heroine Beatrice Heywood and the premise for Four Weddings and a Sixpence.

“Something New”
In Stefanie Sloane’s unforgettable story, an ever-vigilant guardian decrees that Anne Brabourne must marry by her twenty-first birthday. But love finds her in the most unexpected of ways.

“Something Borrowed”
Elizabeth Boyle tells the tale of Cordelia Padley, who has invented a betrothed to keep her family from pestering her to wed. Now she’ll need to borrow one to convince them she’s found her true love.

“Something Blue”
In Laura Lee Guhrke’s story, unlucky Lady Elinor Daventry has her sixpence stolen from her and must convince the rake who pilfered the coin to return it in time for her own wedding.

“… and a Sixpence in Her Shoe”
Julia Quinn finishes with the story of Beatrice Heywood, who never believed that the sixpence was anything but a tarnished old coin—until it led all of her friends to true love. But her faith in the coin is tested when it keeps sending her to the wrong man!

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The Hero by Donna Grant.jpgThe Hero by Donna Grant

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen.jpgThe Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood–along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.

Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family’s inn. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane finds herself The Bell’s owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place.

Feeling reluctant and ill-equipped, Jane is tempted to abandon her husband’s legacy and return to her former life of ease. However, she soon realizes there is more at stake than her comfort. But who can she trust to help her? Her resentful mother-in-law? Her husband’s brother, who wanted the inn for himself? Or the handsome newcomer with secret plans of his own . . . ?

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane struggles to win over naysayers and turn the place around. Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well?

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Island of Glass by Nora Roberts.jpgIsland of Glass by Nora Roberts

As the hunt for the Star of Ice leads the six guardians to Ireland, Doyle, the immortal, must face his tragic past. Three centuries ago, he closed off his heart, yet his warrior spirit is still drawn to the wild. And there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley—and the wolf within her…

An archaeologist, Riley is no stranger to the coast of Clare, but now she finds herself on unsure footing, targeted by the dark goddess who wants more than the stars, more than the blood of the guardians. While searching through Irish history for clues that will lead them to the final star and the mysterious Island of Glass, Riley must fight her practical nature and admit her sudden attraction to Doyle is more than just a fling. For it is his strength that will sustain her and give her the power to run towards love—and save them all…

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nothing-less-by-anna-toddNothing Less by Anna Todd

Book 2 of a new series featuring After worldwide fan-favorite Landon Gibson as he leaves Washington to navigate love and life in New York City. At the end of the After Ever Happy, Landon got married—but readers everywhere have been wondering who will get to call the nicest boy in the After series their forever love?

 

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Sci-Fi / Horror


Ocean of Storms by Christopher Mari.jpgOcean of Storms by Christopher Mari

In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.

Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts—and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.

Ocean of Storms is an epic adventure that spans space and time as its heroes race to fulfill an ancient mission that may change the course of humanity’s future.

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About Avalon Free Public Library

Avalon is a bustling little shore town in southern NJ. Our small population of 1800 expands to about 30,000 at the height of summer. We like to think that we serve them all and then some! Our goal is to make our library available to our patrons wherever they may roam.

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