Best New Books: Week of 3/13/2018

There’s no need to remain in suspense over your next book. We’re here to help you solve the mystery and find a read that will be perfect for you. As you probably guessed, this week’s best new books are a bit heavy on the suspense and mystery genres, with 5 exciting new entries, all hoping to be the next big hit. In general fiction, the latest from Chris Bohjalian also tends toward the mysterious, though the other 3 books we’ve picked out will please those who would rather read something a bit more cerebral. Lastly, we have an exciting new science fiction thriller for those who like a little dystopia mixed into their entertainment.



FICTION



The Flight Attendant by  Chris Bohjalian

Flight AttendantCassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing.

When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets.

Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Description from Goodreads.

“Flight attendant Cassie Bowden: a self-destructive alcoholic who favors one-night stands, a gifted liar, a petty thief. But she’s also someone we can relate to: a soul damaged during childhood, terribly alone, and desperate for love… Readers who enjoyed the imperfect heroine in Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train and the anxiety-ridden paranoia of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment will be hooked by this murder mystery.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Bohjalian is an unfaltering storyteller who crosses genres with fluidity, from historical fiction to literary thrillers…a read-in-one-sitting escapade that is as intellectually satisfying as it is emotionally entertaining.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | AudiobookeBook


The Flicker of Old Dreams by  Susan Henderson

flicker of old dreamsThe dead come to me vulnerable, sharing their stories and secrets…”

Mary Crampton has spent all of her thirty years in Petroleum, a small Western town once supported by a powerful grain company. Living at home, she works as the embalmer in her father’s mortuary: an unlikely job that has long marked her as an outsider. Yet, to Mary there is a satisfying art to positioning and styling each body to capture the essence of a subject’s life.

Though some townsfolk pretend that the community is thriving, the truth is that Petroleum is crumbling away—a process that began twenty years ago when an accident in the grain elevator killed a beloved high school athlete. The mill closed for good, the train no longer stopped in town, and Robert Golden, the victim’s younger brother, was widely blamed for the tragedy and shipped off to live elsewhere. Now, out of the blue, Robert has returned to care for his terminally ill mother. After Mary—reserved, introspective, and deeply lonely—strikes up an unlikely friendship with him, shocking the locals, she finally begins to consider what might happen if she dared to leave Petroleum.

Set in America’s heartland, The Flicker of Old Dreams explores themes of resilience, redemption, and loyalty in prose as lyrical as it is powerful.

Description from Goodreads.

The Flicker of Old Dreams is at once a vivid and wildly compelling study of small town American life and an intimate and incisive exploration of the human condition, from love to loss and beyond.” – The New York Times

“…a contemplative and memorable novel.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book


Anatomy of a Miracle by  Jonathan Miles

anatomy of a miracleRendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair.

In the aftermath of this “miracle,” Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the center of a contentious debate about what’s taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron’s deepest secrets–the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery–become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron’s recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity?

Brilliantly written as closely observed journalistic reportage and filtered through a wide lens that encompasses the vibrant characters affected by Cameron’s story, Anatomy of a Miracle will be read, championed, and celebrated as a powerful story of our time, and the work of a true literary master.

Description from Goodreads.

“Jonathan Miles’ smart exploration of everything from the excesses of American popular culture to the deepest aspects of religious belief roars to life… A vivid portrait of our need to believe and its unintended consequences… Anatomy of a Miracle is a thoughtful modern morality play that’s as current as the latest internet meme and as timeless as the foundations of faith” – BookPage

“Miles possesses a rare and admirable command of structure and style, shifting smoothly from Afghan patrol tactics to Catholic doctrine to neurological science; his sentences are thick with data, wittily delivered. … An expertly shaped tale about faith in collision with contemporary American culture.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


Laura & Emma by  Kate Greathead

laura and emmaLaura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant.

Enter: Emma.

Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the apple falls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could.

Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the eighties and nineties. Laura & Emma is an acutely insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose offbeat sensibility, understated wit, and stylish prose celebrate the comedy and pathos that make us human.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] warmhearted debut novel…The supporting characters who come in and out of Laura’s life over the years sparkle with idiosyncrasies…Greathead is a talented writer of detail, particularly in her evocations of New York life—subway sobbing, could-be celebrity sightings, the joy of a favorite grocery store…This is a thoughtful novel of trying to find oneself despite an assigned place in the world.” – Publishers Weekly

“If the title of Kate Greathead’s debut evokes a Jane Austen novel, well, it’s fitting for an incisive comedy of manners about class divides and the ‘burdens’ of being born privileged.” – Esquire

“This novel makes a seemingly unlikable character sympathetic and interesting to the point that her story becomes unputdownable. Set against the backdrop of the 1980s to mid-1990s, this debut by a Moth ­StorySLAM champion will appeal to readers of character-driven women’s fiction.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



Let Me Lie by  Clare Mackintosh

let me lieThe police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…

The stunning, twisty new psychological thriller from number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go and I See You.

Description from Goodreads.

“Instant gratification grip-lit of the highest order.” – Metro

“Mackintosh’s three bar-raising psychological thrillers (starting with I Let You Go, 2016) have proven her adept at crafting compellingly flawed, authority-bucking characters and creating twists from the ripple effects of their relationships and personal issues, including abuse, mental illness, and alcoholism. This one’s perfect for Kate Atkinson and Tana French readers.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Family Next Door by  Sally Hepworth

family next doorThe small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbors, and children play in the street.

Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.

But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange’s compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won’t let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park – and returned home without her.

As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.

Description from Goodreads.

“With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Sometimes I Lie by  Alice Feeney

sometimes i lieMy name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Description from Goodreads.

“[An] insanely twisty thriller.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Fans of the psychological thriller will enjoy this ambitious debut.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A serpentine tale of betrayal, madness, and murder…. Feeney is definitely a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book


Exhibit Alexandra by  Natasha Bell

exhibit alexandraAlexandra Southwood is missing. Held in a room against her will, she’s forced to imagine how her husband, Marc, and two daughters are coping in the wake of her disappearance. She’s shown news clips of Marc, desperately appealing to the public for information on her whereabouts. She tortures herself with visions of her family’s devastated new reality. She thinks of what’s lost, remembering the beginnings of her romance with Marc and the beautiful family they built together.

Marc’s pain is visceral. He thinks of nothing but his wife. He shifts from utter despair to frantic action, and when the police discover Alexandra’s bloody belongings by the river, turning their missing-persons case into a murder investigation, he cannot accept that she is lost to him. He embarks on his own journey, through the dark maze of the art world that so gripped his wife, following a trail that leads him to find answers to questions he never meant to ask.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] provocative debut thriller…the full extent of [Bell’s] audacity only becomes evident toward the end of this ingenious optical illusion…On one level a gripping page-turner and on another a disturbing exploration of identity, art, and decency, Bell’s daring performance can’t be ignored.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Bell gives us all the clues and dares us to follow them to the shocking end. This smart, mirror maze of a thriller bristles with sharp edges, twisting familiar Gone Girl themes into Bell’s own intense creation.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book


A Different Kind of Evil by  Andrew Wilson

a different kind of evilTwo months after the events of A Talent for Murder, during which Agatha Christie “disappeared,” the famed mystery writer’s remarkable talent for detection has captured the attention of British Special Agent Davison.

Now, at his behest, she is traveling to the beautiful Canary Islands to investigate the strange and gruesome death of Douglas Greene, an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service. As she embarks on a glamorous cruise ship to her destination, she suddenly hears a scream. Rushing over to the stern of the liner, she witnesses a woman fling herself over the side of the ship to her death.

After this shocking experience, she makes it to the Grand Hotel in a lush valley on the islands. There, she meets a diverse and fascinating cast of characters, including two men who are suspected to be involved in the murder of Douglas Greene: an occultist similar to Aleister Crowley; and the secretary to a prominent scholar, who may also be a Communist spy. But Agatha soon realizes that nothing is what it seems here and she is surprised to learn that the apparent suicide of the young woman on the ocean liner is related to the murder of Douglas Greene. Now she has to unmask a different kind of evil in this sinister and thrilling mystery.

Description from Goodreads.

“Stellar…a crafty whodunit worthy of the queen of mystery herself.” – Publishers Weekly

“Wilson not only knows his subject but he deftly moves the tale away from mere literary ventriloquism and into darker territory. Great fun, too.” – Observer

Available Formats:

Print Book



SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY



The Feed by  Nick Clark Windo

feedThe Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world.

Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it.

The Feed’s collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true.

Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be?

Description from Goodreads.

“This thought-provoking debut shines a speculative light on the subjects of connection, disconnection, and identity in a not-so-distant digital age. The fast pace and absorbing plot will keep readers racing to the end.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Nick Clark Windo’s debut, quickly establishes this is not your typical post-apocalyptic scenario […] Though there are clear similarities to “The Walking Dead” and The Circle, the book offers fresh, smart commentary about digital dependence and its potential effect on our minds and relationships.” – Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book

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