June 2014 Must Reads in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Whew!! June is a heckuva month for suspense! Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for June (click on the covers to pre-order)! Note I took out the Top 10, because I never (ever) can keep it to just 10. These are in no particular order. 


thosewhowishmedeadThose Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown-June 3rd)

Synopsis (all synopsis are from Amazon or B&N)-When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he’s plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him.

Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.


girlsofthekingfisherThe Girls of the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine (Atria-June 3rd)
Synopsis-From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a “gorgeous and bewitching” (Scott Westerfeld) reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.

Jo, the firstborn, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those she must make of herself.

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, joining the leagues of such Jazz Age depicters as Amor Towles and Paula McClain, and penning a dazzling tale about love, sisterhood, and freedom.


blackcurrent

Black Current by Karen Keskinen (Minotaur-June 3rd)
Synopsis-How far would you go to avenge someone you love?

It’s August, and Santa Barbara, California hasn’t tasted a drop of rain for months when P.I. Jaymie Zarlin learns a popular high school athlete has drowned in a tank at the city aquarium. The police are calling Skye Rasmussen’s death an accident, but his distraught parents, unconvinced, hire Jaymie to find out the truth.

Eager to prove she’s up to the challenge of solving the case, Jaymie investigates and uncovers an array of suspects. But when information begins to surface about her own brother, who died three years ago in the downtown jail, Jaymie is torn between doing right by her clients and exposing the truth about a mystery that lies much closer to home.

Set in a seaside city splashed in sunshine and laced with poisonous secrets, Karen Keskinen’s Black Current is a riveting story about the treacherous secrets we keep and the costly sacrifices we make – all to hold on to the people we love.


viviandevineVivian Devine is Dead by Lauren Sabel (HarperCollins-June 3rd)
Synopsis-Teen celebrity Vivian Divine’s movie-star mom has been murdered, her famous-director dad tried to kill himself, and her boyfriend is cheating on her. She can practically hear wannabe screenwriters penning bad TV movies about her tragic life.

When a death threat arrives with her fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Why didn’t she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?

Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not—genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can’t be trusted.

Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she’s running from, Vivian realizes this isn’t the stuff bad TV movies are made of; this is material for a full-on blockbuster horror flick. . . .


theantiquarianThe Antiquarian by Gustavo Faverón Patriau (Grove Atlantic-June 3rd)
Synopsis-Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo’s long buried fraternal loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic investigation.

While Daniel reveals his unsettling story using fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past for clues: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels to Daniel’s intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as a book collector. As the circumstances grow increasingly macabre and intricate, Gustavo is forced to deduce a intricate series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports and metaphors more revealing than evidence.


thefarmThe Farm by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central-June 3rd)
Synopsis-If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.

Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.


euphoriaEuphoria by Lily King (Grove Atlantic-June 3rd)

Synopsis-From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the ‘30’s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives.

English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers’ deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone’s control.

Set between two World Wars and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration, and sacrifice from accomplished author Lily King.


cityundertheskinThe City Under the Skin by Geoff Nicholson (FSG-June 3rd)
Synopsis-A cartographic thriller with so many twists and turns it requires its own map

A cartography-obsessed misfit clerk from an antique map store in a district that’s not quite trendy yet. A bold young woman chasing the answer to a question she can’t quite formulate. A petty criminal hoping the parking lot he’s just purchased is the ticket to a new life of respectability with his school-age daughter. A ruthless but vulnerable killer and his disgruntled accomplice. In The City Under the Skin, it’s not fate that will bind these characters together but something more concrete and sinister: the appearance of a group of mysterious women, their backs crudely and extensively tattooed with maps.

They have been kidnapped, marked, and released, otherwise unharmed. When one turns up on the doorstep of the map shop and abruptly bares her back, only to be hustled away by a man in a beat-up blue Cadillac, it’s the misfit clerk Zak, pushed by his curious new friend Marilyn, who finds himself reluctantly entering a criminal underworld whose existence he’d prefer to ignore.


summerhousewithswimmingpoolSummer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch (Crown-June 3rd)
Synopsis-When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.


faceoffFaceOff edited by David Baldacci (S&S-June 3rd)
Synopsis-Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci and including stories by Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and more, this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide!

In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers have paired their series characters—such as Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, and Lincoln Rhyme—in an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW). All of the contributors to FaceOff are ITW members and the stories feature these dynamic duos:

  • Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch in “Red Eye,” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly
  • Rebus vs. Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time,” by Ian Rankin and Peter James
  • Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast in “Gaslighted,” by R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child
  • Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha,” by M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner
  • Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper in “Surfing the Panther,” by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein
  • Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport in “Rhymes With Prey,” by Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford
  • Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack in “Infernal Night,” by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
  • Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber in “Pit Stop,” by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay
  • Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona in “Silent Hunt,” by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker
  • Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce in “The Devil’s Bones,” by Steve Berry and James Rollins
  • Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration,” by Lee Child and Joseph Finder

So sit back and prepare for a rollicking ride as your favorite characters go head-to-head with some worthy opponents in FaceOff—it’s a thrill-a-minute read.


thirdrailThird Rail by Rory Flynn (HMH-June 10th)
Synopsis-At crime scenes, Eddy Harkness is a human Ouija board, a brilliant young detective with a knack for finding the hidden something—cash, drugs, guns, bodies. But Eddy’s swift rise in an elite narcotics unit is derailed by the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaos of a World Series win, a death some camera-phone-wielding witnesses believe he could have prevented. Scapegoated, Eddy is exiled to his hometown just outside Boston, where he empties parking meters and struggles to redeem his disgraced family name.

Then one night Harkness’s police-issue Glock disappears. Unable to report the theft, Harkness starts a secret search—just as a string of fatal accidents lead him to uncover a new, dangerous smart drug, Third Rail. With only a plastic disc gun to protect him, Harkness begins a high-stakes investigation that leads him into the darkest corners of the city, where politicians and criminals intertwine to deadly effect.


alldayandanightAll Day and a Night by Alafair Burke (HarperCollins-June 10th)
Synopsis-A new murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads Detective Ellie Hatcher into a twisting investigation with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery from the “terrific web spinner” (Entertainment Weekly) Alafair Burke.

When pyschotherapist Helen Brunswick is murdered in her Park Slope office, the entire city suspects her estranged husband—until the District Attorney’s office receives an anonymous letter. The letter’s author knows a chilling detail that police have kept secret: the victim’s bones were broken after she was killed. Her injuries were eerily similar to the signature used twenty years earlier by Anthony Amaro, a serial killer serving a life sentence for his crimes. Now, Amaro is asking to be released from prison, arguing that he was wrongly convicted, and that the true killer is still on the loose.

NYPD Detectives Ellie Hatcher and JJ Rogan are tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the original investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case pits them against both their fellow officers and a hard-charging celebrity defense lawyer with a young associate named Carrie Blank, whose older sister was one of Amaro’s victims. As both the NYPD and Amaro’s legal team search for certainty in years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown and secrets left behind there. And when Carrie falls victim to a brutal attack, Hatcher knows that the young attorney got too close to the truth.


shirleyShirley: A Novel by Susan Scarf Merrell (Blue Rider Press-June 12th)
Synopsis-A fictional young couple spends a year at Bennington in 1964 with novelist Shirley Jackson and her husband in this captivating psychological thriller.

Two imposing literary figures are at the center of Susan Scarf Merrell’s suspenseful new novel, Shirley. The celebrated Shirley Jackson, best known for her short story “The Lottery,” and her husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman, a literary critic and professor at Bennington College, made a fascinating, commanding couple in their day. Brilliant, flamboyant, and proudly unconventional, they cast an almost magnetic spell of intellectual grandeur.

A young couple, Fred and Rose Nemser, a graduate student and his pregnant wife, move into Shirley and Stanley’s home on the Bennington campus in the summer of 1964. With her husband teaching all day, Rose forms an unlikely, turbulent friendship with the troubled and unpredictable Shirley. Intrigued by the Hymans’ tempestuous marriage and inexplicably drawn to the darkly witty author, Rose nonetheless senses something amiss—something to do with nightly unanswered phone calls and inscrutable accounts of a long-missing female student. For fans of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Shirley is a compelling, elegant thriller written in homage to Jackson’s own classic horror stories.


thewaysofthedeadThe Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker (Viking-June 12th)
Synopsis-The electrifying first novel in a new crime series from a veteran Washington, D.C., reporter

When the teenage daughter of a powerful Washington, D.C., judge is found dead, three local black kids are arrested for her murder—but reporter Sully Carter suspects there’s more to the case. From the city’s grittiest backstreets to the elegant halls of power, wry yet wounded Sully pursues a string of cold cases, all the while fighting against pressure from government officials, police, suspicious locals, and his own bosses at the newspaper. Based on the real-life 1990s Princeton Place murders, Neely Tucker’s debut novel is a pitch-perfect rendering of a fast-paced newsroom and a layered, edge-of-your-seat mystery sure to please fans of Elmore Leonard and George Pelecanos.


thefeverThe Fever by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown-June 17th)
Synopsis-The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.


thegoodsuicidesThe Good Suicides by Antonio Hill (Crown-June 17th)
Synopsis-Unrelenting hero of The Summer of Dead Toys, Inspector Hector Salgado returns in another riveting crime thriller

After a company retreat in a remote country house, senior employees of Alemany Cosmetics return with a dark secret. They’ve each received an anonymous, menacing email of only two words: “Never forget”. What’s worse, the message is accompanied by a nightmarish photo attachment showing the bodies of dogs—hung to death from a tree—near the very same farm estate they just visited. When they begin killing themselves, one by one, the connection between the shocking photos and the suicides baffles Barcelona law enforcement and corporate think tanks alike, threatening a terrifying end for everyone involved.

Breaking through the insular power structures of these enigmatic executives isn’t easy, but Inspector Salgado has his own ways of making those still alive speak up. As the clock is ticking before another suicide, Salgado is doing all he can to bring the terror to an end. Meanwhile, his partner Leire, bored on her maternity leave, remains fixated on Salgado’s missing wife, Ruth. She refuses to give up on a case many—including Salgado—fear is hopeless.


iloveyoumoreI Love You More by Jennifer Murphy (Doubleday-June 17th)
Synopsis-One man, three wives, the perfect murder. A scintillating novel of betrayal and conspiracy.

Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother, Diana, is the primary suspect—until the police discover his second wife, and then his third. The women say they have never met—but Picasso knows otherwise. Picasso remembers the morning beautiful Jewels showed up at their house, carrying the same purse as her mother, and a family portrait featuring her father with two strange boys. Picasso remembers lifting the phone, listening to late night calls with Bert, a woman heavily pregnant with Oliver’s fourth child. As the police circle and a detective named Kyle Kennedy becomes a regular fixture in their home, Picasso tries to make sense of her father’s death, the depth of his deceit, and the secrets that bind these three women. Cunningly paced and plotted, I Love You More is a riveting novel of misplaced loyalty, jealousy, and revenge.


abetterworldA Better World by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer-June 17th)
Synopsis-The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional…and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.


abroadAbroad by Katie Crouch (FSG-June 17th)
Synopsis-From the author of the bestselling Girls in Trucks, a sad, wry testament to the beauty and recklessness of youth

The city of Grifonia, Italy, is swarming with secrets—thousands of years of dark, murderous secrets.

Taz, a British student who has just arrived for her year abroad, thinks that she will spend her time in Italy sipping wine and taking in the rolling Umbrian hills. But she soon falls in with a cabal of posh, reckless girls—the B4—who turn her quaint fantasies into an erotic and dangerous rush through the darkest realms of friendship and love. Abroad is a chilling parable of modern girlhood from an author who “from her opening line . . . grabs you and never lets go” (People).

Not since Donna Tartt’s The Secret History have we been treated to such an addictive tale of tumultuous adolescence. We see Taz scared and alone, but hungry for new experience and piqued by the thrill of living abroad. We see her roommate, the plainspoken American Claire, who worries about Taz’s motives and expresses sincere concern for her safety—but everything changes when they fall for the same man.

And then there’s what we don’t see—the perils that lurk around the corner. We don’t see the secrets that friends—and lovers—keep from one another. And we don’t see the force that is bigger than Taz, bigger than her friends and loves, a force that seems to be propelling them all toward a dark, awful end. Inspired by real events but tackled with grace and sharpness by a master storyteller, this is Katie Crouch at her finest.


thesilkwormThe Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Little, Brown-June 19th)
Synopsis-Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo’s Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days–as he has done before–and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives–meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.


coptownCop Town by Karin Slaughter (RandomHouse-June 24th)
Synopsis-Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.


identityIdentity by Ingrid Thoft (Penguin-June 26th)
Synopsis-Firecracker P.I. Fina Ludlow returns in the next hard-driving entry in the acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.

It’s been a couple months since Fina’s last big case—the one that exposed dark family secrets and called Fina’s family loyalty into question—but there’s no rest for the weary, especially when your boss is Carl Ludlow.

Renata Sanchez, a single mother by choice, wants to learn the identity of her daughter Rosie’s sperm donor. A confidentiality agreement and Rosie’s reticence might deter other mothers, but not Renata, nor Carl, who’s convinced that lawsuits involving cryobanks and sperm donors will be “the next big thing.” Fina uncovers the donor’s identity, but the solution to that mystery is just the beginning: within hours of the case going public, Rosie’s donor turns up dead.

Fina didn’t sign on for a murder investigation, but she can’t walk away from a death she may have set in motion. She digs deeper and discovers that DNA doesn’t tell the whole story and sometimes, cracking that code can have deadly consequences.

You can read my Library Journal review for IDENTITY at B&N.com


theillusionistsThe Illusionists by Rosie Thomas (Overlook-June 26th)
Synopsis-Over the course of a brilliant career, bestselling novelist Rosie Thomas has earned an untold number of awards and the devotion of millions of loyal readers. Her new novel The Illusionists, set in London in 1870, is a thrilling step forward—a captivating tale of passion and intrigue in the theater world.

At the start of The Illusionists, we meet Eliza, a young, beautiful woman of limited means. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil—a born showman whose dream is to run his own theater company. Devil’s righthand man is Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. And then there is Jasper Button, the enigmatic, unlikely final member of this fascinating cast of characters. Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked. As Eliza gets sucked into their seductive and dangerous world, she risks not only her heart, but also her life, which is soon thrown into peril.

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