February 2015 Must Reads in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for February (it’s another helluva month for suspense!!) Enjoy (all synopsis are from B&N or Amazon)


The Marauders by Tom Cooper (Crown-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For the oddballs and lowlifes who inhabit the sleepy, working class bayou town of Jeannette, these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. At the center of it all is Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters, ranging from a couple of small time criminal potheads prone to hysterical banter, to the smooth-talking Oil company middleman out to bamboozle his own mother, to some drug smuggling psychopath twins, to a young man estranged from his father since his mother died in Hurricane Katrina. As the story progresses, these characters find themselves on a collision course with each other, and as the tension and action ramp up, it becomes clear that not all of them will survive these events.


The Beige Man by Helene Tursten (Soho-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-Göteborg, Sweden: The high-speed chase of a stolen BMW takes a chilling turn when the two police officers involved witness a gruesome hit-and-run. When they finally recover the abandoned vehicle, search dogs are unable to trace the thieves, but they do uncover an entirely different horror: the half-naked corpse of a young girl in a nearby root cellar.

As Detective Inspector Irene Huss and her colleagues struggle to put the pieces together, they discover the man whose car was stolen—a retired police officer—is none other than the victim in the hit-and-run. Could it be a strange coincidence? Or is something larger at play? Meanwhile, the hunt for the girl’s killer leads Irene into the dark world of sex trafficking. An international criminal has arrived in Göteborg, and he’ll stop at nothing to expand his sinister operation.


The Missing One by Lucy Atkins (Quercus-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-In this gripping debut, The Missing One, Lucy Atkins takes us on one woman’s terrifying journey to the beautiful and rugged Pacific Northwest to discover the dark secrets of her family’s past so that she can understand and accept herself. Kal McKenzie was never close to her mother Elena, whose coldness towards her spoiled any chance of a good relationship. When Elena dies of cancer, Kal feels forlorn: how do you mourn a mother who, inexplicably, just didn’t seem to love you?

While clearing out Elena’s art studio, Kal finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message from a Canadian gallery owner named Susannah Gillespie: “Thinking of you.” Who is this woman and what does she hold the key to her ruined relationship with her mother?

Conflicted by her grief and shaken up from recently seeing a covetous text from an old girlfriend on her husband’s cell phone, Kal impulsively sets off with her toddler Finn to Susannah’s isolated home on a remote British Columbian island. A place of killer whales and storms.

Soon Kal quickly realizes she has made a big mistake. The striking and enigmatic Susannah will only share a few scraps of information about Elena. Unbeknownst to her, she discovers that her mother was a pioneering orca researcher—an activist trying to save these powerful and dangerous creatures.

As Kal struggles to piece together her mother’s past and what happened between Elena and Susannah in the 1970s, Susannah’s behavior grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn. Kal’s uneasiness soon proves true and Kal must confront the biggest threat to her family she has ever experienced.

Told in two competing narratives, The Missing One intermixes Kal’s present day journey to with that of her mother’s awakening as an independent woman, scientist, and activist. As these two narratives converge the novel transforms into a white-knuckle thriller where the secrets of the past imperil the lives of the present.

Interweaving local lore of how orcas protect those who travel away from home, and guides them back safely, in The Missing One Lucy Atkins wrestles with the question of how the past influences the present, and who has the right to own one’s history.


Everything Burns by Vincent Zandri (Thomas & Mercer-Feb. 1st)

Synopsis-When Reece Johnston was a boy, a fire destroyed his home, killing his mother and brothers while leaving him scarred for life. It also kindled something dark inside him: an irresistible attraction to flames in all their terrifying, tantalizing power. But after two failed arson attempts—and two trips to the mental ward—he was finally able to put down the matches and pick up the pieces.

With a career as a bestselling crime writer going strong, Reece is working to fix his broken marriage to Lisa and be there for their preteen daughter, Anna. He’s not just dealing with his own demons; there’s a world of deadly hurt bearing down on him in the form of the jealous rival he’s bested in literature and love, who’s determined to see Reece crash…and burn. But a guy like Reece knows how to take the heat. And thanks to his lifelong friendship with fire, he also knows how to bring it.


We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler (Bloomsbury-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.

Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.

Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.

Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.

We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.

Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.


The Hunger of the Wolf by Stephen Marche (Simon & Schuster-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-Hunters found his body naked in the snow. So begins this breakout book from Stephen Marche, the provocative Esquire columnist and regular contributor to The Atlantic, whose last work of fiction was described by the New York Times Book Review as “maybe the most exciting mash-up of literary genres since David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.” The body in the snow is that of Ben Wylie, the heir to America’s second-wealthiest business dynasty, and it is found in a remote patch of northern Canada. Far away, in post-crash New York, Jamie Cabot, the son of the Wylie family’s housekeepers, must figure out how and why Ben died. He knows the answer lies in the tortured history of the Wylie family, who over three generations built up their massive holdings into several billion dollars’ worth of real estate, oil, and information systems despite a terrible family secret they must keep from the world. The threads of the Wylie men’s destinies, both financial and supernatural, lead twistingly but inevitably to the naked body in the snow and a final, chilling revelation.

The Hunger of the Wolf is a novel about what it means to be a man in the world of money. It is a story of fathers and sons, about secrets that are kept within families, and about the cost of the tension between the public face and the private soul. Spanning from the mills of Depression-era Pittsburgh to the Swinging London of the 1960s, from desolate Alberta to the factories of present-day China, it is a bold and breathtakingly ambitious work of fiction that uses the story of a single family to capture the way we live now.


Monday’s Lie by Jamie Mason (Gallery-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life…a life without her, one way or another.

Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.

With pulse-pounding prose and atmospheric settings, Monday’s Lie is a thriller that delivers more of the “Hitchcockian menace” (Peter Straub) that made Three Graves Full a critical hit. For fans of the Coen brothers or Gillian Flynn, this is a book you won’t want to miss.


Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos (Mysterious Press-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-Everyone in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows the story: on a Sunday evening in September 1991, Ramsey Miller threw a blowout block party, then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter.

But everyone is wrong. The daughter got away. Now she is nearly eighteen and tired of living in secrecy. Under the name Melanie Denison, she has spent the last fifteen years in small-town West Virginia as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has never been allowed to travel, go to a school dance, or even have internet at home. Precautions must be taken at every turn, because Ramsey Miller was never caught and might still be looking for his daughter. Yet despite strict house rules, Melanie has entered into a relationship with a young teacher at the local high school and is now ten weeks pregnant. She doesn’t want her child to live in hiding as she has had to. Defying her guardians and taking matters into her own hands, Melanie returns to Silver Bay in hopes of doing what the authorities have failed to do: find her father before he finds her. Weaving in Ramsey’s story in the three days leading up to the brutal crime, Before He Finds Her is a stirring novel about love and faith and fear—and how the most important things can become terribly distorted when we cling to them too fiercely.


The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh (Doubleday-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-The famed—some would say notorious—author of Trainspotting and many other brilliant offenses against common literary decency comes at last to America, with a dark and twisted tale of personal training and abject codependency in the fading glitter of Miami’s South Beach, with a novel that asks the provocative question: Why would you want to be “the Biggest Loser” anyway?

When Lucy Brennan, a Miami Beach personal-fitness trainer, disarms an apparently crazed gunman chasing two frightened homeless men along a deserted causeway at night, the police and the breaking-news cameras are not far behind. Within hours, Lucy becomes a hero. Her celebrity is short-lived, though: the “crazed gunman,” turns out to be a victim of child sexual abuse and the two men are serial pedophiles.

The solitary eye-witness, the depressed and overweight Lena Sorenson, thrilled by Lucy’s heroism and decisiveness, becomes obsessed with the trainer and enrolls as a client at her Bodysculpt gym. It quickly becomes clear that Lena is more interested in Lucy’s body than her own. Then, when one of the pedophiles she allowed to escape carries out a heinous sex attack, Lucy’s transition from hero to villain is complete. When Lucy imprisons Lena, and can’t stop thinking about the sex lives of Siamese twins, the real problems start. In Lucy and Lena, Irvine Welsh has created two of his most memorable female protagonists, and one of the most bizarre, sadomasochistic folie à deux in contemporary fiction. The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins taps into two great obsessions of our time—how we look and where we live—and tells a story so subversive and dark it blacks out the Florida sun.


The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (William Morrow-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-From the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart—hailed by the Washington Post as crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014”—a devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder that is a modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.


The Big Seven by Jim Harrison (Grove-Feb. 3rd)

Synopsis-Jim Harrison is one of our most renowned and popular authors, and his last novel, The Great Leader, was one of the most successful in a decorated career: it appeared on the New York Times extended bestseller list, and was a national bestseller with rapturous reviews. His darkly comic follow-up, The Big Seven, sends Detective Sunderson to confront his new neighbors, a gun-nut family who live outside the law in rural Michigan.

Detective Sunderson has fled troubles on the home front and bought himself a hunting cabin in a remote area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No sooner has he settled in than he realizes his new neighbors are creating even more havoc than the Great Leader did. A family of outlaws, armed to the teeth, the Ameses have local law enforcement too intimidated to take them on. Then Sunderson’s cleaning lady, a comely young Ames woman, is murdered, and black sheep brother Lemuel Ames seeks Sunderson’s advice on a crime novel he’s writing which may not be fiction. Sunderson must struggle with the evil within himself and the far greater, more expansive evil of his neighbor.

In a story shot through with wit, bedlam, and Sunderson’s attempts to enumerate and master the seven deadly sins, The Big Seven is a superb reminder of why Jim Harrison is one of America’s most irrepressible writers.


The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (William Morrow-Feb. 10th)

Synopsis-With the compelling narrative tension and psychological complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives.

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?


The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (Ecco-Feb. 10th)

Synopsis-In the aftermath of a devastating plague, a fearless young heroine embarks on a dangerous and surprising journey to save her world in this brilliantly inventive dystopian thriller, told in bold and fierce language, from a remarkable literary talent.

My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star and this be the tale of how I bring the cure to all the Nighted States . . .

In the ruins of a future America, fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star and her nomadic tribe live off of the detritus of a crumbled civilization. Theirs is a world of children; before reaching the age of twenty, they all die of a mysterious disease they call Posies—a plague that has killed for generations. There is no medicine, no treatment; only the mysterious rumor of a cure.

When her brother begins showing signs of the disease, Ice Cream Star sets off on a bold journey to find this cure. Led by a stranger, a captured prisoner named Pasha who becomes her devoted protector and friend, Ice Cream Star plunges into the unknown, risking her freedom and ultimately her life. Traveling hundreds of miles across treacherous, unfamiliar territory, she will experience love, heartbreak, cruelty, terror, and betrayal, fighting with her whole heart and soul to protect the only world she has ever known.

Guardian First Book Award finalist Sandra Newman delivers an extraordinary post-apocalyptic literary epic as imaginative as The Passage and as linguistically ambitious as Cloud Atlas. Like Hushpuppy in The Beasts of the Southern Wild grown to adolescence in a landscape as dangerously unpredictable as that of Ready Player One, The Country of Ice Cream Star is a breathtaking work from a writer of rare and unconventional talent.


The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli (St. Martin’s Press-Feb. 10th)

Synopsis-From Tatjana Soli, the bestselling author of The Lotus Eaters and The Forgetting Tree, comes a black comedy set on an island resort, where guests attempting to flee their troubles realize they can’t escape who they are.

On a small, unnamed coral atoll in the South Pacific, a group of troubled dreamers must face the possibility that the hopes they’ve labored after so single-mindedly might not lead them to the happiness they feel they were promised. Ann and Richard, an aspiring, Los Angeles power couple, are already sensing the cracks in their version of the American dream when their life unexpectedly implodes, leading them to brashly run away from home to a Robinson Crusoe idyll. Dex Cooper, lead singer of the rock band, Prospero, is facing his own slide from greatness, experimenting with artistic asceticism while accompanied by his sexy, young, and increasingly entrepreneurial muse, Wende. Loren, the French owner of the resort sauvage, has made his own Gauguin-like retreat from the world years before, only to find that the modern world has become impossible to disconnect from. Titi, descendent of Tahitian royalty, worker, and eventual inheritor of the resort, must fashion a vision of the island’s future that includes its indigenous people, while her partner, Cooked, is torn between anarchy and lust.

By turns funny and tragic, The Last Good Paradise explores our modern, complex and often, self-contradictory discontents, crafting an exhilarating and darkly satirical story about our need to connect in an increasingly networked but isolating world.


The First Wife by Erica Spindler (St. Martin’s Press-Feb. 10th)

Synopsis-As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grows older, those dreams transform, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who will sweep her off her feet and whisk her away from her ordinary existence. Then, suddenly, there he is. Despite the ten year difference in their ages, her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history she knew nothing about surfaces, plus whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife, True, and rumors about the women from the area who have gone missing—and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband’s involvement.

At first Bailey ignores the whispers, even circumstantial evidence against Logan mounts. But finally, Bailey must make a choice: believe what everyone says—or bet her life on the man she loves, but is realizing she hardly knows.
From the author of Justice for Sara, Erica Spindler’s The First Wife is a thrilling new novel that will have you gasping on every page.


The Marble Orchard by Alex Taylor (Ig Publishing-Feb. 17th)

Synopsis-An engrossing and tragic literary thriller that evokes the sinister realism of Cormac McCarthy and the inescapable family bonds of Daniel Woodrell, The Marble Orchard tells the story of Beam, the black sheep of the Sheetmire family, a large and entrenched rural Kentucky clan. Beam finds himself on the run after killing a man who was trying to rob him, a man who turns out to be the son of Loat Duncan, a powerful local businessman and cold-blooded killer.

With Loat—who is hiding a devastating secret about Beam’s past—and Elvis, the local sheriff, hot on his trail, Beam leads a nomadic existence as he descends deeper into his own heart of darkness, slipping from one place to the next, each more mysterious than the last. The people he meets during his journey—an enigmatic trucker dressed in a suit, a cemetery-dwelling Good Samaritan, an armless brothel owner—are pieces of a puzzle that hold the key to Beam’s past, as well as his possible future salvation.


The Swimmer by Joakim Zander (Harper-Feb. 10th)

Synopsis-A deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew in this electrifying debut thriller—an international sensation billed as “Homeland meets Stieg Larsson” that heralds the arrival of a new master sure to follow in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson, John Le Carré, and Graham Greene.

In the end, you cannot hide who you are.

Klara Walldéen was raised by her grandparents on a remote archipelago in the Baltic Sea, learning to fish and hunt and sail a boat through a storm. Now, as an EU Parliament aide in Brussels, she is learning how to navigate the treacherous currents of international politics: the lines between friend and enemy, truth and lies.

But Klara has accidentally seen something she shouldn’t have: a laptop containing information so sensitive that someone will kill to keep hidden. Suddenly, she is thrown into a terrifying chase across Europe, with no idea who is hunting her or why.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action, an operative so dedicated that he abandoned his infant daughter to keep his cover. Now, he is the only man who can save Klara . . . and she is the only woman who can allow him to lay old ghosts to rest.


Sweet Nothing: Stories by Richard Lange (Mulholland-Feb. 10th)

Synopsis-Set on the dark side of Los Angeles, the masterful new collection from an award-winning and highly praised “natural-born storyteller” (Ron Rash).

In these gripping and intense stories, Richard Lange returns to the form that first landed him on the literary map.

These are edge-of-your-seat tales: A prison guard must protect an inmate being tried for heinous crimes. A father and son set out to rescue a young couple trapped during a wildfire. An ex-con trying to make good as a security guard stumbles onto a burglary plot. A young father must submit to blackmail to protect the fragile life he’s built.

SWEET NOTHING is an unforgettable collection that shows once again why T.C. Boyle wrote, “Lange’s stories combine the truth-telling and immediacy of Raymond Carver with the casual hip of Denis Johnson. There is a potent artistic sensibility at work here” (on Dead Boys).


Find Me by Laura van den Berg (FSG-Feb. 17th)

Synopsis-After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us Find Me, her highly anticipated debut novel—a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy’s immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients—including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.

As winter descends, the hospital’s fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.


Golden State by Stephanie Kegan (Simon & Schuster-Feb. 17th)

Synopsis-In the vein of Defending Jacob or We Need to Talk About Kevin, a compelling literary drama about finding evil close to home and how far a woman will go to protect her family.

All her life, Natalie Askedahl has been the good girl, an obedient team player. Growing up as the youngest child in one of California’s most prominent political families, she worshipped her big brother, Bobby, a sensitive math prodigy who served as her protector and confidante. But after Bobby left home at sixteen on a Harvard scholarship, something changed between them as Bobby retreated deeper into his own head. Now that Natalie is a happily married, with a lawyer husband, two young daughters, and a house in the Berkeley Hills, her only real regret is losing Bobby.

Then, a bomb explodes in the middle of her ideal-seeming life. Her oldest daughter is on the Stanford campus when one person is killed and another maimed. Worse, other attacks follow across California. Frightened for her family, Natalie grows obsessed with the case of the so-called Cal Bomber, until she makes an unthinkable discovery: the bomber’s infamous manifesto reads alarmingly like the last letter she has from Bobby, whom she has seen only once in fifteen years.

Unable to face the possibility that her sweet brother could be a monster and a murderer, is confronted with a terrible choice, about who to sacrifice and who to protect. The decision she makes will send her down a rabbit hole of confusion, lies, and betrayals that threaten to destroy her relationships with everyone she holds dear. As her life splits irrevocably into before and after, what she begins to learn is that some of the most dangerous things in the world are the stories we tell ourselves.


Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan (Harper-Feb. 17th)

Synopsis-In this haunting and richly imagined dual-narrative tale that echoes the eerie mystery of Rebecca and The Little Stranger, two women of very different eras are united by the secrets hidden within the walls of an English manor house.

In 1933, naive twenty-two year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as Alice endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, she senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.

Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.

After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley . . .


The Whites by Harry Brandt (Richard Price) (Henry Holt-Feb. 17th)

Synopsis-The Whites is the electrifying debut of a new master of American crime fiction, Harry Brandt—the pen name of novelist Richard Price

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-90s, when Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a 10-year-old boy while stopping an angel-dusted berserker in the street. Branded as a cowboy by his higher-ups, for the next eighteen years Billy endured one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all night-time felonies from Wall Street to Harlem.

Night Watch usually acts a set-up crew for the day shift, but when Billy is called to a 4:00 a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, his investigation of the crime moves beyond the usual handoff. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 12-year-old boy—a brutal case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese—the bad old days are back in Billy’s life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family.

Richard Price, one of America’s most gifted novelists, has always written brilliantly about cops, criminals, and New York City. Now, writing as Harry Brandt, he is poised to win a huge following among all those who hunger for first-rate crime fiction.


The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton-Feb. 24th)

Synopsis-In the tradition of Alan Furst, the #1 international bestselling author delivers his first stand-alone novel, a psychological thriller set in World War II Nazi Germany and 1970s England

British pilots James Teasdale and Bryan Young have been chosen to conduct a special photo-reconnaissance mission near Dresden, Germany. Intelligence believes the Nazis are building new factories that could turn the tide of the war. When their plane is shot down, James and Bryan know they will be executed if captured. With an enemy patrol in pursuit, they manage to jump aboard a train reserved for senior SS soldiers wounded on the eastern front.

In a moment of desperation, they throw two patients off the train and take their places, hoping they can escape later. But their act is too convincing and they end up in the Alphabet House, a mental hospital located far behind enemy lines, where German doctors subject their patients to daily rounds of shock treatments and experimental drugs. The pilots’ only hope of survival is to fake insanity until the war ends, but their friendship and courage are put to the ultimate test when James and Bryan realize they aren’t the only ones in the Alphabet House feigning madness.

Millions of fans around the world—and in this country—know Adler-Olsen for his award-winning Department Q series. His first stand-alone, The Alphabet House, is the perfect introduction for those who have yet to discover his riveting work.


Canary by Duane Swierczynski (Mulholland-Feb. 24th)

Synopsis-It’s dangerous enough when an ordinary college girl turns confidential informant. Even more dangerous when she’s smarter than the killer, kingpins, and cops who control her.

Honors student Sarie Holland is busted by the local police while doing a favor for her boyfriend. Unwilling to betray him but desperate to avoid destroying her future, Sarie has no choice but to become a “CI”–a confidential informant.

Philly narcotics cop Ben Wildey is hungry for a career-making bust. The detective thinks he’s found the key in Sarie: her boyfriend scores from a mid-level dealer with alleged ties to the major drug gangs.

Sarie turns out to be the perfect CI: a quick study with a shockingly keen understanding of the criminal mind. But Wildey, desperate for results, pushes too hard and inadvertently sends the nineteen-year-old into a death trap, leaving Sarie hunted by crooked cops and killers alike with nothing to save her–except what she’s learned during her harrowing weeks as an informant.

Which is bad news for the police and the underworld. Because when it comes to payback, CI #1373 turns out to be a very quick study…

This one is definitely worth your time. Promise!!


The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi (WW Norton-Feb. 9th)

Synopsis-A magical and comedic take on modern love, the power of friendship, and the allure of disguise.

In the heart of New York City, a group of artistic friends struggles with society’s standards of beauty. At the center are Barb and Lily, two women at opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, but with the same problem: each fears she will never find a love that can overcome her looks. Barb, a stunningly beautiful costume designer, makes herself ugly in hopes of finding true love. Meanwhile, her friend Lily, a brilliantly talented but plain-looking musician, goes to fantastic lengths to attract the man who has rejected her–with results that are as touching as they are transformative.

To complicate matters, Barb and Lily discover they may have a murderer in their midst, that Barb’s calm disposition is more dangerously provocative than her beauty ever was, and that Lily’s musical talents are more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty serves as a smart, modern-day fairy tale. With biting wit and offbeat charm, Filipacchi illuminates the labyrinthine relationship between beauty, desire, and identity, asking at every turn: what does it truly mean to allow oneself to be seen?

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