May 2016 Must Reads in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for May. Lots of great books this month (even a true crime title)!  Enjoy (all synopsis are from B&N or Amazon)!



The String Murders by Oscar de Muriel (Pegasus-May 3)

Synopsis-The brutal slaying of a violinist in his home in 1888 sparks a locked room murder mystery investigated by two diametrically opposed Edinburgh detectives.

1888: a violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard send Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective “Nine-Nails” McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English Inspector. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief…

There was no way in or out of the locked music studio. And there are black magic symbols on the floor. The dead man’s maid swears there were three musicians playing before the murder. And the suspects all talk of a cursed violin once played by the Devil himself.

Inspector Frey has always been a man of reason―but the longer this investigation goes on, the more his grasp on reason seems to be slipping…



The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude (HMH Books for Young Readers-May 3)

Synopsis-Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.



Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman (William Morrow-May 3)

Synopsis-The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed standalones After I’m Gone, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, challenges our notions of memory, loyalty, responsibility, and justice in this evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.

Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.

As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?

The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.



City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong (Minotaur Books-May 3)

Synopsis-Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey’s best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana’s husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it’s time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you’re accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. As a murderer, Casey isn’t a good candidate, but she has something they want: She’s a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn’t the only secret Rockton is hiding―in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

An edgy, gripping crime novel from bestselling urban fantasy writer Kelley Armstrong, City of the Lost boldly announces a major new player in the crime fiction world.



Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne-May 3)

Synopsis-Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history’s only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with Down River and The Last Child. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet.
Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…

This is a town on the brink.

This is Redemption Road.

Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.



The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins-May 3)

Synopsis-From the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia comes a fast-paced teen series where one girl learns that in a world of intrigue, betrayal, and deeply buried secrets, it is vital to trust your instincts.

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything.



Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet (W. W. Norton & Company-May 3)

Synopsis-Blending domestic thriller and psychological horror, this compelling page-turner follows a mother fleeing her estranged husband.

Lydia Millet’s chilling new novel is the first-person account of a young mother, Anna, escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, a businessman who’s just launched his first campaign for political office. When Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. But the longer they stay, the less the guests in the dingy motel look like typical tourists―and the less Ned resembles a typical candidate. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife’s world in ways she never could have imagined.

A double-edged and satisfying story with a strong female protagonist, a thrilling plot, and a creeping sense of the apocalyptic, Sweet Lamb of Heaven builds to a shattering ending with profound implications for its characters―and for all of us.



The Night the Rich Men Burned by Malcolm McKay (Mulholland-May 3)

Synopsis-Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass, two friends from Glasgow’s desperate fringes, become involved in one of the city’s darkest and most dangerous trades: debt collection. While one rises quickly through the ranks, the other falls prey to the industry’s addictive lifestyle, accumulating steep debts of his own.

Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business–Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, member of the old guard; and Billy Patterson, brutal newcomer–vie for prominence. And now Peterkinney, young and darkly ambitious, is beginning to make himself known.

Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-maneuver one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very center of this war; as the pressure builds, each will find their actions–and inactions–coming back to haunt them. But it is those they love who will suffer most . . .

The Night the Rich Men Burned is a novel for our times, and Mackay’s most ambitious work to date, proving that in Glasgow’s criminal underworld, there’s nothing so terrifying as money.



Moskva by Jack Grimwood (Penguin-May 5)

Synopsis-Moskva is a brilliantly written, chilling and sophisticated début serial killer thriller set in Cold War Moscow. Makes Kolymsky Heights look like a walk in Gorky Park.

Red Square, 1985. The naked body of a young man is left outside the walls of the Kremlin; frozen solid – like marble to the touch – missing the little finger from his right hand.

A week later, Alex Marston, the headstrong fifteen year old daughter of the British Ambassador disappears. Army Intelligence Officer Tom Fox, posted to Moscow to keep him from telling the truth to a government committee, is asked to help find her. It’s a shot at redemption.

But Russia is reluctant to give up the worst of her secrets. As Fox’s investigation sees him dragged deeper towards the dark heart of a Soviet establishment determined to protect its own so his fears grow, with those of the girl’s father, for Alex’s safety.

And if Fox can’t find her soon, she looks likely to become the next victim of a sadistic killer whose story is bound tight to that of his country’s terrible past . . .



Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria-May 10)

Synopsis-Sharyn McCrumb, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Ballad series set in Appalachia, explores the ties between a reluctant female sheriff and a condemned man in this stunning and powerfully written Depression-era novel.

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn’t a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them.

Suddenly thrust into the role of primary caretaker for her family following the tragic death of her husband, Ellie Robbins is appointed to serve out his term as sheriff of their rural Tennessee mountain town. The year is 1936, and her role is largely symbolic, except for the one task that only a sheriff can do: execute a convicted prisoner.

Ellie has long proven she can handle herself. But becoming sheriff is altogether different, and the demands of the role are even more challenging when she is forced to combat society’s expectations for a woman. Soon enough, dark secrets come to light, and Ellie must grapple with small town superstitions and the tenuous ties she shares with a condemned killer as she carves out a place for herself in an uncertain future.

“There is no one quite like Sharyn McCrumb. No one better either” (San Diego Union-Tribune), and her luscious narrative brings her unforgettable characters to life with the “pure poetry” (The New York Times Book Review) that defines her astounding novels. Prayers the Devil Answers combines masterful historical research and captivating folklore to make an atmospheric and suspenseful tour de force.



The Drowned Detective by Neil Jordan (Bloomsbury-May 10)

Synopsis-Jonathan is a private detective in a decaying eastern European city. He is drowning in his work, his failing marriage, and the corrupt landscape that surrounds him. One day, he is approached by an elderly couple to investigate the disappearance of their daughter, who has been missing for nearly two decades. Troubled by the faded photograph of a little girl the couple presses on him–she’s the same age as his own daughter–he feels compelled to find her. Then one night, as he is contemplating his troubled marriage, he encounters a young woman crouched at the foot of a stone angel on the bridge spanning the river that divides the city, a woman who suddenly jumps into the icy water below. Plunging after her, Jonathan finds himself dragged into her ghostly world of confusion, coincidence, and intrigue, and the city he thought he knew becomes strange, mysterious, and threatening.

Combining the language and imagery of film with those of an extremely gifted writer, Neil Jordan has created a haunting novel that intrigues, delights, and surprises with its precise language, sly humor, imaginative range, and narrative flair.



The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt-May 10)

Synopsis-When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine.

But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost. Proclaimed a “modern classic” by the Sunday Telegraph (UK), The Loney marks the arrival of an important new voice in fiction.



The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay (Melville House-May 10)

Synopsis-A globetrotting, time-bending, wildly entertaining masterpiece in the tradition of Cloud Atlas.

Publishers Weekly raved that “with near-universal appeal . . . Seay’s debut novel is a true delight, a big, beautiful cabinet of wonders that is by turns an ominous modern thriller, a supernatural mystery, and an enchanting historical adventure story.” Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its mix of entertainment and literary bravado.

The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination—was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing?—the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however—a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose—has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten . . .

Meanwhile, in two other Venices—Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today—two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret . . .

All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put down—an old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice . . . and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of art.



Walleye Junction by Karin Salvalaggio (Minotaur-May 10)

Synopsis-When outspoken radio talk show host Philip Long is kidnapped and murdered, Detective Macy Greeley leaves her young son in the care of her mother and heads up to remote Walleye Junction, Montana to take charge of the investigation. It is initially believed that Long’s murder is the result of a controversial radio show he’s done on the rise of far right militias in the state. Within days the two kidnappers are found dead following a massive heroin overdose, and the authorities are hopeful the investigation is finished. But there are too many discrepancies for Macy to settle for obvious answers. The kidnapper’s bodies have been moved, their son is on the run and a series of anonymous emails point investigators toward the murky world of prescription painkiller abuse. Macy soon finds herself immersed in small town intrigues as she races to find who’s really responsible for Philip Long’s murder.

Meanwhile, Philip Long’s daughter Emma is dealing with her own problems. It’s been twelve years since she left Walleye Junction after her best friend died from a drug overdose. Emma finds that little in Walleye Junction has changed in her absence. She is also becoming increasingly uneasy as the familiar surroundings stir up memories that are best forgotten.

With Walleye Junction, a taut, propulsive mystery, Karin Salvalaggio will once again grip readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.



Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest edited by Bryan Hurt (Catapult-May 10)

Synopsis-In Watchlist, some of today’s most prominent and promising fiction writers from around the globe respond to, meditate on, and mine for inspiration the surveillance culture in which we live. With contributions from Etgar Keret, T.C. Boyle, Robert Coover, Aimee Bender, Jim Shepard, Alissa Nutting, Charles Yu, Cory Doctorow, and many more, WATCHLIST unforgettably confronts the question: What does it mean to be watched?

In Doctorow’s eerily plausible “Scroogled,” the US has outsourced border control to Google, on the basis that they Do Search Right. In Lincoln Michel’s “Our New Neighborhood,” a planned suburban community’s ‘Neighborhood Watch’ program becomes an obsessive nightmare. Jim Shepard’s haunting “Safety Tips for Living Alone” imagines the lives of the men involved in the US government’s fatal attempt to build the three Texas Tower radar facilities in the Atlantic Ocean during the Cold War. Randa Jarrar’s “Testimony of Malik, Israeli agent #287690” is “a sweet and deftly handled story of xenophobia and paranoia, reminding us that such things aren’t limited to the West” (Sabotage Reviews) and Alissa Nutting’s “The Transparency Project” is a creative, speculative exploration of the future of long-term medical observation.

By turns political, apolitical, cautionary, and surreal, these stories reflect on what it’s like to live in the surveillance state.



Unknown Remains by Peter Leonard (Counterpoint-May 10)

Synopsis-Jack McCann is a high-stakes Wall Street trader who sneaks into his office early one morning to try and clear out his things and get out of dodge; he knows he’s in trouble, deep legal trouble, a fact highlighted by the urgent phone calls from his boss. Outside his office window, Jack hears a booming sound, and then the worst thing imaginable. He works in the World Trade Center, and it is September 11, 2001.

His wife in Connecticut, Diane, is visited the next day by a grief counselor, and then the mob, where she learns her husband owes them $750,000. Their personal bank accounts have been emptied. She’s totally and utterly broke. Lost in grief and now shock, Diane soon learns her husband was not the loving spouse he appeared to be. But neither is she, owing to that Beretta she keeps tucked into her handbag.

The perfect summer read, Unknown Remains boasts an exciting crime story, inventive plot twists, and a cast of rogues, who just might be using a national tragedy to cover up their own deep transgressions and greed.



The Pier Falls: And Other Stories by Mark Haddon (Doubleday-May 10)

Synopsis-From Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, A Spot of Bother, and The Red House, nine dazzling stories diverse in style but united in emotional power

The tales in Mark Haddon’s lyrical and uncompromising new collection take many forms—Victorian adventure story, science fiction, morality tale, contemporary realism—but they all showcase his virtuoso gifts as a stylist and the deep well of empathy that made his three bestselling novels so compelling.

The characters here are often isolated physically or estranged from their families, yet they yearn for connection. In aggregate the stories become a meditation on the essential aloneness of the human condition but also on the connections, however tenuous and imperfect, that link people to one another. In the title story, an unnamed narrator describes with cool precision a catastrophe that strikes a seaside town, both tearing lives apart and bringing them together.

In the prizewinning story “The Gun,” a boy’s life is marked by the afternoon he encounters a semiautomatic pistol belonging to his friend’s older brother; in “The Island,” a Greek princess is abandoned on an island by her abductor; in “The Boys Who Left Home to Learn Fear,” a group of adventurers travel deep into the Amazonian jungle but discover the gravest danger lurking among their own number; and in “The Woodpecker and the Wolf,” a woman wonders whether she has chosen to travel to Mars only to escape the entanglement of human relationships back here on Earth.

Drawing inventively from history, myth, folktales, and modern life, The Pier Falls showcases Haddon’s immense gifts of invention and penetrating insight.



Nitro Mountain by Lee Clay Johnson (Knopf-May 17)

Synopsis-An astonishing, even shocking debut written with both humor and heart by, as John Casey puts it, “a natural-born writer who inhabits every one of his characters—the good, the bad, and those who swing back and forth.”

Set in a bitterly benighted, mine-polluted corner of Virginia, Nitro Mountain follows a group of people bound together by alcohol, small-time crime and music. There’s Leon, a hapless bass player who can embroil himself in trouble just by getting out of bed in the morning. And his would-be girlfriend, Jennifer, who’s living with Arnett, the town’s most dangerous thug—and hoping Leon will help her poison him. And there’s Arnett himself, a psychopath for the ages—albeit so charming and deranged, so strikingly authentic, that he arrests the reader’s attention at first sight and holds it fast. His mirror image, a singer-songwriter named Jones, has his own moral issues, though at least he’s trying to be a good man. The bright if battered soul who pulls us through this story is Jennifer, a vulnerable yet strong woman struggling heroically to survive the endemic hopelessness and violence that have surrounded her since birth.

Relentless? Yes, of course, but never remotely gratuitous. Every single moment is shot through with the pain and misery that inspire so much of the music these people love more than life itself.



Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman (Harper-May 17)

Synopsis-On Halloween, 1991, a popular high school basketball star ventures into the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, and disappears. Three days later, he’s found with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand—a discovery that sends tremors through this conservative community, already unnerved by growing rumors of Satanic worship in the region.

In the wake of this incident, bright but lonely Hannah Dexter is befriended by Lacey Champlain, a dark-eyed, Cobain-worshiping bad influence in lip gloss and Doc Martens. The charismatic, seductive Lacey forges a fast, intimate bond with the impressionable Dex, making her over in her own image and unleashing a fierce defiance that neither girl expected. But as Lacey gradually lures Dex away from her safe life into a feverish spiral of obsession, rebellion, and ever greater risk, an unwelcome figure appears on the horizon—and Lacey’s secret history collides with Dex’s worst nightmare.

By turns a shocking story of love and violence and an addictive portrait of the intoxication of female friendship, set against the unsettled backdrop of a town gripped by moral panic, Girls on Fire is an unflinching and unforgettable snapshot of girlhood: girls lost and found, girls strong and weak, girls who burn bright and brighter—and some who flicker away.



Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian (G.P. Putnam’s Sons-May 17)

Synopsis-Many changes have happened to the Murder Squad. Rash actions have cost Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith his job, and in response he has set up his own private detective agency. Inspector Walter Day has been missing for a year, and no one knows where he is—though there is a strong suspicion that Saucy Jack has him. Hammersmith has made finding Day his primary case, and he has company—a pair of bounty hunters, a man and a woman. It is only gradually that he has come to realize that they are not what they seem . . .



The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda (Minotaur-May 17)

Synopsis-When a body wrapped in a blue plastic tarp and tied up with twine is discovered near the bushes near a quiet suburban Tokyo neighborhood, Lt. Reiko Himekawa and her squad take the case. The victim was slaughtered brutally—his wounds are bizarre, and no one can figure out the “what” or the “why” of this crime.

At age twenty-nine, Reiko Himekawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Division is young to have been made lieutenant, particularly because she lacks any kind of political or family connections. Despite barriers created by age, gender, and lack of connections, she is mentally tough, oblivious to danger, and has an impressive ability to solve crimes.

Reiko makes a discovery that leads the police to uncover eleven other bodies, all wrapped in the same sort of plastic. Few of the bodies are identifiable, but the ones that are have no connection to each other. The only possible clue is a long shot lead to a website spoken only in whispers on the Internet, something on the dark web known as “Strawberry Night.”

But while she is hunting the killer, the killer is hunting her… and she may very well have been marked as the next victim.



Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica (MIRA-May 17)

Synopsis-New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.



Champagne and Cocaine: A Novel by Richard Vetere (Three Rooms Press-May 17)

Synopsis-New York. Winter. 1980. Behind the glitter of the disco era, the city streets run wild. In countless secret spaces, high stakes poker games fuel an underground economy flush with cocaine, champagne, and call girls. Winners are on top of the world. But no one wins forever, and when aspiring novelist and inveterate card player Danny Ferraro goes “all in”—and then some—he winds up owing the mob big money. And when you owe the mob, you pay—or else. With nowhere to run, Danny is forced to commit unspeakable acts just to stay even. Richard Vetere’s gritty novel strips the gloss of the “Godfather” era and lays bare the gritty reality of the subversive blackmarket as Ferraro struggles to free himself of its grip. Vetere (The Third Miracle, The Writers Afterlife) delivers his most riveting work to date, with page-turning action and an insider’s view of a hidden culture.



A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow-May 24)

Synopsis-Pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets, and lies, a woman must find the truth in order to defeat a mysterious opponent, protect her daughter, and save her own life in this dazzling standalone psychological thriller with an unforgettable ending from the New York Times bestselling author of Woman with a Secret and The Monogram Murders.

You thought you knew who you were. A stranger knows better.

You’ve left the city—and the career that nearly destroyed you—for a fresh start on the coast. But trouble begins when your daughter withdraws, after her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.

You beg the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn’t been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.

Who is lying? Who is real? Who is in danger? Who is in control? As you search for answers, the anonymous calls begin—a stranger, who insists that you and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens your life. . . .

This is Justine’s story. This is Justine’s family. This is Justine’s game. But it could be yours.



True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner (Thomas Dunne-May 24)

Synopsis-When an eleven year old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighborhood, it was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with true crime. That obsession leads James to a successful career as an investigative journalist. It also gave him PTSD. In 2011, James began researching the strange disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. Over the course of his investigation, he uncovers numerous important and shocking new clues about what may have happened to Maura, but also finds himself in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his own well-being. As his quest to find Maura deepens, the case starts taking a toll on his personal life, which begins to spiral out of control. The result is an absorbing dual investigation of the complicated story of the All-American girl who went missing and James’s own equally complicated true crime addiction.

James Renner’s True Crime Addict is the story of his spellbinding investigation of the missing person’s case of Maura Murray, which has taken on a life of its own for armchair sleuths across the web. In the spirit of David Fincher’s Zodiac, it is a fascinating look at a case that has eluded authorities and one man’s obsessive quest for the answers.



Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Grand Central Publishing-May 31)

Synopsis-On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members-including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot-the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.



Mortal Fall by Christine Carbo (Atria-May 31)

Synopsis-A wildlife biologist’s shocking death leads to chilling discoveries about a home for troubled teens in Christine Carbo’s haunting and compelling new crime novel set in the wilds of Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park police officer Monty Harris knows that each summer at least one person—be it a reckless, arrogant climber or a distracted hiker—will meet tragedy in the park. But Paul “Wolfie” Sedgewick’s fatal fall from the sheer cliffs near Going-To-the-Sun Road is incomprehensible. Wolfie was an experienced and highly regarded wildlife biologist who knew all too well the perils that Glacier’s treacherous terrain presents—and how to avoid them.

The case, so close to home, has frayed park employee emotions. Yet calm and methodical lead investigator Monty senses in his gut that something isn’t right. So when whispers of irresponsibility or suicide emerge, tarnishing Wolfie’s reputation, Monty dedicates himself to uncovering the truth, for the sake of the man’s family and to satisfy his own persistent sense of unease.

Monty discovers that Wolfie’s zealous studies of Glacier’s mysterious, embattled wolverine population, so vital to park ecology, had met resistance, both local and federal. To muddy the waters further, a wilderness facility for rehabilitating troubled teens—one that Monty’s older brother attended—may have a disturbing connection to the case. As Monty delves further into an investigation that goes deeper than he ever imagined, he wrestles with the demons of his past, which lead back to harsh betrayals he thought he’d buried long ago.

And then a second body is found.



Freedom of the Mask by Robert McCammon (Subterranean-May 31)

Synopsis-The year is 1703, and Matthew Corbett, professional “problem solver,” is missing. Last seen by his friends in New York before he departed on a lucrative, seemingly straightforward mission for the Herrald Agency in Charles Town, he’s been too long absent. His comrade-in-arms Hudson Greathouse has an increasing sense the young friend he thinks of as a son must have met with some unexpected peril. Following his hunch, Greathouse retraces Matthew’s steps only to find him first presumed dead, then accused of murdering a young woman and apparently en route to London with a devious Prussian count last encountered on Professor Fell’s Pendulum Island.

Little does he know that Matthews’s circumstances are growing worse by the second. For when Matthew arrives in the bustling squalor of Londontown, he’s come shackled, charged for the murder of Count Anton Mannerheim Dahlgren. No matter the lack of body, presumed lost to the ocean. He soon finds himself locked up in the infamous Newgate prison, and has drawn the interest of a mysterious mask-wearing vigilante accused of several gruesome murders. Greathouse and the woman Matthew loves, Berry Grigsby, travel across the high seas to England to aid their friend, but it is impossible to know whether they will reach him in time to save his life.

Freedom of the Mask is the sixth installment in bestselling author Robert McCammon’s acclaimed series of standalone historical thrillers featuring the exploits of a young hero the USA Character Approved Blog has called “the Early American James Bond.” The most surprising and ambitious volume to date, this is a novel filled with unpredictable twists and a note-perfect depiction of early 1700s London. Fans will not want to miss Matthew Corbett’s most dangerous adventure yet.



June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (Crown-May 31)

Synopsis-From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever.

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery’s vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.



Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten (Delacorte Press-May 31)

Synopsis-For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City. Toten delves into the mesmerizing yet dysfunctional world of those who manipulate but seem ever so charming. With its gripping pace and Hitchcockian twists, Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line.

The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brien appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

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