Maria's Staff Picks
"With September comes cool weather, falling leaves, warm sweaters. But for Margaret and Hal it brings ghosts…lots of them. Oh, and blood…lots of blood. Come October it’s gone; at least the worst of it is gone. Four years ago, they bought the house of their dreams (at such a great price!) now it’s their worst nightmare. Margaret has learned to live with it, after all, Margaret has lived through a lot. Hal has had enough; leaving one fateful night. Enter daughter Katherine. Arriving early September! she is determined to find her dad and figure out her mother’s reluctance to help her. Margaret is determined to hide the house’s secrets, and a few of her own, from her daughter. Funny, poignant, and a bit horrifying, I quite enjoyed The September House."
"'Sometimes bad things happen to good people, so good people have to do bad things.' From the author of Daisy Darker comes a bright and shiny new tale of murder and mayhem. Twenty years ago a baby is stolen from her stroller. Present day a woman has been murdered in a care home. Somehow there’s a connection. Patience, a young worker at the home and Edith a clever eighty-year-old resident, form an unlikley duo determined to solve the mystery. I very much enjoyed the cast of quirky characters, the rollicking pace and the many twisty turns. Feeney had me guessing to the bittersweet end."
"This book is instantly addicting! Londoner Josie Fair is in a serious rut: disgruntled with her life, home, husband, everything. She decides to celebrate her 45th birthday at a posh café they would normally never try. There she happens on popular podcaster Alix Summer also celebrating her 45th birthday. “Hi, I’m your birthday twin” says Josie to Alix in the loo, and with that begins a tangled web of stories, deceits and deceptions, when sad Josie convinces sparkly Alix to hear her story of woe and hardship for a new podcast. And once in for the 'penny'… Alix can’t help but think she might make lots of “pounds” but at what cost to her and those she loves. Darkly delectable!"
"Jeona Cha is one formidable centenarian—think Olive Kiterridge in a Chanel suit. A woman of means, she has lived her long life adhering to traditional rules and customs to ensure, above all else, her family name is in goodstanding . To maintain this, Jeonga has kept secrets from her three sisters and extended family. Secrets that will now most certainly upend the future happiness of her great granddaughter and fiance in America. Han’s novel begins with an end, not ‘”the” end..sweeps back in time, present day, across oceans and onward to the afterlife. Jeonga will go to any lenghts to keep her secrets hidden or die trying. Witty and touching, a whirlwind of a ride."
"Former FBI agent Titus Crown is the first sheriff of color in his hometown of Charon County Virginia. One year in to his term a former student enters the local high school and kills a beloved teacher and then is shot dead by two local deputies. The investigation reveals heinous crimes committed in their small town and a deadly serial killer still on the loose. Sharply written with interesting characters, When Sinners Bleed is an engrossing read!"
"In his latest novel Dennis Lehane once again taps into the pulse of Boston bringing the city’s past to life.
Small Mercies is a riveting story revolving around school segregation in the ‘70s; centering on a “Southie” mom whose daughter goes missing the same night a black teen is found dead at the train station.
Not an easy book to read; it is at times sadly still relevant to present day.
Like his previous books, Lehane’s raw and gritty writing lends itself to portraying this troubled time in our nation’s history."
"I Have Some Questions For You offers a fresh perspective on the typical boarding school novel. Makkai propels us through this part true crime part high school drama which at times reads like a Kim Barker podcast. Cleverly written and addictingly engaging; I inhaled this book!"
"The Night Travelers is a powerfully rendered story concerning four generations of women caught in the terrible upheaval of war; while also highlighting the strength and sacrifice of all they must endure. Spanning WW2 Germany, Revolutionary Cuba to Berlin and the demise of its wall…this is Correa’s most ambitious novel yet.
Part historian and novelist, Correa has written three books based around the voyage of the MS Saint Louis; the ocean liner that set sail in May 1939 from Hamburg to Havana. It's nine-hundred, mostly Jewish passengers all seeking refuge from the war. Of those, only twenty-eight were allowed to disembark in Havana. A captivating read for devotees of historical fiction."
"A poignant and often humorous collection of interlinked stories beginning with the opening of U.S.A.- China relations following Presidents Nixon’s historic visit in 1972. Jen offers the reader wit and insight with these marvelous short stories concerning the Chinese integration into the U.S.- both then and now. I really enjoyed reading this unique novel."
“The Kind Worth Saving revisits the two main characters from Swanson’s previous book: The Kind Worth Killing (an excellent twist on Strangers on a Train). In this latest novel a former student hires (now) PI Henry Kimball in what seems a straight-forward adultery case but things soon turn deadly and Kimball seeks help from his old nemesis Lily Kintner to help unravel clues and keep himself out of harm’s way in the process. Peter Swanson is master of psychological suspense! I relish his books."
"So yes, I chose this book by its title but what mystery lover wouldn’t and that is precisely why you, Dear Reader, should too. Stevenson has written a contemporary novel in “old school” style…dropped clues and red herrings plus a whole lot of fun in the telling. But, don’t worry, there are also gruesome murders, devious characters and the best part: Everyone snowed in together at a past -its -prime ski resort in the Australian mountains. Perfect!! Pay close attention, Dear Reader, the story moves swiftly. A family reunion gone dead wrong with not a dull moment to be had. Cozy up and enjoy!"
"Eleven years ago, William Landay gave us the gripping courtroom drama: Defending Jacob. This March, Landay returns with another phenominal book- 'All That Is Mine I carry With Me'. Set in 1975 and spanning two decades it is a story of a mother's sudden disappearnce, a father's seeming indifference and the children left to endure. What happened to Jane Larkin?
When her remains are found twenty years later it will reopen the investigation, sides will be chosen, family loyalties tried. Landay takes some time unspooling his latest legal thriller and it’s well worth it to accompany him on this riveting ride."
"The book opens with a crash, followed by a lie and an unspoken agreement to never speak of it again. A profound and haunting narrative of family secrets and memories not shared, Shapiro’s thoughtfully rendered Signal Fires holds the reader in awe of its surpassing beauty. A story not easily forgotten; to say I loved it would be an understatement."
"Set in 1970’s Detroit Babysitter is a compelling account of an overlooked (well to do) housewife having a (sordid) affair with a dangerous man the same time as a serial killer is on the loose preying on the city’s (vulnerable) children.
A propulsive read; Oates is a master at pulling you in to her stories, and you are trapped, (like it or not)."
"Rita Cameron’s The House Party explores how a small town – composed of wealthy and working class families- deals with (or ignores) the destruction of a new but unoccupied home after a party of reveling local teens goes horribly wrong.
Smartly written and set in fictional “New Falls” PA town across the bridge from Lambertville, NJ this story is sure to resonate with its readers."
"Hannah is spiraling out of control…
Ten years after her vibrant & captivating best friend was found dead in the dorm room they shared everyone has moved on with their lives. When the man convicted of the killing dies in prison, Hannah now married (and pregnant) to the dead girls former boyfriend), cannot let go that he proclaimed his innocence to his dying day. Knowing it was her testimony that put him away, Hannah is convinced she must unearth the truth, even if it means upending old friendships, her own marriage and putting her health and that of her unborn child in peril. Stellar fun!"
"Three families raising four adopted biological siblings embark on a two week vacation in hope of growing closer…
Let the wild rumpus start! Brown’s latest novel is an insightful, endearing and keen observation on adoption, parenting and the ties that bind us together."
"Marissa and Jack are made for each other, soul mates you might say; a bright future awaits…so when financial setback strikes they both agree it would be helpful to take on a lodger. Enter Kate, who at first seems ideal but soon Marissa is finding her too pushy, too flirty and too much in their business. Kate must go. Magpie is a riveting psychological thriller with a terribly terrific plot twist."
"It's 1964 and Hollwood star Kate Barstow, recently wed, has brought a group of friends along for her honeymoon photo shoot in Tanzania.
What begins as an idyllic getaway in the wilds of Africa turns quickly to a nightmare reality when Russian mercenaries kidnap the group; killing the guides in cold blood.
The groups only hope is to somehow survive their captors. the blistering sun and the wild animals of the Serengeti.
Told through each character's eyes; Bohjalian capture you from the start of this fast-paced thriller."
"It’s 1971 and America is at a moral and political crossroads and so is the Hildebrandt family. Assistant Pastor Russ Hildebrandt, scorned by his own kids as well as the church youth group who have turned to a younger hipper leader, finds himself obsessed with an attractive widowed parishioner. His wife Marion is coming to terms with her hidden sordid past and Russ’s waning attention. The three oldest kids are at odds with the direction their lives are taking and the youngest son seems oblivious to the family fracturing around him.
Franzen’s detailed charecterizations and robust storytelling are at full throttle in this latest book."