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Latest Reviews

The Instruments of Darkness by John Connolly - Supernatural Thriller
Hardcover: May 7, 2024

In Maine, Colleen Clark stands accused of the worst crime a mother can commit: the abduction and possible murder of her child. Everyone --- ambitious politicians in an election season, hardened police, ordinary folk --- has an opinion on the case, and most believe she is guilty. But most is not all. Defending Colleen is the lawyer Moxie Castin, and working alongside him is the private investigator Charlie Parker, who senses the tale has another twist --- one involving a husband too eager to accept his wife’s guilt, a group of fascists arming for war, a disgraced psychic seeking redemption, and an old, twisted house deep in the Maine woods, a house that never should have been built. A house, and what dwells beneath.

Hardcover: May 7, 2024

Victorian Scotland is becoming less strange to modern-day homicide detective Mallory Atkinson. But inhabiting someone else’s body will always be unsettling, even if her employers know that she’s not actually housemaid Catriona Mitchell, ever since the night both of them were attacked in the same dark alley 150 years apart. Mallory likes her job as assistant to undertaker/medical examiner Dr. Duncan Gray and is developing true friends --- and feelings --- in this century. So, understanding the Victorian fascination with death, Mallory isn't that surprised when she and her friends are invited to a mummy unwrapping at the home of Sir Alastair Christie. When their host is missing when it comes time to unwrap the mummy, Gray and Mallory are asked to step in. And upon closer inspection, it’s not a mummy they’ve unwrapped, but a much more modern body.

Hardcover: April 9, 2024

Ian Fleming's greatest creation, James Bond, has had an enormous and ongoing impact on our culture. What Bond represents about ideas of masculinity, the British national psyche and global politics has shifted over time, as has the interpretation of the life of his author. But Fleming himself was more mysterious and subtle than anything he wrote. Ian's childhood with his gifted brother, Peter, and his extraordinary mother set the pattern for his ambition to be “the complete man,” and he would strive for the means to achieve this “completeness” all his life. Nicholas Shakespeare’s talent for uncovering material that casts new light on his subjects is fully evident here. His unprecedented access to the Fleming archive and his nose for a story make this a fresh and eye-opening picture of the man and his famous creation.

Hardcover: March 26, 2024

Pete Rose is a legend. A baseball god. He compiled more hits than anyone in the history of baseball, a record he set decades ago that still stands today. He was a working-class white guy from Cincinnati who made it. He was everything that America wanted and needed him to be, the American dream personified --- until he wasn’t. In the 1980s, Pete Rose came to be at the center of one of the biggest scandals in baseball history. He kept secrets, ran with bookies, took on massive gambling debts, and was magnificently, publicly cast out for betting on baseball and lying about it. The revelations that followed ruined him, changed life in Cincinnati and forever altered the game. CHARLIE HUSTLE tells the full story of one of America’s most epic tragedies --- the rise and fall of Pete Rose.

Granite Harbor by Peter Nichols - Mystery/Thriller
Hardcover: April 30, 2024

A local teenager is found brutally murdered in the Settlement, Granite Harbor’s historic archaeological site. Alex Brangwen is the town’s sole detective, and this is his first murder case. Isabel, a single mother attempting to support her family while healing from her own demons, finds herself in the middle of the case when she begins working at the Settlement. Her son, Ethan, and Alex’s daughter, Sophie, were best friends with the victim. When a second teenager is found murdered, the body left in the same manner as the first victim, both parents are terrified that their child may be next. As Alex and Isabel race to find the killer in their midst, the town’s secrets --- past and present --- begin bubbling to the surface, threatening to unravel the tight-knit community.

Paperback: May 7, 2024

Writer and barista Emily Hung is tired of hearing about the great Mark Chan, the son of her parents’ friends. He’s just a boring, sweater-vest-wearing engineer, and when they’re forced together at Emily’s sister’s wedding, it’s obvious he thinks he’s too good for her. But now that Emily is her family’s last single daughter, her mother is fixated on getting her married, and she has her sights on Mark. There’s only one solution, clearly: convince Mark to be in a fake relationship with her long enough to put an end to her mom’s meddling. He reluctantly agrees. Unfortunately, lying isn’t enough. Family friends keep popping up at their supposed dates, so they’ll have to spend more time together to make their relationship look real. With each fake date, though, Emily realizes that Mark is not quite what she assumed.

Hardcover: May 7, 2024

Manhattan psychiatrist Bill Madrian takes pride in the level of trust he establishes with his patients. For a patient to open up, they must truly believe that everything said in a therapy session remains confidential. But Bill has never realized the complications this confidentiality could present --- until he treats Alex Bronzi. One day, in a session with Alex, the young man asks, “Hey Doc, ya wanna know who clipped Boris Levenko?” Boris Levenko was a major crime boss who had been executed a few days prior. The question gives Bill information he desperately did not want to hear. With this knowledge, Bill’s life is upended, and he begins a fight for survival that takes him and his loved ones on a nightmarish journey far beyond the realm of anything he ever could have imagined.

Lucky by Jane Smiley - Historical Fiction
Hardcover: April 23, 2024

Before Jodie Rattler became a star, she was a girl growing up in St. Louis. One day in 1955, when she was just six years old, her uncle Drew took her to the racetrack, where she got lucky --- and that roll of two-dollar bills she won has never since left her side. Jodie thrived in the warmth of her extended family, and then --- through a combination of hard work and serendipity --- she started a singing career, which catapulted her from St. Louis to New York City, from the English countryside to the tropical beaches of St. Thomas, from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and back again. Jodie comes of age in recording studios, backstage and on tour, and she tries to hold her own in the wake of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell. Yet it feels like something is missing. Could it be true love? Or is that not actually what Jodie is looking for?

Hardcover: April 23, 2024

As a teenager, Ella Fitchburg found love that consumed both her and her boyfriend, Jude, as they wandered the streets of New York City together. But her glorious life was pulled out from beneath her after she was accused of trying to murder Jude’s father, an imperious superior court judge. When she learns she’s pregnant shortly after receiving a long prison sentence, she reluctantly decides to give up the child. Ella is released from prison after serving only six years and is desperate to turn the page on a new life, but she can’t seem to let go of her past. With only an address as a possible lead, she moves to Ann Arbor, Michigan, determined to get her daughter back. Yet a central mystery endures: neither Jude nor Ella can remember the events leading up to the attempted murder --- that fateful night that led to Ella’s conviction.

Hardcover: April 30, 2024

All that bestselling author Eleanor Dash wants is to get through her book tour in Italy and kill off her main character, Connor Smith, in the next installment of her Vacation Mysteries series. Is that too much to ask? Clearly, because when an attempt is made on the real Connor’s life --- the handsome but infuriating con man she got mixed up with 10 years ago and now can't get out of her life --- Eleanor is enlisted to help solve the case. Contending with literary competitors, rabid fans, a stalker --- and even her ex, Oliver, who turns up unexpectedly --- theories are bandied about, and rivalries, rifts and broken hearts are revealed. But who’s really trying to get away with murder?