John Grisham once again returns to Clanton, Mississippi for a decades-spanning saga of treachery, long-held secrets, and vengeance. One morning, decorated WWII vet Pete Banning—a prominent and respected citizen—drives into Clanton and inexplicably commits a violent and cold-blooded murder. What’s most shocking? He refuses to give anyone, even his defense lawyer, a single explanation why. But as his trial pushes toward its inevitable conclusion, a complex tale of betrayal and shame begins to emerge that spans from the Jungles of the Philippines to an insane asylum filled with secrets. This is John Grisham at his very best.
The Paragon Hotel
The latest historical thriller from Edgar-nominated author Lyndsay Faye centers a woman on the run in 1921. “Nobody” Alice James fled Harlem on cross-country train bound for Oregon after liquor deal gone wrong. She soon finds herself at the Paragon Hotel—the only white woman in the all-black lodging—and embroiled in the case of a missing multiracial child and beset by the recently arrived Ku Klux Klan.
Look Alive Twenty-Five
This twenty-fifth entry in Janet Evanovich’s long-running Stephanie Plum series sees the oft-beleaguered investigator/bounty hunter diving into a missing person’s case in a world-famous New Jersey Deli. At the Red River Deli in Trenton, three managers have vanished without a trace in the last month. The police are at a dead end and the staff suspects alien abduction. Fortunately, the new manager, Stephanie Plum, is one the case.
Night of Miracles
Elizabeth Berg’s latest novel is a heartwarming story of friendship, community, and the power of small acts of kindness. Lucille Howard has found new purpose teaching baking classes and sharing her skills with her community. When tragedy strikes the new family next door, Lucille and the town of Mason come together to help the family through.
The Winter of the Witch
Katherine Arden’s latest novel is the perfect capstone to her Winternight Trilogy. Set against the backdrop of Medieval Moscow, The Winter of the Witch brings Vasya’s tale to a stirring close that should more than satisfy fans of the series. And if you haven’t yet experienced Arden’s bestselling trilogy, The Bear and The Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower are just waiting to be picked up.
The Witch Elm
Since her debut novel, In the Woods, Tana French has quickly established herself as one of the pre-eminent voices in the psychological thriller/crime genre. Witch Elm may just be her best to date. It’s a spellbinding story of a man who discovers a skull in an old elm tree on the family grounds. This grisly discovery leads him to question everything he though he know about himself and his family.
The Colors of All the Cattle
Alexander McCall Smith
The latest entry in the seemingly endless No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is a delightful reminder of why this series is so well-loved. The Colors of All the Cattle sees Mma Precious Ramotswe embroiled in local politics after she is convinced to run for a seat on city council to stop a land developer from building a flashy hotel next to the local graveyard. It is filled with the wit, humanity, and quiet charm that has become Alexander McCall Smith’s trademark.
Haruki Murakami is a perennial Nobel contender for a reason—his lyrical, often haunting, quietly magical novels are unlike anything else I’ve read. There are a lot of moving parts in Killing Commendatore—the physical manifestation of an idea, a Nazi assassination attempt, a haunted underworld, a bizarre circle—but at base, it is the tale of an aspiring painter grappling with loneliness, war, and the power of art. It is fascinating and exquisitely powerful read.
Freelance writer Nikole Paterson did not expect her boyfriend to propose—they’d only been dating five months. And she particularly did not expect him to propose on a massive screen in front of 45,000 people at a Dodgers game. She had to say no, receiving a chorus of boos from the crowd, but fortunately a dashing stranger was there to whisk her away from the camera crews. He becomes the perfect rebound fling, but what should Nikole do when things begin to get serious?
The Hunger was one of last year’s best horror novels and a perfectly unsettling distraction. The tragedy of the Donner Party is one of America’s most haunting disasters, here Alma Katsu gives it a deeply unnerving supernatural twist. Driven to the brink of madness by starvation, bitterness, and isolation, an increasingly paranoid group of survivors begins to wonder if some deadly, hungry evil is preying on them and more disturbingly, if it has it been with them all along.
We Sold Our Souls
Centering around a washed up guitarist, We Sold Our Souls is one part epic road trip, one part ode to 90’s heavy metal, and all spine-tingling thriller. When a sudden act of violence turns her quiet life upside down, former heavy metal guitarist Kris Pulaski sets out on cross-country trip to get the band together to confront the lead singer who may have sabotaged more than just their band.
Kill the Farm Boy
The first volume in The Tales of Pell series turns every fantasy/Chosen One trope upside down and then shakes them around for good measure. What happens when the so-called Chosen One dies? That’s the question that Kill the Farm Boy asks and answers to truly hilarious effect. From a trash-talking goat to a chicken-fearing assassin and a Dark Lord who also happens to be a very fine baker, this one is a wonderfully campy and laugh-out-loud ride—the sort of fairy tale that would make Terry Pratchett proud.
Fight or Flight
Ava Breevort is in the middle of what may be the worst flight of her life. After flying to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend, her flight back to Boston was delayed because of volcanic ash. To top it all off, a particularly arrogant Scotsman named Caleb snagged her first class seat right out from under her. What she didn’t expect was for their antagonistic flight to lead to a steamy one-night stand. And she certainly didn’t think Caleb would suddenly turn up on her doorstep in Boston.
Robert Jackson Bennett
Set against the backdrop of the bustling port city of Tevanne, Foundryside is a tale of high-stakes heists, a thriving but brutal economy that co-mingles industry and magic, and an artifact so powerful it can rewrite reality itself. The story centers around Sancia, a talented thief tasked with stealing an ancient and immensely powerful artifact who unwittingly stumbles into a secret war that threatens the very fabric of existence.
It’s that time of year again. The biggest sporting event of the year and the zenith of the most popular sport in the country is upon us. Millions tune in every year to watch two teams at the top of their game vying for a championship in an epic struggle. And then there are those of us who are really just there for the commercials and the tasty snacks. The question is, what do we do during the Big Game when the commercials aren’t playing? Catching up on some reading certainly seems like the way to go. Here are a few of our recent favorites for some much needed distractions while you not-so-patiently wait for the half-time show.
Featured image: @mizzdalina via Twenty20