August/September 2016

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

by Louise Miller

When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts. Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy  comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought. But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.


Truly, Madly, Guilty
by Liane Moriarty

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It's just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families. Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there's anything they can count on, it's each other. Clementine and Erika are each other's oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don't hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid's larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite. Two months later, it won't stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can't stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn't gone? In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don't say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.


Rosalia's Bittersweet Pastry Shop

by Rosanna Chiofalo

Food writer Claudia Lombardo has sampled exquisite dishes by the world's greatest chefs. But when she hears about the remarkable desserts that are created in a pastry shop operated out of a convent in the sleepy Italian hillside town of Santa Lucia del Mela, she wants to write a book featuring the sweets and the story behind their creator-Sorella Agata. But the convent's most famous dessert-a Cassata cake-is what really intrigues Claudia. Everyone who samples the cake agrees it is like none other they've tasted. Yet no one can figure out what makes the Cassata so incredibly delicious. Though Sorella Agata insists there is no secret ingredient, Claudia is determined to learn the truth behind the mysterious cake. As she samples each delectable treat-marzipan fruit, rich cream puffs, and decadent cakes-Sorella Agata relates the pastry shop's history and tells of the young woman, Rosalia, who inspired her. Kidnapped and separated from her family, Rosalia is subjected to a terrible ordeal-until the nuns find her. As she heals, she learns the art of pastry making, and soon she even finds love with Antonio-an apprentice in the pastry shop. But her heart still aches for the family she lost. And Rosalia knows she will not be whole again until she is reunited with them.  As Claudia unravels the secret of the Cassata cake, she discovers a deeper, fascinating story-one that affirms food can do more than nourish the body...it can stir memories, heal the deepest heartaches, and even act as a bridge to those we love, no matter how far apart.


Charcoal Joe
by Walter Mosley

Picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins finds his life in transition. He’s ready—finally—to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he’s taken the money he got from the Rose Gold case and, together with two partners, Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly, has started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order. Between his new company, a heart that should be broken but is not, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and his life in shambles around his feet.


The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

by J Cannon

England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren’t convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God—they believe that if they find Him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home. Spunky, spirited Grace and quiet, thoughtful Tilly go door to door in search of clues. The cul-de-sac starts to give up its secrets, and the amateur detectives uncover much more than ever imagined. As they try to make sense of what they’ve seen and heard, a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the Avenue has something to hide, a reason for not fitting in. In the suffocating heat of the summer, the ability to guard these differences becomes impossible. Along with the parched lawns and the melting pavement, the lives of all the neighbors begin to unravel. What the girls don’t realize is that the lies told to conceal what happened one fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was beginning to peel back just before she disappeared.


The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie's works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for--and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.


The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels.


Florence Foster Jenkins
by Nicholas Martin

'People may say that I couldn't sing. But no one can say that I didn't sing.' Despite lacking pitch, rhythm or tone, Florence Foster Jenkins became one of America's best-known sopranos, celebrated for her unique recordings and her sell-out concert at Carnegie Hall. In Florence Foster Jenkins, Nicholas Martin and Jasper Rees tell her extraordinary story, which inspired the official film starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, and directed by Stephen Frears. Born in 1868 to wealthy Pennsylvanian parents, Florence was a talented young pianist but her life was thrown into turmoil when she eloped with Frank Jenkins, a man twice her age. The marriage proved a disaster and, in order to survive, Florence was forced to abandon her dreams of a musical career and teach the piano. Then her father died in 1909 and, newly installed in New York, she used a considerable inheritance to fund her passion. She set up a prestigious amateur music club and began staging operas. Aided by her English common-law husband, St Clair Bayfield, she worked tirelessly to support the city's musical life. Many young singers owed their start to Florence, but she too yearned to perform and began giving regular recitals that quickly attracted a cult following. And yet nothing could prepare the world for the astonishing climax of her career when, at the age of seventy-six, she performed at the most hallowed concert hall in America.

July 2016

The Memory of Lemon
by Judith Fertig

The author of The Cake Therapist returns with another sweet and emotional tale featuring Neely, the baker with a knack for finding exactly the right flavor for any occasion... A crisp tang of citrus that is at once poignant and familiar, sharpening the senses and opening the mind to possibilities once known and long forgotten... Claire "Neely" Davis is no ordinary pastry chef. Her flavor combinations aren't just a product of a well-honed palate: she can "taste" people's emotions, sensing the ingredients that will touch her customers' souls. Her gift has never failed her-until she meets a free-spirited bride-to-be and her overbearing society mother. The two are unable to agree on a single wedding detail, and their bickering leaves Neely's intuition frustratingly silent-right when she needs it most. Between trying to navigate a divorce, explore a new relationship, and handle the reappearance of her long-absent father, Neely is struggling to make sense of her own conflicting emotions, much less those of her hard-to-please bride. But as she embarks on a flavorful quest to craft the perfect wedding celebration, she'll uncover a family history that sheds light on both the missing ingredients and her own problems-and illustrates how the sweet and sour in life often combine to make the most delicious memories.


Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither
by Sara Baume

A debut novel already praised as "unbearably poignant and beautifully told" (Eimear McBride) this captivating story follows - over the course of four seasons - a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog. It is springtime, and two outcasts - a man ignored,even shunned by his village, and the one-eyed dog he takes into his quiet, tightly shuttered life - find each other, by accident or fate, and forge an unlikely connection. As their friendship grows, their small, seaside town suddenly takes note of them,falsely perceiving menace where there is only mishap; the unlikely duo must take to the road. Gorgeously written in poetic and mesmerizing prose, Spill Simmer Falter Wither has already garnered wild support in its native Ireland, where the Irish Times pointed to Baume's "astonishing power with language" and praised it as "a novel bursting with brio, braggadocio and bite." It is also a moving depiction of how - over the four seasons echoed in the title - a relationship between fellow damaged creatures can bring them both comfort. One of those rare stories that utterly, completely imagines its way into a life most of us would never see, it transforms us not only in our understanding of the world, but also of ourselves.


The Road to Little Dribbling
by Bill Bryson

"Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land... Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed-and what hasn't. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits."--Amazon.com


Britt-Marie was Here
by Fredrik Backman

Walking away from her loveless marriage and taking a job in a derelict, financially devastated town, 63-year-old Britt-Marie uses her fierce organizational skills to become a local soccer coach to a group of lost children, becoming a vital community member along the way.






Hamilton: the Revolution
by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Offers a behind-the-scenes view of Hamilton the musical, detailing the many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton's life.











The Fireman
by Joe Hill

When a bizarre virulent plague breaks out in the world's major cities, causing victims to spontaneously combust, a dedicated nurse resolves to survive until her baby is born and receives protection from a mysterious infected man who uses his fire symptoms to help others.






Bill O'Reilly's Legends & Lies: The Patriots
by David Fisher

A companion to Bill O'Reilly's docudrama by the same name shares insights into how the American Revolution was a civil war, exploring such events as the child's murder that led to the Boston Massacre, the return of Ben Franklin from the Continental Army's first victory under Washington and the "Swamp Fox" guerrilla campaign.


Rise of the Rocket Girls
by Nathalia Holt

Traces the pivotal achievements of the elite female science recruits at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where in the mid-20th century they transformed rocket design and enabled the creations of the first American satellites.

May/June 2016

The Rainbow Comes and Goes
by Anderson Cooper

A touching and intimate correspondence between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, offering timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives. Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a year-long conversation unlike any they had ever had before. The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other. Both a son's love letter to his mother and an unconventional mom's life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating life stories, including their tragedies and triumphs. In these often humorous and moving exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they've learned along the way. In their words their distinctive personalities shine through--Anderson's journalistic outlook on the world is a sharp contrast to his mother's idealism and unwavering optimism. An appealing memoir with inspirational advice, The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a beautiful and affectionate celebration of the universal bond between a parent and a child, and a thoughtful reflection on life, reminding us of the precious insight that remains to be shared, no matter our age.



The Letter Writer
by Dan Fesperman

The first thing Woodrow Cain sees when he steps off the train in New York City on February 9, 1942, is smoke from an ocean liner in flames in the harbor. It's the Normandie, and word on the street is that it was burned by German saboteurs. "Ten lousy minutes in New York and already his new life felt as full of loss and betrayal as the one he'd left behind." What he left behind in a small North Carolina town was a wife who'd left him, a daughter in the care of his sister, and a career as a police officer marred by questions surrounding his partner's murder. When he gets a job with the NYPD, he wants to believe it's the beginning of a new life, though he suspects that the past is as tenacious as "a parasite in the bloodstream." It's on the job that Cain comes in contact with a man who calls himself Danziger. He has the appearance of a "crackpot," but he speaks five languages, has the manners of a man of means and education--and he appears to be the one person who can help Cain identify a body just found floating in the Hudson River. But who exactly is Danziger? He's a writer of letters for illiterate immigrants on Manhattan's Lower East Side--"a steadfast practitioner of concealing and forgetting" for his clients, and perhaps for himself: he hints at a much more worldly past. What and whoever he really is or has been, he has a seemingly boundless knowledge of the city and its denizens. And he knows much more than the mere identity of the floating corpse. For one thing, he knows how the dead man was involved in New York City's "Little Deutschland," where swastikas were proudly displayed just months before. And he also seems to know how the investigation will put Cain--and perhaps his daughter and the woman he's fallen for--in harm's way. But even Danziger can't know that the more he and Cain investigate, the nearer they come to the center of a citywide web of possibly traitorous corruption from which neither of them may get out alive.


The Cosmopolitans
by Sarah Schulman

A modern retelling of Balzac's classic Cousin Bette by one of America's most prolific and significant writers. Earl, a black, gay actor working in a meatpacking plant, and Bette, a white secretary, have lived next door to each other in the same Greenwich Village apartment building for thirty years. Shamed and disowned by their families, both found refuge in New York and in their domestic routine. Everything changes when Hortense, a wealthy young actress from Ohio, comes to the city to "make it." Textured with the grit and gloss of mid-century Manhattan, The Cosmopolitans is a lush, inviting read. The truths it frames about the human need for love and recognition remain long after the book is closed.



All things Cease to Appear
by Elizabeth Brundage

A dark, riveting, beautifully written book--by "a brilliant novelist," according to Richard Bausch--that combines noir and the gothic in a story about two families entwined in their own unhappiness, with, at its heart, a gruesome and unsolved murder. Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife killed and their three-year-old daughter alone--for how many hours?--in her room across the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at a nearby private college (far too expensive for local kids to attend) teaching art history, and moved his family into a tight-knit, impoverished town that has lately been discovered by wealthy outsiders in search of a rural idyll. George is of course the immediate suspect--the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional. While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. And three teenage brothers (orphaned by tragic circumstances) find themselves entangled in this mystery, not least because the Clares had moved into their childhood home, a once-thriving dairy farm. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime there are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served. A rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, this is also an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community. Elizabeth Brundage is an essential talent who has given us a true modern classic.


Everyone Brave is Forgiven

by Chris Cleave

The "insightful, stark, and heartbreaking" ( Publishers Weekly , starred review) novel about three lives entangled during World War II from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Little Bee. "With dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion, Cleave paints a powerful portrait of war's effects on those who fight and those left behind." -- People Book of the Week. "Magnificent and profoundly moving...This dazzling novel of World War II is full of unforgettable characters and the keen emotional insights that moved readers of Chris Cleave's Little Bee ." --Shelf Awareness. "Real, engaging characters, based loosely on Cleave's own grandparents, come alive on the page. Insightful, stark, and heartbreaking, Cleave's latest novel portrays the irrepressible hopefulness that can arise in the face of catastrophe." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave's miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters." -- Kirkus Reviews. "Beautifully written, funny, gut-wrenching, and, above all, honest." -- The Daily Mail (UK). "Intensely felt...Full of insight and memorably original phrasings." -- Booklist. "Well crafted and compelling...nostalgic and bittersweet." -- Library Journal. London, 1939, the day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war--until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is--bewilderingly--made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams. Set in London during the years of 1939-1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave's grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

March/April 2016

Gumshoe
by Rob Leininger

For nine long days, the mayor and district attorney of Reno, Nevada, have been missing. Vanished without a trace. Their vehicles were found parked side-by-side at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Did they fly somewhere together? They aren't on any flight manifest. Did the two of them take off with a big pile of the city's money? If so, the city accountants can't find it. Were they murdered? There's no sign of foul play. Their disappearances have finally made national news. Enter Mortimer Angel, who'd just quit a thankless job as an IRS agent. Mort is Reno's newest gumshoe, a private-eye-in-training at his nephew's detective agency. Just four hours into his new career, Mort finds the mayor--make that, the mayor's head--in the trunk of Mort's ex-wife's Mercedes. The news-hungry media speculates: Did Mort kill the mayor? Did Mort's ex? As events begin to spin out of control, Mort realizes things have been out of control since the night before he started his new career, the night he found the unknown naked blonde in his bed.





The Flood Girls
by Richard Fifield

Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame--the only bar in town--refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to having a winning season. Until now. Rachel Flood has snuck back into town after leaving behind a trail of chaos nine years prior. She's here to make amends, but nobody wants to hear it, especially her mother, Laverna. But with the help of a local boy named Jake and a little soul-searching, she just might make things right. In the spirit of Empire Falls and A League of Their Own, with the caustic wit of Where'd You Go, Bernadette thrown in for good measure, Richard Fifield's hilarious and heartwarming debut will have you laughing through tears.


Double Switch
by T.T. Monday

Blackmail. Bullets. Deception. It's time to play ball. Johnny Adcock, the aging major-league relief pitcher who moonlights as a private investigator, returns in the thrilling follow-up to The Setup Man. Johnny Adcock doesn't have an office; he has the bullpen. That's where he's sitting shelling sunflower seeds after a game, when up walks Tiff Tate, the enigmatic, career-making PR/stylist behind the most highly marketable looks in baseball. Tiff needs Adcock's special brand of expertise. Her new client is Yonel Ruiz, the rookie phenom who courageously risked life and limb in shark-infested waters to flee his native Cuba for fame, fortune, and freedom in Major League Baseball. Now that Ruiz has signed a record-setting contract, the Venezuelan cartel that smuggled him out is squeezing him for a bigger slice of the action and they've unleashed a ruthless assassin, known only as La Loba, to collect. Adcock takes the case, even though the front office wants to shut down his side job and has sent its no-nonsense corporate fixer and "director of security" to keep a close eye on him. Adcock is immediately swept up in a high-pressure game full of surprising twists, double crosses, and deadly gambits that will leave him fighting for his life and in danger of losing more than the heat off his fastball or a spot in the playoffs. Double Switch proves that Johnny Adcock is one of the genre's most entertaining detectives in years, and gives readers a welcome return to the sexy, action-packed, and thrilling world where high-stakes professional sports and life-or-death action collide.




The Newsmakers
by Lis Wiehl

TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy? Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won't come back to sabotage her dreams. Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can't deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and emphatic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now. On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses--and films--a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes--again, right in front of Erica and her cameras. Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can't just be coincidence. But what is it? Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster--and her troubled past--don't catch up with her first.


The New Tsar
by Steven Lee Myers

The New Tsar is the book to read if you want to understand how Vladimir Putin sees the world and why he has become one of the gravest threats to American security. The epic tale of the rise to power of Russia's current president--the only complete biography in English - that fully captures his emergence from shrouded obscurity and deprivation to become one of the most consequential and complicated leaders in modern history, by the former New York Times Moscow bureau chief. In a gripping narrative of Putin's rise to power as Russia's president, Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin's origins--from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad, to his ascension through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule. Along the way, world events familiar to readers, such as September 11th and Russia's war in Georgia in 2008, as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, are presented from never-before-seen perspectives. This book is a grand, staggering achievement and a breathtaking look at one man's rule. On one hand, Putin's many reforms--from tax cuts to an expansion of property rights--have helped reshape the potential of millions of Russians whose only experience of democracy had been crime, poverty, and instability after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Putin has ushered in a new authoritarianism, unyielding in his brutal repression of revolts and squashing of dissent. Still, he retains widespread support from the Russian public. The New Tsar is a narrative tour de force, deeply researched, and utterly necessary for anyone fascinated by the formidable and ambitious Vladimir Putin, but also for those interested in the world and what a newly assertive Russia might mean for the future.




Keep Calm
by Mike Binder

When a bombing at 10 Downing Street wounds the Prime Minister and tests Great Britain's resolve, American ex-cop Adam Tatum must confront a conspiracy in the highest halls of power. Former Michigan detective Adam Tatum receives an unexpected offer, a golden opportunity that seems almost too good to be true. He travels to 10 Downing Street to participate in a high-stakes conference. Immediately after his visit, a bomb detonates, wounding the prime minister and placing Adam Tatum squarely in the cross-hairs of suspicion. Sensing a setup, Tatum flees with his family, desperately fighting for survival in an unfamiliar country. The lives of his children, the future of his marriage, and the fate of a nation depend on Tatum exposing the conspirators who pegged him for a fall. Georgia Turnbull, the chancellor of the exchequer, and Davina Steel, the lead investigator, both stand to gain from the successful manhunt of Adam Tatum. But, as motives emerge and desires ignite, each must decide what they're really after. Layered plots, crackling dialogue, and propulsive action mark Keep Calm , the riveting debut thriller from award-winning actor, director, and screenwriter Mike Binder.


Duplicity 
by Newt Gingrich

The greatest nightmare for the free world today would be a master terrorist hiding somewhere, controlling and coordinating radical Islamic groups at the highest level around the globe. In DUPLICITY, the newest thriller from former Speaker of the House and bestselling author Newt Gingrich, such an invisible hand overseeing havoc worldwide plays a major role. Gingrich has teamed with former Washington Post reporter and bestselling author Pete Earley to create a highly plausible mix of domestic and global action in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller. And of course, it's set during an American presidential election. When President Sally Allworth decides to reestablish America's Mogadishu embassy in Somalia weeks before Election Day, her challenger says she is playing politics with American lives. That turns out to be true when the embassy is attacked and hostages are taken. Embassy station chief Gunter Conner and Marine captain Brooke Grant end up the unlikely survivors of this Benghazi-style attack. Suddenly, they are the only hope for saving their captured colleagues. The firestorm of drama is compelling, set off by the intersection of Washington power and politics, a fragile third-world Islamic country, and Somali Americans here at home. Only Newt Gingrich's unique in-depth knowledge of the political realities of friend and foe could weave such a spellbinding tale of events and personalities, one that could actually happen . . . if America's leaders aren't wary of a world full of DUPLICITY.





The Never-Open Desert Diner
by James Anderson

A singularly compelling debut novel, about a desert where people go to escape their past, and a truck driver who finds himself at risk when he falls in love with a mysterious woman. Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-traveled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert's inhabitants, Ben's visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn't opened in years. Ben's routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she's fleeing something in her past--a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth--but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her. As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who've laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire's pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert's greatest mystery--what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner? In this unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. At turns funny, heartbreaking and thrilling, The Never-Open Desert Diner powerfully evokes an unforgettable setting and introduces readers to a cast of characters who will linger long after the last page.


Miller's Valley
by Anna Quindlen

In a small town on the verge of big change, a young woman unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself. Filled with insights that are the hallmark of Anna Quindlen's bestsellers, Miller's Valley is an emotionally powerful story about a family you will never forget. For generations the Millers have lived in Miller's Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be "a place where it's just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content." Miller's Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, "No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go." Miller's Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.




The Steel Kiss
by Jeffery Deaver

Amelia Sachs is hot on the trail of a killer. She's chasing him through a department store in Brooklyn when an escalator malfunctions. The stairs give way, with one man horribly mangled by the gears. Sachs is forced to let her quarry escape as she jumps in to try to help save the victim. She and famed forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme soon learn, however, that the incident may not have been an accident at all, but the first in a series of intentional attacks. They find themselves up against one of their most formidable opponents ever: a brilliant killer who turns common products into murder weapons. As the body count threatens to grow, Sachs and Rhyme must race against the clock to unmask his identity--and discover his mission--before more people die.



The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives. Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, "The Nest," which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest's value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems. Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can't seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to re-imagine the futures they've envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

January/February 2016

My names is Lucy Barton

by Elizabeth Strout

A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all--the one between mother and daughter.  Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.





The Guest Room
by Chris Bohjalian

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.  In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard's life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard's investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.


The Improbability of Love

by H. Rothschild

In The Improbability of Love we meet Annie McDee, thirty-one, who is working as a chef for two rather sinister art dealers. Recovering from the end of a long-term relationship, she is searching in a neglected secondhand shop for a birthday present for her unsuitable new lover. Hidden behind a rubber plant on top of a file cabinet, a grimy painting catches her eye. After spending her meager savings on the picture, Annie prepares an elaborate birthday dinner for two, only to be stood up.  The painting becomes hers, and as it turns out, Annie has stumbled across a lost masterpiece by one of the most important French painters of the eighteenth century. But who painted this masterpiece is not clear at first. Soon Annie finds herself pursued by interested parties who would do anything to possess her picture. For a gloomy, exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious sheikha, a desperate auctioneer, and an unscrupulous dealer, among others, the painting embodies their greatest hopes and fears. In her search for the painting's identity, Annie will unwittingly uncover some of the darkest secrets of European history--as well as the possibility of falling in love again.





Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise
by Oscar Hijuelos

Hijuelos was fascinated by the Twain-Stanley connection and eventually began researching and writing a novel that used the scant historical record of their relationship as a starting point for a more detailed fictional account. It was a labor of love for Hijuelos, who worked on the project for more than ten years, publishing other novels along the way but always returning to Twain and Stanley; indeed, he was still revising the manuscript the day before his sudden passing in 2013.  The resulting novel is a richly woven tapestry of people and events that is unique among the author's works, both in theme and structure. Hijuelos ingeniously blends correspondence, memoir, and third-person omniscience to explore the intersection of these Victorian giants in a long vanished world.  From their early days as journalists in the American West, to their admiration and support of each other's writing, their mutual hatred of slavery, their social life together in the dazzling literary circles of the period, and even a mysterious journey to Cuba to search for Stanley's adoptive father, TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE superbly channels two vibrant but very different figures. It is also a study of Twain's complex bond with Mrs. Stanley, the bohemian portrait artist Dorothy Tennant, who introduces Twain and his wife to the world of séances and mediums after the tragic death of their daughter.



The Muralist

by B.A. Shapiro

When Alizée Benoit, a young American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her arts patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends and fellow WPA painters, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who, while working at Christie's auction house, uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by those now famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt?  Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of New York's art scene and the beginnings of the vibrant and quintessentially American school of Abstract Expressionism.  As she did in her bestselling novel The Art Forger , B. A. Shapiro tells a gripping story while exploring provocative themes. In Alizée and Danielle she has created two unforgettable women, artists both, who compel us to ask: What happens when luminous talent collides with unstoppable historical forces? Does great art have the power to change the world?





The Forgotten Soldier
by Brad Taylor

In New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor's latest heart-stopping thriller, Pike Logan returns with his most dangerous and personal threat yet: a Taskforce Operator gone rogue.  For years, the extralegal counter terrorist unit known as the Taskforce has worked in the shadows, anticipating and preventing attacks around the globe. Created to deal with a terrorist threat that shuns the civilized rule of law, it abandoned the same, operating outside of the US Constitution. Though wildly successful, it was rooted in a fear that the cure could be worse than the disease.  And now that fear has come home.  A Special Forces soldier is killed on an operation in Afghanistan, and complicit in the attack is a government official of an allied nation. While the US administration wants to forget the casualty, one Taskforce member will not. When he sets out to avenge his brother's death, his actions threaten to not only expose the Taskforce's activities, but also destroy a web of alliances against a greater evil. Pike Logan understands the desire, but also the danger. Brought in to eliminate the risk, he's now forced to choose between his friend and the administration he's sworn to protect, while unbeknownst to either of them, the soldier's death is only the beginning...


The Walk
by Philippe Petit

Now a major motion picture directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an artist of the air re-creates his six-year plot to pull off an act of incomparable beauty and imagination.  More than a quarter century before September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was immortalized by an act of unprecedented daring and beauty. In August 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit boldly--and illegally--fixed a rope between the tops of the still-young Twin Towers, a quarter mile off the ground. At daybreak, thousands of spectators gathered to watch in awe and adulation as he traversed the rope a full eight times in the course of an hour. In The Walk, Petit recounts the six years he spent preparing for this achievement, a tour de force of imagination and tenacity.  Petit's achievement made headlines around the world. In this stunning book, Petit tells the dramatic story of this history-making walk, from conception and clandestine planning to the performance and its aftermath. It draws on Petit's own journals, in which he sketched and scribbled everything from his budgets to his strategies for rigging a high wire between two of the most secure towers in the world. It is a fitting tribute to those lost-but-not-forgotten symbols of human aspiration--the Twin Towers.


House of the Rising Sun
by James Lee Burke

New York Times bestseller James Lee Burke returns with his latest masterpiece, the story of a father and son separated by war and circumstance--and whose encounter with the legendary Holy Grail will change their lives forever.  From its opening scene in revolutionary Mexico to the Battle of the Marne in 1918, and on to the bordellos and saloons of San Antonio during the reign of the Hole in the Wall Gang, House of the Rising Sun is an epic tale of love, loss, betrayal, vengeance, and retribution that follows Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland on his journey to reunite with his estranged son, Ishmael, a captain in the United States Army.  After a violent encounter that leaves four Mexican soldiers dead, Hackberry escapes the country in possession of a stolen artifact, earning the ire of a bloodthirsty Austrian arms dealer who then places Hack's son Ishmael squarely in the cross hairs of a plot to recapture his prize, believed to be the mythic cup of Christ.  Along the way, we meet three extraordinary women: Ruby Dansen, the Danish immigrant who is Ishmael's mother and Hackberry's one true love; Beatrice DeMolay, a brothel madam descended from the crusader knight who brought the shroud of Turin back from the Holy L∧ and Maggie Bassett, one-time lover of the Sundance Kid, whose wiles rival those of Lady Macbeth. In her own way, each woman will aid Hackberry in his quest to reconcile with Ishmael, to vanquish their enemies, and to return the Grail to its rightful place.  House of the Rising Sun is James Lee Burke's finest novel to date, and a thrilling entry into the Holland family saga that continued most recently with Wayfaring Stranger , which The New York Times Book Review described as "saturated with the romance of the past while mournfully attuned to the unholy menace of the present."


City of Thorns
by Ben Rawlence

To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a 'nursery for terrorists'; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort.  Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.  In City of Thorns , Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.