Skip to main content Bets On...

With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout the year, we will continue this feature that we started in 2009, to spotlight books that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” We will alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Below are all of our selections thus far. For future "Bets On" titles that we will announce shortly after their release dates, please visit this page.

Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay

June 2022

I have long thought that those cameras people have on their houses have made it really tough to be a crime writer. These days, along with cell phones, GPS and a whole host of devices that make it difficult to ramp up a plot, now we have what is in essence spyware on many doorsteps.

In Linwood Barclay’s TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY, Brie Mason has been missing for six years. She was home alone one afternoon. Her husband, Andy, was away fishing with his best friend, Greg, who also was his business partner. Brie’s only visitors that day was an exterminator who had been called in to see if there was a mouse in the house. But no one saw her after that. Andy has been a prime suspect for years and has never been completely discounted. He sold the house, which eventually was torn down by the new residents, and a new house stands in its place. Andy is now living in a new town with a new name, and he has a new woman in his life named Jayne. He also has split his business from Greg since no one wanted a would-be murderer in their home. But things are finally looking up for Andy.

Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy

May 2022

In MUSTIQUE ISLAND, Sarah McCoy transported me to this island that, aside from its sandy shores and blue water, has a storied history of being the playground for Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger. As a friend who has vacationed there at Christmas for more than two decades has told me, what happens on Mustique stays on the island. Over the holidays you will not hear what celebrities there are doing; it’s known to be a place where respect is given to those vacationing. So this trip there with Sarah’s characters is just brilliant fun.

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

April 2022

Sally Hepworth is one of my favorite authors, so I happily plucked her new thriller, THE YOUNGER WIFE, from my shelves and devoured it. The catalyst for the idea for this one came from her great aunty Gwen. A throwaway line from Gwen got her thinking about a plot point that comes later in the book. Who is the “younger wife,” and what is going on in this family? It opens with a wedding. But it also opens with blood! So from the start, you know things are not going to go well.

Sister Stardust by Jane Green

April 2022

I completely devoured SISTER STARDUST, Jane Green’s first historical novel. For years, Jane has been interested in Talitha Getty, the second wife of John Paul Getty Jr. This book reimagines her life in the '60s during her time in Morocco, which were some very hedonistic days. A famous model and actress, Talitha is rich, exuberant and universally loved. The story is told through the eyes of Claire, who renames herself Cece. She moves from her small English town to London and is swept up in Talitha's world. The closer they grow, the more Claire learns about the dark past of this mysterious and revered woman.

What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline

April 2022

I am going on the record here: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETTS is Lisa Scottoline’s best thriller! It is fast-paced with so many twists and turns, and I felt like something important to furthering the plot happened on every page.

The Bennetts are a happy family on their way home from their daughter’s lacrosse game, merrily talking about it. A pickup truck is tailing them way too closely. They slow down, but it keeps coming, and then it flies around them and stops. Two men leap from the vehicle, and it feels like a carjacking. There’s gunfire, and by the time it’s done, one of the Bennetts is dead and so is one of the gunmen. What just happened? This is only page nine. When the grieving Bennetts get home that night, there is a knock on the door. Two FBI agents tell them that they need to be moved into protective custody. This is page 29, and the action keeps up like that right until the end. Whew!

The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

April 2022

THE LONG WEEKEND by Gilly Macmillan is a truly terrific locked-room thriller. Three women head out of town a day in advance of their husbands for an annual weekend getaway at a secluded location. When they arrive, they receive a note that one of their husbands has been killed. It is signed “E,” the fourth woman who usually joins them. She is skipping this year as her husband died, and she is not comfortable hanging out with the usual group of couples.

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki

March 2022

In THE MAGNIFICENT LIVES OF MARJORIE POST, Allison Pataki once again delivers a powerful work of historical fiction. Marjorie Merriweather Post led a brilliantly storied life that started in Battle Creek, Michigan, where as a child she glued the labels on boxes of Grape-Nuts and Postum, their first food products. From these humble roots, the Post family grew their empire.

The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard

March 2022

In THE GOOD SON, Jacquelyn Mitchard opens the book with Thea Demetriou at the prison gates waiting to pick up her son, Stefan, as he is released from prison. It’s a brilliant “cold open” with this line: “I was picking my son up at the prison gates when I spotted the mother of the girl he had murdered.” And she goes on to say, “Two independent clauses, ten words each, joined by an adverb, made up entirely of words that would once have been unimaginable to think, much less say.”

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

March 2022

I absolutely loved THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY by Brendan Slocumb. I have never been a fan of classical music, so reading a book about a concert artist is not something that typically would grab my attention. But I was riveted.

Ray McMillian loves playing the violin, but he’s using a school rental instrument, which is not the way one is going to get ahead in the music world. When visiting his grandmother, she suggests that he look around the attic in her house where her grandfather’s fiddle is. He treks up there, and after days of searching, he finds a green alligator case with a violin inside. Ray practices for hours on it, with his mom complaining about “that noise” and lending no support. As he studies music in school, a teacher takes him under her wing and guides him as she sees real talent in him.

The Cage by Bonnie Kistler

February 2022

I read THE CAGE by Bonnie Kistler a few months ago. The story was so well written that writing this I feel like I read it yesterday. The setup is great. Two women are working late at a high-end fashion company on a Sunday night. They get on the same elevator. The lights go out, and the elevator stalls. Help is called. By the time they get to the lobby and the doors open, one woman is dead. Was it a murder or a suicide? The survivor is Shay Lambert, the company’s newest lawyer; the deceased is Lucy Barton-Jones, their seemingly unflappable human resources director. Shay immediately calls it a suicide, but Lucy’s husband is stumped.