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End-of-the-Year Contest 2023

End-of-the-Year Celebration

End-of-the-Year Contest 2023

Congratulations to the winners of our 2023 End-of-the-Year Contest! One reader received all 44 of Carol Fitzgerald's Bets On picks from 2023, while 11 others won four of these titles. You can see all the winners below, along with 2023's Bets On selections.

If you would like to know more about these books, be sure to check out this video and podcast where Carol talks about each of her 44 picks.


Jill G. from Rochester Hills, MI

Amy N. from Yankton, SD
Celia K. from Hillsdale, NY
Cherie A. from Dunwoody, GA
Darcy O. from Apple Valley, MN
Donna H. from Fairlawn, OH
Dorothy H. from Folsom, CA
Jeff E. from Superior, WI
Karen C. from Clermont, FL
Karen L. from Nashua, NH
Lonnie E. from Palmyra, VA
Ray E. from Peru, IL


Absolution by Alice McDermott - Historical Fiction

Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney on loan to navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three. In Saigon in 1963, the two women form a wary alliance as they balance the era’s mandate to be “helpmeets” to their ambitious husbands with their own inchoate impulse to “do good” for the people of Vietnam. Sixty years later, Charlene’s daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, taking wry account of that pivotal year and of Charlene’s altruistic machinations. They discover how their own lives as women on the periphery have been shaped and burdened by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America’s tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay - Domestic Thriller/Mystery

Ten-year-old Miranda Larkin comes home from school to find her house eerily quiet. Her mother is missing. Nothing else is out of place. There is no sign of a struggle. Her mom’s pocketbook remains in the front hall, in its usual spot. So begins a mystery that will span a lifetime. What happened to Jane Larkin? Investigators suspect Jane’s husband. A criminal defense attorney, Dan Larkin surely would be an expert in outfoxing the police. But no evidence is found linking him to a crime, and the case fades from the public’s memory. Jane’s three children --- Alex, Jeff and Miranda --- are left to be raised by the man who may have murdered their mother. Two decades later, the remains of Jane Larkin are found. The investigation is awakened. The children, now grown, are forced to choose sides.

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters - Fiction

July 1962. A Mi’kmaq family from Nova Scotia arrives in Maine to pick blueberries for the summer. Weeks later, four-year-old Ruthie, the family’s youngest child, vanishes. She is last seen by her six-year-old brother, Joe, sitting on a favorite rock at the edge of a berry field. Joe will remain distraught by his sister’s disappearance for years to come. In Maine, a young girl named Norma grows up as the only child of an affluent family. Her father is emotionally distant, her mother frustratingly overprotective. Norma is often troubled by recurring dreams and visions that seem more like memories than imagination. As she grows older, Norma slowly comes to realize there is something her parents aren’t telling her --- and she will spend decades trying to uncover this family secret.

The Better Half by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans - Romantic Comedy

With an ex-husband relocated across the country, her father bouncing back after the loss of his beloved wife, and her daughter, Xandra, thriving at boarding school, Nina Morgan Clarke is stepping into her dream job as a trifecta: a first-generation, Black female head of the storied Royal-Hawkins School. To mark the moment, Nina and her best friend, Marisol, take a long-overdue girls’ trip to celebrate the second half of Nina’s life --- which is shaping up to be the best part of her life. As Nina’s school year gets underway, all seems to be progressing as planned. Before long, wunder-hire Jared Jones relentlessly pushes Nina to her ethical limits. Soon after, dutiful Xandra accuses one of her teachers of misconduct. And most alarming, the repercussions of her trip with Marisol force Nina into a life-altering choice.

Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott - Psychological Thriller

Newly married and with a baby on the way, Jacy and her husband, Jed, embark on their first road trip together to visit his father, Dr. Ash. The moment they arrive at the cottage, snug within the lush woods, Jacy feels bathed in love by the warm and hospitable Dr. Ash. But their Edenic first days take a turn when Jacy has a health scare. Swiftly, vacation activities are scrapped, and all eyes are on Jacy’s condition. Suddenly, whispers about Jed’s long-dead mother seem to eerily impinge upon the present, and Jacy begins to feel trapped in the cottage. But are her fears founded? Or is it paranoia, or cabin fever, or --- as is suggested to her --- a stubborn refusal to take necessary precautions? The dense woods surrounding the cottage are full of dangers, but are the greater ones inside?

The Block Party by Jamie Day - Domestic Thriller

The residents of the exclusive cul-de-sac on Alton Road are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal utterly unknown to the outside world, and even to each other. On the night of the annual summer block party, there has been a murder. But who did it and why takes readers back one year earlier, as rivalries and betrayals unfold --- discovering that the real danger lies within their own block. Nothing, and no one, is ever as it seems.

Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews - Romance

When fall rolls around, it’s time for Kerry Tolliver to leave her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina for the wilds of New York City to help her gruff older brother and his dog, Queenie, sell the trees at the family stand on a corner in Greenwich Village. In the weeks leading into Christmas, Kerry quickly becomes close with the charming neighbors who live near their stand. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family. And complicating everything is Patrick, a single dad raising his son, Austin, on this quirky block. Kerry and Patrick’s chemistry is undeniable, but what chance does this holiday romance really have?

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll - Psychological Thriller

BRIGHT YOUNG WOMEN opens on a Saturday night in 1978, hours before a soon-to-be-infamous murderer descends upon a Florida sorority house with deadly results. The lives of those who survive --- including sorority president and key witness Pamela Schumacher --- are forever changed. Across the country, Tina Cannon is convinced her missing friend was targeted by the man papers refer to as the All-American Sex Killer --- and that he’s struck again. Determined to find justice, the two join forces as their search for answers leads to a final, shocking confrontation.

Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education by Stephanie Land - Memoir

When Stephanie Land set out to write her memoir, MAID, she never could have imagined what was to come. Handpicked by President Barack Obama as one of the best books of 2019, it was called “an eye-opening journey into the lives of the working poor.” Later it was adapted into the hit Netflix series “Maid.” MAID was a story about a housecleaner, but it also was a story about a woman with a dream. In CLASS, Land takes us with her as she finishes college and pursues her writing career. Facing barriers at every turn --- including a byzantine loan system, not having enough money for food, navigating the judgments of professors and fellow students who didn’t understand the demands of attending college while under the poverty line --- Land finds a way to survive once again.

The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange - Fiction

When Tara Connelly is released from prison after serving 18 months on a drug charge, she returns home to live with her siblings. Her brother, a single dad, struggles with the ongoing effects of a brain injury he sustained years ago, and her sister’s fragile facade of calm and order is cracking under the burden of big secrets. Life becomes even more complicated when the cop who put her in prison keeps showing up unannounced, leaving Tara to wonder what he wants from her now. While she works to build a new career and hold her family together, Tara finds a chance at love in a most unlikely place. But when the Connellys’ secrets start to unravel and threaten her future, they all must face their worst fears and come clean, or risk losing each other forever.

Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T. J. Newman - Thriller

Six minutes after takeoff, Flight 1421 crashes into the Pacific Ocean. During the evacuation, an engine explodes and the plane is flooded. Those still alive are forced to close the doors --- but it’s too late. The plane sinks to the bottom with 12 passengers trapped inside. More than 200 feet below the surface, engineer Will Kent and his 11-year-old daughter, Shannon, are waist-deep in water and fighting for their lives. Their only chance at survival is an elite rescue team on the surface led by professional diver Chris Kent --- Shannon’s mother and Will’s soon-to-be ex-wife --- who must work together with Will to find a way to save their daughter and rescue the passengers from the sealed airplane, which is now teetering on the edge of an undersea cliff. There’s not much time. There’s even less air.

Evergreen: A Japantown Mystery by Naomi Hirahara - Historical Mystery

It’s been two years since Aki Ito and her family were released from Manzanar detention center and resettled in Chicago with other Japanese Americans. Now the Itos have finally been allowed to return home to California --- but nothing is as they left it. Aki is working as a nurse’s aide at the Japanese Hospital in Boyle Heights when an elderly Issei man is admitted with suspicious injuries. When she seeks out his son, she is shocked to recognize her husband’s best friend, Babe Watanabe. Could Babe be guilty of elder abuse? Only a few days later, Little Tokyo is rocked by a murder at the low-income hotel where the Watanabes stay. What secrets have the Watanabes been hiding, and can Aki protect her husband from getting tangled up in a murder investigation?

Everyone Here Is Lying by Shari Lapena - Domestic Thriller

William Wooler is a family man, on the surface. But he’s been having an affair, an affair that ended horribly this afternoon at a motel up the road. So when he returns to his house, devastated and angry, to find his difficult nine-year-old daughter, Avery, unexpectedly home from school, William loses his temper. Hours later, Avery’s family declares her missing. Suddenly the neighborhood doesn’t feel so safe. And William isn’t the only one on his street who’s hiding a lie. As witnesses come forward with information that may or may not be true, Avery's neighbors become increasingly unhinged. Who took Avery Wooler?

Exiles by Jane Harper - Mystery/Thriller

Federal Investigator Aaron Falk is on his way to a small town deep in Southern Australian wine country for the christening of an old friend's baby. But mystery follows him, even on vacation. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Kim Gillespie's disappearance. One year ago, at a busy town festival on a warm spring night, Kim safely tucked her sleeping baby into her stroller, then vanished into the crowd. No one has seen her since. When Kim's older daughter makes a plea for anyone with information about her missing mom to come forward, Falk and his old buddy Raco can't leave the case alone. What would make a mother abandon her child? What happened to Kim Gillespie?

Go as a River by Shelley Read - Fiction

Seventeen-year-old Victoria Nash runs the household on her family’s peach farm in the small ranch town of Iola, Colorado. Wilson Moon is a young drifter with a mysterious past, displaced from his tribal land. Victoria encounters Wil by chance on a street corner, a meeting that profoundly alters both of their young lives, unknowingly igniting as much passion as danger. When tragedy strikes, Victoria leaves the only life she has ever known. She flees into the surrounding mountains where she struggles to survive in the wilderness with no clear notion of what her future will bring. As the seasons change, she also charts the changes in herself, finding in the beautiful but harsh landscape the meaning and strength to move forward and rebuild all that she has lost, even as the Gunnison River threatens to submerge her homeland.

Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen - Domestic Thriller

When Ruth Sterling was a teenager, she slipped away one night, desperate to escape an abusive home and a troubling boyfriend. Pregnant, alone and prepared to do anything to survive, she eventually makes a life for herself --- and soon, for her newborn daughter, Catherine. For more than 20 years, Ruth has lived quietly and has provided for her daughter. But she is always ready to run at a moment’s notice and never allows either of them to put down roots too deeply. Now, Catherine is grown and craves a life for herself. This is something her mother will do anything to prevent. It has always been just the two of them against the world. But how well do they really know each other? When Ruth’s deeply held quest to keep Catherine by her side reveals cracks in her carefully constructed world, both mother and daughter begin a dance of deception.

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim - Mystery/Thriller

Mia, the irreverent, hyperanalytical 20-year-old daughter of a biracial Korean American family in Virginia, has an explanation for everything --- which is why she isn’t initially concerned when her father and younger brother, Eugene, don’t return from a walk in a nearby park. They must have lost their phone. Or stopped for an errand somewhere. But by the time Mia’s brother runs through the front door bloody and alone, it becomes clear that the father in this tight-knit family is missing and the only witness is Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak. What follows is both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance.

Her, Too by Bonnie Kistler - Psychological Thriller

Kelly McCann is a high-powered lawyer whose specialty is defending men accused of sex crimes. Her detractors call her a traitor to her gender, but she doesn't care. As the story opens, she has secured an acquittal for a renowned scientist accused of sexually assaulting his female employees. But the thrill of her victory is short-lived. That very night, she, too, falls victim to a brutal sexual assault. And almost as horrific as the attack is the fact that she can't tell anyone it happened --- not without destroying her career in the process. Joining forces with her rapist's other victims, the shrewd lawyer plans to turn the tables on him. It’s not only about justice --- these wronged women are out for revenge. But someone, it seems, is out for them. And one by one, they find themselves facing even greater danger.

Homecoming by Kate Morton - Historical Mystery

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of the grand and mysterious house, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called, and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia. Many years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. After her beloved grandmother, Nora, suffers a fall, Jess discovers a book at Nora’s house that chronicles the police investigation into a long-buried crime: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous event.

The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan - Psychological Thriller

Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her --- leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend. And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each other's problems. But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges.

The House Is on Fire by Rachel Beanland - Historical Fiction

Richmond, Virginia, 1811. It’s the height of the winter social season, the General Assembly is in session, and many of Virginia’s gentleman planters, along with their wives and children, have made the long and arduous journey to the capital. At the city’s only theater, the Charleston-based Placide & Green Company puts on two plays a night to meet the demand of a populace that’s done looking for enlightenment at the front of a church. On the night after Christmas, the theater is packed with more than 600 holiday revelers. When it goes up in flames in the middle of the performance, four theatergoers make a series of split-second decisions that will affect not only their own lives but those of countless others. And in the days following the fire, the paths of these four people will become forever intertwined.

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson - Historical Fiction

1950s Philadelphia: Fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright. When Eleanor Quarles meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby --- and fitting in --- is easier said than done. With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.

The House of Lincoln by Nancy Horan - Historical Fiction

THE HOUSE OF LINCOLN tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's ascendance from rumpled lawyer to U.S. president to Great Emancipator through the eyes of a young immigrant who arrives in Lincoln's home of Springfield, Illinois, from Madeira, Portugal. Showing intelligence beyond society's expectations, 14-year-old Ana Ferreira is offered a job in the Lincoln household assisting Mary Lincoln with their boys and with the hosting duties borne by the wife of a rising political star. Ana bears witness to the evolution of Lincoln's views on equality and the Union, and observes in full complexity the psyche and pain of his bold, polarizing wife. Yet, alongside her dearest friend in the Black community, she also directly experiences how slavery contradicts the promise of freedom in her adopted country.

Lady Tan's Circle of Women by Lisa See - Historical Fiction

According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine. Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose. No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom. But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife --- embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.

The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok - Domestic Thriller/Mystery

Jasmine Yang arrives in New York City from her rural Chinese village without money or family support, fleeing a controlling husband, on a desperate search for the daughter who was taken from her at birth --- another female casualty of China’s controversial One Child Policy. But with her husband on her trail, the clock is ticking, and she’s forced to make increasingly risky decisions if she ever hopes to be reunited with her daughter. Meanwhile, publishing executive Rebecca Whitney seems to have it all: a prestigious family name, a high-powered career, a handsome husband, and an adopted Chinese daughter she adores. But when an industry scandal threatens to jeopardize not only Rebecca’s job but also her marriage, this perfect world begins to crumble and her role in her own family is called into question.

The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay - Thriller

Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son. These are some of the last words that Jack Givins’ father spoke to him before he was whisked away by witness protection, leaving Jack and his mother to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives as best they could. Years later, Jack is a talented but struggling author. So when the U.S. Marshals approach him with a lucrative opportunity, he’s in no position to turn them down. They’re recruiting writers like Jack to create false histories for people in witness protection. Jack soon realizes this may be a chance to find his dad. But Jack’s father hasn’t made contact with his handlers recently, and they have no idea where he is. He could be in serious danger, and Jack may be the only one who can find him.

Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur - Fiction

Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small. Their father, Adam, is a brilliant oceanographer who raised them mostly on his own. Ken is now a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family, and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works. As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his 70th birthday. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he is determined to make one last scientific breakthrough. So he has secretly stopped taking his pills. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family --- Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known.

Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline - Historical Fiction

Franco Fiorvanti is a handsome lemon grower toiling on the estate of a baron. When the baron asks him to kidnap a little boy named Dante, Franco makes a decision that will change his life --- and even the history of Sicily --- forever. Gaetano Catalano is an idealistic young lawyer who is a member of the Beati Paoli, a real-life secret society of aristocrats who investigate crime in Palermo. Gaetano sets out to find the boy and punish the kidnapper, but his mission leads him to a darker place than he had ever imagined. Meanwhile, Mafalda Pancari is a new mother rejoicing at the birth of her daughter, Lucia, when disaster strikes. And Alfredo D’Antonio is a reclusive goatherd under constant threat of being discovered as a Jew. These characters will collide as LOYALTY twists and turns to its monumental showdown.

The Manor House by Gilly Macmillan - Psychological Thriller

Nicole and Tom are a normal, loving couple --- until a massive lottery win changes their lives overnight. Soon they’ve moved into a custom-built state-of-the-art Glass Barn on the stunning grounds of Lancaut Manor in Gloucestershire. They have fancy cars, expensive hobbies and an exclusive lifestyle they never could have imagined. But this dream world quickly turns into a nightmare when Tom is found dead in the swimming pool. Was Tom’s death a tragic accident, or was it something worse? There’s a nice young couple who live in the Manor itself along with their middle-aged housekeeper who has the Coach House. And an old friend of Tom’s from school has turned up to help Nicole get through her grief. But big money can bring big problems and big threats. Is Nicole's life in danger as well?

The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict - Historical Fiction

Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters dominate the English scenes. Though they've weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her wealthy husband to marry a fascist leader and Unity follows her sister's lead all the way to Munich, inciting rumors that she's become Hitler's mistress. As the Nazis rise in power, novelist Nancy Mitford grows suspicious of her sisters' constant visits to Germany and the high-ranking fascist company they keep. When she overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, Nancy must make excruciating choices as Great Britain goes to war with Germany.

The Museum of Failures by Thrity Umrigar - Fiction

When Remy Wadia left India for the United States, he carried his resentment of his cold and inscrutable mother with him and has kept his distance from her. Years later, he returns to Bombay, planning to adopt a baby from a young pregnant girl --- and to see his elderly mother again before it is too late. She is in the hospital, has stopped talking, and seems to have given up on life. Struck with guilt for not realizing just how ill she had become, Remy devotes himself to helping her recover and return home. But one day in her apartment, he comes upon an old photograph that demands explanation. As shocking family secrets surface, Remy finds himself reevaluating his entire childhood and his relationship to his parents, just as he is on the cusp of becoming a parent himself.

The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel by Nita Prose - Mystery

With her flair for cleaning and proper etiquette, Molly Gray has risen through the ranks of the glorious five-star Regency Grand Hotel to become the esteemed Head Maid. But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J. D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead on the hotel’s tearoom floor. When Detective Stark, Molly’s old foe, investigates the author’s unexpected demise, it becomes clear that this death was murder most foul. Suspects abound, and everyone wants to know: Who killed J. D. Grimthorpe? As the high-profile death threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation, Molly knows that she alone holds the key to unlocking the killer’s identity. But that key is buried deep in her past, as long ago she knew J. D. Grimthorpe.

The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda - Psychological Thriller/Mystery

A decade ago, two vans filled with high school seniors on a school service trip crashed into a Tennessee ravine, which claimed the lives of multiple classmates and teachers. The nine students who managed to escape the river that night were irrevocably changed. A year later, after one of the survivors dies by suicide on the anniversary of the crash, the rest of them make a pact: to come together each year to commemorate that terrible night. But by the 10th anniversary, Cassidy has worked to distance herself from the tragedy. This year, she is determined to finally break ties once and for all. But on the day of the reunion, she receives a text with an obituary attached: another survivor is gone. Now they are seven, and Cassidy finds herself hurling back toward the group, wild with grief --- and suspicion.

The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner - Domestic Thriller

When a young nanny is found dead under mysterious circumstances, new mom Tash is intrigued. She has been searching for a story to launch her career as a freelance journalist. But she also has been searching for new friends to help her navigate motherhood. She sees them at her son’s new playgroup. The other mothers. A group of sleek, sophisticated women. When the mothers welcome her into their circle, Tash discovers the kind of life she has always dreamt of and is quickly swept up into their wealthy world. But when another young woman is found dead, it’s clear there’s much more to the community than meets the eye. Are these women really her friends? Or is there another, more dangerous reason that she has been so quickly accepted into their exclusive world?

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson - Fiction

PINEAPPLE STREET follows three women in one wealthy Brooklyn clan. Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected old money Stockton family, followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood but giving up far too much in the process. Sasha, a middle-class New England girl, has married into the Brooklyn Heights family and finds herself cast as the arriviste outsider. And Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t have and must decide what kind of person she wants to be.

Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce - Psychological Thriller/Mystery

A young woman’s life seems perfect until her family goes missing. A writer lives alone with her dog and collects arcane murder statistics. What each of them stands to lose as they sneak around the do-not-enter tape blocking Reef Road beach is exposed by the steady tightening of the cincture encircling them. In a nod to the true crime that inspired it, Deborah Goodrich Royce’s REEF ROAD probes unhealed generational scars in a wrenching and original work of fiction. It is both stunning and sexy, and like a bystander surprised by a curtain left open, you won’t be able to look away.

The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger - Historical Mystery

On Memorial Day, as the people of Jewel, Minnesota, gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many sons in the wars of the past, the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. The investigation of the murder falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who recently has returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also to put to rest the demons from his own past.

The Spectacular by Fiona Davis - Historical Fiction

New York City, 1956: When 19-year-old Marion Brooks comes across an opportunity to audition for the Radio City Rockettes, she jumps at the chance to exchange her predictable future for the dazzling life of a performer. Meanwhile, the city is reeling from a string of bombings orchestrated by a person the press has nicknamed the “Big Apple Bomber." With the public in an uproar, the police turn to Peter Griggs, a young doctor who espouses a radical new technique: psychological profiling. As both Marion and Peter find themselves unexpectedly pulled into the police search for the bomber, Marion realizes that if she hopes to catch the culprit, she’ll need to stand out and take a terrifying risk. In doing so, she may be forced to sacrifice everything she’s worked for, as well as the people she loves the most.

The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen - Thriller

Former spy Maggie Bird came to the seaside village of Purity, Maine, eager to put the past behind her after a mission went tragically wrong. These days, she’s living quietly on her chicken farm, still wary of blowback from the events that forced her early retirement. But when a body turns up in Maggie’s driveway, she knows it’s a message from former foes who haven’t forgotten her. Maggie turns to her local circle of old friends --- all retirees from the CIA --- to help uncover the truth about who is trying to kill her, and why. This “Martini Club” of former spies may be retired, but they still have a few useful skills that they’re eager to use again, if only to spice up their rather sedate new lives.

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent - Psychological Thriller

Reclusive Sally Diamond causes outrage by trying to incinerate her dead father. Now she’s the center of attention, not only from the hungry media and police detectives, but also a sinister voice from a past she does not remember. As she begins to discover the horrors of her early childhood, Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends, big decisions, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say. But who is the man observing Sally from the other side of the world, and why does he call her Mary? And why does her new neighbor seem to be obsessed with her? Sally’s trust issues are about to be severely challenged.

Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo, with James Patterson - Fiction

Laurie is an artist, a collector of experiences. She travels the world with a worn beige duffel bag. “Dr. Liz,” Laurie’s mother, is an elegant perfectionist who travels the world with a matched set of suitcases. When Laurie surprises her mother with a dream vacation, it brings an unexpected sparkle to her eyes. So begins THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER. You will wish this novel never ends.

Veil of Doubt by Sharon Virts - Historical Mystery/Thriller

Emily Lloyd, a young widow in Reconstruction-era Virginia, is accused of poisoning her three-year-old daughter, Maud. Her husband and three other children all died of mysterious illnesses, so when Maud succumbs to an unexplained malady, the town suspects foul play. Soon Mrs. Lloyd is charged not only with poisoning the child but also with murdering her children, her husband and her aunt. Enter Powell Harrison, a soft-spoken, brilliant attorney who recently returned to his Virginia hometown to help his brother manage their late father’s practice. As details about the widow’s erratic behavior and her reclusive neighbors emerge, Harrison begins to suspect that an even more sinister truth might lurk beneath the family’s horrible fate and finds himself irresistibly drawn to the case.

The Whispers by Ashley Audrain - Domestic Thriller

On Harlow Street, the well-to-do neighborhood couples and their children gather for a catered barbecue as the summer winds down. Drinks continue late into the night. Everything is fabulous until the picture-perfect hostess explodes in fury because her son disobeys her. Everyone at the party hears her exquisite veneer crack --- loud and clear. Before long, that same young boy falls from his bedside window in the middle of the night. And then, his mother can only sit by his hospital bed, where she refuses to speak to anyone, and his life hangs in the balance. What happens next, over the course of a tense three days, as each of these women grapple with what led to that terrible night?

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang - Fiction

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But while Athena is a literary darling, June is literally nobody. When June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song --- complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her.