The Double Agent by William Christie
Series alert: The Double Agent is the sequel to A Single Spy, which first introduced readers to Alexsi Smirnoff, a thief spared the gulag in exchange for working for Soviet intelligence.
This time: Captured by the British, Alexsi's plan to stretch his debrief until the end of the war is foiled when Churchill sends him back to Germany with a new identity and a much lower profile. Wanted for betraying both the Soviets and the Nazis, Alexsi will have use every bit of his resourcefulness to survive.
Is it for you? Alexsi's strongest conviction is the desire to keep himself alive, which might be "a breath of fresh air" (Booklist) to spy fiction fans but might rub others the wrong way in a genre that is often less morally grey.
All The Lost Places by Amanda Dykes
What it is: a lyrical dual-timeline novel that takes place in a vividly depicted Venice in 1904 and the early 1800s.
What happens: Discovered floating in a basket in a canal, Sebastien Trovato is raised by Venetian guild members, but ponders his origins. Years later, San Francisco ex-con Daniel Goodman finds himself in the city searching for answers about a rare book connected to Sebastien.
Reviewers say: This latest from Christy Award winner Amanda Dykes is "magical" (Booklist) and "an epic tale of beauty and redemption" (Library Journal).
The Color Line by Igiaba Scego
What it is: the remarkable story of Lafanu Brown, an Afro-Chippewa woman who moves to Italy in the middle of the 19th century to escape American racism and pursue her dreams of being an artist.
How the story is told: through the eyes of a modern day Italian art curator of Somali origin who grows attached to Lafanu's art and story, seeing reflections of her own experience and that of her family.
Reviewers say: The Color Line is "fluid and refreshing" (Library Journal) and "an engrossing tale of ambition, survival, and love" (Publishers Weekly).
Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe LieseWhat it's about: Weary of their friends' matchmaking attempts, artist Bea Wilmot and pediatrician Jamie Westenberg decide to fake a relationship, followed by an acrimonious breakup...only to discover along the way that they're perfect for each other.
What sets it apart: Bea is autistic, while Jamie has anxiety and OCD, all of which are sensitively depicted in this romantic comedy, which pays homage to Much Ado About Nothing.
A Death in Tokyo: A Mystery by Keigo Higashino
Starring: unorthodox, persistent, and extremely observant Tokyo Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga.
A strange death: Kaga investigates the murder of a businessman who was stabbed and then slowly made his way to historic Nihonbashi bridge to die there. The obvious suspect is a young man who fled from the police and was found with the victim's wallet, but Kaga digs further.
Series alert: A Death in Tokyo is the intricately plotted 3rd Kyoichiro Kaga mystery, following Malice and Newcomer, though readers can start here.
Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris
What it is: the atmospheric, intricately plotted story of two sisters fleeing separately from their Mississippi origins after Jim Crow injustices, gendered expectations, and the desire for self-determination make staying home impossible.
How it's told: in chapters that alternate between each sister's perspective as they leave for Cleveland and Washington D.C. respectively.
Reviewers say: Anywhere You Run is a "viscerally frightening novel of the Jim Crow era" and a "stunning, heartbreaking portrayal of being Black in the 1960s U.S. South" (Library Journal).
Before All the World by Moriel Rothman-Zecher
What it's about: Leyb Mireles and Gitti Khayeles haven't seen each other since escaping a pogrom that destroyed their village. Fate reunites them in Depression-era Philadelphia, via an underground gay bar, a Yiddish manuscript, and an unlikely translator’s work.
Read it for: a charming if not-quite-masterful translation of Gitti's memoirs by Leyb's American friend Charles Patterson; a thoughtful back-story about how Charles, a Black man, became fluent in Yiddish.
Is it for you? Before All the World is a stylistically complex work best suited for fans of high-concept novels like Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated or Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire.
Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Starring: Divorced soulmates Yasmen and Josiah, who co-parent their two children while running a restaurant together.
What happens: Both tentatively begin dating other people and realize that they've never stopped loving one another.
Is it for you? This heartwrenching second chance romance covers difficult subject matter, including pregnancy loss, the death of a relative, and depression, as it follows one couple's journey back to each other.
Secrets Typed in Blood by Stephen Spotswood
New York City, 1947: Former circus performer turned PI Willowjean "Will" Parker and her boss, famed detective Lillian Pentecost, sign up to help pulp magazine writer Holly Quick, who doesn’t want police involved, but needs help finding out who’s recreating murders from her stories.
Series alert: Though this is the 3rd Pentecost and Parker mystery, newcomers can start here. Those who'd like to begin with the 1st book should pick up the Nero Award-winning Fortune Favors the Dead.
For fans of: Rosalie Knecht's Vera Kelly stories; atmospheric hardboiled detective stories starring strong women.
Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family by Rabia Chaudry
What it's about: attorney and Undisclosed podcast host Rabia Chaudry's fraught relationship with food and her body is spurred by her Pakistani Muslim family's immigration to America shortly after her birth.
Read it for: Chaudry's candid, hard-fought journey toward self-love, peppered with wry musings on fad diets, workout woes, family expectations, and the limitations of fat acceptance.
Featuring: mouthwatering recipes for chaat, ghee, roti, and more.
The Forever Witness: How DNA and Genealogy Solved a Cold Case Double Murder by Edward Humes
1987: Young Canadian couple Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook were murdered during a road trip to Seattle; their killer was never found.
2018: Snohomish County, WA detective Jim Scharf and genetic genealogist CeCe Moore worked together to solve the crime; their efforts led to the arrest and conviction of Seattle trucker Bill Talbott, whose case is headed to the Washington State Supreme Court.
Read it for: a thought-provoking discussion on the ethics of utilizing ancestry DNA databases for criminal investigations.
Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami
What it is: beloved novelist Haruki Murakami's (IQ84) engaging guide to the craft of writing.
What's inside: 11 conversational and self-deprecating essays revealing the author's origins as a writer, creative process, and sources of motivation and inspiration.
Book buzz: Novelist as a Vocation was named a Most Anticipated Book by Esquire, LitHub, The New York Observer, and Vulture.
How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future by Maria Ressa
What it is: an inspiring call to action from Philippine journalist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa, who is currently facing prison time for reporting on the Philippines' descent into disinformation and fascism.
Read it for: an inspiring account of speaking truth to power: "You feel the fear; then you bust through it."
Featuring: a foreword from Ressa's attorney, Amal Clooney.
We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds
Meet: 17-year-old Avery, on a break from life in D.C. to help care for her terminally ill grandmother in Bardell, Georgia.
What happens: Avery investigates both the friction within her family and the truth behind Bardell's whitewashed history. Meanwhile, her crush on next-door neighbor Simone is a welcome distraction after her recent toxic relationship.
What sets it apart: This heartrending book challenges readers to examine tough questions while immersed in a gripping mystery and emotional romance.
D&D Dungeon Club: Roll Call by Molly Knox Ostertag and Xanthe Bouma
What it's about: It's always been just Jess and her best friend Olivia in the Forgotten Realms of their two-person Dungeons & Dragons game. So why does Olivia suddenly want to expand their D&D party to new players?
Art alert: Lots of the colorful art in this graphic novel is from Jess' point of view, showing how she sees middle school friendships as a complicated RPG.
Who it's for: D&D fans, of course, plus anyone looking for an upbeat, imaginative read.
The Bird Book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
What it is: a gallery of birds, illustrated with eye-catching cut-paper portraits of species ranging from the humble robin to the imposing shoebill stork to the long-extinct teratorn.
Featuring: a wealth of information about bird biology, history, and habitat, plus details about how specific species fly, eat, nest, and migrate.
Book buzz: The Bird Book is one of the final collaborations from award-winning duo Robin Page and the late Steve Jenkins, who died in 2022.
Contact your librarian for more great books!