Long Black Veil: A Novel by Jennifer Finney BoylanPsychological Suspense. In 1980, a group of college friends brought a wedding weekend to a close by exploring an abandoned prison, where they were unexpectedly locked inside. The bride disappeared, and when her remains are found more than 30 years later, her husband Casey is arrested. In the intervening time, the group has lost touch, burdened by grief and other issues. But someone knows something that could exonerate Casey -- though sharing it may very well ruin her own life. Looking too closely at reviews may spoil an intriguing set up, so let's speak in generalities: the story is told in several timelines, with multiple well-developed, sympathetic characters. Fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History will enjoy this complex tale.
The Widow's House by Carol GoodmanPsychological Suspense. In need of a cheap place to live while they work on their writing, Jess and Clare have accepted a job as caretakers of a decrepit Hudson River estate, owned by their old writing professor. The locals say it's haunted, and not long after they move in, Clare starts hearing a baby crying in the night -- which is just the beginning of her weird experiences. Narrated by the unhappy Clare (who might be losing her mind), this Gothic novel contains allusions to the work of Shirley Jackson and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and has been compared to Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca.
Find Me by J.S. MonroeSuspense Fiction. Five years ago, Jar Costello's girlfriend Rosa jumped to her death, though Jar has never believed that she died (her body was never recovered, and he swears he's since seen her in London). His suspicions are rewarded when he gets his hands on her highly encrypted diary, which relates the story of their relationship -- and her recruitment by a shadowy spy program. Aided by a journalist who'd investigated the program, Jar embarks on a desperate quest to find (and save?) Rosa. With a clever protagonist and realistic investigative details, this "debut" from a pseudonymous author is "smart, well written, and tangled in unpredictable twists" (Booklist).
Change Agent: A Novel by Daniel SuarezTechno-Thriller. This futuristic thriller takes place in 2045, when agent Kenneth Durand of Interpol's Genetic Crime Division is abducted, drugged, and genetically transformed into brutal crime lord Marcus Wyckes, his own most-wanted suspect. Now on the run from his own men, as well as from the people who abducted him in the first place (they'd meant to kill him to fake Wyckes' death), Kenneth wants his life back -- which means a risky back-alley reverse gene edit. Entertaining and high-tech, this is a natural choice for science fiction fans (or those looking for a story that out-Crichtons Michael Crichton).
If You Like: Dennis Lehane
Brighton: A Novel by Michael HarveyCrime Fiction. Before he became a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Kevin Pearce grew up in gritty Brighton, MA, where he committed a horrible act of violence -- one that he got away with. Nearly three decades on, having avoided Brighton ever since, he's returned to a neighborhood embroiled in a series of murders that could bring to light his own bloody past. Told from multiple points of view, this intense and descriptive novel is sure to appeal to fans of Dennis Lehane's Boston-based crime novels.
Rise the Dark by Michael KorytaSuspense Fiction. The powerfully evoked setting, relatable characters, and fast-moving plot may draw Dennis Lehane's fans to this frightening multi-strand story, which mixes a revenge-driven road-trip with a plan to destroy Montana's electric grid. First, revenge: former private investigator Marcus Novak (first introduced in Last Words) is determined to hunt down the man who killed his wife. Cut to Montana: under the command of a cult leader, the same fanatical killer has kidnapped the wife of a high-voltage lineworker, step one in a fiendish plan. "First-rate entertainment," says The Washington Post.
Pleasantville by Attica LockeLegal Thriller. Fifteen years have passed since the events in Black Water Rising (which was the first book selected for Dennis Lehane's new imprint with HarperCollins). Then, lawyer Jay Porter was anticipating the birth of his first child; now, he's grieving for his wife, caring for two kids while his law practice falls apart, and barely scraping by. Under pressure, he agrees to represent murder suspect Neal Hathorne, the nephew and campaign manager of a black mayoral candidate whose opponent just happens to be the DA whose office is prosecuting Neal. With nuanced characters, shifting and manipulative political allegiances, and a powerful black community, this is a sophisticated and satisfying legal thriller.
Visitation Street by Ivy PochodaPsychological Suspense. On a hot summer night in Red Hook, Brooklyn, two bored 15-year-old girls take a pink inflatable raft into the bay for an adventure. But it's desolate and dark out, and only one of them makes it back. With June and the raft missing -- and Val's faulty memory no help -- the entire neighborhood is drawn into the mystery of what happened, from Fadi, an immigrant bodega owner, to wary Cree, an African American loner mourning his murdered father, to Jonathan, a music teacher who once attended Julliard but now spends most of his time at a bar. Racially and ethnically diverse Red Hook is as much a character as any of the people, making this a great choice for fans of similarly evocative yet gritty tales, like those by Dennis Lehane.
Two Days Gone: A Novel by Randall SilvisMystery. Dennis Lehane fans will like this one for the language; there's also a "pervasive sadness" (Kirkus Reviews) to this literary novel that echoes Lehane's bleakness. It features Sgt. Ryan DeMarco, a Pennsylvania police officer who, still grieving the loss of his baby son years earlier, is now working a case that hits home hard: his friend, a successful novelist, appears to have slaughtered his own family and disappeared, and DeMarco cannot understand why. His investigation takes him to surprising places, all linked to the writer's half-finished manuscript. Narrated by both men, Two Days Gone is just the 1st (so far) in the Ryan DeMarco series.
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