Fierce Little Thing by Miranda Beverly-WhittemoreWhat it's about: Twenty years after escaping from a cult, five people start receiving threatening letters demanding they return to the group's compound in rural Maine.
What's at stake: the truth about a terrible crime the five people committed as teenagers, which could destroy the independent lives they've built if it comes out.
For fans of: flawed but compelling narrators like Harriet from Donna Tartt's The Little Friend and Merricat from Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
Mrs. March by Virginia FeitoWhat it is: an intricately plotted, gothic-tinged story that explores trauma, neglect, and the line between fact and fiction.
Starring: the titular Mrs. March, whose sense of self and connection to reality come undone after learning that a polarizing character in one of her husband's bestselling crime novels might actually be inspired by her.
Media Buzz: A film adaptation of Mrs. March is in development, with Elisabeth Moss slated to star.
The Cover Wife by Dan FespermanThe premise: CIA agent Claire Saylor is growing bored and restless with her posting in Hamburg, Germany, posing as the wife of an academic known for his controversial interpretations of the Quran.
The problem: Claire jumps at the chance for a new (and potentially more rewarding) assignment -- a dangerous investigation of the newest recruit to a fledgling terrorist group, a man who has started questioning his commitment to their radical cause.
Read it for: the intricate, suspenseful plotting, thoughtful narrative tone, and unexpected connection to a shocking real-life terrorist attack.
The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko ImamuraWhat it is: a spare, creepy tale of obsession and the ways extreme loneliness can warp a person's character.
Starring: The Woman in the Purple Skirt, who visits the same park every day; The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, a hotel housekeeper whose empty life and curious mind lead her to grow increasingly fascinated with The Woman in the Purple Skirt.
About the author: Natsuko Imamura is a bestselling, award-winning Japanese novelist. The Woman in the Purple Skirt is the first of her works to be translated into English.
Moon Lake by Joe R. LansdaleThe premise: As a child, Daniel Russell survived his father's attempt to kill them both by driving into the titular Moon Lake. As an adult, he returns to the area to deal with his father's recently dredged up remains and, hopefully, for some closure.
The problem: There is more lurking in the lake than just the wreckage of Daniel's father's car, including a secret legacy of violence and greed that some local notables would much rather stay beneath the surface.
Read it for: the haunting and atmospheric tone; the well-rendered East Texas dialect; the thought-provoking questions the novel raises about history and culpability.
Shadow Target by David RicciardiSeries alert: Shadow Target is the 4th entry in David Ricciardi's action-packed spy series starring CIA operative Jake Keller.
What it's about: After surviving a plane crash meant to kill him, Jake must covertly navigate his way through the French Alps while evading armed pursuers out to finish the job, whom he suspects are getting information of his whereabouts from a mole inside the Agency.
Why you might like it: Jake has the charisma of an action movie star, which makes him an easy hero to root for.
Sleeping Bear by Connor SullivanWhat it is: a fast-paced political thriller that follows kidnapped Army veteran Cassie Gale's attempts to survive her brutal imprisonment at a notorious Russian facility where no one escapes alive, and the efforts (official and unofficial) to liberate her and her fellow captives.
Reviewers say: "Sullivan nails it out of the gate with a story that moves with confidence" (Publishers Weekly).
Is it for you? The story isn't shy about the torments that Cassie and her fellow prisoners are subjected to, including medical experiments and fighting for the entertainment of Kremlin officials.
The Damage by Caitlin WahrerWhat it's about: the devastating impact that a sexual assault and the subsequent failures of the legal system have on a survivor and his family.
Starring: Nick, a college student who was assaulted by a local powerbroker; Raymond, the perpetrator, who uses his community ties to evade justice; Nick's brother Tony, who is increasingly desperate to take justice into his own hands; and Julia, an attorney who must watch as her husband Tony is consumed by his desire for vengeance.
Why you should read it: the well-developed characters, who offer their own unique perspectives through alternating narration duties; the focus on a male survivor, when such assaults often go unreported.
Double Threat by F. Paul WilsonWhat it is: an offbeat, thought-provoking, science fiction-based thriller featuring a surprisingly effective blend of suspense and whimsy.
The setup: Con artist Stanka Daley begins hearing a voice in her head after a strange encounter in the California desert, and after she develops remarkable healing powers, she's pursued by a wealthy, alien-obsessed cult.
About the author: F. Paul Wilson is a science fiction and horror writer who originally published Healer, which Double Threat is a radical revision of, in 1976.
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