The Push by Ashley AudrainThe setup: Contentedly child-free Blythe fell hard for Fox Connor, whose desire to be a dad convinced her to put her qualms aside.
Problem child? Although Blythe has a healthy bond with their newborn son Sam, she has never understood or felt close to their seven-year-old daughter Violet. Violet behaves sweetly when Fox is around but turns on Blythe when they are alone, and things only seem to be getting worse since Sam's arrival.
For fans of: unreliable narrators, creepy kids, and very dysfunctional family dynamics.
Twisted by Steve CavanaghWhat it is: the fast-paced, intricately plotted story of secretive, bestselling crime writer J.T. LaBeau and the twisting journey of the woman who is determined to unmask him.
Featuring: Maria Cooper, who discovers shocking ties between LaBeau and her distant, greedy husband; Paul, Maria's husband, who has way more to hide from his wife than the large sums of money LaBeau seems to be sending him; and Daryl Oakes, who is having an affair with Maria and wants a cut of the money for himself.
A Spy in the Struggle by Aya De LeónStarring: corporate-lawyer-turned-FBI-recruit Yolanda Vance, who is sent undercover to monitor a potentially dangerous Black eco-activist group based in Oakland, California.
What goes wrong: As her mission proceeds, the FBI's increasingly invasive and legally dubious methods make Yolanda wonder about the real motivation behind her mission and if she's working for the wrong side.
For fans of: the Deadly Reigns series by Teri Woods; Lauren Wilkinson's American Spy.
The Captive by Fiona King FosterWhat it is: a suspenseful combination of rural noir and near-future dystopia set in a United States that has split into separate nations that are now failing, leaving isolated communities to revert to pre-industrial technology and compete for dwindling supplies.
Starring: Brooke Holland, whose husband and children know nothing about her violent past fighting a rival family/drug cartel, the Cawleys; Stephen Cawley, who turns up in Brooke's barn after breaking out of prison and who could be just the windfall her family needs if she turns him in for a bounty.
Before the Ruins by Victoria GoslingThe set up: Four best friends become five with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in their tiny English town. But their group fractures and, decades later, one member has disappeared.
What happens: Ringleader Andy sets out to find her oldest pal, with whom things have long been strained. In so doing, she uncovers long-hidden secrets.
For fans of: atmospheric, menacing tales like Donna Tartt's The Secret History or Elisabeth Thomas' Catherine House.
Pretty Little Wife by Darby KaneWhat it's about: The seemingly unrelated and coincidental disappearances of a couple of high school students in the past few years and, most recently, of a popular teacher at their school.
The grieving widow? The local police have some suspicions about the teacher's wife, Lila Ridgefield, but are unable to connect her to the case. And while Lila does know more than she's letting on, she's certain that if people knew the truth about her husband they might not be so worried about what happened to him.
Why you might like it: the oppressive small town atmosphere that's simmering with secrets; the moments of moral ambiguity that pop up as the investigation continues.
The Breaker by Nicholas PetrieSeries alert: The Breaker is the 6th novel starring former Marine and Iraq War vet Peter Ash, whose clandestine life is complicated by his PTSD.
What goes down: Ash is out for coffee with a fellow vet when he sees a man not quite concealing an assault rifle. When he attempts to interrupt what he assumes to be the beginning of a mass shooting, he stumbles into a conspiracy much more complex and dangerous than he planned for.
Read it for: the compelling assortment of well-developed characters, including a surprisingly jovial hitman whose weapon of choice is an axe and a vengeance-obsessed tech genius who is in over her head.
The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel RyanThe premise: After her mother's recent death, Dublin stay-at-home-mom Georgina's own grief is compounded when she finds out that her seven-year-old son Cody is coping with the loss through his new imaginary friend, a kindly old lady he "met" at the park.
The problem: Georgina starts to suspect that Cody's friend isn't so imaginary after all, and when her husband dismisses her concerns she begins to question who she can trust, including her own grief-clouded mind.
Every Last Secret by A.R. TorreWelcome to: upmarket Atherton, California, home of Cat and William Winthorpe, who live a seemingly perfect life together.
What goes wrong: Successful businessman William hires life coach Neena Ryder to motivate his employees, but Cat is suspicious of Neena's motives, something that only gets worse when Neena and her husband Matt suddenly move into the house next door.
Read it for: the narrative's blend of quick pacing and compelling emotional beats; the relatable and authentic characterization.
Pickard County Atlas by Christina Harding ThorntonNebraska, 1978: Still haunted by an 18-year-old murder, the residents of a small town must confront the past when the victim’s father decides to erect a headstone…even though no body was ever found..
For fans of: other crime novels more focused on the emotional and moral well-being of their characters than whether or not their actions are strictly legal, such as Lou Berney's November Road and Laura McHugh's The Wolf Wants In.
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