The 10 Most Popular Books of July

July 29 2022
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The most popular books of July are a little bit all over the place—kind of like us this summer! Here are the books that caught your attention the most, from action-oriented nonfiction to anything Louise Penny recommends.  

The Bone Code
by Kathy Reichs

“THE BONE CODE is a brilliant entry in a ground-breaking series and does Temperance Brennan proud. The story has all the elements we’ve come to expect—it’s smart, gripping, and builds to a heart-stopping crescendo. More than twenty years ago, these wonderful novels began paving the way for other writers, especially Canadians like me, to be noticed. I owe Kathy and Tempe a debt of gratitude, not just for helping to make my own writing life possible but for hours of white-knuckle reading.” –Louise Penny

Read more of 5 Brilliantly Plotted Mysteries Louise Penny Recommends

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The Bone Code
Kathy Reichs

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her twentieth gripping novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, whose examinations of unidentified bodies ignite a terrifying series of events. “This is A-game Reichs, with crisp prose, sharp dialogue, and plenty of suspense” (Booklist).

On the way to hurricane-ravaged Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner. The storm has tossed ashore a medical waste container. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many of the details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec fifteen years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she travels to Montreal to gather evidence.

Meanwhile, health authorities in South Carolina become increasingly alarmed as a human flesh-eating contagion spreads. So focused is Tempe on identifying the container victims that, initially, she doesn’t register how their murders and the pestilence may be related. But she does recognize one unsettling fact. Someone is protecting a dark secret—and willing to do anything to keep it hidden.

An absorbing look at the sinister uses to which genetics can be put and featuring a cascade of ever-more-shocking revelations, The Bone Code is “a murder mystery story that races across America at the speed of fright” (James Patterson).

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Dancing on Broken Glass
by Ka Hancock

Lucy and Mickey had both given up on finding functional long-term relationships: Mickey, because of his bipolar diagnosis, and Lucy, because of her intense family history of breast cancer. But when they find each other, they can’t deny the bond they share. After years of making their marriage work—and making the tough decision not to have children—one routine doctor’s appointment changes everything. DANCING ON BROKEN GLASS is a poignant portrait of a marriage.

Read more of 8 Powerful Novels More People Should Be Talking About

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Dancing on Broken Glass
Ka Hancock

A powerfully written novel offering an intimate look at a beautiful marriage and how bipolar disorder and cancer affect it, Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock perfectly illustrates the enduring power of love.

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. 

Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work—and they put it all in writing.  Mickey promises to take his medication. Lucy promises not to blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, they have good days and bad days—and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.

An unvarnished portrait of a marriage that is both ordinary and extraordinary, Dancing on Broken Glass takes readers on an unforgettable journey of the heart.

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The Woman in the Library
by Sulari Gentill

One of the newest additions to the subgenre, THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY takes the locked-room formula and ups the suspense ante. The Boston Public Library has a beautiful reading room that attracts people from all walks of life. When security asks all visitors to stay exactly where they are after hearing a woman’s terrified scream, four strangers find themselves stuck together. What starts off as a pleasant, if inconvenient, meeting turns sinister as it becomes clear that one of them is not as innocent as they seem. Trapped together within a locked room, will the other three patrons be able to make it out of the reading room alive? You’ll just have to grab a seat at the table and find out for yourself.

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The Woman in the Library
Sulari Gentill

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The Secret Keeper
by Kate Morton

During a picnic at her family’s farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking crime, a crime that challenges everything she knows about her adored mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel and her sisters are meeting at the farm to celebrate Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this is her last chance to discover the truth about that long-ago day, Laurel searches for answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past. Clue by clue, she traces a secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds thrown together in war-torn London—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—whose lives are forever after entwined. A gripping story of deception and passion, THE SECRET KEEPER will keep you enthralled to the last page.

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The Secret Keeper
Kate Morton

Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnessed a shocking crime that challenged everything she knows about her adored mother. Now reunited on their mother’s ninetieth birthday, Laurel and her sisters search for clues to illuminate the truth about that long-ago day. It is a mesmerizing novel of family secrets, murder, and enduring love.

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In Farleigh Field
by Rhys Bowen

"IN FARLEIGH FIELD is brilliant. The plotting is razor sharp and ingenious, the setting in World War Two Britain is so tangible it's eerie. The depth and breadth of character is astonishing. They're likeable and repulsive and warm and stand-offish. And oh, so human. And so relatable. All this would be enough to propel IN FARLEIGH FIELD to the top of your favorites list, but what truly distinguishes this book, indeed all her books, is the quality of writing. Rhys Bowen is one of the very best fiction writers of the day. With a deep understanding of the wounded human heart, and an uncanny ability to capture the quiet emotions and the grand scale of war, she rises above her contemporaries. This is magnificently written and a must read." –Louise Penny

Read more of 5 Brilliantly Plotted Mysteries Louise Penny Recommends

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In Farleigh Field
Rhys Bowen

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The It Girl
by Ruth Ware

I love Ruth Ware, so, of course, her latest read had to make my summer thriller list! I’m also huge fan of dark academia and this sounds like an exceptional Oxford murder mystery. Hannah Jones met April Coutts-Cliveden during her first semester at Oxford and was drawn to her personality, popularity, and elegant lifestyle. The two hit it off and, by the end of the first term, they’ve developed a strong group of friends. But by the end of the second, April is dead. Ten years later, Hannah is married to Will, a member of their friend group, and expecting a baby when they learn that the man convicted of killing April—the man Hannah helped put behind bars—has died. At first, she is relieved that they can finally move on from the horrible experience but all that changes when a reporter arrives with new evidence that suggests the man was innocent. As she digs into the mystery, Hannah realizes that all the friends she thought she knew so well have something to hide.

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The It Girl
Ruth Ware

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “claustrophobic spine-tingler” (People) One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.

April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

“The Agatha Christie of our generation” (David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author) proves once again that she is “as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime” (The Washington Post) with this propulsive murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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The Foundling
by Ann Leary

When you think of suspense, one place your mind might go to is mental hospitals, where horror stories often take place. Nettleton State Village for Feebleminded Women of Childbearing Age is the setting for this book, where Mary Engle goes to work as a secretary. But what she finds is an old friend and a terrible secret that will put everything she knew about her world into question. At its heart, this novel is a dark exploration of eugenics, and of the lengths people will go to in order to see their goals and philosophies brought to life. But the most thrilling aspect of THE FOUNDLING is that it is based on a true story, told by author Ann Leary’s grandmother!

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The Foundling
Ann Leary

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good House, the story of two friends, raised in the same orphanage, whose loyalty is put to the ultimate test when they meet years later at a controversial institution—one as an employee; the other, an inmate.

It’s 1927 and eighteen-year-old Mary Engle is hired to work as a secretary at a remote but scenic institution for mentally disabled women called the Nettleton State Village for Feebleminded Women of Childbearing Age. She’s immediately in awe of her employer—brilliant, genteel Dr. Agnes Vogel.

Dr. Vogel had been the only woman in her class in medical school. As a young psychiatrist she was an outspoken crusader for women’s suffrage. Now, at age forty, Dr. Vogel runs one of the largest and most self-sufficient public asylums for women in the country. Mary deeply admires how dedicated the doctor is to the poor and vulnerable women under her care.

Soon after she’s hired, Mary learns that a girl from her childhood orphanage is one of the inmates. Mary remembers Lillian as a beautiful free spirit with a sometimes-tempestuous side. Could she be mentally disabled? When Lillian begs Mary to help her escape, alleging the asylum is not what it seems, Mary is faced with a terrible choice. Should she trust her troubled friend with whom she shares a dark childhood secret? Mary’s decision triggers a hair-raising sequence of events with life-altering consequences for all.

Inspired by a true story about the author’s grandmother, The Foundling offers a rare look at a shocking chapter of American history. This gripping page-turner will have readers on the edge of their seats right up to the stunning last page…asking themselves, “Did this really happen here?”

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Iron Lake (20th Anniversary Edition)
by William Kent Krueger

"IRON LAKE is where it all began, when Cork O’Connor walked off the page, tough, vulnerable, hardened and shattered, and into our lives.  His creation is a brilliant achievement, and one every crime reader and writer needs to celebrate.  With this novel, Kent Krueger elevated the crime fiction genre into something very special." –Louise Penny

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Iron Lake (20th Anniversary Edition)
William Kent Krueger

The 20th anniversary edition of the first novel in William Kent Krueger’s beloved and bestselling Cork O’Connor mystery series—includes an exclusive bonus short story!

“A brilliant achievement, and one every crime reader and writer needs to celebrate.” —Louise Penny, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Glass Houses

“A master craftsman [and] a series of books written with a grace and precision so stunning that you’d swear the stories were your own.” —Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire series

“Among thoughtful readers, William Kent Krueger holds a very special place in the pantheon.” —C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Disappeared

In eighteen novels over twenty years, William Kent Krueger has enthralled readers with the adventures of P.I. Cork O’Connor, former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota—selling more than 1.5 million copies of his books and winning the Edgar Award, Minnesota Book Award, Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, Dilys Award, Lovey Award, and Anthony Award along the way. Now, in this special anniversary edition, longtime fans and new readers alike can read the novel that first introduced Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor to the world.

Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Cork is having difficulty dealing with the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, getting by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago’s South Side, there’s not much that can shock him. But when the town’s judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on this complicated and perplexing case of conspiracy, corruption, and a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.

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Last One Alive
by Amber Cowie

Who doesn’t love a good research trip? When author Penelope is looking for some inspiration for her new book, she decides to investigate a witch on Stone Point, a small outpost on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. The legends are too juicy to ignore—the cabin at Stone Point was the site of a gruesome murder and disappearance, left abandoned until a young couple tried to renovate it, only for them to disappear as well. Penelope drags along her boyfriend and a thoroughly motley crew to see what they can find, but she’s going to get a lot more murder and mystery than she bargained for. LAST ONE ALIVE is a gripping tale of legends come to life, and how the small sparks of animosity and bitterness can set off a full-blown fire.

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Last One Alive
Amber Cowie

A team of researchers exploring the myth of a witch find their numbers mysteriously dwindling in this irresistible psychological thriller for fans of Ruth Ware, Shari Lapena, and Lucy Foley.

Bestselling debut novelist Penelope Berkowitz is desperate for inspiration for a second book. With the help of her new boyfriend, she embarks on a research trip with a Clue-like team of professionals, ex-lovers, and estranged family members to investigate the myth of a witch on Stone Point, a remote coastal outcropping in the Pacific Northwest.

For over a century, the cabin on the point stood vacant after the violent death of the original owner and the disappearance of his wife—until a young couple decided to turn it into an eco-lodge. Shortly after starting renovations, however, they suddenly ceased all contact with others and were never heard from again.

Given the area’s mysterious history, Penelope is certain there’s a story to be found in the isolated region. But soon after arriving on the point’s wind-whipped shores, things begin to go awry for the team. Storms blow in. Tempers flare. The satellite phones stop working and no boats are due for days. Then people begin to disappear. When bodies turn up, it’s up to Penelope and the remaining members of the team to solve the mystery of the Stone Witch before the killer is the only one left alive.

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The Franchise Affair
by Josephine Tey

“A perfect jewel of a book. It's not a murder mystery; indeed, it's not clear any crime has even been committed. A British schoolgirl accuses an older woman and her middle-aged daughter of abducting her. The girl describes the women's home perfectly, though they claim to have never seen her before.” –Louise Penny

Read more of 5 Brilliantly Plotted Mysteries Louise Penny Recommends

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The Franchise Affair
Josephine Tey

Robert Blair was about to knock off from a slow day at his law firm when the phone rang. It was Marion Sharpe on the line, a local woman of quiet disposition who lived with her mother at their decrepit country house, The Franchise. It appeared that she was in some serious trouble: Miss Sharpe and her mother were accused of brutally kidnapping a demure young woman named Betty Kane. Miss Kane's claims seemed highly unlikely, even to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, until she described her prison -- the attic room with its cracked window, the kitchen, and the old trunks -- which sounded remarkably like The Franchise. Yet Marion Sharpe claimed the Kane girl had never been there, let alone been held captive for an entire month! Not believing Betty Kane's story, Solicitor Blair takes up the case and, in a dazzling feat of amateur detective work, solves the unbelievable mystery that stumped even Inspector Grant.

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