When it gets to be the middle of January, with only gray skies in the forecast, it’s the perfect time of year to gather your too-tall-to-be-read pile and retreat to the nearest comfy chair. To start the year off right, we have these eleven books brand new to paperback this January. From stunning debuts to critically acclaimed instant classics, these titles mark some of the best new talent in a variety of genres, spanning literary, historical, thriller, horror, and comedic fiction alike. So, grab a blanket and a cup of tea. It’s a long winter of reading ahead.
In this sweeping historical saga, the US Army is provoking a war with Mexico in 1846 over the contested Río Grande border. Ximena Salomé, a Mexican healer whose husband was shot by Texas Rangers, is working on the frontlines as a nurse. Meanwhile, John Riley, an Irish immigrant, deserts the Yankee army after witnessing horrid acts the officers commit against his countrymen and joins the Mexican Army. When he and Ximena meet, their attraction is undeniable and they will do whatever it takes to secure a future together.
A Long Petal of the Sea meets Cold Mountain in this “epic and exquisitely wrought” (Patricia Engel, New York Times bestselling author) saga following a Mexican army nurse and an Irish soldier who must fight, at first for their survival and then for their love, amidst the atrocity of the Mexican-American War—from the author of The Distance Between Us.
A forgotten war. An unforgettable romance.
The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south to provoke war with México over the disputed Río Grande boundary.
Ximena Salomé is a gifted Mexican healer who dreams of building a family with the man she loves on the coveted land she calls home. But when Texas Rangers storm her ranch and shoot her husband dead, her dreams are burned to ashes. Vowing to honor her husband’s memory and defend her country, Ximena uses her healing skills as a nurse on the frontlines of the ravaging war.
Meanwhile, John Riley, an Irish immigrant in the Yankee army desperate to help his family escape the famine devastating his homeland, is sickened by the unjust war and the unspeakable atrocities against his countrymen by nativist officers. In a bold act of defiance, he swims across the Río Grande and joins the Mexican Army—a desertion punishable by execution. He forms the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a band of Irish soldiers willing to fight to the death for México’s freedom.
When Ximena and John meet, a dangerous attraction blooms between them. As the war intensifies, so does their passion. Swept up by forces with the power to change history, they fight not only for the fate of a nation but for their future together.
“A grand and soulful novel by a storyteller who has hit her full stride” (Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies), A Ballad of Love and Glory effortlessly illuminates a largely forgotten moment in history that impacts the US–México border to this day.
All Lily Nichols wants is to go to university, but she agrees to participate in the last traditional London Season for debutantes in 1958 to please her mother. In the process of parading around glittering parties and making wince-worthy small talk, Lily befriends two women: the seemingly perfect Leana, who has a dark secret, and the ambitious Katherine, who will do whatever it takes to fix her family’s reputation. But when Lily discovers a horrible family secret of her own, she must decide between her family’s wishes or her own heart’s desires.
In this “glorious dance through the traditional glamour and suffocating expectations of a bygone era” (Genevieve Graham, USA TODAY bestselling author), a group of young women are swept up in a life-changing journey as they become three of the last debutantes to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II.
When it’s announced that 1958 will be the last year debutantes are to be presented at court, thousands of eager mothers and hopeful daughters flood the palace with letters seeking the year’s most coveted invitation: a chance for their daughters to curtsy to the young Queen Elizabeth and officially come out into society.
In an effort to appease her traditional mother, aspiring university student Lily Nichols agrees to become a debutante and do the Season, a glittering and grueling string of countless balls and cocktail parties. In doing so, she befriends two very different women: the cool and aloof Leana Hartford whose apparent perfection hides a darker side and the ambitious Katherine Norman who dreams of a career once she helps her parents find their place among the elite. But the glorious effervescence of the Season evaporates once Lily learns a devastating secret that threatens to destroy her entire family.
“Woven with heartfelt emotion, this novel is a captivating, unforgettable story of one woman’s journey to find love, truth, and, most importantly, herself” (Kelly Bowen, author of The Paris Apartment) in midcentury Great Britain.
Husband-and-wife bestselling writing team Ellery Lloyd delivers luxurious intrigue in THE CLUB, a thriller about a members-only club, the Home Group, that specializes in providing places for celebrities to party in privacy around the globe. When the club opens its most spectacular resort yet off the English coast, the opening weekend party becomes the most coveted invite of the season. But the Home Group’s CEO, his team, and the celebrities attending are all at a breaking point, and with more than enough secrets going around to hide, the bodies start piling up . . .
Surreal, imaginative, and gripping, YONDER introduces readers to Placid Hall, a plantation in the nineteenth-century American South. There, six enslaved men and women daily experience everything from physical brutality to the emotional devastation of knowing their captor can sell their loved ones at will. When an enigmatic minister begins to fill their heads with ideas of freedom, Cato—who, after losing his first love, is inextricably drawn to the beautiful Pandora—and William—who’s falling for self-possessed Margaret—must decide what they are willing to risk for love.
The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century.
They call themselves the Stolen. Their owners call them captives. They are taught their captors’ tongues and their beliefs but they have a language and rituals all their own.
In a world that would be allegorical if it weren’t saturated in harsh truths, Cato and William meet at Placid Hall, a plantation in an unspecified part of the American South. Subject to the whims of their tyrannical and eccentric captor, Cannonball Greene, they never know what harm may befall them: inhumane physical toil in the plantation’s quarry by day, a beating by night, or the sale of a loved one at any moment. It’s that cruel practice—the wanton destruction of love, the belief that Black people aren’t even capable of loving—that hurts the most.
It hurts the reserved and stubborn William, who finds himself falling for Margaret, a small but mighty woman with self-possession beyond her years. And it hurts Cato, whose first love, Iris, was sold off with no forewarning. He now finds solace in his hearty band of friends, including William, who is like a brother; Margaret; Little Zander; and Milton, a gifted artist. There is also Pandora, with thick braids and long limbs, whose beauty calls to him.
Their relationships begin to fray when a visiting minister with a mysterious past starts to fill their heads with ideas about independence. He tells them that with freedom comes the right to choose the small things—when to dine, when to begin and end work—as well as the big things, such as whom and how to love. Do they follow the preacher and pursue the unknown? Confined in a landscape marked by deceit and uncertainty, who can they trust?
In an elegant work of monumental imagination that will reorient how we think of the legacy of America’s shameful past, Jabari Asim presents a beautiful, powerful, and elegiac novel that examines intimacy and longing in the quarters while asking a vital question: What would happen if an enslaved person risked everything for love?
After a tech company that deletes unwanted memories offers to retrieve memories for people who previously had them erased, four people grapple with the choice: Finn, an Irish architect in Arizona who suspects his wife of infidelity; Mei, a grad student dropout living in Kuala Lumpur who has memories of a place she’s never been; William, an English ex–police inspector with PTSD and a family secret; and the nomadic Oscar, who has almost no memories and lives in fear. Finally, there’s Noor, the psychologist working for the company behind it all, whose ethics will be tested like never before.
Named a Best Science Fiction Book of 2022 by The New York Times
“Sharply, beautifully written.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Intriguing, frightening, witty, and humane.” —The Wall Street Journal
Black Mirror meets Severence in this thrilling speculative novel about a tech company that deletes unwanted memories, the consequences for those forced to deal with what they tried to forget, and the doctor who seeks to protect her patients from further harm.
What if you didn’t have to live with your worst memories?
Across the world, thousands of people are shocked by a notification that they once chose to have a memory removed. Now they are being given an opportunity to get that memory back. Four individuals are filled with new doubts, grappling with the unexpected question of whether to remember unknown events, or to leave them buried forever.
Finn, an Irish architect living in the Arizona desert, begins to suspect his charming wife of having an affair. Mei, a troubled grad school dropout in Kuala Lumpur, wonders why she remembers a city she has never visited. William, a former police inspector in England, struggles with PTSD, the breakdown of his marriage, and his own secret family history. Oscar, a handsome young man with almost no memories at all, travels the world in a constant state of fear.
Into these characters’ lives comes Noor, a psychologist working at the Nepenthe memory removal clinic in London. The process of reinstating patients’ memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into how the program works, she will have to risk everything to uncover the cost of this miraculous technology.
A provocative exploration of secrets, grief, and identity—of the stories we tell ourselves—Tell Me an Ending is “an intellectually and emotionally satisfying thriller” (Booklist).
In this clever psychological thriller, London police officer Philomena McCarthy meets the abused Tempe Brown while responding to a domestic violence complaint. Tempe also happens to be the mistress of the influential and dangerous detective Darren Goodall. But as the two women build a friendship built on mutual respect and support, Philomena begins to realize there is something not quite right about the stories Tempe tells. Soon, a break-in and an unsolved murder put Tempe’s career, personal relationships, and life at risk.
From an author who Stephen King calls “an absolute master” comes a “heart-clutching psychological thriller” (People) about a young female police officer facing danger on all fronts—from a clever victim of abuse, skeptical colleagues on the force, and even her own father.
Philomena McCarthy is an ambitious police officer with the elite Metropolitan Police in London, responding to a domestic violence call. Tempe Brown is a bloodied young woman and the mistress of a decorated and intimidating London detective, Darren Goodall. Philomena and Tempe strike up a tentative friendship, determined to protect each other from Goodall, but something isn’t quite right about the stories Tempe tells and the secrets she keeps. Yet the young officer is drawn into Tempe’s world, unsure of what is real or invented. After a bungled break-in and an unsolved murder, Philomena finds herself trapped—with her career, her impending wedding, and her very survival in doubt.
Robotham’s brilliant ability to render complex characters, both good and bad, keeps readers unsure of whom to trust, “maintain[ing] an air of excruciating suspense” (The Washington Post)—until the very last page.
In 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter—once the most popular artist model in New York City—takes a job as the private secretary to Helen Frick, the daughter of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Lillian, who was eager to avoid a scandal attached to her own name, soon becomes too entangled in the Frick family’s dark secrets. Fifty years later, English model Veronica Weber, while on set in the Frick museum, uncovers a series of messages hidden in the mansion. With the help of the museum’s charming intern Joshua, she might just solve a decades-old murder.
After billions of dollars disappear somewhere in the Syrian desert, a small group of Americans attempts to manipulate its journey to restore America’s geopolitical dominance. At the center of this group is Greta Webb, a CIA operative who is not only an expert on dark money but a lethal fighter, and Elias Vicker, the man with a dark past who is in charge of the world’s largest hedge fund. But essential to the mission’s success is Fyodor Volk, the ruthless leader of a Russian private military company who has other plans for Greta . . .
From a seasoned insider of global finance comes a “stimulating, relevant, and dramatic” (The Wall Street Journal) thriller about a group of American operatives who secretly take over the world’s largest dark money fund—“a gripping thriller that takes you into the world of New York hedge funds, Russian money launderers, and DC power politics [that] makes you feel like you’re actually there” (Bill Browder, author of Red Notice).
When a US airdrop of billions of dollars disappears in the desert sands of Syria, only a small group of military operatives knows its ultimate destination or why it has been stolen. Their goal is no less than the restoration of America’s geopolitical dominance on the global stage. Essential to this scheme are Greta Webb, a sophisticated CIA operative who is an expert on dark money, not to mention lethally skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and Elias Vicker, the damaged, dangerous soul who runs the world’s largest hedge fund.
To achieve its goals, the group must form dangerous alliances. One is with the hidden family that manages the largest private pool of capital that has ever existed. Another is with Fyodor Volk, the ruthless founder of Russia’s most successful private military company, a mercenary with ties to Vladimir Putin. Volk has his eye on Greta. She would be wise to avoid him but cannot.
Arcing from Manhattan’s finest apartments to Washington, DC, from Middle Eastern war zones to private European bank vaults, Jay Newman’s Undermoney follows the Americans as they are enmeshed in the world of dark money and confront ever-increasing danger. Ultimately, they must decide whether their objectives are worth the cost of sacrificing not just a few but potentially many human lives. “Unexpectedly timely” (The New Yorker), Undermoney is a “wildly entertaining peek behind the curtain of American politics, financial skullduggery, and high-stakes global conflict” (Nelson DeMille).
A darkly comical and sharp debut about the conflict between moral standards and our desire, VLADIMIR tells the story of a beloved English professor whose world is thrown into chaos when her husband—also a professor at the small liberal arts school where she teaches—becomes under investigation for having relationships with students. While the couple has had a longstanding agreement about extramarital affairs, this scandal seems as if it will take them one step too far. But when a newly married young novelist comes to campus, the narrator begins to have forbidden temptations of her own.
An NPR, Washington Post, Time, People, Vulture, Guardian, Vox, Kirkus Reviews, Newsweek, LitHub, and New York Public Library Best Book of the Year * “Delightful…cathartic, devious, and terrifically entertaining.” —The New York Times * “Timely, whip-smart, and darkly funny.” —People (Book of the Week)
A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students—a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own...
“When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.” And so we are introduced to our narrator who’s “a work of art in herself” (The Washington Post): a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extra-marital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir—a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus—their tinder box world comes dangerously close to exploding.
“Timely, whip-smart, and darkly funny” (People), Vladimir takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. This edgy, uncommonly assured debut perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.
When an unnamed narrator runs into his old classmate Jeff Cook in a JFK airport lounge, he barely remembers him. Jeff, nevertheless, launches into the strange story of his life. Years earlier, Jeff saved a man—renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault—from drowning. When Jeff begins visiting Francis’s gallery, Francis doesn’t seem to recognize him but takes him under his wing nonetheless and introduces him to a world of high culture and dizzying, shifting values. The ways in which two seemingly random people’s paths diverge and collide continue into the novel’s breathtaking ending.
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022 * An NPR and Time Best Book of the Year * Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada) * Finalist for CALIBA’s 2022 Golden Poppy Awards
A successful art dealer confesses the story of his meteoric rise in this “powerful, intoxicating, and shocking” (The New York Times) novel that’s a “slow burn à la Patricia Highsmith” (Oprah Daily). “You’ll struggle not to rip through in one sitting” (Vogue).
In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life—a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.
Jeff reveals that after that traumatic, galvanizing morning on the beach, he was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved, convinced that their fates were now entwined. But are we agents of our fate—or are we its pawns? Upon discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel’s staggering ending.
Sly, suspenseful, and “gloriously addicting” (BuzzFeed), Mouth to Mouth masterfully blurs the line between opportunity and exploitation, self-respect and self-delusion, fact and fiction—exposing the myriad ways we deceive each other, and ourselves.
In this historical, survival horror novel, one expedition crew has to survive a winter in Antarctica while being stalked by something beyond their imaginations. After World War I, Jonathan is eager to find his place in the world and live as his true gender. When he stows away on the expedition ship of his explorer hero James Randall, everything seems perfect. But then a disaster isolates them on the frozen Weddell Sea, forcing them to wait out the winter, and a supernatural force begins playing on their worst fears to pick them off one by one.
Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Dan Simmons’s The Terror and Alma Katsu’s The Hunger.
In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary ship of his hero, the world-famous explorer James “Australis” Randall, Jonathan may live as his true self—and true gender—and have the adventures he has always been denied. But not all is smooth sailing: the war casts its long shadow over them all, and grief, guilt, and mistrust skulk among the explorers.
When disaster strikes in Antarctica’s frozen Weddell Sea, the men must take to the land and overwinter somewhere which immediately seems both eerie and wrong; a place not marked on any of their part-drawn maps of the vast white continent. Now completely isolated, Randall’s expedition has no ability to contact the outside world. And no one is coming to rescue them.
In the freezing darkness of the Polar night, where the aurora creeps across the sky, something terrible has been waiting to lure them out into its deadly landscape…
As the harsh Antarctic winter descends, this supernatural force will prey on their deepest desires and deepest fears to pick them off one by one. It is up to Jonathan to overcome his own ghosts before he and the expedition are utterly destroyed.