The season of thrills and chills is upon us! And as the weather cools down, there’s no better way to get into the spooky season spirit than by cozying up with a new spine-tingling tale. So pick your poison, because we’ve curated the best murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, gothic romances, and classic horror novels coming out this fall. Pull up a blanket, grab your pumpkin beverage of choice, and get ready for some eerie-sistible reads!
Aimee’s Pick: If you’re a Constant Reader like me, waiting for a new Stephen King book is hard. But as always, the wait is worth it. His new book, HOLLY, features fan-favorite detective Holly Gibney. In this unputdownable thriller, Holly is investigating a missing person case. She’s appeared in several other books, and Stephen King himself says, “I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character in MR. MERCEDES and she just kind of stole the book and stole my heart. HOLLY is all her.” When Holly is in a story, be prepared to stay up late reading an edge-of-your-seat, race-against-time thriller. If you haven’t met Holly yet, this is a great place to start, and I’m sure you are going to love her. But be warned: Evil hides in plain sight, as Holly learns, and this read may have you steering clear of your neighbors...
Holly Gibney, one of Stephen King’s most compelling and ingeniously resourceful characters, returns in this thrilling novel to solve the gruesome truth behind multiple disappearances in a midwestern town.
“Sometimes the universe throws you a rope.” —BILL HODGES
Stephen King’s Holly marks the triumphant return of beloved King character Holly Gibney. Readers have witnessed Holly’s gradual transformation from a shy (but also brave and ethical) recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges’s partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, smart, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider. In King’s new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries.
When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down.
Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harboring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie’s disappearance. And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless.
Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmaneuver the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork from Stephen King.
“I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character in Mr. Mercedes and she just kind of stole the book and stole my heart. Holly is all her.” —STEPHEN KING
Juliet’s Pick #1: The early reviews of this one have me counting down the days until PALEONTOLOGIST by Luke Dumas hits shelves. This unsettling tale about a haunted paleontologist who returns to the museum where his sister was abducted under his watch years earlier promises to be dark as heck and I am ready. Seeking closure after a breakup and his aunt’s death, Dr. Simon Nealy hopes to find the bones that were never discovered. But the decaying, financially struggling museum isn’t as he remembered. He hears unexplainable animal sounds and finds bloody footprints that no living creature could have left. Fearing he’s losing his grip on reality, Simon discovers a blood-soaked mystery 150 million years old that could be the answer to everything. This book will probably give me nightmares, but honestly, bring it on!
A haunted paleontologist returns to the museum where his sister was abducted years earlier and is faced with a terrifying and murderous spirit in this chilling novel.
Curator of paleontology Dr. Simon Nealy never expected to return to his Pennsylvania hometown, let alone the Hawthorne Museum of Natural History. He was just a boy when his six-year-old sister, Morgan, was abducted from the museum under his watch, and the guilt has haunted Simon ever since. After a recent breakup and the death of the aunt who raised him, Simon feels drawn back to the place where Morgan vanished, in search of the bones they never found.
But from the moment he arrives, things aren’t what he expected. The Hawthorne is a crumbling ruin, still closed amid the ongoing pandemic, and plummeting toward financial catastrophe. Worse, Simon begins seeing and hearing things he can’t explain. Strange animal sounds. Bloody footprints that no living creature could have left. A prehistoric killer looming in the shadows of the museum. Terrified he’s losing his grasp on reality, Simon turns to the handwritten research diaries of his predecessor and uncovers a blood-soaked mystery 150 million years in the making that could be the answer to everything.
Juliet’s Pick #2: There are two types of people in the world: those who love a good spy thriller and liars. I, myself, am a no-holds-barred espionage enthusiast, and I haven’t been this excited for a new cloak-and-dagger story in a long time. THE HELSINKI PROJECT puts a female-centric twist on a classic spy thriller as it features CIA officer Amanda Cole. Following in the footsteps of her father, she gets a chance to prove herself when a Russian defector walks into her post and warns of a senator’s assassination. Amanda uncovers a global conspiracy involving corporate blackmail, manipulation, and corrupt oligarchs—a new Kremlin strategy for waging war. As she nears the truth, she’s troubled by one question: Why was her father’s name in the senator’s notes, and what might he know about the plot?
IT’S THE CASE OF AMANDA’S LIFETIME, BUT SOLVING IT WILL REQUIRE HER TO BETRAY ANOTHER SPY—WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE HER FATHER.
SPYING IS THE FAMILY BUSINESS. Amanda Cole is a brilliant young CIA officer following in the footsteps of her father, who was a spy during the Cold War. It takes grit to succeed in this male-dominated world—but one hot summer day, when a Russian defector walks into her post, Amanda is given the ultimate chance to prove herself.
The defector warns of the imminent assassination of a US senator. Though Amanda takes the warning seriously, her superiors don’t. Twenty-four hours later, the senator is dead. And the assassination is just the beginning.
Corporate blackmail, covert manipulation, corrupt oligarchs: the Kremlin has found a dangerous new way to wage war. Teaming up with Kath Frost, a fearless older woman and legendary spy, Amanda races from Rome to London, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, unraveling the international conspiracy. But as she gets closer and closer to the truth, a central question haunts her: Why was her father’s name written down in the senator’s notes? What does Charlie Cole really know about the Kremlin plot?
The Helsinki Affair is a riveting, globe-trotting spy thriller—but this time, with a refreshing female-centric twist. Perfect for fans of John le Carré and Daniel Silva, this book introduces Pitoniak as a singular new talent in the world of spy fiction.
Juliet’s Pick #3: Have you ever read a book description that had you immediately shocked and confused, while also adding the book to your TBR as soon as humanly possible? That’s the effect WHERE THE DEAD WAIT had on me. Let me just give you a few keywords to set the scene: Arctic. Spirit mediums. Abandonment. Betrayal. Cannibalism. Are you on board with me yet? Ally Wilkes’s new book is described as “an eerie, atmospheric Polar Gothic following a Victorian explorer in search of his lost shipmate and his own redemption.” I cannot wait to see where this one goes.
An eerie, atmospheric Polar Gothic following a Victorian explorer in search of his lost shipmate and his own redemption—from the author of the “vivid, immersive” (The Guardian) horror novel All the White Spaces.
William Day should be an acclaimed Arctic explorer. But after a failed expedition, in which his remaining men only survived by eating their dead comrades, he returned in disgrace.
Thirteen years later, his second-in-command, Jesse Stevens, has gone missing in the same frozen waters. Perhaps this is Day’s chance to restore his tarnished reputation by bringing Stevens—the man who’s haunted his whole life—back home. But when the rescue mission becomes an uncanny journey into his past, Day must face up to the things he’s done.
Abandonment. Betrayal. Cannibalism.
Aboard ship, Day must also contend with unwanted passengers: a reporter obsessively digging up the truth about the first expedition, as well as Stevens’s wife, a spirit-medium whose séances both fascinate and frighten. Following a trail of cryptic messages, gaunt bodies, and old bones, their search becomes more and more unnerving, as it becomes clear that the restless dead are never far behind. Something is coming through.
Sara’s Pick: If you haven’t read any of Tananarive Due’s works, then you are missing out on one of the scariest and most poignant voices in modern horror, and her latest book all but secures that title. THE REFORMATORY follows young Robbie Stephens, Jr., who is sent to an all-boys reformatory in 1950s Florida after defending his older sister. But Robbie’s got a secret: he can see ghosts, or haints, as he calls them. And the haints at the reformatory reveal the dark and twisted things that are happening behind closed doors. Will his family be able to save him in time? Or will these haints be welcoming Robbie as one of their own?
A gripping, page-turning novel set in Jim Crow Florida that follows Robert Stephens Jr. as he’s sent to a segregated reform school that is a chamber of terrors where he sees the horrors of racism and injustice, for the living, and the dead.
Twelve-year-old Robbie Stephens, Jr., is sentenced to six months at the Gracetown School for Boys, a reformatory, for kicking the son of the largest landowner in town in defense of his older sister, Gloria. So begins Robbie’s journey further into the terrors of the Jim Crow South and the very real horror of the school they call The Reformatory.
Robbie has a talent for seeing ghosts, or haints. But what was once a comfort to him after the loss of his mother has become a window to the truth of what happens at the reformatory. Boys forced to work to remediate their so-called crimes have gone missing, but the haints Robbie sees hint at worse things. Through his friends Redbone and Blue, Robbie is learning not just the rules but how to survive. Meanwhile, Gloria is rallying every family member and connection in Florida to find a way to get Robbie out before it’s too late.
The Reformatory is a haunting work of historical fiction written as only American Book Award–winning author Tananarive Due could, by piecing together the life of the relative her family never spoke of and bringing his tragedy and those of so many others at the infamous Dozier School for Boys to the light in this riveting novel.
Bianca’s Pick: After picking up THE OTHER MOTHERS, I quickly realized that it would be a book I’d speed through and not put down until finished. As expected, I was immersed in a variety of worlds, with Katherine Faulkner choosing to share first-person perspectives from each character. What we learn in reading is that each character has a reason behind their madness and their well-guarded secrets. Faulkner brilliantly unravels the intricate web of relationships in an upscale London community, juxtaposing the allure of sophistication with the lurking dangers of trust and deceit. The narrative tension built through alternating viewpoints creates a rich tapestry of emotions, revealing the multifaceted nature of motherhood and ambition. By the final chapter, THE OTHER MOTHERS proves itself not just as a thrilling page-turner but also as a poignant examination of the lengths we go to for acceptance and the prices we’re willing to pay. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a thoughtful and captivating read.
The author of the “twisty, fast-paced” (The Sunday Times, London) Greenwich Park returns with a fresh and deftly paced thriller about murder, class, and motherhood in an exclusive London community.
When a young nanny is found dead in mysterious circumstances, new mom, Tash, is intrigued. She has been searching for a story to launch her career as a freelance journalist. But she has also been searching for something else—new friends to help her navigate motherhood.
She sees them at her son’s new playgroup. The other mothers. A group of sleek, sophisticated women who live in a neighborhood of tree-lined avenues and stunning houses. The sort of mothers Tash herself would like to be. When the mothers welcome her into their circle, Tash discovers the kind of life she has always dreamt of—their elegant London townhouses a far cry from her cramped basement flat and endless bills. She is quickly swept up into their wealthy world via coffees, cocktails, and playdates.
But when another young woman is found dead, it’s clear there’s much more to the community than meets the eye. The more Tash investigates, the more she’s led uncomfortably close to the other mothers. Are these women really her friends? Or is there another, more dangerous reason why she has been so quickly accepted into their exclusive world? Who, exactly, is investigating who?
Rebecca’s Pick: This haunting psychological thriller kept me up all night and double-checking the locks on my doors! GULL ISLAND follows Jude, a young woman who’s persuaded by her mother to find her estranged father’s will after he goes missing. The search leads her to her family cottage on remote Gull Island, where she’s forced to reckon with long-buried truths and the possibility that the cottage may be haunted by more than the past. This is the perfect read to end the summer with and, if you’re feeling brave, to read at the cottage!
A haunting psychological suspense novel about a young woman who visits her remote family cottage seeking answers to a murky past—for fans of Catherine McKenzie and Amber Cowie.
When her estranged father goes missing, Jude is persuaded by her mother to find his will. She travels to the family cottage on remote Gull Island, glad to be away from the city and to have the chance to sort through old memories, but is unsettled by what she finds there.
While contending with the neglected cottage and encroaching wild animals, Jude looks not only for her father’s will, but also for photographs of herself as a baby, desperate for proof that she was loved as a child. However, loneliness and terrifying dreams soon wear on her, bringing back frightening memories. Thoughts of her distant mother and intimidating father, her jealous sister, and her mother’s mysterious friend infest Jude’s increasingly clouded mind.
Then a fierce storm sweeps away her boat and severs her from the outside world. Forced to reckon with long-buried truths and filled with the terrible sense that the cottage may be haunted by more than the past, Jude begins to fear for her sanity—and her life.
Abi’s Pick: With the perfect mix of family drama and potential demonic possession, MY DARLING GIRL is the psychological thriller you need to kick off the spooky season! When Alison took in her alcoholic mom just in time for the holidays, she knew the next couple of months would be difficult. What she didn’t anticipate, however, were the mysterious incidents that start happening as soon as her mother moves in. Up against her traumatic past and the paranormal, Alison has to figure out how far she’ll go to protect her family, and fast. Plus, it’s set in Vermont. What can be more fall-perfect than that?
The New York Times bestselling author of the “otherworldly treat” (People) The Drowning Kind and The Children on the Hill returns with a spine-tingling psychological thriller about a woman who, after taking in her dying, alcoholic mother, begins to suspect demonic possession is haunting her family.
Alison has never been a fan of Christmas. But with it right around the corner and her husband busily decorating their cozy Vermont home, she has no choice but to face it. Then she gets the call.
Mavis, Alison’s estranged mother, has been diagnosed with cancer and has only weeks to live. She wants to spend her remaining days with her daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. But Alison grew up with her mother’s alcoholism and violent abuse and is reluctant to unearth these traumatic memories. Still, she eventually agrees to take in Mavis, hoping that she and her mother could finally heal and have the relationship she’s always dreamed of.
But when mysterious and otherworldly things start happening upon Mavis’s arrival, Alison begins to suspect her mother is not quite who she seems. And as the holiday festivities turn into a nightmare, she must confront just how far she is willing to go to protect her family.
Hannah’s Pick: When two half-siblings unwittingly expose an organized crime circle on TikTok, they must uncover the whole operation before they become the next victims in #CRIMETIME, an audio original thriller by New York Times bestselling author Jeneva Rose and her husband, Drew Pyne. I first heard about #CRIMETIME from Jeneva Rose’s TikTok, where her dry wit and her husband’s outrageous reactions have garnered millions of likes, and their signature humor makes this audio original as hilarious as it is suspenseful. Plus, as a true crime podcast fan, I found it even more compelling that #CRIMETIME is based on a real-life robbery the authors witnessed in their apartment building, lending yet another layer of intrigue to this incredible listen. #CRIMETIME is narrated by a full cast, starring TikTok creator Abelardo Campuzano and Tony Award nominee Jennifer Damiano, who play off each other in such a natural, dynamic way that you won’t be able to stop listening until the action-packed ending!
The first audio original from Jeneva Rose, the author of blockbuster bestseller The Perfect Marriage, #CrimeTime is a full-cast mystery written with her husband, Drew Pyne, perfect for fans of Only Murders in the Building and Finley Donovan Is Killing It.
Going viral has never been so dangerous.
Nadiya loves her privacy: living alone and writing a popular series of crime novels under a pen name, she’s worked hard to build the quiet life she cherishes. But all that changes when her long-lost half-brother Chase comes to town, needing a place to stay until he can get back on his feet. Chase’s dream job is Nadiya’s worst nightmare: he’s an aspiring TikTok star, oversharing on the internet at every opportunity.
When a burglary occurs in the apartment upstairs, Chase decides to film and post all the action. Unbeknownst to him, this was not a random break-in, but a targeted operation run by dangerous criminals. Overnight, Chase’s videos go viral, garnering millions of views and amassing a huge following of loyal #Chasers. It’s everything he’s ever dreamt of, expect the attention has brought the wrong kind of heat. Chase and Nadiya are plunged into a world of organized crime, and together, they must uncover the truth and clear their names before they become the next victims.
Performed by a full cast and filled with both laugh-out-loud banter and shocking twists, #CrimeTime is a delightful romp through the murky, unpredictable realms of crime, family, and the TikTok algorithm.
Elizabeth’s Pick: In Jessica Knoll’s breakout debut novel, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, she brilliantly exposed misogynistic social mores and how popular narratives can become accepted as facts depending on who gets to tell the story. In BRIGHT YOUNG WOMEN, she expands on these themes by taking inspiration from one of the most infamous serial killers in recent memory, one whose character has been falsely distinguished as charming, magnetic, and brilliant. In her fictionalized version, Knoll chillingly highlights how tabloid hunger and public fascination with (supposed) criminal genius fed into this notoriety, while ignoring the victims and survivors at the heart of the story. Following two women whose lives were forever changed by the killer’s violence, the novel’s suspense ramps up as the women relentlessly pursue answers in the face of incompetent law enforcement, a sexist culture, and their own grief. A stunning, unputdownable read that will leave you breathless—but also ready to shout about it from the rooftops.
From the megabestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive comes another shocking thriller inspired by the real-life sorority and target of America’s first celebrity serial killer.
January 15, 1978, is a night of promise, excitement, and desire. A serial killer’s murderous spree in the Pacific Northwest couldn’t be further from the minds of the vibrant young women at the top sorority on Florida State University’s campus in Tallahassee.
That night, Pamela Schumacher, president of the sorority, makes the unpopular decision to stay home. Startled awake at 3 a.m. by a strange sound, she makes the fateful decision to investigate. What she finds outside her bedroom door is a scene of implausible violence—two of her sisters dead; two others, maimed.
On the other side of the country, in Seattle, Tina Cannon has found peace after years of hardship. A chance encounter brings twenty-five-year-old Ruth Wachowsky into her life and they forge an instant connection. But then Ruth goes missing from Lake Sammamish State Park in broad daylight, the same day as another young woman, surrounded by thousands of beachgoers. Both vanish without a trace. Tina is convinced Ruth was a target of the man the papers refer to as the All-American Sex Killer.
When she learns of the massacre in Tallahassee, Tina is convinced it’s him again. She rushes to Florida, on a collision course with Pamela—and one last impending tragedy.
Bright Young Women tells the story of two women from opposite sides of the country who forge a sisterhood in grief and in the fervent pursuit of justice. Toggling between those terrifying days in 1978 and a letter that brings them together in the present, this is a novel that flips the script on the oft-perpetuated glorification of a sadistic but ultimately average man and instead turns the spotlight on the exceptional women he targeted.
Amy’s Pick #1: If you’re a fan of The White Lotus and are ready to escape to a tropical island paradise where all is not as it seems, THE REUNION is the perfect YA book option for you. It’s been years since the Mayweathers were all in one place, and after an engagement brings the whole crew to Mexico for a week of forced family “fun,” tensions reach a breaking point. THE REUNION’s tropical setting and twisting mysteries will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to solve the Mayweather murder!
From the author of I Killed Zoe Spanos comes a YA thriller in the vein of The White Lotus and Karen M. McManus’s The Cousins following a doomed family reunion at a posh Caribbean resort, where old grudges and dangerous secrets culminate in murder.
Eleven Mayweathers went on vacation. Ten came home.
It’s been years since the fragmented Mayweather clan was all in one place, but the engagement of Addison and Mason’s mom to the dad of their future stepbrother, Theo, brings the whole family to sunny Cancún, Mexico, for winter break. Add cousin Natalia to the mix, and it doesn’t take long for tempers to fray and tensions to rise. A week of forced family “fun” reveals that everyone has something to hide, and as secrets bubble to the surface, no one is safe from the fallout. By the end of the week, one member of the reunion party will be dead—and everyone’s a suspect:
The peacekeeper: Addison needs a better hiding place.
The outsider: Theo just wants to mend fences.
The romantic: Natalia doesn’t want to talk about the past.
The hothead: Mason needs to keep his temper under control.
It started as a week in paradise meant to bring them together. But the Mayweathers are about to learn the hard way that family bonding can be deadly.
Amy’s Pick #2: AND DON’T LOOK BACK will grab you from the first page and won’t let go until the very end. Harlow and her mother have been on the run for Harlow’s entire life. When her mom dies, she decides to learn about her past and stop running once and for all, but there are more secrets in store than she could have ever imagined. This book’s plot is twisty in all the best ways, with surprises from start to finish, and will keep you up late reading to figure out the ending.
After her mother’s death, a teen pieces together the truth of her family’s past and what her mom was hiding from in this thriller that’s perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Tiffany D. Jackson.
Harlow Ford has spent her entire life running, caught in her mother’s wake as they flit from town to town, hiding from a presence that Harlow isn’t even sure is real. In each new place, Harlow takes on a new name and personality, and each time they run, she leaves another piece of herself behind.
When Harlow and her mom set off on yet another 3 a.m. escape, they are involved in a car accident that leaves Harlow’s mother fatally wounded. Before she dies, she tells Harlow two things: where to find the key to a safety deposit box and to never stop running. In the box, Harlow finds thirty grand in cash, life insurance documents, and several fake IDs for both herself and her mom—an on-the-run essentials kit. But Harlow also finds a photograph of her mom as a teenager with two other girls, the deed to a house in a town she’s never heard of, and a handful of newspaper clippings discussing the disappearance of a woman named Eve Kennedy, Harlow’s grandmother…relics of a part of Harlow’s life she never knew existed.
With these tantalizing clues about her mother’s secrets and the power to choose her own future for the first time, Harlow realizes she has two choices: keep fleeing her mom’s ghosts or face down the nebulous threat that’s been hanging over her for her entire life.
Megan’s Pick: Grab your magnifying glass and Santa hat and get ready to do some serious sleuthing! THE CHRISTMAS APPEAL by the brilliant Janice Hallett is the perfect cozy holiday stocking stuffer. Centering on the Fairway Players (who some may remember from Janice’s debut novel, THE APPEAL), this novella follows this hilarious cast of characters as they put on their yearly holiday play . . . until a dead Santa turns up that may lead to the curtains closing for good. You’ll be itching to know wHo wHo wHo dunnit!
This immersive holiday caper from the “modern Agatha Christie” (The Sunday Times, London) follows the hilarious Fairway Players theater group as they put on a Christmas play—and solve a murder that threatens their production.
The Christmas season has arrived in Lower Lockwood, and the Fairway Players are busy rehearsing their festive holiday production of Jack and the Beanstalk to raise money for a new church roof. But despite the season, goodwill is distinctly lacking among the amateur theater enthusiasts with petty rivalries, a possibly asbestos-filled beanstalk, and some perennially absent players behind the scenes.
Of course, there’s also the matter of the dead body onstage. Who could possibly have had the victim on their naughty list? Join lawyers Femi and Charlotte as they investigate Christmas letters, examine emails, and pore over police transcripts to identify both the victim and killer before the curtain closes on their holiday production—for good.
Ash’s Pick: Nelson DeMille is a thriller master, and his son Alex DeMille clearly has that gift as well. Lucky us that they’ve teamed up again, following up THE DESERTER with BLOOD LINES. Special agents Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor reunite in Berlin after several months on different assignments. Once there, they’re hot on the trail of a murderer who took out one of their own. But there are lingering Cold War tensions and conspiracies afoot, as BLOOD LINES grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go. I couldn’t wait to talk about the shocking finale with a friend!
From New York Times bestselling authors Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille, Blood Lines features the return of Special Agents Brodie and Taylor who are on the hunt for the cold-blooded murderer of one of their fellow agents.
Army Criminal Investigation Agents Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor have been separated for five months following their last assignment, a dangerous mission in Venezuela to locate and detain an infamous Army deserter. Now, in Berlin, they are reunited and tasked with investigating the murder of one of their own: CID Special Agent Harry Vance of the 5th MP Battalion, an accomplished counterterrorism agent who had been stationed in western Germany, and whose body was discovered in a city park in the heart of Berlin’s Arab refugee community.
The authorities suspect this is an act of Islamic terrorism, but Brodie and Taylor soon believe there is more to this case. The reason for Vance’s presence in Berlin is unknown, and as Brodie and Taylor work to discover what the murder victim was doing in the days and weeks preceding his death, they become immersed in the many conflicts and contradictions of modern Germany—the Arab refugee crisis, the dark legacy of the Cold War and the Stasi secret police, and the imminent threats of a rising neo-Nazi movement. At the same time, they are butting heads with the authorities—both German and American—and facing a possible threat from American intelligence agents who fear that Brodie and Taylor might have learned too much about US clandestine operations during their mission in Venezuela.
Ultimately, Brodie and Taylor realize that the murder of Harry Vance was merely the prelude to a much more sinister future event—unless they can unravel the mystery in time to stop it.
Emily’s Pick #1: Fall is when I begin to pick up a few mystery novels and feel a bit nostalgic, and MURDER BY DEGREES is the perfect suspenseful historical work of fiction to check off all the boxes. Set in 1875 Philadelphia, a year before the World’s Fair, it follows Dr. Lydia Weston, a professor at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. When the body of a young female chambermaid who was a patient of hers is discovered, the death is presumed a suicide. But Lydia Weston’s intuition and knowledge of anatomy tell her otherwise. She is one of the best doctors around but still must prove herself as she comes up against two male detectives (not unlike Sherlock and Dr. Watson) who have been assigned to the case and harbor their own prejudices and insecurities. This promises to be an atmospheric mystery that weaves in many plot and character strands, while also a triumphant tale of a woman who knows her subject, outsmarting the men around her. Plus, author Ritu Mukerji is an actual doctor from Philadelphia, and infuses her debut with expert details.
For fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd, Murder by Degrees is a historical mystery set in 19th century Philadelphia, following a pioneering woman doctor as she investigates the disappearance of a young patient who is presumed dead.
Philadelphia, 1875: It is the start of term at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lydia Weston, professor and anatomist, is immersed in teaching her students in the lecture hall and hospital. When the body of a patient, Anna Ward, is dredged out of the Schuylkill River, the young chambermaid’s death is deemed a suicide. But Lydia is suspicious and she is soon brought into the police investigation.
Aided by a diary filled with cryptic passages of poetry, Lydia discovers more about the young woman she thought she knew. Through her skill at the autopsy table and her clinical acumen, Lydia draws nearer the truth. Soon a terrible secret, long hidden, will be revealed. But Lydia must act quickly, before she becomes the next target of those who wished to silence Anna.
Emily’s Pick #2: In THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS we were introduced to a fantasy world of Elsewhere, filled with creatures that personify emotions and battles and quests that deeply expose the heart of the characters and their world around them. Following a separate story but set in this same universe, THE LAND OF LOST THINGS is a similarly heartbreaking work that uses the backdrop of a fairy tale to explore the processing of grief, the importance of stories, and more. Eight-year-old Phoebe is stuck in a coma after a car accident, so her mother, Ceres, reads aloud to her from a book that’s surreally called The Book of Lost Things—an amazing plot device that allows Connolly to explore even more layers of storytelling. As Ceres reads the book, she becomes interested in the missing author (who readers might recognize from the first book) and explores his old house, soon getting taken to Elsewhere herself. While the book carries references to the previous novel, this one can be read as a stand-alone.
The redemptive power of stories and family is revealed in New York Times bestselling author John Connolly’s atmospheric tale set in the same magical universe as the “enchanting, engrossing, and enlightening” (The Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale) The Book of Lost Things.
“Twice upon a time—for that is how some stories should continue…”
Phoebe, an eight-year-old girl, lies comatose following a car accident—a body without a spirit. Ceres, her mother, can only sit by her bedside and read aloud the fairy stories Phoebe loves in the hope they might summon her back to this world.
But an old house on the hospital grounds, a property connected to a book written by a vanished author, is calling to Ceres. Something wants her to enter, to journey to a land colored by the memories of childhood, and the folklore beloved of her father—a land of witches and dryads, giants and mandrakes; a land where old enemies are watching and waiting…
The Land of Lost Things.
Photo credit: iStock / Esther Derksen