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Sweetgirl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062400826
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - February 2nd, 2016

Mulhauser is a Petoskey native who now lives in N. Carolina, but he's set his novel in a town very like Petoskey in the northern lower peninsula.

Percy Jones has had to take care of her mother for as long as she can remember, and one stormy night she sets off to find her mother and instead stumbles upon two strung out people at Shelton Potter's cabin, both passed out on the floor. Since her mother must be around somewhere, Percy searches the house and instead finds a malnourished baby wailing in an upstairs bedroom with snow blowing onto her through an open window.

Almost without thinking, Percy takes the baby and begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse in which she must outrun both the storm and the violent men searching the woods for her.

Sweetgirl is a searingly sad story that unfortunately feels completely plausible as a glimpse into the way many people in N. Michigan survive.

Very powerful.

The Light of Paris Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399158919
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Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - July 12th, 2016

Madeleine is stuck in a loveless marriage she entered mostly because Madeleine has always done what's expected of her.

Left to her own devices, she'd have pursued art and become a foodie and possibly never married, but that's just not who she is. She has always been the good girl who tries not to disappoint her strong-willed mother, her sharply critical husband, or what she perceives to be the societal standards.

But on a visit to her mother's, Madeleine finds and reads her grandmother's journals from the 1920s. Her grandmother, who also thought she would have to conform, unexpectedly found herself in Paris and loving it.

Margie, however, was nothing at all like the staid, uptight woman Madeleine knew as her mother's mother.

The stories of these two women, two generations apart but so close in temperament in dreams, are told in alternating chapters, and as a reader, you find yourself rooting for both of them to find the courage to live the one life they've been given.

A lovely novel by the author of debut smash, The Weird Sisters.

The Last Good Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476761114
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Published: Touchstone Books - May 3rd, 2016

Leotta's days as a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in DC put her in good stead to be writing her popular Anna Curtis mysteries.

In The Last Good Girl, Emma is a freshman at a large MI University (which feels a lot like a mash-up of MSU and U of M to me) and is date-raped at her very first party.

When the story begins, Emma has gone missing and was last seen on security camera videos fleeing from Dylan, son of a very well-connected family and the young man she's accused - finally publicly - of rape.

This book is a good vehicle for discussing the 'rape culture' at big well-known universities that the media has been decrying very loudly lately.

With warring parents whose relationship and job were more important, and with an administration willing to offer a tepid response at best or turn a blind eye altogether, Emma felt pushed into a corner in which she felt there was nowhere to turn for support.

The fact that we read time and again that this is actually the climate at many of today's colleges makes The Last Good Girl not only a good mystery, but a fantastic conversation-starter and call-to-arms.

Redemption Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312380366
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Published: Thomas Dunne Books - May 3rd, 2016

This is a great crime novel for early Grisham or Isles lovers - a tale of greed, love, justice and evil in a small Carolina town.

Adrian was a hero cop who was sent to prison for a murder he didn't commit. His time in prison was hard, and he won't come out the same man he was when he went it.

Gideon is a boy who lost his mother, and as far as he knows, Adrian was the killer. He'll be waiting when Adrian is released.

Liz is a cop who has loved Gideon since he was a bereft toddler. A cop who is protecting another crime victim by remaining silent about what really happened when she showed up to rescue the kidnapped girl. And she's the only cop who has steadfastly maintained Adrian's innocence.

Redemption Road has a lot of plot lines weaving through each other, and pulling  the thread of one story tugs on the truth of others.

This is one of those books you want to read in a few big gulps - you have characters to root for, evil guys to despise and a plot that seems impossible to resolve. And it all plays together beautifully in the hands of John Hart - this novel proves him a master storyteller. Don't miss this one!

The Second Life of Nick Mason Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399574320
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Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - May 17th, 2016

Everybody was saying it. That this is the book that will make Steve Hamilton a household name across the country, not just around the Midwest. The blurbs were great, the reviews from early readers were fantastic. And the book was all set to publish in October of 2015 - in fact Saturn was set to host Steve right at launch with an event on October 2nd. And then came some unprecedented publishing maneuvers. Steve and his agent didn't think his long-time publisher, St. Martin's Press, had enough marketing muscle behind the book to make it live up to its potential of being one of the year's blockbusters. And they came to an impasse. So, with mere weeks to go before the nationwide launch, Hamilton and his agent bought out his contract (no small amount, mind you) and put the thriller out to bid. A day later the publishing giant Penguin Random House's Putnam division landed The Second Life of Nick Mason, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Nick Mason was serving 25-life when he is inexplicably given a second chance at freedom. But that second chance comes at a steep price. The first of a sure-hit series. The Second Life of Nick Mason introduces us to a character that is sure to make our friend Steve Hamilton a household name. Bravo!

The Fixer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451472571
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Published: Dutton Books - May 3rd, 2016

Once again, Joseph Finder gives us a "little guy against the machine" thriller that keeps delivering right to the end.

Rick Hoffman is an out-of-work journalist who moves into his childhood home - where he hasn't lived since his dad had a stroke 20-some years ago.

But when a search for squirrels in the attic yields several million dollars covered in tarp instead, Rick's real troubles are just beginning.

No dad on the up-and-up squirrels away $3 million behind the walls, and so maybe Rick never knew his father at all. And maybe the guys who did know his dad are just waiting for that money to resurface...

The Fixer is a solid thriller by an author from whom we've come to expect them.

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393248456
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 5th, 2015

The 16 stories in this collection are each told from a woman's point of view - from a young woman traveling Romania with her older sisters and brothers-in-law, to a pregnant grandmother, to a circus performer.

Each of these women live a hardscrabble life. Most of them have been abused and cheated on and taken advantage of. And all of them have their own take on life, love and family.

Campbell's worlds are not cozy. They aren't safe or comfortable or enviable. But as in all of her writing, they strike at universal truths laid bare by carefully considered phrasing and artful storytelling, making it easy to see why she is a Pushcart Prize winner and a National Book Award Finalist. If you've never read one of Bonnie Jo's novels, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters makes it easy to dip a toe into her gritty, fully imagined stories.

The Bitter Season Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525954552
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Published: Dutton Books - January 12th, 2016

I've always liked Tami Hoag, so I was always going to read The Bitter Season. But I really liked this one and think it may be her best yet.

Detective Nikki Liska has moved to the Minneapolis PD's Cold Case squad so she could spend more time with her growing sons, but she misses the adrenaline rush of the homicide unit.

The first case she draws is the 25-year-old murder of a cop with few leads and little hope for success.

But when she pulls at one loose end, her case ends up intertwining with the current investigation of a murder so bizarre that it has the whole town talking - a prominent university professor and his wife have been hacked to death by a samurai sword.

What I liked most about The Bitter Season is that I just kept guessing - there were so many characters and so many moving parts that, even though I had an inkling of some of the answers, I hadn't completely figured the whole story out until I read the exciting last pages. This is a "WOW" of a book that thriller lovers everywhere should have on their list!

The Steel Kiss Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455536344
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - March 8th, 2016

This thriller opens with detective Amelia Sachs in pursuit of a suspect in a shopping mall when a man falls into the open mechanical compartment of an escalator and she stops to try to rescue him.

Little does she suspect that her case and the escalator case may be one in the same - a series of brutal deaths caused by common products.

I like Deaver's ability to creep me out about the plausibility of common everyday things turning deadly - a few years ago he wrote a book in which electricity was harnessed and used against the unsuspecting.

But I must admit I'm getting tired of his super-intelligent hero, Lincoln Rhyme, and his pedantic way of correcting everyone's vocabulary and usage. It wouldn't be so bad if the things he chose to correct weren't words and usages anyone who paid attention in a half-decent middle school would already know. This book seemed to have more than its fair share of examples, and there was even a supposedly Rhyme-stumping riddle that anyone who plays with word games would get right off of the bat. And it's all presented as if Lincoln Rhyme would know this, but most anyone else wouldn't. It's a strange mixture of semi-complicated plotting and the sense that the author thinks his readers are all pretty dim.

It's a shame - I've always liked his books, but I may have to give him a rest after this one.

One thumb up. One thumb down.

Dexter Is Dead Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345802590
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - June 14th, 2016

This is the final book in the fiendishly clever Dexter series - upon which the popular Showtime series was based.

But just because you watched the show, don't assume you know all about the series. The show writers followed Lindsay's first book quite closely, establishing the characters and presenting the same storyline, but after that the show went its own way and Lindsay has continued writing his books all along until this one, where he ends his run.

Dexter is in jail, ironically (and irony always plays a large part in Lindsay's plots and snarky dialogue), for murders he did not commit. His sister has renounced him, so when an unlikely savior arrives in the form of his brother, Brian, the two embark on an epic journey to prove Dexter's innocence, serve justice upon the cop who railroaded him, and defeat some drug cartel assassins all at the same time.

Dexter is Dead is vintage Lindsay. Tongue in cheek, witty, snarky and violent all at once - kind of a Quentin Tarantino of authors. Lindsay has given us the most unlikely of heroes - a lovable serial killer. And he's done it with panache throughout these eight great novels.