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The Marsh King's Daughter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735213005
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Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - June 13th, 2017

Helena was born in a remote marsh in the U.P. to a teenaged mother who was kidnapped and being held captive. Helena’s father is a cruel, narcissistic sociopath, but to Helena, he is the only father, and their way of life is the only way of life, she’s ever known. He has taught her to hunt and trap and survive on the land, and to disdain her cowed mother as weak and good only for the cooking and washing in their isolated homestead.

Flash forward to the present. Helena and her mother have escaped, but life with her grandparents is as confusing as life in the marsh. Finally, at 18, Helena changes her name, dyes her hair and moves out to find her own life. And she’s doing pretty well - she has a husband and two daughters who know nothing of her past and she’s happy to keep it that way - until her father escapes from prison and is the subject of the U.P.’s biggest manhunt ever.

Helena knows that she is the only person who can get inside her father’s dangerous mind and track him down, so she sets out across the wilderness intent on doing so.

The story shifts between scenes from Helena’s childhood and the present, allowing the reader the chance to try to empathize with some very foreign points of view.

This novel has received rave reviews from some big names in the publishing world - from Karin Slaughter to Lee Child, and the publishers say The Marsh King’s Daughter may just be 2017’s biggest hit.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women Cover Image
ISBN: 9781492649359
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Published: Sourcebooks - April 18th, 2017

This is the incredible true story of women who worked in dial plants painting watch and device dials with radium paint so that they'd glow in the dark. It was just before WWI and headlines across the country touted radium as a miracle compound with healing and restorative properties.

The young women employed in the plants enjoyed a certain status - their jobs paid well and were coveted, and the girls themselves were recognizable on the town as the luminescence stuck to their clothes and skin, giving them an unearthly glow. They were even encouraged to paint their nails and experiment with the paint. But mostly, they were encouraged to "lip point" - make the brushes they used at work form the smallest possible tip by whetting them in their mouths.

It wasn't long before the girls began to feel the gruesome effects as their health began to deteriorate and many of their number died.

The girls faced corporations which steadfastly refused to admit any culpability - even blaming the girls themselves for trying to gold dig.

The Radium Girls follows this historic battle for workers' rights and the first all-female class action suit across the decades, giving those few brave women credit for ultimately saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

See What I Have Done Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802126597
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Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - August 1st, 2017

Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. OR DID SHE?

See What I Have Done is a novel of the murder of Abby & Andrew Borden in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. The murder was so violent and such a mystery that it inspired the rhyme that exists to this day.

Youngest daughter Lizzie was tried for, and acquitted of, the murders. The novel is told through the voices of Lizzie, her sister Emma, Bridget, their Irish housemaid, and Benjamin, a shady character who is a stranger to Fall River.

I couldn't resist reading this because of the subject matter - but I thought the story, while an intriguing look into the Borden household, got bogged down in the writing and didn't leave me feeling satisfied in the end.

The author's attempt to share the appearance of guilt among several key characters just didn't work for me. I still believe the rhyme - it was Lizzie all along.

The Best Kind of People Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399182211
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Published: Ballantine Books - September 19th, 2017

This author is a well-known and award-winning writer in Canada. Her new book, The Best Kind of People, came with lots of praise, and its subject matter is surely timely and relevant, but I found the characters in this story so unlike anyone I knew that I found their reactions to the central plot - that the patriarch of this WASPy, wealthy Connecticut small-town family has been arrested for sexual misconduct with young students - to be unrealistic. The grown son, who travels on weekends to be with his mother and younger sister, is a moody, emotional wreck, and the heroine, the high school-aged daughter, whom you'd think the female writer would most closely resemble in age, and would therefore 'get right', just doesn't seem genuine to me. Yes, she acts out, becomes apathetic at school and doesn't treat her family well, but in the end, it just didn't ring true to me the way a book that is basically a character study in the fallout of crime and betrayal should.

Whittall is onto something with her interesting plotline. I just couldn't seem to connect with her characters.

Good Me Bad Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250087645
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Published: Flatiron Books - September 5th, 2017

Annie’s mom is a serial killer. She’s very twisted and gifted at earning people’s trust. All of her life, Annie has been her mother’s victim, too. But now, at 15, Annie has turned her mother in to the authorities.

Now Annie’s name is Milly and she lives with a foster family while she preps to be the star witness at her mother’s trial.

But Milly has troubles with guilt - she feels guilty for not turning her mother in earlier, and she feels guilty for turning her mother in at all.

This twisty psychological thriller is a study in nature vs. nurture that will keep you flipping pages long into the night.

The Cuban Affair Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501101724
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Published: Simon & Schuster - September 19th, 2017

DeMille debuts a new character here - Mac, a 35 year old with two tours in Afghanistan under his belt who is living the good life as a charter boat captain in Key West.

But the danger and excitement aren't all behind him yet - Mac is approached by a lawyer from Miami to charter a fishing tournament in Cuba, in conjunction with a little off-side mission with an enormous payday. Mac's interest is peaked, and once he's met Carlos' "associates" - an elderly Cuban exile and a beautiful young Cuban-American woman who will accompany him, he's hooked.

Full of Cuban Thaw danger and the conflicting purposes and desires of the two nations, Cuban exiles, Cuban natives and the beautiful Sara, The Cuban Affair satisfies as a thriller, as commentary on Cuban-American history and relations, and as a fun read full of classic DeMille wit. He's a master, and The Cuban Affair adds another notch to his belt.

A Column of Fire Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525954972
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Published: Viking - September 12th, 2017

Pillars of the Earth, World Without End - fast forward to 1558. Ned Willard returns home to Knightsbridge, where he is awaited by his mother, who runs the family's importing business, and Margery, the love of his young life.

Little does he know that Bloody Mary Tudor will die, paving the way for Elizabeth, who promises religious tolerance, to take the British throne.

Nor does he suspect that his life will not be lived in Knightsbridge, married to Margery and taking over the business.

A Column of Fire follows Ned's life as he becomes counselor to and protector of Queen Elizabeth and her successor King James - guiding England through a time of tumultuous religious fervor that threatens regicide and civil war at every turn.

A Column of Fire is a colossal, epic read from a master of the historical fiction genre, and I enjoyed all 916 pages!

The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476761916
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Published: Scribner Book Company - September 19th, 2017

Doug Stanton has a knack for giving the voices of war a life on the page. In Harm's Way gave us a first-hand account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis from the very few surviving sailors who lived to tell the tale. Horse Soldiers took the reader to Afghanistan where Americans inserted into that most alien of landscapes were tasked with bridging an eons-long gap.

In The Odyssey of Echo Company, Stanton gives voice to the Tet Offensive in 1968 as 100,000 soldiers in the North Vietnamese army attacked 36 cities in South Vietnam. The story is told mainly through the eyes of Stan Parker, a boy straight out of high school in '68 and now an army veteran of decades who has never, just as so many of his compatriots, had a way to discuss the horror that was their lives in Vietnam.

Vividly sad and horrifying, The Odyssey of Echo Company tells a few men's stories as a way of telling all of the boys' stories - boys we sent to fight and never welcomed home.

Little Deaths Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316272483
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Published: Hachette Books - October 17th, 2017

Interestingly, first-time author Emma Flint has been fascinated by true-crime accounts since childhood, and reportedly has an encyclopedic knowledge of real-life murder cases, and Little Deaths is based on a real murder.

Ruth Malone is separated from her husband, working as a cocktail waitress and raising two little kids in Queens. She's a party girl whose good looks attract a lot of men, so she's getting by with the help of men who give her money and gifts.

And then one morning Ruth unlocks her children's bedroom door and finds them gone. Their little bodies are found over the next few days.

The police take one look at Ruth's provocative wardrobe and trash can full of liquor bottles and leap to obvious, bad conclusions.

One newspaperman, Pete Wonicke, begins by hanging around for the story and eventually becomes obsessed by Ruth herself and will resort to drastic measures to prevent her from being convicted for her childrens' deaths.

Emma Flint has given us a solid, page-turning mystery with a lot of reasonable doubt about all of the characters in her crime-fiction debut, Little Deaths. Fans of the genre will love this.

Down a Dark Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250121288
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Published: Minotaur Books - July 11th, 2017

Linda Castillo's latest Kate Burkholder mystery finds Kate alerted to the fact that a childhood friend, Joseph King, has escaped from prison where he was serving a life sentence for killing his wife. What's more, King's children now live with their aunt and uncle in Painters Mill, where Kate is the police chief, and she's worried he might show up on her turf.

He does, and all hell breaks loose. Soon, Kate finds herself having to choose to believe in the justice system and Joseph's conviction, or try to track down the roots of his cold case, because Joseph insists he's been framed.

As in all Castillo novels, Kate's Amish roots play a large role in the story. And this time her unique perspective may be the one thing that allows her to get to the truth.

Down a Dark Road is another solid mystery by an author with a huge number of fans around here, and I know they'll eat this one up!