What an eye-opener—investigative journalist Sam Quinones pens a compelling and horrifying tale of how a combination of factors lead to the current devastating opiate problem affecting people across the United States.
In Dreamland, short chapters focus on various individuals (dealers, doctors, addicts, and their families) and corporations (marketing firms and pharmaceutical companies). Quinones weaves multiple threads together, showing how an influx of black tar heroin from Mexico (and a new delivery system) and the rise of OxyContin and other legal pharmaceuticals created today’s widespread challenges. He successfully humanizes people in this narrative, including some individuals that may surprise you.
There is so much to talk about—consider discussing Dreamland with your book group.
A determined mother must lead her children to safety on a riverboat while they all remain blindfolded. In a world overrun by creatures that can kill a person merely from being looked at, this is their only option for survival. Josh Malerman’s Bird Box is both horrifying and beautiful, making the reader feel just as blind and helpless as its characters. Since it’s the month of scary stories, check out other contemporary horror novels too.
In 1940s Italy, Pino is a typical teenager. With WWII progressing, his parents are worried that he will be drafted. To protect him, they send him to a monastery. Unbeknownst to him, the priest is helping at-risk people escape Italy into neutral Switzerland.
Pino returns to Milan to see his family. They convince him to enlist in the German army as a driver to avoid a more dangerous duty in the Italian army. He uses his status working for a high-ranking general in the German army to spy for the Allies.
Mark T. Sullivan’s Beneath a Scarlet Sky is based on a remarkable true story and is in production for a movie adaptation. Read other novels of WWII and novels of the resistance.
Author Michael Connelly is often at his best when he brings his two principle characters together. In The Brass Verdict, attorney Mickey Haller and detective Harry Bosch meet for the first time when Haller takes over the lucrative docket of a murdered lawyer and Bosch investigates the crime. At first, they don’t recognize each other, but there are suggestions of family connections. Bosch sets up a scam attack on Haller in an effort to gain information, but Haller figures it out and the two decide to work together and find the real culprit.
In The Wrong Side of Goodbye, these half-brothers fully cooperate when private eye Bosch is engaged by an aging billionaire to find an heir. Bosch retains Haller as his attorney when the billionaire dies and Bosch becomes entangled in more legal issues than he can manage. Check out a New York Times review. In these novels, the reader is treated to both investigative and legal strategies as the adventures unfold.
Based on Jomny Sun’s popular tweets, this delightfully simple and precious graphic novel follows a young “aliebn,” Jomny, as he first visits Earth and learns about life on our planet, including making friends, making art, and being yourself. Everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too is a soothing balm for the tired soul, sure to get you to smile and immediately force the book into a friend’s hands.
Private eye Kinsey Millhone accidentally uncovers a shoplifting ring with roots in organized crime as she goes on a rare shopping spree. In V is for Vengeance, author Sue Grafton presents points of view from multiple characters, allowing seemingly unrelated stories to converge and play into the crime Kinsey is obsessed with solving. The mystery and a struggle for her life almost keep her from remembering her long dreaded 38th birthday. Her gentle and wise octogenarian landlord/neighbor and his quirky brother add levity to the story and to Kinsey’s perilous lifestyle.
Did you know? A new Kinsey Millhone book was released recently. Check out Y is for Yesterday today. And if you enjoy Sue Grafton’s alphabet books, browse our list of other popular mystery and suspense series.
Did you love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society? Then race to the library to get a copy of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir! Set in 1940 England, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel focuses on the women in a small village during World War II. Told through letters and journals from multiple points of view, this charming story displays resilience, hope, and heartbreak on the home front.
Try the audiobook, which features an engaging full cast. You might also enjoy browsing our lists of epistolary and WWII novels.
This is the story of Aviva, a young woman who takes an internship with a congressman. They have an affair. When it becomes public knowledge, her life falls apart: she can’t get a job or go out in public. For the congressman, life proceeds as usual.
Aviva reinvents herself in an attempt to take back her life. She legally changes her name to Jane and finds a new career as a wedding planner. Jane and her daughter have a happy life. Then her daughter questions who her father is, finds out about her mother’s previous life, and goes on a quest. Young Jane Young is both humorous and serious. This touching story is Gabrielle Zevin’s second book for adults, following The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry.
Check out an NPR interview with the author.
As with all of Susan Hill’s mysteries, Chief Detective Simon Serrailer’s investigation is only one part of the story. In The Betrayal of Trust, we see the detective’s emerging love interest and his sister Doctor Cat in her work at the local hospice for those near death along with a sad tale dealing with assisted suicide. The investigation is of a cold case coming to the surface when two skeletons of young girls are found after a flood. Simon uses much skill and discretion in laying this sadness to rest.
From the shore, Paris’s floating “book barge” may look like little more than a bookstore, but in reality, it is a literary apothecary where its owner Monsieur Perdu prescribes the right novel for any emotional ailment. Perdu, however, is not so good at treating himself and literally runs away when his heartbreak starts to catch up with him—taking his bookshop with him. Along for the ride is literary boy genius Max Jordan, a bestselling author who doesn’t quite know who he is yet. Stumbling through France’s waterways, the two men go on many small adventures, pick up stray travelers, and learn to heal their emotional bruises, all the while sailing towards the truth of Perdu’s lost love.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is a quirky, yet gentle tale for fans of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared that will warm your heart and suggest a few good books along the way.