The best new books this month chosen by us and other
independent booksellers across the country.

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick...

Watching You

By Lisa Jewell

(Atria Books, 9781501190070, $26)

"The picturesque painted houses at the top the of the street hide a delicate web of past and present intrigue. Complicated relationships abound: sisters and brothers, teacher and student, innocent love and the timeless theme of marital infidelity, and, of course, a murder. Jewell's understanding of the human psyche and its idiosyncrasies makes for a deliciously hard-to-put-down whodunit that hits all too close to home. She is a story weaver like no other and she had me guessing the whole way through."
--Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick Author Interview

photo: Andrew Whitton

Booksellers around the country have chosen Watching You, the new murder mystery by Lisa Jewell (Atria Books, December 26), as their number-one pick for the January 2019 Indie Next List.

In well-to-do Melville Heights, one of Bristol, England's poshest neighborhoods, everyone is watching each other, and everyone has a secret.

The neighborhood's enigmatic nature is revealed in bloody fashion when a gruesome murder is discovered in one of Melville’s picture-perfect homes. Other characters who live in the Heights include attractive young Joey Mullen, who develops a crush on her charming (married) neighbor, beloved local headmaster Tom Fitzwilliam; Tom's teenage son Freddie, an aspiring spy whose binoculars have observed some strange activity outside his bedroom window; one of Tom's students, Jenna Tripp, who is troubled by his focus on one of her friends; and Jenna's mother, who is convinced Fitzwilliam is after her.

Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of 16 novels, including the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone, I Found You, The Girls in the Garden, and The House We Grew Up In, among others. Her books have sold more than two million copies throughout the English-speaking world and have been translated into 16 languages. Jewell lives in London with her husband and two daughters.

Here, Jewell discusses the book Library Journal calls "perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Luckiest Girl Alive."

How did you come up with the idea for Watching You?

Sometimes it's really hard to know what makes you come up with the idea for a book, but I see now looking back on it. Lots of times I get inspiration from newspaper stories and all of the weird and wonderful things that happen in the world every day, and I just kept seeing these stories in the newspapers about these suburban love triangles where someone would end up dead. It was either the wife who killed the husband, or the mistress who killed the wife, or the husband who killed the wife, or the wife who killed the mistress--so that was the starting point. I just wanted to explore that because these people who you think are ordinary on the surface have dark, deep passions underlying.

The story really came together in my mind when I started to create the suburbs, the place I wanted all this to be happening. The setting is quite unique, so that really solved it on the page for me, when I visualized the houses high up looking down on the houses low down and realizing that the people inside could be watching each other.

Was the neighborhood you wrote about based on any particular neighborhood you had seen before?

Yes, when you are driving into the western part of England, toward Bristol and Bath and Somerset, you'll see up in the hills looking over the city of Bristol these rows of rainbow-colored houses. I wanted to use that imagery of the very, very bright houses but I didn't want to write about a place that already existed, so I made up my own place, my own village, and I gave it a name. So yeah, it's all based on those real houses, that real suburb of Bristol.

One theme in the book is that things aren't always what they seem, and people tend to make judgments based on appearances. These houses, these people, seem one way, but they're actually not--there's a hidden life behind those walls. Is this a theme you have written about before?

Because my books are always character-led, I think it's really important that characters are a full 360 degrees, that there are dimensions. When you're sitting at home on your own you probably think all sorts of dreadful things that most people would never know you thought about. And, of course, when you're a writer and you're writing about people, you can get into that--people's interior worlds--so it's very important to me that I always present the full picture with any character. That inevitably means that one minute, a character could be doing something quite generous or kind or thoughtful and then in the next chapter could be doing something a bit creepy or a bit vicious or a bit cruel, because that is the nature of human beings. Before I was writing crime novels, when I was writing romantic fiction, I would always have these very multi-faceted characters whom the reader could change their mind about. When you're reading, you're not just a witness to everybody's actions--you're a witness to everything that's going on in their heads.

What was it like moving from a career writing romances to one writing mysteries?

The important thing is that I kept the character-focused narrative. I always let my characters kind of lead the stories, which actually makes it an awful lot harder when you're writing crime. This book was the hardest of all of them because it's quite tricky--there's red herrings in it and there's twists--so I'm trying to balance those things but also trying to keep all these characters' actions authentic and true. It was definitely so hard to write, but this one became a particular kind of nightmare because it was so technical. I didn't want the technical aspects to overwhelm the human aspects of it, so from that point of view it was much harder.

I was just coming to the closing chapters this time last year and it was literally all I thought about, and not in a good way. It wasn't like I was so swept away in the pleasure of writing this book--it was this clunking thing in my head and I couldn't work out how it was going to come together. And it did all come together but, I have to admit, with the help of an editor who had a big say in working out some of the issues. It was a really awkward book to write and to make it seem smooth was very, very challenging.

Another interesting aspect of the book was the way you played with a common trope of mystery novels: that of the beautiful dead girl and the evil, scary man. Do you enjoy reversing and playing with the reader's assumptions when you write?

Yes, and I've done it before, including in Then She Was Gone, The Girls in the Garden, and The Third Wife. If I look back, I do this every single time. It's clearly something that is subconsciously very important to me, that I don't have the cliché, bloody female character and the bad man in the shadows of the night. I don't know if it's because I don't want to be clichéd or what. When it comes to me sitting down at my computer and finding stories, it just feels like a more interesting thing to write about. So, yes, in this book it's not a new thing for me to subvert that. I do it every time.

Who are some of the authors who have influenced your mystery writing career?

I tend to not like authors as such; I tend to like books, and I'm very much one of those readers who goes along with what books are big. I don't read classics, I don't reread books, I don't read obscure books. I like reading the very high-profile books that everybody else is reading, and of these, some live up to the hype, some don't live up to the hype. I do read mainly contemporary fiction and psychological thrillers, rather than the more quirky, literary stuff. I like Sally Rooney. Within the thriller genre, I like Clare Mackintosh, Ruth Ware, Louise Candlish, and Tammy Cohen. I don't really have a particular author that inspires me in that way, just because it's the books that inspire me. Any time I read a good book I've been inspired by it.

Are you working on anything new now?

Yes, I'm supposed to be finishing my 17th book around now. I just finished Watching You last year but I'm very, very behind on this one so I'm sitting in a café now writing it. I'm at around 46,000 words for book 17, which I'm hoping to finish in January.

As an author, what have your experiences been like at indie bookstores?

I visit an awful lot of bookshops for work and I've done an awful lot of events at independent bookshops, and they're just inspiring places to be. With each one of them, there is always a story. I love to talk to independent bookstore owners about their shop and when and how they bought it; every single shop owner has a completely different, fascinating backstory. It's the amount of love that goes into creating a beautiful shop in the first place, making it look so nice, and then all the work that goes into hosting events and creating that community atmosphere that makes people want to come into the shop. I think independent bookstores are just little gems, each and every one of them--they're magical. --Liz Button

More Indie Next List Great Reads

The Dreamers

By Karen Thompson Walker

(Random House, 9780812994162, $27)

"A strange virus invades a small university community, sending its victims into deep, seemingly endless sleep and infecting them with extremely powerful dreams. This backdrop provides a perfect scenario for examining the delicate, often unrecognized line between reality and perception. As the crisis deepens, the characters are caught up in a phantasmagorical world that challenges normal conceptions of existence. A thoughtful, provocative novel of strength and beauty."
--Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Water Cure

By Sophie Mackintosh

(Doubleday, 9780385543873, $25.95)

"Here's what they know: men hurt women, even if they don't mean to. And the island is the only safe place in a world that has been completely corrupted by pollution--at least that's what they've been told. So sisters Grace, Lia, and Sky occupy themselves with the painful rituals their parents have devised, exercises that will make them stronger and immune to love's sickness. Every day is the same until their father disappears and three strange men appear in his place. Violence is inevitable, but who will be the perpetrator? Gorgeously, perfectly written, The Water Cure luxuriates in an atmosphere of haunting, Atwoodian strangeness."
--Lauren Peugh, Powell's Books, Portland, OR

Ghost Wall

By Sarah Moss

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374161927, $22)

"Sarah Moss writes with a lyricism and an intelligence unlike any other author, and in Ghost Wall she deftly weaves threads of history, power, gender, and obsession into a stunning story that envelops you from the very first page. Lovely and haunting, Ghost Wall is both a powerful glimpse at how humanity interprets its history and a chilling reminder that the lines between past, present, and future are not always as clear as they seem."
--Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Freefall

By Jessica Barry

(Harper, 9780062874832, $27.99)

"There used to be a carnival ride where you would stand against a wall and as and the ride spun faster and faster, the floor would drop out but the force of the spin would keep you pinned to the wall. I got the same feeling when reading Jessica Barry's Freefall. The plot moved faster and faster until I felt myself holding my breath, right up until the final page. Clear your schedule and order takeout before you start this thriller!"
--Mary O'Malley, Anderson's Bookshop, La Grange, IL

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

By Dani Shapiro

(Knopf, 9781524732714, $24.95)

"Who are we? Does who we think we are change when we learn a family secret that alters the source of our identity? Shapiro has explored issues of identity in her previous memoirs, but in her latest she applies her signature candor and heart to a riveting, provocative, and inspiring genealogical mystery and journey of discovery."
--Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

An Anonymous Girl

By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

(St. Martin's Press, 9781250133731, $27.99)

"Fascinating turns abound in this story, which swirls around characters whose livelihoods are meant to hold them to the very highest of moral standards, including a psychologist conducting a study on morality who finds the perfect subject while she arranges for a duplicitous test of her husband's fidelity. This book is unrelenting in its tension, but in the best way. I stayed up well past 3:00 a.m. sorting out the very last pages, with no regrets the next day. I highly recommend you keep your eye on Hendricks and Pekkanen, for any project these ladies engage upon will surely delight!"
--Melissa Middleton, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Far Field

By Madhuri Vijay

(Grove Press, 9780802128409, $27)

"Few seasoned novelists--let alone a first-time novelist like Madhuri Vijay--are able to construct scene after scene with compelling interior drama, tension, and forward momentum, but you'll never want to stop reading as Vijay skillfully combines a personal journey and family mystery with a political examination of the Kashmiri-Indian troubles. Shalini, the narrator of this extraordinary work, has a mother who immediately belongs on any shortlist of literature's great characters. If I read a better novel in 2019, then 2019 will become my favorite year of the 21st century."
--Brian Lampkin, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC

Indies Introduce -- outstanding debuts as selected by independent booksellers

Looker

By Laura Sims

(Scribner, 9781501199110, $25)

"Wow, wow, wow! Anyone who has ever appreciated an unreliable narrator will be transfixed by this story of obsession and creeping madness. In the wake of infertility and a looming divorce, our unnamed protagonist becomes more and more preoccupied by the seemingly perfect actress who lives down the block. You'll read Looker in one sitting and want to pass it on to everyone you know--this is a stunner and a fantastic debut."
--Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3)

By Katherine Arden

(Del Rey, 9781101885994, $28)

"The Winter of the Witch takes place immediately after the events in The Girl in the Tower. The world of the old gods is fading, and a new religion is claiming the hearts of Vasya's people. Rus is on the brink of war, and Vasya, it seems, is up against the whole world. With the help of new allies, Vasya is determined to save all that she holds dear even if it means sacrificing everything. Vasya is the kind of character you cheer for, cry with, and roar alongside. 'Petrichor,' the word used to describe that sweet, earthy smell after it rains, is how I would describe the Winternight Trilogy. Arden's storytelling encompasses all your senses, so grab a hot mug of your favorite drink and settle in for Vasya's adventures in The Winter of the Witch."
--Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Sugar Run

By Mesha Maren

(Algonquin Books, 9781616206215, $26.95)

"This is the gritty Southern novel I've always wanted. Maren deftly navigates between two periods in time, telling interconnected, muddled love stories and mixing in stunning images of the West Virginia landscape her characters inhabit. She uses the presence of fracking on the family farm as a multifaceted metaphor, demonstrating how easily we fall prey to the type of immediate relief that will eventually destroy and poison us from within. Dark, yes, but so well-developed, timely, and shocking in its delivery that I absolutely could not put this book down."
--Maggie Fixler, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY

Golden State

By Ben Winters

(Mulholland Books, 9780316505413, $28)

"Golden State is a gripping and brainy page-turner. Winters asks his readers to imagine California as a sovereign (and surveillance) state in which intentionally lying is the greatest federal offense. The 'Byzantine business of reality maintenance' is carried out by a team of federal agents, including our hero, Laszlo Ratesic. Golden State is a mystery in both form and content. In addition to the seemingly simple incident Laszlo investigates at the start of the novel, there's the bigger question of what a novel really is, or means, or can do in the 'good, golden, safe' world its readers are transported to. Winters is especially good at keeping his readers off-balance. Not even his biggest fans will see some of the twists and turns he's built into this, his best book yet."
--John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Paragon Hotel

By Lyndsay Faye

(G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9780735210752, $26)

"Good gracious. I just adore all things written by Lyndsay Faye. Like her glorious Gods of Gotham series, The Paragon Hotel is a clever, fast-paced read with a unique ensemble of characters. Set during the Prohibition era, the novel bounces between the mafia-ridden streets of Harlem and the racially tense community of Portland, Oregon. Steeped in historical detail, The Paragon Hotel is wickedly smart and wholly entertaining. Faye has given readers another deviously delicious story."
--Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

Mouthful of Birds: Stories

By Samanta Schweblin

(Riverhead Books, 9780399184628, $26)

"Samanta Schweblin set a high standard with her translated debut novel Fever Dream, a standard she has now miraculously surpassed with this unnerving new collection of short stories, a must-read for anyone who doubts the written word's ability to touch reality. Mouthful of Birds will rattle your bones, infiltrate your mind, and engulf you in a surreal dream-state of bewilderment and ferocity that will leave you fearing to turn the page, even as you beg for more."
--Tianna Moxley, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, NY

The Orphan of Salt Winds

By Elizabeth Brooks

(Tin House Books, 9781947793224, $15.95; trade paper)

"As 2015 winds down, so does the life of Virginia, who at the age of 86 has decided to let a sign from her mysterious past give her reason to walk out into the treacherous marsh of the Salt Winds that claimed her foster father when she was a child. As Virginia ponders her fate, a young woman appears on her doorstep and complicates her plan, bringing a tidal wave of memories that cause her to see her last day in an altogether darker light. Told in alternating timelines that follow Virginia as a child in the early stages of WWII and as she plots out her last day alive in 2015, Elizabeth Brooks' novel of memories past and present plays out as a locked-room mystery Agatha Christie would be envious of."
--Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific With a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life

By Doug Bock Clark

(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316390620, $30)

"A good book can open your eyes to a world you never knew existed; a great book will make you care about those who inhabit that world. The Last Whalers is just such a book, inviting us into the lives of one of the last whaling tribes in existence as they struggle to hold onto the values of their past while the present beckons to the younger generations. With gripping hunting scenes, tender family moments, and conflicts as family members choose between tradition and hope, Doug Bock Clark's clean prose brings each of these moments to life and gives voice to this singular community."
--Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

By Jennifer Robson

(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062674951, $16.99; trade paper)

"Ann and Miriam are working for Norman Hartwell as embroiderers in 1947 when his firm receives a commission to create the wedding gown for Princess Elizabeth. As the two become best friends, we learn about their lives before the war and follow them as the gown is created. A fascinating look at life in post-WWII England, a time of both deprivation and joy as the country celebrates the wedding of their princess."
--Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The Au Pair

By Emma Rous

(Berkley, 9780440000457, $16; trade paper)

"If you love beautiful English country houses full of secrets, you'll devour The Au Pair. Rumors have always surrounded the family that lives at Summerbourne. As Seraphine sorts through her recently deceased father's possessions, she finds a photo from the day she and her brother were born but doesn't know why only one twin is in the photo. The answers to that question might lie with the au pair who took care of her older brother, Edwin. When Seraphine starts looking into the past, she doesn't realize the danger it will pose to her and her family. Rous immediately throws you into the fray with Seraphine's family, and it won't take long before you're furiously flipping the pages to find out what happens."
--John Kwiatkowski, Murder by the Book, Houston, TX

To Keep the Sun Alive

By Rabeah Ghaffari

(Catapult, 9781948226097, $25)

"Set during the Iranian Revolution, To Keep the Sun Alive is a beautifully written family epic that will completely wrap you up. It's a sweeping novel about identity and tradition, and it's full of characters you won't soon forget. Ghaffari masterfully blends the historical with the imagined, and her writing is wise and precise. An excellent novel!"
--Sarah Cassavant, SubText Books, St. Paul, MN

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children)

By Seanan McGuire

(Tor.com, 9780765399298, $17.99)

"Seanan McGuire's fourth installment in the lovely, spare Wayward Children series might be my favorite yet. Lundy is a returning character from the first book, and knowing how her story ends makes the journey to the end that much more poignant. This book, as well as the entire series, illustrates just how much we are defined both by the choices we make and the choices we refuse to make. Beautifully written, atmospheric, and just long enough to leave you longing for more, In an Absent Dream is perfect winter reading."
--Chelsea Bauer, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

The Afterlives

By Thomas Pierce

(Riverhead Books, 9780399573002, $16)

"In The Afterlives, Thomas Pierce follows a man's quest for what comes after death. The story skillfully intersects religion, technology, philosophy, humor, love, and fear, but love and fear are what really got to me. The novel celebrates the love we're born into with our family and the love we find, but behind that is the fear of its loss. The novel doesn't flinch. Pierce's characters are so natural and so funny that at times it felt like I was reading Douglas Coupland or Elan Mastai. The Afterlives didn't feel bleak or hopeless or preachy--it was sincere and hopeful."
--Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, VT

Anatomy of a Miracle

By Jonathan Miles

(Hogarth, 9780553447606, $16)

"A priest, a doctor, and a reality TV producer walk into a convenience store... Actually, the notable walker in this story is Cameron Harris, a paralyzed soldier who inexplicably rises from his wheelchair and starts walking in the Biz-E-Bee parking lot. Anatomy of a Miracle follows Harris and the aforementioned sundry characters in the aftermath and dissection of this reported 'miracle.' Was it science? Was it divine? Was it a hoax? Will it make for a hit TV show? Jonathan Miles' charming--and often humorous--novel explores the varying perspectives on faith, truth, and the unexpected consequences of the miraculous."
--Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Eternal Life

By Dara Horn

(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393356564, $15.95)

"Eternal Life is a stunningly moving and lively investigation of mortality. It is also a story of profound love--young love, eternal love, and the love of parents for their children. Rachel, whose inability to die animates the plot, is a strong, willful, and complex woman. Dara Horn, whom I have long admired, infuses the book with her profound knowledge of Judaism, without ever becoming dull or didactic. This is an ode to the joys, sorrows, and brevity of existence as seen through the improbable lens of eternal life--and it made me cry! Highly recommended."
--Lilla Weinberger, Readers' Books, Sonoma, CA

Everything Here Is Beautiful

By Mira T. Lee

(Penguin Books, 9780735221970, $16)

"Everything Here Is Beautiful is a remarkable debut about two sisters and the strength of their bond. At the heart of this story is Lucia--a sister, mother, and woman who struggles with mental illness. Told from alternating points of view, Mira T. Lee gives an honest and emotional look at living with mental illness and its impact on not only your own life but the lives of those you love most. Captivating doesn't begin to cover this novel. You will find me eagerly waiting on the edge of my seat for the next book by this talented author."
--Kaitlin Smith, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA

Force of Nature

By Jane Harper

(Flatiron Books, 9781250105653, $16.99)

"A company team-building weekend in the thick Australian bush goes awry when the women's team gets lost. Hidden feelings between team members complicate their mission to get back to the camp. When four of the five return, they each have a different story about what happened to Alice. After his debut in The Dry, Aaron Falk returns to solve this mystery and resolve some personal issues, but this time we have wet, cold wind creating the most miserable conditions imaginable for those who are lost, hungry, and quickly becoming suspicious of each other. The complicated plot, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and vivid description of the rugged Giralang Ranges will keep you breathless."
--Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Grist Mill Road

By Christopher J. Yates

(Picador, 9781250150301, $18)

"I love finding a new author who writes something so great that I'm compelled to find more of their work. Christopher Yates is my new guy. At the start of Grist Mill Road, the reader witnesses an event that changes the lives of three people, Hannah, Matthew, and Patrick, who each have their moment to narrate their side of the story. Saying there is great character depth here doesn't do Yates justice; they become living, breathing human beings. This gripping story keeps your heart racing at just the right pace and the story concludes right where it should. Be prepared to put yourself in another person's shoes--well, make that three pairs of shoes."
--Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel

By Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

(Harper Perennial, 9780062476074, $16.99)

"Even if you've never heard of Night Vale, I truly believe you'll enjoy It Devours. It's a book about science and religion. It's a book about belonging and how sometimes to truly understand what is happening, you may need an outsider's perspective. It's also a book about a friendly desert town that finds its way into some of the strangest predicaments, and the people who live there. In other words, it's superbly written science fiction that deserves to be read more than once."
--Allison Skaggs, Lowry's Books, Three Rivers, MI

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories

By Denis Johnson

(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812988659, $17)

"Denis Johnson is one of those writers whose work you read, no matter the topic or reviews. Even in his strangest stories, he manages to conjure just the right turns of phrase to put the reader within his wacky world. I was so excited to get my hands on his posthumously published collection of short stories, which reminds me of his breakout collection, Jesus' Son. The stories are wry, expertly written, and laced with similarly hazy, under-the-influence characters. It was bittersweet to read his final published works, but he certainly didn't let us down."
--Courtney Flynn, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, MA

Love and Ruin

By Paula McLain

(Ballantine Books, 9781101967393, $17)

"The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun were two of the most successful titles of the last decade for Alabama Booksmith, and Love and Ruin is more proof for the pudding that Paula McLain is a member of the master class of historical fiction writers. This exciting page-turner follows Martha Gellhorn as she reports from the center of the action of the Spanish Civil War, then jeopardizes her reputation and very existence by falling in love with the greatest literary giant of the day, Ernest Hemingway. This spectacular read is fact-based and deliciously entertaining."
--Jake Reiss, Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, AL

The Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica

By Laurie Gwen Shapiro

(Simon & Schuster, 9781476753874, $16)

"The story of Billy Gawronski, the young man who repeatedly tried to join Richard Byrd's Antarctic expedition, reads like an adventure novel. The reality of his life is beyond the realm of the wildest imagination. Shapiro brings this resilient and resourceful man to life against the changing world of the Roaring Twenties, and his story perfectly reflects a world undergoing vast change. Combining narrative, science, and portraits of outsized personalities, Shapiro treats the reader to a story that is not only relevant but a total joy."
--Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Tangerine

By Christine Mangan

(Ecco, 9780062686695, $16.99)

"Tangerine is one of the best debut novels I've read in a long time. Thanks to her exquisite writing, Christine Mangan manages to create a lush, vivid picture of Tangier in the 1950s and bring to life a complicated and very dark friendship between two young women. Lucy and Alice are former college roommates whose relationship has long since gone sour. When they reunite in Tangier, Mangan milks the delicious tension for all it's worth and brings their story to a shocking conclusion. This book is an absolute stunner!"
--Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

Two Girls Down

By Louisa Luna

(Anchor, 9780525433750, $16)

"At last, a book with girl in the title that is about actual girls. Kylie and Bailey, ages 8 and 10, disappear from a strip mall. Their mother is frantic and the police are making no progress. When the family hires Alice Vega, an out-of-state bounty hunter, to find the girls, she teams up with Max Caplan, a former cop turned private investigator, and they combine their skills to try to find the missing girls before it is too late. A suspenseful and all-too-real scenario that will drive readers to finish the story before doing anything else."
--Sharon K. Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI