Lisa Gardner, Kimberla Lawson Roby, & Chris Bohjalian | Audio in Advance January 2017 | Fiction

29741905__1478806336_43075Barry, Brunonia. The Fifth Petal. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735286429. Reader TBA.
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed The Goddess Murders, in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, respected local historian Rose Whelan, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? 

Bohjalian, Chris. The Sleepwalker. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524754891. Reader TBA.
When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?

Branard, Lynne. Traveling Light. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520060927. Reader TBA.
Driving cross country with her three-legged dog, a stranger’s ashes, and a waitress named Blossom isn’t exactly something Alissa Wells had planned. It all starts when Alissa impulsively bids on an abandoned storage unit, soon becoming the proud new owner of Roger Hart’s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west; will returning the ashes of a dead man be the first step to her new life? Then Blossom, a recent high school graduate, hitches a ride to Texas, and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa’s eyes to the road in front of her.

Doctorow, E.L. Doctorow: Collected Stories. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524776626. Reader TBA.
In “A House on the Plains,” a mother has a plan for financial independence, which may include murder. In “Walter John Harmon,” a man starts a cult using subterfuge and seduction. “Jolene: A Life” follows a teenager who escapes her home for Hollywood on a perilous quest for success. “Heist,” the account of an Episcopal priest coping with a crisis of faith, was expanded into the bestseller City of God. “The Water Works,” about the underbelly of 1870s New York, grew into a brilliant novel. “Liner Notes: The Songs of Billy Bathgate” is a corollary to the renowned novel and includes Doctorow’s revisions. These 15 stories, written from the 1960s to the early 21st century, and selected, revised, and placed in order by the author himself shortly before he died in 2015, are a testament to Doctorow’s genius.

Eriksson, Caroline. The Missing. Brilliance. ISBN 9781531864262. Read by Tanya Eby.
An ordinary outing takes Greta, Alex, and four-year-old Smilla across Sweden’s mythical Lake Malice to a tiny, isolated island. While father and daughter tramp into the trees, Greta stays behind in the boat, lulled into a reverie by the misty, moody lake, only later to discover that the two haven’t returned. Her frantic search proves futile. They’ve disappeared without a trace. Greta struggles to understand their eerie vanishing. She desperately needs to call Alex, to be reassured that Smilla is safe, or contact the police. But now her cell phone is missing too. Back at her cottage, she finds it hidden away under the bedsheets. Had she done that? Or had someone else been in the cottage? But who, and why? 

Flint, Emma. Little Deaths. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478969051. Reader TBA.
It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, NY, and Ruth Malone—a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress—wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy’s body is found, and ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth. As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth’s life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing that litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth’s little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman—and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the conclusion that, facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children’s lives. Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete’s interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there’s something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. 

716162__1478806453_74833Frankel, Laurie. This Is How It Always Is. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427282521. Reader TBA.
When Rosie and Penn meet on a blind date, it’s like a fairy tale. Each immediately knows they’ve met the love of their life. Flash forward a decade: Rosie and Penn are married. They have four boys. Rosie desperately wants a girl. Alas, she gives birth to another boy, Claude. Then one day Claude puts on a dress. And he doesn’t want take it off. He wants to bring a purse to school, he wants to grow his hair long. He wants to be called Poppy. Rosie and Penn are progressive. They know gender normative stereotypes are just that. When Rosie realizes their middle-American town is too dangerous for Poppy, the family picks up and moves to liberal Seattle. But when they go to a party and start to introduce their children, it’s too confusing to explain. So they say nothing. Poppy passes as a girl. Until one day she doesn’t.

Fridlund, Emily. History of Wolves. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501941580. Reader TBA.
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong. And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. 

Gardner, Lisa. Right Behind You. Blackstone. ISBN 9781480598720. Reader TBA.
Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now 13 years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: they are all experts on monsters. Then the call comes in: a double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: the shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun. As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah?

Hulin, Rachel. Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524750510. Read by Ari Fliakos & Kristen Sieh.
Matilda Goodman is an underemployed wedding photographer grappling with her failure to live as an artist and the very bad lie she has told her boyfriend (that she has a dead twin). Harry, her (totally alive) brother, is an untenured professor of literature, anxiously contemplating his publishing status (unpublished) and sleeping with a student. When Matilda invites her boyfriend home for Thanksgiving to meet the family, and when Harry makes a desperate—and unethical—move to save his career, they set off an avalanche of shame, scandal, and drunken hot tub revelations that force them to examine the truth about who they really are.

Hurwitz, Gregg. The Nowhere Man. (Evan Smoak, Bk. 2). Brilliance. ISBN 9781491552001. Read by Scott Brick.
Taken from a group home at 12, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as part of the Orphan program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets, i.e., assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man. But the new head of the Orphan program hasn’t forgotten about him and is using all of his assets—including the remaining Orphans—to track down and eliminate Smoak. But this time, the attack comes from a different angle and Evan is caught unaware. Captured, drugged, and spirited off to a remote location, heavily guarded from all approaches. They think they have him trapped and helpless, but they don’t know who they’re dealing with, that they’ve trapped themselves inside that cage with one of the deadliest and most resourceful Orphans.

20760053__1478806513_51020Johnson, Lindsey Lee. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780451484000. Reader TBA.
Nestled among the redwoods north of San Francisco, Mill Valley is not the paradise it appears to be—and nobody knows this better than the students of the local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral. Abigail Cress is ticking off the boxes toward the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screwup. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.

LaBan, Elizabeth & Melissa DePino. Pretty Little World. Brilliance. ISBN 9781531877880. Read by Cassandra Campbell.
On a cozy street in Philadelphia, three neighboring families have become the best of friends. They can’t imagine life without one another—until one family outgrows their tiny row house. In a bid to stay together, a crazy idea is born: What if they tear down the walls between their homes and live together under one roof? And so an experiment begins. Celia and Mark now have the space they need. But is this really what Celia’s increasingly distant husband wants? Stephanie embraces the idea of one big, happy family, but has she considered how it may exacerbate the stark differences between her and her husband, Chris? While Hope always wanted a larger family with Leo, will caring for all the children really satisfy that need? Behind closed doors, they strive to preserve the closeness they treasure. But when boundaries are blurred, they are forced to question their choices and reimagine the true meaning of family.

Markert, James. The Angels’ Share. Brilliance. ISBN 9781531833671. Read by Gabe Wicks.
In the thick of the Great Depression, William McFee, the oldest son of the McFee family, is the latest in generations of distillery owners in Twisted Tree, KY, working with his parents to revive the business—all while reeling from the loss of his youngest brother, who died in a car crash under mysterious circumstances. When crowds of pilgrims begin visiting the grave of a drifter recently buried near the McFee property, the McFees are dubious, but miracles seem to come to those who interact with the deceased—and those now praying at the grave. People—good and bad, believers and disbelievers—descend on the town to visit the “Potter’s Field Christ” and even the McFees (who ache for their lost boy) experience a miracle of their own. But the publicity generated by the miracles threatens to bring the full depth of the McFees’ secret past to light, putting William and his family in jeopardy.

McVeigh, Jennifer. Leopard at the Door. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524703523. Read by Katharine McEwan.
After six years in England, Rachel has returned to Kenya and the farm where she spent her childhood, but the beloved home she’d longed for is much changed. Her father’s new companion—a strange, intolerant woman—has taken over the household. The political climate in the country grows more unsettled by the day and is approaching the boiling point. And looming over them all is the threat of the Mau Mau, a secret society intent on uniting the native Kenyans and overthrowing the whites. As Rachel struggles to find her place in her home and her country, she initiates a covert relationship, one that will demand from her a gross act of betrayal. One man knows her secret, and he has made it clear how she can buy his silence. But she knows something of her own, something she has never told anyone. And her knowledge brings her power.

Moriarty, Nicola. The Fifth Letter. Blackstone. ISBN 9781470854799. Read by Candice Moll.
Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been best friends since high school, but now, careers, husbands, and babies get in the way. As their yearly vacation becomes less of a priority—at least for three of the women—how can Joni find a way to draw the four of them back together? During a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. But the fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendship they share. Each letter is a dark confession revealing shocking information. Late on one of their last nights together, after the other three have gone to bed, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a burnt, crumpled, sheet of paper that holds the most shattering revelation of all. It is a fifth letter—a hate-filled rant that exposes a vicious, deeply hidden grudge that has festered for decades. But who wrote it? Which one of them has seethed with resentment all these years? 

Naughton, Elisabeth. Gone. Brilliance. ISBN 9781536609349. Read by Amy Landon.
Three years ago, Alec McClane and Raegan Devereaux lived every parent’s worst nightmare: their one-year-old daughter, Emma, was abducted from a park when Alec turned his back for just a moment. Emma was never found, and presumed dead. The crushing trauma, plus Alec’s unbearable guilt, ended the couple’s marriage. Now a four-year-old girl matching Emma’s profile is found wandering a local park. Alec and Raegan are heartbroken to discover she’s not their daughter but are newly motivated to find closure—and each secretly feels desperate to be in the other’s presence again. Alec suspects his vengeful biological father is behind Emma’s disappearance, but as Raegan investigates other abductions in the area, she sees a pattern—and begins to wonder if Emma’s kidnapping is actually linked to something more sinister. 

Raybourn, Deanna. A Perilous Undertaking. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501902543. Reader TBA.
London, 1887. Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, an establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task—saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress, Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week’s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer—a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia’s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. 

41vo4yi_dml__1478806581_38373Roby, Kimberla Lawson. Copycat. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478968856. Reader TBA.
Befriending Traci Calloway Cole is the best thing Simone Phillips has ever done. Traci is the kind of woman Simone wants to be—in every way possible. She begins copying her role model. Not because she wants to be Traci. She just wants to be exactly like Traci. Traci doesn’t worry, though. She knows Simone doesn’t mean any harm and that her mimicry is only sincere admiration. Until she discovers how far Simone’s obsession has gone. It is then that Simone’s entire world begins unraveling, and dreadful secrets from her past are exposed with no warning. Secrets that she’ll do almost anything to protect

Rooney, Kathleen. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427282378. Read by Xe Sands.
It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk. As she crosses the unsafe landscape of a run-down Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. As she strolls, she recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America, cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown. 

Sekaran, Shanthi. Lucky Boy. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524703028. Read by Soneela Nankani & Roxana Ortega.
Solimar Castro Valdez is 18 and drunk on optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the border between the United States and Mexico. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage and her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. 

Sharratt, Mary. Ecstasy. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520063737. Reader TBA.
Late 1800’s Vienna: Alma Schindler yearns to be a composer, but she loses her heart to the great Gustav Mahler, who demands that she give up composing as a condition for their marriage. Blinded by love and her awe of his genius, Alma agrees. But when tragedy strikes her young family, a startling new Alma emerges: one who refuses to choose between freedom and love. Shocking even herself, Alma unleashes her hypnotic power over men and triumphs over those who would dominate her. 

Sherman, Susan. If You Are There. Blackstone. ISBN 9781470814113. Read by Kate Reading.
In the early 1900s, young Lucia Rutkowska escapes the Warsaw ghetto to work as a kitchen maid in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the bustling city of Paris, only to be thrown out in the street. Her only recourse is to take a job working for a married couple—two disorganized, rather poor scientists so distracted by their work that their house and young child are often neglected. Lucia soon bonds with her eccentric employers, watching as they rise to fame as the great Marie and Pierre Curie. Soon all of Paris is alight with the news of an impending visit from Eusapia Palladino, the world’s most famous medium. It is through her now famous employers that Lucia attends Eusapia’s gatherings and eventually falls under the medium’s spell, leaving the Curie household to travel with Palladino to Italy. 

166364__1478806633_25266Williams, Beatriz. The Wicked City. Blackstone. ISBN 9781470856380. Reader TBA.
When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy. In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers. While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations.

Zhang, Lijia. Lotus. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504773164. Read by Angela Lin.
Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own path. She’s different than the other streetwalkers—reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile. The new millennium should’ve brought her better luck, but for now she leads a double life, wiring money home to her family and claiming she earns her wages waiting tables. Her striking eyes catch the attention of many, but Lotus weighs her options between becoming the concubine of a savvy migrant worker or a professional girlfriend to a rich and powerful playboy. Or she may choose the kind and decent Hu Binbing, a photojournalist reporting on China’s underground sex trade—who has a hidden past of his own. 

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.