LibraryReads: Librarians Announce November Favorites

Ahead of Halloween, librarians around the country are immersing themselves in the gothic; they name Diane Setterfield’s Bellman & Black as the October title they are enjoying most. Also  making their top ten are new titles from masters Pat Conroy and Amy Tan. Next on my list though, is a mystery with an intriguing setting: Brock Maitland’s The Raven’s Eye, which opens with a death on a houseboat.

Interested in getting involved? LibraryReads welcomes recommendations from all public library staff members, not just readers’ advisory experts or credentialed librarians.

1. Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield (Emily Bestler: Atria).
“William Bellman is a happily married father with a promising future,  until an event from his childhood comes to haunt him and everyone he loves. Beautifully written with a vividly enticing setting, Bellman & Black is a truly gothic tale that will you have entwined in its arms until the very end.”Scott Lenski, Whitefish Bay Public Library, Whitefish Bay, WI
See LJ‘s starred review

2. Through the Evil Days: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur: St. Martin’s).
“Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne’s honeymoon retreat to the Adirondacks is interrupted by a brutal winter storm and a complicated police investigation involving a kidnapping, a drug ring and the murder of federal agents. Spencer-Fleming’s suspenseful and engrossing procedural introduces a fun, new character (Oscar the German Shepherd) and ends with a signature cliffhanger.”Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY
See LJ‘s Prepub preview

3. The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy (Nan A. Talese: Doubleday).
“Pat Conroy’s amazing voice is back and makes me realize how much I have missed hearing it. The Death of Santini takes a hard look at what has been the most obvious influence on Conroy’s work–his family.  Happily, this is not anything close to a pity party, but rather a lesson about how redemptive the powers of love and humor can be.”Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

4. Someone Else’s Love Story: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson (Morrow).
“Being held at gunpoint during a convenience store robbery jolts Shandi, a young single mom, out of her denial about her 3-year-old miracle son’s origins. When her rescuer, William, a geneticist with Asperger’s, offers a way to find out what really happened the night her son was conceived, Shandi has to face the past to find her own love story. I loved every page of this funny and endearing Southern novel.”Melissa DeWild, Kent District Library, Comstock Park, MI
See LJ‘s review

5. The Valley of Amazement: A Novel by Amy Tan (Ecco: HarperCollins).
“A new Amy Tan novel is an event. Under her sharp-eyed observations of mothers and daughters and their inexplicable bonds, is a powerful story of love, family, courage, and history.”Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
See LJ‘s starred review

6. Lies You Wanted to Hear: A Novel by James Whitfield Thomson (Sourcebooks).
“What causes a person to make bad choices, and to remain on a path so disastrous it could destroy a family? Thomson’s first novel raises these questions and explores the course of a failed marriage. The story is bitter and painful, but you’ll want to stick with it for the surprising turn that makes you wonder who is most to blame.”Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH
See LJ‘s review

7. The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: A Novel by P.S. Duffy (Liveright: Norton).
“Angus MacGrath is caught between the artist he longs to be and the naval career his father believes is more fitting for a man supporting a family on the coast of Nova Scotia. Angus enlists in World War I with the promise of a safe cartographer’s job, but finds himself thrust on the front lines of battle in France. The emotional havoc is palpable. Life changes in the blink of an eye and Duffy does a masterful job of letting the reader watch everyone desperately trying to catch up.”Jennifer Hendzlik, Anythink Libraries, Thornton, CO
See LJ‘s review

8. The Raven’s Eye: A Brock and Kolla Mystery by Barry Maitland (Minotaur: St. Martin’s).
“The latest Brock/Kolla mystery begins with a sudden death on a London houseboat. Unusual setting, great plot, wonderful writing. This fabulous series is yet to be discovered by many American lovers of British police procedurals. Great recommendation for fans of Ruth Rendell, Elizabeth George, early Martha Grimes and Deborah Crombie.”Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

9. Death of a Nightingale (Nina Borg #3): A Novel by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis (Soho Crime).
“Compulsive do-gooder Nina Borg is now involved with Ukrainian detainees seeking asylum in Denmark. Among them are Natasha, an abused refugee and widow of a slain journalist, and her anxious 8-year-old daughter, Katerina. The two are pursued by a mysterious, powerful Ukrainian woman and Danish security forces, who consider Natasha a suspect in her fiance’s murder. Two plots gradually merge in a dramatic climax. Recommended for fans of Karin Fossum, Arnaldur Indridison, Colin Cotterill and mystery lovers who prefer plots that explore social justice and morality.”Margaret Donovan, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA
See LJ‘s review

10. Parasite by Mira Grant (Orbit: Hachette).
“Mira Grant’s first outing after the completion of the Newsflesh Trilogy lives up to the standard entirely. What a creepily plausible look at the medical industry and scientific experimentation.  I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the sequel to this one.”Emily Hartman, Spring Lake District Library, Spring Lake, MI
See LJ‘s review

Henrietta Verma About Henrietta Verma

Henrietta Verma is Senior Editorial Communications Specialist at NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore, and was formerly the reviews editor at Library Journal.