The Vanished Queen, by Lisbeth Campbell
When a country is held in thrall to a vicious, despotic king, it’s up to one woman to take him down.
Long ago, Queen Mirantha vanished. King Karolje claimed it was an assassination by a neighboring king, but everyone knew it was a lie. He had Disappeared her himself.
But after finding the missing queen’s diary, Anza—impassioned by her father’s unjust execution and inspired by Mirantha’s words—joins the resistance group to overthrow the king. When an encounter with Prince Esvar thrusts her into a dangerous game of court politics, one misstep could lead to a fate worse than death.
Esvar is the second son to an evil king. Trapped under his thumb and desperate for a way out, a chance meeting with Anza gives him the opportunity to join the resistance. Together, they might have the leverage to move against the king—but if they fail, their deaths could mean a total loss of freedom for generations to follow.
The House on Widows Hill (Ishmael Jones #9), by Simon R. Green
Set high on top of Widows Hill, Harrow House has remained empty for years. Now, on behalf of an anonymous prospective buyer, Ishmael and Penny are spending a night there in order to investigate the rumours of strange lights, mysterious voices, unexplained disappearances, and establish whether the house is really haunted.
What really happened at Harrow House all those years ago? Joined by a celebrity psychic, a professional ghost-hunter, a local historian and a newspaper reporter, it becomes clear that each member of ‘Team Ghost’ has their own pet theory as to the cause of the alleged haunting. But when one of the group suddenly drops dead with no obvious cause, Ishmael realizes that if he can find out how and why the victim died, he will have the key to solving the mystery.
The Red Horse (Billy Boyle WWII Mysteries #15), by James R. Benn
Just days after the Liberation of Paris, US Army Detective Billy Boyle and Lieutenant Kazimierz are brought to Saint Albans Convalescent Hospital in the English countryside. Kaz has been diagnosed with a heart condition, and Billy is dealing with emotional exhaustion and his recent methamphetamine abuse. Meanwhile, Billy’s love, Diana Seaton, has been taken to Ravensbrück, the Nazi concentration camp for women, and Kaz’s sister, Angelika, who he recently learned was alive and working with the Polish Underground, has also been captured and transported to the same camp.
This news is brought by British Major Cosgrove, who asks Billy for help, unofficially, in solving what he thinks was the murder of a British agent recuperating at Saint Albans. The convalescent hospital is really a secret installation for those in the world of clandestine warfare to recover from wounds, physical and emotional. Some are allowed to leave; others are deemed security risks and are detained there. When a second body is found, it is evident that a killer is at work in this high-security enclave. Now Billy must carry out his covert investigation while maintaining his tenuous recovery, shielding his actions from suspicious hospital authorities, and dodging the unknown murderer.
The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris #2), by Carrie Rubin
Three and a half years after a bizarre incident nearly derailed his life, Benjamin Oris is back on track as a second-year orthopedic surgery resident. With a son he adores, a circle of supportive family and friends, and a great shot at winning the Conley Research Grant, his future looks bright. But when the severed limbs of his former patients start turning up in Philadelphia parks, everything he’s worked for threatens to collapse.
Covered in bite marks and bearing recent surgical implants, the hacked-off limbs heighten the anxiety among his already traumatized coworkers, many of whom survived a plane crash in Alaska the month before. Could someone they know be a killer?
With the help of his CDC friend Laurette and her forensic-psychiatrist colleague, Ben must once again bury his skepticism and risk his career to uncover the monstrous force behind the gruesome murders.
Before someone close to him becomes the next victim.
*Although a standalone novel, The Bone Hunger is the second book in the Benjamin Oris medical thriller series, where a man of science gets caught up in otherworldly situations.
The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus, by Jaime Jo Wright
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.
Sanctuary, by V V James
When young Daniel Whitman is killed at a high-school party, the community is ripped apart. The death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper Fenn is the daughter of a witch and she was there when he died. Was Daniel’s death an accident, revenge, or something more sinister? As accusations fly, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a witch-hunt…and the town becomes no sanctuary at all.In this dark mystery, V. V. James weaves a spellbinding tale of a town cracking into pieces and the devastating power of a mother’s love.
Opium and Absinthe, by Lydia Kang
New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?
A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.
Tillie can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister’s death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real—or whether she can trust those closest to her.
Before You Go, by Tommy Butler
In the Before, humankind is created with a hole in its heart, the designers not realizing their mistake—if it was a mistake—until too late.
Elliot Chance is just a boy, and knows nothing of this. All he knows is that he doesn’t feel at home in this world, and his desire for escape becomes more urgent as he grows into adulthood, where the turbulence of life seems to offer no cure for the emptiness. Desperate and lost, he stumbles upon a support group on the edge of Manhattan. There he meets two other drifting souls—Sasha, a young woman who leaves coded messages in the copy she writes for advertising campaigns, and Bannor, whose detailed depictions of the future make Elliot think he may have actually been there. With these two unlikely allies, Elliot launches into the business of life, determined to be happy in spite of himself.
Yet the hole in the heart is not so easily filled.
Profound yet playful, Before You Go is a beautiful, imaginative journey into the ache and wonder of being human, and the quest for a meaningful life.
Switchback (Patrick Flint #1), by Pamela Fagan Hutchins
All Patrick Flint wants is a peaceful getaway in the Wyoming mountains for his rare days off. He’s grown weary of the bicentennial celebrations, the angry families of patients, the rash of campers coming down from the mountains high on speed, and the midnight call-outs to cover for the town veterinarian. When his wife Susanne balks at the trip just as they’re walking out the door—leaving him to go it alone with his lovestruck teenage daughter Trish and eager-but-adolescent son Perry—Patrick is wounded but determined, despite the news of a murderer escaping custody on the other side of the mountains.
After two days of rain-soaked horseback riding to hunt and fish, Patrick’s gotten nothing but weird encounters, wet socks, and a whiny daughter. So, on the third day, when Trish begs to stay behind at their campsite to read, Patrick is secretly relieved.
Meanwhile back in town, Susanne’s had a rough time of it herself. A break-in, a wreck, and a premonition that something is terribly wrong with her family. Unable to ignore her growing fears, she enlists the help of a Wyoming-tough neighbor, and the two women make for the mountains.
When Patrick and Perry return to camp, Trish has vanished, along with the horses, the truck, and the trailer. Clues point in opposite directions. Did she run off with the boy whose note Patrick found at the camp? Or was she taken—as the tire marks over their destroyed tent suggest? Whichever it was, the tracks lead into the mountains, not out of them. With help too far away to make it before Trish’s trail is washed away, Patrick and Perry embark on a desperate trek into the wilderness to find her, with Susanne not far behind them.
Better Than People (Garnet Run #1), by Roan Parrish
Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.
Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.
Being with Jack—talking, waking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.
The All-Night Sun, by Diane Zinna
Lauren Cress teaches writing at a small college outside of Washington, DC. In the classroom, she is poised, smart, and kind, well-liked by her students and colleagues. But in her personal life, Lauren is troubled and isolated, still grappling with the sudden death of her parents ten years earlier. She seems to exist at a remove from everyone around her until a new student joins her class: charming, magnetic Siri, who appears to be everything Lauren wishes she could be. They fall headlong into an all-consuming friendship that feels to Lauren like she is reclaiming her lost adolescence.
When Siri invites her along on a trip home to Sweden for the summer, Lauren impulsively accepts, intrigued by how Siri describes it: “Everything will be green, fresh, new, just thawing out.” But once there, Lauren finds herself drawn to Siri’s enigmatic, brooding brother Magnus. Siri is resentful, and Lauren starts to see a new side of her friend: selfish, reckless, self-destructive, even cruel. On the last night of her trip, Lauren accompanies Siri and her friends on a seaside camping trip to celebrate Midsommar’s Eve, a night when no one sleeps, boundaries blur, and under the light of the unsetting sun, things take a dark turn.
Ultimately Lauren must acknowledge the truth of what happened with Siri and come to terms with her own tragic past in this gorgeously written, deeply felt debut about the relationships that come to us when things feel darkest–and the transformative power of female friendship.