Word of Honor (Love and Honor #2), by Hallee Bridgeman
FBI Special Agent Lynda Cutler is investigating an ecoterrorist organization in the Alaskan wilderness when her partner is taken captive and murdered before her very eyes. The only person who can identify the key players, Lynda gets assigned to take part in a joint operation in Istanbul to take the organization down.
As a woman in a Muslim country, she’ll find it much easier to move around undetected with a fake husband. Unfortunately for her, the man assigned to play the role is none other than US Army weapons specialist Bill Sanders–the man who crushed her heart into a million pieces back in college.
1989 (Allie Burns #2), by Val McDermid
Hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime, Val McDermid’s award-winning, internationally bestselling novels have captivated readers for more than thirty years. In her Allie Burns series, she returns to the past–both ours and in some ways her own–with the story of a female journalist whose stories lead her into world of corruption, terror, and murder.
It’s 1989 and Allie Burns is back. Older and maybe wiser, she’s running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media. But there’s plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service for the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction. The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there’s skullduggery in the medical research labs and there are seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When murder is added to this potent mix, Allie is forced to question all her old certainties.
Self-Portrait with Nothing, by Aimee Pokwatka
Abandoned as an infant on the local veterinarian’s front porch, Pepper Rafferty was raised by two loving mothers, and now at thirty-six is married to the stable, supportive Ike. She’s never told anyone that at fifteen she discovered the identity of her biological mother.
That’s because her birth mother is Ula Frost, a reclusive painter famous for the outrageous claims that her portraits summon their subjects’ doppelgangers from parallel universes.
Researching the rumors, Pepper couldn’t help but wonder:
Was there a parallel universe in which she was more confident, more accomplished, better able to accept love?
A universe in which Ula decided she was worth keeping?
A universe in which Ula’s rejection didn’t still hurt too much to share?
Hot Moon (Apollo Rising #1), by Alan Smale
Imagine for a second what would have happened if the Soviets had gotten a cosmonaut to the moon first, if Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had been in a humiliating second place. Everything would have unfolded differently.
America would never have let the Soviets win the space race. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, political suicide for any president. We’d have gritted our teeth and doubled down, poured billions into the Apollo program.
HOT MOON is set in 1979 in this alternate world. The US and the Soviets both have permanent moon bases, orbiting space stations, and manned spy satellites supported by frequent rocket launches. Reagan is President and the Cold War is hotter than ever.
The crew of Apollo 32, commanded by Vivian Carter, career astronaut, docks at NASA’s Columbia space station on their way to their main mission: exploring the volcanic Marius Hills region of the Moon. Vivian is caught in the crossfire as four Soviet Soyuz craft appear without warning to assault the orbiting station.
The Dead Won’t Tell, S.K. Waters
When Abbie Adams, a historian-turned-journalist, is hired to investigate a cold-case murder from 1969, she jumps at the chance. But soon after she begins researching the case, she realizes that Frank Wexler, the faculty advisor who tanked her thesis and a member of a powerful family in town, is connected to the crime and is definitely not talking.
As Abbie tracks down the remaining living witnesses, she slowly pieces together the events of that fateful night, and yet is not a single step closer to solving the case. Were the police back then told to stand down? To cover up the crime?
When her witnesses suddenly wind up dead, it becomes clear that Abbie has stumbled upon a sensitive truth that threatens to tear the fabric of the southern town apart. The killer could still be out there, and now he could be hunting her.
The Murders at Fleat House, by Lucinda Riley
The sudden death of a pupil in Fleat House at St Stephen’s – a small English private boarding school in deepest Norfolk – is a shocking event that the headmaster is very keen to call a tragic accident.
But the local police cannot rule out foul play and the case prompts the return of high-flying Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter to the force. Jazz has her own private reasons for stepping away from her police career in London but reluctantly agrees to front the investigation as a favour to her old boss.
Reunited with her loyal Sergeant, Alastair Miles, she enters the closed world of the school, and as Jazz begins to probe the circumstances surrounding Charlie Cavendish’s tragic death, events are soon to take another troubling turn.
Charlie is exposed as an arrogant bully and those around him had both motive and opportunity to switch the drugs he took daily to control his epilepsy.
As staff at the school close ranks, the disappearance of young pupil Rory Millar and the death of an elderly Classics Master provide Jazz with important leads but are destined to complicate the investigation further. As snow covers the landscape and another suspect goes missing, Jazz must also confront her own personal demons…
Then a particularly grim discovery at the school makes this the most challenging murder investigation of her career. Because Fleat House hides secrets darker than even Jazz could ever have imagined…
The Revivalists, by Christopher M. Hood
Bill and Penelope are the lucky ones. Not only do they survive the Shark Flu emerging from the melting Icelandic permafrost to sweep like a scythe across the world, but they begin to rebuild a life in the wreckage of the old. A garden to feed themselves planted where the lawn used to be, a mattress pulled down to the living room fireplace for warmth. Even Bill’s psychology practice endures the collapse of the social order, the handful of remaining clients bartering cans of food for their sessions. But when their daughter’s voice over the radio in the kitchen announces that she’s joined a cult three thousand miles away in Bishop, California, they leave it all behind to embark on a perilous trek across the hollowed-out remains of America to save her.
Their journey is an unforgettable odyssey through communities scattered across the continent, but for all the ways that the world has changed, the hopes and fears of this little family remain the same as they always have been. In The Revivalists, Christopher M. Hood creates a haunting, moving, darkly funny, and ultimately hopeful portrait of a world and a marriage tested by extraordinary circumstances.
When We Had Wings, by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, Susan Meissner
The Philippines, 1941. When U.S. Navy nurse Eleanor Lindstrom, U.S. Army nurse Penny Franklin, and Filipina nurse Lita Capel forge a friendship at the Army Navy Club in Manila, they believe they’re living a paradise assignment. All three are seeking a way to escape their pasts, but soon the beauty and promise of their surroundings give way to the heavy mantle of war.
Caught in the crosshairs of a fight between the U.S. military and the Imperial Japanese Army for control of the Philippine Islands, the nurses are forced to serve under combat conditions and, ultimately, endure captivity as the first female prisoners of the Second World War. As their resiliency is tested in the face of squalid living arrangements, food shortages, and the enemy’s blatant disregard for the articles of the Geneva Convention, the women strive to keep their hope— and their fellow inmates—alive, though not without great cost.
In this sweeping story based on the true experiences of nurses dubbed “the Angels of Bataan,” three women shift in and out of each other’s lives through the darkest days of the war, buoyed by their unwavering friendship and distant dreams of liberation.
The Night Ship, by Jess Kidd
1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.
1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…
The Confessions of Matthew Strong, by Ousmane K. Power-Greene
One could argue the story begins the night Allegra Douglass is awarded Distinguished Chair in Philosophy at her top-tier university in New York—the same night her grandmother dies—or before that: the day Allie left Birmingham and never looked back. Or even before that: the day her mother disappeared. But for our purposes Allie’s story begins at the end, when she is finally ready to tell her version of what happened with a white supremacist named Matthew Strong.
From the beginning, Allie had the clues: in a spate of possibly connected disappearances of other young Black women; in a series of recently restored plantation homes; in letters outlining an uprising; in maps of slave trade routes and old estates; in hidden caves and buried tunnels; and finally, in a confessional that should never have existed. They just have to make a case strong enough for the FBI and police to listen. This is when Allie herself disappears.
Allie is a survivor. She survived the newly post-Jim Crow south, she survived cancer, and she will survive being stalked and kidnapped by Matthew Strong, who seeks to ignite a revolution. The surprise in this doesn’t lie in the question of will she be taken; it lies in how she and her community outsmart a tactical madman.
The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern, by Rita Zoey Chin
Born in a carnival trailer, Leah Fern begins her life as the “The Youngest and Very Best Fortuneteller in the World,” taking strangers’ hands and feeling the depths of their emotions. Her mother Jeannie Starr is a captivating magician, but not always an attentive mother, and when Leah is six, Jeannie upends their carnival life with an unexpected exit. With little fanfare and no explanation, she leaves her daughter at the home of Edward Murphy, a kindly older man with whom Leah shares one fierce wish: that Jeannie Starr will return to them.
After fifteen years as a small-town outcast, Leah decides to end her life on the occasion of her twenty-first birthday. But the intricate death ritual she has devised is interrupted by a surprise knock on her door. Her mysterious neighbor, the curmudgeonly and reclusive art photographer Essie East, has died and left Leah a very strange inheritance. Through a series of letters, Essie will posthumously lead Leah on a journey to nine points on the map, spanning from South Carolina to Canada to the Arctic Circle—a journey that, the first note promises, will reveal the story of Leah’s mother.
Driven by a ferocious resurgence of hope, Leah embarks on this bizarre treasure hunt, Essie’s ashes in a jeweled urn in the passenger seat of her truck. Along her way, she visits islands, libraries, diners, and defunct ice cream parlors, meeting a charming cast of eccentric characters and immersing herself in wonders of the natural world.