The Double Agent by William ChristieSeries alert: The Double Agent is the sequel to A Single Spy, which first introduced readers to Alexsi Smirnoff, a thief spared the gulag in exchange for working for Soviet intelligence.
This time: Captured by the British, Alexsi's plan to stretch his debrief last until the end of the war is foiled when Churchill sends him back to Germany with a new identity and a much lower profile. Wanted for betraying both the Soviets and the Nazis, Alexsi will have use every bit of his resourcefulness and self-preservation skill to survive.
Is it for you? Alexsi's strongest conviction is the desire to keep himself alive, which might be "a breath of fresh air" (Booklist) to spy fiction fans but might rub others the wrong way.
Behind Her Lives by Briana ColeThe setup: Deven receives a call no one wants -- the police asking her to come identify what might be her sister Kennedy's body.
The twist: the body isn't Kennedy, but Deven's initial relief is soon outweighed by questions. Who is this stranger? Why was she found dead in Kennedy's apartment? And where on earth is Kennedy?
For fans of: Liv Constantine and B.A. Paris.
River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer GivhanWhat it's about: Eva Santos Moon has a deep connection with her Chicana heritage and the spiritual practices that go along with it, which she relies on to cope with PTSD-induced blackouts and memory gaps -- a condition that gets even worse when her husband is accused of a murder similar to the one that traumatized Eva in her youth.
Read it for: the well-developed characters, cultural fluency, and pervasive sense of psychological uncertainty.
You might also like: All the Broken Girls by Linda Hurtado Bond; My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa.
The Bequest by Joanna MargaretWhat it's about: Grad student Isabel Henley trades Boston for a university in Scotland only to learn that the renowned scholar who was to be her thesis advisor has just died in a hiking accident. When Isabel's only friend at the university gets kidnapped, she sets out on an international journey to discover the truth about both incidents.
Read it for: the informative research and obvious passion that author Joanna Margaret brings to Isabel's area of study, Renaissance art history.
For fans of: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides; Madam by Phoebe Wynne.
Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. MorrisWhat it is: the atmospheric, intricately plotted story of two sisters fleeing separately from Mississippi after Jim Crow injustices, gendered expectations, and the desire for self-determination make staying home impossible.
How it's told: in chapters that alternate between each sister's perspective as they leave for Cleveland and Washington D.C. respectively.
Reviewers say: Anywhere You Run is a "viscerally frightening novel of the Jim Crow era" and a "stunning, heartbreaking portrayal of being Black in the 1960s U.S. South" (Library Journal).
The Confessions of Matthew Strong by Ousmane K. Power-GreeneStarring: Allie Douglass, a Black philosophy professor researching a wave of disappearances of young Black women; the titular Matthew Strong, a white supremacist who kidnaps Allie and attempts to force her to write his Mein Kampf-like apologia for Southern history.
Is it for you? Unsurprisingly Matthew and his cohorts are deeply creepy, with a lot of the novel's menacing moments taking place in one-on-one interactions between Allie and her kidnapper that may be too uncomfortable for some readers.
Try this next: My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.
Malice House by Megan ShepherdWhat it's about: In need of the money, artist Haven Marbury has agreed to illustrate a creepy unpublished manuscript found in her Pulitzer Prize-winning father's home after his death. As the project progresses, Haven begins to learn things about the house, the nearby town, and her own family that undermine everything she once thought was true.
Is it for you? Malice House will probably appeal most to readers who don't mind when the line between thriller and horror gets a little fuzzy.
About the author: Malice House is the adult fiction debut of YA author Megan Shepherd, whose previous work includes the Madman's Daughter series.
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