A Familiar Stranger
by A.R. Torre
What it's about: Lillian Smith has a lot going on -- she just lost her job, her teenage son Jacob is growing increasingly withdrawn, and she just found proof that her emotionally distant husband Mike is having an affair. When the chance for a revenge fling arises Lillian decides to treat herself, sure that it will be a casual thing.
The problem: Somehow someone has a video of Lillian and the man she hooked up with, and it quickly spreads in their community after the footage is uploaded to social media. Then someone turns up dead, with Lillian as the prime suspect.
Reviewers say: A Familiar Stranger is "a wild ride whose perfectly timed shocks won't end till the last page" (Kirkus Reviews).
Judas 62 by Charles CummingWhat it is: an intricately plotted and action-packed story about the unintended consequences of an espionage operation gone wrong and the subsequent revenge served very, very cold.
Sequel to: Box 88, which introduced readers to the ultra-classified agency of the same name and one of its veteran agents, Lachlan “Lockie” Kite.
How it begins: Lockie learns that the case that made his career -- the extraction of a Soviet bioweapons expert at the end of the Cold War -- has earned him a spot on a kill list with other high-priority targets of the Kremlin.
Amok by Barry EislerDon't I know you? Readers of Barry Eisler's series starring John Rain or Livia Lone will recognize former Marine sniper and military contractor Carl Williams (aka Dox) from his appearance as a side character in The Chaos Kind and All the Devils.
This time: Dox starts his own series in 1991, at the start of an uneasy retirement. He jumps at the chance to work again when the CIA offers him a lucrative contract in East Timor, but he get more excitement than he bargained for after meeting Isobel Amaral, a charismatic doctor on the other side of the conflict.
Is it for you? Amok takes place during a complex, bloody conflict full of gray morality that might not appeal to readers who prefer circumstances that are more black and white.
The Opportunist by Elyse FriedmanThe setup: Financially struggling single mom Alana Shropshire is estranged from her toxic wealthy family, but accepts a deal with her brothers to stop their septuagenarian father from marrying Kelly, his 28-year-old nurse.
The problem: Alana only agreed to help because she's drowning in medical bills related to her daughter's muscular dystrophy; bride-to-be Kelly has no intentions of letting anything prevent the wedding.
Reviewers say: The Opportunist is “perfectly paced” with twists that will “keep readers glued to the pages” (Booklist).
A Mother Would Know by Amber GarzaStarring: Widowed musician Valerie, whose increasing forgetfulness might be a sign of the early onset Alzheimer’s disease that runs in her family; Valerie's troubled son Hudson, who moves home to help care for her.
What goes wrong: A young woman is found dead shortly after Hudson returns and the incident revives suspicions about his past, unsettling Valerie even more as she struggles to piece together the truth and consider her own safety.
For fans of: B.A. Paris and Camilla Way.
The Blackhouse by Carole JohnstoneTwenty years ago: At age five, Maggie MacKay announced that a man she had never met had been killed on the tiny Scottish island community of Kilmeray, a place she had never visited.
Present day: Neither Maggie nor Kilmeray fully recovered from what happened, something that becomes abundantly clear when she travels there as an adult, determined to finally discover the truth.
Read it for: the intricate plotting, creepy gothic atmosphere, and intensifying pace that will keep you turning the pages.
The Widowmaker by Hannah MorrisseyWhat it is: a second suspenseful and gritty police procedural about trauma and secrets in a decaying small town, following Hello, Transcriber.
The setting: Black Harbor, Wisconsin, where the unsolved disappearance of prominent local businessman that has haunted the town for 20 years and may have surprising connections to a recent murder.
For fans of: Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis.
All the Dark Places by Terri ParlatoHow it starts: Psychologist Jay Bradley has just celebrated his 40th birthday with his devoted wife Molly and three other couples at their suburban Massachusetts home.
What goes wrong: The next day, Jay is found in dead in his home office, with a slit throat and the start of an unanticipated new book about abnormal psychology open on his computer.
Read it for: the compelling narration, which alternates between the perspectives of Molly and the detective who interrogates her.
The Widow by Kaira RoudaWhat it's about: After the sudden death of her husband Martin, a politician with more than a dozen congressional terms under his belt, Jody Asher discovers that she's willing to do more than she realized to protect her family's name and political legacy from several scandalous, behind-the-scenes truths waiting to come to light.
How it's told: in Rouda's signature dishy, diaristic, first-person style.
Reviewers say: The Widow is a "deliciously diabolical take on marriage, politics, and the lies that bind" (Library Journal).
Contact your librarian for more great books!