Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Books: New Novels From Anthony Horowitz, Alyssa Cole, J.D. Robb, & Other Top Authors

It's been spring officially for nearly a month now, but this is when it really feels like you can go spend an afternoon in the park reading a book, and there are many new novels you can dive right into: Close to Death, by Anthony Horowitz; One Of Us Knows, by Alyssa Cole; Random in Death, by J.D. Robb; The Fortune Seller, by Rachel Kapelke-Dale; The Excitements, by CJ Wray; and last, but certainly not least, The Women, by Kristin Hannah.

Close to Death

By Anthony Horowitz

Harper/HarperCollins Publishers; hardcover, 421 pages; $30.00; on sale today, Tuesday, April 16th

Anthony Horowitz is a prolific author who has written the bestsellers Magpie Murders and The Word is Murder. His novel Trigger Mortis features original material from Ian Fleming, and his most recent Sherlock Holmes novel, Moriarty, is a hit among readers. There also are the Detective Hawthorne novels, The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, A Line to Kill, and The Twist of a Knife. His bestselling Alex Rider series for young adults has sold over 19 million copies worldwide. As a TV screenwriter, he created both the award-winning Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyle's War for PBS.    

Close to Death is the fifth novel, a literary whodunit, in the Detective Hawthorne series, as he is called on to solve an unsolvable case, a gruesome murder in an idyllic gated community in which suspects abound.

Richmond Upon Thames is one of the most desirable areas to live in London, and Riverview Close, which is a quiet, gated community in that neighborhood, seems to offer its residents the perfect life. 

That is, until Giles Kenworthy moves in with his wife and noisy children, his four gas-guzzling cars, his loud parties, and his plans to build a new swimming pool in his garden. The neighbors all have a reason to hate him and are soon up in arms against him.

Kenworthy is suddenly shot dead with a crossbow bolt through his neck, which leads all of them to come under suspicion and his murder opens the door to lies, deception, and further death.

The police are baffled, and they reluctantly call in former Detective Daniel Hawthorne. It doesn't take long for him to face the same seemingly impossible puzzle, which is how do you solve a murder when everyone has the same motive?

There is, as always, a fictionalized version of Horowitz in this novel, which has a plot that harkens back to one of Agatha Christie's most beloved and complex mysteries, Murder on the Orient Express.

One Of Us Knows 

By Alyssa Cole

William Morrow; hardcover, $30.00; available today, Tuesday, April 16th

Alyssa Cole in an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers and romance. Her books have received critical acclaim from outlets including Library Journal, Buzzfeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, and Entertainment Weekly. Cole's first thriller, after the Edgar Award-winning When No One Is Watching, also a New York Times bestseller.

One Of Us Knows is about Kenetria Nash, who years after a breakdown and a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder derailed her historical preservationist career, has been given a second chance, as the resident caretaker of a historic home. The one hitch is she finds herself trapped on an island with a murderer, as well as the ghosts of her past.

This is a house that has been dormant for years, and Ken has no idea when led her and her alters to this isolated Hudson River island, but she is determined not to ruin their opportunity. There is then a surprise visit from the home's conservation trust just as a Nor'easter bears down on the island. 

Ken's newfound life is disrupted, and she is left trapped with a group of possibly dangerous strangers, including the man who brought her life tumbling down years ago. When he is found dead, Ken is the prime suspect. This turns into a race against time, and while caught up in a web of secrets, Ken and her altars must band together to prove their innocence and discover the truth of Kavanaugh Island, as well as their own past, or risk losing not only their future, but their life.

One Of Us Knows has been honored as a Library Reads Hall of Fame Pick for April 2024, is selected by Bookish as one of "25 Books To Read By Black Authors," and by Paste Magazine and Scary Mommy as "One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2024."

Random in Death

By J.D. Robb

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 368 pages; $30.00

J.D. Robb is the pseudonym for #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. She has written over 240 novels, including the futuristic suspense In Death series. Last year saw the release, under Nora Roberts, of Identity, which we reviewed in June (please click here), and Payback in Death, which we covered in October (click here). There are over 500 million copies of her books in print.

This is Volume 58 of the In Death series, which has been lauded by an array pf peers in the mystery and thriller world, including Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Dennis Lehane, Linda Fairstein, and Andrew Gross. 

From the very first J.D. Robb book, Naked in Death, readers were drawn in by Lt. Eve Dallas, a tough cop with a dark past, and her  love interest, Roarke, who is full of mystery.

In Random in Death, a small and easily concealed weapon wreaks havoc, and the killer is just a face in the crowd. Jenna's parents had finally given in, and she made it to a  New York club with her best friends, watching the legendary band Avenue A.

Jenna has her demo in hand, in hopes of giving it to the guitarist, Jake Kincade. Then, Jake catches her eye and smiles. This is turning into the best night of her life, but it turns out to be the last night of her life.

Soon after, Jake is in the alley getting some fresh air, and the girl from the dance floor comes stumbling out. She is sick and confused and deathly pale. He tries to help, but it's of no use, as he doesn't know that someone in the crowd jabbed her with a needle.

When Jake's girlfriend Nadine arrives, she knows the only thing left to do for the girl is to call her friend, Lieutenant Eve Dallas. 

Everyone on the scene is interviewed, and lab results show a toxic mix of substances in the victim's body, and to add to the viciousness of it, the needle was teeming with infectious agents. 

Dallas is in search of a pattern, which provokes the following questions: Had any boys been harassing Jenna? Was she engaging in risky behavior or caught up in something shady? 

There are ultimately no obvious clues as to why this level-headed sixteen-year-old, who is passionate about her music, would be targeted. That worries Dallas because, if Jenna is not the actual target - if it was instead a random attack by a madman - there are likely more deaths to come.

The Fortune Seller

By Rachel Kapelke-Dale

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 320 pages; $29.00

Rachel Kapelke-Dale is the author of The Ingenue and The Ballerinas, and co-author of Graduates in Wonderland. Kapelke-Dale received a B.A. from Brown University, where she rode on the varsity equestrian team; an M.A. from the Universite de Paris-Diderot, and a Ph.D. from University College London. She currently lives in Paris.

The Fortune Seller is centered on middle-class Rosie Macalister, who has worked for years to fit in with her wealthy friends on the Yale equestrian team. When she returns from her junior year abroad with newfound confidence, Rosie finds that the group has changed, as there is now a mysterious intruder, Annelise Tattinger.

Unlike anyone Rosie has ever met, Annelise is a talented tarot reader and a brilliant rider, but when one of their friends notices money missing from her bank account, Annelise's place in the group is thrown into doubt.

As the girls turn against each other, the group's unspoken tensions and assumptions come to the surface and lead to devastating consequences. 

It isn't until after graduation, when Rosie begins a job at a Manhattan hedge fund, that she uncovers Annelise's true identity, and that her place in their elite Yale set was no accident. 

Is it too late for Rosie to put right what went wrong, or does everyone's luck run out at some point? This is a gripping story of class, ambition, and the desires that shape our lives.

The Excitements

By CJ Wray

William Morrow Paperbacks; paperback, $19.99

CJ Wray is the pseudonym of Christine Manby, who is a writer of several Sunday Times bestselling contemporary romance novels in the UK. Raised in the west of England, she studied psychology before she embarked on an entertaining and wide-ranging career in which she has sold kitchens, edited erotica, worked with an armed robber (reformed), and pretended to be a princess.

The Excitements, which has the subtitle "Two fabulous veterans...one final mission," is her first publication in the US market. It mixes three genres - thriller, historical, and contemporary fiction - together to create a brilliant and witty drama about two brave female World War II veterans, now in their late nineties, who survived the unthinkable without, but never lost their killer instinct, or on the flip side, their joie de vivre.

The Williamson sisters - Josephine and Penny - are Britain's most  treasured World War II veterans, and the are in huge demand. They are always making appearances at commemorative events and history festivals all over the country, and are still in great form.

They are always in search of their next "excitement," and this time it is a trip to Paris to receive the Legion d'honneur for their part in the liberation of France. As always, their devoted grand-nephew, Archie, will accompany them.

Keen historian Archie has always been given to understand that his great aunts did not have the biggest roles in the Women's Royal Navy and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, but that is only half the story. 

Both sisters have done a good job of hiding far more than the usual "official secrets," as there's a reason his sweet Auntie Penny can dispatch a would-be mugger with an umbrella. 

Along with that, this trip to Paris is not what it seems. The Williamson sisters have always been trailed by scandal and crime, even in the decades after the war. 

They have just received new information about an old adversary, and these much-decorated, but admittedly ancient, veterans variously intend to settle scores, avenge lost friends, and pull off one final, daring heist before the curtain closes on their illustrious career.

The Women

By Kristin Hannah

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, $30.00

Kristin Hannah is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including The Nightengale, The Great Alone, and The Four Winds. She is a former lawyer turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

The Women is an intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time, as well as a story of a nation divided. The story centers on twenty-year-old nursing student Frances "Frankie" McGrath, whose life changes when she hears someone say, "Women can be heroes," and it is a revelation.

Frankie was raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California, sheltered by her conservative parents, but she always prided herself on doing the right thing. In 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly starts to imagine a different future for herself. 

When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, Frankie is right there with him, as she joins the Army Nurse Corps. As green and inexperienced as the men sent over there to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. 

Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal. Friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets, as well as becomes one of, the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

The war is just beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends, as the real battle is when they return home to a changed and divided America, one filled with angry protesters and a country that wants to forget Vietnam. 

This is a story of deep friendships and bold patriotism, centered on a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire come to define an era. To Hannah, this story about one woman going to war casts a light on all women who put themselves in harm's way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has far too often been forgotten.

No comments:

Post a Comment