Mystery Monday: The Strand’s Top 12 Mysteries for 2015

MysteryMondayBannerAndrew Gulli, Managing Editor for The Strand Magazine, has selected his top 12 mysteries for 2015.  How many have you read?

The Killing Kind1. The Killing Kind by Chris Holm: A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up a target himself. Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he’s not so bad a guy.

2. Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver: A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire. Kathryn The FixerDance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned.

3. The Fixer by Joseph Finder: When Rick Hoffman starts to renovate the home of his youth, he makes an electrifying discovery that will put his life in peril – and change everything he thought he knew about his father.

Broken Promise4. Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay: After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent. Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own–a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch. Continue reading

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Mystery Monday: Something To Sink Your Teeth Into

DCL_MysteryThere’s nothing better than a good mystery & great recipes!!!  For fans of Diane Mott Davidson, check out these additional cozy mysteries that include recipes.

With a Thanksgiving setting…

Diva Runs Out of ThymeThe Diva Runs Out Of Thyme by Krista Davis: Few can compete with Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining but Sophie Winston is going to try.  Natasha is always in the spotlight and has stolen Sophie’s husband, so Sophie is determined to win the prize for the Stupendous Stuffing  Shakedown.  But Sophie’s search for the perfect turkey goes awry when a body turns up and Sophie is linked to the victim.  If she doesn’t solve the murder, she’ll soon be serving up prison grub.  Check out all of the books in the Diva Mystery series!

Additional Mysteries with Sweet Recipes…

Donut Shop Mystery Series by Jessica Beck:  Glazed MurderSuzanne Hart is the owner of a small town donut shop in April Springs, North Carolina.  With an ex-husband, wacky friend and a hunky copy, things are bound to get interesting when murder is added to the mix.  First book in the series is Glazed Murder. Great donut recipes included.

Lexy Baker Bakery Mystery Series by Leighann Dobbs: Things are going great for Lexy Baker.  She’s finally opened her dream bakery, gotten rid of her cheating boyfriend and settled into her grandmothers house.  But her blissful life doesn’t last long. When her ex boyfriend is found poisoned with cupcakes from her bakery, Lexy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation headed up by her neighbor detective, Jack Perillo. As things heat up on the murder trail, in the kitchen and between Lexy and the neighbor/detective, it’s a race against time to put the real murderer behind bars and get back to baking.  Start the fun with Killer Cupcakes!

Slice of MurderWanting something a little less sweet?

Pizza Lovers Mystery Series by Chris Cavender: Not too much happens in the sleepy little town of Timber Ridge, North Carolina, which is fine with pizza-purveyor extraordinaire Eleanor Swift. The spunky owner of A Slice of Delight is trying to mend her broken heart and could use a little quiet time but then dead bodies begin to show up.  A Slice of Murder is the first book in this series.

– Carol W.

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Liars, Cheaters, and Thieves

Each of the titles in this round-up includes characters, both dead and alive, who are not exactly who they appear to be. Readers will find themselves being drawn into the stories, questioning an “unreliable narrator” here, sorting out a double-life there, always wondering where the truth really lies. Who can you believe?

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

and only to deceiveThose fond of historical fiction will enjoy being immersed in Victorian society in And Only to Deceive. For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily’s dashing husband died on safari soon after their wedding, she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him. Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different man from the one she had married so cavalierly. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with his wife. Emily’s intellectual pursuits and her desire to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband’s favorite places. There, she uncovers a dark and dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to complicate matters, she’s juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated. Listeners will be charmed by Kate Reading’s vocalization of Emily.

 The Forgers by Bradford Morrow

forgersThe Forgers is a richly told literary thriller about the dark side of the rare book world. The rare book world is stunned when a reclusive collector, Adam Diehl, is found on the floor of his Montauk home: hands severed, surrounded by valuable inscribed books and original manuscripts that have been vandalized beyond repair. Adam’s sister, Meghan, and her lover, Will—a convicted if unrepentant literary forger—struggle to come to terms with the seemingly incomprehensible murder. But when Will begins receiving threatening handwritten letters, seemingly penned by long-dead authors, but really from someone who knows secrets about Adam’s death and Will’s past, he understands his own life is also on the line—and attempts to forge a new beginning for himself and Meg. Morrow expertly pulls the reader along, tempting belief that Will might change his stripes, and if you like listening to books, the narration by award-winning reader R.C. Bray is top notch.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

kind worth killingOn a flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning Lily Kintner. Over martinis, the strangers play a game in which they reveal intimate details about themselves. Ted claims, half-seriously, that he would like to kill his somewhat bohemian wife Miranda, for having an affair. Then Lily surprises him by saying that she’d like to help. Back in Boston, Ted and Lily forge an unusual bond and talk about the ways Ted can get out of his marriage. But Lily has her own dark history she’s not sharing with Ted. As Ted begins to fall in love with Lily, he grows anxious about any holes in their scheme that could give them away. And suddenly the two are pulled into a very lethal game of cat and mouse, one in which both are not likely to survive when all is said and done. This tale keeps readers hanging on ‘til the very end, waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop! Listeners who enjoy full cast audio will be delighted by the voices of Johnny Heller, Karen White, Kathleen Early, and Keith Szarabajka.

The Poser by Jacob Rubin

poserAll his life, Giovanni Bernini has possessed an uncanny gift: he can imitate anyone he meets. Honed by his mother at a young age, the talent catapults him from small-town obscurity to stardom. As Giovanni describes it, “No one’s disguise is perfect. There is in every person, no matter how graceful, a seam, a thread curling out of them… When pulled by the right hands, it will unravel the person entire.” As his fame grows, Giovanni encounters a beautiful and enigmatic stage singer, Lucy Starlight—the only person whose thread he cannot find—and becomes increasingly trapped inside his many poses. Ultimately, he must assume the one identity he has never been able to master: his own. With playful surrealism, Jacob Rubin’s The Poser is the debut of a major literary voice, a deeply original comic novel, and the moving story of a man who must risk everything for the chance to save his life and know true love. The audiobook narration by Robert Fass is superb, showing incredible range across the many characters Giovanni encounters.

~ Dodie O.                                                      Librarian at James H. LaRue

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Alice in Wonderland Turns 150

anotated akice2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and we have the books to celebrate! If it’s been a while, start out with the original. The Annotated Alice is a great way to revisit a classic. With classic illustrations and fascinating analysis of the wordplay and puzzles of Wonderland, it’s sure to provide new insights.

alices adventures decodedOr go even deeper into the puzzles with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded. But there’s no reason to stop there. Alice has inspired retellings in every genre, for every age level, and the sesquicentennial has more hitting our shelves.

For literary fiction readers, don’t miss Gregory Maguire’s take on after alicethe world down the rabbit hole in After Alice. Alice’s friend Ada takes her own journey through the less-traveled paths of Wonderland. Maguire intersperses Ada’s trip with details of Victorian London in the world above, for a complex, interesting read.

down the rabbit holeIf popular fiction is more your style, try Down the Rabbit Hole. This fiction anthology contains stories from NYT bestselling authors, including a new Eve Dallas novella from J.D. Robb.

Or take on a cozy mystery, with Death of a Mad Hatter, from Jenn deth of a nad hatterMcKinlay. Murder stalks the festivities at a Wonderland themed tea party, and it’s up to two amateur sleuths to follow the clues.As you’d expect from a classic children’s story, Wonderland celebrations aren’t restricted to the adult stacks.

Take a trip to the Young Adult section for more Alice stories, or share with a teen in your life. Splintered, by A.G. Howard, is a dark fantasy retelling, where the line between madness and reality is hard to define and even harder to travel. Gena Showalter’s Alice in Zombieland series casts Alice as a determined zombie slayer. Or, for an epic fantasy Wonderland, try Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars.

splinteredalice in zombieland  looking glas wars

However you celebrate, take a new trip down the rabbit hole this year. At 150, Lewis Carroll’s classic is more popular as ever.

~Kimberly C.                         Patron Service Technician @ JHL

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Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies

Belle Cora is about hardship, sickness, tragedies, deceit, lies, love, perseverance, disasters, murder, and death. Arabelle Goodwin survives the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 and decides to write her memoir as she nears the end of her colorful life.

belle coaraArabelle was born in 1828. The family is living in New York City, when both her mother and father die and the children are sent to live with their grandparents. Fearing that the children have consumption, their grandparents send them away to live on a farm in upstate New York with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. Life on the farm is very different and Belle and her four brothers learn some lessons the hard way. She also falls in love with a boy named Jeptha. Her cousin, Agnes, is very jealous of Arabelle and purposely gets her in trouble. Because of nasty rumors started by Agnes, Arabelle loses Jeptha and is sent away to work at a clothing mill. From this point on, she has to make some tough choices to support herself, and ends up as Belle Cora, a Madame in one of the most famous brothels in San Francisco in the gold mine era.

Bella Cora was a real person but the book is historical fiction. Because of the real historical events and because it was well written without much graphic detail of prostitution and rape, I loved this book! It is a must read!

~Janine S.                                                         Patron Service Technician @ Contact Center

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Mystery Monday: Great Non-Fiction Books for the Mystery Reader

MysteryMondayBannerIn a mystery novel, there are often dead bodies everywhere.  Of course with cozy mysteries, the death of a person is down played with the primary focus being on who did it?  Other mysteries may be darker and more graphic and a bit unsettling.  There can be a bit of detachment from the fictional accounts of murder mysteries to what actually happens in real life.  For a change of pace, have you ever considered reading some non-fiction titles that look at death?  Here are a couple that I’ve stumbled upon:

Stiff Mary RoachStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach — This book won multiple awards when it was published in 2003 and though an older title,  it still provides a fascinating history and look at the use of cadavers. Did you know that cadavers traveled aboard the NASA Space Shuttle, were crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800? Cadavers have also provided surgeons the opportunity to explore and practice new surgical procedures from heart transplants and face lifts to gender reassignment surgery.  If you’re into forensic mysteries, check out this non-fiction book.

Down Among the Dead Men: A Year in the Life of a Mortuary Technician by Michelle Williams — This is a look at working in a mortuary and the interesting things that really happened. “What I didn’t realize then,” she writes, “was that I was about to start one of the most amazing jobs you can do.” To Williams, life in the mortuary is neither grim nor frightening. She introduces readers to a host of unique characters: pathologists (many eccentric, some utterly crazy), undertakers, and the man from the coroner’s office who sings to her every morning. No two days are alike, and while Williams’s sensitivity to the dead never wavers, her tales from the crypt range from mischievous to downright shocking.

 Working Stiff : Two Years, 262 Bodies and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek — The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases that shaped her as both a physician and a mother. Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. Working Stiff chronicles Judy’s two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587.

– Carol W.

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Mystery Monday: All in a Nose

MysteryMondayBannerBelgian_malinoisPolice dogs generally don’t get the credit that they deserve. Placed in constantly dangerous situations, their careers generally last between 6 to 8 years before they are retired.  They are well known for their intelligence, endurance and work ethic. Using a sense of smell that is 10,000 times more acute than a human’s, these dogs can sniff out drugs, explosives, electronics (think of illegal information on thumb drives), cadaver detection and can even tell the difference between identical twins if needed.  Generally police dogs are German Shepherds but Belgian Malinois are also a popular breed used by police departments.   Enjoy these mysteries featuring these unsung heroes:

Scent of MurderScent of Murder by James O. Born: Two years after being tossed from the detective bureau for using questionable tactics while catching a child molester, deputy Tim Hallett’s life is finally on track. Assigned to a special K-9 unit with the best partner in the world, a Belgian Malinois named Rocky, Hallett has finally learned to balance police work with his family life. But that all changes in the heat of a Florida sugarcane field. While searching for a kidnapper, Rocky locks onto the scent of a predator unlike anyone has ever seen. Or have they?

Breaking Creed & Silent Creed by Alex Kava: This thrilling new series introduces Ryder Creed, ex-marine turned K9 search-and-rescue dog trainer as he teams up with fan-favorite FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell. Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines. They’ve intercepted several major drug stashes being smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention. When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartels’ latest shipment isn’t drugs. This time, its cargo is human.

Paw and OrderPaw Enforcement Mysteries by Diane Kelly — These lighter mysteries: Paw Enforcement, Paw & Order and Laying Down the Paw showcase police officer Megan Luz and her loyal K-9 partner Brigit. Officer Luz is lucky she still has a job after tasering a male colleague where it counts the most. Sure, he had it coming, which is why the police chief is giving Megan a second chance. Her new partner can’t carry a gun, can’t drive a cruiser, and can’t recite the Miranda Rights. Because her new partner is a big furry police dog.

Burning Man by Alan Russell: When LAPD detective Michael Gideon and his police-dog partner Sirius are assigned to the Special Cases Unit (SCU), Gideon knows their work lives will be anything but ordinary. SCU gets the cases no one else wants, the unusual and bizarre crimes that need special handling and special investigators. When a high-school student is found crucified in a local park, Gideon and Sirius must face up to the gruesome tableau and the motivation behind the murder

Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods: Forced into early retirement at thirty-seven, smart, Orchid Beachattractive, and fiercely independent Major Holly Barker trades in her bars as a military cop for the badge of deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. But below the sunny surface of this sleepy, well-to-do island town lies an evil that escalates into the cold-blooded murder of one of Holly’s new colleagues. An outsider, Holly has little to go on for answers and no one to help her–except Daisy, a Doberman of exceptional intelligence and loyalty that becomes her companion and protector. The closer Holly gets to the truth, the more she knows that it’ll take one smart dog with guts to sniff out this killer–before he can catch her first.

–Carol W.



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Mystery Monday: Haunting Reads

Mystery MondayGhost stories are my secret reading fix—and the time around Halloween always inspires me to freely indulge my fascination with the “other side”. Here are some you might like, too.  

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

gatesofevangelineThere are a whole lot of reasons I’m talking about this solid debut novel. It combines some really likeable main characters with an atmospheric bayou setting, a healing romance, and little kids who appear in dreams and act all creepy- I gotta love it.                           When Charlotte “Charlie” Cates suffers an unthinkable loss, she suddenly sees her life differently. What’s more her troubled dreams are haunted by children who seem to need her help. Desperate to escape both her unbearably shallow workplace and her unbearably empty home, Charlie takes a job writing for Cold Crimes magazine. It lands her in a bucolic Louisiana town, at an antebellum mansion called Evangeline, where a family with a long and troubled history resides. There is certainly much more going on there than meets the eye.                                                                                                   Charlie is thrust into the middle of Evangeline’s turmoil, unsure about who is trustworthy. She’s trying to get answers about a cold case that has gone unsolved for 30 years. She’s also surprised to find herself attracted to a man who should be all wrong for her –for a lot of reasons. All the while a little boy who haunts Charlie’s dreams urges her into even more mysterious and dangerous situations.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times wewereliarsbestselling author and National Book Award finalist, E. Lockhart. It was fascinating to imagine a family living this lifestyle, and this  story has enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the satisfyingly shocking end. We Were Liars is a young adult book that has definite crossover appeal for adults – when you are done reading, you will want to talk to somebody else about this one.

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

nightsisterMcMahon’s many fans will welcome her latest novel, a gripping and suspenseful tale set in rural Vermont (I’m scared already) that probes the bond between sisters and the peril of keeping secrets.

The Tower Motel stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever. Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer. When they suddenly learn that Amy is being accused of a horrific crime, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the past. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds–revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.

 If you like your scary delivered in smaller doses, try a short story collection.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

trigger warningThis new anthology is a “rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In Adventure Story–a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane–Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience A Calendar of Tales are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year–stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale The Case of Death and Honey. And Click-Clack the Rattlebag explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.”  Gaiman once again transports us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements, Trigger Warning is a gift from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.

Ghostly by Audrey Niffenegger et. al.

I am all set to start this one next! Collected and introduced by the bestselling author of TheGhostly Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry it includes her own illustrations for each piece. This is a unique and haunting anthology of some of the “best ghost stories of all time.” From Edgar Allen Poe to Kelly Link, M.R. James to Neil Gaiman, H. H. Munro to Audrey Niffenegger’s own, “A Secret Life With Cats,”  Ghostly strives to reveal the evolution of the ghost story genre. The tales span from the eighteenth century into the modern era, ranging across styles from Gothic Horror to Victorian. The collection showcases the best of the best in the field, including Edith Wharton, P.G. Wodehouse, A.S. Byatt, and Ray Bradbury. There is a particular bent toward stories about haunting–haunted children, animals, houses. Every story is introduced by Niffenegger, with some background and why she chose to include it. Perfect for the classic and contemporary ghost story aficionado, this is a beautifully illustrated and suitably scary read.

You know sometimes we just need to laugh about it. So if you are in the mood for a lighter approach to the dark and scary side, here are two titles that do the trick—and are a real treat!

What a Ghoul Wants by Victoria Laurie

whataghoulwantsThis is number seven (after Ghoul Interrupted) in Laurie’s fun paranormal series. Kidwella Castle in northern Wales is rumoured to be haunted by a deadly ghost, the Grim Widow, who allegedly drowns unsuspecting guests in the castle’s moat. M.J Holliday has the ability to talk to ghosts, so when she and her T.V crew arrive to film their ghost-hunting cable TV show, Ghoul Getters, mysterious things start to occur. Not long after their arrival, two new victims are added to the widow’s grisly roster. Fear ripples through the castle, especially when it is discovered that the victims may have had help into their watery graves from someone alive

Spirited by Mary Behre

Juliana Scott sees ghosts but is less than anxious to share this news. She has a meet-cute spiritedwith a hot detective, who just happens to be her neighbor, Seth English. Though they are not favorably impressed with each other at first, Seth and Jules soon join forces to clear up the facts behind a murder mix up that lands Jules under police suspicion, with a killer on her trail. She is forced to rely on the skeptical Seth.  Library journal calls Spirited, “Lively, funny, and fresh,” a debut novel that is “just the thing for readers who want their mystery thrillers with a ghostly twist and an offbeat sense of humor.”

I thought this ghost-story mystery teetered between lighthearted and downright silly. But it could be just what Romance fans are looking for this time of year.


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Mystery Monday: Halloween Mysteries

MysteryMondayBannerIf you’re not in the mood for horror but want a fun mystery to read this Halloween, check out these cozy mystery titles:

Halloween PartyHallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie: Who believes that a teen witnessed a murder?  Evidently no one until the teen ends up dead in the apple bobbing tub.  Fortunately, Hercule Poirot is on the case!

Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier: Halloween is coming to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and local reporter Lucy Stone is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest.  When her husband’s friend Evan ends up stuffed in the trunk of a car and her husband is accused of the murder, Lucy must figure out who the real killer is.

Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine: In this fun Halloween mystery,Death of a Neighborhood Witch there is a plethora of suspects in the death of a very unpopular and witchy neighbor named Cryptessa (seriously!).  Was it the barracuda husband and wife realtors whose landscaping Cryptessa had bulldozed, the seemingly sweet old lady whose beloved dog was the object of Cryptessa’s wrath or perhaps Cryptessa’s own nephew that killed her?  Can Jaine* Austen get to the bottom of this mystery without putting herself in grave danger?!!!

A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford: The Peabody School has been turned into a haunted house fundraiser for the Longely, N.Y. volunteer firefighters.  Will this charity event turn into a real life horror flick? The severed head that roles down the staircase seems to be real.  Can the Little Taste of Heaven sleuths Bernadette and Libby figure out who spoiled their catered event and killed Amethyst Applegate? Is this death related to the death of Bessie Osgood, a previous student at the school?  Great recipes are also a part of this fun mystery series.

Caught Dead HandedCaught Dead Handed by Carol Perry: Lee Barrett has returned home to Salem, Massachusetts to be close to her Aunt Ibby.  She wants a job as a reporter at WICH-TV.  Unfortunately the only job available is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies.  Reluctantly she takes the job and it’s up to her to solve the murder of her predecessor, Ariel Constellation, who never saw her own death coming.  Could Ariel have been a practicing witch?  Strange things are definitely happening…

Hope you enjoy this list of  mystery “treats”!!!!

–Carol W.

 *(this is really how the author spells this character’s name)
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If You Like.. Jewish Themed Contemporary


We frequently receive requests from readers who enjoy certain genres or subjects. Here are some suggestions for anyone who enjoys Jewish-themed contemporary fiction. These titles may also appeal to readers who like JoJo Moyes and Jodi Picoult.

Days of Awe, by Lauren Fox

days of aewDays of Awe is the story of a woman who, in the wake of her best friend’s sudden death, must face the crisis in her marriage, the fury of her almost-teenage daughter, and the possibility of opening her cantankerous heart to someone new. Only a year ago Isabel Moore was married and was the object of adoration for her ten-year-old daughter. She also thought she knew everything about her wild, extravagant, beloved best friend, Josie. But in that one short year her husband moved out and rented his own apartment; her daughter grew into a moody insomniac; and Josie–impulsive, funny, secretive Josie–was killed behind the wheel in a single-car accident. As the relationships that long defined Isabel–wife, mother, daughter, best friend–change before her eyes, Isabel must try to understand who she really is. Teeming with longing, grief, and occasional moments of wild, unexpected joy, Days of Awe is a daring, dazzling book–a luminous exploration of marriage, motherhood, and the often surprising shape of new love.                                                                                                                                                                                                               Available in print, eBook, eAudio, CD audio and Playaway formats.

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, by Eve Harris

marrying of chaniLondon, 2008. Chani Kaufman is a nineteen-year-old woman, betrothed to Baruch Levy, a young man she has seen only four times before their wedding day. The novel begins with Chani standing “like a pillar of salt,” wearing a wedding dress that has been passed between members of her family and has the yellowed underarms and rows of alteration stitches to prove it. Given that the traditional choice of spouse here is practiced through a matchmaker, Baruch Levy defied his family’s expectations by Continue reading

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