The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
At one time, Arden Maynor was the most famous 6-year-old in Kentucky: one night while sleepwalking during a rainstorm, Arden disappeared, presumed swept away in the rain. For three days, the community searched and prayed for her, and against all hope and odds, on the third day, she was found hanging on the underside of a storm drain. IN the years that followed, especially the tenth anniversary, Arden received a lot of unwanted attention from media, fans, and stalkers, though her mother seemed to thrive on all the attention. Entering college, Arden changes her name to Olivia Meyer, eventually moves hundred of miles away, estranges herself from her mother, and essentially disappears. Now as the twentieth anniversary approaches, Olivia finds herself sleepwalking again, has just learned her mother is dead, and interest in her case is renewed. One night, Olivia wakes from sleepwalking to find herself in her yard, standing over the dead body of the man who has been trying to talk to her the last few days, a man, she learns, from her past, a past that she can no longer keep hidden, a past that has just caught up with her and come back to haunt her and may be closer to her than she realizes. Another fast-paced character driven thriller for fans of Miranda’s earlier work.
The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor
Twenty-three years ago, Maggie D’arcy’s cousin Erin disappeared near Dublin; Maggie immediately went to Ireland to help the Garda find Erin, but no trace was every found. Until now. Maggie is a single mother, police detective on Long Island; her uncle, Erin’s father, receives a call that Erin’s scarf has been found in the area where another young woman has disappeared. Maggie flies to Ireland to once again try and track the movements of her cousin and see if she can find out what happened to her after all the years, and perhaps save another before it’s too late. Once there, Maggie learns that several other young women have also vanished over years and she is certain Erin is the key to solving all the cases. Told in the present day, as well as in flashbacks to Erin and Maggie’s time together, and Maggie’s first trip to Ireland to try and her cousin, this atmospheric mystery, which explores Maggie’s past, will set the tone for a projected series featuring the American detective in Ireland.
Dead West by Matt Goldman
Minnesota private eye Nils Shapiro has just agreed to fly to the West Coast to find out what Beverly Mayer’s grandson has done with his trust fund: Nils figures this should be a quick out and back, but brings his friend and employee Jameson White along with him as the anniversary for a school shooting after which White, working in an emergency room, attended to many the victims and was fully traumatized. Nils’s quick trip to LA turns strange when he learns that Ebben Mayer’s fiancé was murdered, and Nils suspects Ebben was the actual target. Nils easily insinuates himself into Ebben’s inner circle, with White Ebben’s bodyguard, and soon realizes that everyone Ebben is associated with isn’t real, and what’s more, several of them may have reasons to want Ebben dead. But Nils is anxious to get home so he can marry HIS fiancé, and to spend time with his new baby girl, the daughter he shares with his ex-wife. Even out of his usual habitat in Minnesota, Nils is one of the best PI characters around: he has a winning personality, can be self-deprecating, but is very practical, and has good instincts.
Safe by S.K. Barnett
For twelve years, a Missing poster hung on a telephone pole outside a local pizzeria: 6-year-old Jenny Kirstal was kidnapped while walked two doors down to visit her friend Toni. Her parents Laurie and Jake are stunned when out of nowhere, Jenny shows up on their doorstep, eighteen with years of abuse from one of her captors, Father, while Mother turned a blind eye. As excited as her parents seem to have Jenny back, her younger brother Ben isn’t, something just doesn’t seem right to him and things just don’t quite add up: to anyone. Soon the tables are turned, and home sweet home may not be all that sweet. An original twisty, turny thriller that leaves as many unanswered questions along the way in a thriller hard to put down.
The Distant Dead by Heather Young
In her powerful second novel, sixth-grade loner and outsider Sal Prentiss finds his math teacher, Adam Merkel, who had befriended Sal, burned in the Nevada desert. Sal lives with his uncles in a ranch outside of town and carries a great deal of sadness, sadness Adam seemed to understand. Nora Wheaton, the social studies teacher, also recognizes Adam’s and Sal’s sadness as she deals with her own tragedies. As the police, and ultimately Nora, search for what happened to Adam, she has to face not only her own sadness, but uncover Adam’s and Sal’s secrets. The results are not only a very good mystery with a strong narrative and compelling characters, but also an emotional story of the secrets we keep, unexpected kindnesses, and forgiveness, especially the need to forgive our families and ourselves.
The Second Home by Christina Clancy
Ann and Poppy loved each summer when their parents drove from their Milwaukee home to summer in Cape Cod. The saltbox house had been in the family for generations, and the sisters loved exploring the island and making friends with the locals and other summer families. After their parents adopt their friend, teenaged Michael, everything changes; Michael loves Cape Cod as much as his sisters, but learns a secret that estranges him from the family until Ann returns to Cape Cod as an adult, after Ed and Connie are killed in a car accident, determined to sell the home. Unable to find a will, Ann neglects to mention Michael as a possible heir, memories flood back being on the island, and her past comes flooding back with irreparable, but surprising, and healing results. Book groups will find a lot of discussion points in this debut novel.