Darkness Lane by Thomas Kies. Published by Poisoned Pen

Geneva is a newspaper reporter fighting alcoholism and the growing threat of unemployment while trying to raise a rebellious child. She’s covering a couple of stories, including the woman, who tired of being beaten by her husband, sets him on fire and the case of a missing teenager and her English teacher, who has also vanished. Geneva tries to work both stories (could there be a connection?), even as her newspaper goes on the auction block.  Kies has created such a compelling, damaged, kick ass heroine in Geneva, she’s every woman who’s ever been dealt a bad card, but still managed to pick herself up and find a way forward. Highly recommended

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Beneath an Endless Sky by Renita D’Silva. Published by Bookouture

I have a fascination with the British Raj, so I was looking forward to this story of a young Indian woman in 1928 and her granddaughter in 2000. We see the good (?), the bad and the ugly side of British rule over India when Sita longs to find a life for herself outside the expected role of wife and mother in 1928. Her wanderings put her in close contact with the Crown Prince of India, and she and her family soon find themselves living a life they could only have ever dreamed of. But is all the luxury worth turning her back on the person who matters most to her?  Seventy years later, her granddaughter, Priya, goes home to India after her marriage collapses and spends her days getting to know her proud grandmother, slowly learning the truth about Sita and her mysterious past. As always, D’Silva does an amazing job of placing her readers inside her story, where they can feel the heat and humidity and hear the clamor of an exotic world

The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall. Published by St. Martins

Charlotte dreams of a career in advertising, but it’s 1949, and she has to put her own life on the back burner to help her father with the family business. She finds solace in the beauty pageant world, the Miss Subways, beauty contest, which would get her some fame and recognition, something she could call her own. In present day New York, Olivia is making a last-ditch effort to keep her advertising job and she decides to use the old Miss Subways campaign as a way to save her career. But she doesn’t expect to find herself drawn into the lives of those long ago contestants, or how closely related they might be to her. This was both a charming story of two women striving to make their dreams come true, but also a commentary at how, in many ways, women still have to work twice as hard as men to be thought half as good

The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In her sequel to Bannerless, Vaughn returns to the people of Coast Road, 100 years after the collapse of civilization. People have banded together to create a makeshift society where members must adhere to strict rules regarding consumption of food and supplies and whether or not they will have children. In this rag-tag society, Enid of Haven and her new partner Teeg try to uphold the law and protect citizens from themselves. When they discover the body of a woman, they are stunned to realize she does not belong to their community, but rather to one of the other nomadic camps that wander the area. Is it possible to solve a murder in a post apocalyptic world, one that has no real rules and no real way of enforcing them?  What a unique idea – to place a murder mystery in the middle of a Dystopian world – and it works. Vaughn is an exciting author to watch

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson. Published by St. Martins

The summer days in Iceland are long, the sun barely sets before it rises again, but this year the skies are darkened by the ash of an erupting volcano and a man is found beaten to death under the Arctic sky.  A police officer and a reporter both search for answers about why the man was killed, even as they struggle with their own demons. Iceland provides a majestic backdrop in this intense and meticulously told tale of Nordic Noir

The Dead Room by Seth Patrick. Published by St. Martins

This is the third book in Patrick’s series about CSIs who have the ability to revive the dead, or at least revive them for long enough to determine how they met their untimely end. While creepy for sure, the ability has allowed police to solve many murders and get answers for the loved ones victims leave behind. But it turns out you can only interfere with the world of the dead for so long before there are terrible consequences. “If you look too long into the abyss…..” A literary thriller that’s creepy and full of full of surprises

The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley. Published by St. Martins

A four year old boy, William, has disappeared from the woods near his home. Is he lost, was he kidnapped by a child predator, or is something even more sinister happening? The lost boy’s brother says “The lights took him”, then stops speaking entirely. With the boy’s grandmother, Lynn, looking frantically for him, time is running out and Lynn and and her best friend put everything on the line, including her family’s future, to uncover the truth. This is not your child abduction thriller, Finley adds an element, one of life beyond earth.