Library Column: New adult suspense and thrillers

Published 4:00 am Saturday, July 10, 2021

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County – Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features suspense and thrillers from the New Adult Fiction section.

The latest Mike Bowditch novel by author Paul Doiron is called “Dead by Dawn.” This book sees our intrepid Maine game warden fighting for his life. Mike is ambushed on a dark winter road causing his Jeep to plunge into a frozen river. In order to survive, he must escape the frigid waters and stay one step ahead of heavily armed pursuers. He is unsure of who is chasing him, but he will use all his wits to outmaneuver them and return to his friends and family. Mike will need to dissect the hours leading up to his ambush and solve two riddles: who are these people who desperately want to kill him and what has he done to draw their wrath?

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“Black Ice” by Carin Gerhardsen is set in the January snows of Gotland. The days here are short, the air is frigid and the roads are barely passable with their snowy covering. On a deserted, icy backroad, the wintry conditions soon bring together a group of strangers with such force that all their lives will be changed forever. In a brief few hours, a deadly accident and two separate crimes leave victims in their wake. Four years later it only takes a single telephone call to bring back the terror of that day and to set a revenge plan into motion. Sandra began the day unremarkably by shopping followed by a kind gesture from a stranger. Jeanette began it with a secret rendezvous with her lover. Both women drove past the same icy ravine, but only one was in a car that caused a deadly accident and only one left a man to die in the snow. Each woman carries a secret from that day. A secret, that if revealed, could connect them to a larger, more terrible mistake. Then again, there is someone out there who knows the whole truth and who will kill to keep it secret.

A devastating hurricane blows through Lisa Jackson’s latest “The Third Grave.” The old Beaumont mansion was in shambles before the hurricane sweeps through Georgia, but the storm manages to blow up more than the shutters. Three graves are found in the old cellar, but only two skeletons occupy them. Nikki is intrigued by the discovery and is eager to make it the subject of a new crime book. The rumor is that the burial site is that of the Duval sisters—three young girls who went to the movies with their older brother, Owen, 20 years ago and never returned. Forensics determines that the two skeletons belong to Holly and Poppy Duval, but where is the youngest sister, Rose? Owen Duval was and is the prime suspect, though he did have an alibi. As Nikki delves deeper into the mystery, cracks in the case start showing. There is more to the girls’ disappearance than anyone could have guessed. It turns out that this is far from an isolated act and those deaths were the only beginning. Nikki is on the trail of a killer who will stop at nothing to bury the twisted truth along with his victims.

Author Laura McHugh’s novel is called “What’s Done in Darkness.” When Sarabeth was 17, she became increasingly rebellious toward her parents after they found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where they forced her to wear long dresses, follow strict rules and grow her hair down to her waist. She had all but given up escaping when a masked man appears one fetid summer morning and grabs her from the cornfield. A week after her abduction, she’s found alive along a highway with a blood-stained dress. Her family treats her like she’s tainted. To make matters worse, it is unlikely that her captor will be found because he kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time and never uttered a word. The only good thing about the ordeal is that she got the chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life. Five years later, Sarabeth is trying desperately to keep her past secret, but an investigator named Nick Farrow contacts her. He is convinced that her ordeal is the same as the disappearance of another young girl. Nick is determined to get Sarabeth’s help even if he has to drag her back to the hills and hollers of home to face her estranged family and all her deepest fears.

Riley Sager sets his new novel, “Survive the Night,” in November of 1991. George H.W. Bush is President, Nirvana is in the tape deck and movie buff college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer. Charlie met Josh Baxter on a campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both also have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who was the third victim of the murderer dubbed the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father — or so he says. Charlie thinks there is something suspicious about Josh, from holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to look inside the car’s trunk. Charlie becomes increasingly worried as they travel the empty highway in the dead of night. Is Josh dangerous? Is he the Campus Killer? Or is Charlie suffering from movie-fueled delusions? As the night and the trip rolls on, an intricate game of cat-and-mouse plays out along dim roads and neon-lit parking lots during a time when the only call for help can be made from a payphone and in a place where there is nowhere to run.

“The Bone Code” is the latest Temperance Brennan novel from Kathy Reichs. After a storm slams South Carolina, dredging up crimes from the past, Temperance Brennan receives a call from the Charleston coroner. A medical waste container washed up on the Isle of Palms beach. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic and tied with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many of the details as identical to a case she worked in Quebec 15 years ago. She can’t ignore the growing sense of alarm and flies to Montreal to gather evidence and convince her boss to reopen the cold case. Charleston is then hit with a bacterium that, in its worst form, can eat human flesh. Thousands panic and begin to have themselves tested for the rare genetic mutation that may have rendered them vulnerable. Tempe shockingly discovers that, not only are both murder cases are related, but they are also related to the outbreak.