Library Column: New Adult Suspense Novels

Published 8:00 am Sunday, October 10, 2021

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

This week we’re featuring Suspense Novels from our New Adult Fiction collection.

Bestselling author Ann Cleeves delivers her second DI Matthew Venn novel with “The Heron’s Cry.” Tourists are flocking to North Devon’s coast thanks to a rare hot summer, but Detective Matthew Venn is working a crime scene in the countryside. Dr. Nigel Yeo was found fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases. The whole scene — at a home for a group of artists — has been elaborately staged and the victim is an unlikely murder victim. Dr. Yeo is a good man, a public servant, and beloved by his daughter. Matthew is a bit unnerved that the daughter is a close friend of his husband, Jonathan. When another body is found killed in a similar way, Matthew must carefully navigate through the lies that begin festering at the heart of his community.

Alice Feeney ponders the question, “Do you really know the person you married?” in her latest book, “Rock Paper Scissors.” Mr. and Mrs. Wright have not been happy for a long time. When they win a weekend away in Scotland, they think this is just what they need to put their marriage back together. Adam Wright is a self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter who has lived with face blindness his whole life. He doesn’t have the ability to recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. Every anniversary, the couple exchange traditional gifts — paper, cotton, pottery, tin, etc.—and each year Amelia writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know that this week will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to fix what’s broken and live happily ever after. They have had 10 years of marriage and 10 years of secrets. This will be an anniversary they will never forget.

Paula Hawkins delivers a taut thriller with “A Slow Fire Burning.” The grisly murder of a young man found in a London houseboat triggers questions about the three women in his life. Laura is the troubled one-night stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla — already mourning the recent death of another family member — is his grief-stricken aunt. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor who is clearly keeping things from the police. All three women have separate connections to the victim and all three have deep-seated resentment — though for different reasons. All three — whether they know it or not — are anxious to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people are capable of horrific deeds. How long do secrets smolder before bursting into flames? How far does one go to find peace?

A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma, and dark secrets are at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s latest, “The Night She Disappeared.” In 2017, 19-year-old Tallulah is leaving for her date after making sure her baby is settled with her mother, Kim. Kim watches her daughter leave. As late evening turns into night and then into the early morning, Kim waits for Tallulah’s return. And waits. The next morning, Kim calls Tallulah’s friends and they tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place. She doesn’t return and a body is never found. Fast forward two years to 2019. Sophi is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend just started as head teacher. She passes a tree that curiously has a note taped to it reading, “DIG HERE.”

“The Burning” is the latest by Jonathan Kellerman. For Clay Edison, a raging wildfire, a massive blackout and a wealthy man shot to death in his hilltop mansion are all in a day’s work. As the deputy coroner, caring for the dead, he speaks for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Clay prides himself on his uncompromising responsibility to the truth. Even when it gets him into trouble. While working the murder scene, Clay is horrified to learn of a link to his brother, Luke. Horrified, but not surprised. Luke is fresh out of prison with a legacy of violence. He had been trying to stay on the straight and narrow, but now, he’s AWOL and Clay is in a race to find his brother before anyone else can. The question remains; Is Luke a killer or could he be another victim?

“Lightning Strike” is William Kent Krueger’s prequel to his acclaimed Cork O’Connor series. Aurora is a small town tucked away in the ancient forests that grow along the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In 1963, this is 12-year-old Cork’s whole world. Its heartbeat is as familiar as his own. When Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he admires hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, he begins to question everything he takes for granted about his hometown, his family and even himself. Cork’s father is Aurora’s sheriff, and it is his job to determine if the man’s death was a suicide — as the evidence suggests — or foul play. Cork looks for his own answers as his father progresses with the investigation. Both father and son will face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them to be true and what their hearts tell them is right.