ON THE SHELF: New Adult Fiction to take you away

Published 8:00 am Sunday, July 2, 2023

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

This week the library is featuring new titles from the New Adult Fiction collection.

Ashley Audrain has penned a novel about four families whose lives are changed in the face of the unthinkable in “The Whispers.” What do we lose when we give in to our own darker impulses? On Harlow Street in a wealthy neighborhood, couples and their children gather to celebrate the end of summer with a barbeque; drinks flow late into the night. Everything seems wonderful until the idyllic hostess explodes in anger because her son disobeys her. Everyone at the party hears her carefully curated veneer crack — loud and clear. It isn’t long before the same young boy falls from his bedside window in the middle of the night. With her son’s life hanging in the balance, the mother can only sit beside his hospital bed, where she refuses to speak to anyone. The next three days are extremely tense as the women of the neighborhood grapple with the events that led to that terrible night.

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“The Lie Maker” is a thriller by Linwood Barclay in which a man desperately tries to find his father whose been in witness protection for years — before the man’s enemies get to him. The last words that Jack Givins’ father spoke to him before being whisked away to witness protection still haunt him. “Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son.” Jack and his mother were devastated and left to pick up the pieces of their lives alone. Jack grows up to be a talented, but struggling author, barely scraping by on the royalties from his successful first book. The U.S. Marshalls service approaches Jack with a job offer — he would be creating backstories for people who are put into witness protection. Jack thinks it is a surprising coincidence, but he isn’t in a position to turn them down. He also realizes this puts him in a position to find his dad. The only problem is that Jack’s dad hasn’t been in contact with his handlers lately and they have no idea where he is. He could be in serious danger, and Jack may be the only one able to find him, but how can he find a man he’s never truly known?

“Killingly” is a novel by Katharine Beutner based on the unresolved disappearance of a Mount Holyoke student in 1897. Bertha Mellish is attending Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1897 when she goes missing. She is described as “the most peculiar, quiet, reserved girl.” The search teams dredge the pond where Bertha could have drowned. Her distraught father and sister arrive in a desperate attempt to find some clue to her fate or mental state. Bertha’s best friend, Agnes, is a scholarly loner studying medicine. She might know the truth, but she is being unhelpfully tightlipped, which infuriates the family. Secrets from both young women’s lives will come to light as do the competing agendas of those conducting the search. Where did Bertha go? Who would want to hurt her? Could she still be alive?

S.A. Cosby pens a taught thriller in his latest, “All the Sinners Bleed.” Titus Crown is the first Black sheriff of Charon County, Va. There have only been two murders in the past couple of decades in this seemingly sleepy county. Titus, however, knows better than anyone that while his hometown might appear to be the land of moonshine, cornbread and honeysuckle, secrets linger just under the façade. A year to the day after Titus’s election, a schoolteacher is killed by a former student and the student is fatally shot by deputies. As Titus investigates the incident, he unearths terrible crimes and a serial killer who’s been hiding in plain sight. The killer has possible connections to a local church and Titus projects confidence about closing the case while concealing a painful secret from his own past. On top of this, he also must contend with a far-right group that wants to hold a parade in celebration of the town’s Confederate history. When faith and violence meet, there can only be a reckoning on the horizon.

“The Ferryman” is a sci-fi thriller by Justin Cronin. The archipelago of Prospera is hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. It was founded by a mysterious genius known only as the Designer. The lucky citizens of this island paradise enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms — meant to measure physical health and psychological well-being — drop below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, taking a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean and they are ready to start life afresh. Proctor Bennett has a good career as a ferryman, gently piloting people through their retirement process — and, when necessary, enforcing it. Everything is not ideal in his life, however. Proctor has been dreaming, which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. His monitor’s percentage has begun to drop scary fast. Then comes the day when he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a shocking and puzzling message before being wrestled onto the ferry. Soon, Proctor is questioning everything he once believed in and he embarks on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

“Identity” is the latest by bestselling author Nora Roberts. Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally put down roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina — along with Morgan’s bartending job — helps her make the mortgage payments. After hosting their first dinner party which was attended by the flirty IT guy Luke, Morgan’s world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina is dead on the floor. Then Morgan learns that “Luke” is a cold con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then kills his mark. But the FBI tells Morgan that Nina wasn’t his type; she is. Nina was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Morgan’s nightmare is only beginning. She is forced to flee to her mother’s home in Vermont where she meets a local businessman named Miles who has deep roots in the town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn’t forgotten the one who got away.