On The Shelf: Suspense and thrills in store for readers

Published 8:00 am Sunday, August 13, 2023

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

This week’s column features Suspense and Thriller titles from our New Adult Fiction Collection.

Bestselling author Sandra Brown’s latest is called “Out of Nowhere.” The lives of a young mother and a high-rolling consultant collide under horrendous conditions and the fallout results in a desperate manhunt that will change their lives forever. Elle Portman is a children’s book author who is enjoying a rare night out with her son, Charlie at the county fair. Just as they are about to leave, the unthinkable happens: a shooter opens fire into the crowd causing widespread chaos and panic. Calder Hudson is a haughty, self-centered corporate consultant who is also caught in the melee. He is confused when he awakes in the hospital and the doctor tells him he was luckier than some who had been caught in the gunfire. Others weren’t so lucky, which spurs Calder and Elle to seek justice. There is an instant attraction when they meet at the police station but will a relationship bloom and thrive under such tragic circumstances?

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Shari Lapena’s novel is called “Everyone Here is Lying.” Stanhope is billed as a safe neighborhood in which to raise a family. On the surface, William Wooler is a family man, but he’s been having an affair and that affair has just ended horribly at a motel just up the road. When he returns to his house, he unexpectedly finds his 9-year-old daughter Avery home from school early and he goes ballistic. Hours later, Avery’s family reports her missing and suddenly this bucolic neighborhood doesn’t feel so safe. William is also not the only one on his street hiding something. As the witnesses come forward, their information may or may not be true. Who took Avery Wooler? As the neighbors become increasingly unhinged, nothing can prepare them for the truth.

“Silver Nitrate” is by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Montserrat is used to being overlooked even though she’s a talented sound editor. She’s not part of the boys’ club running the movie industry in the 1990s Mexico City, and she is all but invisible to her best friend, Tristan, who she has loved since childhood. When Tristan discovers that his new neighbor is the cult horror director Abel Urueta who claims he can change their lives — even if his tale of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds a bit crazy. The magic film was never finished and Urueta swears that his career vanished overnight and left him cursed. The director wants Montserrat and Tristan to help him finish the missing scene and lift the curse. However, Montserrat soon notices a dark figure following her and Tristan begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend. They must work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who invoked magic onto their film.

“Gone Tonight” is penned by Sarah Pekkanen. Ruth Sterling is a quiet, hardworking woman who lives for her daughter. Catherine thinks she knows her mother, after all, for her whole life it’s been just the two of them against the world. Now, it’s time for Catherine to spread her wings, move from home and start a new career, but Ruth will do anything in her power to stop that from happening. Ruth thinks she knows Catherine — she would never rebel, never question her mother’s past. Ruth’s desperation to keep her daughter in the dark about her background causes cracks to form in her carefully curated life and mother and daughter will each begin a new dance of deception.

Laura Sims’ latest is titled “How Can I Help You.” Two local librarians have their lives dangerously intertwined in this razor-sharp suspense novel. No one knows Margo’s real name. Her colleagues and the patrons at the small-town library only know her middle-aged normalcy, congeniality and charm. No one could guess that she is a former nurse with a trail of premature deaths in her wake. She has turned away from her old urges using the library as a refuge. When Patricia, a failed novelist and recent graduate, joins the staff, she notices there is a darker side to Margo and begins keeping an eye on her colleague. Patricia can’t resist digging into the past when a patron’s death in the library bathroom hints at Margo’s identity. As the quest to solve the mystery consumes Patricia, she and Margo will spiral headlong into a stunning climax that could destroy one or both of them.

“My Murder” is by Katie Williams. What would you do if you had to solve your own murder? Lou is a happily married mother of a toddler who is also the victim of a serial killer. Brought back to life by a secret government project, she is returned to her grieving family. Though she is grateful for the second chance, Lou realizes that disturbing questions remain about what exactly preceded her death and how much she can actually trust those around her. Now, she is not satisfied to simply care for her husband and child, her family and other female victims — she is determined to figure out the circumstances of her death.