ON THE SHELF: Baby it’s cold outside so cuddle up with a good book

Published 7:16 pm Sunday, January 7, 2024

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

This week we are featuring titles from our New Adult Fiction collection.

The latest from bestselling author Robin Cook is titled, “Manner of Death.” When Dr. Jack Stapleton has a near-death showdown with a medical serial killer, his wife and NYC’s Chief Medical Examiner, Laurie Montgomery is left carrying the load at both home and work. Dr. Ryan Sullivan is a lackluster senior pathology resident who is spending his required time in the medical examiner’s office, but he detests doing forensic autopsies. When Laurie insists that Dr. Sullivan help her with a suicide autopsy, she is hoping to get him more interested in fieldwork, but she is instead drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. Dr. Sullivan is eager to avoid performing any forensic autopsies, so he offers to participate in a research project examining a series of suicides that hint at questions about the “manner of death.” Turns out that this project is more of a ruse than a serious study, but Sullivan surprisingly uncovers unexpected commonalities in this group of cases. His discovery puts Sullivan and Laurie at risk from a dangerous and self-serving cancer diagnostics company promoting a groundbreaking high-tech—and fraudulent—cancer screening procedure.

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P.T. Deutermann’s latest in his World War II Navy series is called, “Iwo, 26 Charlie” and follows a young Navy gunnery officer stationed on the battleship Nevada from the beginning of the battle of Iwo Jima to its decisive end. Lieutenant Lee Bishop serves in the main plotting room aboard the USS Nevada where he targets fourteen-inch shells from the ship’s guns against enemy positions on Iwo Jima as relayed by Marine spotters ashore. After the Marines suffer devastating losses in their spotting personnel, Bishop volunteers to serve onshore as a replacement calling in coordinates for targeting Japanese positions with offshore naval gunships. Bishop is completely
unprepared for what he witnesses and experiences: a literal hell-on-earth. Twenty-six thousand Americans became desperate and often hand-to-hand fighting with the Japanese who were committed to dying for their country. The battle reaches its climax on the sides of the still-active volcano, where Bishop calls in monster projectiles against suicide charges from the Japanese.

Katherine Faulkner has penned a tautly-paced thriller about murder, class, and motherhood in an exclusive London community in, “The Other Mothers.” New mom Tash becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a young nanny. This could be the story that could help her launch her career as a freelance journalist. Tash is also looking for something else—new friends to help her navigate motherhood. She observes the other mothers in her son’s new playgroup. They are a group of sleek, sophisticated women who live along tree-lined avenues with stunning houses. When the other mothers welcome her into their circle, Tash discovers a posh life that is a far cry from her cramped basement flat and endless bills. As she becomes swept up in their wealthy world of coffees, cocktails, and playdates, another young woman is found dead, and it is soon clear that there is more to this community than meets the eye. Tash’s investigation leads her scarily close to the other mothers. Are they really her friends? Or is there a more dangerous reason why she has been so quickly accepted into their exclusive world?

“The Utterly Uninteresting; Unadventurous Tales of Fred, The Vampire Accountant,” is a novel by Drew Hayes. Some people are boring. Some live boring lives. Some die in boring ways. Fred managed to do all three, and then he awoke as a vampire—a boring one. Fred was never an adventurous person, but even as a vampire he is still timid, socially awkward, and plagued with low self-esteem. One night, he reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion and the rekindled relationship sparks a chain reaction thrusting him into the chaos of the parahuman world: a world of giddy zombies, truck driver were-ponies, scheming necromancers, ancient dragons, and now one dead accountant trying his best to “survive.” It turns out that even after it’s
over, life is still a right bloody mess.

“The Engagement Party,” by Darby Kane is an enthralling and twisty thriller set on a private island in Maine where secrets and lies are piled high. Emily Hunt went missing from her pricy liberal arts school the weekend of graduation. Her body was found floating in a river, and a quiet loner—who no one really knew—died by suicide. The link—a single text—bound these two together in death, so the police declared the case closed. They got it wrong however, and now someone is determined to expose the truth and set things right. Twelve years later, college friends gather for an engagement party on an exclusive private island in Maine with only one way in and on way out. Sierra Prescott is invited as a guest and isn’t connected to the past tragedy. She is also the only person who senses that all is not as it seems. The tension explodes
when they find a dead man in the trunk of a car with a note: time to tell the truth. A torrential storm strands them together and the group’s buried secrets bubble to the surface. To survive, the group will need to stop a killer before each one becomes a victim.

“The Frozen River,” is by Ariel Lawhon. The Kennebec River freezes in Maine in 1789, entombing a man in the ice. Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and see if she can determine how he died. As the local midwife, she is privy to the secrets of those who live in the close-knit community of Hallowell. He diary has recorded every birth, death, crime, and folly that has taken place here. A few months earlier, Martha documented the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s prominent gentlemen—one of whom is the man in the ice. When the local physician undermines her conclusions and declares the death an accident, Martha takes it upon herself to investigate on her own. Over the course of the winter whispers and prejudices grow as the trial nears and Martha is dogged in her search for the truth. Unfortunately, her diary soon puts her in the middle of the scandal and implicates those she loves. Martha will have to decide where her loyalties lie and what she is willing to sacrifice to get the truth.