On the Shelf: This week’s selections come from New Adult Fiction Collection

Published 10:34 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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

This week’s column features thrillers in our New Adult Fiction collection.

“A Calamity of Souls,” is the latest from bestselling author David Baldacci is set in southern Virginia during the tumultuous year of 1968. Two lawyers (one black, one white) were involved in a racially charged murder casework to defend the wrongfully accused black defendants. Jack Lee is a white lawyer from Freeman County, Virginia who has never pushed back against the racial status quo until he decides to represent Jerome Washington. Jerome is a black man charged with the brutal killing of an elderly white couple. Lee feels he’s a bit out of his depth, so he enters a tenuous legal partnership with Desiree DuBose, a black lawyer from Chicago devoted to furthering the case for racial justice and equality. On their own, neither is capable of stopping the prosecution’s predetermined march toward a guilty verdict and the electric chair, but together, they can fight for the chance of a fair trial and true justice.

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“It Had to Be You,” is the next thriller from Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke. Laurie Moran is a television producer who has decided to dig into the unsolved case involving the murder of a much-loved couple celebrating the college graduations of their twin sons. Both boys are handsome, intelligent and popular, but one of them decides to kill his parents in cold blood one summer night. The other brother has an air-tight alibi, but which twin was where when the murders happened? Could they have planned the perfect crime together? Years later, the two brothers are estranged, each claiming the other killed their parents. Both are now married and have children of their own. As Laurie and her team reinvestigate, they become targets as they get closer to the truth.

Alyssa Cole’s thriller is titled, “One of Us Knows.” Kenetria Nash is the new caretaker of a historic estate on Hudson River Island. Years ago, Kenetria had a breakdown and was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder which derailed her career for a while. Now, she and her alters have a second chance: resident caretaker of a historic home. When the home’s conservation trust pays a surprise visit to the home just as a Nor’easter hits, Kenetria’s newfound life is derailed again. Among the visitors is the man who brought her life crashing down years before and when he winds up dead, Kenetria is the prime suspect. She and her alters must race against time to clear her name, but to do that they will need to risk losing their future and their life.

Robert Dugoni’s latest is called, “A Killing on the Hill.” In Seattle in 1933 it was the height of the Great Depression as well as a high level of corruption. William “Shoe” Shumacher has been cutting his teeth on the small-time beat when he gets a tip about a murder at a social club on Profanity Hill. This will certainly be front-page news and Shoe is the first reporter on the scene. The club’s owner mobster George Miller claims he shot former prizefighter Frankie Ray in self-defense. The whole town is talking and Shoe has a front-row seat to the Trial of the Century. The more Shoe digs, however, the more things just don’t add up. There is a jumble of conflicting stories, an implausible motive and witnesses like Ray’s glamour girl better half who’s keeping her mouth shut. Shoe is following every lead wherever it may go, but that may be a very dangerous place to be.

“End of Story,” is by A. J. Finn. Nicky Hunter is an expert in detective fiction and has been corresponding with reclusive mystery novelist Sebastian Trapp for a long while. His latest letter says, “I’ll be dead in three months. Come tell my story.” Nicky goes to his wondrous SanFrancisco mansion to help draft the author’s life story. She will be living alongside Sebastian, his beautiful second wife, Diana; his listless nephew, Freddy; and his protective daughter, Madeleine. Nicky finds herself with a bad case of “detective fever.” Twenty years earlier, Sebastian’s first wife and teenage son disappeared from different locations and no trace of them was ever found. There are those who think that the perfect writer got away with the perfect crime, but why would he invite a stranger to dig into his past? Nicky attempts to stitch together Sebastian’s life, but she becomes obsessed with discovering the truth as does daughter Madeleine who questions if her father knows more of what happed that night long ago. When a body is found in the family’s koi pond, both women realize the past may not be gone after all.

“The Reaper Follows,” by Heather Graham proves that death comes for everyone. The body of a woman is found in pieces deep within the Florida Everglades. The precision of the cuts precludes animal predation. Soon, dozens of oil drums are found among the marsh grasses. Each filled with body parts. FDLE special agent Amy Larson and her FBI partner Hunter Forrest share a sinking feeling that goes beyond the current gruesome discovery. They’ve seen this kind of sadistic killing before and when a small beige horse is found at the bottom of one of the barrels, the two know exactly what it means: Death rides a pale horse. Identifying the bodies and connecting one victim to the other seems like an insurmountable task, but finding a patter in all the chaos might actually lead Amy and Hunter to a cold, cruel killer hell bent on testing their skills as detectives and their relationship as well.