Each month, we will be highlighting some of the most popular books of the last year in multiple genres.
“And Then She Vanished” (Joseph Bridgeman #1) by Nick Jones
Still haunted by the disappearance of his little sister, Amy, more than 20 years ago, Joseph Bridgeman’s life has fallen apart. When a friend talks him into seeing hypnotherapist Alexia Finch to help with his insomnia, Joseph accidentally discovers he can time travel. His first trip only takes him back a few minutes, but his new-found ability gives him something he hasn’t felt for the longest time: hope.
Joseph sets out to travel back to the night Amy went missing and save her. But after several failed attempts, he discovers the farther back he travels, the less time he gets to stay there. And the clock is ticking.
With the help of Alexia,
Joseph embarks on a desperate race against the past to save his sister. Can he master his new skill and solve the mystery of Amy’s disappearance before it’s too late?
“The Low Desert” by Tod Goldberg
With gimlet-eyed cool and razor-sharp wit, these spare, stylish stories from a master of modern crime fiction assemble a world of gangsters and con men, of do-gooders breaking bad and those caught in the crossfire. The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the unexplainable loss of an adopted daughter; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar.
Witty, brutal and fast-paced, these stories expand upon the saga of Chicago hitman-turned-Vegas-rabbi Sal Cupertine — first introduced in Gangsterland and continued in Gangster Nation — while revealing how the line between good and bad is often a mirage.
“The Lady in Residence” (Doors to the Past) by Allison Pittman
Can a legacy of sadness be broken at the Menger Hotel?
Visit historic American landmarks through the “Doors to the Past” series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith and romance.
Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.
More: 7 Must-read self-help books of the last year
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“A Tip for the Hangman” by Allison Epstein
Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue and romance.
“The Burning Girls” by C.J. Tudor
An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present — and intent on keeping its dark secrets — in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C.J. Tudor.
“Finlay Donovan Is Killing It” (Finlay Donovan #1) by Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan is killing it … except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist. Finlay’s life is in chaos: The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her 4-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.
When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet … Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.
“When You Look Like Us” by Pamela N. Harris
When you look like us — brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades — people think you’re trouble. No one looks twice at a missing black girl from the projects because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister, Nicole, got too caught up with her boyfriend — a drug dealer — and his friends.
But she’s been gone too long now.
If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she’d be spending time with our grandma. If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list. It’s time to step up and do what the Newport News police department won’t.
Nic, I’m bringing you home.
“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley
On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate the wedding of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. Will is a rising television star, handsome and charming. Jules is a smart, ambitious magazine publisher. Though the sea is a little choppy and the cell service spotty, their wedding is everything you’d expect of a young power couple: designer dress, four-tiered cake, boutique whiskey, vintage champagne. Every detail has been curated to perfection. All that’s left to orchestrate is the happiness.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. Everyone on the island has a secret. Everyone has a motive. And someone won’t leave this wedding alive …
“Home Before Dark” by Riley Sager
What was it like? Living in that house.
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called “House of Horrors.” His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling “The Amityville Horror” in popularity — and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in “House of Horrors,” lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself — a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
“The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James
The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt 35 years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of “The Broken Girls.”
Upstate New York, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long, she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden …