What’s New – Fiction

In Search of a Name

This spellbinding and intimate novel explores the burden of legacy as a young woman wrestles with discoveries that contradict her great-uncle’s supposed heroism during World War II.

D says that a name always fits in the end, that a name is like a leather shoe that forms itself to the foot.

But in my mind, it’s the other way around: a person grows into his name.

Marjolijn van Heemstra has heard about her great-uncle’s heroism for as long as she can remember. As a resistance fighter, he was the mastermind of a bombing operation that killed a Dutch man who collaborated with the Nazis, and later became a hero to everyone in the family.

So, when Marjolijn’s grandmother bestows her with her great-uncle’s signet ring requesting that she name her future son after him, Marjolijn can’t say no. Now pregnant with her firstborn, she embarks on a quest to uncover the true story behind the myth of her late relative. Chasing leads from friends and family, and doing her own local research, Marolijn realizes that the audacious story she always heard is not as clear-cut as it was made out to be. As her belly grows, her doubts grow, too—was her uncle a hero or a criminal?

Vivid, hypnotic, and profoundly moving, In Search of a Name explores war and its aftermath and how the stories we tell and the stories we are told always seem to exist somewhere between truth and fiction.

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The Thirty Names of Night

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by The MillionsElectric LiteratureBustle, and HuffPost
Named a Best Book of Fall by USA TODAYPopSugarAlma, and Goodreads

The author of the “vivid and urgent…important and timely” (The New York Times Book Review) debut The Map of Salt and Stars returns with this remarkably moving and lyrical novel following three generations of Syrian Americans who are linked by a mysterious species of bird and the truths they carry close to their hearts.

Five years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. He has been unable to paint since his mother’s ghost has begun to visit him each evening. As his grandmother’s sole caretaker, he spends his days cooped up in their apartment, avoiding his neighborhood masjid, his estranged sister, and even his best friend (who also happens to be his longtime crush). The only time he feels truly free is when he slips out at night to paint murals on buildings in the once-thriving Manhattan neighborhood known as Little Syria.

One night, he enters the abandoned community house and finds the tattered journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z, who dedicated her career to painting the birds of North America. She famously and mysteriously disappeared more than sixty years before, but her journal contains proof that both his mother and Laila Z encountered the same rare bird before their deaths. In fact, Laila Z’s past is intimately tied to his mother’s—and his grandmother’s—in ways he never could have expected. Even more surprising, Laila Z’s story reveals the histories of queer and transgender people within his own community that he never knew. Realizing that he isn’t and has never been alone, he has the courage to officially claim a new name: Nadir, an Arabic name meaning rare.

As unprecedented numbers of birds are mysteriously drawn to the New York City skies, Nadir enlists the help of his family and friends to unravel what happened to Laila Z and the rare bird his mother died trying to save. Following his mother’s ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival by his own community, his own family, and within himself, and discovers the family that was there all along.

Featuring Zeyn Joukhadar’s signature “magical and heart-wrenching” (The Christian Science Monitor) storytelling, The Thirty Names of Night is a timely exploration of how we all search for and ultimately embrace who we are.

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Night in Tehran

Based on historic events, and frighteningly relevant to today’s headlines — a taut thriller about one American diplomat’s year of living dangerously in Tehran in the days leading up to the Iranian Revolution …

In the style of Alan Furst, this suspenseful thriller — based on real events — places an idealistic American diplomat in a turbulent, US-hating Tehran in the days leading up to the Iranian Revolution. Backed by the CIA, and trailed by a beautiful and engaging French journalist he suspects is a spy, David Weiseman’s mission is to ease the Shah of Iran out of power and find the best alternative between the military, religious extremists, and the political ruling class — many of whom are simultaneously trying to kill him.

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Hot to Trot

Beloved New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton’s cranky, crafty Agatha Raisin—now the star of a hit T.V. show—is back on the case again in Hot to Trot.

When Private Detective Agatha Raisin learns that her friend and one-time lover Charles Fraith is to be married to a mysterious socialite, Miss Mary Brown-Field, she sees it as her duty to find out what she can about the woman. Coming up empty, Agatha—out of selfless concern for Charles, of course—does the only sensible thing she can think of: she crashes their wedding, which ends in a public altercation. Nursing a hangover the next morning, she gets a phone call from Charles, with even more disturbing news: Mary has been murdered.

Agatha takes on the case, and quickly becomes entrenched in the competitive equestrian world, in which Mary had been enmeshed—as well as the victim’s surprisingly violent past. Agatha finds no shortage of motives among a wide range of characters, from Mary’s old riding competitors, to enemies from her schoolgirl days, to her surly father, who threatens Agatha to mind her own business. Meanwhile, the police department has its money on another suspect: Agatha. Will she track down the criminal in time, or end up behind bars herself?

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Shuggie Bain

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings.

Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie’s guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good—her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamorous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion’s share of each week’s benefits—all the family has to live on—on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes’s older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Shuggie is meanwhile struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that he is “no right,” a boy with a secret that all but him can see. Agnes is supportive of her son, but her addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her—even her beloved Shuggie.

A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love, Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen in fiction. Recalling the work of Édouard Louis, Alan Hollinghurst, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, it is a blistering debut by a brilliant novelist who has a powerful and important story to tell.

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Leave The World Behind

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award (Fiction)

A Best Book of the Year From: The Washington Post * Time * NPR * Elle * Esquire * Kirkus * Library Journal * The Chicago Public Library * The New York Public Library * BookPage * The Globe and Mail EW.com * The LA Times * USA Today * InStyle * The New Yorker * AARP * Publisher’s Lunch * LitHub * Book Marks * Electric Literature * Brooklyn Based * The Boston Globe

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.

From the bestselling author of Rich and Pretty comes a suspenseful and provocative novel keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis.

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?

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Snow Drift

When a new lead breaks in the cold case that has long haunted Swedish Detective Inspector Embla Nyström, the truth she’s been seeking about her best friend’s disappearance may finally be revealed—if it doesn’t kill her first.

One winter night, 28-year-old Detective Inspector Embla Nyström receives a phone call that sends her reeling. It’s been fourteen years since her best friend disappeared from a nightclub in Gothenburg, but Embla recognizes her voice before the call abruptly disconnects. Embla is thrilled to learn Lollo is still alive, but before she can dive into the case, she gets another phone call—this time from a relative. A man has been found shot dead in one of the guest houses he and his wife manage in rural Sweden. Could she come take a look?

When Embla arrives on the scene, she receives another shock. The dead man is Milo Stavic, a well-known gang member and one of the last people seen with Lollo. And, as Embla soon learns, the same night that Milo was shot in the guest house, his brother Luca was also killed. Why, after all these years, is someone targeting the Stavic brothers, and where is the third brother? With help from a handsome local detective and his police dog in training, Embla launches an investigation into the three Stavic brothers, hoping it will bring her closer to finally finding Lollo and putting an end to her terrible nightmares.

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The Malt in Our Stars

There’s some shady business in Shady Creek, Vermont, this spring—in the third mystery by USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox featuring pub owner and amateur sleuth Sadie Coleman . . .

Sadie is delighted to have booked famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss for an event at The Inkwell, her literary-themed pub, housed in a renovated grist mill. The author and her personal assistant Marcie are staying at Shady Creek Manor, a grand historical hotel that was once a private mansion and is rumored to still hold hidden treasure somewhere within its walls.

But the hotel’s storied past is nothing compared to its tragic present when Marcie plummets to her death from an open window on the third floor. After Sadie discovers signs of a struggle in the room, it’s clear that someone assisted the assistant out the window. But Marcie is new in town—who would have a motive to kill her?

In between pulling pints and naming literary-themed cocktails, Sadie takes it on herself to solve the case, wondering if the crime is connected to the vandalized vehicles of a film crew in town to do a feature on local brewer Grayson Blake, with whom Sadie shares a strong flirtation. Or could the poor woman’s defenestration have anything to do with the legendary treasure? As Shady Creek Manor prepares for a May Day masquerade ball, Sadie is determined to unmask the killer—but when she uncorks a whole lot of trouble, will she meet a bitter end?

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The Spoilt Kill

1950s Staffordshire. Within the clay tanks at the pottery company Shentall’s, a body has been found. Amid cries of industrial espionage and sabotage of this leader of the pottery industry, there is a case of bitter murder to solve for Inspector Hedley Nicholson.

Kelly’s mystery won the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 1961 for its impeccable sense of place and detail, and for the emotional weight of its central crime. The novel is part of a shift from the cosiness of crime novels before to mysteries characterised by their psychological interest and affecting realism. An influential classic.

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Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything

A quirky, nervous wreck of a New England mom is forced to face her many fears in this touching, irresistible novel from author Kristin Bair.

Agatha Arch’s life shatters when she discovers her husband in their backyard shed, in flagrante delicto, giving the local dog walker some heavy petting. Suddenly, Agatha finds herself face to face with everything that frightens her…and that’s a loooooong list.

Agatha keeps those she loves close. Everyone else, she keeps as far away as possible. So she’s a mystery to nearly everyone in her New England town. To her husband, she’s a saucy, no-B.S. writer. To her Facebook Moms group, she’s a provocateur. To her neighbor, she’s a standoffish pain in the butt. To her sons, she’s chocolate pudding with marshmallows. And to her shrink, she’s a bundle of nerves on the brink of a cataclysmic implosion.

Defying her abundant assortment of anxieties, Agatha dons her “spy pants”–a pair of khakis whose many pockets she crams with binoculars, fishing line, scissors, flashlight, a Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD, candy, and other espionage essentials–and sets out to spy on her husband and the dog walker. Along the way, she finds another intriguing target to follow: a mysterious young woman who’s panhandling on the busiest street in town.

It’s all a bit much for timorous Agatha. But with the help of her Bear Grylls bobblehead, a trio of goats, and a dog named Balderdash, Agatha may just find the courage to build a better life.

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The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A heartwarming novel about secrets of youth rediscovered, hometown memories, and the magical moments in ordinary lives, from the beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“A gift, a blessing and a triumph . . . celebrates the bonds of family and friends—and the possibilities of recovery and renewal.”—The Free Lance–Star

Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop with his mother, Ruth, church-going and proper, and his Aunt Idgie, the fun-loving hell-raiser. Together they ran the town’s popular Whistle Stop Cafe, known far and wide for its fun and famous fried green tomatoes. And as Bud often said of his childhood to his daughter Ruthie, “How lucky can you get?”

But sadly, as the railroad yards shut down and Whistle Stop became a ghost town, nothing was left but boarded-up buildings and memories of a happier time.

Then one day, Bud decides to take one last trip, just to see what has become of his beloved Whistle Stop. In so doing, he discovers new friends, as well as surprises about Idgie’s life, about Ninny Threadgoode and other beloved Fannie Flagg characters, and about the town itself. He also sets off a series of events, both touching and inspiring, which change his life and the lives of his daughter and many others. Could these events all be just coincidences? Or something else? And can you really go home again?

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White Ivy

**A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick**

A young woman’s crush on a privileged former classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant experience, as it hurtles to its electrifying ending.

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her.

Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

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Deadly Cross
The murder of a glamorous DC socialite becomes Alex Cross’s deadliest case since Along Came a Spider.

Kay Willingham led a life as glamorous as it was public-she was a gorgeous Georgetown socialite, philanthropist, and the ex-wife of the vice president. So why was she parked in a Bentley convertible idling behind a DC private school, in the middle of the night, with the man who was the head of that school? Who shot them both, point blank, and why? The shocking double homicide is blazed across the internet, TV, newspapers — and across Alex Cross’s mind. Kay had been his patient once. And maybe more.

While John Sampson of DC Metro Police investigates the last movements of Christopher Randall, the educator killed along with Kay Willingham, detective Alex Cross and FBI special agent Ned Mahoney find unanswered questions from Willingham’s past, before she arrived in DC and became known in DC society as someone who could make things happen. They travel to Alabama to investigate Kay’s early years. There they find a world of trouble, corruption, and secrets, all of them closed to outsiders like Cross and Mahoney.

Kay had many enemies, but all of them seemed to need her alive. The harder the investigators push, the more resistance they find when they leave behind the polite law offices and doctors’ quarters of the state capital. Alex Cross will need to use all his skills as a doctor, a detective, and a family man to prevent that resistance from turning lethal…again.

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Where the Lost Wander

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

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One Night Two Souls Went Walking

A young interfaith chaplain is joined on her hospital rounds one night by an unusual companion: a rough-and-ready dog who may or may not be a ghost. As she tends to the souls of her patients—young and old, living last moments or navigating fundamentally altered lives—their stories provide unexpected healing for her own heartbreak. Balancing wonder and mystery with pragmatism and humor, Ellen Cooney (A Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances) returns to Coffee House Press with a generous, intelligent novel that grants the most challenging moments of the human experience a shimmer of light and magical possibility.

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