by Marcia Allen, Collection Development Librarian
We all know that Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is the book to read this summer. We’ve seen the reviews, both good and bad, that make the title very tempting, and the high number of requests at the library attests to the demand for this newly published tale about Maycomb, Alabama. We’ve also seen the latest by perennial favorite authors such as Daniel Silva, Mary Higgins Clark, and Stephen King. The newest spy thrillers, puzzling mysteries, and shocking tales of horror are readily available from those old favorites. But there are also lots of promising new stories from authors who may not be so familiar to readers looking for something different. A sampling of fiction titles just received at the library reveals the following potential hits:
- The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo. This one’s a nice selection for those who are fans of the Nevada Barr series. Special Agent Ted Systead, who works for the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, is one of few trained to investigate crimes committed in parks in the western half of the U.S. He has a particular interest in homicides, like the one that has just brought him to Glacier National Park. His trouble is that he witnessed the mauling and death of his own father during a grizzly attack some years ago. This recent murder would also seem to have the same savagery of that long ago grizzly attack, but the victim is found tied to a tree. Ted will have to deal with his own nightmarish memories, as well as the reticence of the locals. Author Carbo has a clear talent for realistic descriptions of the Glacier setting, so this mystery’s rich with atmosphere.
- Buell: Journey to the White Clouds by Wallace J. Swenson. In the Idaho territory of 1873, young gunman Buell Mace has become something of an outcast and heads off to the gold fields to offer protection to those whose claims are threatened. Buell is hired by Emma Traen to protect her gold interests, but there are lots of others willing to seize her claims in desperate ways. Buell has new friends on which to rely, but they, too, are in danger, and he will learn what loss is. This is a violent western, depicting a young man’s struggle in an untamed country.
- The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario. Here’s a thriller from a debut author. The book opens with the doomed flight of a mother and her small son. Their brutal follower manages to kill the mother to regain the boy, but in the confusion and mist of the mountain shrine where the runaways are cornered, the youngster disappears. The boy’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea was a famed pianist, but recent losses of loved ones have sidetracked her career. The discovery of a photo of the missing boy leads her on a journey that will reveal lost artifacts as well as another chance for a fulfilling life. Romance, intrigue, and new discoveries make this an unforgettable read.
- The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka. Eric Argus is a quantum physicist with a serious problem: He was at the top of his game as a university research physicist, but the work dragged him through a serious breakdown. Now he’s been given another opportunity to do research with an old friend. In the course of his experiments, he discovers impossible truths: until an observer notes results, the result remains only probability. Hence, we have terms like “retrocausality” that are of major concern. This is a thoughtful work of science fiction, one that questions the nature of the real and the role of human understanding in the universe.
- One final title worth mentioning is Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop. This lovely piece of fiction has made various bestseller lists, and it has to be among the most heartwarming books of the summer. It concerns one Monsieur Perdu, the proprietor of a floating bookstore, who helps customers select purchases based not on wants but on what he feels those readers need in their lives. A remarkable book.