Hello and welcome to our look at some new releases at the Johnson County Library! Each month we look at five fiction titles making their debut that we think you should know about. You might not find these books on the bestseller lists, but that's okay, as we love putting the spotlight on books you might not have heard about. Give one - or more - of these titles a chance to make it in your hold list. We hope you find something new!
THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE by Katherine Center. Center made readers of contemporary feel-good romances sit up and take notice with 2018’s HOW TO WALK AWAY, and her new follow-up novel looks to build on its success. Here we meet Cassie, a firefighter from Texas. Being a woman in a profession traditionally dominated by men, Cassie nevertheless excels at her job, at the cost of her personal life. She’s completely consumed by her job, has no relationships, no friends, and no interests outside the firehouse. However, when her mother takes ill and Cassie must move to Boston, she takes up a new job at a local firehouse and encounters even more obstacles, including a handsome young coworker. THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE is a warm, smart romance with characters who learn to forgive and be vulnerable with each other and will be a delight to readers.
THE WHISPER MAN by Alex North. In this well-crafted debut thriller, two characters move new in the small town of Featherbank, looking to make a fresh start - a widowed father and his young seven-year-old son, both still devastated over a death that shattered their family. They soon discover that a murderer once stalked the alleys and backyards of the small town - twenty years ago, Frank Carter, dubbed the Whisper Man, would target lonely children and groom them by whispering to them outside their window. Carter is safely behind bars, however a neighborhood child disappears and the young boy starts hearing whispers outside his own window. North alternates between several different characters, including local investigators, as the fate of the Whisper Man is revealed, but the heart and soul of the novel is the relationship between Tom Kennedy, the grief-stricken father, and his precocious but isolated son Jake. Maintaining just the right balance between thriller and horror, this character-driven tale should be at the forefront of your late summer reading list, as North’s novel has been snapped up by a Hollywood production company owned by the Russo brothers, behind many of your favorite Avengers movies.
The first book in her new Modern Love series, THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai introduces us to Rhiannon Hunter, developer of a high-profile dating app. She’s been burned before, and fiercely protects both her company and her heart, but when a previous flame, a Samoan NFL footballer, shows up as a business associate of a rival developer, sparks fly and the chase is on. Rai is known for her richly-developed characters as well as giving readers a wide-ranging cast of secondary characters, and readers will find the quips - and steaminess - are out in full force. If you’re a romance fan who loves the trope of second-chance relationships in a contemporary setting, make sure to swipe right on this book. (See what I did there?)
Shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker Prize, DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish, is a literary mystery set in rural Poland, and centers on Janina, an eccentric older woman who works as a caretaker for local vacation houses, is fascinated by astrology, and translates the poetry of William Blake in her spare time. Preferring animals to humans, she is happy in her reclusive existence when local poachers and hunters start showing up dead. Janina is drawn into the investigation believing the animals themselves might be responsible, and her views are (rightly?) downplayed by the local authorities, thinking her a harmless crank. Tokarczuk takes the clues and procedures of the traditional mystery novel and injects a literary grace to them, painting a picture of Janina’s views of life as she goes through the twists and turns of the investigation. If you’re not frightened away by translated works, this might be worth a shot.
DO YOU DREAM OF TERRA-TWO? By Temi Oh. This sparkling debut novel is a near-future science fiction novel about a group of astronauts who embark on a 23-year mission to a new planet. Earth is dying, but a hundred years ago, a planet that can support life is found, and the human race has been preparing for this moment. The ship Damocles has four veterans of space exploration and six teenagers, graduates of an exclusive training program that has prepared them for this moment. Oh effectively pulls us into the slow-burn story of this ensemble’s lives, frustrations, and hopes - after all, this ship will be on their own for twenty-three years, and something, after all, is bound to go wrong. Slow to develop, but satisfying and immersive, this is great for patrons who want to take a voyage with a groups of characters and stick with them for a while.
That's it for this month! Be sure to check back soon for another edition, and be sure to follow our staff on the blog, in the catalog, on the podcast, and on our website for more great books.