Benediction by Kent Haruf

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A friend of mine said ”I have read this before.  But when I noticed my husband was reading it,  I decided to read it again. It’s the best thing I have read in a long time.”  Author of Plainsong and Eventide, Haruf returns to the small town of Holt, Colorado to have us sit by the bedside of terminally ill Dad Lewis and experience the strong ties that bind people to get through the hard times in life.  Enjoy a setting without the chaos and distractions that govern our lives today.

Benediction suggests there’s no end to the stories Haruf can tell about Holt or to the tough, gorgeous language he can summon in the process.” —Paul Elie, The New York Times Book Review 

“Itself a blessing. . . spare and unencumbered. . . . Haruf’s great skill is in describing the plain ways of people who live in small places [and the war] going on between good and evil that we recognize as part of our nature. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale.” —Michael D. Langan, The Buffalo News

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The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

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This is the fourth in a series of popular police procedurals about Stockholm police superintendent Martin Beck, a likeable, flawed and deeply human police detective.  In this story Beck seeks the murderer of nine passengers on a Stockholm bus, one of whom was his best detective.

“A tantalizing, intricate tale.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Sjöwall and Wahlöö write unsparingly and unswervingly. . . . Their plots are second to none.”—Val McDermid

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Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

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A family from Korea moves to a small town in Virginia, where they open and operate a small medical treatment facility. When an explosion at the facility kills two people, many of the community’s residents become involved in the subsequent trial. The book is part mystery, part legal drama, while also exploring the lives and motivations of its central characters. This was a well written page-turner that reminded me of Ann Patchett’s books.

A Barnes and Noble Bestseller
An IndieNext Pick
An April 2019 LibraryReads Selection
An April 2019 Book of the Month Club Selection
An Amazon Editors’ Pick
A Best New Book at People Magazine

A Most Anticipated Book of 2019: BuzzFeed, AppleBooks, Refinery29, CrimeReads, Electric Literature, Nylon, The Millions, BookRiot and more; named one of 10 Best Books to Read in Spring 2019 in The Saturday Evening Post; one of Southern Living‘s Best Books of Spring 2019

“Kim effectively uses her background as a trial lawyer, skillfully crafting her narrative by interweaving the stories of her characters, each of whom speak for themselves as the story progresses toward a surprise ending. With touches of mystery, legal thriller, and character-driven storytelling, where nothing is ever quite as it seems, Kim’s promising debut will certainly have readers looking forward to her next offering.” Library Journal (starred review)

 “A deeply moving story about parents and the lengths they will go for their children . . . readers will be riveted by the book’s genre-bending structure and superb pace. Miracle Creek is a stunning debut about parents, children and the unwavering hope of a better life, even when all hope seems lost.” ―Jung Yun, The Washington Post

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The Body in the Belfry: a Faith Fairchild mystery by Katherine Hall Page

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Ex-New Yorker Faith Fairchild copes not only with the culture shock of the Massachusetts village in which she, her minister husband, and their baby have settled, but also with the shock of finding a woman’s body in the church’s belfry.

“A humorous and entertaining addition to the murder-in-the-village genre.”—Booklist

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A Catalog of Birds by Laura Harrington

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What makes a life worth living?  In these 259 pages, I dropped into upstate NY in the 70’s where small town life is simple and close to nature.  When the larger world rips a family and community apart, the author with sheer fierceness permits us to see and share the impossible.  “A marvel of a novel.”

“Stunning natural descriptions provide a rich backdrop for Harrington’s beautifully articulated coming-of-age story, which captures the pain of loved ones grappling with the after effects of war.”—Booklist (Starred)

“ … one of the great pleasures of reading A Catalog of Birds is that it’s as impossible to categorize as it is to put down. The smooth path of Nell’s life is interrupted by tragedy. Her best friend, Megan, disappears mysteriously, and her beloved brother, Billy, comes home from Vietnam severely injured. At once, the novel becomes a searing war story and a page-turning thriller.”
—The Washington Post

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The Kortelisy Escape by Leonard Rosen

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Rush to grab this moving, unlikely story narrated in alternating chapters by Grace, abandoned in foster homes her whole young life, and Nate Larson, her grandfather recently released from prison. Magic tricks, magic patter, and magic shows advance the mounting tension and enrich the larger questions concerning loyalty, love, and wonder. This is storytelling at its best and it takes place in our New England!

“A tender tale of loyalty, gratitude, and the healing power of magical wonder; Rosen’s gifted storytelling will appeal to readers beyond genre boundaries.” Booklist

 “Nate Larson has been in federal prison in what the feds admit is a miscarriage of justice….The feds release him to take custody of his granddaughter, who, as an orphan, has gone into foster care. The hitch is that he must testify against his brother, Dima, who is suspected of child sex trafficking….Fourteen-year-old Grace Larson is stuck in “foster care hell” in Massachusetts, being shunted from one “rental parent” to another, some of whom sexually abuse her. So when a court order sends her to live with Nate, whom she doesn’t know, she is deeply suspicious. Nate shows her magic tricks he’s perfected during his confinement, leaving her slack-jawed with wonder…So whom to betray, his brother or granddaughter? Nate and Grace are both smart and deeply sympathetic people who have felt great pain in their lives. .. The story twists, turns, and—presto! A brilliant solution” – Kirkus Reviews

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Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre

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During World War II, Englishman Eddie Chapman is recruited by Germany to become a spy, only to turn himself in and become a double agent for England. This work of nonfiction contains characters as colorful as any in fiction. A true story that often seems too incredible to be real.

Agent Zigzag is a true-history thriller, a real spy story superbly written. It belongs to my favorite genre: the ‘Friday night book’–start it then, because you will want to stay with it all weekend.” —Alan Furst

“A portrait of a man who double-crossed not only the Nazis, but just about every other principle and person he encountered. In doing so, Eddie Chapman made all thriller writers’ jobs harder, because this spy tale trumps any fiction.” —Men’s Journal

“Superb. Meticulously researched, splendidly told, immensely entertaining and often very moving.”—John le Carré

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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

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Frank is a holdout in his small English city in 1988: he refuses to sell anything in his music shop except for vinyl, and he has a gift for matching people with the record they need. He belongs to a community of colorful characters, all of whom are affected by a newcomer’s arrival at the shop one day. This is a charming, heartfelt story without being too corny or sentimental.

“Whether on foot, as in her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or track by track, on this unlikely musical odyssey, Joyce excels in enveloping readers in epic journeys of lost connections and loving reunions.”Booklist

 “Joyce sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse. From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming.”Kirkus Reviews

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Fogland Point by Doug Burgess

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Another selection from the Weston Mystery Book Discussion group!

David Hazard wanted nothing more than to forget his renegade family and the foggy New England village “on the wrong side” of Narragansett Bay where he grew up. When sudden tragedy brings him back to Little Compton to care for his grandmother during her struggle with dementia, he discovers her fragile memories may hold the key to a bizarre mystery half a century old – and perhaps to the sudden and brutal murder right next door.

“Elegant prose, a veritable Chinese box of puzzles, and authentic, well-rounded characters make this a standout.” (starred review) (Publishers Weekly)

“Drop everything and read this book. A terrific story in a terrifically honest voice – it’s intelligent and original, hilarious and heartbreaking, evocative and charming. A beautifully written tale of murder, dementia, family, love – and surprises! Standing ovation.” (Hank Phillippi Ryan, Bestselling, award-winning author)

Fogland Point is first-class fiction, a multilayered and original mystery underscored by fine writing, fully developed characters, and a wonderful sense of place. Doug Burgess writes with humor and poignancy while creating an eerie, atmospheric tale that is sure to please.” (Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of How It Happened)

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American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

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As a black woman working for the FBI in the 1980s, Marie is somewhat of an outsider, until she is offered an assignment to get close to the leader of Burkino Faso. The novel shifts through different time periods in Marie’s life to show how her parents, sister, and sons have all shaped her life. This is well written and engaging.

“[This] unflinching, incendiary debut combines the espionage novels of John le Carré with the racial complexity of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Echoing the stoic cynicism of Hurston and Ellison, and the verve of Conan Doyle, American Spy lays our complicities—political, racial, and sexual—bare. Packed with unforgettable characters, it’s a stunning book, timely as it is timeless.”—Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prizewinning author of The Sellout

“Suspenseful . . . This story of espionage, told from the perspective of a woman of color, doesn’t gloss over how family and personal relationships, as well as institutional racism and chauvinism, complicate a career in secret intelligence, raising questions about U.S. involvement in developing countries and the obstacles faced by women and minorities in law enforcement. Should be a popular book club selection.”Library Journal (starred review)

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