While not as critically lauded as previous novels like Erasure and I Am Not Sidney Poitier, Percival Everett’s 2011 novel Assumption has one of the most shocking, head-scratching last chapters I’ve ever read–the kind of chapter that divides readers from those who like risky, challenging fiction to those who like endings to have all looses tied. Even if you’re in the latter group, there’s still a lot to be enjoyed from Assumption, especially if you like alternative crime fiction.
Deputy sheriff Ogden Walker is one of the few black people in the tiny New Mexico town he patrols. The back wood quaintness of the town becomes the perfect backdrop to a series of convoluted events that take place, starting with the murder of an elderly woman. Walker’s pursuit of the case leads him to cross paths with all kinds of strange types, but all the paths inevitably lead back to him. Everett exploits the “small time sheriff” trope to toy with our sense of assumptions, creating a story that’s thrilling, humorous, bizarre, but never what it appears to be.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Monday, September 21st, 2015||No Comments »|
Ania Ahlborn’s chilling crime novel Within These Walls explores the price of success and muses on what it would be like to discover the secret to immortality. The story follows a down-on-his-luck crime author named Lucas Graham, who is reeling because his life has fallen apart. Desperate to regain his old success, he manages to get an interview with a notorious cult leader named Jeffrey Halcomb, who is currently locked away in prison. After Halcomb declines the interview, Graham is left piecing together the puzzle on his own at the scene of the crime. During his investigation he discovers one horrifying secret: some things never truly die once they’ve been promised immortality.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Nova Ren Suma’s haunting young adult novel The Walls Around Us is a chilling tale told in two voices, with the ghost of a dead young woman binding them. Amber is a teenager who is locked up in a juvenile detention center while Violet is a dancer whose so-called perfect dance career is threatened when all her secrets threaten to be exposed. Suma teasingly gives details into Amber and Violet’s lives, along with their relationship with a young teen named Orianna, until the entire portrait of lies, rivalries, and the weird boundary between friendship and hate is slowly revealed.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 15th, 2015||No Comments »|
In Bradford Morrow’s dark literary novel The Forgers, the murder of a rare bookseller rocks the literary world and stuns his close-knit Long Island community.
Adam Diehl is a reclusive rare book collector who is found dead in his Montauk, Long Island home with his hands severed and his collection destroyed beyond repair. Adam’s sister Meghan must come to terms with her brother’s grisly murder, and to make matters worse, her boyfriend, Will, starts getting threatening hand-written letters apparently written by dead authors. Not only does the letter-writer know about Will’s past as a literary forger, but they also know intimate details of Adam’s murder as well. Now, it’s up to Will to find the killer so that he can start over with his girlfriend and live in peace.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, December 5th, 2014||No Comments »|
K.A. Harrington’s YA novel Forget Me revolves around a grieving young woman named Morgan who is mourning the loss of her boyfriend. In an attempt to keep his memory evergreen, she uploads a photo of him to a new social media website and is shocked to discover that he has a doppelgänger named Evan. Her revelation kicks off a journey through a tangled web of lies that surrounds her boyfriend, her hometown, and even her parents.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, September 17th, 2014||No Comments »|
If you’re looking for a riveting tale of high society and the untamable wilderness, then look no further than Jean Zimmerman’s novel Savage Girl. The tale revolves around an 18-year-old girl named Bronwyn who was raised by wolves in the wilds of the Nevada wilderness. She is adopted by a wealthy Manhattan socialite family, the Delegates, in 1875 and is taken back to the East Coast in order to be civilized. Once they deem it’s proper for Bronwyn to go out in public, the Delegates decide to introduce her to their high society buddies. While a pack of suitors find her irresistible, they also wind up mutilated a few days later. This begs the question: is the willful Bronwyn a cold-blooded killer?
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, April 17th, 2014||No Comments »|
Most novelists who write detective novels tend to set their work either in the Victorian era or the modern world. Not so with Nick Drake. In an unusual twist, he’s set his hero on a mission to solve a crime during the heart of the ancient Egyptian empire: the 18th Dynasty.
Known for its famous rulers such as Hatshepsut and Thutmoses III, Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead revolves around a man named Rahotep who is the chief detective of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. During the rein of the “Heretic Pharaoh” Ankhenaten, who made the previously polytheistic Egyptians worship only one God (the Sun disc called “the Aten”), his beautiful and mysterious wife Queen Nefertiti vanishes only days before the couple are set to unveil their new capital, Akhetaten.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, April 7th, 2014||No Comments »|