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Author Program: Carl Hiaasen Interviews John Sandford on April 14

Zoom Program: A Fireside Chat with Author John Sandford, Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m.

Enjoy sitting in on a virtual chat with bestselling thriller author John Sandford on Wednesday, April 14 from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are an established fan, looking for a new series, or simply interested in hearing first-hand about life as an author, you’ll be treated to a lively conversation. This program will be presented via Zoom, and you may register HERE.

As the reader resource tool NoveList describes, “John Sandford stands out for his consistent delivery of riveting characters and intense, richly layered plots in his Prey series, Kidd series, and his stand-alone novels. Crime drives his stories, whether his heroes are the ones solving or the ones committing the crime. Intricate details and graphic violence lend a gritty realism to the tone of these books, while maintaining a fast, suspenseful pace. Quirky characters and witty dialogue relieve the tension. Sandford’s good guys and bad guys alike are intriguing, complex, and realistically flawed.”

If you are interested in giving his books a try but uncertain how to begin with such a long series, here are entry points you might use:

Golden Prey book cover

Golden Prey (2017)
Prey series, #27

A series of audacious robberies compels newly appointed U.S. marshal Lucas Davenport to investigate the possible return of a gang leader who once killed two FBI agents.

Why start here? Series protagonist Lucas Davenport has a fresh start with a new job, and you don’t have to know the backstory to enjoy the thrilling chase that unfolds.

 

Invisible Prey book coverInvisible Prey (2007)
Prey series, # 17

Investigating the seemingly open-and-shut double homicide case involving a pair of wealthy elderly women, Lucas Davenport begins to suspect that the handful of small items that were stolen from the crime scene may have had more significant values.

Why start here? If your taste in crime fiction favors intriguing procedural, this entry offers all the Davenport flavor with heightened emphasis on the puzzles. Bonus: This is recurring character Virgil Flowers’ first appearance with Davenport, and he’ll even go on to have his own series.

 

Mad River book coverMad River (2012)
Virgil Flowers series, #6

When three teenagers with dead-end prospects begin a killing and robbery spree through rural Minnesota, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins a growing number of cops trying to stop them.

Why start here? New release Ocean Prey is the first to pair Davenport and Flowers in equal parts, and this entry shows Virgil’s distinct personality and approach.

 

Certain Prey book coverCertain Prey (1999)
Prey series, #10

Clara Rinker is the best hit woman in the business. She’s been hired by an attorney in Minnesota who wants a rival eliminated. But the witness survives, the attorney starts acting strangely and a big cop named Lucas Davenport gets on her case. There are loose ends popping up everywhere and Lucas is in for the run of his life.

Why start here? For those fascinated by the interplay between hero and villain, such as in TV series Luther, The Fall, or Hannibal, the same dark, titillating satisfaction can be found in this pairing.

 

Rules of Prey book coverRules of Prey (1989)
Prey series, #1

Lieutenant Lucas Davenport is determined to track down a diabolically clever serial killer who leads a double life, carefully picks out his female victims, and taunts the police with notes signed Maddog.

Why start here? For those who cannot bear to jump in mid-series, here’s where it all began!

 

 

New Fiction in March

New fiction in March

March is marching in with some new books! With spring practically here, you could march on by to pick up fresh titles. A hint of what’s new may be browsed below and we’ve got a more bountiful list of March titles here. As always, if you find none of these titles suit you, we welcome you to call Fiction/AV/Teen services at 847/590-4070 or fill out this form for some personalized suggestions!

The Conductors book cover

 

The Conductors by Nicole Glover

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty helped usher dozens north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband, Benjy, have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

red widow book cover

 

Red Widow by Alma Katsu

Recruited by the CIA’s Chief of the Russian Division amid rumors of a department mole, former Moscow Field Station handler Lyndsey Duncan teams up with a murdered director’s widow to expose a life-threatening web of secrets.

 

The Dating Plan book cover

 

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai 

Without rules, these fake fiancés might accidentally fall for each other in this romantic comedy.

 

 

 

the committed book cover

 

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Committed follows the unnamed Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris in the early 1980s with his blood brother Bon. The pair try to overcome their pasts and ensure their futures by engaging in capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing.

 

The Windsor Knot book cover

 

The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett

The first book in a highly original and clever new crime series featuring Queen Elizabeth II as an amateur detective who solves crimes in secret and behind the scenes, in between her royal duties.

 

 

What's mine and Yours book cover

 

What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster

Integrated into a predominantly white high school, an anxious young Black student and a half-Latina whose mother would have her pass as white join a bridge-building school play that shapes the trajectory of their adult lives.

 

 

we begin at the end book cover

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Thirty years ago, a teenage Vincent was sent to prison. But now, he’s served his time and is returning to his hometown–where his childhood best friend, Walk, is now the chief of police. The town where his childhood sweetheart, Star, still lives. Star, whose sister he killed. Duchess, Star’s daughter, is a self-proclaimed outlaw. She needs to be. Who else is going to take care of her and her brother? And too often it’s Duchess and Walk who are the ones taking care of Star. But when Duchess exacts her own vigilante revenge, she will set into motion a series of events that threatens not only her own family, but everyone she grows close to.

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

best young adult books of 2020

Get ready to add to your TBR list! At the end of 2020, we looked at various “best of” lists and considered the buzziest books at MPPL and–ta dah!–brought you some great reads from a not-so-great year. We’ve selected a little something for all types of readers, whether you’re in the mood for a page-turner or a slow-burner.

Looking for personalized book recommendations? Email teenmail@mppl.org or readers@mppl.org to connect with our book match specialists. Keep reading for a few of our favorite titles, or visit the full Best of YA 2020 list to check out your next read!

These Violent Delights book cover

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

In 1926 Shanghai, eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city

Historical Fantasy; World-building

 

Furia book cover

 

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers’ wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.

Relatable; Inspiring

 

Stamped: Racism, antiracism, and you book cover

 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

“Reynolds lends his signature flair to remixing Kendi’s award-winning Stamped from the Beginning into a powerful “not a history book ” primer on the historical roots and present-day manifestations of antiblack racism in America.” (from Publishers Weekly)

Issue-oriented; Conversational

 

Enigma Game book cover

 

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Told in multiple voices, fifteen-year-old Jamaican Louisa Adair uncovers an Enigma machine in the small Scottish village where she cares for an elderly German woman, and helps solve a puzzle that could turn the tide of World War II.

Suspenseful; Atmospheric

 

Cemetery Boys book cover

 

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Two sisters–Eri, a fashion model sleeping her way to oblivion, and Mari, a young student–form the center of a novel that documents a series of encounters in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn.

Fast-paced; Enchanting

 

Super Fake Love Song book cover

 

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

When new-girl Cirrus mistakes self-described nerd Sunny Dae as the lead in a rock band, Sunny rolls with it forming a fake band with his friends, but as the lies continue he risks losing both Cirrus and his friends.

Funny; Romantic

 

Dragon Hoops book cover

 

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

“The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.” (from Kirkus Reviews)

Candid; Triumphant

 

Not So Pure and Simple book cover

 

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

High school junior Del Rainey unwittingly joins a Purity Pledge class at church, hoping to get closer to his long-term crush, Kiera.

Authentic; Thought-provoking

 

Theme Reading: 24-Hour Stories

24 hour stories

Sometimes all a story needs is 24 hours. 24 hours could be packed full of adventure, wit, thrills, chills, and more! All the books listed here take place within only a handful of hours in the lives of the characters. What might your story look like in 24 hours?

 

The Gretchen Question book cover

The Gretchen Question by Jessica Treadway

A single mother torn between protecting her only child or revealing herself fully to the people she loves most, Roberta finds herself at war with conflicting loyalties, the increasing betrayal by her own body, the confused love she feels for her oldest friend, and a trauma from her past that casts a deep and possibly permanent shadow not only over her own life, but over the legacy she will bestow upon her son.

Haunting; Thought-provoking

One Night Two Souls Went Walking book cover

 

One Night Two Souls Went Walking by Ellen Cooney

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.

Hopeful; Moving

Amnesty book cover

 

Amnesty by Aravind Adiga

A young illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia is forced to choose between risking deportation and reporting the murder of a female client.

Intricately Plotted; Witty

 

A Room Called Earth book cover

 

A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan

Attending a party under the full moon in Melbourne, a young woman on the autism spectrum makes magical, extraordinary connections with the people she encounters, including a man with whom she pursues a rare intimate encounter.

Engaging; Character-driven

After Dark book cover

 

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Two sisters–Eri, a fashion model sleeping her way to oblivion, and Mari, a young student–form the center of a novel that documents a series of encounters in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn.

Reflective; Mystical

 

The Loop book cover

 

The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

A biotech experiment gone wrong renders a small western Oregon tourist town the epicenter of an inexplicable outbreak that causes infected patients to turn murderous, challenging a small group of outcasts to survive a violent night.

Science Fiction; Horror; Darkly Humorous

Ordinary Hazards book cover

 

Ordinary Hazards by Anna Bruno

An award-winning debut finds a powerhouse businesswoman settling down with a motley crew of locals at a hometown bar where a series of decisions over the course of a single night changes their lives forever.

Introspective; Lyrical 

 

Summerwater book cover

 

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

A series of vignettes offer the idle thoughts of a group of strangers vacationing in a Scottish holiday park during a very rainy day, lost in their own little worlds, until a shocking event unites them.

Atmospheric; Suspenseful 

 

The Sun is Also a Star book cover

 

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha, whose family is hours away from being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean American who strives to live up to his parents’ expectations, unexpectedly fall in love and must determine which path they will choose in order to be together.

Realistic Fiction; Romantic

 

Black History Month: Black Family Stories

Black Family Stories

“The Black Family” is this year’s Black History Month theme. It is brought to us by the organization that founded Black History Month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. For more information on the association and to browse past themes, click here. Collected below are some fictional stories to enjoy all year round that embrace this year’s theme on the Black family.

The Travelers book cover

 

The Travelers by Regina Porter

A first novel by an award-winning playwright follows the experiences of two American families, one black and one white, against a backdrop of historical events from the 1950s through the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

 

 

It's Not All Downhill from Here book cover

 

It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan

Confident that her best days are still ahead, a successful businesswoman relies on close friends and her resourcefulness when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down.

 

 

no one is coming to save us book cover

 

No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

A tale inspired by The Great Gatsby is set in the contemporary South and follows the difficulties endured by an extended black family with colliding visions of the American dream.

 

 

Cover of The Turner House

 

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Learning after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit’s East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house’s fate.

 

 

Red at the Bone book cover

 

Red At The Bone by Jaqueline Woodson

As Melody celebrates a coming of age ceremony at her grandparents’ house in 2001 Brooklyn, her family remembers 1985, when Melody’s own mother prepared for a similar party that never took place in this novel about different social classes.

 

 

An American Marriage book cover

 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship, only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband’s sentence is suddenly overturned.

 

 

Kind of Freedom book cover

 

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through the story of three generations of an African American family in New Orleans.

 

 

 

Homegoing book cover

 

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.