Check It Out Category: Fiction

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!

 

 

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.

Winter Reading Ideas: New Fiction in February

new fiction in February

February doesn’t have to be dreary when there are new books to be discovered! Be transported to different worlds, find one that suits you spotlighted below, or find a fuller New Fiction in February list here.

My Year Abroad book cover

 

My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee

An everyday American college student finds his life transformed by a Chinese-American businessman who unexpectedly takes him under his wing on a series of whimsical, heartbreaking and darkly shocking adventures throughout Asia.

 

The Power Couple book cover

 

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson

Embarking on a European family vacation to revitalize their marriage, two government employees find the limits of their bond tested when their daughter goes missing from a Barcelona club.

 

 

The Bad Muslim Discount book cover

 

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood

A homesick Pakistani immigrant chafing against the strictures of his family’s new devout Muslim life in California and a young woman who barely escaped war-torn Baghdad upend their community in the aftermath of a fateful chance encounter. A first novel.

 

Send for Me book cover

 

Send for Me by Lauren Fox

A baker’s daughter and her husband flee to America amid increasingly violent anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Germany two generations before her granddaughter learns the astonishing story of their heritage and losses.

 

 

The Echo Wife book cover

 

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

A precarious arrangement between a man, his wife and his wife’s clone explodes in a violent confrontation that forces the two women to figure out a creative way to stay out of prison.

 

 

First Comes Like book cover

 

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

A social media influencer and makeup expert finds herself in a public relations jam after the son of a powerful Bollywood family begins private messaging her.

 

 

The Unwilling book cover

 

The Unwilling by John Hart

The younger brother of a wrongly implicated Vietnam veteran and ex-con races to uncover the truth about a young woman’s murder and the brutal realities of war that shaped his brother’s darker nature.

Winter Reading Ideas: Most Anticipated Reads of 2021

most anticipated reads of 2021

Staff share their most anticipated reads of 2021! 

The Lost Apothecary book cover

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (Laura)

Beneath the Keep book cover

Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen (Liz)

Aftershock book cover

Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu (Al) –

“Reading it for the Social Justice badge in the Winter Reading challenge”

How Beautiful We Were book cover

How Beautiful We Were by Mbue Imbolo (Denise)

Klara and the Sun book cover

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Cathleen)

Detransition, Baby book cover

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (Chelsea) –

“Planning to read for the LGBTQ+ authors badge in the Winter Reading challenge”

The Kindest Lie book cover

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson (Jenny)

The Perfect Guests book cover

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous (Nancy)

 

Be sure to log all your 2021 reads for Winter Reading on Beanstack and you may earn a prize!