The Ghost Clause, by Howard Norman (2019)

Mystery | Adult

The Ghost Clause, by Howard Norman (2019)

This new novel from National Book Award-winning author Howard Norman is a mashup of a ghost story, a missing child mystery, and a love story/domestic fiction. Mostly it’s a ghost story, as Simon Inescort sticks around his house after dying of a heart attack at age 48. He is surprised by his consciousness and his corporality – he can pick up and read books as well as write in a journal. Unfortunately he keeps setting off the motion sensor in the library where he spends most of his time, creating an ongoing annoyance for the new homeowners, Muriel and Zachary, and their cat Epilogue – the only creature aware of Simon’s presence.

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The Missing Season, by Gillian French (2019)

Mystery | 13-16

The Missing Season, by Gillian French

Here’s another title chosen after appearing in an e-newsletter from the Grand Forks & District Public Library. If you aren’t subscribed yet, give it a go! It’s a great way to discover new titles as well as others in the collection that might interest you but have escaped you so far. This is the first book by Gillian French I’ve read, but she’s got a couple of other YA titles under her belt. It’s October in Maine, and school has been in session for a month when Clara arrives in town with her parents as she starts her final year of high school. Her dad has a job helping to close down the mill, so this is a town on the slide. She’s hesitant about making friends, but quickly finds allies when a bully zones in on her.

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Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science fiction meets domestic drama in this terrific debut novel that sees astronaut Catherine Wells return from a mission to an exoplanet via a wormhole, three years late and missing her entire crew. Worst of all, she can’t remember visiting the planet or what happened to the crew. And back on Earth, the blackouts are still happening and she hasn’t told anyone. At home, things are little better. Catherine has been gone nine years; her mum’s dementia has deepened, her middle school daughter is about to graduate, and her husband has found a new love. The family does its best to try to bring Catherine back into the home, and in fact, she’s the one who can’t seem to adjust.

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My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing (2019)

Mystery | Adult

My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing (2019)

I never watched Dexter, but I bet fans of that show will love this. Our protagonist and narrator Ted is married to a beautiful redhead named Millicent. They have been married 15 years and have two children, and well, life is kinda boring and predictable. Except the book opens with the reveal that Millicent is responsible for the murder of a young woman whose body has just been discovered shortly after she was killed. That’s another surprise – Millicent was supposed to have killed her months ago, according to a careful plan she and Ted concocted that really livened up their boring existence. Yup, they are husband and wife killers, though we quickly learn each is keeping secrets from the other. No honour among thieves or murderers, evidently.

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We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Thriller | Adult

We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Daniel Kalla is a Vancouver emergency room doctor who writes medical thrillers. I’ve read a couple by him and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to this one, the story of a reemergence of the deadly bubonic plague that decimated Europe in the middle ages. Dr. Alana Vaughn is an infectious disease expert with NATO, specializing in bioterrorism. A former soldier, she worked an Ebola epidemic in Africa with the WHO, but resigned when the bureaucracy left her helpless against the deadly rampage. A former WHO colleague and lover, the gorgeous and now-married Dr. Nico Oliva, asks for her help in Genoa, Italy, when a woman shows up at the hospital with symptoms of the plague.

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Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna, by Mario Giordano (2016, 2019)

Mystery | Adult

Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna, by Mario Giordano (2016, 2019)

When I was a girl delving into adult mysteries after devouring Nancy Drew et al, I discovered a series called Mrs. Pollifax, by Dorothy Gilman. (Amazing that I recall her name after nearly 40 years!!) An American widow seeking adventure in her senior years, she decides to apply to the CIA. But when dropping off her resume, she is mistaken for a real spy and is sent off on a dangerous mission. I am reminded of Mrs. Pollifax in Auntie Poldi, the sexy sixty-year-old sleuth who seduced, drank, bullied and persevered her way through the first muder on her adopted island of Sicily in Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions. Both women are resourceful and, like Miss Marple before them, keen observers of people’s hubris, frailties and quirks.

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All the Winters After, by SerĂ© Prince Halverson (2016)

Fiction | Adult

All the Winters After, by Seré Prince Halverson (2018)

This is a really tricky novel to classify – it’s a bit of a thriller, a romance, a family saga, and in some ways a mystery. Most importantly, though, it’s set in Alaska. Kachemak Winkel finds himself home again 20 years after he left, a young man deeply mourning his mother, father and brother when they were all killed in a plane crash. He is called home by his Aunt Snag, his father’s sister, who tells Kache (pronounced catch) that his grandmother has not long to live. While there, he goes to the family homestead, expecting to find the place in ruins as no one has even visited since he left. Instead, he finds it exactly as he left it, except for the Russian woman who is living in the house.

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