Thrilling distractions. These are some of the year’s best books. They all are well-written, thrilling works of fiction that will offer the perfect distraction during a busy season.
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson shows why you need to stay on topic during your book club discussion. Amy Whey, a loving wife and mother, lives a pretty ordinary life and runs a fairly conventional book club with her best friend, Charlotte. But then the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives one night for the book discussion. Angelica charms the group and lures them into a game of telling secrets. It seems like harmless fun, but Amy knows it is not. And somehow, Angelica knows the truth about who Amy really is and what she once did. To protect her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must match wits with Angelica in a war of best-forgotten pasts and treacherous secrets. The book is full of dark twists and Jackson’s trademark humor. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels. A former actor, she also is an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, and enjoys a huge following here in Birmingham.
Cemetery Road is by Greg Iles, who spent most of his life in Mississippi and writes what he knows. This book, set in a small Mississippi town on the edge of economic ruin, is about powerful families and dangerous secrets. Marshall McEwan is a successful journalist in Washington, DC, but he returns to his Mississippi home (something he swore he’d never do) where his father is terminally ill. Bienville is not the town he remembered. His family’s 150-year-old newspaper is failing; his former lover has married into a powerful, connected family. A small group of patriarchs, who rule the town, are planning a deal with a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill, but then that turns deadly. So Marshall joins forces with his former lover and begins doing what he does best: investigating to uncover hard truths. Iles has written 16 New York Times bestsellers. His novels have been made into films and published in more than 35 countries.
Fun fact: Iles is part of the lit-rock group The Rock Bottom Remainders. The band is made up of some pretty famous folks including Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Stephen King, Amy Tan and Matt Groening.
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter will thrill her fans because this is another novel with medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner, Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Bad things are happening in Atlanta: A scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is kidnapped in a shopping center parking lot. A month later, an explosion rocks one of the city’s most important neighborhoods—the location of Emory University, two hospitals, an FBI field office and the CDC. Sara and Will quickly discover a conspiracy that threatens thousands of lives. When Sara is abducted by the assailants they are seeking, Will has to go undercover to save her and prevent a massacre. A native of Georgia, Slaughter lives in Atlanta. She has been published in 120 countries with more than 35 million books sold worldwide.
The Huntress by Kate Quinn is a thrilling work of historical fiction where lives and nations collide. Nina Markova grew up in Soviet Russia, and when war came to her homeland, she joined the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment attacking Hitler’s eastern front. But then she’s downed behind enemy lines and encounters a Nazi murderess known as the Huntress. Ian Graham is a British war correspondent who leaves journalism to become a Nazi hunter. One target eludes him: the Huntress. So he joins forces with Nina, the only person who has ever escaped from the Huntress. Jordan McBride, 17, grows up in post-World War II Boston. When her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, she’s sure the quiet-spoken German widow is hiding something. But uncovering her new stepmother’s past also uncovers secrets in Jordan’s own family. Quinn, a life-long history buff, is a New York Times bestselling author of seven historical novels, including the wildly popular novel The Alice Network.