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Great new fiction for your reading pleasure.....Part One

Updated: May 21

Step right up and get them while they're fresh! Read the full descriptions below and click on the title to place a hold, or you can call the Library at 541-347-3221

Machinehood -- S. B. Divya

Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It's 2095 and people don't usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process. All that changes when Welga's client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week. Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight. Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want? A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won't see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines?"


The Summer of Lost and Found -- Mary Alice Monroe

The coming of Spring usually means renewal, but for Linnea Rutledge, Spring 2020 threatens stagnation. Linnea faces another layoff, this time from the aquarium she adores. For her-and her family-finances, emotions, and health teeter at the brink. To complicate matters, her new love interest, Gordon, struggles to return to the Isle of Palms from England. Meanwhile, her old flame, John, turns up from California and is quarantining next door. She tries to ignore him, but when he sends her plaintive notes in the form of paper airplanes, old sparks ignite. When Gordon at last reaches the island, Linnea wonders-is it possible to love two men at the same time? Love in the time of the coronavirus proves challenging, at times humorous, and ever changing. Relationships are redefined, friendships made and broken, and marriages tested. As the weeks turn to months, and another sea turtle season comes to a close, Linnea learns there are more meaningful lessons learned during this summer than opportunities lost, that summer is a time of wonder, and that the exotic lives in our own back yards.


The Lady Has a Past -- Amanda Quick

"Investigative apprentice Lyra Brazier, the newest resident of Burning Cove, is unsettled when her boss suddenly goes on a health retreat at an exclusive spa and disappears without another word. Lyra knows something has happened to Raina Kirk, and she is the only one who can track her down. The health spa is known for its luxurious offerings and prestigious clientele, and the wealthy, socialite background Lyra desperately wanted to leave behind is perfect for this undercover job. The agency brings in a partner and bodyguard for her, but she doesn't get the suave, pistol-packing private eye she expected. Simon Cage is a mild-mannered antiquarian book dealer with a quiet, academic air, and Lyra can't figure out why he was chosen as her partner. But it soon becomes clear when they arrive at the spa and pose as a couple: Simon has a unique gift that allows him to detect secrets, a skill that is crucial in finding Raina. The unlikely duo falls down a rabbit hole of twisted rumors and missing socialites, discovering that the health spa is a façade for something far darker than they imagined. With a murderer in their midst, Raina isn't the only one in grave danger--Lyra is next"


Hot Stew -- Fiona Mozley

"Pungent, steamy, insatiable Soho; the only part of London that truly never sleeps. Tourists dawdling, chancers skulking, addicts shuffling, sex workers strutting, punters prowling, businessmen striding, the homeless and the lost. Down Wardour Street, ducking onto Dean Street, sweeping into L'Escargot, darting down quiet back alleyways, skirting dumpsters and drunks, emerging on to raucous main roads, fizzing with energy and riotous with life.On a corner, sits a large townhouse, the same as all its neighbours. But this building hosts a teeming throng of rich and poor, full from the basement right up to the roof terrace. Precious and Tabitha call the top floors their home but it's under threat; its billionaire-owner Agatha wants to kick the women out to build expensive restaurants and luxury flats. Men like Robert, who visit the brothel, will have to go elsewhere. Those like Cheryl, who sleep in the basement, will have to find somewhere else to hide after dark. But the women won't go quietly. Soho is their turf and they are ready for a fight."


The Devil's Hand -- Jack Carr

It's been twenty years since 9/11. Two decades since the United States was attacked on home soil and embarked on twenty years of war. The enemy has been patient, learning, and adapting. And the enemy is ready to strike again. A new president offers hope to a country weary of conflict. He's a young, popular, self-made visionary...but he's also a man with a secret. Halfway across the globe a regional superpower struggles with sanctions imposed by the Great Satan and her European allies, a country whose ancient religion spawned a group of ruthless assassins. Faced with internal dissent and extrajudicial targeted killings by the United States and Israel, the Supreme Leader puts a plan in motion to defeat the most powerful nation on earth."


The Plot -- Jean Hanff Korelitz

"The Plot is a psychologically suspenseful novel about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it. Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he's teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what's left of his self-respect; he hasn't written-let alone published-anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn't need Jake's help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot. Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker's first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that-a story that absolutely needs to be told. In a few short years, all of Evan Parker's predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says. As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his "sure thing" of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?"


Great Circle -- Maggie Shipstead

"After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There --after encountering a pair of pilots passing through town in a beat up Cessna--Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fifteen, she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy rancher who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe and piloting her plane over the Arctic Circle. A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance over the South Pacific. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to re-define herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian's own story, as the two womens' fates--and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times-- collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead"


The Newcomer -- Mary Kay Andrews

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan heeds her late sister"s warnings: "If anything bad happens to me-- it's Evan. Promise me you'll take Maya and run. Promise me." Letty hits the road in Tanya's Mercedes with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya, a "go-bag" of cash and a big honking diamond ring but only one clue: a faded magazine story about The Murmuring Surf Motel in the Florida beach town of Treasure Island. The Surf is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds. Letty and Maya settle in, try to unravel Tanya's shady past, and dodge the owner's son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective.


The Penguin Book of the American Short Story -- Edited by John Freeman

A selection of the best and most representative contemporary American short fiction from 1970 to 2020, including such authors as Ursula K. LeGuin, Toni Cade Bambara, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandra Cisneros, and Ted Chiang, hand-selected by celebrated editor and anthologist John Freeman


Early Morning Riser -- Katherine Heiny

Duncan is charming, good-natured, and handsome. He has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere, and while she may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she didn't have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, still has Duncan mow her lawn. And his coworker Jimmy comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Jane wonders how the relationship is supposed to work with all these people in it. Not to mention most of the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices. After a terrible car crash, Jane's life is permanently intertwined with Duncan, his ex-wife Aggie, and his co-worker Jimmy. And she knows she will never have Duncan to herself.


A Man Named Doll -- Jonathan Ames

Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word "no." Doll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut. A Man Named Doll is more than just a fascinating introduction to one truly singular character, it is a highly addictive and completely unpredictable joyride through the sensuous and violent streets of LA.


The End of Men -- Christina Sweeney Baird

"Glasgow, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a young man with a mild fever. Within three hours he dies. The mysterious illness sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. This is how it begins. The victims are all men. Dr Maclean raises the alarm, but the sickness spreads to every corner of the globe. Threatening families. Governments. Countries. Can they find a cure before it's too late? Will this be the story of the end of the world - or its salvation?"


Open Water -- Caleb Azumah Nelson

"In a crowded London pub, two young people meet. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists-he a photographer, she a dancer-and both are trying to make their mark in a world that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence, and over the course of a year they find their relationship tested by forces beyond their control. Narrated with deep intimacy, Open Water is at once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity that asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body; to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength; to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, and blistering emotional intelligence, Caleb Azumah Nelson gives a profoundly sensitive portrait of romantic love in all its feverish waves and comforting beauty. This is one of the most essential debut novels of recent years, heralding the arrival of a stellar and prodigious young talent"


Secrets of Happiness -- Joan Silber

"The novel begins with the character of Ethan, a lawyer living in New York City who tells us the story of his family's life just as they learn his father - a textile manufacturer who spent long trips throughout Asia - has fathered a secret family from a woman he met on one of his trips and set up in a house in Queens. From here, we move to different related characters as the novel expands outward to the woman, her sons, a few surprise relations, some unexpected twists and turns, ending the novel back with Ethan as he might finally learn the hard lessons of love, family, and, perhaps, happiness. What is the measure of a life well-lived, or well-loved? How connected are we to those around us and can happiness be found in acknowledging and embracing those connections, and what happens when they cannot be seen? What is the true value of family, however it is defined, and how can money and the pursuit of material things guide or obfuscate this equation?"


Nancy -- Bruno Lloret

"Alone but for her memories, Nancy has returned to Chile to wait for her cancer to take her away. Before her illness, before her husband's ridiculous death, before she fled home hidden in the back of a truck, she spent her youth at Playa Roja, swimming alongside the creepy old gringos amid rumors of young women gone missing and young men found dead. Nancy's bitter mother--mi madre mala, Nancy calls her--abandoned the family and her brother disappeared without explanation. Then her father, who was all she had left, took up with a pair of young Mormon missionaries, and Nancy was left to fend for herself in a world determined to crush her spirit. Through the haze induced by her medication, Nancy gazes deep into her adolescence and, despite the horrors that society, poverty, and family inflicted on her as a young woman, she rediscovers life--jubilant and proud."


Everything Like Before -- Kjell Askildsen

"From Kjell Askildsen comes a collection of spare, biting stories of people caught between reality and expectation, hope and despair, love and longing. A man and a woman in a quiet, remote house, an old man on a park bench, an estranged brother in a railway café -- Kjell Askildsen's characters are surrounded by absence. Filled with disquiet, and longing, they walk to a fjord, they smoke, they drink on a veranda, they listen to conversations that drift through open windows. Small flashes like the promise of a sunhat, a nail in a cherry tree, or a raised flag, reveal the interminable space between desire and reality in which Askildsen's characters are forever suspended. Widely recognized as one of the greatest modern short-story writers, with unadorned prose and a dark humor, Askildsen captures life as it really is, the worlds of his characters uncanny mirrors of our own"


The Social Graces -- Renee Rosen

"A peek behind the curtain at one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Mrs. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor's notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. In the glittering world of Manhattan's upper crust, society is everything. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor. But times are changing. Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America's richest families. But what good is money when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything. Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this gripping novel follows these two women as they try to outdo and outsmart each other at every turn. As Caroline comes closer to defeat and Alva closer to victory, both will make surprising discoveries about themselves and what's truly at stake"

Love Like Water, Love Like Fire -- Mihail Iossel

"From the moment of its founding, the USSR was reviled and admired, demonized and idealized. Many Jews saw the new society ushered in by the Russian Revolution as their salvation from shtetl life with its deprivations and deadly pogroms. But Soviet Russia was rife with antisemitism, and a Jewish boy growing up in Leningrad learned early, harsh, and enduring lessons. Unsparing and poignant, Mikhail Iossel's twenty stories of Soviet childhood and adulthood, dissidence and subsequent immigration, are filled with wit and humor even as they describe the daily absurdities of a fickle and often perilous reality."


Antiquities -- Cynthia Ozick

"Lloyd Wilkinson Petrie, one of the seven surviving trustees of the now defunct (for 34 years) Temple Academy for Boys, is preparing a memoir of his days at the school, intertwined with a description of present events. As he navigates, with faltering recall , between the subtle anti-semitism that pervaded the school's ethos and his fascination with his own family history--in particular, his illustrious cousin, the renowned archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie (check out his Wikipedia entry!), the source of his interest in antiquity--he reconstructs the story of his encounter from his school days with a younger student named Ben-Zion Elefantin, who seems to belong to a lost ancient Jewish sect. From this seed emerges one of Ozick's most wondrous tales, one that displays her delight in Jamesian irony and the mythical flavor of a Kafka parable, woven into her own distinct voice"

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