Wednesday, September 30, 2020

November Treasures in My Closet


 Because so many publishers moved books to October, there seems to be a dearth of November releases. Admittedly, publishers have only recently started sending print ARCs, but I'm seeing a lot more January and March releases than November. Here are the few November treasures in my closet. I'm sure readers will mention other titles as well, so check the comments. Please ignore the Vietnamese spammers, the vampire spammers, and the pathetic love-lost ones. I'll try to get rid of their posts as quickly as I catch them, especially the vampire ones with poor grammar.

Gail Honeyman has a lot to answer for. After her novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, everyone has a novel about a woman with issues. Reminds me of Gone Girl and all the "girl" novels with unreliable narrators. In Kristin Bair's Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything, "A quirky, nervous wreck of a New England mom is forced to face her many fears." Agatha Arch's life shatters when she discovers her husband in their backyard shed giving the local dog walker some heavy petting. Suddenly, Agatha finds herself face-to-face with everything that frightens her... and that's a long list. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

In E.A. Barres' They're Gone, two men from vastly different backgrounds are murdered one after another on the same night, and in the same fashion: with two bullet wounds, one in the head, another in the heart. The two slayings send their wives on a desperate search for answers. A week after her husband's murder, Deb Thomas learns her husband was the subject of an FBI investigation. Baltimore bartender Cessy Castillo is less bereft when her abusive husband, ex-cop Hector Ramirez is killed. But it turns out he was deep in hock - and now Cessy's expected to pay up. The two women join forces to learn the truth in a novel that could entangle them in a dark web. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

Charles Baxter's The Sun Collective is his story of modern American society. Tim Brettigan, a promising actor, has gone missing. His father thinks he may have seen him among some homeless people. His mother knows he left on purpose, but she still searches for him, and stumbles upon a local community group with lofty goals and an enigmatic leader who will alter their lives. Christina, a young woman rapidly becoming addicted to a boutique drug, is drawn to the same collective by a man convinced he may start a revolution. The lives of these characters intertwine in a story of guilt, anxiety, and feverish hope. (Release date is Nov. 17.)

The case is a little too personal for a San Diego private investigator in Elizabeth Breck's Anonymous. When Madison Kelly arrives home, she finds a note stabbed to her front door: "Stop investigating me, or I will hunt you down and kill you." The problem? Madison took time off to figure out what to do with her life, and she's not investigating anyone. But, maybe it has something to do with the true-cirme podcast she's been tweeting about, and the missing girls? The girls went missing, two years apart, after a night at the clubs in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, and Madison has been probing the internet for clues. As Madison's investigation into the cold cases closes in, so does Anonymous. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

In Pretending, Holly Bourne asks, "Why be yourself when you can be perfect?" April is kind, pretty and relatively normal - yet she can't seem to get past date five. Whenever she thinks she finds someone to trust, they leave her heartbroken and angry. Until she realizes men are really looking for a "Gretel". "Gretel" is perfect, beautiful but low-maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not too sexy. "She's your regular, everyday Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-Next-Door with no problems." Dating is more fun when April pretends to be Gretel. But, once she meets someone, how long will she be able to pretend? (Release date is Nov. 17.)

We Keep the Dead Close is Becky Cooper's true crime book about an unsolved 1969 murder at Harvard and a half century of silence. Cooper searched for answers to the mystery, but also asked the question as to why we are so captivated by murder and its victims. In this case, the victim was an outspoken, brilliant woman struggling in a male-dominated filed, and the suspects were her colleagues. The though-provoking narrative mixes true crime, philosophy and character studies. It uses the true crime genre to look at the social foundations upon which our culture's violent misogyny is built. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

Watercolor artist, businesswoman, and amateur sleuth  Penny Brannigan is off to the island of Anglesey for a painting holiday in Elizabeth J. Duncan's On Deadly Tides. She's enjoying the retreat until she discovers the body of a New Zealand journalist on a secluded beach. Although the postmortem reveals the victim died from injuries "consistent with a fall from a great height", the death is ruled accidental. But, Penny thinks there's more to the story, and she uncovers a link to a mysterious disappearance several years earlier. Add in a holiday romance that might bring change to Penny's life. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

In Censorettes, Elizabeth Bales Frank introduces readers to the lives of women working as censorettes during World War II. Lucy Barrett finds it maddening to be sequestered from the dangers of WWII on the idyllic island of Bermuda. She's determined to get into the fight, but then the fight comes to her. Lucy's a censorette, part of a branch of British intelligence stationed on the island to inspect mail between North American and European nations at war. Lucy uses her Cambridge education and love of Shakespeare to detect a Nazi spy ring operating out of Brooklyn. Just as she's promoted to a dangerous job overseas, a good friend is murdered. Should she embrace her new assignment, or seek justice for her friend? (Release date is Nov. 5.)

Pre-Civil War New York is the setting for S. M. Goodwin's debut mystery, Absence of Mercy. Although Jasper Lightner is a decorated Crimean War hero and the most admired inspector in London's Metropolitican Police, his father, the Duke of Kersey, is enraged by a a series of front-page newspaper stories extolling Jasper's exploits. The furious man uses his political connections to keep his son off the police force. Jasper is sent packing to New York City on a year-long assignment to train detectives, and discovers a police department on the verge of armed conflict. Assigned to investigate the murder of reformer Stephen Finch, Jasper joins forces with a man who might be even more an outsider than he is. Hieronymus Law is a detective who investigated two almost identical killings - and who is rumored to have taken money to frame an innocent woman for murder. Law is bent on restoring his good name. The unlikely team has no choice but to work together as law enforcement falls into the hands of dangerous gangs. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

After All I've Done is a psychological suspense novel by Megan Hart, writing as Mina Hardy. Five months earlier, an accident left Diana Sparrow badly injured and missing a few months of her memory. Now, she's started having recurring nightmares about the night of the accident. She's left questioning her memories. Maybe she didn't just slide off the road into a ditch. Maybe, she hit something. Or someone. She can't turn to her former best friend who's been sleeping with Diana's husband for months. But, she might find comfort with a newcomer, Cole Pelham. Yet, as they become closer, Diana wonders what really happened that night, and how Cole might be connected. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

Isabella Maldonado introduces FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera in The Cipher. A serial killer considers her the one who got away. She escaped a serial killer's trap when she was sixteen. Years later, when she's jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. While legions of new fans are impressed with her fighting skills. But, the man who abducted her eleven yearrs ago is also watching. Determined to reclaim his lost prize, he commits a grisly murder designed to pull her into the investigation. His games are just beginning, and he's using the internet to invite the public to play along. (Release date is Nov. 1.)

Danielle Martin's debut novel, Glimmer As You Can, features a dress boutique turned underground women's social club where women from all walks of life come for support and sisterhood. Set in 1962 in Brooklyn Heights, Madeline Abbott started the underground women's club when her ex-husband ruined her reputation. It's become a haven for women needing a respite from troubled relationships and professional frustrations. Two very different women come into Madeline's life, Elaine, a British expat struggling to save her marriage, and Lisa, a young stewardess whose plans for the future are upended. When Madeline's ne'er-do-well ex-husband shows up, the sisterhood rallies around her. When an unspeakable tragedy befalls the group, one woman must decide whether to hide the truth from the group, or jeopardize her own hopes and dreams. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

In Emily Schultz' Little Threats, Kennedy Wynn served fifteen years in prison for murder. Now it's time to find out if she's guilty. In the summer of 1993, twin sisters Kennedy and Carter Wynn are embracing the grunge era and testing every limit. But Kennedy's teenage rebellion goes too far when, after a night of partying in the woods, her best friend, Haley, is murdered, and suspicion falls upon Kennedy. She can't remember anything about the night in question, and this, along with the damning testimony from a college boy who both Kennedy and Haley loved, is enough to force Kennedy to plead guilty. In 2008, she's released into a world that has moved on without her. Carter has grown distant. When a crime show host comes to town asking questions, murky memories of Haley's death come to light. As new suspects emerge, two families may be destroyed again. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

Teen Killers Club is Lily Sparks' debut novel. Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she's convicted of her best friend Rose's brutal murder, she's designated a Class A - the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for eighteen-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp when she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Even here, Signal doesn't fit in. She's squeamish around blood. She's kind and empathetic. And, her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that's because Signal's not really a killer. She was framed. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

Jacqueline Winspear's memoir, This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing, is the one I'm anticipating the most. The author of the Maisie Dobbs series offers a deeply personal story of her Kentish childhood and her family's resilience in the face of war and privation. Her memoir tackles such difficult and poignant family memories as her paternal grandfather's shellshock, her mother's evacuation from London during the Blitz, her animal-loving father's torturous assignment to an explosives team during WWII, her parents' years living with Romani Gypsies, and Jacqueline's own childhood working on farms in rural Kent. Faithful readers of the Maisie Dobbs books will recognize scenarios that inspired the series. (Release date is Nov. 10.)

Which books entice you? Or is there something else in your reading plans for November?


SandyG265 said...

Good morning. I didn’t know that vampires have poor grammar. Must be the Eastern European accent.

Fortunately nothing on that list interests me. I’m hoping to use November and December to catch up on my TBR piles before they collapse and bury me

Lesa said...

I know! Wouldn't it be nice to have a little time to catch up, Sandy?

At least the vampire who posts spam here about "My lover and me are vampires" or some such nonsense needs to work on the grammar.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I am depressed. It sucks to see nothing about that freaky vampire.

As to books....I also see nothing here that rocks my world. Which is a good thing considering the various massive TBR piles here at the palatial Casa Tipple and Home Eatery Library estate in NE Dallas.

Margie Bunting said...

I'm attracted to Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything (but the cover seems like a ripoff from Where'd You Go Bernadette) and Glimmer As You Can. Also on my TBR list of books to be released in November: How to Raise an Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith, Without a Brew by Ellie Alexander, Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz, Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce, The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly, Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

That dumb vampire and his lover are pissing me off. I guess my "moderate comments" feature is on to stay.

Nothing here excites me, but there's always next month! I did try to read one of the titles mentioned because it sounded intriguing but I didn't finish it.

Lesa said...

Only Jacqueline Winspear's book jumps out at me, Kevin, but it has nothing to do with that freaky vampire, fortunately. I'm also hoping for extra time to catch up on reading in November.

Lesa said...

Margie, See, that's the problem with not getting physical ARCs. I read Ellie Alexander's Without a Brew, and liked it, but it's not on a pile someplace, so I forgot about it.

Lesa said...

I know, Kaye. I tend to put moderate comments on, and take it off, but the darned vampire sneaks in there. Guess it shouldn't surprise me that a vampire manages to sneak in.

Glen Davis said...

Can't say anything really jumps out at me. Seems like 2020 got to publishing like it did everything else.

Rosemary said...

Hi Lesa - what a lot of books!

I really cannot cope with anything miserable or depressing these days, but like you I am very interested in the Jacqueline Winspear book. I went off the Maisie Dobbs books after a while, she was just too serious and worthy for me, but the author's life has so much in common with my mother's (who loves the Maisie D books) that it might be a great Christmas present for her. My mother's family lived in an inner London suburb, but they all went down to Kent for the hop picking in the summer. She was 12 when the war started, and although she was evacuated to the Welsh countryside, her mother brought her back to London just before the Blitz started - she remembers it vividly. We think my grandmother did this because the families of evacuated children were supposed to send a contribution to their keep, and my grandmother simply could not afford to do so. My grandfather had also served in the trenches in World War One, and also had both physical and mental health issues afterwards, so he was unable to work and my grandmother had to take on numerous low paid jobs - doing people's laundry and cleaning - and also manage a small house full of five children and an invalid and volatile husband.

Of the other books in your list, I do like the look of On Deadly Tides and Censorettes, but I looked up Elizabeth J Duncan's books on Amazon UK and unfortunately even used copies are very expensive and neither of my libraries seems to stock them, I did find just one of her other Penny Brannigan books on Amazon for a low price so I have added that to my basket. And I also have a massive TBR list - I came back up the road from Edinburgh to Aberdeenshire last night with two massive bags of books, disguised under clothes so my husband wouldn't notice (he found them this morning...)

This spam thing is such a nuisance, isn't it? I'm not at all sure why people bother doing it.

Hope you're having a good week so far,


Gram said...

Yesterday I put the Jacqueline Winspear book on my library list.