The glorious month of September marks – much more than January for most of us – the beginning of a fresh new year. As we return to school or work, the days grow shorter and will soon yield to the colors and comforts of autumn. As a local author of twisty thrillers (Finding Mrs. Ford – set in Watch Hill! – Ruby Falls, and Reef Road) and host of the Ocean House Author Series, I am delighted to share with you my selection of new fall books, three of them featuring Rhode Island themes and/or authors. So settle in your favorite chair with a roaring fire and a dog or cat on your lap. The following list will keep you happily reading until the snow comes!
Who doesn’t love a good fake? On September 5, Zadie Smith’s The Fraud is published. Based on a trial that divided Victorian England, it explores the true story of a lower-class butcher from Australia who claimed to be the rightful heir of a large estate and title. Seen through the eyes of a formerly enslaved man from Jamaica and a Scottish housekeeper, The Fraud examines truth, lies, and the liminal spaces between them.
Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters, comes out on September 12 and promises to be loads of fun. Three generations of magic plus two rogue exes plus one tarot deck equal the perfect recipe for chaos. Billed as Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic, all I can say is please make more hot chocolate and count me in!
Halloween brings a treat in the form of Rhode Island-based Vanessa Lillie’s newest thriller, Blood Sisters. The novel follows Syd Walker, a Cherokee archaeologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Providence, when she is called back to rural Oklahoma to investigate the disappearance of two women, one of them her sister. There are secrets in the land and Syd must go home to uncover them.
I love the world of 1940s movies – the snappy dialogue, the glamorous clothes – and can’t wait for Sarah James’ Last Night at the Hollywood Canteen on November 7. At a glamorous WWII club for serviceman staffed exclusively by those in show business, a hated film critic is found dead. A newly arrived murder mystery playwright finds herself at the center of a hunt that may lead to a movie star killer, and may also land a target on her back.
Rhode Island author Christa Carmen’s The Daughters of Block Island will land in your book stores on December 1. In a subversive twist on the classic gothic novel, the mysterious past of an island mansion lures two sisters into a spiderweb of scandal, secrets, and murder. The sisters, strangers since birth yet bound by family secrets, soon find themselves caught up in a century-old mystery on isolated off-season Block Island.
On December 5, Luanne Rice brings us Last Night, a murder mystery set in the Ocean House Hotel. A famous artist is killed in a blinding blizzard. Her young daughter is a witness. A passing detective and his girlfriend are soon drawn into a tangled web. Making full use of every nook and cranny of the storied Victorian hotel, Rice takes the reader on a cat-and-mouse pursuit of a killer, a missing child, and a trove of buried secrets. Pro-tip: don’t miss the publishing party at Ocean House on December 6.
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