Staff Picks

I Never Saw That Coming

Some writers pave the route to a novel's end with so many clues that you'd have to quit reading at page fifteen not to guess the conclusion. These books employ a literary kind of "smoke and mirrors" to keep you off-course and guessing what will happen.  They offer twists that you can't predict and take you to a different place than you were expecting. And keep you guessing up to the end.

Keith C.
Judas Child     Judas Child    
Carol O'Connell
    MYS Oconnel

When two fifth-graders are kidnapped from their school, two adults afflicted by their own tragedies are drawn into the investigation. The killer in a 15-year-old murder was supposedly caught, but similarities between that case and the current one raise doubts. In the earlier case, the killer used a note from one captured child (the Judas child) to lure a friend; the reader knows that this is again the pattern, just as we know, or think we know, where the girls are being held.

Nineteen Minutes     Nineteen Minutes    
Jodi Picoult
    Picoult

An alienated teen brings weapons to his high school and opens fire, killing 10 people. Flashbacks reveal how bullying caused him to retreat into a world of violent computer games. The judge assigned to the case tries to maintain her objectivity as she struggles to understand her daughter who is one of the surviving witnesses.

Obedience     Obedience    
Will Lavender
    Lavende

At a Midwestern university, students are taking Logic and Reasoning 204, taught by enigmatic Professor Williams. They quickly learn this is a course like no other. Their single assignment is to find a missing 18-year-old girl in six weeks time--or else, Williams asserts, she will be murdered. As the students begin investigating the assignment they unearth clues that seem all too real. Is this merely an academic exercise?

Presumed Innocent     Presumed Innocent    
Scott Turow
    Turow

Rusty Sabich, family man and assistant county prosecutor, is handed an explosive case- the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover. A shocking turn of events suddenly transforms him from the accuser into the accused and plunges him into a nightmare world where nothing seems real and no one can be presumed innocent.

Primal Fear     Primal Fear    
William Diehl
    Di

After discovering the mutilated body of an archbishop in the rectory of a Chicago church, police find Aaron Stampler, a mild mannered runaway, cowering in a confessional, blood-soaked and gripping the murder weapon. Stampler's attorney, is impressed by his client, and builds a maverick defense team to assist him. A psychiatrist blows the case wide open by unearthing a terrifying secret revealed in court. Diehl builds delicious tension, keeping the reader off balance right up to the gavel-pounding finale.

Shutter Island     Shutter Island    
Dennis Lehane
    Lehane

Lehane's novel carries an ending so shocking yet so faithful to the story that it is one of the greatest plot twists written. In summer 1954, two U.S. marshals arrive on Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from the hospital for the criminally insane that dominates the island. As a major hurricane bears down on the island, inciting a riot among the insane and cutting off all access to the mainland, they begin to fear for their lives. There are mysteries within mysteries in this novel.

Southern Discomfort     Southern Discomfort    
Rita Mae Brown
    Brown

A tale of two decades in Montgomery Alabama--a world where all is not what it seems. Hortensia Reedmuller Banastre is a beautiful woman entrenched in old money, white magnolia and a loveless marriage--until she meets an utterly gorgeous young prizefighter. Hortensia struggles to survive the emotions caused by her scandalous love. How she ultimately triumphs is a touching and beautiful human drama--an intense and exuberant affair of the heart.

The Double Bind     The Double Bind    
Chris Bojhalien
    Bohjali

Fact and fiction become indistinguishable in The Double Bind, a story centering on a young social worker who survived a near-rape. She stumbles across photographs taken by a former homeless client and tries to understand how a man who'd taken snapshots of celebrities in the 50s and 60s might have wound up on the streets. As she seeks answers to his past she also must face dark events from her own.  

The Getaway Man     The Getaway Man    
Andrew Vachss
    MYS Vachss

Eddie, the narrator, is a quiet, not-too-bright loner who loves to drive cars. Joyriding and a few stints in juvenile prisons lead him to hard time and hardened thugs who see potential in his single-minded loyalty--when Eddie's out front in the car, he waits until his partners come out, whether the cops are coming or not. He finds himself partnered with a tough ex-con planning the ultimate noir cliche: one last big score so they can all retire. Watch out for the big surprise!

The Thirteenth Tale     The Thirteenth Tale    
Diane Setterfield
    Setterf

Margaret Lea, a biographer, is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby.