New Releases in Fiction - December 2019!

Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Dec 10, 2019

Hello and welcome to our look at some new releases in the fiction section at the Johnson County Library! Every month we look at five titles making their debut that we think you absolutely need to know about. Give one - or more - of these titles a chance to make it in your hold list. We hope you find something new!

December gives us the opportunity to look back at this year, to reflect on what we did in the previous months, and more importantly, examine who we were. Science fiction writer Charles Soule, the author of last year’s breakout hit THE ORACLE YEAR is back with the new novel ANYONE. In the near future, a struggling graduate student accidentally invents the technology that can project a person’s consciousness into another person’s body. Flashing forward twenty years later, we see the tech has transformed society - people can switch bodies whenever they want, and a black market emerges for those who want to use this ability for darker reasons. Soule writes a fast-paced speculative tale full of body switches that will keep readers on their toes but creates a well-thought out dystopia that will also keep the pages turning. If you’ve read authors like Elan Mastai or Blake Crouch and want more, give Soule a try. 

Nalini Singh is known for her captivating paranormal romance series, but in this month’s new release she tries her hand at the mystery/thriller genre with A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE. Set in an isolated enclave in New Zealand called the Gold Coast, a young woman goes missing. The community comes together to locate her, including a decorated police officer, Will, who showed a lot of promise, but proved to be too unstable for the big city and is looking for redemption in a small town. Also, a Maori woman, Anahera, is a concert pianist who has returned to her small hometown after a cheating husband forever damaged her relationship. Of course, there’s a touch of romance here lurking around the edges, but the focus is squarely on the secrets and lies of this small town and the hunt for the killer. Singh delivers thrills with a slow burn and should pull in readers looking for something different.

We have a few debut authors coming your way this month: Kiley Reid’s SUCH A FUN AGE is a clear standout and an author who absolutely needs to be on your radar in 2020. Here, the story begins as a young African-American woman, Emira, who works as a nanny, is called in for an emergency late at night by her employers, as Alix Chamberlain, mommy blogger and social-media influencer, is working on the deadline of an important project. While taking Alix’s daughter, Briar, to a nearby convenience store in a posh Philadelphia neighborhood to kill time, someone sees them and reports a possible kidnapping, and as video footage of the incident goes viral, Emira’s and Alix’s world collide and mix in unforeseen ways. Smart and sharp, Reid’s novel works as a book club pick for delving into social and class issues, but the character work and sparklingly witty plot also works as a broad crowd-pleaser for Liane Moriarty fans. Snap this one up fast. 

Another debut novel you should keep your eye on is WOULD LIKE TO MEET by Rachel Winters, the latest in this current generation of rom-com-style romance novels that takes its inspiration from the romantic comedy film genre. Evie Summers is a put-upon writers’ assistant in Hollywood, working with a screenwriter who is known for rom coms but has fallen on hard times and lacks inspiration. Evie tries to recreate scenes from famous films, attempting to prove that meet-cutes can work in real life, but can’t quite get things to click. Of course, surly screenwriter and bumbling assistant eventually strike sparks of their own, and this charming feel-good romance has the banter and the sizzle to hook readers. 

Rich in small-town atmosphere, Alice Blanchard’s TRACE OF EVIL is a combination police investigative procedural and psychological thriller, as rookie cop Natalie Lockhart investigates a murder in small-town upstate New York, discovering that it has ties to the murder of her own sister years ago. On top of that, the town of Burning Lake has a history of witchcraft and the occult, which amps up the spooky vibe. Natalie must face her own ghosts (see what I did there) to tie the thread together in this strong and compelling mystery. 

That’s it for this month, gang! See you next time.


Reviewed by Gregg W.
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