Hello and welcome to our new releases roundup for the month of July! If this is your first time, we take a brief look at some of the well-reviewed titles that we either love or have heard great things about. You’ll never find John Grisham, Michael Connelly, or Janet Evanovich on these lists. It’s not that we don’t like them – we do – but those are authors who you’ve likely already heard of. We love spotlighting books and authors that you might not be familiar with. Feel free to tell us about the under-the-radar titles that you’re excited about.
First up this month is for all you thriller and crime fans out there. Don Winslow is no stranger to library shelves, a mainstay in the mystery section since the early 1990s. Even though a handful of his books have been made into movies and screenplays, he’s never had a novel that’s hit it big. That is, until his latest, The Force; a sweeping epic of the NYPD that’s already heading to the movie screen. Here, Winslow takes us inside an elite New York police task force, granted vast amounts of freedom to take down gangs, drug dealers, and other major criminals in Upper Manhattan. They are celebrated across the city for their ruthlessness and effectiveness – however, we quickly discover that they are actually dirty cops who squirreled away the money of the city’s largest heroin bust for themselves and their families. Winslow is a master of epic, sweeping narrative that takes us into the day-to-day compromises and judgments of a cop on the beat. With realistic characters who feel pressure from all sides, the tension tightens until an explosive, cinematic finale. This reads like a movie version of GoodFellas with corrupt cops instead of mobsters and is going to make one heck of a movie. Be sure to check this one out.
Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin is a tender, sly, and warm novel about a newly-single woman, Ruth, who moves back into her parents’ house after her father, a university professor, starts showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. As the condition worsens over the course of a year, Ruth becomes the family caretaker. Attempting to hold the crumbling family together, she learns of the secrets her parents kept from her and starts a faltering romance with one of her father’s ex-students. Told from the point of view of Ruth’s journal entries, Goodbye, Vitamin is alternatively heartwarming and heartbreaking, the story told with wit and warmth even though Ruth’s father’s diagnosis darkens and she discovers new truths about herself. Touching, personal, and revealing, this is an excellent novel for those looking for something a bit deeper but still entertaining for their summer reads – readers who like Lisa Genova, for example.
You might not be interested in a sprawling, muscular cop novel or insightful fiction about how mental illness affects a family. That’s okay! Some of us like our summer reads that make your pulse race faster than a hamster after a triple espresso. We got you covered, too. You might be familiar with the term “final girl” – the last one standing, usually a teen girl, at the end of a horror movie? Author Riley Sager plays with the concept in Final Girls, a thriller where a young woman, Quincy Carpenter, was the last to survive a massacre, meets up with other, similar girls – all survivors, all belonging to this strange, peculiar club. Until one of the girls is murdered and another appears at Quincy’s house, believing that a killer is targeting them. This is a fast-paced, excellently-written psychological thriller that will keep you up late at night, full of twists and turns and utterly addictive. (This might well be your guilty pleasure this summer!)
So a novel revolving around serial killers MIGHT not be your thing. Instead of intense and grisly, maybe you’d prefer your summer reading on the lighter and breezier side, perhaps not involving someone chasing someone else while holding a kitchen knife. If this is you, we suggest Diksha Basu’s delightful The Windfall. This novel takes place in New Delhi, India, where we follow Mr. and Mrs. Jha, a middle-class couple of empty-nesters happily settled in their tiny house in their cramped, older neighborhood, pleased that their son is off to an American business school. But soon Mr. Jha comes into a large unexpected sum of money that knocks their tightly ordered world completely off kilter – they move into a posh neighborhood, start mixing with their new neighbors while some of their old neighbors trail after, and try to keep up appearances. A comedy of manners, romance, and social satire, an old tale told through the lens of a different culture, this is funny, sweet, and should hit many readers in just the right spot. Give this one a try.
Our last book this month, keeping with the theme of each book being COMPLETELY different from the other, is an Amish post-apocalyptic novel. (Yes, you read that right.) When the English Fall starts with Jacob, a member of an Amish community who quietly farms, tends to his family, and rarely exposes himself to the wider world around him - until a massive solar flare disrupts almost everything in that outside world – cars can’t drive, planes can’t fly, computers are fried, and the world is in complete collapse. Except those in Amish communities, who continue life as they always have, until people invade their towns and farms looking for food and supplies. Jacob and his community must decide how to react – should they arm themselves, going against their core beliefs to protect themselves? Or should they welcome the outside world in, possibly destroying their community in the process? Thoughtful, emotional, and exquisitely written, this looks similar to books Like Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Peter Heller’s Dog Stars.
Thanks for reading! See you next month!