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In Reading Lists - Best New Books by The Editors

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With summer on the horizon, more and more folks are vaccinated and getting ready for some fun in the sun. Whether you’re planning an epic trip or a relaxing staycation, no summer vacation is complete without a good book or two, and this month brings lots of exciting new titles to add to your TBR pile, including fantasy adventure, heartwarming YA, a twisty thriller, and more!

Trafik by Rikki Ducornet

There’s so much to unpack in this slim sci-fi novel full of long, luscious sentences and referential humor. Quiver and Mic, a mostly-human person and her robot companion, are searching the galaxy for rare minerals and a sense of self. Trafik adds to the mythos of Rikki Ducornet’s exploratory writings.

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Darkness for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone by Maurizio de Giovanni

In the second book of Maurizio de Giovanni’s Italian crime fiction series, Inspector Lojacano is back on duty. This time “The Chinaman” uncovers a sinister connection between two seemingly unrelated crimes: A kidnapped child and a burglary in an upscale home. The dark underbelly of Naple’s criminal network is revealed once more as Lojacano fights for justice in a complicated world of right and wrong.

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Summertime, All the Cats Are Bored by Philippe Georget

The first Inspector Sebag novel is quintessential French Noir. A Dutch woman is murdered on the beach in a tourist town on the French Mediterranean, followed by the disappearance of another. The ensuing media frenzy throws Inspector Sebag and his partner Molino into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. To solve the case, Sebag will have to give it everything he’s got and forget his own complicated struggles along the way. It’s a refreshing departure from hard-bitten crime novels, as the laissez-faire detective is forced to dig deep.

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White is for Magic by Laurie Stolarz

The second book in the Blue is for Nightmares series takes place just one year after Stacey Brown saved her best friend from an awful fate, and things aren’t exactly going well. Her dreams have become nightmares filled with murder victims, and none of her healing spells have made an impact. This lively teen novel is filled with drama, dark magic, and murder — and when a gorgeous new student, Jacob, enters the scene, romance. Will they be able to stop the dreams — and a killer — together?

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Marrakech Noir edited by Yassin Adnan

Marrakech Noir is a curious addition to Akashic Books’ acclaimed noir series, since Marrakech is often characterized as “The Joyful City.” But the mismatch of public perception and genre is exactly what makes this one such a delight as it plays with tropes and expands the boundaries of noir. Will transport you to this wonderfully exotic Moroccan city.

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Any Means Necessary by Jenny Rogneby

Leona Lindberg is a detective for the Violent Crimes Division of the Stockholm Police by day and a criminal by night. This novel is wild fun: Leona is trying to interrogate why a man tried to blow up the Parliament House while also teaching criminals how to evade police. An amoral protagonist for the ages.

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Unsportsmanlike Conduct by Jessica Luther

Author Jessica Luther knows the value of the playbook in sports: It guides coaches and teams throughout the game, hopefully towards a win. But there is another kind of playbook off the field, one that gets followed when accusations of sexual assault surface against players. College athletes often manage to sidestep bad press, and even worse, consequences. Luther provides a deep look at the inner workings of college athletics, as well as ways to change the plays that enable abuses of justice.

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The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs

When handsome senior Jeff dumps his girlfriend for “the fat girl” in his ceramics class, it has others scratching their heads. But Jeff’s a nice guy and wants to help her out after his rude comments about her sent her into a spiral of depression. As Ellen becomes Jeff’s project and begins dropping weight and becoming an independent, confident young woman, he feels like he’s not getting enough credit for all he’s done. This ’80s YA tale is a lesson in power trips and redemption.

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The King’s Beast by Eliot Pattison

Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler series continues with Duncan McCallum on a mission requested by Benjamin Franklin himself. But on his journey to Kentucky to retrieve a treasure trove of fossils, Duncan finds himself in a precarious, dangerous position as he becomes a pawn in the game to start a war between America and Britain.

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Labyrinth by Burhan Sönmez

When blues musician Boratin Bey wakes up in the hospital, he learns he attempted suicide by jumping off a bridge. But he has no memory of why he did it, or any memories about himself at all. He fully remembers facts about the world and how to live in it, but has no clue about who he truly is. As he wanders Istanbul in search of himself, life’s questions arise. What makes us who we are? Is there a future without a past?

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The Way We Work by Bruce Ferber

The saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” rings true for the entertainment business, which brings together some of the most creative minds. And it takes more than the writers, directors, and producers to get things done. The Way We Work gives insight into the cadre of professions required to create movie magic, from janitors to studio executives, including interviews and essays from those in-the-know.

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Home by LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka)

LeRoi Jones (also known as Amiri Baraka) became a cultural icon in the ’60s and ’70s through his poetry, plays, and writing on social justice. His often controversial work remains relevant in today’s social and political climate, with 24 essays covering important cultural events of that era, from Harlem riots to the death of Malcom X. Jones offers his own personal narrative alongside those insights, bringing the struggles faced by Black Americans to the forefront.

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Painless by Jamie Mayer

Feeling no physical pain and feeling no pain are two different things. Though a rare neurological disease prevents Quinn from actually feeling pain, he’s broken, aimless, and drifting through life on a barstool. When his father dies and he gets into a near-fatal accident, his older sister lays down an ultimatum: Get a job and join society, or go to rehab.

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The Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage

Andrew Whittaker’s slothlike tendencies aren’t helping him get his life together as he slides into middle age, and it’s certainly not helping his aspirations as a novelist. Or a landlord or a literary journal editor, or anything else. When the walls — including his ex-wife, his tenants, and bill collectors — start closing in on him, he tries to save himself, but only mires himself deeper in the mess he’s made. A tragic and darkly funny novel that casts a literary failure in the starring role.

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Shadows and Sideshows by Judy Black

Meet Hazel, a hunter who can vanquish her enemies by trapping them in her skin with a magical tattoo. But when her father goes missing, her special powers might not be enough to save him. A dark look into the creepy supernatural world of the Finnegan family as they hunt monsters, run their own sideshow, and try to save the world.

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Brave Enough by Kati Gardner

Ballerina Cason Martin is a standout dancer, and the youngest in history at her professional ballet company. But she’s hiding an injury that puts her career in jeopardy — and her family, since her domineering mother is also the ballet company’s artistic director. When Cason’s path crosses with a newly sober cancer survivor, they form an unlikely bond — not quite a friendship — as they both navigate uncertain futures.

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