Cruel as the Grave by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Starring: likeable DCI Bill Slider, whose wife is expecting their second child any day.
What happens: In London’s Shepherd’s Bush area, Slider and his dedicated team investigate the murder of a handsome fitness trainer who had multiple romantic partners. Despite the dead man’s girlfriend being covered in blood, Slider thinks she may be innocent.
Series alert: This is the witty, well-plotted 22nd Bill Slider mystery; readers can start here, but those who want to see characters develop should start earlier in this popular series.
Blood Grove by Walter Mosley
What happens: In the summer of 1969, Black Los Angeles PI Easy Rawlins, a World War II vet, agrees to help a traumatized white Vietnam vet, who says that while trying to save a woman, he thinks he killed a Black man — but the scene of the supposed crime is completely clean.
Why you might like it: Featuring unforgettable characters, this atmospheric 15th Easy Rawlins mystery takes place against the backdrop of the social and political changes of the 1960s.
Award buzz: The National Book Foundation recently presented Walter Mosley with the 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Find Me in Havana by Serena Burdick
What it’s about: the true story of the life, career, and untimely death of Cuban actress Estelita Rodriguez, best known for her roles in Westerns with Roy Rogers and John Wayne.
Read it for: the compelling relationship between Estelita and her daughter Nina; the stranger-than-fiction events of Nina’s formative years, including surviving a kidnapping and witnessing the Cuban Revolution.
Try this next: Third Girl from the Left by Martha Southgate, which also chronicles the relationships between mothers and daughters who have close connections with the film industry.
Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
The setup: Mixed-race Pheby Brown is anxiously awaiting her 18th birthday, when her white father (and owner) Jacob has promised to set her free.
What goes wrong: A carriage accident kills Pheby’s mother and incapacitates her father, and Jacob’s bitter and jealous wife seizes the chance to sell Pheby to a cruel jailer, whose treatment Pheby endures until an unexpected opportunity arrives.
Reviewers say:Yellow Wife is a “powerful, unflinching account of determination in the face of oppression” (Publishers Weekly).
Shipped by Angie Hockman
The trip of a lifetime: Marketing manager Henley Rose Evans and her work nemesis, Graeme Crawford-Collins, compete for a promotion aboard one of their company’s adventure cruise ships bound for the Galápagos Islands.
Why you might like it: This “charming romp at sea” (Library Journal) features relatable leads, an enemies-to-lovers plot, and a lively supporting cast.
The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
What it is: an enemies-to-lovers fake relationship romance set in the world of public radio.
Starring: experienced producer Shay Goldstein and new hire Dominic Yun, workplace rivals who must pose as former lovers on a new show called “The Ex Talk” to boost the station’s ratings and save their jobs.
Read it for: witty banter, a diverse cast of well-developed characters, and an authentically depicted setting.
-posted by Sonia, Reference Services