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Greenburgh Public Library Blog

Five Page-Turners You Might Have Missed

by Laura Burk on 2022-05-06T09:00:00-04:00 | 0 Comments

I love book recommendations. If you ever see me at the circulation desk and we have a passing conversation about books, you'll probably see me jot down a title. I subscribe to multiple blogs, belong to several online book groups, and follow authors on social media. I read picture books, middle-grade chapter books, young adult books, graphic novels, memoirs, and both fiction and nonfiction for adults. One of my favorite parts of my job at the library is simply handling the books. Every day I scan titles into my Goodreads account, and I'm forever finding scraps of paper in my pockets, crammed with lists of books. Still, there are books I mean to read that get neglected. (I swear, this is the year I'm going to get through all of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache mysteries!)

Here are five books you might have missed in 2021: 

Cover ArtBilly Summers by Stephen King

Read Billy Summers...because not every Stephen King book is horror. This one is over 500 pages yet I blasted through it in a weekend. Billy is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and an assassin for hire, but he only kills “bad guys.” This is his last job, so you know right from the start that things are going to go sideways. 

Cover ArtRazorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss. Derek's father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy. Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change - and maybe even redemption.

Read Razorblade Tears... because it reads like the best of the classic buddy action movies, with the deft addition of 2021 social issues. Frustrated with the police investigation into their son’s murders, Randolph and Buddy Lee take matters into their own hands. This one is a cinematically violent page-turner touching on racism, homophobia, classism, and parenting. Let me know who you’d cast in the movie version!

Cover ArtThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Read The Echo Wife... because Sarah Gailey is such a versatile writer. This one is about a couple who has done successful clone research, until Nathan clones Evelyn, and things get wild. Gailey's earlier books include River of Teeth,  speculative fiction about hippos in the Mississippi River, Magic for Liars about twin sisters, one a private investigator and one a professor at a school for magic, and Upright Women Wanted, a "reinvent[ion of] the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.” (from the publisher)

Cover ArtThe Chill by Scott Carson

Read The Chill...because it’s a creepy atmospheric ghost story. The setting alternates between New York City and a fictional town bordering a reservoir upstate. The past meets the present as the ghosts of the workers who died constructing the aqueduct, the spirits of those who lost their homes to the flooding of the reservoir, and their modern descendants converge during an epic rainstorm. (Scott Carson is a pen name of Michael Koryta)

Cover ArtLight from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in Ryka Aoki's Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure set in California's San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka's ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She's found her final candidate. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn't have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan's kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul's worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.

Read Light from Uncommon Stars...because it’s two really weird premises combined into a fascinating novel. There’s a deal with the devil, but it’s not horror. There’s a crew of intergalactic refugees making donuts, but it’s not heavily science fiction. Every review I’ve read makes this sound like the strangest book ever, but all agreed that it was a great read. This one is a little less of a thriller than the others on this list, but it’s one of the best books I read last year.

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