Simply Held July Authors: Mary Monroe and Louise Penny

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction and fiction? You should join Simply Held. Choose any author, celebrity pick, nonfiction and/or fiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from Simply Held. July’s authors are Mary Monroe for fiction and Louise Penny for mystery.

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Our July fiction author is Mary Monroe. Monroe was the first and only member of her family to finish high school. She never went to college or took any writing classes. Instead, she taught herself how to write and started writing short stories at the age of four. Her first novel, The Upper Room, was published in 1985. After that, it took her fifteen years before she landed a contract for her second book, God Don’t Like Ugly, which published in 2000. She has won the Oakland Pen Award for Best Fiction, the Best Southern Author Award, the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award, and the J. California Copper Memorial Award, amongst many others.

Monroe writes romance, general fiction, romantic suspense, and historical fiction.

Monroe’s newest book is Love, Honor, Betray, which is the third book in the Lexington, Alabama series. This book was published in March 2023.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Award-winning New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe delivers the latest thrillingly scandal-filled novel in her Depression-era saga of a church-going lady and her oh-so-upstanding husband racing to cover up their many sins—and gambling on one scheme too many. . .

With mysterious serial murders putting peaceful Lexington, Alabama, on edge, Jessie and Hubert Wiggins’ steadfast calm and devotion to each other reassures everyone that faith will see them through. But Jessie and Hubert have paid a terrible hidden cost to maintain their devout facade and respectable standing. Nothing can allay the guilt they feel—or stop the growing distrust between them . . .

Hubert thought he and his secret lover, Leroy, could continue seeing each other on the down-low in peace. But when Leroy’s ex-wife moves back in with him, a heartbroken Hubert is driven to distraction trying to keep Jessie in the dark—and quell his mounting jealousy. And his need for satisfaction is driving Hubert to reckless extremes—and desperate risks. . .

Jessie believes the struggles between her and Hubert will all be worth it if she can connive him to finally consummate their marriage—no matter what she has to do. But his erratic behavior and her frustration soon has her trying yet another new lover, who is as charming as he is unreliable—and unexpectedly dangerous. . .

Now with their secrets out of control—and the police perilously near—Jessie and Hubert discover who might be behind the deaths plaguing their town. But can they risk a pursuit that could expose their own web of lies? When their only choice pits them and their suspicions against each other, their next move will either bury their deceptions deep for good—or reveal the one truth they can’t escape. . .

This title is also available as a Libby eBook and large print.

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Our July mystery author is Louise Penny. Penny is most well-known for her best-selling mystery series starring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. This series started in 2005 with Still Life and has made it up to eighteen novels (so far). It is known as both the Three Pines books and the Chief Inspector Gamache series. Her late husband Michael was the inspiration for Armand Gamache. Outside of this series, Penny worked with Hillary Clinton to write State of Terror, a geopolitical thriller that was released in 2021.

Before becoming a published author, Penny worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as a radio host and journalist for 18 years. In 1996, Penny quit working for the CBC at the encouragement of her husband, Michael Whitehead, in order to write a novel. After five years of struggles, she decided to start writing mysteries, stop writing for an imagined reader, and start focusing on what she would like to read. She made the characters people she would want to be friends with and based the setting on her town and the surrounding area. She was rejected by numerous publishers. Frustrated, she submitted her book for the Debut Dagger award in 2004, a British crime-writing contest for unpublished works. She placed second, but left with an agent. Her first book, Still Life, was published in 2005. Her Chief Inspector Gamache series has sold more than 10 million copies in North America. A miniseries and television show were also based on the series.

Penny is a New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author. She has won multiple awards, including multiple Agatha Awards, a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, plus many others not listed here. She currently lives outside a small village south of Montreal with her golden retrievers. Penny writes mysteries and thrillers.

Penny’s author website has many helpful parts – book club questions, reading order, literacy help, Three Pines character list, pronunciation guide, and so much more. I highly recommend you check it out.

Penny’s newest book is A World of Curiosities, book 18 in the Chief Inspector Ganache series. This book was published in November 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny’s beloved series.

It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

This title is also available as large print, CD audiobook, Libby eBook, Libby eAudiobook, and Playaway audiobook.

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

“It was amazing, the effect a father had on a person. A father was the benchmark that told you what to expect. What to accept. And, perhaps most importantly, what to believe about yourself. Her father had taught her to expect nothing and to accept less. And he’d taught her to believe that she was nothing.”
― Sally Hepworth, The Younger Wife

Sally Hepworth’s 2022 novel, The Younger Wife, to me, is the proverb about envy and perception – ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. This book begins on the day of Stephen and Heather’s beautiful wedding. The whole family is in attendance, included Stephen’s adult daughters Rachel and Tully. After vows are exchanged, the family goes into the back of the church to sign the registry. A scream erupts from the back. The pastor runs out covered in blood, yelling for a doctor. The story then jumps back in time and progresses forward to the day of the wedding. What made this story engaging is that it is told from multiple points of view: a mysterious narrator whose identity isn’t revealed immediately, Tully, Rachel, and Heather. I was engaged from the moment the wedding started – the whole situation was very awkward and I needed to know why.

The Aston family is the definition of dysfunctional. The father, Stephen Aston, is a 64-year-old heart surgeon who has fallen in love with 34-year-old interior designer Heather. When Stephen introduces Heather to his two daughters, Tully and Rachel, for the first time, they actually announce their engagement. The problem: Stephen is still married to Pam, who has dementia and is living in a nursing home. Stephen plans to divorce Pam so he can marry Heather, a plan that sends Rachel and Tully into a spiral. After all, Heather is almost the same age as Rachel and Tully. They both are completely unhappy with the idea of the divorce and remarriage.

Rachel and Tully are determined to learn Heather’s motives for marrying their father. They also have questions regarding their father’s reasons for divorcing their mother. The two start poking around, looking for the truth about their family’s secrets. The closer the wedding gets, the more they question what they thought was true their entire childhood. Heather also has secrets of her own and a deep desire that they stay hidden. The longer she is in the Aston family, the more worried she becomes. What has she gotten herself into?

This title is also available in large print, CD audiobook, Playaway audiobook, a Libby eBook, and a Libby eAudiobook.

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

“Because while you can reinvent yourself, you can’t outrun yourself. As a woman once reminded her a long time ago, the common denominator in all the terrible things that have happened to you is you.”
― Jennifer Hillier, Things We Do in the Dark

A woman covered in blood is found holding a straight razor on the bathroom floor next to a bathtub where her deceased husband sits in a pool of his own blood. That is how Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier begins. This psychological thriller examines who we can really trust and the secrets we hide from the world.

Paris Peralta has a past that she desperately wants to keep hidden. Her plan had worked perfectly, until she is arrested for the murder of her celebrity husband. It doesn’t look good for her – she is covered in blood, holding a straight razor while Jimmy is lying dead in the bathtub next to her. Even though Paris is devastated, Jimmy’s death isn’t her main concern. Jimmy was a comedian/celebrity in the midst of a comeback tour at the time of his death. Due to his popularity and the salaciousness of the crime, Paris is plagued with unwanted media attention, something that she has avoided for years. She knows it is only a matter of time before someone from her past recognizes her and decides to wreak havoc on the new life that Paris has worked so hard to achieve.

Drew Malcolm, a journalist, has become famous due to the success of his podcast, ‘Things We Do in the Dark’. His newest season means he will interview Ice Queen Ruby Reyes who is set to be released from prison. Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby was convicted of a similar murder to what Paris is accused of having committed.

Ruby Reyes is one of Paris’s problems. You see, Ruby knows who Paris really is. Now that she is to be released from prison, Ruby blackmails Paris for an outrageous sum of money. If Paris doesn’t pay up, Ruby will tell the world all of her secrets. Paris is torn. She can’t let Ruby reveal her past to the world. After all, she’s already been arrested for murder. She doesn’t want to be arrested for another.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Everyone in My Family has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

“Family is not whose blood runs in your veins, it’s who you’d spill it for.”
― Benjamin Stevenson, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson tells the story of the Cunningham family seen through the eyes of one of the members, Ernest Cunningham – call him Ern or Ernie. Ern is a mystery writer; well to be more specific, he writes ‘how to’ guides for crime and mystery novels. His family has decided to have a family reunion at a remote Australian ski resort. Ern is extremely reluctant to attend, given his family’s history, but he has been told that it’s not optional.

Ern is our narrator. After outlining ten rules to follow, he frequently interjects into the story to tell us necessary back story or to alert the reader to something he just discovered. The most important fact he wants readers to know and remember: everyone in his family has killed someone. With them gathering all together for a family reunion, Ern is obviously concerned not least of all because this will be the first time that he has seen his family in a long time. Ern admits early on that yes, he has killed someone, but he’s not going to tell readers, at least not yet. That’s for us to figure out as the story progresses. After all, everyone in his family has killed someone. Each family member has their own reasons for why they killed someone, but they aren’t for Ern to just blurt out to non-family members.

This book was something I had never read before. It’s not your typical murder mystery. The narrator, Ernest, frequently broke the third wall to have a personal conversation with readers throughout the book. Even while he was doing that, Ernest also weaved an intricate web connecting all the members of his family together. He also acknowledged that we were listening to an audiobook, which I had never had happen to me in an audiobook before. If you decide to listen to this audiobook, this is one where you need to pay close attention! Lots of clues/hints are dropped throughout the novel that will help you solve the many mysteries. I hope the author writes something as original and clever again!

This title is also available in the following formats:

Simply Held May Authors: Lisa Jewell and Walter Mosley

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction and fiction? You should join Simply Held. Choose any author, celebrity pick, nonfiction and/or fiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from Simply Held. May’s authors are Lisa Jewell for fiction and Walter Mosley for mystery.

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Photograph (c) Andrew Whitton
Photograph (c) Andrew Whitton

Our May fiction author is Lisa Jewell. After initially wanting to work in fashion, Jewell quit that line of study and started taking creative writing classes instead. Her first novel, Ralph’s Party, was published in 1999.

Jewell is a New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels. She has sold over 10 million copies of her books internationally. Her work has been published in over twenty-five languages. She writes mystery, romance, general fiction, and historical fiction. She currently lives in north London with her family.

Jewell’s newest book is None of This is True, which will be published on August 8, 2023.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author known for her “superb pacing, twisted characters, and captivating prose” (BuzzFeed), Lisa Jewell returns with a scintillating new psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true crime podcast.

Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.

A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realize that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.

But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.

Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?

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Our May mystery author is Walter Mosley. Mosley writes literary fiction, mystery, science fiction, political monographs, nonfiction, and young adult. His longest running series in the Easy Rawling mysteries which began in 1990 with Devil in a Blue Dress. Mosley’s nonfiction writings have appeared in The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He has also had his short fiction published widely. Mosley has written more than sixty books which have been translated into twenty-five languages. He has won many awards, including an Edgar Award for Best Novel for Down the River and Unto the Sea. He has written and staged several plays, as well as has several of his books adapted for film and television. Mosley was also a writer and executive producer for the FX drama ‘Snowfall’. He has won many awards, including an Edgar Award for Best Novel for Down the River and Unto the Sea. Mosley is in the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. He currently splits his time between Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

Mosley’s newest book is Every Man a King, the second book in the King Oliver series. This book was released in February 2023.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

In this highly anticipated sequel from Edgar Award-winning “master of craft and narrative,” Walter Mosley, Joe King Oliver is entangled in a dangerous case when he’s asked to investigate whether a white nationalist is being unjustly set up. (National Book Foundation)

When friend of the family and multi-billionaire Roger Ferris comes to Joe with an assignment, he’s got no choice but to accept, even if the case is a tough one to stomach. White nationalist Alfred Xavier Quiller has been accused of murder and the sale of sensitive information to the Russians. Ferris has reason to believe Quiller’s been set up and he needs King to see if the charges hold.

This linear assignment becomes a winding quest to uncover the extent of Quiller’s dealings, to understand Ferris’ skin in the game, and to get to the bottom of who is working for whom. Even with the help of bodyguard and mercenary Oliya Ruez—no regular girl Friday—the machine King’s up against proves relentless and unsparing. As King gets closer to exposing the truth, he and his loved ones barrel towards grave danger.

Mosley once again proves himself a “master of craft and narrative” (National Book Foundation) in this carefully plotted mystery that is at once a classic caper, a family saga and an examination of fealty, pride and how deep debt can go.

This title is also available in the following format:

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

“Still, there might be something fitting about a friendship based on a common love of words being founded on an exchange of the same.”
― Sulari Gentill, The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the  Library by Sulari Gentill has been on my to-read list since it was published in June 2022. After listening to this title, I can firmly say that I haven’t read anything like this before. If you decide to read this book, go into it with an open mind. The description of the book barely scratches the surface of what the book is really about, but this review is going to be just as vague because *spoilers* would happen if I didn’t!

The Boston Public Library’s reading room is ornate and quiet. All of that is shattered one morning when a woman’s terrified scream radiates through the room. Four strangers sitting in the reading room reach out to each other, start talking, and become friends. Security guards investigate the noise, instructing everyone to stay put while they look for the source. They find nothing… at first.

Harriet, Marigold, Whit, and Caine are the four strangers brought together by the scream. They all have their own reasons for being in the reading room that day, some with secrets they are reluctant to share. The investigation into the scream casts suspicion upon the four with readers being led to believe that one of the four may be a murderer. Each person in this book has a story to tell, but if they are telling the truth or not is a whole other matter.

“The story of her life etched on her skin… She’s like a walking book. Patterns and portraits and words. Mantras of love and power. I wonder how much of it is fiction.”
― Sulari Gentill, The Woman in the Library

This book is also available in the following formats:

All the Blood We Share : A Novel of the Bloody Benders of Kansas by Camilla Bruce

Have you heard of the bloody Benders of Kansas? Not much is known about their lives, but what can be agreed upon is that they were a family of serial killers who lived and operated in Labette County, Kansas in the early 1870s. The family opened their inn in 1871 and were gone from the area by the end of 1872/beginning of 1873. The family consisted of four people: Pa Bender, Ma Bender, and two younger people: John and Kate. The parents’ names vary amongst researchers, as well as whether the younger two were brother and sister or married or step-siblings. What we do know is that the four murdered nearly a dozen people, burying their bodies in the orchard behind the inn. Where they were before and where they went after Kansas is a mystery. Since not much is known about the Bender family, their story is prime material for authors writing ficiton. Such is the case with Camilla Bruce’s newest book, All the Blood We Share.

In All the Blood We Share, Bruce bases her novel on the real bloody Benders, but takes liberties. This is one author’s interpretation of what could have happened amongst the Benders before, during, and after they left Kansas.

William and his son John were the first Benders to arrive in Cherryvale, Kansas. Building an inn and some outbuildings, the two were anxious to finish their homestead, so they could be reunited with the two women in their family. Once Kate and her mother Elvira arrive, something dark and twisted begins to seize the Bender Inn. At first, Kate Bender makes a splash by working as a medium in Cherryvale. She is able to deliver messages from the Great Beyond that give people of the Kansas plains hope. Elvira peddles her potions and cures for their physical ailments while Kate tends to their souls. Their good deeds come with a price though. No one can find out what the Benders really do to survive. The Benders only prey upon those that travel alone, those that won’t be missed, and those that the Angels have marked. Kate’s powers come in handy, but even she can make a mistake. Her mistakes have horrible consequences though, as the family quickly learn. With their secrets hidden all over the family farm, the Benders have to decide what they are willing to do in order to escape being caught.

Simply Held March Authors: Isabel Allende and Robert Crais

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction and fiction? You should join Simply Held. Choose any author, celebrity pick, nonfiction and/or fiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from Simply Held. March’s authors are Isabel Allende for fiction and Robert Crais for mystery.

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© Lori Barra
© Lori Barra

Our March fiction author is Isabel Allende. Allende was born in Peru to Chilean parents and became an American citizen in 1993. Her first book, The House of the Spirits, was published in 1982. Since then she has sold more than 77 million books that have been translated into more than forty-two languages. Allende is an accomplished writer who devotes much time to human rights causes. She has received fifteen honorary doctorates as well as more than 60 awards in over 15 countries, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. Allende is known for writing literary fiction, both mystery and historical, as well as young adult fantasy.

Allende’s latest book is The Wind Knows My Name, which is set to be published June 6, 2023.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

This powerful and moving novel from the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea and Violeta weaves together past and present, tracing the ripple effects of war and immigration on one child in Europe in 1938 and another in the United States in 2019.

Vienna, 1938. Samuel Adler is five years old when his father disappears during Kristallnacht—the night his family loses everything. As her child’s safety becomes ever harder to guarantee, Samuel’s mother secures a spot for him on a Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to England. He boards alone, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and his violin.

Arizona, 2019. Eight decades later, Anita Díaz and her mother board another train, fleeing looming danger in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States. But their arrival coincides with the new family separation policy, and seven-year-old Anita finds herself alone at a camp in Nogales. She escapes her tenuous reality through her trips to Azabahar, a magical world of the imagination. Meanwhile, Selena Durán, a young social worker, enlists the help of a successful lawyer in hopes of tracking down Anita’s mother.

Intertwining past and present, The Wind Knows My Name tells the tale of these two unforgettable characters, both in search of family and home. It is both a testament to the sacrifices that parents make and a love letter to the children who survive the most unfathomable dangers—and never stop dreaming.

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Our March mystery author is Robert Crais. He is a native of Louisiana, having grown up in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and police officers on the banks of the Mississippi River. Crais is most well known for his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series, which currently has 19 titles. In addition, he has written the Scott James and Maggie series, three stand-alone novels, several omnibus collections, and contributed to other series. Before he wrote his first novel, Crais worked in Hollywood writing scripts for major television series such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Miami Vice, Cross of Fire, among many others. Crais resigned from his job as a contract writer and television producer in the mid-eighties to pursue his dream of becoming a novelist. His first novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, is the first in the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series. It won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. Robert Crais’s novels have been published in 62 countries and are also bestsellers around the world. He has been nominated for and won many awards. He currently lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife and their two cats, surrounded by thousands of books. Crais writes mysteries and thrillers.

Crais’s newest book is Racing the Light, book 19 in the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series. This title was published in November 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the author:

Private investigator Elvis Cole and his enigmatic partner Joe Pike are back on the case in this brilliant new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robert Crais.

Adele Schumacher isn’t a typical worried mom. When she hires Elvis to find her missing son, a controversial podcaster named Josh Shoe, she brings a bag filled with cash, bizarre tales of government conspiracies, and a squad of professional bodyguards. Finding Josh should be simple, but Elvis quickly learns he isn’t alone in the hunt — a deadly team of mysterious strangers are determined to find Josh and his adult film star girlfriend first.

With Elvis being watched and dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Elvis needs his friend Joe Pike more than ever to uncover the truth about Josh, corrupt politicians, and the vicious business cartels rotting the heart of Los Angeles from within. And when Elvis Cole’s estranged girlfriend Lucy Chenier and her son Ben return, Elvis learns just how much he has to lose…if he survives.

Written with the heart, humor, and relentless suspense for which Crais is famous, Racing The Light delivers Elvis Cole’s most dangerous case yet.

This title is also available in the the following formats:

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

“We don’t know how much our bodies can endure until we make cruel demands of them.”
― Jason Rekulak, Hidden Pictures

My latest read, Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak, is my first 5 star read for 2023! It was the 2022 Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Horror. I highly recommend that you read a physical copy of this book, instead of listening to it, as there are drawings scattered throughout that are essential to the narrative.

Mallory Quinn is right out of rehab looking for a job. On the recommendation of her sponsor, she lands a job as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell in the affluent suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey. Mallory will be spending her days taking care of their five-year-old son, Teddy. This job immediately appeals to Mallory. She lives in the Maxwell’s pool house, is able to continue her workout regime by going on nightly runs, and finally has the stability that allows her to thrive.

Mallory and Teddy’s relationship blooms. Teddy is sweet, yet incredibly shy. He doesn’t get along with other little kids and would rather hang out with Mallory exploring the forest behind their house. Teddy also always has his sketchbook and pencils within reach. He spends his free time drawing the usual kid pictures: trees, rabbits, people. One day, his drawings change. Mallory finds a drawing of a man in a forest dragging a woman’s lifeless body.

Mallory is shocked. As the days progress, Teddy’s artwork becomes more and more sinister. His drawing style also drastically changes. He starts drawing more lifelike images, something way more detailed and complex than a five-year-old should be able to draw. When Mallory learns the history of her area, a chill runs through her. She starts to think that maybe Teddy’s artwork is actually snapshots of an unsolved murder that occurred years ago. Could something supernatural be lurking in the Maxwell house, haunting and telling Teddy what to draw? What is Mallory willing to do to help Teddy?

This book is also available in the following formats:

Mystery Reads: Marlow Murder Club series by Robert Thorogood

“She couldn’t help noticing everything about her existence seemed to be defined by someone who wasn’t her.”
― Robert Thorogood, The Marlow Murder Club

The Marlow Murder Club is the first book in the series of the same name by Robert Thorogood. The tag line really sets up the whole book: ‘To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero…’. This book has a whole cast of impossible heroes: the main one being Judith Potts, a seventy-seven year old woman who lives on her own in a mansion, drinking whiskey and setting crosswords for The Times newspaper. She recruits a mismatched group of women to help her solve a mystery.

One evening, Judith is out swimming in the Thames when she witnesses a murder. Well, she hears yelling and a gunshot. Desperate for answers, Judith talks to the police. They don’t believe her story however, so she decides to investigate for herself. In the midst of her digging, Judith recruits Suzie, a local dog walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar. The three women form the Marlow Murder Club. Unsure of what their sleuthing will bring about, they are shocked when another person dies. Thinking that there may be a serial killer running around Marlow, they realize that this puzzle they are trying to solve may instead be a trap with deadly implications for the Marlow Murder Club.

This book is also available in the following format:

Marlow Murder Club series

  1. The Marlow Murder Club (2021)
  2. Death Comes to Marlow (2023)