‘Daisy Darker’ by Alice Feeney

“Families are like fingerprints; no two are the same, and they tend to leave their mark.”
― Alice Feeney, Daisy Darker

Alice Feeney’s latest novel, Daisy Darker, is a dark and twisty locked-room mystery of a family gathered together for their grandmother’s birthday. It was deliciously messy and full of family drama. This is a contender for my favorite novel of 2022.

Daisy Darker was born with a broken heart. She wasn’t particularly wanted by either of her parents, but nevertheless she survived and was brought home to start her life with her parents and her two older sisters. Flash forward years and Daisy’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party on a tiny tidal island in her crumbling gothic house. The family has been avoiding each other for years, but a fortune teller foretold that Nana would die on her 80th birthday, so the family has assembled per her wishes.

As each member of the family arrives, they bring baggage, both physical and the secrets that they are all hiding from each other. The tidal island that Nana lives on means that the entire family will be shut off from the rest of the world for eight hours until the tide goes out. At midnight, a storm rages across the island. A scream pierces the night. Nana is found dead. An hour later, another family member is discovered dead. A deadly mystery has come to the island and the Darker family is left wondering who is responsible. Stuck on the island where someone is murdering the members of the Darker family one by one, they all must pull out their past secrets until they figure out the present murder mystery. They just have to make it until the tide goes out and they can escape the island. The deadly force on island may not let them leave alive though. Only time will tell.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Best Sellers Club September Authors: Jojo Moyes and J.R. Ward

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction 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 the Best Sellers Club! September’s authors are Jojo Moyes for fiction and J.R. Ward for romance.

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Our September fiction author is Jojo Moyes. She studied journalism at City University and then worked at The Independent for 10 years. In 2001, she became a full-time novelist. Jojo has sold over thirty-eight million copies of her novels worldwide and has hit the number one spot in twelve countries. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages. She won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004 for her novel, Foreign Fruit aka Windfallen. Her novel Me Before You was adapted into a movie starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke that was released in June 2016. Jojo currently lives in Essex with her husband and has three children. She writes historical fiction, romance, and general fiction.

Kingsbury’s newest book is The Giver of Stars, which was published in October 2019.

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

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our September romance author is J.R. Ward. This is a pseudonym used by author Jessica Bird. As Ward, she has written over thirty novels. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is both a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series. So far, there are more than 15 million copies of her novels in print worldwide published in 25 different countries.Ward first majored in Art History and History at Smith College, but then decided to go to law school. After law school, she worked in healthcare in Boston, eventually worked many years as Chief of Staff at one of the premier academic medical centers in the United States. She currently lives with her husband and her golden retriever in the south. Ward primarily writes romance while focusing on paranormal romance and romantic suspense.

Ward’s newest book is The Viper, set to be published in September 2022. This is the third book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp series.

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

In this newest Prison Camp installment, #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward pens a heart-wrenching tale of love and betrayal in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world…

Framed for the grisly murder of his shellan, Kane is condemned to the notorious prison camp—unaware of the dark truth behind his arranged mating. Centuries later, when he is horribly burned while attempting to save others, he prays he’ll finally be reunited in the Fade with his mate…not knowing what revelations await him.

Nadya is a self-taught nurse who does what she can to ease the suffering of the prisoners. When Kane comes under her care, she cannot help but empathize with his condition for very personal reasons—and as the guards take him away one last time, she fears he is facing a terrible death.

After a daring rescue, Kane is offered a treatment that will change his very nature. Choosing life, for the time being, he goes back for the female who took such good care of him—but his duty to Nadya sets him on a collision course with his own past. When long-buried secrets are exposed, his self-destruction is inevitable…unless true love can save his soul.

The Counselors by Jessica Goodman

Jessica Goodman is a bestselling young adult author who has been on my radar for awhile. The Counselors  is her third young adult thriller. As soon as I saw the descriptionI knew I had to give it a read. This book is a summer camp murder mystery. As a frequenter of many Girl Scout camps (and a true crime fan), I was fascinated by the premise of murder happening at a summer camp. Let’s get into it!

Goldie Easton grew up at Camp Alpine Lake. It’s the only place where she really feels safe. Goldie has been involved with camp since before she was old enough to be a camper. Her parents have been working there for as long as she can remember. Camp Alpine Lake helps keep the tiny town of Roxwood in business by providing money, jobs, and a sense of importance to the area. The campers are rich kids whose very wealthy families drop them at camp for eight weeks while paying a hefty tuition. Very few Roxwood locals get to reap the benefits of camp, prompting animosity between the town and camp, but Goldie is one of the chosen locals who gets to escape each summer.

Goldie may be a townie, but the minute she sets foot at camp, she feels comfort and that camp is where she is supposed to be. Having aged out of being a camper, Goldie is now a counselor. This year, she anxiously awaits her best friends’ arrival. She has known Ava and Imogen for years and can’t wait for them to be counselors together. The downside: Goldie has a horrible secret hanging over her though that threatens to destroy the close bonds the three have formed over their years together at camp.

Goldie’s secret isn’t the only one at camp this summer though. The longer camp goes on, the more she realizes that others aren’t telling the truth. Everything is thrown into the open when a teen is found dead in the lake by camp one night. The instant she hears the news, Goldie believes that this death could not have been an accident. One reason: Ava was out at the lake the same night the teen died, but refuses to talk about it or admit she was there. Why would Ava lie? Goldie is determined to find the truth. When she starts asking questions though, Goldie doesn’t find answers. Her questions instead bring up betrayals, deadly lies, danger, and destroyed relationships. The truth could lay waste to Goldie’s family, friends, and the one safe place she knows.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda is one of my favorite psychological suspense authors. Miranda’s latest novel, Such a Quiet Place, is a twisty, riveting books about a murder that happens in a close-knit and idyllic neighborhood. Megan Miranda loves adding twists to her books and the ones she adds here pack a punch!

Such a Quiet Place tells the story of Hollow’s Edge – a picture perfect neighborhood nestled along a lake where everyone knows everyone else, where they look out for each other. Their closeness is compounded by the fact that many of the residents work together at the local college. This idyllic peace is shattered with the murders of Brandon and Fiona Truett. Rumors begin to spread almost immediately after the bodies are found with residents searching their secrutiy cameras for clues and posting on their neighborhood message board.

Fast forward a year and a half. Hollow’s Edge is on the verge of an uproar. The residents who want to sell their homes aren’t able to, while the Truett house sits empty and haunts them. One spark is enought to send them panicking and that spark comes in the form of Ruby Fletcher. They implicated her as the killer at the trial, but now she’s out of jail and back in Hollow’s Edge for who knows how long.

Ruby’s conviction has been overturned and she shows up at the house she once shared with Harper Nash like nothing has happened. Harper is five years older than Ruby and has always treated her like a younger sister who has lost her way. With Ruby back, Harper is terrified. Why has she come back to Hollow’s Edge, the literal scene of the crime? How can Harper tell her to leave when Ruby has no other place to go?

Ruby’s arrival has the community up in arms. Suspicion spreads through the neighborhood. It soom becomes clear to Harper that not everyone told the truth about what happened the night Brandon and Fiona Truett died. Harper finds threatening notes at her house and realizes that she needs to find out who is responsible before the killer strikes again.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

“Give it time. Nothing you feel is wrong. There will always be a before and an after, and you have to learn to live in the after.” – Rachel Hawkins, Reckless Girls 

Rachel Hawkins is proving she’s a contender among mystery writers with her latest book, Reckless Girls. With this being only her second foray into writing adult fiction (Hawkins had previously written young adult and juvenile fiction), she has crafted a suspenseful psychological mystery that takes place on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Lux McAllister has been drifting for a while. After her mother died, Lux found herself working a job she didn’t particularly like in California. Enter Nico. The minute he walked into the restaurant she was working in, Lux felt he would change her life. Soon enough, the two are living in Hawaii. Nico promised her trips around the world in his boat. Instead the two have been stuck in Hawaii while Nico waits for the money to fix his boat. Nico’s family is rich, so he could ask his dad for the money, but his pride is holding him back. Instead he works at the marina while Lux works as housekeeping at a local resort, hoping to save enough money to fix the boat and sail away.

One day Nico tells Lux that he has met two women who want to hire him to sail them to a remote island in the South Pacific. The best news: they want Lux to come. After they pay to have Nico’s boat, the Susannah, fixed, the four head off to Meroe Island. Their passengers are college best friends Brittany and Amma. They say they want to travel off the beaten path, but something about the two seems off to Lux. After all, why would the chose Meroe Island? The island has a mysterious and deadly history: shipwrecks, cannibalism, and murder have haunted the island for years. It is a gorgeous destination though.

The group descend upon Meroe Island only to discover that there is already another boat anchored just off sandy coast. Living aboard the Azure Sky are Jake and Eliza. They are the golden couple: rich, gorgeous, laidback, and most importantly, their large catamaran has a very well-stocked bar. All six of them immediately click and begin spending their days together exploring the island off grid. Lux finally feels at peace. That peace is shattered when secrets start bubbling to the surface. It appears that people aren’t being as honest as they presented themselves to be. Meroe Island’s exotic locale becomes less and less appealing the longer they stay. When someone turns up dead and another goes missing, emotions run high as they wonder how many will actually leave Meroe alive.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf is an author of eight novels. She is Edgar Award nominated, which honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television. Heather is also a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel was an instant bestseller and spent 22 weeks on the New York Times list. Her books have been published in over 20 countries and have appeared on many book lists.

Heather was born in South Dakota, but moved to Iowa at the age of three with the rest of her family. Heather was born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment. As a result, she turned to books as a way to relax and retreat. She read many many books as a child, which helped fuel her desire to become a writer. Heather currently lives in Iowa with her family and her dog, Lolo.

Her latest book, The Overnight Guest, is the story of a true crime writer searching for answers. Suffering from writer’s block while working on her latest book, Wylie Lark decides to escape to an isolated farmhouse in Iowa to hopefully finish her book. She has worked to keep her distance from the residents of Burden in order to not have to answer questions about what she’s doing there and why she’s staying at such an isolated location. When Wylie learns that a big snowstorm is rolling in, she isn’t too worried. After all, she came prepared. She has a fireplace, silence, and a dog to keep her company. She also needs to finish writing her book which is more than enough to keep her busy. The only hiccup to her perfect plan: twenty years ago in the house that she is staying, two people were murdered and a girl disappeared without a trace.

The storm becomes much worse than Wylie expected. She finds herself trapped in this haunted house, trapped with the secrets of who killed those two people and trapped with her own reasons for wanting to escape her family back home. On one of her trips outside, Wylie makes a shocking discovery: a small child lying in the snow. When Wylie brings the child inside to warm them up, she immediately starts searching for answers as to why and how they ended up stranded in the middle of nowhere outside the farmhouse. While she questions them, the storm rages outside bringing more than snow, wind, and ice to her door. Wylie discovers that she isn’t as isolated as she thought she was and what she thought was true was all a lie.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Author photo credit: Erin Kirchoff

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

Former Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams holds many job titles: lawyer, politician, voting rights activism and New York Times bestselling author. In addition to writing under her given name, Abrams is an award-winning author of eight romantic suspense novels as Selena Montgomery.

While Justice Sleeps is Stacey Abrams’ newest novel. This is a complex political thriller set in the halls of the United States Supreme Court. Avery Keene is a law clerk for Justice Howard Wynn. When it’s discovered that Justice Wynn has slipped into a coma, Avery is shocked to learn that she has been appointed his legal guardian and power of attorney. The media and Wynn’s family are concerned and rumors swirl that something untoward was happening in the Justice’s chambers.

Confused as to what to do next, Avery discovers that Justice Wynn was researching a highly controversial case on his own whose ramifications could shake up the very core of governments and companies across the globe. Justice Wynn has also left Avery a series of clues meant to help her save his life and figure out the true culprits behind the case. This complex puzzle is full of twists that lead Avery to people she isn’t sure she can trust, even with multiple lives on the line.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

“There’s only one defining juncture that, depending on which path you take, will determine the rest of your life.” – Sandie Jones, The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip is the story of friends and the secrets kept between them. Rachel and Noah met at university and have been friends ever since. Twenty years later, they are now married to other people. While the two once thought they may have ended up together, life proved differently. Rachel is now married to Jack and the two have a son. Noah is married to Paige and those two have a daughter. Jack’s brother Will is engaged to marry Ali, a younger impulsive, gorgeous woman. They are to be married in Portugal. All six friends are heading to Portugal for the two’s impending destination wedding weekend.

As each couple arrives in Portugal, they bring secrets. They may be staying at a gorgeous villa atop a cliff, but darkness has settled into their relationships. Rachel wants to get to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, but Ali seems to only want to get to know Jack better. She is constantly seeking his attention and trying to have alone time with him. The longer they are together, the more Ali begins to grate on everyone’s nerves. Paige, Rachel’s best friend, thinks Ali is becoming increasingly childish and attention-seeking. Jack is also not fond of Ali. He tenses up whenever she is around. Jack is also consistently finding more to argue with Noah, Paige’s husband and Rachel’s friend, about.

Everything tilts wrong when Rachel finds out a shocking secret about Ali. The longer the wedding weekend progresses, the more secrets begin to leak from each of them. Each secret has the power to weaken and possibly destroy a different relationship. What started out as a joyous happy weekend could prove to be deadly for those involved instead.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

To tell you the truth, I don’t get how we can almost unanimously agree that murder is wrong, yet when it comes to rape some people still see shades of gray.  – Megan Goldin, The Night Swim

Megan Goldin’s latest The Night Swim is a psychological thriller that covers a controversial trial in a small town. Content warning: this book talks about rape, violence, sexual assault, sexual battery, murder, and domestic violence.

Rachel Krall is a true crime podcast host. She has become a common household name after a previous season set an innocent man free. The attention this garnered her has been both positive and negative. Some of the public also see her as the last hope of those seeking justice, constantly wanting her attention.

For her third season, Rachel has come to the small town of Neapolis to cover a controversial trial pitting a local golden boy against a young girl. This rape trial has torn the town apart. A swimmer on track to compete at the Olympics has been accused of raping the young granddaughter of the police chief. Rachel need this latest season to be a success, so she throws herself into the investigation and attends every day of the trial.

Rachel’s concentration is derailed when she finds a note under her car windshield asking for help. Thinking it was a one-off, Rachel continues her investigation into the trial. More mysterious letters keep showing up asking Rachel to find out what really happened to the writer’s sister twenty-five years ago. Officially Jenny Stills drowned, but the writer insists that she was actually murdered. Despite the pressures of the podcast weighing on her, Rachel can’t stop her desire to look into Jenny’s case. The more questions she asks, the more non-answers she receives. No one wants to dig up the past. Rachel’s investigation into Jenny’s case takes a turn when she realizes that both the present trial and the past mystery are connected. What she discovers could have devastating consequences for all involved.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

“In love and life, we never know when we are telling ourselves stories. We are the ultimate unreliable narrators.” – Jean Kwok, Searching for Sylvie Lee

Searching for Sylvie Lee is a mysterious suspenseful drama that tugs at the complicated lives of three women – two sisters and their mother. Every person in this story is full of secrets – some more deadly than others.

Sylvie is the beautiful and successful older daughter. She can do no wrong. Sent to the Netherlands by her parents when she was a baby, Sylvie spent the first nine years of her life living separate from her family. Sylvie is heading back to the Netherlands to visit her dying grandmother who raised her. Now Sylvie has vanished.

Amy is the baby of the Lee family. She looks up to her older sister Sylvie. Sylvie may be seven years older, but she basically raised Amy. The younger sibling who never quite measures up to her sister, Amy is trying to figure out what to do with her life. She has dropped out of college and moved back into her parents’ tiny apartment. When Amy learns that Sylvie is missing, she will do whatever it takes to find her. It is time for her to step up and help Sylvie. The more she explores Sylvie’s disappearance, the more secrets she discovers.

Ma is broken. When she moved to the United States from China, she and Pa were newly immigrated and too poor to raise their eldest daughter Sylvie. They made the difficult decision to send her to the Netherlands to be raised with family. She was only supposed to be there for a little while, but it was nine years before Sylvie brought home to help take care of Amy. Their relationship has been a bit strained as a result, but Ma loves Sylvie and Amy.

When Sylvie disappears, the whole family is thrown. She is the solid middle of their family that they all revolve around. They have to find her. She wouldn’t just disappear without letting one of them know.

This book is also available in the following formats: