Top Picks for Thrilling New Books

Fiction 5

Four of my five picks for October new books are full of thrilling suspense to keep you guessing. The outlier is a Christian fiction pick to give you a breather and warm your heart. These new releases are waiting to be added to your to-be-read list.

1. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Amanda and Clay rented a luxury home in a remote part of Long Island to get a break from the city and enjoy time with their teenage son and daughter. Then a knock in the middle of the night destroys this peaceful getaway. It’s the older couple, Ruth and G.H., who own the house.

Ruth and G.H. say a major blackout has shutdown the city. Internet, TV and cell service is also down in this remote area, so Amanda and Clay don’t know what to believe. Should they trust this couple? What has happened in the city? Are they safe in this isolated area?

Leave the World Behind is so many things—funny, sharp, insightful about modernity and race and parenthood and home—but at its core it’s a story of our shared apocalypse; a steady look at humanity in the moment it tumbles from a great height. I have not been this profoundly unnerved by a science fiction novel since Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.” –Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties


2. The Nightworkers by Brian Selfon

Shecky Keenan’s world is falling apart. His bank accounts are closing, a suspicious man is watching his house, and his newest runner is missing with a bag of dirty money. Shecky built this criminal world around his niece Karasha’s thieving skills and his nephew Henry’s imposing presence, which hides is artistic side. Money-laundering had been keeping this family together.

The story is told with alternating perspectives of Shecky’s reminiscences and Karasha’s conversations with her therapist. This family is keeping dark secrets from each other that might tear them apart.

“Page-turning Brooklyn noir meets compellingly complex family drama in Brian Selfon’s atmospheric, edgy, and thoroughly modern The Nightworkers. You’ll enjoy every unexpected page.” ―Kimberly McCreight, New York Times-bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and A Good Marriage


3. The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

Gerrit Laninga doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s 63 and he just sold the farm his worked his entire life. Gerrit’s bitter that he has nothing to show for all those years of hard work. His adult kids don’t speak to him. He feels alone and adrift.

Rae Walters, 15, is also feeling lost. She’s been following the plan to do all the right things to become an attorney like her father. However, she’s not sure she wants to stay on this pressure-filled track. Finding a new plan will rock her relationship with her parents and she’s not even sure what else she would do.

When Gerrit and Rae’s paths cross their lives change in unexpected ways. Together they try to discover what really matters in life and if there are really second chances.

“Packed with poignancy and meaning, Powner’s debut novel delivers life lessons that cross generations and will linger long after the last page is turned. If Powner has more stories like this, she will be the next big star in Christian fiction.” –Library Journal starred review


4. Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

While twin sisters Iris and Summer look identical, they are very different on the inside. Iris is cynical and has always been envious of Summer’s perfect life and husband, Adam. When the sisters sail the family yacht from Thailand to the Seychelles only one sister, Iris, is on the boat at the end of the journey. Adam mistakes Iris for Summer and she does not correct him.

Iris finally has the life she’s always wanted. With Summer gone, she’s also one step closer to her grandfather’s $100 million inheritance. Now Iris just needs to be the first of her seven (or is it now six?) siblings to have a child, per her grandfather’s requirements.

“Rose Carlyle’s The Girl in the Mirror took my breath away, page after page. It has it all: a superbly taut plot. Unforgettable, haunting characters. A setting that will instantly transport you to the lush landscape of the Seychelles. And one of the best endings I’ve read in a very long time. Bottom line—this book is exactly what we’re all craving right now: a delicious, perfect escape.” –Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother


 5. The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman

1992: French-Canadian factions renew Quebec’s fight to gain independence. Wild, beautiful Véronique Fortin, daughter of a radical separatist convicted of kidnapping and murdering a prominent politician in 1970, has embraced her father’s cause. So it is a surprise when she falls for James Phénix, a journalist of French-Canadian heritage who opposes Quebec separatism. Their love affair is as passionate as it is turbulent, as they negotiate a constant struggle between love and morals.

At the same time, James’s older sister, Elodie Phénix, one of the Duplessis Orphans, becomes involved with a coalition demanding justice and reparations for their suffering in the 1950s. At that time Quebec’s orphanages were converted to mental hospitals, a heinous political act of Premier Maurice Duplessis that affected 5,000 children.

Véronique is the only person Elodie can rely on as she fights for retribution, reliving her trauma. Elodie becomes a sisterly presence for Véronique, who continues to struggle with her family’s legacy.

The Forgotten Daughter is a moving portrait of true love, familial bonds, and persistence in the face of injustice. As each character is pushed to their moral brink, they will discover exactly which lines they’ll cross—and just how far they’ll go for what they believe in.

“Resonant and relevant….The characters, complex and flawed, love and fight so fiercely that it’s hard not to be drawn into their passionate orbits and to feel, even slightly, a glimmer of hope as they refuse to give up on the ideal of happiness.” –Kirkus Review


Jennifer Jones

I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 17 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If you don’t like it, at least the price is right!”