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Ksenia's Reviews

Down Days by Ilze Hugo

Topical for the COVID-19 era, this magical realist novel is inspired by the 1962 Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic and set in a fictional version of Cape Town, Ilze Hugo’s hometown. This time, the laughter never stopped; seven years later, everyone is wearing a mask, laughing is forbidden, taxi drivers are death collectors, and a little girl is trying to find her brother—who may or may not be a ghost. But when even the truth is up for debate, what is one to do but laugh?

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The Down Days: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982121549
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Skybound Books - May 5th, 2020

The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond

A young police officer, Shea, is sent undercover to infiltrate a small college town where three freshman girls have disappeared without a trace. Shea herself is an immensely sympathetic protagonist who just survived another undercover case, which left her with PTSD and a distrust of her male handler, who doesn’t seem to care about her well-being. Written by a retired cold case homicide detective, this standalone mystery is a remarkable, superbly paced police procedural that kept me on the edge of my seat and is an ode to female strength, loyalty, and friendship. 

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The Secrets They Left Behind: A Mystery Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781643852997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crooked Lane Books - April 7th, 2020

Scandinavian Noir In Pursuit of a Mystery by Wendy Lesser

Wendy Lesser obsessively read Nordic noir for four decades, which created a rather skewed representation of the Scandinavian countries in her imagination. To rectify her misconceptions, Lesser, for the first time in her life, set out to travel to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark to talk to police officers and regular citizens alike about the culture that led to the birth of such a unique and internationally renowned genre. A mix of rigorous literary criticism and travel writing, Scandinavian Noir is a love letter to mystery books and a statement of the literature’s power to make state borders porous and even obsolete. And for those who are new to Nordic noir, Lesser provides a long list of book recommendations—all of which I, for one, am adding to my TBR.

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Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374216979
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 5th, 2020

A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette

Bronwyn Crewse inherited an ice cream shop from her grandmother and wants to bring it to its former glory, but a construction delay means opening her shop when the town is buried in snow. Ever the entrepreneur, Brownyn decides to collect said snow for an ice cream…only to stumble upon a dead body! A Deadly Inside Scoop hits the sweet spot with a perfect balance of ice cream shop shenanigans, amateur sleuthing, and strong family ties. Quirky and socially astute, this #ownvoices cozy mystery about a young black woman trying to help exonerate her father after he is suspected of murder is a rare treat.

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A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #1) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593099667
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 12th, 2020

Recursion by Blake Crouch

In 2018, NYPD robbery division detective Barry Sutton answers a “jumper” call. The woman has indeed been robbed—of her son, her husband, her entire life. She is suffering from FMS—False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious disease that makes those afflicted remember two different lifetimes simultaneously. Meanwhile, in 2008, the brilliant neuroscientist Helena Smith receives unlimited funding from a recluse billionaire to study memory to cure Alzheimer’s. Thus begins Crouch’s mind-blowing, convoluted, and surprisingly romantic science fiction thriller, which grapples with profound themes of memory, identity, and time, asking us what are we willing to sacrifice to rewrite the past—and what will remain of us if we do.

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Recursion: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781524759797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - March 10th, 2020

Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

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Pretty as a Picture: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780670016396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - February 25th, 2020

Marissa Dahl is a film editor, not a detective. In fact, she may be the worst person for the job: too introverted, has seen too many movies, and has too vivid of an imagination... But Marissa might just be the only one to solve a 25-year old cold murder case—and prevent a truly bad narrative from becoming a blockbuster film! Not only is Little amazing at writing a suspenseful, character-driven slow-burn, but she also has a fantastic knowledge of the film industry and a fabulous sense of humor. Moreover, providing an urgent commentary in the #MeToo era, the novel offers an excellent exploration of what it means to be a woman in Hollywood—and in a culture that has more interest in worshiping dead girls than in caring for the living ones. —Ksenia


Prison Land by Brett Story

Story explores the prison industrial complex (and its long-lasting, devastating effects) everywhere around us: in racially charged urban policies; prison visitation buses full of women of color; in the bankrupted, jobless towns in the shadows of the carceral expansion; and even in public parks. Rigorously researched and endlessly empathetic and eye-opening, this book is a must-read. - Ksenia

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Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781517906887
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Univ Of Minnesota Press - March 26th, 2019

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

Enchanting and tender, this slim novel manages to hide a deeply political cautionary tale in a hopeful, reflective fable that never feels too heavy-handed or moralizing. Reading this book was like wrapping myself in a warm blanket; I was absolutely entranced by it until the very last page. - Ksenia

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The Emissary Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811227629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - April 24th, 2018

Newcomer by Keigo Higashino

People who've been traumatized by a crime are victims, too. Finding ways to comfort them is also part of my job. I adored this gentle, intricately plotted novel! Told in vignettes, this unusual whodunnit follows Detective Kaga as he solves small domestic mysteries with kindness and grace, while gaining more insight into the life of the murder victim and those around her. - Ksenia

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Newcomer: A Mystery (The Kyochiro Kaga Series #2) Cover Image
By Keigo Higashino, Giles Murray (Translated by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250235404
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - November 19th, 2019

The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed

A remarkably touching magical-realist young-adult novel about a boy and a girl (who are, refreshingly, not a couple but best friends!) that explores social issues such as race, sexuality, and class with humor, heart, a touch of magic, and a sprinkle of apocalypse. - Ksenia

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The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781481481762
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon Pulse - July 9th, 2019

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