Edmonds Booktalk: ‘Domestic thrillers’ for your September reading list

Happy September, ready or not!

There is now [semi-officially] a new fiction sub-sub-genre that began with “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train.” In general we’ve been calling them thrillers, or even psychological thrillers, but I saw the phrase “domestic thriller” in Publishers Weekly the other day, and I am co-opting that, and tweaking the definition for my own use. They had it defined as thrillers specifically involving married couples. I am expanding the definition to include families and friends; deeply buried secrets; woman/women in peril; unreliable narrators [either because they can’t remember, for reasons that may or may not be their own fault; or because they are being intentionally misleading]; and of course, any overlap or combinations of any of the above. Sure, simple!

Here are some brief thoughts on a few books that I am placing in the “domestic thriller” genre that are currently on shelves at Edmonds Bookshop. [Well, one is coming in January… the rest are out now.] I am partial to books that have a twist that I haven’t seen before, or a twist that I don’t see coming, or better yet, a twist I don’t see coming and that I haven’t seen before – those are most appreciated!

The first part of the list is books I [or someone else at the Bookshop] have read and recommend:

  • “All the Missing Girls” by Megan Miranda. A story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse. Women in danger, family secrets, and a great narrative to which you must pay attention, since it is told in reverse. In paperback.
  • “Emma in the Night” by Wendy Walker. Two teenage sisters disappear. One returns three years later. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal. To forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Great twist on the unreliable narrator, family secrets, young women in peril.
  • “The Girl Before” by JP Delaney. Spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception. Woman in peril; someone, or multiple someones, lying about many things…
  • “Here and Gone” by Haylen Beck. A mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities. Woman and children in peril, people in authority lying about all kinds of things, but why?
  • “In a Dark Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware. What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn. Women in peril, secrets revealed, faulty/sketchy memory keep her from getting to the truth. In paperback.
  • “The Last One” by Alexandra Oliva. Local author, debut novel. Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens… Woman [and others!] in peril, and she has no idea how much peril. In paperback.
  • “Marrow Island” by Alexis M Smith. Local author, debut novel. PNBA award winner. Twenty years ago, an earthquake set loose catastrophic waves that caused an explosion and destroyed an island’s ecosystem. Twenty years later, Marrow Island is no longer abandoned. Lucie returns to investigate the island’s astonishing rebirth which seems to have come at great cost. Woman in peril, missing memories, people lying to her, why and about what? In paperback.
  • “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware. A week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins should be the travel journalist’s assignment of a lifetime. But then Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened. Faulty memory, people lying to her [who? And about what?], woman in peril. In paperback.
  • “Woman in the Window” by AJ Finn. A twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. She thinks she saw a woman at least hurt, if not worse. Family secrets, mistaken impressions and/or faulty memories, women in danger, good twist I barely saw coming [nice kitty!] Coming Jan. 2, 2018.

These next few I haven’t read yet, but they are on my list and have gotten great reviews and/or are from an author I have read and liked:

  • “Do Not Become Alarmed” by Maile Meloy. The sun is shining, the sea is blue, the children have disappeared. A gripping novel about how quickly what we count on can fall away.
  • “Woman No 17” by Edan Lepucki. Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation. Loved her debut novel, “California,” have high hopes [and have seen good reviews] for this one.
  • “Yesterday” by Felicia Yap. A staggeringly inventive debut with a new spin on the unreliable narrator. Some people have a one day memory, and some people have a memory that lasts for two days. How can you solve a crime? Very interesting twist on unreliable narrators. And a bit of SciFi added to the mix.
  • “Into the Water: A Novel” by Paula Hawkins. This delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present. Yes, from the author of “Girl on the Train.”

September Events at Edmonds Bookshop

Sept. 21, 2017. Third Thursday Art Walk. 5 – 8 p.m. We will welcome author Kate Lund, and her latest book “Bounce: Help Your Child Build Resilience and Thrive In School, Sports and Life” just published May 31, 2017.

A book for parents, educators, community leaders and anyone who has an active interest in helping children to become resilient and realize their potential. The book presents the author’s vision of the seven pillars of the resilient child during the elementary school years, along with specific strategies for bolstering the resilience of your own child or the children you work with.

Sept. 30, 2017. Saturday at noon. We will welcome local author Nicola Pearson and her new book, “Borrowed Ground: a Joe and Lucy Story”. In paperback July 16, 2017.

While the community gathers to celebrate Joe and Lucy’s marriage there is one person who refuses to feel the love; their neighbor, Hilda. She is determined to mar their happiness with a vindictive property line dispute, and soon they find themselves embroiled in a series of ordeals that they must overcome in order to keep their home.

Ms. Pearson is an award-winning playwright, author of the novel “How to Make a Pot in 14 Easy Lessons”, two Callum Lange mysteries and the children’s picture book, “The Lost Hour”. She lives in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains with her potter husband, their dogs, cat and chickens.

More about the author on her website and her blog.

September 2017 Book Club Book.

Sept. 7 & 20, 2017. “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi.
Winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half-sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

“Homegoing” follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

Recent book releases of note:
“Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel by Tom Perrotta. From one of the most popular and bestselling authors of our time, a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.

“The Clockwork Dynasty: A Novel” by Daniel H. Wilson. An ingenious new thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries, written by the bestselling author of “Robopocalypse. “

“The Dark Net” by Benjamin Percy. Set in present-day Portland this is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in, a timely and wildly imaginative techno-thriller about the evil that lurks in real and virtual spaces. Staff recommended.

“Y is for Yesterday: A Kinsey Millhone Novel” by Sue Grafton. The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack. Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators has been released from prison.

“Glass Houses: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny. When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

Books of note being released in September:
[so very many books being published this month, this is just a few of the highlights, check our Booknews page
for so many more!]

“The Golden House: A Novel” by Salman Rushdie. A modern American epic set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics. Sept. 5, 2017.

“The Vietnam War: An Intimate History” by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns. This lavishly illustrated companion volume to the documentary miniseries features scores of interviews with key figures of all levels in both the U.S. and Vietnam. Sept. 5, 2017.

“Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward. When the father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out for Parchman farm, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

“A Legacy of Spies” by John le Carré. George Smiley returns in this spy novel from the MWA Grand Master, though it’s Peter Guillam, Smiley’s devoted assistant from MI6, who takes center stage. Sept. 5, 2017

“George and Lizzie: A Novel” by Nancy Pearl. From “America’s librarian” comes an emotionally riveting debut novel about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads. Sept. 5, 2017.

”Proof of Life: A J. P. Beaumont Novel by J. A. Jance. Beaumont’s latest investigation strikes too close to home. Sept. 5, 2017.

“Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook” by Alice Waters. A long-awaited memoir from the cultural icon and culinary standard bearer.

“Swing Time: A Novel” by Zadie Smith.
*Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction * Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize*
An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa. Now in paperback. Sept. 5, 2017.

“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande. The best-selling book that shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life-all the way to the very end. Finally in paperback. Sept. 5, 2017.

“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. The revelatory and wildly bestselling memoir by the legendary rock star. In paperback. Sept. 5, 2017.

“Forest Dark” by Nicole Krauss. The author of “The History of Love” offers a novel of metamorphosis and self-realization. In present-day Israel, two visiting Americans—one a young wife, mother, and novelist, the other an elderly philanthropist—experience existential crises and transcendence. Sept. 12, 2017.

“A Column of Fire: A Kingsbridge Novel” by Ken Follett. His saga of the Middle Ages that started with “The Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End,” set in the fictional city of Kingsbridge, continues with this magnificent new epic. Sept. 12, 2017.

“The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye: A Lisbeth Salander Novel,” continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz. Sept. 12, 2017.

“What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton. For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Sept. 12, 2017.

“The Good People” by Hannah Kent. *Short-listed for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction*
Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, this startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue child from a superstitious. Sept.19, 2017.

“Moonglow: A Novel” by Michael Chabon. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure—and the forces that work to destroy us. In paper. Sept. 19, 2017.

“Sleeping Beauties: A Novel” by Stephen King and Owen King. In this spectacular father/son collaboration, the authors tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men? Sept, 26, 2017.

For young readers “Wishtree” by Katherine Applegate, illus. by Charles Santoso. The Newbery Medalist movingly explores the way that prejudice affects a neighborhood after a Muslim family moves in. The novel unfolds through the memorable voice of a character with real perspective on the area: an oak tree that has been around for more than 200 years. Sept. 26, 2017.

As always, check our website for all the latest in book news.

Happy reading!

Elaine Mattson

— By Elaine Mattson

Edmonds native Elaine Mattson has worked at The Edmonds Bookshop off and on since she was 12 years old, and has also worked at a book wholesaler, a book publisher, and for the book publishing division of a large local software company (yes, that one). “I was raised a book lover [thanks, Mom!],” Mattson says. “We got book lights by our beds as soon as we were old enough to read. And then I probably got in trouble for reading too late the very next night. And I still read too late!”



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