The Mercy of the Night by David Corbett
When she was eight years old, Jacquelina Garza was the second of two nearly identical girls abducted by a child predator in the northern California town of Rio Mirada. Three days after her disappearance, Jacqi managed to escape—physically, at least.
Ten years later, she's climbing out of the crater her life has become. In the aftermath of her abductor's trial, her life spiraled out of control, until, at age sixteen, she was working the streets, hustling everyone in her life—and protecting a very dangerous secret.
A counselor named Lonnie Bachmann tries to help, but she insists on honesty—and Jacqi knows the truth is unforgiving. She vanishes again, this time with the intention of scrabbling up $2,000 so she can leave town forever and make a new life in Mexico.
Lonnie, aware she pushed Jacqi too hard, enlists the aid of Phelan Tierney—a former litigator with ghosts of his own, who now works as a kind of "twenty-first-century handyman," helping people who hope to start their lives over. He was tutoring Jacqi for the GED when she disappeared, and Lonnie asks him to find her, urge her to come back.
Tierney soon realizes that, as over-exposed as Jacqi's life has been, something crucial remains untold. And he feels a special commitment to helping her brave that truth. But Jacqi's been manipulated, betrayed, and preyed upon by an army of people who "only had her best interests at heart," including her criminally-connected family.
Worse, just as Tierney makes contact with Jacqi, she's once again drawn into a case that threatens to tear Rio Mirada apart: The murder of Mike Verrazzo, former head of the firefighter's union and the man everyone blames for driving Rio Mirada into financial chaos. Jacqi was there when he was killed, but no one, not even the police—for reasons that go back a decade—want her anywhere near a witness stand.
The Mercy of the Night offers a story of one girl's personal redemption amid a clash of convenient lies and difficult truths, set in an American Everytown midway between the tony wealth of Napa and the shimmering towers of San Francisco.
The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman
Tracing a group of ruthless outlaws from its genesis during the American Civil War all the way to a final bloody stand in the Oklahoma territories, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir that reads like a full-on assault to the senses.
Spanning the better part of three decades, The Winter Family traverses America's harsh, untamed terrain, both serving and opposing the fierce advance of civilization. Among its twisted specimens, the Winter Family includes the psychopathic killer Quentin Ross, the mean and moronic Empire brothers, the impassive ex-slave Fred Johnson, and the dangerous child prodigy Lukas Shakespeare But at the malevolent center of this ultraviolent storm is their cold, hardened leader, Augustus Winter—a man with an almost pathological resistance to the rules of society and a preternatural gift for butchery.
From their service as political thugs in a brutal Chicago election to their work as bounty hunters in the deserts of Arizona, there's a hypnotic logic to Winter's grim borderland morality that plays out, time and again, in ruthless carnage.
With its haunting, hard-edged style, The Winter Family is a feverishly paced meditation on human nature and the dark contradictions of progress.
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy
A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America
On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes.
But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift.
Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.
Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link
She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction”; by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure”; and by Karen Russell as “Franz Kafka with a better understanding of ladies’ footwear and bad first dates.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.
Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star takes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.
Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.
Concrete Angel by Patricia Abbott
An atmospheric and eagerly awaited debut novel from acclaimed crime writer Patricia Abbott, set in Philadelphia in the 1970s about a family torn apart by a mother straight out of Mommie Dearest, and her children who are at first victims but soon learn they must fight back to survive. Eve Moran has always wanted “things” and has proven both inventive and tenacious in getting and keeping them. Eve lies, steals, cheats, swindles, and finally commits murder, paying little heed to the cost of her actions on those who love her. Her daughter, Christine, compelled by love, dependency, and circumstance, is caught up in her mother’s deceptions, unwilling to accept the viciousness that runs in her mother's blood. Eve’s powers of seduction are hard to resist for those who come in contact with her toxic allure. It’s only when Christine’s three-year old brother, Ryan, begins to prove useful to her mother, and she sees a pattern repeating itself, that Christine finds the courage and means to bring an end to Eve’s tyranny. An unflinching novel about love, lust, and greed that runs deep within our bones, Patricia Abbott cements herself as one of our very best writers of domestic suspense.
Company Town by Madeline Ashby
They call it Company Town – a Family-owned city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes.
Meet Hwa. One of the few in her community to forego bio-engineered enhancements, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig. But she’s an expert in the arts of self-defence, and she’s been charged with training the Family’s youngest, who has been receiving death threats – seemingly from another timeline.
Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability – serial killer? Or something much, much worse..?
The Valley by John Renehan
A former Army Captain’s gripping portrait of a fighting division holding a remote outpost in Afghanistan reminiscent of Apocalypse Now, The Yellow Birds, and Matterhorn
There were many valleys in the mountains of Afghanistan, and most were hard places where people died hard deaths. But there was only one Valley. Black didn’t even know its proper name. But he knew about the Valley. It was the farthest, and the hardest, and the worst. It lay deeper and higher in the mountains than any other place Americans had ventured. You had to travel through a network of interlinked valleys, past all the other remote American outposts, just to get to its mouth. Stories circulated periodically, tales of land claimed and fought for, or lost and overrun, new attempts made or turned back, outposts abandoned and reclaimed. They were impossible to verify. Everything about the Valley was myth and rumor.
The strung-out platoon Black finds after traveling deep into the heart of the Valley, and the illumination of the dark secrets accumulated during month after month fighting and dying in defense of an indefensible piece of land, provide a shattering portrait of men at war.
Green Hell by Ken Bruen
In the new novel Green Hell, Bruen’s dark angel of a protagonist has again hit rock bottom: one of his best friends is dead, the other has stopped speaking to him; he has given up battling his addiction to alcohol and pills; and his firing from the Irish national police, the Guards, is ancient history. But Jack isn’t about to embark on a self-improvement plan. Instead, he has taken up a vigilante case against a respected professor of literature at the University of Galway who has a violent habit his friends in high places are only too happy to ignore. And when Jack rescues a preppy American student on a Rhodes Scholarship from a couple of kid thugs, he also unexpectedly gains a new sidekick, who abandons his thesis on Beckett to write a biography of Galway’s most magnetic rogue.
Between pub crawls and violent outbursts, Jack’s vengeful plot against the professor soon spirals toward chaos. Enter Emerald, an edgy young Goth who could either be the answer to Jack’s problems, or the last ripped stitch in his undoing. Ireland may be known as a “green Eden,” but in Jack Taylor’s world, the national color has a decidedly lethal sheen.
The Marauders by Tom Cooper
When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For the oddballs and lowlifes who inhabit the sleepy, working class bayou town of Jeannette, these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. At the center of it all is Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters, ranging from a couple of small time criminal potheads prone to hysterical banter, to the smooth-talking Oil company middleman out to bamboozle his own mother, to some drug smuggling psychopath twins, to a young man estranged from his father since his mother died in Hurricane Katrina. As the story progresses, these characters find themselves on a collision course with each other, and as the tension and action ramp up, it becomes clear that not all of them will survive these events.
The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar
They never meant to be heroes.
For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.
But there must always be an account...and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.
Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, - a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields - to answer one last, impossible question:
What makes a hero?
Soul Standard by Richard Thomas, Caleb Ross, Axel Taiari, Nik Korpon
The economy has fallen, and flesh is worth more than dollars. Across four different districts of the City, a desperate banker must keep his employer happy at any cost, a boxer must choose between honor and the woman he loves, a criminal must atone for his past, and a man with a terrifying condition searches desperately for his missing daughter.The Whites by Harry Brandt (aka Richard Price)
Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-90s, when Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a 10-year-old boy while stopping an angel-dusted berserker in the street. Branded as a cowboy by his higher-ups, for the next eighteen years Billy endured one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all night-time felonies from Wall Street to Harlem.
Night Watch usually acts a set-up crew for the day shift, but when Billy is called to a 4:00 a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, his investigation of the crime moves beyond the usual handoff. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 12-year-old boy—a brutal case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese—the bad old days are back in Billy's life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family.
What 2015 releases are you looking forward to?