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Bookreporter.com Bets On...

With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout the year, we will continue this feature that we started in 2009, to spotlight books that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” We will alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Below are all of our selections thus far. For future "Bets On" titles that we will announce shortly after their release dates, please visit this page.

The Deserter by Nelson DeMille

November 2019

THE DESERTER is the first book from the father/son team of Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille, and what a superb collaboration this proved to be. It’s set in Venezuela, and since I know very little about that part of the world beyond the headlines in the news, I feel like I got a real education about a place where there has been so much strife in the last decade.

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

September 2019

ELEVATOR PITCH by Linwood Barclay lives up to its promo copy as “an edge-of-your-seat thriller that does for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the beach --- a heart-pounding tale in which a series of disasters paralyzes New York City with fear.”

The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan

September 2019

Gilly Macmillan’s latest book, THE NANNY, is set on an estate called Lake Hall. Jo, along with her young daughter, has reluctantly moved back there from California following the sudden death of her husband. Her mother, Virginia, is called Lady Holt, and she stands fast on principles. Their world is rocked as Jo's nanny, Hannah, who had disappeared from their home 30 years ago, resurfaces, as does a skull on a beach near the house. Why is the nanny back? Whose skull is it? From these questions, Gilly delivers answers in a really well-plotted, character-driven thriller told from multiple points of view.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

September 2019

THIS TENDER LAND --- like ORDINARY GRACE, William Kent Krueger's bestselling 2013 novel --- is another brilliant stand-alone, a departure from his Cork O’Connor series. It is atmospheric like WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, and sparks thoughts of BEFORE WE WERE YOURS and ORPHAN TRAIN. While the bayou is the setting for CRAWDADS, here we have an orphan and his friends meandering down the mighty rivers of the Midwest to escape the Lincoln School in Minnesota where they were mistreated.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

September 2019

I read THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by Christy Lefteri back in May. I have not looked at bees or honey the same way since. I also have given a lot of thought to people who have no options, especially those trapped by circumstances not of their own doing.

The story revolves around Nuri, a beekeeper from Aleppo, Syria, and his wife, Afra, an artist. As the book opens, Nuri and his cousin, Mustafa, are cultivating a number of hives in the Syrian countryside. War quickly upends their safe world as their hives are burned, and they are forced to flee. Mustafa heads out one way, while Nuri heads first through Turkey and then into Greece, where they join fellow Syrians looking for a safe haven. The goal: to get to the UK, which is the dream of so many refugees. Mustafa already has made his way there; he has started a new apiary and awaits Nuri’s arrival. But there are so many challenges that lie between him and this destination.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

September 2019

THE WHISPER MAN by Alex North is a completely addicting thriller with threads of Stephen King chills rippling throughout.

Following the death of his wife, Tom Kennedy is struggling with life with his young son. He decides to leave painful memories behind and move to a new house in a new town, called Featherbank. Two decades ago, a serial killer kidnapped and murdered five children in Featherbank. And now another child has gone missing. Pete Willis, the detective who first worked on the case, is called back up to re-interview the original killer, as the police grapple with tragedy revisiting their town. This book twists and turns, and you will want to be alert on every page, which is not hard to be. The prose is tight, and the action is brisk.

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

August 2019

In THE DEARLY BELOVED, Cara Wall has written a beautiful, heartfelt novel about two young ministers who become co-ministers at a Presbyterian church in New York City in the early ’60s, their wives --- and their lives. As the book opens, each of the couples are just meeting while they are in college. You feel their innocence, their fresh view of the world, and their unbridled excitement about the lives that are laid out before them. Each brings a very different perspective to their marriages --- and to the way they will serve the faith.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

August 2019

In THE GOLDEN HOUR, Beatriz Williams once again delves into historical fiction with two well-drawn storylines. One opens in 1900, and the other takes place in 1941.

In 1900, Elfriede von Kleist is in a mental institution in Switzerland recovering from severe postpartum depression. There she meets a fellow patient and falls for him. But her life is complicated; she is summoned home as her husband becomes ill, and there she discovers how he has betrayed her.

The second setting is Nassau in the Bahamas in 1941. The location alone is reason enough to read this book. Then layer in the idea that the recently appointed governor of Nassau is the Duke of Windsor, and he is living there with his wife, Wallis Simpson, and the draw to read it gets ratcheted up a notch.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

August 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware. When it opens, we know that a young woman is in jail, being held for having caused the death of a child. The story is told in her words as she seeks justice in her case. There is no reason for her to have committed this act, and, in fact, there is every reason for her not to have. And throughout these pages, Ruth will unfold a very solid case as to just what really happened.

Chances Are... (Audiobook) by Richard Russo

August 2019

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of Richard Russo’s CHANCES ARE..., read by Fred Sanders, via my Bluetooth headphones. This was the perfect thing to do as I worked my way through the endless weeding of our garden, and then later I enjoyed listening in the pool while floating. In it, three men who were college friends in the '60s gather on Martha’s Vineyard. One is now a commercial real estate broker, another a small press publisher, and the third an aging musician. They are reminiscing about life, including the disappearance of a woman on this island back in 1971 right after their graduation. What did happen to Jacy Rockafellow?