The outskirts sounded as much like a heartbeat as the city. The heat came down like rain and the populous marched through the streets, continuing on their rails without pause. It was a miserable existence.
Rosemarie looked at her left and saw Sariah there. Her friend smiled, a stark white strip between dark lips. Next to Sariah sat her mutt, panting further back in the shade. A blue plastic bowl lay next to both of them. For the dog, so neither of them would drip a foot in to cool off.
Rachel lives in a remote village in Newfoundland, by her good friend the 90+ Ms. Saunders. She moved here to get away from other things, though she has come back from a vacation to get away from thoughts of an unavailable man. Yet she isn’t back for even a day when the dead are summoned accidentally by the teenaged son of the religious leader who has been secretly threatening her to leave town. It is then time for Rachel to figure out how to help put the dead back, while finding where her own prejudices are also getting in her way.
Van Morgue is a monster slayer. He’s apparently very good at it, getting his targets from afar and going to do so without much question. Yet he is sent to slay the vampire Tanith and cannot, deciding instead to take the opportunity to become one of his former prey. Morgue then finds himself in the middle of a war he hadn’t been aware was coming, learning more about the creatures he was sent to kill in the past as he moves along.
Corinne has just moved to Chicago, a place she hasn’t lived in since she was a child, following the death of her best friend Joelle. Not sure what she wants to do for work and processing her grief, Corinne thankfully is able to integrate herself into the city through her cousin-not-cousin Tiawanda. Yet, right out the gate, an app shows up on her phone called Met, who says it will bring four people she has already met before, one of which is her soulmate. She doesn’t believe it, but as these connections show up out of nowhere, she has to reconsider it. Yet she is developing feelings for Cory, a friend she makes through her cousin’s social circle. While still working through her grief and stumbling through her temp jobs, Corinne decides what to make of her feelings for Cory and the other people brought back into her life.
Brienne Dougray was attacked and left for dead. During her recovery, she suffers from the trauma of that incident, debilitating migraines, and plenty of uncertainty in her memory both before and after her assault. Something obviously happened, her friends have stopped talking to her and she has no one in her life other than the doctor Niall Emberlin who is the new tenant in her house and the only person there for her. But when she notices someone else in the area with the same everything, including name, between her fear of being disbelieved and her need for some sort of justice, she goes to solve this problem herself. Who is pretending to be her?
As a thriller, there are lots of spoilers and I will do my best to tag them all.
Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man follows the story of the deceased Taniguchi Daisuke – who was never Taniguchi Daisuke. His wife, Rie, discovers after his death that the man she married is not the man he claimed to be. She asks the help of an attorney, Kido Akira, in discovering who her husband actually was. Kido goes on an investigation to discover who Rie’s husband was, what happened to the real Taniguchi, and why a man would pretend to be another.
In a time of major political change in North Africa, the beekeeper Sidi encounters a tragedy. One of his hives is torn apart, the bees there slaughtered. What follows is his attempts at saving his girls, his bees, by discovering what has happened and countering it. Alongside this comes the changes to the Nawa people, who are courted by a new political party for their new democratic vote.
Josephine Tey’s story is about a man in the hospital. Except no, it isn’t really about that. It is about his fight against boredom. His solving the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, about learning who Richard the Third actually was and why he has become synonymous with “monster”.
William H. Coles’ McDowell follows the titular man himself, Hiram McDowell. He is very successful in his career, but less so in his personal life. Yet this doesn’t appear to bother him at all, as his callous and lack of understanding in his personal relationships causes people to question his success. Did he truly know what was going on, or were the crimes done under his name an oversight? Then comes the one crime he cannot slip and the rest of the novel follows him as he attempts to make his side of the story known.
For those who are unaware, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (my copy translated to English by Constance Garnett) is a story about Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. He has a theory that some people are greater than others and therefore they can commit crimes for their greater purpose. He therefore kills and is either proving his own theory incorrect, or has to accept he is not one of those great people. In the middle of this, his landlady wants rent, his sister is getting married (perhaps for money to help support him and their mother), and he comes to know the family of an alcoholic. How all of this plays out on his deteriorating psyche, and of those deteriorating around him, is the palette for this canvas.
Fia lives in London, where everything is going wrong for her. Her sister has died, her boyfriend has cheated on her, and she has no one left in the world except someone at her kickboxing gym. At this low point, she follows this angel she keeps seeing at the edge of her vision into a different world. To get home, she needs to be taken to a witches coven, but finding one without being stopped by the insanity going on Ohinyan – not least of which is that their sun is dying and no one knows how long they will have to wait for the third sun.