The Spark and the Drive, by Wayne Harrison. Harrison's debut is being heralded as an incredibly powerful coming-of-age tale that weaves the unusual and the familiar. Justin Bailey is seventeen when he arrives at the shop of legendary muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell. While Justin has felt himself alone and out of place both in his family and among his classmates, with Nick and his wife Mary, Justin finds a sense of peace and belonging. When tragedy strikes the couple, however, Justin flounders to keep his new sense of identity even as he struggles to help his friends maintain their livelihood. Don't understand muscle cars? Doesn't matter. Harrison is getting praise from the likes of Richard Russo, Ann Packer and Maggie Shipstead. More than good enough for me.
The Bone Orchard, by Paul Doiron. Doiron's Bowditch series has been gaining in popularity, and word on the street is that this may just be his breakout hit. (If you want to start at the beginning, the first book in the series is The Poacher's Son.) Here, Mike Bowditch is running from his past, only to find his old mentor is in dire need of his help. He returns to her aid, but in the process he has to deal with past choices and his looming present. If you're looking for a series to sink your teeth into, this may be just what you're looking for.
Back Channel, by Stephen L. Carter. Carter first came onto my radar more than a decade ago with his debut, The Emperor of Ocean Park, which was part suspense novel and part family saga about the deadly secrets held by one privileged family. Carter, who writes non-fiction in addition to fiction, here presents readers with the best of both worlds--a thoroughly researched, suspenseful retelling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the fate of the world rests unexpectedly on the shoulders of one young college student. Readers of political thrillers, if you want something with a little extra substance, this is for you.
Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little. This is one that I absolutely cannot wait for, being billed as one of the best suspense debuts of the summer. Former "It" girl, Janie Jenkins is sly, beautiful, and fresh out of prison--10 years earlier, she was incarcerated at the height of her fame for the murder of her socialite mother. Now, released on a technicality, Janie gives herself a makeover and goes undercover, determined to catch the real killer. The only problem? Janie doesn't actually know whether or not she was guilty in the first place. This should be a real page-turner, and a must-read for fans of S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep.
I've got a title I just can't keep to myself--I'll be back on Thursday to share!