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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

January 6, 2019

Indie Bookseller Favorites Make for a Thrilling Start to 2019
   
Watching You by Lisa Jewell. January's Indie Next list is topped by a
suspenseful page-turner about a shocking murder in a picturesque and well-to-do English town. Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, a place where doctors and lawyers and old-money academics live. It's not supposed to be a place where people get stabbed in the back 30 times with a kitchen knife in their own homes. AYet, that's exactly what happens, and Watching You is off and running.  
 
Fellow mystery author A.J. Finn (The Woman in the Window) wrote "this compulsive, propulsive novel is both a seize-you-by-the-throat thriller and a genuinely moving family drama." Reviewers have also compared the book to the likes of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and independent booksellers have expressed similar enthusiasm for Jewell's twisty thriller, as evidenced by this review:  
 
"The picturesque painted houses at the top the of the street hide a delicate web of past and present intrigue. Complicated relationships abound: sisters and brothers, teacher and student, innocent love and the timeless theme of marital infidelity, and, of course, a murder. Jewell's understanding of the human psyche and its idiosyncrasies makes for a deliciously hard-to-put-down whodunit that hits all too close to home. She is a story weaver like no other and she had me guessing the whole way through."
- Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL
 
 
Tangerine by Christine Mangan. This thriller, which The New Yorker called "A juicy melodrama cast against the sultry, stylish imagery of North Africa in the fifties," was an Indie next pick last April. The dark Hitchcockian story is now in paperback and worth checking out if you're a fan of psychological suspense. In the interest of full disclosure, I know of one such reader who found the amoral protagonist to be almost too creepy, but the exotic Moroccan setting was a mitigating plus. Here's a brief publisher description: 
   
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends - once inseparable roommates - haven't spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy - always fearless and independent - helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country. But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice - she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice's husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.  
 
   Political Memoir By   Up-and-Coming Senator
 
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey  by Kamala Harris. It's official - the race f or the White House in 2020 has begun in earnest, with more than a dozen prominent Democrats sniffing the political winds. Writing a book is always a good way to tout your own ideology; it's no surprise that Bernie Sanders has published a new call to action titled Where We 
Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance, and you can rest assured that others are busily typing away. In the meantime, we begin the new year with a memoir from the junior senator from California, who made quite a stir with her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court appointment hearing. The book hasn't garnered much review attention yet, but you can bet that she'll be making the media rounds over the next week or two. The short blurb below from a pre-publication alert in Library Journal is about all I know about the book's content, but living in the Bay Area has made it easy to follow Harris's political rise, first in San Francisco and then in the state. She's progressive, smart, and well-spoken, and I'm confident that any reader wanting to know more about her will find The Truths We Hold of interest.  
 
"Daughter of an economist from Jamaica and a cancer researcher from India who met as civil rights activists at Berkeley, the U.S. Senator from California comes by her social justice concerns naturally. Here, she uses her life story to argue for a new way of treating our problems, describing the data-driven, community-based approach she took as district attorney of San Francisco and subsequently chief law enforcement officer of the state."
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WHY THE COLUMN?
Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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