Indie Scouting Report: July 2021
In this roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a supernatural horror story, an art theft mystery, and more.
Synopsis: A small-town girl wakes naked and covered in blood after a late night of
celebration. She discovers she is capable of spouting claws, fur, and fangs.
PW’s takeaway: Gilmore tempers the horror elements with dry wit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and a small but memorable supporting cast. This is sure to capture readers’ hearts and imaginations.
Comparable title: Christina Henry’s Near the Bone
Sample line: “To most of the world, I was a redneck. Hillbilly. Poor white trash. Just a little ol’ Southern brat who’d never amount to anything. But in Havana, Arkansas, I was just an American girl. Raised on promises.”
Synopsis: The night before Easter 1955, a stranger enters the confession booth of Father Hugh Osgood and confides that he believes he has committed a crime that may be both “too big” for forgiveness and “too dangerous” for the priest to know about.
PW’s takeaway: A superior whodunit and intelligent character study.
Comparable title: Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Fergusson/Van Alstyne mysteries
Sample line: “A big one may have gotten away, but there were many others, smaller ones, lined up outside, waiting to be heard. Their forgiveness was just as important. He lost himself once again in their warm pool of wrongdoing and sorrow, and he let time pass.”
Synopsis: Chicago PD detective Abby Kendall is still grappling with her separation from NHL superstar Shane Donnelly when she’s assigned to a high-profile murder case.
PW’s takeaway: A suspenseful serial killer thriller.
Comparable title: John Sandford’s The Prey series
Synopsis: Fredericka Klein escapes New York for Blue Falls, Tex., to get back on her feet after a breakup. Six months later, she’s still there, surrounded by the town’s endearing misfits.
PW’s takeaway: With sparkling wit and sensitivity, this is sure to sweep readers away.
Comparable title: Avery Flynn’s Back in the Burbs
Synopsis: Bryant’s imaginative debut is set in a present-day London in which sorcery is illegal.
PW’s takeaway: Interweaving a variety of media, Bryant skillfully draws these threads together into a tightly paced, often humorous narrative.
Comparable title: Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines