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Dark Rooms

Lili Anolik (Morrow)

In this suspenseful, sad, and shattering first novel, the shooting death of 16-year-old wild child Nica Baker has a devastating effect on her year-older sister, Grace, who just can't let Nica go. Grace repeatedly sees, hears, and talks with her during the grief-swamped, drug-muddled months that follow.

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The Decagon House Murders

Yukito Ayatsuji, trans. from the Japanese by Ho-Ling Wong (Locked Room International)

A tense, sophisticated homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None has seven members of the Kyoto University Mystery Club visit an isolated island, where six months earlier the bodies of architect Nakamura Seiji, his wife, and two servants were found in the burnt remains of a 10-sided house.

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House of the Rising Sun

James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)

Former Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland sets off to find his estranged son, Ishmael, a U.S. Army captain, in Burke's stunning follow-up to 2014's Wayfaring Stranger. Hackberry also finds himself in possession of an artifact rumored to be the Holy Grail, incurring the wrath of a vicious arms dealer who wants the artifact for himself.

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Is Fat Bob Dead Yet?

Stephen Dobyns (Penguin/Blue Rider)

Dobyns displays his genius for dark comedy in this intricate crime novel set in New Haven, Conn. The death of a motorcyclist in a bizarre accident involves a host of eccentric but plausible characters, including a group of con artists who bilk the gullible by soliciting charitable donations for organizations like Free Beagles from Nicotine Addiction.

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The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins (Riverhead)

Emotionally fragile Rachel Watson, the principal narrator of Hawkins's riveting debut, passes the house where she used to live with her ex-husband on her train commute into London. She also often spies an attractive couple, whom she imagines to be enjoying the happily ever after that eluded her. Then the woman vanishes—only to turn up on the front page of the tabloids as missing.

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The Mulberry Bush

Charles McCarry (Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious)

The unnamed narrator of this exceptional spy novel vows to avenge his father, a disgraced secret agent. He engineers his own recruitment into the CIA, where he becomes a covert agent, hunting and killing terrorists in the Middle East. However, he never forgets his chief purpose in life: exacting retribution on those responsible for his father's downfall.

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Freedom's Child

Jax Miller (Crown)

Freedom Oliver, the heroine of Miller's hard-hitting debut, was arrested for killing her husband and for the past 20 years has been in a witness protection program in a small Oregon town. Mayhem ensues when Freedom travels to Kentucky in search of her missing daughter, a possible kidnapping victim, whom she gave up for adoption.

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The Verdict

Nick Stone (Pegasus Crime)

Multimillionaire hedge-funder Vernon James goes on trial for murder after the strangled body of a young woman is found in his luxury suite at the London hotel where, only hours earlier, he accepted a major humanitarian award. Lowly legal clerk Terry Flynt, who was once James's best friend, has reason to resent James, but Flynt has a key role to play in his former friend's defense.

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The Cartel

Don Winslow (Knopf)

In this sequel to 2005's The Power of the Dog, DEA agent Art Keller goes after his old nemesis, Adán Barrera, the leader of a Sinaloan cartel, who has escaped from prison and is intent on reestablishing control of his empire. This exhaustively researched novel elucidates not just the Mexican drug wars but the consequences of our own disastrous 40-year "war on drugs."

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The Gates of Evangeline

Hester Young (Putnam)

Journalist Charlotte "Charlie" Cates—the heroine of Young's haunting, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful debut—has disturbing dreams in which unknown children appeal for help. After being asked to write a true-crime book about the never-solved 1982 disappearance of a two-year-old from his family's Louisiana estate, Evangeline, a tiny, abused boy adrift with her in a boat on a bayou appears to her in a dream.

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