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Bread for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone

Maurizio de Giovanni (Europa)

When a baker is shot dead outside his bakery in Naples, Italy, Lt. Giuseppe Lojacono, one of the misfits from the city’s Pizzofalcone police precinct, thinks the shooter was an amateur. A prominent magistrate is sure it’s an organized crime hit. Dismissed from the case, Lojacono persuades another magistrate to allow two separate investigations. De Giovanni delicately balances humor and pathos as he showcases his characters’ humanity.

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Deep Water

Emma Bamford (Scout)

Honeymooners Jake Selkirk and Virginie Durand are headed to Thailand aboard their sailboat when they decide instead to visit Amarante, a remote island with unspoiled beaches. The couple discover other boaters have already arrived by the time they reach Amarante, where the near paradise’s isolation brings out the worst in everyone. Betrayal, jealousy, and violence follow. Amid an exotic backdrop, debut author Bamford delivers evocative, tense scenes on and under the water.

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The Kingdoms of Savannah

George Dawes Green (Celadon)

A Savannah homeless man’s murder and the disappearance of his drinking buddy, a sometime archaeologist, plunge their friends Jaq Walker, a fearless aspiring documentarian currently tending bar, and her uncle by marriage, Ransom, a disgraced scion of the storied Musgrove family, into a high-stakes hunt for answers that threatens to unearth some of the city’s most sinister secrets. With strong characters, assured writing, and a provocative plot, this haunting literary thriller finds Green firing on all cylinders.

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Last Call at the Nightingale

Katharine Schellman (Minotaur)

In 1924 Manhattan, Vivian Kelly toils as a seamstress by day, but at night she frequents the Nightingale speakeasy. When the body of a suspected bootlegger turns up in an alley outside the Nightingale, Vivian agrees to spy on the victim’s family members to see whether they can help find the killer. Well-defined characters and a vivid picture of Jazz Age Manhattan make this a winner.

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The Lioness

Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday)

In 1964, Hollywood star Katie Barstow and her new husband, a Rodeo Drive gallerist, head to Tanzania for a safari honeymoon, accompanied by a small group of friends and family. What was supposed to be a civilized adventure on the Serengeti becomes a nightmare after they fall into the hands of Russian mercenaries. Meanwhile, someone within the entourage has motive to make trouble. The suspense remains taut throughout this cunning whydunit.

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The Lost Summers of Newport

Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White (Morrow)

In 2019, architectural historian Andie Figuero arrives at Sprague Hall, a crumbling Newport, R.I., summer home to host an episode of a TV reality show called Makeover Mansions. The reclusive elderly heiress who lives at Sprague Hall threatens to cause trouble unless Andie meets certain conditions. Flashbacks to 1899 and 1958 reveal devastating family secrets and violent deaths. Superb pacing and elegant plotting will keep readers turning the pages right up to the fairy tale ending.

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The Lunar Housewife

Caroline Woods (Doubleday)

Louise Leithauser, the heroine of this early Cold War thriller set in New York, writes pseudonymously about politics for a hot new literary magazine cofounded by her boyfriend, Joe Martin. An overheard conversation leads Louise, who has written a novella-length American-Soviet space romance, to investigate Joe’s connections to government censorship of literary expression. The cameo appearance of Ernest Hemingway, whom Louise interviews, helps lend authenticity. This tale of gender dynamics, politics, and power enchants.

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The Murder of Mr. Wickham

Claudia Gray (Vintage)

In 1820, Emma Woodhouse Knightley hosts a house party for Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy and other friends familiar to Jane Austen readers. George Wickham, the widower of Elizabeth’s sister Lydia, now running a dubious investment scheme, crashes the party and is soon murdered. Gray perfectly captures the personalities of Austen’s beloved characters, as well as their children, in this inspired homage. Agatha Christie fans will have fun figuring out whodunit.

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