STPL’s Most Popular in July 2018

When the rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees reaches the shores of British Columbia, the young father is overcome with relief: he and his six-year-old son can finally put Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war behind them and begin new lives. Instead, the group is thrown into prison, with government officials and news headlines speculating that hidden among the “boat people” are members of a terrorist militia. As suspicion swirls and interrogation mounts, Mahindan fears the desperate actions he took to survive and escape Sri Lanka now jeopardize his and his son’s chances for asylum. 

Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer Priya, who reluctantly represents the migrants; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate, The Boat People is a high-stakes novel that offers a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis. Inspired by real events, with vivid scenes that move between the eerie beauty of northern Sri Lanka and combative refugee hearings in Vancouver, where life and death decisions are made, Sharon Bala’s stunning debut is an unforgettable and necessary story for our times.

The President Is Missing confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view . . .

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest twisty thrill ride, Detective D. D. Warren and “Find Her”‘s Flora Dane return in a race against the clock to either save a young girl’s life . . . or bring her to justice. 

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

The Third Victim: A Novel by [Margolin, Phillip]

A woman stumbles onto a dark road in rural Oregon—tortured, battered, and bound. She tells a horrific story about being kidnapped, then tortured, until she finally managed to escape. She was the lucky one—two other women, with similar burns and bruises, were found dead.

The surviving victim identifies the house where she was held captive and the owner, Alex Mason—a prominent local attorney—is arrested. Although he loudly insists upon his innocence, his wife’s statements about his sexual sadism and the physical evidence found at the scene, his summer home, is damning.

Regina Barrister is a legendary criminal defense attorney, known as “The Sorceress” for her courtroom victories. But she’s got a secret, one that threatens her skill, her reputation, and, most of all, her clients. And she’s agreed to take on the seemingly impossible task of defending Alex Mason.

Robin Lockwood, a young lawyer and former MMA fighter, has just left a clerkship at the Oregon Supreme Court to work for Regina Barrister. The Alex Mason trial is her first big one, a likely death penalty case, and she’s second chair to Regina. Increasingly, she’s worried her boss’s behavior and the details in the case against their client don’t quite add up.

An alarming rise in the world’s sea levels–much larger than could be accounted for by glacier melt–sends Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, and the rest of the NUMA scientific team rocketing around the globe in search of answers. What they find at the bottom of the East China Sea, however, is even worse than they imagined: a diabolical plan to upset the Pacific balance of power–and in the process displace as many as a billion people.

A rare alloy unlike anything else on earth, a pair of 500-year-old Japanese talismans, an assassin so violent even the Yakuza has disowned him, an audacious technological breakthrough that will become a very personal nightmare for Kurt Austin – from the shark-filled waters of Asia to the high-tech streets of Tokyo to a forbidden secret island, the NUMA team must risk everything to head off the coming catastrophe.

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

After getting shot in the line of duty, New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock has been busy rebuilding his life. He’s reunited with his fiancé and started to get some of his memories back. He hopes he can continue to recover with the help of an amnesia support group and that the damage from his past isn’t permanent.

It isn’t until fellow group member Sean Conner approaches him after a meeting that Doug realizes the trouble is just beginning. Sean has discovered in his attic what can only be called a scrapbook of a murder victim, but he has no recollection of the girl’s identity or why he might have gathered this information. Doug agrees to help and convinces his captain to open what had been a cold case. When he discovers that he had a personal connection to this case, suddenly he’s questioning everything he thought he knew about the case, about Sean, and about his own past.

In the next page-turning thriller by David Rosenfelt, Doug Brock is back to delight readers and keep them guessing until the end.

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but because of a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From performing with Shakespeare, to exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, to sharing cocktails with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom has seen a lot. But now, after over 400 years of reinventing himself to escape detection, he just wants an ordinary life. The only rule he has to follow is Don’t fall in love.

When Tom catches the eye of a captivating woman named Camille at the dog park, everything begins to unravel. Caught between the danger of discovery and the desire to build a real life, Tom learns that the thing he can’t have might just be the thing that saves him.

A wild, bittersweet, time-travelling story, How to Stop Time is about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change, about the perils of love and about the mistakes that humans are doomed to repeat. It asks the question, How many lifetimes does it take to learn how to live?

 

History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case.

Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis.

It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, enlists him to help with an investigation, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces―the Justice Department and the FBI―are at war over a rare coin and a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about the King assassination, information that could ruin innocent lives and threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement’s greatest martyr.

Malone’s decision to see it through to the end ―― from the raucous bars of Mexico, to the clear waters of the Dry Tortugas, and ultimately into the halls of power within Washington D.C. itself ―― not only changes his own life, but the course of history.

World War Two vet Art Kenning is the alcoholic first-aid man in an isolated sawmill village in the interior of B.C., where he dreads the sound of the five whistles that summon him to the mill floor whenever a worker is hurt. Traumatized by an incident in Holland, when he stood by while members of his unit committed a horrific act, he loses himself in drink, and in memories of the love affair he had with a woman in wartime Paris. But the sad comfort of his self-imposed detachment is shattered when one of the most powerful men at the mill arrives at his door late one evening to ask for his help. What unfolds over the course of that night and following day will force Art to confront acts of evil, both in the present and the past, as well as the tragic consequences of his own inaction. 
Alternating with Art’s story are the stories of Joel, a teenaged runaway who owes his life to Art, Wang Po, the mill’s cook and a survivor of the Rape of Nanjing, Alice, a young Indigenous girl sold from a residential school, and, Cliff, a Metis man with a hidden past. These lives, and more, intertwine to reveal a complex, morally ambiguous community where the undercurrents of violence and complicity are never far from the surface.
Writing with exquisite precision and emotional force, Patrick Lane gives us a novel whose darkness is fractured by moments of light. Deep River Night is a riveting story about the burden of bearing witness to a terrible crime.

 

 

 

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II, Terese Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father–an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist–who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.
    
Mailhot “trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain and what we can bring ourselves to accept.” Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people and to her place in the world.

MURDER BEYOND THE GRAVE (with Andrew Bourelle): Stephen Small has it all-a Ferrari, fancy house, loving wife, and three boys. But the only thing he needs right now is enough air to breathe. Kidnapped, buried in a box, and held for ransom, Stephen has forty-eight hours of oxygen. The clock is ticking . . . 

MURDER IN PARADISE (with Christopher Charles): High in the Sierra Nevada mountains, developers Jim and Bonnie Hood excitedly tour Camp Nelson Lodge. They intend to buy and modernize this beautiful rustic property, but the locals don’t like rich outsiders changing their way of life. After a grisly shooting, everybody will discover just how you can make a killing in real estate . . . 

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In July 2011, billionaire Jonah Shacknai’s Coronado, California, mansion was the setting for two horrifying deaths only days apart—his young son’s plunge from a balcony and his girlfriend’s ghastly hanging.

What really happened? Baffling questions remain unanswered, as these cases were closed far too soon for hundreds of people; Rule looks at them now through the eyes of a relentless crime reporter. The second probe began in Utah when Susan Powell vanished in a 2009 blizzard. Her controlling husband, Josh, proved capable of a blind rage that was heartbreakingly fatal to his innocent small sons almost three years later in a tragedy that shocked America as the details unfolded. If anyone had detected the depth of depravity within Josh Powell, perhaps the family that loved and trusted him would have been saved. In these and seven other riveting cases, Ann Rule exposes the twisted truth behind the façades of Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors.

Human optimization thought leader Aubrey Marcus’s personal and professional mission rests on a single question: How can we get the most out of our body and mind on a daily basis?

Marcus answers that question in Own the Day, Own Your Life an empowering handbook that guides readers to optimize every moment of the day, from waking in the morning, through work and play, until bedtime each night. With small, actionable changes implemented throughout the course of one day, we can feel better, perform more efficiently, and live happier. And these daily habits turn into weekly routines, ultimately becoming part of lifelong healthy choices.

From workouts and diet to inbox triage, mindfulness, shower temperature, and sex, this ground-breaking manual provides simple strategies for each element of your day. Drawing from the latest studies and traditional practices from around the world, Own the Day, Own Your Life delivers an optimization philosophy, including cutting-edge life-hacking tips, nutritional expertise, brain upgrades, and fitness regiments.

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by [Pollan, Michael]

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists inadvertently catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.

A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan’s “mental travelogue” is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.