April showers bring… more time inside spent curled up with some warm tea and a hot new release. Does that rhyme like the original saying? No. But it’s also very accurate. This week, we’ve got some incredible new novels that’ll make you want to get cozy even as they make your heart race. What do an LGBT+ thriller, a New York romance damaged by a writer’s ego, and a feminist gangster noir all have in common? Apparently, it’s that they’re all incredible. If you can’t choose which one to read next, that’s not a problem! We strongly encourage you to read all three. Since you’ll be hooked from the very first page, it shouldn’t take you all that long.
Here are Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!
Our Hot Pick:
For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.
On the 30th anniversary of the victory of Solidarity in Poland and the fall of the Berlin Wall, comes a riveting new novel set in Poland on the brink of change, THE FOURTH COURIER .
Smith sets his novel in 1992 in post-cold war Poland, where nothing is quite as it seems. When three execution-style murders take place in Warsaw, FBI Special Agent Jay Porter is assigned to help with the investigation, suspecting that the three victims may have been couriers hired to smuggle nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union.
When Jay learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has also disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.
Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, THE FOURTH COURIER teams up an FBI agent with a gay CIA officer who uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.
Even as LGBT+ themes and characters have become more visible across other genres, crime and thriller novels continue to be overwhelmingly straight. With the relatively recent success of hit comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s bisexual representation (and with our increasing consciousness of and respect for people’s differences), the real crime would be not including more diverse characters into these action-packed reads. Of course, in many of these novels, the real crime will actually be murder. But even a grisly murder can be made more enjoyable when characters who represent us are on the case and on our bookshelves. Timothy Jay Smith lives up to his name—a true wordsmith, he draws upon his own fascinating background of overseas political affairs and frequent jumps into danger (yes, he did smuggle a play across the Iron Curtain and stow away on an African vessel) to perfectly portray the tension and intrigue inherent in this international thriller. Smith conveys a rich sense of place and an even richer sense of impending danger that will surely compel you to read on. The Fourth Courier is an absolute must-read, made better with Smith’s masterful prose and insight.
OUR COFFEE SHOP READ:
Life is sweet for New Yorkers Molly and Gabe: They’re young, in love, and newly engaged.
But when Gabe sells his first novel—a thinly-veiled retelling of his wild love affair with ex-girlfriend Talia—and it becomes a national sensation, Molly can’t help but feel like the third wheel. To make matters worse, Talia reappears in Gabe’s life, eager to capitalize on the book’s success and to rekindle what she had with Gabe… at least, that’s how it seems to Molly. But even more concerning? Gabe doesn’t seem concerned at all. Instead, he’s delighting in his newfound fame and success.
Jealous, paranoid, and increasingly desperate, Molly starts to spin out of control. Her social life, work life, and love life all go to pieces. As fact and fiction, and past and present, begin to blur, Molly realizes the only way out of this downward spiral is to fight her way back up. But what—if anything—will be left of her life and her relationship when she arrives?
Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jennifer Weiner, OTHERWISE ENGAGED explores the life we seek when the life we have… suddenly goes down the drain.
Everyone loves a will-they-won’t-they, particularly when new and scandalous developments continue to reveal themselves! Molly thought that Gabe was The One, but he might just be the one who ruins the happiness she’s made for herself. When an ex reappears in Molly’s own life, her friends advise her to avoid interacting—but that advice is increasingly hard to take when Gabe’s own ex begins to bait her. Is Molly reading too much into the situation? Unclear. Will you be reading too much to keep up with your daily tasks? Definitely. As Molly’s distrust of Gabe begins to go deeper than suspicious about Gabe’s ex, she’ll have to question who she wants AND what she wants for herself. Lindsey J. Palmer‘s Otherwise Engaged explores what happens when everything can’t work out exactly how we planned (no matter how meticulously we planned!)—a universal truth that’s no less hard to endure. One thing’s for certain: as you turn the pages to see who Molly will choose, you’ll be glad you chose this book!
OUR DARK HORSE:
The followup to the literate and action-packed historical thriller Speakeasy, Doublespeak finds plucky protagonist Lena on a journey back to her past.
Lieutenant Lena Stillman has been left, nearly alone, on her code-breaking mission in remote Alaska. World War II has been over for a month, but due to crimes committed a lifetime ago, Lena is still under the control of the powerful Miss Maggie, her spymaster in Washington, DC.
Shaken by her role in the disappearance of Corporal Link Hughes—and by her own misjudgment of his character—Lena yearns for an opportunity to redeem them both. Then she receives a shocking message containing Link’s potential location: Siam. Embarking on a clandestine rescue mission to Bangkok, Lena is reunited with shadows from her past—including loyal friend Byron who is eager to escape his safe, dull life and the attractive yet dangerous “William Yardly.” As personal and political allegiances shift in the postwar maelstrom, it seems impossible to know who is good or bad, innocent or culpable and whether they are motivated by love or revenge.
Overlaying rich historic detail and an intricate plot, Doublespeak is an entrancing sequel to Alisa Smith’s first novel Speakeasy, which received the honor of being a Walter Scott Prize Academy recommended book of 2018.
This book is unlike anything you’ve read before—which is exactly why you should pick it up. A novel merging gangster noir with feminist spy punk, Doublespeak is perfect for female gangster noir fans who want to imagine themselves in the world of the story… without imagining themselves reduced to a classy cigarette holder and a demeaning nickname. Readers will love seeing women take the lead in this tale of international espionage, getting to make all the badass moves themselves rather than looking attractive in the background while a man takes the forefront. As our protagonist finds herself on a dangerous mission in Bangkok, Alisa Smith‘s readers are sure to find themselves completely caught up in this engaging adventure that’s absolutely bursting with rich historical detail.
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