The books we love coming out this week include new titles from Anders Roslund, Jessica Fellowes, and B.B. Alston.
Madden-Mills’s emotional second Game Changers romance (after Not My Romeo) adds impressive depth to the bad boy, good girl trope. Giselle Riley is suffering through a bad date when Devon Walsh—Giselle’s college crush, playboy star football player of the Nashville Tigers, and, as it happens, the best friend of her sister’s new husband—swoops in and saves her from her date’s unwanted advances. Their flirtatious encounter comes to a screeching halt when Giselle learns that her brother-in-law told Devon she’s a virgin and asked him to look out for her around other members of the team. The revelation leads to a fierce argument, but Devon redeems himself by offering Giselle a place to stay after a fire ravages her apartment building. Proximity causes feelings to bubble to the surface—but both Devon and Giselle must work through relationship baggage and apprehensions about love before they can move forward. Giselle, a doctoral candidate in theoretical physics with a delightfully active and quirky imagination, is a lovable heroine, while heavily tattooed Devon will make readers swoon. Madden-Mills masterfully handles the protagonists’ insecurities and traumas to produce a love story that’s equal parts tantalizing, gut-wrenching, and sweet.
In Roslund’s heart-pounding fourth Grens and Hoffman novel (after 2019’s Three Hours with the late Börge Hellström), a break-in at the Stockholm apartment where every member of the Lilaj family, except five-year-old Zana, was killed 17 years earlier prompts Det. Supt. Ewert Grens to reexamine the case. Grens discovers that Zana’s witness protection file has disappeared from a secure police archive just as several criminals are murdered in the same manner as her family. Meanwhile, Piet Hoffman is contacted anonymously by a person who knows all about Hoffman’s time infiltrating Stockholm’s criminal underworld for the police. If Hoffman doesn’t start a gang war and thereby kick start demand for this new player in the weapons smuggling business, he and his family will be killed. Grens and Hoffman combine forces, as Grens senses they’re working two ends of the same problem. While the peril that Hoffman faces is palpable, Grens’s impending retirement and loss of purpose presents its own existential threat. This terrific mash-up of police procedural and crime thriller has strongly imagined characters, explosive action, and a twisty plot with an unexpected conclusion. It’s a must for Scandinavian noir fans.
In 1933, a few months after the Nazis take power in Germany, former Mitford family servant Louisa Cannon is approached by Iain, a British government agent, in bestseller Fellowes’s subpar fourth Mitford Murders mystery (after 2020’s The Mitford Scandal). Nancy Mitford, the eldest of the six Mitford sisters, recently offered to pay Louisa to accompany her mother and other family members on a Mediterranean cruise. Iain now asks her to accept Nancy’s offer, because he wants her to spy on two Mitford sisters who have expressed support for the Nazis, notably Diana, who has been having an affair with English fascist Oswald Mosley. Louisa lies to her new husband, CID Det. Sgt. Guy Sullivan, telling him that she’s going on the cruise to make some money. Guy ends up joining Louisa on the ship, where they’re soon investigating a passenger’s fatal bludgeoning. Flash-forwards to a murder trial with two defendants in 1935 inject some suspense, but this isn’t enough to make up for an uninspired plot. Series fans will hope for a return to form next time.
Following the mysterious disappearance of her beloved big brother, Quinton, 13-year-old Amari Peters is offered a spot in a summer camp run by the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, a secret agency that forms the “link between the known world and what is hidden.” Learning that Quinton was one of the Bureau’s top agents, Amari vows to follow in his footsteps in order to discover his fate. But Amari’s initiation reveals that she’s a natural-born magician, which the Bureau considers rare and dangerous. Given this status, Amari must dispel the prejudices against magicians while passing a series of extremely competitive trials to join the exclusive Department of Supernatural Investigations. But with a terrifying foe lurking in the shadows, Amari’s career may be cut short. In this thrilling debut, Alston thrusts his intrepid heroine into a setting packed with magic, mythical creatures, and danger. Amari, a Black girl with limited means, confronts privilege and prejudice even while delving into a world of wonder, humor, and adventure, making this a sure-to-please winner.