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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Murder in the Bayou Boneyard
by Ellen Byron

Publishers Weekly In Agatha winner Byron’s captivating sixth Cajun Country mystery (after 2019’s Fatal Cajun Festival), Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat, the proprietor of the Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast in Pelican, La., struggles to compete with the Rent My Digs app, which is siphoning off the B and B’s bookings. When Maggie hires her distant Canadian cousin, Susannah Crozat MacDowell, to help out over the hectic October tourist season, Susannah betrays their working agreement and claims part of Maggie’s land actually belongs to her side of the family. On top of all this, a rougarou, a “kind of werewolf-meets-vampire creature,” appears to be scaring off many of Maggie’s guests. When someone wearing a rougarou costume drops dead during a play performed in the local cemetery, it turns out to be a case of poisoning. With Maggie’s family’s livelihood at stake, she once again turns sleuth. Cajun history and delectable food descriptions supplement the crime solving. Cozy fans are in for a Halloween treat. Agent: Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The B&Bs in Pelican, LA, are having difficulties competing with a company buying up property, so Maggie Crozat comes up with a scheme that each B&B will host special events to celebrate Pelican's spooky past. She has the bright idea that Crozat Plantation B&B will host a spa, and invites a Canadian cousin she's never met, Susannah MacDowell, to be the massage therapist. Susannah shows up with her obnoxious, demanding family. Guests report seeing a scary rougarou, a legendary werewolf combined with a vampire, and people cancel their reservations. When a costumed rougarou dies at the mystery play in a cemetery, Maggie becomes the primary suspect. Her event plans are a disaster. She and her grandmother had planned a double wedding on New Year's Eve, but grandma has turned into a bridezilla. Then the local police chief collapses in their family kitchen. With all of her family as murder suspects, Maggie has to solve the case, or she'll be wearing an orange jumpsuit for her wedding instead of a traditional gown. VERDICT Halloween, humor, and Louisiana legends are the key to the award-winning author's follow-up to Fatal Cajun Festival. Byron's readers and fans of Jenn McKinlay's humorous mysteries will appreciate this latest story that incorporates family and food.—Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Halloween festivities turn deadly for a rural Louisiana family. Like most owners of large properties in and around picturesque Pelican, the Crozats are feeling the pinch. Young entrepreneurs like Gavin Grody, CEO of Rent My Digs, are cutting into their short-term rental business by buying up older homes and leasing them online under the guise of “home-sharing.” To boost business at their B & B, Tug and Ninette Crozat team up with the owners of the Belle Vista Plantation Resort to offer a Pelican’s Spooky Past package. Belle Vista’s offerings include a mystery play directed by local attorney Quentin MacIlhoney; in addition, the Crozats open a spa, complete with massage, skin care, and a clairvoyant. To mix business with pleasure, the Crozats invite Susannah and Doug MacDowell, distant relatives from Canada, to join them for the length of the promotion. Susie, a trained masseuse, agrees to work in the spa to subsidize their stay. Tug and Ninette’s daughter, Maggie, gives up her art studio for the duration so that the cousins and Doug’s adult children can have plenty of room during their stay but quickly realizes that the Canadians have their eyes on more than one building on the Crozats’ property. Soon the bodies start to pile up, and Maggie, who’s engaged to Pelican Police Department detective Bo Durand, decides that she’d better start another round of sleuthing if she doesn’t want to celebrate her wedding day behind bars. Kooky characters, Southern charm, recipes. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus Halloween festivities turn deadly for a rural Louisiana family.Like most owners of large properties in and around picturesque Pelican, the Crozats are feeling the pinch. Young entrepreneurs like Gavin Grody, CEO of Rent My Digs, are cutting into their short-term rental business by buying up older homes and leasing them online under the guise of home-sharing. To boost business at their BB, Tug and Ninette Crozat team up with the owners of the Belle Vista Plantation Resort to offer a Pelicans Spooky Past package. Belle Vistas offerings include a mystery play directed by local attorney Quentin MacIlhoney; in addition, the Crozats open a spa, complete with massage, skin care, and a clairvoyant. To mix business with pleasure, the Crozats invite Susannah and Doug MacDowell, distant relatives from Canada, to join them for the length of the promotion. Susie, a trained masseuse, agrees to work in the spa to subsidize their stay. Tug and Ninettes daughter, Maggie, gives up her art studio for the duration so that the cousins and Dougs adult children can have plenty of room during their stay but quickly realizes that the Canadians have their eyes on more than one building on the Crozats property. Soon the bodies start to pile up, and Maggie, whos engaged to Pelican Police Department detective Bo Durand, decides that shed better start another round of sleuthing if she doesnt want to celebrate her wedding day behind bars. Kooky characters, Southern charm, recipes. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Burn Baby Burn.
by Medina, Meg

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Nora Lopez is 17 in 1977 when New York City faced one of its most horrific summers in history. A serial killer called Son of Sam was on the loose, shooting innocent couples; the city faced a blackout complete with looting; and arson was rampant. Nora's brother Hector is illegally dealing drugs and physically abusing his mother, Mima, and Nora. Their father is practically out of the picture, unreliably sending checks and calling only on the holidays. Nora works at her neighborhood deli, helping the family to make ends meet. Just when Nora's fear and panic peaks, she meets new hire Pablo. While Nora is not ready for a relationship, one quickly forms. Ashamed and embarrassed, Nora hides secrets about her family from Pablo and from her best friend, Kathleen. Medina uses Nora's story to seamlessly connect readers to an unforgettable period in history, the setting leaving readers thirsting for more information about the summer of 1977. The character development is tight and accurately constructed. Medina holds nothing back, shedding light on the characters' flaws, which teens today will be able to relate to. Medina is on point with the teen voices, evoking their intense fear, panic, and dreams. VERDICT A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections, especially where Ruta Sepetys's books are popular.-Erin Holt, Williamson County Public Library, Franklin, TN © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly As high school graduation nears, Nora López and her best friend Kathleen are looking forward to going to the beach, dancing, and being free. But that's hard when Nora's mother expects her to keep an eye on her out-of-control younger brother, Hector, and run interference with her absent father-and a serial killer is on the loose. Nora is strong and believable, a possible romance has heat, and Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) gets gritty 1977 New York City right: feminism and disco in the air, Son of Sam, and-come July-the blackout and the ensuing looting and fires. The weak spot is Hector: he's invariably angry and increasingly violent, and the book falls into a cycle of petty (and not so petty) crime, disbelief, and realization. Fortunately, the other elements in this coming-of-age story are elegantly and eloquently explored: the difficulties of finding a place to make out with a serial killer around, the new opportunities opening up for women, and Nora's growing ability to envision the life she wants. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* It's 1977 in New York, and almost-18-year-old Nora is about to graduate high school and is saving up for her own place. Of course, it's not as easy as just moving out. Her Cuban immigrant mother, who only speaks Spanish, relies on her to navigate everyday life. Meanwhile, she coddles Nora's firebug younger brother, Hector, whose short temper is getting more violent by the day. No matter what Nora tells her mother, she does nothing about Hector and faults Nora for his delinquency, and, before long, his terrifying, uncontrollable rages become too scary to handle on her own. Medina artfully links Nora's escalating domestic turmoil with the infamous summer of 1977, marked by blackouts, sweltering heat, racial tensions, arson, and the Son of Sam killings, all of which simmer menacingly in the background. Medina weaves historical context throughout Nora's first-person narrative, expertly cultivating a rich sense of atmosphere while still keeping her characters sharply in the foreground. Nora herself is wonderfully multifaceted hardened by responsibility, delighted by disco, crazy about the handsome boy at her job, and, all the while, stalwart and determined to make her life on her own terms. Powerfully moving, this stellar piece of historical fiction emphasizes the timeless concerns of family loyalty and personal strength while highlighting important issues that still resonate today.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book In this vividly evoked coming-of-age story set in 1977 NYC during the oppressive heat wave, seventeen-year-old Nora Lspez faces an insecure future after graduation. The very real fear of an at-large serial killer is magnified by violence at home, and Nora's mother barely scrapes by. Nora is an empathetic character; Medina depicts her troubled family and their diverse Queens neighborhood with realistic, everyday detail. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-It's the Summer of Sam, and Queens native Nora López, 17, does not want to end up as his latest victim, but as her older brother, Hector, spirals out of control at home, danger may be closer to Nora than she thinks. Medina's re-creation of 1977 New York City is a feat previously untold, from racial and class tensions to the relentless summer heat to the devastating citywide blackout; this is historical fiction at its best and most original. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A Cuban-American girl comes of age in Flushing, Queens, in 1977, against the backdrop of the Son of Sam murder spree. It's the summer after graduation, and Nora Lpez and her family struggle to make ends meet. She works part time at a local deli, but her mom has her hours cut at the local factory where she works. Her ne'er-do-well brother, Hector, has stopped going to school and instead spends his time doped up selling drugs on the street. Readers can sense the danger growing around him with every menacing flick of his Zippo. Things change, however, when Pablo, a new guy in town, shows up at the deli where Nora works. Their romance makes the summer even hotter even as a serial killer stalks the neighborhoods of Queens, picking off teen girls and their dates in the middle of the night. Rooted firmly in historical events, Medina's latest offers up a uniquely authentic slice-of-life experience set against a hazy, hot, and dangerous NYC backdrop. Rocky and Donna Summer and the thumping beats of disco, as well as other references from the time, capture the era, while break-ins, fires, shootings, and the infamous blackout bring a harrowing sense of danger and intensity. The story arc is simple, however: a teen girl, her family, her best friend, and her new boyfriend live through a summer of danger. An important story of one of New York City's most dangerous times. (Historical fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The audio version of Medina's newest novel opens up with an upbeat Latin tune that will most certainly promote listening. However, the setting of this book is far from upbeat; it's set during one of New York City's most violent summers-1977-the "Summer of Sam." Nora López, a 17-year-old living with her mother and brother, is forced to face her fears and secrets during this dangerous time. The situations are real, and the issues are sensitive-domestic violence, drug use, and the looming threat of a serial killer on the loose-as are the conflicts that plague Nora and her family. Narrator Marisol Ramirez does an outstanding job of making the characters come alive. Listeners learn of the ERA and feminist movement and see the characters dealing with issues of sexism and sexual harassment. VERDICT Sure to spark strong reactions and discussions, Medina's novel offers a genuine story of growing up amid difficulties and hardships. ["A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections": SLJ 2/16 starred review of the Candlewick book.]-Sheila Acosta, San Antonio Public Library © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Art This Way
by Tamara Shopsin

Kirkus Take a peek at art from a variety of different literal and metaphorical angles.Veritably daring readers to look at art in a fresh new way, this innovatively designed board book features a variety of foldouts, flaps, and die cuts. From its disorienting upside-down first page, the authors use the medium to its best advantage. Never gimmicky, the format enhances readers' understanding of the art. A Lichtenstein pop-art page superbly uses a die cut as a frame to draw eyes to the half-toning that makes the piece work, and lifting a flap "Up" reveals a hanging Calder mobile. This is one of the rare board books that speaks to many ages: A long, colorful foldout of Warhol flower variants would be ideal for a baby to gaze at during tummy time. A Cindy Sherman-inspired shiny mirrored page with black glasses will attract toddlers' eyes, but knowing it works as a disguise will intrigue preschool readers. All of the carefully curated and concisely explained pieces of art are from the Whitney collection. They include sculpture, prints, mobiles, and photography, and male and female artists are showcased equally. The selections, which also include a street-art photograph of children playing with sidewalk chalk and an intriguing sculpture of a woman alongside her small dog, have broad child appeal. Art appreciation with an ingenious twist. (Board book. 6 mos.-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
by Carole Boston Weatherford

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement's most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn't known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer's own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist's perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes's beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, "This Little Light of Mine." Pair this title with Don Mitchell's The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer's heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* In this stunning biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, we walk beside her through tears and smiles on a remarkable journey of resilience and determination that leaves us transformed. The narrative is organized into a sequence of free-verse poems that stand alone as successfully as they link together. They describe what it was like to begin life under Jim Crow oppression and emerge a national hero. We learn that she cared for her aging mother, married, and adopted children; that she was forcibly sterilized, arrested, beaten, and most important, remained an activist her entire life. Caldecott Honor winner Weatherford (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, 2006) has rendered Hamer's voice so precisely that it is like sitting at her knee as she tells her story. Holmes' multimedia collages perfectly capture the essence of each poem. Like Hamer's life, the illustrations are filled with light, texture, movement, and darkness. They are both abstract and realistic, brilliantly juxtaposing gentle floral motifs with protest placards and Fannie Lou Hamer's face in bold relief. Ultimately, though this is Hamer's story, it includes the collaborative struggles of others with whom she worked and fought for a different America. Bold, unapologetic, and beautiful.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Dark Hours
by Michael Connelly

Publishers Weekly In bestseller Connelly’s stellar fourth novel featuring LAPD Det. Renée Ballard (after 2019’s The Night Fire), Ballard leads the way on two separate cases: the shooting death of Javier Raffa, a former gang member, and the search for a pair of serial rapists dubbed the Midnight Men. A recovered bullet connects the Raffa shooting to an old case of Connelly’s main series lead, Harry Bosch. Though Bosch is retired, he willingly helps out and ends up playing a key role in investigating both cases. Meticulous about actual police procedure, Connelly makes the fundamentals of detective work engrossing while providing plenty of suspense and action, including one genuinely shocking scene of violence involving Ballard. He also excels at imbuing his narratives with social commentary, a talent showcased in this entry, which opens with Ballard and her reluctant police partner, Lisa Moore, parked near a homeless encampment on New Year’s Eve 2020 (“It had been a bad year with the pandemic and social unrest and violence”). Along the way to a surprising, even hopeful ending, Connelly avoids polemics while exploring such issues as internal disaffection among the police (including Ballard’s ambivalence about her career), misogyny and domestic violence, and the political divide that resulted in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. This is a masterpiece. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Nov.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal On a raucous New Year's Eve in Hollywood, a friendly neighborhood auto shop owner lies dead in the midst of a street party, and LAPD Detective Renée Ballard quickly determines that he was not killed by a stray bullet among those traditionally shot skyward in celebration as midnight chimes. She also sees connections to an unsolved murder once investigated by the legendary detective Harry Bosch, and soon they are teaming up to solve the cases together. With a 750,000-copy first printing.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Meet today’s LAPD, with both good and bad apples reduced to reacting to crimes defensively instead of trying to prevent them, unless of course they’re willing to break the rules. New Year’s Eve 2020 finds Detective Renée Ballard, survivor of rape and Covid-19, partnered with Detective Lisa Moore, of Hollywood’s Sexual Assault Unit, in search of leads on the Midnight Men, a tag team of rapists who assaulted women on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve without leaving any forensic evidence behind. The pair are called to the scene of a shooting that would have gone to West Bureau Homicide if the unit weren’t already stretched to the limit, a case that should be handed over to West Bureau ASAP. But Ballard gets her teeth into the murder of body shop owner Javier Raffa, who reportedly bought his way out of the gang Las Palmas. The news that Raffa’s been shot by the same weapon that killed rapper Albert Lee 10 years ago sends Ballard once more to Harry Bosch, the poster boy for retirements that drive the LAPD crazy. Both victims had taken on silent partners in order to liquidate their debts, and there’s every indication that the partners were linked. That’s enough for Ballard and Bosch to launch a shadow investigation even as Ballard, abandoned by Moore, who’s flown the coop for the weekend, works feverishly to identify the Midnight Men on her own. As usual in this stellar series, the path to the last act is paved with false leads, interdepartmental squabbles, and personal betrayals, and the structure sometimes sways in the breeze. But no one who follows Ballard and Bosch to the end will be disappointed. A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.” Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list The fourth Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch novel is the best yet, both because Ballard has evolved into one of crime fiction's richest, most complex characters and because Connelly takes an unflinching look at policing in the post–George Floyd era. Still working LAPD's graveyard shift, Ballard is trying to survive the traditional New Year's Eve "rain of lead"—celebrants firing guns into the air, oblivious to where the bullets come down—when a man is killed at an outdoor party, not from a deadly raindrop, it quickly becomes apparent, but from an assailant's gun. After establishing a link between this murder and a decades-old killing on which the retired Harry Bosch worked, Ballard turns to Bosch, who takes a low-key mentoring role, for help. Meanwhile, though, she has another, equally difficult case: tracking a pair of serial rapists who have been terrorizing women in various Hollywood neighborhoods. Ballard's determined efforts to "get of my ass and work cases" (long a Bosch mantra) have earned her all variety of enmity from both supervisors and fellow cops, especially when the murder case points toward a former cop. Sadly, staying on your ass and out of trouble has become the department's unofficial policy. As always, Connelly salts the story with intriguing details of how detectives follow a convoluted investigative trail, but here he adds a deeply troubling subtext: Can good cops survive in a system so deeply broken?

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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