BookTrib was created to serve as the voice of emerging authors. For our editorial team, one of the many gifts of the job is to be able to discover and share with you some marvelous writers, incredible stories and magnificent characters. As we wind down the most turbulent year many of us will ever endure, we want to send this gift your way – a selection of some of our favorite books from 2020 that you likely are not familiar with but most certainly should be:
'Jersig' by J.B Whitehouse
On one level, "Jersig" is a scintillating cautionary tale about the dangers of associating with strangers — or rather the life-expansive opportunities of doing so. But it’s so much more. Our narrator, “Q,” is a young man of curiosity but limited stimulus on how to escape his mundane life. That is, until his chance brush with Jersig.
'The Rage Colony' by Shanon Hunt
This second-time author has delivered another thought-provoking but more complex and sinister thriller highlighting the impact — and dangers — of genetic engineering and manipulation. Hunt has a marvelous knack for creating page-turning suspense founded in scientific theory and overlaying it with dark horror.
'Walking Among Birds' by Matthew Hickson
A neat, nifty and most intriguing drama, there’s so much to like about "Walking Among Birds": a captivating plot, a potpourri of shady and heroic characters, the idyllic setting of boarding school life and its surrounding nature, a narrator you wish you could have a drink with, and a promising author who has a story to tell and the literary chops to tell it.
'The Last Scoop' by R.G. Belsky
“Sometimes that curiosity takes you places you wouldn’t normally go,” says Clare Carlson, news director of a major New York TV station who cut her teeth in those dusty tabloid newsrooms. In this tightly crafted and plotted tale, Clare’s curiosity takes her first down the path of inner-city corruption and then on the trail of a serial killer who has not been caught for 30 years.
'The Remains of the Corps' by Will Remain
"The Remains of the Corps," which documents three generations of the Remain family and the Marines, right up to the author’s own experience in Vietnam, is one of the most unique books you’ll come across this year. It is an incredible accomplishment, a magnificent creative endeavor that fascinates even before we get to Chapter 1. The details, fictionalized but based on the author’s knowledge, research and first-hand experience, are remarkable.
'The Lighthouse Keeper' by David Richards
A charming tale of a boy in search of purpose and meaning that is chock full of lessons. The lessons are presented in a wonderful story about Sam, whose father arranges for him to learn a new trade by becoming an apprentice at a lighthouse.
'Lover Boy' by Stephen Kronwith, M.D.
So well written and tightly plotted, "Lover Boy" is a crime caper mixing humor with pathos, filled with quirky characters and often-hilarious dialogue. A lustful physician and an attractive detective clash in this story involving a billionaire’s murder, his beautiful widow and an amorous, aging assassin.
'The Optimist' by Roy E. Schreiber
This “audio play” is a quick, fun jaunt through faculty life at the imaginary Fullbright University, located in a Midwestern town that could just as well be Middle-Of-Nowhere, Indiana. It is a satisfying, engaging experience, accomplished through a troupe of university professor characters interacting in their university professorial shticks and navigating through a variety of storylines that bring out the best in each of their personas.
'Snatch 2&20' by Luke E. Fellows
Author Luke Fellows describes himself as co-founder of a technology-focused hedge fund, from which he retired “as soon as his partners could practicably get rid of him.” He adds, “The irony is not lost on me that it is my success in the finance industry that has given me the means to spend my time pillorying it.” The result is "Snatch 2&20," an edgy burlesque of everything Wall Street.
'The Contortionist' by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
In this mixture of the author’s two passions, the circus and horror, Cora Glass’s humdrum existence flips upside down when a long-abandoned circus mysteriously returns to life. But the entry fee is far more than Cora bargained for. As Harrow Faire shines a spotlight on Cora, she discovers there are far more secrets in that three-ring nightmare than she could possibly imagine.
'EO-N' by Dave Mason
In this slick piece of writing and even slicker plot, Alison Wiley gets pulled into a 74-year-old mystery that begins beneath the surface of a Norwegian glacier. Mason masterfully connects the dots between Wiley’s grandfather — a cocky Royal Canadian Air Force pilot in 1945 — and the disillusioned Luftwaffe pilot Major Günther Graf, trapped in the unspeakable horrors of Nazi Germany. Characters converge in a sweeping arc that takes readers on a tightly woven and gripping journey.
'Willa and the Whale' by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
I’m not a 13-year-old, but I felt locked inside the head of one — with all the love, curiosity, perceptions and insecurities the authors could muster. Willa is thrown into a kaleidoscope of difficulty and self-doubt. She must overcome the loss of a parent, assimilate to a new family unit, come to terms with her dad in his new life, struggle to reconnect with her former best friend Marco and navigate the typical adolescent travails of school, relationships and activities. Oh, and she talks to a whale.
'The Secret Diaries of Juan Luis Vives' by Tim Darcy Ellis
The year is 1522; the place, Bruges — the Spanish Netherlands. Juan Luis Vives, a Jewish academic, has fled the Spanish Inquisition, leaving behind his father and three sisters. A humanist, he speaks to his students of tolerance, peace and equality, emphasizing “the duty of all to repair the world.” Author Tim Darcy Ellis magnificently resurrects this historical figure through imagined personal writings that capture a man who was truly ahead of his time.
'A Bend in the River' by Libby Fischer Hellmann
“Is there a warning the moment before life shatters into pieces?” This terrific tale centers on two young South Vietnamese sisters whose bucolic childhoods in the Mekong Delta change forever when U.S. soldiers invade their small village one morning in March 1968 to hunt down Viet Cong.
'Asher and Stacey’s Magnificent Road Trip' by Stacey Cohen-Maitre
This is a story about a mother and son on a road trip along the Pacific Coast of Southern California. Nineteen-year-old Asher is diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy and a visual impairment rendering him nonverbal, wheelchair bound and visually impaired. Stacey is his devoted mother. Along the way, they experience unique challenges, some of which are absolutely ridiculous and almost too hard to believe, and some that are truly heart wrenching.
'What’s Not Said' by Valerie Taylor
The author’s debut novel is a mystery, romance and tale about chance and coincidence. It’s a book about secrets and lies and the elusive dream of a fairy tale ending. Taylor sets two stories in motion: Kassie is plotting her escape from an unhappy marriage; and Mike, her husband, is suddenly and inexplicably very, very sick. Meanwhile, a handsome young man named Christopher checks his bags at the airport.
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