What’s Your Exit? A Literary Detour Through New Jersey
(Word Riot Press)
The Garden State stars in this pop-culture anthology edited by natives Joe Vallese and Alicia A. Beale. The poetry, fiction, and memoirs are peppered with accents, landscapes, and distinctive character—and characters—that Jerseyans will find touchingly familiar. Among the 49 contributors of new and previously published work are Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Perrotta, and Robert Pinsky.
Simply From Scratch
by Alicia Bessette (Dutton)
In this Collingswood author’s stunning debut novel, narrator Rose-Ellen Roy is rattling around her house more than a year after her husband’s sudden death, with only her greyhound for company. That changes when she enters a baking contest with her 9-year-old neighbor.
Uptown by Virginia
DeBerry and Donna Grant (Touchstone)
Sick of the muck of this real estate market? Pick up Uptown, a novel about cousins Dwight Dixon and Avery Lyon. When Dixon takes over his father’s controversial housing development in Harlem, Lyon feels betrayed. It’s a sizzling, scandal-filled book that’s hotter than beach sand.
The Edge of Ruin
by Irene Fleming (Minotaur Books)
Step into the dawn of filmmaking in a mystery that plays out on the cliffs of the Palisades. A young couple starts a movie studio, but in 1909, Thomas Edison was doing everything to quash competition. Someone’s killed on the set, and main character Emily Weiss’s husband becomes the prime suspect.
by Chris Grabenstein (Pegasus Books)
In the latest John Ceepak mystery, a bigwig dies the day a new roller coaster opens in Sea Haven (a fictional town that resembles Seaside Heights). Ceepak is called when the dead body of a bathing beauty is found and connected to the ill-fated bigwig.
Fire Will Fall by Carol Plum-Ucci (Harcourt)
It’s marked for young adults, but Fire Will Fall is good for grown ups. It picks up where Streams of Babel ended: four teenagers in the fallout from a terrorist attack. They’re labeled as having stage 4 contamination (stage 5 is death), so they’re quarantined in the Pine Barrens. Will they make it—and get the terrorists at the same time?
The Unexpected Son (Kensington)
When news comes that a child she believed had been stillborn is living in her native India, the main character of this fourth novel from Trenton author Shobhan Bantwal is shocked. Bantwal’s characters are well drawn, and she deftly captures the cultural nuances that drive the story.
Cars From a Marriage (St. Martin’s Press)
Autos are a metaphor for the state of the relationship in this comic novel about love and marriage from Glen Ridge author Debra Galant. Riding along with main characters Iris and Ellis as they navigate the unexpected twists, emotional dead ends, and fast-moving highways of modern life is, in turns, touching and funny.