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Summer of suspense in fiction

Old romances and frightening creatures are just a few of the things to encounter in new suspense novels.

So many people were captivated by “Birdbox” the Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock, and wanted to know what happened to her after the credits rolled. The book it was based on, much like every other book-to-movie adaptation, was even better than the movie. And finally readers will know what happened after Mallory, Boy and Girl, made it to the School for the Blind and apparent sanctuary in “Malorie” by Josh Malerman

Well, it wasn’t sanctuary for long. The book literally opens up with madness having claimed the School for the Blind, as people who have seen the creatures (we never know what they are — only that the sight of them causes people to go insane and try to attack others) are causing havoc. Malorie, having seen one of the blind go insane, fears that the creatures must also be able to infect with touch, and she and her children Tom and Olympia, escape into the wilderness once again. Years later, the kids are now 16 and living at an old summer camp. Tom wants to invent a way to see the creatures safely, as he is struggling against Mallory’s way of living ‘by the fold’ as Olympia tries to make peace. When a stranger comes bringing news of other settlements, Malorie is going to ignore it until she sees her parents’ names. Now she and the kids will make a trip across the unsafe terrain once again, board a blind train and try to find a new way of life once again.

It’s good to see the characters again, although I wish we had gotten to see more of the The School. Malorie becomes more sympathetic as a mother of teenagers who want to stretch their wings while she just wants to keep them safe. This is a great story that will resonate.

“Malorie” is published by Del Ray. It is $24.95.

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A familiar storyline that seems ripped from the headlines is told with plenty of twists in “The Shadows” by Alex North.

Two boys lure another into the woods to kill him in honor of a supposed dream creature (not Freddy Kreuger) in a copycat murder to one that happened many years ago in the same small town. Paul has just returned to town to visit his ailing mother, and is horrified by the similarity — he knew the victim and the perpetrators of the first murder. When a cryptic comment by his mother leads him to the attic of her house, he finds a record of the crime from the past and the current one. Why was his mother so concerned? Meanwhile, a young police detective is trying to solve the current crime and finds a link to Charlie Crabtree, one of the original murderers, to the new case in an online forum. There’s just one problem — Crabtree disappeared after the murder 25 years ago. Is there really a Red Hands monster in the woods and did Crabtree go with him? Or are more human monsters lurking?

There is creepy scenes and a story that looks at all the effects of a murder on everyone around them, this is just as good as North’s “Whisper Man.”

“The Shadows” is published by Celadon Books. It is $24.95.

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An old summer romance brings danger in “The Wife Who Knew Too Much” by Michele Campbell.

When the hot rich guy from her teenage summer dreams walks back into her life, waitress Tabby is swept off her feet by Connor once again, even though he is married. He keeps promising to leave his older and rich wife, but Tabby isn’t sure if he’s not just playing her again like he did as a teen. But his wife dies of a suicide after a party, and suddenly Tabby has the guy and a baby on the way. But has she really gotten a dream come true or a nightmare?

This was a case of a book that was just not for me. I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable and all were selfish people making selfish decisions. Because of the affair I didn’t really care what happened to Tabby, and seeing how Connor was as a teenager, he was pretty awful and I don’t know why anyone would want him. The part with the murder/frame job was well done though.

“The Wife Who Knew Too Much” is published by St. Martin’s Press. It is $25.99.

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Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com

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