In Things Don’t Break on Their Own, Sarah Easter Collins goes straight for the gut and the heart with a tale of a dinner party gone awry, where repressed memories are unearthed and everyone at the table will be forever changed.

Suburban London, just before Christmas: Radiologist Robyn and her wife, Cat, put the kids to bed and welcome an array of dinner guests into their bustling, happy household. Among them is Willa, Robyn’s boarding school roommate and first love, now married to the boorish Jamie and still under the roof of the controlling father she tried to escape over two decades ago—after Willa’s 13-year-old sister, Laika, left for class one morning and never returned. When the psychologist date of Robyn’s brother, Michael, begins a conversation about memory, Robyn and Willa reflect on their shared past and wonder what happened to angry, vulnerable Laika. Can someone really disappear without a trace?

As artist and debut author Collins’ title suggests, many things can break (especially familial and romantic bonds), but as Robyn and Michael’s potter father once showed the then-teenagers, carefully repairing scattered shards can make a piece, and a person, stronger than ever. This literary thriller doesn’t simply titillate and scare; it thoroughly explores the complex journey of two bruised young women as they stumble through life before finding sure footing. Every character, from Robyn’s and Cat’s family members to Willa’s George Michael-loving mother to an enigmatic French yoga teacher named Claudette, is richly drawn and worth rooting for—except when they’re not. Like the handmade pot Willa throws during an unforgettable summer, Things Don’t Break on Their Own is a rare treasure, bursting with emotion and built to last.

Sarah Easter Collins’ literary thriller, Things Don’t Break on Their Own, is a rare treasure, bursting with emotion and built to last.

Bestselling author Ellery Lloyd has become deliciously adept at drawing readers into the world of the wealthy: redolent of privilege and glamour, and tainted by darkness and deceit.

In their third thriller, The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby, Lloyd (a pseudonym for married British authors Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos) builds upon the contemporary social commentary that marked their previous books, People Like Her and The Club, by homing in on the past. 

In 1930s Paris, Juliette Willoughby is an up-and-coming British surrealist painter who’s fled her moneyed and terrible family, and is now living with her lover, fellow surrealist Oskar Erlich. Tragically, the two died in a fire shortly after their participation alongside Dali, Picasso, Man Ray, et al. in the 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition (a real event which Lloyd describes in fascinating historical detail). Juliette’s mesmerizing painting Self-Portrait as Sphinx was destroyed by the flames, too.

Or was it? In 1991 Cambridge, art history students Caroline Cooper and Patrick Lambert are encouraged by their advisor to include Self-Portrait as Sphinx in their dissertation research. After all, Juliette’s Egyptologist father curated a collection of art and artifacts that might prove useful, and Patrick’s family has strong ties to the Willoughbys. As the duo grow closer—and more fascinated by the Willoughby family’s strange history, including rumors of a curse—they make some amazing discoveries. Chief among them is Juliette’s journal, the contents of which suggest that the fire that killed her was no accident.

In the present day, Caroline is now the foremost Juliette Willoughby expert and has traveled to Dubai to authenticate Self-Portrait as Sphinx, which seems to have resurfaced after all these years and is about to go on auction. Alas, Patrick—her ex-husband, now a gallery owner—is arrested for murder as decades-old mysteries bubble up to the surface. Is he guilty? Is the formerly lost painting authentic? Was the Willoughby curse real, or just an excuse for horrendous misdeeds? Is there more to Juliette’s story?

Readers will enjoy unraveling the threads of history and mystery alongside Caroline and Patrick as they soak up art-world atmosphere and intrigue across the decades. The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby is a twisty and compelling exploration of power and obsession, secrecy and surrealism, artifice and art.

The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby is a twisty and compelling exploration of power and obsession, secrecy and surrealism, artifice and art.
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Bestselling author Riley Sanger’s latest spooky thriller, Middle of the Night, is reminiscent of a ghost story told around a crackling campfire. This missing-person mystery dances tantalizingly on the edge of horror without ever totally crossing the line.

One summer night in 1994, 10-year-old Ethan Marsh invited his neighbor, Billy, over for a backyard sleepover. When Ethan woke up in the morning, the tent was slashed open and Billy was nowhere to be found. Until that moment, the Marshes’ suburban neighborhood was considered extremely safe, but Billy’s disappearance irrevocably changed the lives of everyone living on Hemlock Circle.

Now 40, Ethan is back in his childhood home, after his parents moved to Florida. He’s not alone either; various circumstances have brought the now-adult children of 1994 back to the cul-de-sac where they lived that fateful summer.

Ethan never recovered from Billy’s disappearance, and being in his childhood home has triggered PTSD symptoms like insomnia and nightmares. Then, in the middle of the night, messages start appearing that seem to be from Billy to Ethan. Ethan can’t help but wonder if Billy is somehow reaching out to him from the afterlife, and he becomes obsessed with solving the mystery, a quest that involves reaching out to the people he grew up with—some of whom want nothing to do with the case. There is also a matter of the Hawthorne Institute, an occult research center that Billy was obsessed with the summer of his death.

Despite its ghostly happenings and some genuine jump-scare moments, Middle of the Night never veers into full-on horror. Instead, Sager builds tension by casting doubt, never letting the reader forget that the shadows in the corner could be ghosts—but they could also be products of Ethan’s own mind, trying to protect him from an even more awful truth. Either way, this thriller unfolds with a frenetic, almost feverish pace that will keep readers hooked, even as Ethan’s own hold on reality seems ever-closer to breaking altogether.

Riley Sager’s Middle of the Night dances tantalizingly on the edge of horror without ever totally crossing the line.

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