Synopsis: Twenty-nine-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is floundering through life. Amid his daily drudgery, he finds himself in the grip of an incredible, inexplicable, and uncontrollable phenomenon that rewinds time, a condition that seems to only make his drab life worse. But then, one day, everything changes. A terrible incident forever changes Satoru's life as he knows it and with it, comes a "Revival" that sends Satoru eighteen years into the past! In the body of his boyhood self, Satoru encounters sights he never imagined he would see again--the smile of his mother, alive and well, his old friends, and Kayo Hinazuki, the girl who was kidnapped and murdered when he was a boy the first time around. To return to the present and prevent the tragedy that brought him back to his childhood in the first place, Satoru begins plotting a way to change Hinazuki's fate. But up against the clock and a faceless evil, does eleven-year-old Satoru even stand a chance?
Brandon Says: For anyone looking for a good mystery manga, Erased is choice. Due to the story’s medium, the sudden trips to the past (“Revival”) gives the reader a chance to find something out-of-place with the scenes in the panels before the problem is revealed. The concept of “Revival” sort of reminds me of the movie “The Butterfly Effect” in the process of traveling to the past with the ability to change it for a better, if not, different future. Oftentimes, I’ve wondered what kind of child I’d be if I can go back and relive grade school with the mind I have now, and the effect all that would have on my future. This manga plays with and explores that concept with its protagonist, Satoru, and has a great mystery story to boot.
Brandon's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: 2045. Kenneth Durand leads Interpol's most effective team against genetic crime, hunting down black market labs that perform illegal procedures, augmenting embryos and rapidly accelerating human evolution--and preying on human-trafficking victims to experiment and advance their technology. One figure looms behind it all: Marcus Demang Wyckes, leader of a cartel known as the Huli jing. When Durand is forcibly dosed with a radical new change agent, he wakes from a coma weeks later to find he's been genetically transformed into Wyckes. Determined to restore his original DNA, Durand hasn't anticipated just how difficult locating his enemy will be.
Crystal Says: Science fiction hits close to home in this novel which explores the darker side of DNA editing, unearthing far-reaching impossibilities, or so they seem. Is it so hard to imagine what mankind will achieve 30 years into the future using a technology that already exists today? Prepare to enjoy this amazing technological science fiction thriller!
Crystal's Past Staff Picks
Jane Steele: A Confession
Synopsis: Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors. A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?
Donna Says: I have friends who enjoy re-reading classics and favorites during the holiday season. If you are a fan of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, then I highly recommend Jane Steele. She is an engaging young woman with pluck and verve who will lead you on adventures in English cities and country sides. I’m certain you will be as endeared by Jane Steele as you are with Jane Eyre, as long as you aren’t put off the occasional murders she commits.
Donna's Past Staff Picks
Heads you Lose
Lisa Lutz & David Hayward
Synopsis: Paul and Lacey Hansen are pot-growing, twentysomething siblings sharing a modest rambler of a home in rural Northern California. When they find a headless corpse on their property they can't exactly call 911, so they simply move the body to another location. Let somebody else find it. Instead, the corpse reappears on their land. Clearly, someone is sending them a message, and it's getting riper by the day. But that's only half of the story. Enter authors Lisa Lutz and David Hayward-former real-life partners (professionally and personally) who have agreed to reunite for a tag- team mystery novel written in alternating chapters. While the body count rises in Paul and Lacey's wildly unpredictable fictional world, so too does the intensity of Lisa and David's rivalry.
Elizabeth Says: Heads you Lose is written by Lisa Lutz & her ex-boyfriend David Hayward. Alternating between chapters, Lisa Lutz & David Hayward weave a hilarious, if disjointed, mystery. Also the bickering footnotes are just a delight.
Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims--a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story--and survive this homecoming.
Megan Says: Sharp Objects takes you inside the extreme damage one mentally ill mother inflicts upon her children. They are dark, desperate, defiled, strikingly beautiful girls. Each child manifests their damage in very different ways. One hurts herself, one hurts others and one submits to paying the ultimate price. Sick and twisted events riddle this story; hideous circumstances give birth to outrageous tragedy, all the while luring you, the reader, into their noxious world. You will need to come up for air once in a while, however, you will absolutely want to dive right back in.
Megan's Past Staff Picks
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Synopsis: For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. For sixty years they have been left alone, neglected and half-forgotten in a backwater of history. Now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end: once again the tides of history threaten to sweep them up and carry them off into the unknown. But homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. He and his half-Tlingit partner, Berko Shemets, can't catch a break in any of their outstanding cases. Landsman's new supervisor is the love of his life and also his worst nightmare. And in the cheap hotel where he has washed up, someone has just committed a murder right under Landsman's nose. Out of habit, obligation, and a mysterious sense that it somehow offers him a shot at redeeming himself, Landsman begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy. But when word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, Landsman soon finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, hopefulness, evil, and salvation that are his heritage and with the unfinished business of his marriage to Bina Gelbfish, the one person who understands his darkest fears.
Nina Says: The beauty in Chabon’s Yiddish world that could have been is how well he paints the sights sounds and smells of its culture. The dense unfamiliarity also makes it a slower read, but well worth the trip.
Nina's Past Staff Picks
Welcome to Night Vale
Synopsis: Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge. Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked "KING CITY" by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can't seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton's son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane's started to see her son's father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it. Diane's search to reconnect with her son and Jackie's search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: "KING CITY". It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures if they can ever find it.
Randall Says: “Clocks and calendars don’t work in Night Vale. Time itself doesn’t work.” Welcome to Night Vale is difficult to describe. Try to imagine the dark humor of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett with a dash of The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. Fans of the smash-hit podcast will want to go for the audio version, but the novel easily stands on its own: wonderfully strange, perplexing, and very well written. The second novel, It Devours!, was released this year.
Randall's Past Staff Picks