Akashic, PB, $15.95, 248 pages
When Ferron Morgan’s father dies in suspicious circumstances, his trauma is exacerbated by the conflict within his family and among his father’s friends over whether the death was the result of medical negligence or if it was a political assassination. Ferron grew up in awe of his father’s radical political endeavors, but in later years he watched as the resurgence of the political right in the Caribbean in the 1980s robbed the man of his faith.
Ferron’s response to the death is further complicated by guilt, particularly over his failure to protect his fiancée from a brutal assault. He begins to investigate the direction of his life with great intensity, in particular, his instinct to keep moving on and running from trouble.
This is a sharply focused portrayal of Jamaica at a tipping point in its recent past, in which the private grief and trauma condense a whole society’s scarcely-understood sense of temporariness and dislocation.
Over The Fence
Dafina, HC, $26, 326
Bootlegging was Milton and Yvonne Hamilton’s ticket out of poverty, prison time, and plain bad luck. Now they’ve moved on—to a bigger, richer pool of clientele—right in their own respectable new middle-class backyard. And their growing friendship with seemingly-perfect couple Joyce and Odell Watson is proving golden in more ways than one.
As Milton soon learns, Odell is hiding an outside family and dubious business dealings. It’s the perfect recipe for a blackmail scheme that will help Milton hide his own dirty secrets—even from Yvonne. Better yet, he can take ever more dangerous risks to ace out his liquor-smuggling rivals—and add a lucrative temptation to his illicit services. And Yvonne, emboldened by her husband’s new gravy train, delights in tormenting Joyce about everything the snobbish matron doesn’t have — especially children.
But even a winning hand can be played too far. Pushed past their limits, Odell and Joyce will play on Milton’s careless boasting—to get him and Yvonne out of their lives for good. And soon, a devastating frame-up will plunge one couple into a living nightmare — and set the stage for retribution.
One Warm Winter
Dafina, PB, $7.99, 344 pages
Adopted as a child by a tech billionaire, Wynter Bates knows nothing about her origins—or the world beyond being privileged, sheltered, and lonely. But she won’t let anything stop her from investigating who she is. Especially after a high-profile scandal involving her father’s past lands her on an island retreat under bodyguard Cullen Whelan's protection—in the guise of being his girlfriend.
A former military intelligence officer, Cullen figures protecting a pampered heiress will be easy. Posing as a couple is the safest strategy—until Wyn’s persistence and vulnerability spark his curiosity—and a reckless attraction neither can afford. More complicated, what Cullen knows about her past is a truth he can't tell. But as they get closer, wrenching revelations force them to decide what to trust, who to forgive, and whether their growing love is enough to risk a future together.
Across Harvard Square
Akashic, PB, $14.95, 272 pages
Tosh Livingston, superstar student-athlete from small-town USA, thinks he’s made it big as a rising freshman at Harvard University. Not so fast! Once on campus, he’s ensnared in a frenzied competition to win a spot on Harvard’s legendary humor magazine, the Harpoon. Tosh soon finds that joining the Harpoon is a weird and surprisingly dangerous pursuit. He faces off against a secret society of super-rich kids, gets schooled by a philosophy professor who loves flunking everyone, and teams up with a genius student-cartoonist with an agenda of her own.
Along the way, Tosh and his band of misfit freshman friends unearth long-buried mysteries about the Ivy League that will rock the Ivory Tower and change their lives forever . . . if they can survive the semester.