When a stranger shows up at the door of Geniver Loxley’s London townhouse and tells her that her stillborn baby was really delivered alive, everything in Gen’s life is turned upside down. Eight years ago, Beth—as Gen and Art had named their daughter—died in utero. Ever since, Gen has lived in a blur of grief, unable to conceive again, her writing career swapped for desultory teaching gigs, her marriage to her handsome, super-supportive, super-successful husband as empty as her teaching. Close My Eyes, Sophie McKenzie’s wickedly compelling new thriller, performed by Marisa Calin, follows Gen into a labyrinth of lies as she begins to search for the child she’s dreamt of all these painful years. Whom can she trust? Where can she turn? Is she losing it, as her husband insists, finally tipped over by grief? Or is there a lethal reality that, once discovered, could cost Gen her life and the loss, all over again, of the child she’s never seen or held? Once you start listening to this audio cocktail spiked with Gaslight, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and a dash of The Bad Seed, don’t plan to do anything else.

HEDSTROM RETURNS
A local woman who never drank dies of alcohol poisoning, and the probable murder lands in the lap of Detective Patrik Hedstrom just weeks before his long-awaited wedding. It’s a perplexing case for the police department in Tanumshede, the small Swedish town where Camilla Läckberg sets The Stranger, the fourth in her best-selling crime series. It gets even dicier when Patrik discovers similar cases in other towns around Sweden and wonders if he might be dealing with a slow-moving serial killer. To add to the challenge, a TV reality show centered on the bad behavior of heavily drinking teens comes to town to start shooting, and, within days, one of the contestants is murdered and stuffed in a garbage can. Though Läckberg doesn’t favor the razzle-dazzle horror and wild chases that mark many Scandinavian thrillers, her convoluted plots, deftly drawn characters and super sense of suspense make her a formidable fashioner of fine crime fiction, impeccably evoked here by narrator Simon Vance.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO
Nora Eldridge is angry, and her rage spills out in an eloquent first-person narrative. Hearing her voice, so convincingly rendered by Cassandra Campbell in this extraordinary audiobook, makes you her confidant, enveloped in her world. Yet, as The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud’s brilliant new novel, unfolds, you begin to wonder if Nora is really a reliable narrator. A beloved third grade teacher in a Cambridge, Massachusetts, private school, she wanted to be an artist, but never had the ruthless fire and confidence she needed. Nearing 40, unmarried, perceiving herself “consigned to mediocrity,” Nora meets the Shahids, a glamorous international couple from Paris, whose son is in her class. She falls in love with all of them: Reza, a sweet 8-year-old; Sirena, an emerging Italian installation artist; and Skandar, a charming Lebanese professor on a fellowship at Harvard. And suddenly, Nora feels alive, empowered to make art, empowered to be significant. Still, the reader knows—though Nora doesn’t seem to—that she can’t live in their aura forever; sooner or later, she’ll feel betrayed, and that betrayal will fuel a fury that might not be contained.

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