Black Women Authors Book Club
Children of Blood and Bone
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
Gorilla, My Love
In these fifteen superb stories, this essential author of African American fiction gives us compelling portraits of a wide range of unforgettable characters, from sassy children to cunning old men, in scenes shifting between uptown New York and rural North Carolina. A young girl suffers her first betrayal. A widow flirts with an elderly blind man against the wishes of her grown-up children. A neighborhood loan shark teaches a white social worker a lesson in responsibility. And there is more. Sharing the world of Toni Cade Bambara's "straight-up fiction" is a stunning experience.
When No One Is Watching
Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…
Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.
But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?
My Sister, the Serial Killer
Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead.
Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her missing boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she's exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she's willing to go to protect her.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite's deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.
Irene Redfield, married to a successful physician, enjoys a comfortable life in 1920s Harlem, New York. Reluctantly, she renews her friendship with old school friend, Clare Kendry. Clare, who like Irene is light skinned, ‘passes’ as white and is married to a racist white man who has no idea about Clare’s racial heritage. Clare is very persuasive and Irene, despite misgivings, can’t resist letting her back into her world. As tensions mount between friends and between couples, this taut and mesmerizing narrative spins towards an unexpected end.
True Crime & Brew Time
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident (Historical Nonfiction Bestseller, True Story Book of Survival)
A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Nonfiction Bestseller! — What happened that night on Dead Mountain?The mystery of Dead Mountain: In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the mountain climbing incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over the true stories and what really happened.
As gripping and bizarre as Hunt for the Skin Walker: This New York Times bestseller, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, is a gripping work of literary nonfiction that delves into the untold story of Dead Mountain through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter.
You'll love this real-life tale: Dead Mountain is a fascinating portrait of young adventurers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers' narrative, the investigators' efforts, and the author's investigations. Here for the first time is a historical nonfiction bestseller with the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.
Under the Banner of Heaven
Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God; some 40,000 people still practice polygamy in these communities.
At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.
A Tangled Web
In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, bestselling author Leslie Rule exposes the trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer . . .
It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Farver, thirty-seven, vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Texts sent indicated that the hardworking mother had quit her job, abandoned her son, and cut ties with everyone. Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, accepted the breakup at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, had doubts. “I need to hear your voice,” Nancy begged. When the texter refused to speak, Nancy reported Cari missing.
While no one saw or spoke to Cari, more than 12,000 sinister emails and texts were sent in her name over the next years. Police believed Dave and his girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, when they reported that the missing woman was cyberstalking them. The tormentor was eerily aware of Dave’s every move, knew when Liz visited and threatened the couple. It never occurred to Dave that Cari was a victim—that the real stalker had killed before, and was planning to kill again.
Leslie Rule tracks the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice—from a twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger Beside Me comes a shocking true crime account of the destructive forces that drove a beautiful young mother to shoot her three young children in cold blood.
"Somebody just shot my kids " Diane Downs brought her car to a halt in front of a Springfield, Oregon, hospital, her three gravely wounded children beside her. Thus begins the tale of a truly unthinkable crime that shattered the tranquility of a tight-knit community. As police searched for the "shaggy-haired stranger" Diane accused of shooting 8-year-old Christie, 7-year-old Cheryl, and 3-year-old Danny, a suspicion grew that was even more horrifying than the crime itself: Did Diane shoot her own children? Haunted by this question, a dedicated district attorney searched for the answer and uncovered a chronology of incest, psychological wounding, desperate affairs, and surrogate motherhood.
Ann Rule's gripping, powerful, and ultimately terrifying true story of passion and murder will hold you in thrall as it plumbs the unimagined depths of darkness concealed within a human being.
The Doomsday Mother
In The Doomsday Mother, bestselling true crime author John Glatt tells the twisted tale of Lori Vallow, accused of having her two children murdered to start a new life with her new husband, doomsday prepper Chad Daybell.
At first, the residents of Kauai Beach Resort took little notice of their new neighbors. The glamorous blonde and her tall husband fit the image of the ritzy gated community. The couple seemed to keep to themselves—until the police knocked on their door with a search warrant. Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell had fled to Hawaii in the midst of being investigated for the disappearance of Lori’s children back in Idaho—Tylee and JJ—who hadn’t been seen alive in five months.
For years, Lori Vallow had been devoted to her children and her Mormon faith. But when her path crossed with Chad Daybell, a religious zealot who taught his followers how to prepare for the end-times, the tumultuous relationship transformed her into someone unrecognizable. As authorities searched for Lori’s children, they uncovered more suspicious deaths with links to both Lori and Chad, including the death of Lori’s third and fourth husbands, her brother, and Chad’s wife. In June 2020, the gruesome remains of JJ and Tylee were discovered on Chad’s property, and the newlyweds were arrested and charged with murder. And in a shocking development, horrifying statements revealed that the couple’s fanatical beliefs had convinced them the children had become zombies--a belief that may have led to their deaths.
Bestselling author and journalist John Glatt takes readers deeper into the devastating story of Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell in an attempt to unravel the lethal relationship of this doomsday couple.
The definitive inside story of the case that captivated the nation. . . and the verdict that no one saw coming.
It was the trial that stunned America. On July 5, 2011, nearly three years after her initial arrest, Casey Anthony walked away, virtually scot-free, from one of the most sensational murder trials of all time. She'd been accused of killing her daughter, Caylee, but the trial only left behind more questions: Was she actually innocent? What really happened to Caylee? Was this what justice really looked like?
In Imperfect Justice, prosecutor Jeff Ashton, one of the principal players in the case's drama, sheds light on those questions and much more, telling the behind-the-scenes story of the investigation, the trial, and the now-infamous verdict. Complete with never-before-revealed information about the case and the accused, Ashton examines what the prosecution got right, what they got wrong, and why he remains completely convinced of Casey Anthony's guilt.
The Woman They Could Not Silence
From the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman hero whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women's rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.
1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened--by Elizabeth's intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So he makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.
The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they've been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line--conveniently labeled crazy so their voices are ignored.
No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose...
Bestselling author Kate Moore brings her sparkling narrative voice to The Woman They Could Not Silence, an unputdownable story of the forgotten woman who courageously fought for her own freedom--and in so doing freed millions more. Elizabeth's refusal to be silenced and her ceaseless quest for justice not only challenged the medical science of the day, and led to a giant leap forward in human rights, it also showcased the most salutary lesson: sometimes, the greatest heroes we have are those inside ourselves.
Harold Schechter, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Hell's Princess, unearths a nearly forgotten true crime of obsession and revenge, and one of the first--and worst--mass murders in American history.
In 1927, while the majority of the township of Bath, Michigan, was celebrating a new primary school--one of the most modern in the Midwest--Andrew P. Kehoe had other plans. The local farmer and school board treasurer was educated, respected, and an accommodating neighbor and friend. But behind his ordinary demeanor was a narcissistic sadist seething with rage, resentment, and paranoia. On May 18 he detonated a set of rigged explosives with the sole purpose of destroying the school and everyone in it. Thirty-eight children and six adults were murdered that morning, culminating in the deadliest school massacre in US history.
Maniac is Harold Schechter's gripping, definitive, exhaustively researched chronicle of a town forced to comprehend unprecedented carnage and the triggering of a "human time bomb" whose act of apocalyptic violence would foreshadow the terrors of the current age.
Finally, the information you've been waiting for: who really killed JonBenet?
Perhaps the most compelling murder case of our day, the death of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey galvanized the nation-and years after it occurred, the mystery still endures. Who killed the young beauty queen and why? Who is covering up for whom and who is simply lying? In JonBenet, the most authoritative and comprehensive study of the Ramsey murder, a former lead Boulder Police detective, Steve Thomas, explores the case in vivid and fascinating detail-pointing the way toward an analysis of the evidence some deem too shocking to consider. Here, Thomas raises these and many other provocative questions:
-How was the investigation botched from the beginning-and why did police so carelessly allow the crime scene to be tampered with?
-Why were John and Patsy Ramsey protected from early questioning and any lie-detector tests, even though their stories and behavior were erratic, suspicious and inconsistent?
-Why was crucial evidence ignored, why were certain key witnesses unquestioned by detectives, and why were the Ramseys privy to sensitive information about the case and even police reports?
The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.
The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.
He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.
Nor will he be his last.
The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.
This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.
Books Worth a Look
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
In 14th century China, a girl is born into famine. The local soothsayer says that her brother, Zhu Chongba, will live a life of greatness, while her future is empty. She will be nothing. So when her brother dies in the famine, she takes over his life, hoping to trick Heaven and also take over his greatness. She disguises herself as a boy and becomes a monk, then talks her way into the army, where her cleverness and political savvy have her swiftly climbing the ranks.
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