So last month my Fantastic Strangelings Book Club (CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW) read Lute by Jennifer Thorne (or at least placed it on our TBR pile with very good intentions to treat ourselves to more reading time) and we talked murders during our online craft hour while I made nipple pasties for the cats.
Coming up next? This month’s book, which is getting rave reviews for very good reason:
Usually Dorothy Barker is in the picture but I couldn’t get a physical advance copy and had to read it on my phone and it would be weird to take a picture of Dottie next to my phone, especially since I use my phone to take pictures.
It’s White Horse, by Erika T. Wurth, a gritty, vibrant debut about an Indigenous woman who must face her past when she discovers a bracelet haunted by her mother’s spirit. And it’s a perfect read for Native American Heritage month, which I didn’t even plan but yay for happy coincidences! (The author is of Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee descent and she is fantastic.)
Heavy metal, ripped jeans, Stephen King novels, and the occasional beer at the White Horse have defined urban Indian Kari James’s life so far. But when her cousin Debby finds an old family bracelet that once belonged to Kari’s mother, it inadvertently calls up both her mother’s ghost and a monstrous entity, and her willful ignorance about her past is no longer sustainable.
Haunted by visions of her mother and hunted by this mysterious creature, Kari must search for what happened to her mother all those years ago. Her father, permanently disabled from a car crash, can’t help her. Her Auntie Squeaker seems to know something but isn’t eager to give it all up at once. Debby’s anxious to help, but her controlling husband keeps getting in the way. Kari’s journey toward a truth long denied by both her family and law enforcement forces her to confront her dysfunctional relationships, thoughts about a friend she lost in childhood, and her desire for the one thing she’s always wanted but could never have.
Part murder mystery, part ghost story…a beautifully atmospheric story about grief, generational trauma, race, class, family and friendship. It’s listed as horror, but to me it feels more thriller/mystery. And it made me put down the book to google several times, which is always a wonderful sign that I’m reading something that is making my mind expand. So good.
And if you, like me, need more than one book to get you through the month then you are in luck because November has some amazing new releases that you’re not going to want to miss. A few of my favorites are:
Small Game by Blair Braverman – A gripping debut novel about a survival reality show gone wrong that leaves a group of strangers stranded in the northern wilds.
Sign Here by Claudia Lux – A darkly comedy about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul. Like if The Good Place was a murder mystery.
The Boy and the Dog by Seishū Hase – One dog changes the life of everyone who takes him in on his journey to reunite with his first owner in this inspiring tribute to the bond between humans and dogs and the life-affirming power of connection. You will cry.
Gilded Mountain by Kate Manning – Set in early 1900s Colorado, the unforgettable tale of a young woman who bravely faces the consequences of speaking out against injustice.
A Coastline is an Immeasurable Thing by Mary-Alice Daniel – A poetic coming-of-age memoir that probes the legacies and myths of family, race, and religion that spans from Nigeria to England to America.
Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger by Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi – A memoir of a forger who reveals his secrets and exposes the art world as being much nastier than I could have imagined.
We Are the Light by Matthew Quick – A timely, heartbreaking and poignant novel about a town surviving after a mass shooting. A terrible but hopeful look at the mind-altering destruction left behind after such a tragedy.
Quilt of Souls by Phyllis Biffle Elmore – a multigenerational memoir that paints the portraits of extraordinary Black women born before and after the civil war.
Toad by Katherine Dunn – This lady wrote Geek Love (one of my fave books of all time) so I was excited about this but I also understand why she didn’t publish it when she was alive. It’s a very depressing book about depression but her prose is so incredible.
I’m about to open up the discussion thread on our Fantastic Strangelings facebook page so we can talk about Lute, but if you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments below.
Also, a giant thank you to all my fantastic strangelings. Nowhere Bookshop would not stay afloat without you and you make such a difference to our authors as well.