Racy July

By Leslie Zemeckis   |   July 9, 2024

‘In Search of the Romanovs’

To know me is to know I love Russian history. In Search of the Romanovs: A Family’s Quest to Solve One of History’s Most Brutal Crimes by Peter Sarandinaki does an excellent job of reconstructing exactly what happened to the Tsar and his family on that fateful day in 1918, when the ill-fated family was led into a basement and never seen again. Sarandinaki, with ties to the event which he explains, manages to piece together what happened to the bones and burial of the family and their servants, including the Tsar’s brother who was never seen again. A thrilling read.

‘Echo Road’

Echo Road by Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh is a terrific, fast-paced, twisty suspense story. An FBI agent and sheriff team up to find a senator’s missing daughter before she ends up folded into a suitcase and dumped by the side of the road, per the M.O. of a dangerous serial killer on the loose in upstate New York. Bree and Mercy, the agent and the sheriff, are two tough characters (with even more than that in common) who team up to beat a killer who is getting awfully close to one of them.

‘The Lion Women of Tehran’

Marjan Kamali’s The Lion Women of Tehran is a breathtaking, remarkable story. In 1950 Tehran, Ellie’s life is downgraded following the unexpected death of her father. Along with her mother, she moves from a grand apartment into a seedy neighborhood. It would be a more difficult adjustment for Ellie if she did not make friends with Homa, a young girl her age with a loving family – if little else. Ellie’s mother does not approve of the friendship and is grateful when they return to their former life and lifestyle. Cut to the 1963 Iranian revolution where loyalties are tested and Ellie and Homa’s relationship resumes, until Homa is imprisoned. This is a beautiful story of mothers and daughters and the unbreakable ties of friendship.

‘Guilty Creatures’

Guilty Creatures: Sex, God, and Murder in Tallahassee, Florida by Mikita Brottman is a wild, tawdry, true-crime account of a young man who goes duck hunting never to return. His beautiful young widow is devastated. Or is she? Suspicion falls on her when she begins dating, then marries, her missing husband’s best friend. In part it is a psychological account of a crime kept secret for years and its effects on the players involved. 


Though fiction, Jackie by Dawn Tripp is one of the best books about Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis I have ever read. Tripp doesn’t shy from the uncomfortable bits as many biographies do. Tripp cuts to the heart of the woman, imagining the bargain Jackie must have made to stay with a complicated, unfaithful, brilliant man who counted Marilyn Monroe amongst his conquests. Jackie was a mother, a wife, and an intellect. Tripp expertly brings to life Camelot and its queen, and the very real love she felt for her handsome husband.

‘The Paris Widow’

Kimberly Belle has written a taut thriller with The Paris Widow. When a bomb detonates in a café in Paris and Adam goes missing, it’s up to his wife Stella to find out what happened. Is he dead? Was he the target of the attack? What she quickly discovers is Adam was into some seriously sketchy stuff with some bad people and those people just might be on Stella’s heels now. With her own secret past, Stella must remain a step ahead of a killer or killers now in pursuit of her. You can’t go wrong with a page turner set in Paris.


Espionage noir set in pre-WWII Shanghai describes Joseph Kanon’s newest, entitled Shanghai. Hitler is on the rise and European Jews seek refuge in the glamorous and dangerous city of Shanghai if they can just book passage on one of the ocean liners headed that way. Daniel has just escaped the Nazis and now works for his uncle, who owns several nightclubs in the increasingly violent world of Chinese/Japanese politics splitting the divided city. Daniel’s love interest on the ship is now in the arms of the enemy who might just want Daniel dead, but he can’t get the mysterious beauty off his mind. The climax in this one will have you on the edge of
your seat.  


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