Summer Fiction: Celebrating Black Authors and Readers

In celebration of Juneteenth, a long list of summer fiction by Black authors.

This summer Oakland Public Library will be partnering with the Oakland Roots Sports Club, The Town's newest professional sports franchise. OPL’s bike library will be visiting five home soccer games this season (June 19, July 17, August 14, Sept. 18, Oct. 16) giving out books and sharing the library love.

Our first date with the Roots will be this Saturday, June 19—Juneteenth! In that spirit, and in celebration of Juneteenth, here is a list of many of this summer’s fiction books by Black authors arriving from June, July and August. If you are a fiction lover, prepare yourself—it's a long list and you are going to want to read lots of these books! 

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle 
After lying about his perfect retirement life to his daughter in Australia, a Jamaican immigrant scrambles to make his actual life resemble the one he claimed to have when his daughter announces her intent to visit.  (July) 

All the Water I’ve Seen Is Running by Elias Rodriques 
Having forged a new identity as a gay man in New York, Daniel Henriquez returns to thefloodlands where he went to high school, to mourn Aubrey, the self-identified "redneck" girl he loved back then. His track team buddies-Twig, a long-distance runner; Desmond, a sprinter; Des's girlfriend, Egypt; and Jess, Aubrey's best friend-help him reckon with who they are to him, and he to them. Recklessly, he confronts the good-ole-boy responsible for Aubrey's death, and comes out to his old friends as his own man, embracing the people and places he loves. (June) 

The Appraisal by Brielle Montgomery 
Paid to bait unsuspecting partners to determine their loyalty, Jayla Morgan, taking seductress” to a whole new level, finds her twisted lies and scandalous exploits standing in the way of true love with the man of her dreams.  (June)  

Bacchanal by Veronica G. Henry  
Abandoned by her family, alone on the wrong side of the color line with little to call her own, Eliza Meeks is coming to terms with what she does have. Its a gift for communicating with animals. To some, shes a magical tender. To others, a she-devil. To a talent prospector, shes a crowd-drawing oddity. And the Bacchanal Carnival is Elizas ticket out of the swamp trap of Baton Rouge. Among fortune-tellers, carnies, barkers, and folks even stranger than herself, Eliza finds a new home. But the Bacchanal is no ordinary carnival. An ancient demon has a home there too. She hides behind an iridescent disguise. She feeds on innocent souls. And shes met her match in Eliza, whos only beginning to understand the purpose of her own burgeoning powers. (June) 

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen 
Tabitha Walker is a black woman with a plan to have it all. At 33 years old, the checklist for the life of her dreams is well underway. Education? Check. Good job? Check. Down payment for a nice house? Check. Dating marriage material? Check, check, and check. With a coveted position as a local news reporter, a "paper-perfect" boyfriend, and even a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, everything seems to be falling into place. Then Tabby receives an unexpected diagnosis that brings her picture-perfect life crashing down, jeopardizing the keystone she took for granted: having children. With her dreams at risk of falling through the cracks of her checklist, suddenly she is faced with an impossible choice between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own. (August) 

Black Sci-Fi Short Stories: An Anthology of New and Classic Tales with a foreword by Alex Award-winning novelist Temi Oh, an introduction by Dr. Sandra M. Grayson 
Dystopia, apocalypse, gene-splicing, cloning and colonization are explored here by new authors and combined with proto-sci-fi and speculative writing of an older tradition (by W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin R. Delany, Sutton E. Griggs, Pauline Hopkins and Edward Johnson) whose first-hand experience of slavery and denial created their living dystopia. (June) 

The Checklist by Addie Woolridge 
While using her superstar corporate-consulting skills to curb the worst impulses of an impossibly eccentric tech CEO, Dylan Delacroizx must deal with a wilting relationship with her boyfriend and a blossoming attraction to her parents’ neighbors’ gorgeous son. (June) 

The Confession of Copeland Cane by Keenan Norris 
With a highly rated insurgency Alert Desk that surveils and harasses his neighborhood in the name if anti-terrorism, Copeland Cane V, entrapped in a reality that chews up his past and obscures his future, finds himself caught in the flood of history after a protest rally against police violence. (June) 

The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon 
When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle. And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former pro athlete wants back into the game, and he wants Taylor to train him. There's just one catch -- no one can know what they're doing. But when they're accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor's plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps? (August) 

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia 
After a raid on a Manhattan speakeasy in 1926 Harlem, Louise Lloyd is given the opportunity to avoid jail by helping to solve the murders of several local black girls, in the first novel of a new mystery series. (June) 

Dear Miss Metropolitan by Carolyn Ferrell 
After being abducted by Boss Man and held captive in a dilapidated house in Queens, three rescued girls rage against a local newspaper columnist who missed their tale of horror as it unfolded right across the street. (July) 

Everyman by M. Shelly Conner 
Eve Mann arrives in Ideal, Georgia, in 1972 looking for answers about the mother who died giving her life. A mother named Mercy. A mother who for all of Eve’s twenty-two years has been a mystery and a quest. Eve’s search for her mother, and the father she never knew, is a mission to discover her identity, her name, her people, and her home. (July) 

The Eternal Audience of One by Rémy Ngamije 
One might as well start with Séraphin: playlist-maker, nerd-jock hybrid, self-appointed merchant of cool, Rwandan, stifled and living in Windhoek, Namibia. Soon he will leave the confines of his family life for the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, in South Africa, where loyal friends, hormone-saturated parties, adventurous conquests, and race controversies await. More than that, his long-awaited final year in law school promises to deliver a crucial puzzle piece of the Great Plan immigrant: a degree from a prestigious university. But a year is more than the sum of its parts, and en route to the future, the present must be lived through and even the past must be survived. (August) 

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor 
Interconnected stories set among Midwestern artists and creative types center around a young man trysting with two dancers in an open relationship in a new work of fiction by the author of Booker Prize finalist Real Life. (June) 

The Freedom Race by Lucinda Roy 
The Freedom Race, Lucinda Roy's explosive first foray into speculative fiction, is a poignant blend of subjugation, resistance, and hope. In the aftermath of a cataclysmic civil war known as the Sequel, ideological divisions among the states have hardened. In the Homestead Territories, an alliance of plantation-inspired holdings, Black labor is imported from the Cradle, and Biracial "Muleseeds" are bred. Raised in captivity on Planting 437, kitchen-seed Jellybean "Ji-ji" Lottermule knows there is only one way to escape. She must enter the annual Freedom Race as a runner. Ji-ji and her friends must exhume a survival story rooted in the collective memory of a kidnapped people and conjure the voices of the dead to light their way home. (July)  

The Fugitivities by Jesse McCarthy 
After a chance encounter with an ex-NBA player with his own regrets, recent college graduate Jonah Winters, unsure of what’s next, heads to Brazil where he slowly forms an understanding of self, community and freedom that is rarely afforded to young black men. (June) 

Give My Love to the Savages: Stories by Chris Stuck 
Nine stories highlight the complexities of being Black in modern America including a Black son who visits his White father during the 1992 L.A. riots and a Black Republican whose skin disease is turning him white.  (July) 

Have We Met? by Camille Baker 
What if you already met the soul mate you were destined to be with? And you didnt even know it? After losing her best friend to cancer, Corinne’s life is in flux. She has moved back to Chicago, is considering her next career move (or temp job), and has absolutely no time to look for love&;until a mysterious dating app called Met suddenly appears on her phone, and with it, an invitation for Corinne to reconnect with four missed connections from her past. One of them, Met says, is her soul mate. Corinne doesn’t believe the app for a second, but when she very quickly finds herself with back-to-back blasts from the past, she’ll have to consider if maybe she’s wrong about it. The thing is, Corinne’s also been introduced to a really great guy outside the app’s influence. As their feelings for each other grow, Corinne has to wonder: With her apparent true love still out there, should she tap yes to the next match? With help from a new group of friends, her loving if annoying family, and maybe a touch of fate, can Corinne come to terms with the loss she’s still reeling from, take control of her career, and find love along the way? (July) 

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott 
In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black  author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour. (June) 

Her Pleasure by Niobia Bryant 
On vacation with her new music mogul boyfriend, Jaime Pine runs into an irresistible ex- escort and discovers she’s pregnant after they share a night together, in the latest addition to the steamy series following Mistress for Hire. (June) 

In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani ; translated by Sam Taylor 
After marrying a handsome Moroccan soldier during World War II, a young Frenchwoman is torn as tensions mount between the locals and the French colonists in the new novel by the internationally best-selling author of The Perfect Nanny. (August)  

Island Queen by Vanessa Riley  
A former slave rises above the harsh realities of being owned and colonialism on Montserrat working hard to buy freedom for herself her mother and her sister and becoming an entrepreneur, merchant, hotelier and planter. (July) 

Keisha and the Johnsons by Maria D. 
Keisha Wright has just turned thirty and left her drama-filled twenties behind her. She’s met the man of her dreams in sexy, salt-and-pepper businessman, 46-year-old Russell Johnson. He’s asked her to marry him, and they’ve recently purchased a house in Alexandria, Virginia. Like Keisha, Russell is a former player, but he has honestly decided to settle down. Unfortunately, they have one obstacle in front of them: their families. (June) 

Keys to the Kingdom by Ty Marshall 
For decades, five Italian families have dominated organized crime in New York, controlling the docks, the unions, law enforcement, and the influx of drugs into the city. But with the longest tenured don on his deathbed and the other families on the brink of civil war, greed threatens to destroy the Commission. Enter Marion, leader of the wealthy and prestigious Holloway family, a shrewd and persuasive businessman with strong political connects and stronger street ties. The FBI says he’s the most powerful black gangster in the country. With his oldest son, Mason, campaigning for mayor of New York City and his illegitimate son, Yasin “Sin” Kennedy, overseeing his lucrative drug operation, Marion is poised to seize control of the city. Then, the war between the Mafia families hits close to home, and the unrelenting power struggle between his sons jeopardizes everything their father has built. (June) 

The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers 
Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead. To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself. (July) 

A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams 
A talented dress designer leaves New York to care for her father in Charleston, South Carolina, and accepts a job at a local wedding gown shop only to find herself falling for the store's owner. (June) 

The Lurking Place by Clarence Major 
An engaging new novel by African-American literary icon Clarence Major reveals personal and political parallels between the past and present. What happens when the drive to succeed professionally collides with ambitions of the heart? In The Lurking Place, James Eric Lowell, a young Black poet, strives to advance his career and extend his whirlwind romance with his white lover, Sophia. Set in New York City and Mexico during 1968--a time of political upheaval and social change--this cinematic page-turner captivates the reader with its richly drawn settings and unforgettable characters. Will James finish his manuscript and have his book published? Will Sophia stay with James or allow her family to reign in her passions? (June) 

The Minister Primarily by John Oliver Killens 
A major literary event--the eagerly anticipated publication of a long-lost novel from legendary writer and three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee John Oliver Killens, hailed as the founding father of the Black Arts Movement and mentor to celebrated writers, including Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Arthur Flowers, and Terry McMillan. Wanderlust has taken Jimmy Jay Leander Johnson on numerous adventures, from Mississippi to Washington D.C., Vietnam, London and eventually to Africa, to the fictitious Independent People's Democratic Republic of Guanaya, where the young musician hopes to "find himself." But this small sliver of a country in West Africa, recently freed from British colonial rule, is thrown into turmoil with the discovery of cobanium-a radioactive mineral 500 times more powerful than uranium, making it irresistible for greedy speculators, grifters, and charlatans. Overnight, outsiders descend upon the sleepy capital city looking for "a piece of the action." When a plot to assassinate Guanaya's leaderis discovered, Jimmy Jay-a dead ringer for the Prime Minister-is enlisted in a counter scheme to foil the would-be coup. He will travel to America with half of Guanaya's cabinet ministers to meet with President Ronald Reagan and address the UN General Assembly, while the rest of the cabinet will remain in Guanaya with the real Prime Minister. What could go wrong? Everything. (July) 

Moon and the Mars by Kia Corthron 
Set in the impoverished Five Points district of New York City in the years 1857-1863, we experience neighborhood life through the eyes of Theo from childhood to adolescence, an orphan living between the homes of her Black and Irish grandmothers. Throughout her formative years, Theo witnesses everything from the creation of tap dance to P.T. Barnum's sensationalist museum to the draft riots that tear NYC asunder, amidst the daily maelstrom of Five Points work, hardship, and camaraderie. Meanwhile, white America's attitudes towards people of color and slavery are shifting-painfully, transformationally-as the nation divides and marches to war. Corthron's first novel, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, won the coveted First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction in 2016. (August) 

The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You: Stories by Maurice Carlos Ruffin 
A collection of raucous stories that offer a panoramic view of New Orleans from the author of the “stunning and audacious” (NPR) debut novel We Cast a Shadow. Maurice Carlos Ruffin has an uncanny ability to reveal the hidden corners of a place we thought we knew. These perspectival, character-driven stories center on the margins and are deeply rooted in New Orleanian culture. (August) 

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris 
Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing. Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she's thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They've only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella's desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It's hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there's a lot more at stake than just her career. A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girlwill keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist. (June) 

The Perfect Ruin by Shanora Williams  
A brutal tragedy ended Ivy Hill's happy family and childhood. Now in her twenties and severely troubled, she barely has a life--or much to live for. Until the day she discovers the name of the woman who destroyed her world: Lola Maxwell--the mega-wealthy socialite with a heart, Miami's beloved "first lady" of charity. Accomplished, gorgeous, and oh-so-caring, Lola has the best of everything--and doesn't deserve any of it. So it's only right that Ivy take it all away... (August) 

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray 
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white-her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go-for the protection of her family and her legacy-to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.  (June) 

Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez 
At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London, escaping a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and his depressed home city in the Black Country. But once he arrives he finds himself at a loss for a new center of gravity, and turns to sex work, music and art to create his own notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality. (June) 

Ramadan Ramsey by Louis Edwards 
The Guggenheim Fellowship and Whiting Award-winning author Louis Edwards makes his long-awaited comeback with this epic tale of a New Orleans boy whose very creation is so filled with tension that it bedevils his destiny before he is even born. Spanning from the Deep South to the Middle East, Ramadan Ramsey bridges multiple countries and cultures, entwining two families who struggle to love and survive in the face of war, natural disasters, and their equally tumultuous, private mistakes and yearnings. (August) 

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby 
A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss. Derek's father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy. Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change - and maybe even redemption. (July) 

Seven Days In June by Tia Williams 
Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone's surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York's Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can't deny their chemistry-or the fact that they've been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since. Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva's not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered. . . With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual. (June) 

Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson  
Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the first Black women allowed to serve. As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else. When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will at last be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves. (August) 

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie 
When a 12-year-old girl tracks her down during one of her brief visits to Philadelphia, claiming to be “her egg,” Skye, a loner and egg donor, decides that it might be time to actually have a meaningful relationship with another human being, which is easier said than done. (June) 

Skye Papers by Jamika Ajalon 
Skye Papers is a debut novel by Jamika Ajalon that follows three Black queer artists, musicians, and poets-Skye, Scottie, and Pieces-as they meet in New York and travel to London, navigating the 1990s underground art scene as it becomes increasingly threatened by the rise of CCTV and state surveillance. (June) 

The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia 
The lives of two Nigerian women divided by class and social inequality intersect when they're kidnapped, held captive and forced to await their fate together. In the Nigerian city of Enugu, young Nwabulu, a housemaid since the age of ten, dreams of becoming a typist as she endures her employers’ endless chores. She is tall and beautiful and in love with a rich man’s son. Educated and privileged, Julie is a modern woman. Living on her own, she is happy to collect the gold jewellery lovestruck Eugene brings her, but has no intention of becoming his second wife. When a kidnapping forces Nwabulu and Julie into a dank room years later, the two women relate the stories of their lives as they await their fate. Pulsing with vitality and intense human drama, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s debut is set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, celebrating the resilience of women as they navigate and transform what remains a man’s world. (June) 

The Stone Face by William Gardner Smith 
As a teenager, Simeon Brown lost an eye in a racist attack, and this young African American journalist has lived in his native Philadelphia in a state of agonizing tension ever since. After a violent encounter with white sailors, Simeon makes up his mind to move to Paris, known as a safe haven for black artists and intellectuals, and before long he is under the spell of the City of Light, where he can do as he likes and go where he pleases without fear. Through Babe, another black American émigré, he makes new friends, and soon he has fallen in love with a Polish actress who is a concentration camp survivor. At the same time, however, Simeon begins to suspect that Paris is hardly the racial wonderland he imagined: The French government is struggling to suppress the revolution in Algeria, and Algerians are regularly stopped and searched, beaten, and arrested by the French police, while much worse is to come, it will turn out, in response to the protest march of October 1961. Through his friendship with Hossein, an Algerian radical, Simeon realizes that he can no longer remain a passive spectator to French injustice. He must decide where his true loyalties lie. (July) 

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris 
In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry--freed by the Emancipation Proclamation--seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys. Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox. (June) 

Sweet Tea by Piper Huguley 
Althea Dailey has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams: she’s about to make partner at her prestigious law firm in New York. So why doesn’t she feel more excited about it? When she has to travel South for a case, she pays a long-overdue visit back home to Milford, Georgia. To her surprise, a white man she’s never met has befriended her grandmother. (July)  

The Terrible Fours by Ishmael Reed 
The Terrible Fours follows The Terrible Twos (1982) and The Terrible Threes (1989). It is part science fiction, part Washington Novel (Think Drew Pearson's novel, The Senator, films Seven Days In May and The Manchurian Candidate) and part Christmas Novel. Some characters have been dropped and some of the principals are back. St. Nicholas is here, but his sidekick Black Peter is missing. Dean Clift, the president who was removed from office, still resides in a Maryland sanatorium. Televangelist Clement Jones still runs the White House. "The Rapture" that Jones and the figurehead president Jesse Hatch promised hasn't arrived. (June) 

This Life by Quntos KunQuest 
This is the debut novel by Quntos KunQuest, a longtime inmate at Angola, the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary. This marks the appearance of a bold, distinctive new voice, one deeply inflected by hiphop, that delves into the meaning of a life spent behind bars, the human bonds formed therein, and the poetry that even those in the most dire places can create. Lil Chris is just nineteen when he arrives at Angola as an AU-an admitting unit, a fresh fish, a new vict. He's got a life sentence with no chance of parole, but he's also got a clear mind and sharp awareness-one that picks up quickly on the details of the system, his fellow inmates, and what he can do to claim a place at the top. When he meets Rise, a mature inmate who's already spent years in the system, they begin to channel their questions, frustrations, and pain into rap, and flows with the same cadence that powers their charged verses. It pulses with the heat of impassioned inmates, the oppressive daily routines of the prison yard, and therap contests that bring the men of the prison together. This Life is told in a voice that only a man who's lived it could have-a clipped, urgent, evocative voice that surges with anger, honesty, playfulness, and a deep sense of ugly history. (June) 

Walking on Cowrie Shells by Nana Nkweti 
In her powerful, genre-bending debut story collection, Nana Nkweti’s virtuosity is on full display as she mixes deft realism with clever inversions of genre..Pulling from mystery, horror, realism, myth, and graphic novels, Nkweti showcases the complexity and vibrance of characters whose lives span Cameroonian and American cultures. A dazzling, inventive debut, Walking on Cowrie Shells announces the arrival of a superlative new voice. (June)  

Warn Me When It's Time by Cheryl A. Head 
A hate group operating in Oakland County, Michigan has claimed responsibility for a six-month-long string of arson fires and robberies at mosques, temples, and black churches around Detroit, eluding police and federal agencies. The most recent fire, at a mosque in Dearborn, kills a respected imam. His children—suspicious of law enforcement’s treatment of Muslims and afraid of reprisal—hires Charlie Mack and her team of investigators to find their father’s murderers. The Mack team begins to hunt down the clues in this local hate crime, but they aren’t prepared when they realize that those clues are pointing to a widespread conspiracy that runs through elected state officials and up to the highest levels of national leadership. FBI agent, James Saleh, returns to help the Mack Agency infiltrate and take down a homegrown militia hell-bent on starting a race war in America. (June) 

When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen 
A haunting novel about a black woman who returns to her hometown for a plantation wedding and the horror that ensues as she reconnects with the blood-soaked history of the land and the best friends she left behind. (August) 

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory 
Featuring Ben Stephens, Theo’s brother from The Wedding Party, this charming and hilarious new romance finds Ben and a famous actress struggling to keep their working relationship strictly professional. (July) 

Book descriptions provided by the publishers.