The February 2022 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the February 2022 Indie Next List flier.

The February title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talker templates. Learn more about ABA’s recent refresh for the Indie Next List program and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers.

Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the January Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on   

The 25 Titles on the February 2022 Indie Next List

#1 Pick: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love
By Kim Fay
(G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9780593419335, $24, Feb. 8, Historical Fiction)

Love & Saffron reminds us of the beauty of letter writing. I loved the simplicity of this book — it filled my heart with love and connection to the human spirit, and left me with the desire to kindle a friendship by sending a letter.”
—Annette Avery, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

How High We Go in the Dark: A Novel
By Sequoia Nagamatsu
(William Morrow, 9780063072640, $27.99, Jan. 18, Fiction)

“This collection of connected stories describes the world after a devastating plague. The book is beautiful — striking, unsettling, and darkly gorgeous. It defies categorization and creates its own genre. A shimmering gem of a book.”
—Debra Ginsberg, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

The Christie Affair: A Novel
By Nina de Gramont
(St. Martin's Press, 9781250274618, $27.99, Feb. 1, Historical Fiction)

“A fascinating look into the real-life disappearance of Agatha Christie in December 1926. Told by her husband's mistress, it is a story of love, loss, and revenge. You’ll wonder what will happen next when you’re not reading it. Excellent!”
—Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

Shady Hollow: A Murder Mystery
By Juneau Black
(Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 9780593315712, $16, paperback, Jan. 25, Mystery)

“In the industrious town of Shady Hollow, woodland creatures go about their lives until a brutal betrayal shatters the peace. Vera Vixen, a tenacious reporter and cunning fox, unravels a murder mystery in this smart series debut.”
—Margaret Walker, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

Electric Idol (Dark Olympus)
By Katee Robert
(Sourcebooks Casablanca, 9781728231761, $14.99, paperback, Jan. 18, Romance)

“A fantastic Neon Gods follow-up, Katee Robert's modern Olympus is full of drama, sinful men, and spice! A reimagined Eros and Psyche with a plus-sized, cunning Psyche, fake marriage, and a murderous mother-in-law. What's not to love?”
—Kristin Saner, Fables Books, Goshen, IN

The Violin Conspiracy: A Novel
By Brendan Slocumb
(Anchor, 9780593315415, $28, Feb. 1, Mystery)

“One of my new favorite novels. The book tells Ray's story, a young Black man who just wants to play his violin in a world set to see him fail. You’ll root for Ray, get angry on his behalf, cry with him, and triumph with him.”
—Laney Sheehan, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, NC

Joan Is Okay: A Novel
By Weike Wang
(Random House, 9780525654834, $27, Jan. 18, Fiction)

“A smart, moving, and entertaining book. Joan is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and an ICU doctor in New York City. There's a pandemic looming, but Joan’s going to be okay. A witty and insightful story.”
—Claire Benedict, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, VT

Vladimir: A Novel
By Julia May Jonas
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982187637, $27, Feb. 1, Fiction)

Vladimir is an audacious story about gender, power, and shame told through the charged voice of an English professor at a small liberal arts college. The personal and political come to an explosive conclusion in this clever debut.”
—Linda Kass, Gramercy Books, Bexley, OH

Notes on an Execution: A Novel
By Danya Kukafka
(William Morrow, 9780063052734, $27.99, Jan. 25, Thriller)

Notes on an Execution flows like a quiet river coming to a waterfall — lyrical, tense, and quietly explosive. This book is full of compassion for each character, even the killer to be executed. Kukafka has outdone herself with this book.”
—Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Greenwich Park: A Novel
By Katherine Faulkner
(Gallery Books, 9781982150310, $27.99, Jan. 25, Thriller)

“Such a fun and addicting thriller! I was torn between reading slowly to catch all the nuances and speed reading to figure out what happens. The book pulls punches to the very end. Highly recommended for psychological thriller lovers!”
—Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, TX

Daughter of the Moon Goddess: A Novel
By Sue Lynn Tan
(Harper Voyager, 9780063031302, $27.99, Jan. 11, Fantasy)

“Glimmering with lavish imagery and ethereal world-building, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a hero's journey where love is essential to coming of age. A remarkable debut filled with monsters, magic, power, and my favorite — dragons.”
—Briana Fields, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Devil House: A Novel
By John Darnielle
(MCD, 9780374212230, $28, Jan. 25, Fiction)

“John Darnielle interrogates the true crime genre’s highest aspirations and basest instincts. Devil House is a gripping read that questions what the true costs of salacious stories are, and who pays them.”
—Keith Mosman, Powell's Books, Portland, OR

Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder
By Rachel Rear
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635577235, $27, Feb. 1, True Crime)

Catch the Sparrow did not disappoint! Rachel Rear's writing in this book is just as captivating as another true crime favorite, I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Her gripping story pulled me in and had me hooked from the beginning.”
—Bob Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Lakewood, NY

Don't Cry for Me: A Novel
By Daniel Black
(Hanover Square Press, 9781335425737, $26.99, Feb. 1, Historical Fiction)

“This book blew me away. Through intimate letters to his son, Jacob reconciles with the man he could have been. Daniel Black creates a stunning work on ancestral heritage, history, family, and the legacy of being a Black man in America.”
—Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD

The Family Chao: A Novel
By Lan Samantha Chang
(W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393868074, $28, Feb. 1, Fiction)

“An expertly crafted novel of literary family intrigue. Full of character depth and a mysterious death, The Family Chao is a page-turner on immigration, family turmoil, racism, small-town drama, and revenge. It will keep you guessing.”
—Danica Ramgoolam, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO

Violeta: A Novel
By Isabel Allende
(Ballantine Books, 9780593496206, $28, Jan. 25, Fiction)

“Spanning 100 years, Isabel Allende recounts Violeta’s life in letters to her grandson. The author develops each character in Violeta’s life — children, lovers, and neighbors. This book flows easily and is hard to put down. Loved it!”
—Kathy Clemmons, Sundog Books, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Must Love Books: A Novel
By Shauna Robinson
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728240732, $16.99, paperback, Jan. 18, Fiction)

“Being an editorial assistant seems like a dream job for a book nerd. But low pay, long hours, and mundane tasks lead Nora to rethink her career path. Must Love Books is a fun read that I’ll share with family and friends!”
—Melissa DeMotte, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, ID

In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage (Indies Introduce)
By Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250776747, $27.99, Feb. 1, Memoir)

In the Shadow of the Mountain intertwines the lives of sexual assault survivors with Vasquez-Lavado’s experience leading these survivors to summit Mount Everest. A collective story of perseverance, community, and healing.”
—Clancey D'Isa, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Chicago, IL

Perpetual West: A Novel
By Mesha Maren
(Algonquin Books, 9781643750941, $26.95, Jan. 25, Fiction)

“As much social critique as thriller, Perpetual West is rich and memorable. You'll care for and challenge Elana as you fret over where her husband, Alex, has gone. All along the way, Maren's writing sings.”
—Laura Lilly Cotten, Thank You Books, Birmingham, AL

The Good Son: A Novel
By Jacquelyn Mitchard
(Mira Books, 9780778311799, $27.99, Jan. 18, Fiction)

“A thrilling mystery and complex redemption story that raises questions about criminal justice, love, resentment, forgiveness, and hope. The Good Son is perfect for book clubs and for fans of We Begin at the End and What Comes After.”
—Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

What the Fireflies Knew: A Novel
By Kai Harris
(Tiny Reparations Books, 9780593185346, $26, Feb. 1, Fiction)

What the Fireflies Knew is a fantastic, powerful debut that tackles difficult themes with empathy and respect. KB's voice is funny and heartbreaking. I expect this to be taught in schools someday alongside Toni Morrison.”
—Ellie Eaton, Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections: A Novel
By Eva Jurczyk
(Poisoned Pen Press, 9781728246598, $26.99, hardcover; 9781728238593, $16.99, paperback, Jan. 25, Fiction)

“Missing manuscripts, disappearing librarians, and university politics — Leisl Weiss is tasked with dealing with it all. The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections hits the mark. No book lover could ask for more!”
—Jann Griffiths, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

The Houseboat: A Novel
By Dane Bahr
(Counterpoint, 9781640095083, $26, Feb. 1, Thriller)

“Darkness reigns in this twisted novel about a small town on the Mississippi River and a loner living in a houseboat on its banks. The Houseboat is noir at its finest; it feels impossible that this novel is Dane Bahr's debut.”
—Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century
By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Transl.)
(New Directions, 9780811231350, $19.95, Feb. 1, Fiction)

The Employees is haunting, poetic, sterile yet bursting with sensation. A series of reflections on what it means to be human, to spend life working, disconnected from the natural world and others. For those who ask ‘is this all there is?’ ”
—Henry Williams, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Jawbone: A Novel
By Mónica Ojeda, Sarah Booker (Transl.)
(Coffee House Press, 9781566896214, $16.95, paperback, Feb. 8, Fiction)

“When a group of friends find an abandoned building, their afternoons escalate from scary stories and dares into dangerous rituals and grave consequences. An unsettling novel of friendship, adolescence, and 'inquietude'."
—Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

Astrid Sees All: A Novel
By Natalie Standiford
(Atria Books, 9781982153663, $17, Feb. 15, Fiction)

Astrid Sees All is for everyone who’s ever moved to a new city to reinvent themselves. In a love letter to the East Village, grit, glamor, and romance feel palpable. What I wouldn’t give to party with Phoebe for a night at Plutonium!”
—Erin Neary, Book Club, New York, NY

Hour of the Witch: A Novel
By Chris Bohjalian
(Vintage, 9780525432692, $17, Jan. 25, Fiction)

“Trapped in a marriage with a violent man, fierce and resilient Mary Deerfield audaciously files for divorce in a time when women are accused of witchcraft for any non-conforming behavior. A historical story that rings true today.”
—Lisa Casper, Tattered Cover Colfax, Denver, CO

The Kindest Lie: A Novel
By Nancy Johnson
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063005648, $16.99, Feb. 1, Fiction)

“From the first pages, you know you’re in the hands of a natural storyteller. Ruth and Midnight, brutally impacted by race and class, must find a way to heal. A moving story of the compassion and strength needed to hope for a better future.”
—Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Outlawed: A Novel
By Anna North
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635578249, $17, Feb. 15, Fiction)

“Anna North stays true to the Western genre in style, while creating a powerful and progressive story that counters racist and sexist values. Outlawed is about how to be whole and own your power in a world that tries to hold you down.”
—Sylvie Weissman, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

Red Island House: A Novel
By Andrea Lee
(Scribner, 9781982138189, $18, Feb. 8, Fiction)

“Across 20 years of Shay’s life in the house built for her, Lee weaves a story of those who arrogantly deem paradise for their taking with those left grasping for what is rightfully theirs. A provocative tale of magic, power, and identity.”
—Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA

The Windsor Knot: A Novel
By SJ Bennett
(William Morrow Paperbacks,
9780063050013, $16.99, Feb. 8, Fiction)
“When a Russian pianist is found dead at Windsor Castle, the new head of MI5 muddles the case and treats the Queen like his doddering granny. Charmingly portrayed by SJ Bennett, The Queen secretly and skillfully sleuths behind the scenes.”
—Margo Grimm Eule, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC