Jersey Girls (and Guys)

Marcus Major
"At 36, self-made millionaire John Sebastian has it all--a booming business, a luxurious home, a gorgeous girlfriend, and the respect of his friends--but somehow it's not enough. Returning to the tough streets of Newark, New Jersey, he spots Josephine Flowers, the love of his life, the woman he allowed to walk away seven years ago. He is driven to reconnect with her, even though the cost to his pride is high, and even though she's now married to another. For only her blessing, her love, will prove to John that he is, at last, a man most worthy."
David Morrell
"On a cold October night, five people gather in a run-down motel on the Jersey shore and begin preparations to break into the Paragon Hotel. Built in the glory days of Asbury Park by a reclusive millionaire, the magnificent structure - which foreshadowed the beauties of art deco architecture - is now boarded up and marked for demolition.

"The five people are “creepers,” the slang term for urban explorers: city archeologists with a passion for investigating abandoned buildings and their dying secrets. On this evening, they are joined by a reporter who wants to profile them - anonymously, as this is highly illegal activity - for a New York Times article.

"Frank Balenger, a sandy-haired, broad-shouldered reporter with a decided air of mystery about him, isn’t looking for just a story, however. And after the group enters the rat-infested tunnel leading to the hotel, it becomes clear that he will get much more than he bargained for. Danger, terror, and death await the creepers in a place ravaged by time and redolent of evil."

Chris Knopf.

"Gwendalynn Anders, a mid-Western girl who's never seen the ocean, wonders what was in that joint she smoked a week before waking up on Elysiana, and why it feels like the trip will last the entire summer of 1969.

"Jack Halcyon, living atop an abandoned twenty-story hotel, wonders how he's able to ponder the incongruities of life after leaving a big chunk of his brain at the scene of an accident.

"Borough Council President Norman Harlan wonders what cruel God put him on an equal footing with Avery Volpe, the fearsome Captain of the Beach Patrol.

"Twelve miles long and a mile wide, Elysiana is an island off the coast of New Jersey sitting astride the convergence of powerful fault lines social, political, and existential. It s a place of beauty and insanity, shared by the angelic and profane. Where cops, criminals, prodigies, and the promiscuous find themselves at the haphazard mercy of a lunatic providence.

"Other players include a globe-trotting whiz kid, an Italo-Hispanic crime boss, a surfing aesthete and his vulgar roommate, a career car stereo thief, and a seven-year-old girl who's probably spent too much time with the dead bodies in the dunes.

"This is a story that could have only happened on the Jersey Shore during the summer of 69. A time when the social fabric was tearing apart, in a place where that fabric had never been very well knit together."

Helene Stapinski

"As Stapinski writes, Jersey City was a tough place to grow up, except I didn't know any better. In this unforgettable memoir, Stapinski tells the heartbreaking yet often hilarious story of growing up among swindlers, bookies, and crooks. With deadpan humor and obvious affection, she comes clean with the outrageous tales that have swirled around her relatives for decades, and recounts the epic drama and comedy of living in a household in which petty crime was a way of life. The dinner Helene's mother put on the table (often prime rib, lobster tail, and fancy cakes) was usually swiped from the cold-storage company where Helene's father worked. The soap and toothpaste in the bathroom were lifted from the local Colgate factory. The books on the family's shelves were smuggled out of a book-binding company in Aunt Mary Ann's oversize girdle (or taken by Grandpa Beansie from the Free Public Library). Uncle Henry did a booming business as the neighborhood bookie, cousins did jail time, and Great-Aunt Katie, who liked to take a shot of whiskey each morning to clear her lungs, was a ward leader in the notorious Jersey City political machine.

"No backdrop could be more appropriate for the Stapinskis than Jersey City; a place known for its ties to the Mafia, industrial blight, and corrupt local officials, and the author ingeniously weaves the checkered history of her hometown throughout the book. Navigating a childhood of toxic waste and tough love, Stapinski tells an extraordinary tale that, unlike the swag of her childhood, is her very own."

Richard Price
"A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night.

"So begins Richard Price's electrifying new novel, a tale set on the same turf--Dempsey, New Jersey--as Clockers. Assigned to investigate the case of Brenda Martin's missing child is detective Lorenzo Council, a local son of the very housing project targeted as the scene of the crime. Under a white-hot media glare, Lorenzo launches an all-out search for the abducted boy, even as he quietly explores a different possibility: Does Brenda Martin know a lot more about her son's disappearance than she's admitting?

"Right behind Lorenzo is Jesse Haus, an ambitious young reporter from the city's evening paper. Almost immediately, Jesse suspects Brenda of hiding something. Relentlessly, she works her way into the distraught mother's fragile world, befriending her even as she looks for the chance to break the biggest story of her career."

Rebecca Goldstein
Mazel means luck in Yiddish, and luck is the guiding force in this magical and mesmerizing novel that spans three generations. Sasha Saunders is the daughter of a Polish rabbi who abandons the shtetl and wins renown as a Yiddish actress in Warsaw and New York. Her daughter Chloe becomes a professor of classics at Columbia. Chloe's daughter Phoebe grows up to become a mathematician who is drawn to traditional Judaism and the sort of domestic life in suburban New Jersey that her mother and grandmother rejected.
Cathi Hanauer

"Life is full of surprises. You think you know your family. You think you know your best friend. You even think you know yourself. Then, suddenly, everything changes and the connections that kept you safe can disappear in the blink of an eye.

In My Sister's Bones, Billie Weinstein sees things most people don't see. Her sister Cassie has always been her touchstone, the person she turns to for advice and guidance, the person whose opinion means the most to her. But ever since Cassie left for college, she's seemed different -- withdrawn, obsessed with studying, and she barely eats.

"Billie can't talk to her parents about it; they act as if nothing is wrong refusing to see the changes in their older daughter. Now Billie has become Cassie's confidante, the only one Cassie trusts enough to tell the truth to, and Billie is suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar -- and disturbing -- role; one that drives her to make choices that will forever change the way she looks at the world."

Janet Evanovich

Out-of-work Stephanie Plum blackmails her bail bondsman cousin into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Her first case involves tracking down a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one, a man who also happens to be her former lover.

Debra Galant
"Set in the fictional subdivision of -Galapagos Estates,+ Rattled is a very funny look at what happens when soccer moms, animal rights activists, dishonest real estate developers and, of course, rattlesnakes, get together and fight for ascendancy in the rapidly developing New Jersey suburbs.All Heather wants there is a nice house. Well, a nice house and a nice piece of land. And of course a basement gym, a master bath with radiant heat, Jacuzzi and his-and-her toilets. She could make do without a media room if she had to. After all, the pioneers hadn+t had plasma TV, and they+d survived. Heather is not your average suburban housewife-or maybe she is. But when her fortuitous meeting with an endangered species of rattlesnake sets this first novel in motion, you may find yourself feeling sorry for the snake."
Janet Evanovich

When a senior citizen is charged with smuggling contraband cigarettes, Stephanie Plum and Lula get more than they bargained for--a corpse in the wood shed and an old man on the lam.  Stephanie is a Jersey girl through and through. This is just one book in a series.

Jon Katz

Certain that someone has targeted her family for destruction, attorney Marianne Dow hires private detective Kit Deleeuw to follow the trail of a terrifying stalker.

Frederick Reiken
"Romeo and Juliet in northern New Jersey? Yiddish constellations in Asbury Park? A garbage dump in the Meadowlands that's filled with old musical instruments from a high school marching band? Love and sex, hockey and snorkeling, a family that is falling apart despite the best intentions-this is what Frederick Reiken has delivered in his brilliant second novel. But the real subject is true love, the one and only-known in Yiddish as b'shert. Anthony Rubin, the young protagonist, isn't sure whether he's found it with his neighbor, Juliette, daughter of a reputed Mafioso. His mother, who quits the family after her husband's affair with a neighbor, doesn't believe in true love at all. But his father does, and so does Anthony's grandpa, who meets the love of his life at 78."
Sarah Strohmeyer
When Kat discovers that her husband, Griff, has been hiding a secret bank account, her joyful consumerism suddenly loses its appeal. Are their fights about money more serious than she understood? Is he, as her friends suggest, preparing for a divorce? Just in case, Kat decides it's time to start saving and she joins an eclectic but lovable group of savers called the Penny Pinchers Club who teach her that saving time with family is as important as saving money. An irresistible and wonderfully warm-hearted novel about the unexpected ways hardship can lead to happiness.
Joshua Braff

"A hilarious and heartbreaking novel about the unreasonable expectations a narcissistic father places on his less-than-perfect son."

Tom Perrotta
A thirty-one-year-old rock 'n' roll guitarist decides to get married, only to begin an affair with Gretchen, a New York poet. He finds himself torn between letting his dreams die and having a steady gig.
Janet Evanovich

"It's five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn't got a tree. She hasn't bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment.

And there's a strange man in her kitchen.

"Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. Strangers, weirdos, felons, creeps, and lunatics are always finding their way to her front door. But this guy is different. This guy is mysterious, sexy--and he has his own agenda. His name is Diesel and he is a man on a mission. And Diesel is unlike anyone Stephanie has ever met before in her life. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn't look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant?

"These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas "surprise" for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn't believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style."

Valerie Wilson Wesley
Off to sunny Kingston, Jamaica, for some much needed relaxation, former Newark cop and hard-working P.I. Tamara Hayle is pleased at first to join fellow Jersey homegirl, Lilah Love, for a night on the town. But with Lilah's abusive husband and his friend Delaware Brown along, the evening starts out bad and gets much worse--especially when, after a blackout, the lights come abruptly up on a fresh corpse, a murder weapon with Tamara's fingerprints all over it, and two missing companions who have vanished with her money and identification.