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New Years Hit List of Great Books From Julia McDermott-Author

New Years Hit List of Great Books From Julia McDermott-Author

What I’m reading – and writing – in 2020. 

I’m on (if you are not and you like to read, it’s a great way to organize your books, connect with others with similar interests, and get recommendations).  My page lists the books I’ve written. You’ll also find my bookshelves: books I’ve read, want to read, and the few I’ve abandoned. I also have a shelf called the most-loved.

I added the novel I just read to that shelf. My daughter recommended it, and I was drawn in from the first page. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a treasure: brilliant, poignant, and witty.

Here are some other books on my to-read list for 2020:


  1. Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker
  2. The Last Act by Brad Parks
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin
  5. Educated by Tara Westover
  6. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
  7. The Other Widow by my friend, local author Susan Crawford
  8. C’est la Vie by Suzy Gershman
  9. Flirting with French by William Alexander
  10. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery


And two French-language novels:

  1. Une fille comme elle by Marc Levy
  2. Les Raisins de la colère by John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath, which I read long ago and loved)


Now, for what I’m writing this year. I plan to finish my current work in progress. It’s a psychological suspense set in Kansas in the 1990s, and an expansion of my short story published in April in crime fiction anthology Down to the River. I’ve chosen my new novel’s title but not announcing it yet. Here’s the back-of-the book description:

“Although moving across the country isn’t what they bargained for, Heidi Barron focuses on the positives about her husband Davis’ job transfer from Atlanta, Georgia to Wichita, Kansas. His salary is double what it was, the cost of living is much lower, and family-oriented Wichita looks like a great place to raise their kids. The only negative – besides the lack of anonymity and the constant wind – is that Midwesterners seem cold and aloof.

Nevertheless, Heidi jumps into the new community, joining a book club and making friends at a nearby fitness club frequented by wives of Davis’ coworkers. Then one night, a young couple falls prey to a brutal attacker, and the entire city explodes in fear. In the aftermath of the crime, Heidi and Davis learn the sinister secret that residents have kept for decades: A serial killer lives among them – and he’s still out there 

Living in a fishbowl isn’t just challenging anymore. It’s fraught with danger. Because evidently, what you don’t know won’t just hurt you…it might even kill you.”


And here’s a few possible book ideas I’m looking at:


  1. The Pizza Cook-off Party Murder Mystery, about a large family reunion at the beach on Florida’s Emerald Coast (or maybe the Redneck Rivieria) where someone dies;
  2. Most Kinds of Art, and All Things French, about a woman who, after losing her husband of forty years, moves to the south of France and finds a healing, romance, and a new life;
  3. Under the Surface,  a prequel to my domestic suspense Underwater. It’s the story of Monty Carawan’s downward spiral to envy and evil;
  4. To Die Unmourned, about a young girl who loses both parents the same day to the Spanish Influenza epidemic of World War I, and her story of survival.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what I have planned, and the books you recommend as well! Find me at

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