With the end of the year, it’s time to look back at some of the best books of 2018.
In fiction, “What We Carry With Us” by Cuyahoga Falls author Karen J. Hasley is an exceptional Western mystery with a bit of romance, and the New Hope series is continued by the equally fine “Surprised by Shadows.” All her books are about intelligent, resourceful women.
Akron native Audrey Berger Welz’s debut novel “Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate” is a colorful tale of an aristocratic ballet student who leaves the Russian Empire to join a traveling circus in America.
Cuyahoga Falls writer Laura Freeman’s “Impending Love and Madness,” fifth in a Civil War-era series about six sisters in a Western Reserve canal town, includes the Lincoln assassination in its narrative.
“Suffer the Children,” fourth in Lisa Black’s series about forensics investigator Maggie Gardiner, brings the action to a Cleveland center for juvenile offenders.
“Superheat,” a thriller by Rocky River resident Malcolm B. Wood, is a 1970s-set story about drugs and murder at an Akron tire company.
Jo Ferris is star of “Final Fling,” stellar ninth book in Massillon native Kathleen M. Fraze’s 1990s-set mystery series about a police detective in an unnamed Ohio town.
“Dim Sum of All Fears” is second in the Cleveland-set Noodle Shop mystery series by Vivien Chien.
“Chicago Movie Girls,” a novel by D.C. Reep of Akron and E.A. Allen, is the story of three sisters who get involved in early cinema.
Westerville author Robin Yocum’s gritty crime novel “A Perfect Shot” is about a former high school basketball star in the steel town of Mingo Junction, as he tries to avoid local mobsters.
“Lethal Licorice,” second in Tallmadge author Amanda Flower’s Amish Candy Shop mystery series, continues with a New York chocolatier who takes her late grandfather’s place in an Amish candy contest; it’s one of several books Flower published this year.
“The Game Changer,” Akron author Marc Bona’s ingenious debut, tells of a rookie Cleveland lineman who may be more than he appears.
Westerville native Greg Sapp’s superb novel “Fresh News Straight from Heaven,” about Johnny Appleseed’s travels through the Western Reserve, is unmissable.
“Murder to the Metal,” second in Cleveland author Annie Hogsett’s entertaining “Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead” mystery series, sees Allie Harper and her boyfriend set up a free private detective agency with his lottery winnings.
“The Secrets Between Us,” a sequel of sorts to former Beacon Journal writer Thrity Umrigar’s 2007 “The Space Between Us,” teams up two destitute Mumbai women to overcome their mutual dislike and better their circumstances.
“The Company of Demons,” a debut novel by Rocky River lawyer Michael J. Jordan, is about the return of Cleveland’s Torso Killer.
“The Devil’s Wind,” second in the excellent pirate mystery series by Jeromesville author Steve Goble, sends “Spider” John Rush to Jamaica, where he tries to solve the murder of the captain of his new ship.
Cleveland Heights author Paula McLain’s “Love and Ruin” is about journalist Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, and their challenging relationship.
In nonfiction, Cleveland native Susan Orlean’s “The Library Book” is the study of the catastrophic 1986 arson at the Los Angeles Public Library, the worst library fire in American history.
In “Justice Denied: An Historical Sojourn,” Euclid resident Joe Wendel examines the internment of German-Americans during World War II and to advocate the passage of the Wartime Treatment Study Act.
Cuyahoga Falls High School alumnus Patrick Parr puts the reader in the classroom with Martin Luther King Jr. in “The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Comes of Age.”
Beacon Journal copy editor Mark J. Price’s book “Mafia Cop Killers in Akron: The Gang War Before Prohibition” tells of the Furnace Street Gang in the current Northside area in the early 20th century.
“Voices from the Rust Belt” is a compilation of essays from Belt Publishing's books and from the nonprofit monthly Belt Magazine.
Terry Pluto’s “The Browns Blues: Two Decades of Utter Frustration: Why Everything Kept Going Wrong for the Cleveland Browns” is a thorough analysis of the team’s woes since returning after the franchise was moved to Baltimore in 1995.
“Rust Belt Arcana: Tarot and Natural History in the Exurban Wilds” by Matt Stansberry pairs each card of the Major Arcana with an animal or element of the Great Lakes.
In “A Year in the Woods: The Effect of Seasonal Change on Johnson Woods, an Ohio Old Growth Forest,” Wadsworth photographer Ron Schaefer studies the Marshallville land, with trees more than 400 years old.
Don Ake’s collection of essays “Will There Be Free Appetizers? Musings of a Brilliant Idiot” provides plenty of laughs without as much sexist humor as its predecessor.
“Blood Pages” is an extraordinary collection of poetry by George Bilgere, in which the commonplace is executed with elegance.
For middle readers and young adults, “Stormcaster,” third in the four-book Shattered Realms high fantasy series by University of Akron alumna Cinda Williams Chima, tells of an aspiring pirate who learns how to use his magical powers; the story returns to the familiar Fells of the previous book,” Shadowcaster.”
The storybook “Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse” by Wooster author Marcy Campbell is a gentle lesson on tolerance and acceptance. In “The Pasta Family Goes to Marinara Beach” by husband-and-wife authors Cory and Laureen Tilson, fun illustrations highlight a whimsical story.
Barnes & Noble (198 Crocker Park Boulevard, Westlake): Alex Sheen signs “Because I Said I Would,” about the social movement he started encouraging people to keep their promises, 6 p.m. Friday.
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.