Books

Book clubs will love these 4 suspenseful reads by AAPI authors

Set in India, Parini Shroff’s The Bandit Queens tells the story of Geeta, who struggles to earn a living as a jewelry maker after her violent husband leaves her. Gossiping villagers believe that she killed her husband, and Geeta realizes she has entered dangerous territory when other women approach her for help in getting rid of their abusive spouses. Shroff’s compassionate portrayal of oppressed wives is enlivened by touches of comedy. Themes like domestic violence and the dynamics of marriage and family will inspire thoughtful dialogue among readers.

In Soon Wiley’s When We Fell Apart, Min, a young Korean American man, seeks clarity after the sudden death of his girlfriend, Yu-jin. When Min learns that she apparently committed suicide, he is determined to find out why. A dedicated student with bright prospects, Yu-jin seemed to be thriving, but she had secrets. As Min delves into her past and the circumstances surrounding her death, he comes to terms with his own sense of self. Wiley’s hypnotic thriller is a standout thanks to nuanced characters and a rich portrayal of the experience of being caught between two cultures.

Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo is narrated by Lila Macapagal, a young woman who returns home to Illinois to help with her aunt’s Filipino restaurant, Tita Rosie’s Kitchen. A disagreeable food critic—and old flame of Lila’s—has been giving Tita Rosie’s bad reviews. When he dies after eating there, suspicion falls on Lila. With the backing of her meddlesome but well-meaning aunts, Lila tries to solve the mystery of his death. The first entry in Manansala’s delightful Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series, Arsenic and Adobo is seasoned with humor, drama and tasty culinary references.

In Kismet by Amina Akhtar, sinister goings-on at a glamorous wellness retreat cause an uproar in the community. Ronnie Khan’s life changes when she meets wellness influencer Marley Dewhurst, who convinces her to leave New York and spend time at a retreat in Sedona, Arizona. At first, Ronnie enjoys the healthy lifestyle, but her visit takes a terrifying turn when local influencers are murdered. Akhtar crafts a clever thriller that’s also a funny sendup of wellness culture. Book clubs will enjoy exploring topics such as self-image and ideas of perfection.

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