1. The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash
by Candace Ganger
The tragic, hilarious, complicated teenage love story of two southwest Ohio kids who meet briefly at a party and are brought back together by fate, loss, and the local roller skating rink. It’s like a Midwestern Billy Joel song on wheels.
2. Savage Country
by Robert Olmstead
In his ninth book, Olmstead—author of Coal Black Horse and a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University—revives his stark, dirt-caked vision of American history, this time via a bankrupt widow traversing Indian Territory on a post-Civil War buffalo hunt.
3. Castle of Water
by Dane Huckelbridge
The third book and debut novel from Huckelbridge, an Ohio native, is a poetic tale of two disparate strangers who find themselves the lone survivors when their flight goes down on a tiny island in the South Pacific.
4. Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed
by John Keyse-Walker
If the title isn’t enticing enough—it’s the sequel to Sun, Sand, Murder, btw—Ohio resident Keyse-Walker sends Constable Teddy Creque back to the British Virgin Islands to investigate a deadly shark attack that is, ahem, fishier than it initially appears.
5. Devil’s Cut
by J.R. Ward
The Lit Queen of Louisville closes out her Bourbon Kings trilogy by tying a bow around the Bradford Bourbon Company’s sordid saga. Forbidden love interests and the endless Bradford/Baldwine family drama keep the pages turning and hooch flowing.
6. Tornado Weather
by Deborah E. Kennedy
Fikus Ward is a salt-of-the-earth bus driver from Colliersville, Indiana, who makes the grave mistake of letting a 5-year-old girl travel home alone as a storm draws near. Her subsequent disappearance forces the small town to reconcile its differences and listen to its neglected voices.