Hardcover, 288 pages
Published by Simon & Schuster
The Dogs of LittlefieldLittlefield, Massachusetts, named one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America, full of psychologists and college professors, is proud of its fine schools, its girls’ soccer teams, its leafy streets, and charming village center.
Yet no sooner has sociologist Dr. Clarice Watkins arrived to study the elements of “good quality of life” than someone begins poisoning the town’s dogs. Are the poisonings in protest to an off-leash proposal for Baldwin Park—the subject of much town debate—or the sign of a far deeper disorder? Certainly these types of things don’t happen in Littlefield.
With an element of suspense, satirical social commentary, and in-depth character portraits, Suzanne Berne’s nuanced novel reveals the discontent concealed behind the manicured lawns and picket fences of darkest suburbia. The Dogs of Littlefield is “a compelling, poignant yet unsentimental novel that examines life, love, and loss” (Sunday Mirror, UK).
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published by Penguin: Fig Tree
The Dogs of Littlefield (UK edition)Littlefield, Massachusetts: home to psychologists, college professors and their over-achieving children, and recently lauded as one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America. If happiness had a home it would be here.
Then the first dog is poisoned. At first, there is shock and disbelief: who would commit such a cruel act – and why? As more dogs die so residents soon notice other signs that something’s not right in their home: the appearance of menacing grafitti, the persistent triggering of fire alarms at the middle school and the haunted looks neighbours begin exchanging.
For the Downings, Margaret, Bill and daughter Julia, Littlefield’s darkness hints at flaws in their own lives. What is wrong? What can save them?
Paperback, 304 pages
Published by Holt Paperbacks
A Crime in the NeighborhoodA New York Times Notable Book. Set in the Washington, D.C., suburbs during the summer of the Watergate break-ins, Berne's assured, skillful first novel is about what can happen when a child's accusation is the only lead in a case of sexual assault and murder. A Book of the Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club selection.
paperback, 304 pages
Published by A Shannon Ravenel Book
The Ghost at the Table
Strikingly different since childhood and leading dissimilar lives now, sisters Frances and Cynthia have managed to remain "devoted"—as long as they stay on opposite coasts. When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include the sisters' long-estranged father. Cynthia, however, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past their father's presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier.
As Thanksgiving Day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of a shared past, their conflict escalating to a dramatic, suspenseful climax.
paperback, 301 pages
Published by Plume
A Perfect ArrangementHandsome and ambitious, Mirella and Howard Cook-Goldman have it all-two precious children, dual careers, a great old colonial house on Massachusetts's North Shore, a golden retriever. The only thing they lack is reliable childcare.
Enter Randi Gill, sent by Family Options, Ltd., an agency specializing in Midwestern girls with teaching aspirations ("Could you be Comfortable with Anything but the Best for Your Family?... Guaranteed Nationwide FBI Criminal Fingerprinting and Background Checks."). Randi's references are perfect. She's perfect. She cleans, cooks, sews, and makes her own Play-Doh. The children love her … almost too much.
Though it's hard for Mirella to watch Randi succeed with the children where she has failed, she can't deny the peace and order Randi has brought to the household. But perfection is a tough act to maintain, and soon enough, there are ruptures. When events force Mirella and Howard to reveal the secrets they've been hiding from each other, the family cataclysm catapults the nanny (who has secrets of her own) into a position of unnatural control.
In A Perfect Arrangement, Suzanne Berne now fixes her sights on contemporary, two-career family life. Overscheduled and overwhelmed, today's parents are desperate for help. Whatever child care they manage to set up, the arrangements are rarely perfect. This suspenseful novel asks a question all of them face: "Is there anyone you can trust with your children?"