Staff Book Picks September '21

Hala Alyan

A rich family story, a personal look at the legacy of war in the Middle East, and an indelible rendering of how we hold on to the people and places we call home.

Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy 'Alex' Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless 'tombs' are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

Timothy Anglin Burgard

Historically patronised or promoted with such reductive terms as folk, naive, and outsider, the works of many African-American artists born during the Jim Crow era of institutionalised racism - most of whom are self taught - have, until recently, been relegated to the margins of American culture. These artists are now gaining the recognition they rightfully deserve, having addressed some of the most profound and persistent issues in American society, including race, class, gender and spirituality. Featuring more than sixty artworks and a series of insightful essays, this volume captures the impact of the historical legacy of the African diaspora and the ways it has expanded and enriched the history of American art.

Elżbieta Cherezińska,

Elzbieta Cherezinska's The Widow Queen is the epic story of a Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now. The bold one, they call her-too bold for most. To her father, the great duke of Poland, Swietoslawa and her two sisters represent three chances for an alliance. Three marriages on which to build his empire. But Swietoslawa refuses to be simply a pawn in her father's schemes; she seeks a throne of her own, with no husband by her side. The gods may grant her wish, but crowns sit heavy, and power is a sword that cuts both ways.

Julie Clark

Fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine will love The Last Flight, a novel focusing on two women who meet in an airport, both alone, both scared, and both urgently needing an escape from their lives. Claire Cook has a husband whose temper burns as bright as his promising political career, and she has worked for months on a plan to get out. A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a stranger equally as desperate. Together they hatch a plan to switch tickets - Claire taking Eva's flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. But then one plane crashes, and it's clear that one of them wasn't telling the truth.

P. Djèlí Clark

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut ... Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha'arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she's certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world forty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage. Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city--or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems.

Ann Cleeves

From Ann Cleeves-New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows-comes the stunning new Vera Stanhope novel, The Darkest Evening. "Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers."-Louise Penny "As a huge fan of both the Shetland and Vera series of books, I had high expectations for Cleeves' latest. . . . A stunning debut for Cleeves' latest crimefighter."-David Baldacci on The Long Call On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat. Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It's also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there's a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow. As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family's complicated past.

Ernest Cline

A 1980s cultural assessment of the fantastical future of online behavior continues the story that began in the internationally best-selling futuristic novel, Ready Player One, that inspired a blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.

Lee Conell

An electrifying debut novel that unfolds in the course of a single day inside one genteel New York City apartment building, as tensions between the building's super and his grown-up daughter spark a crisis that will, by day's end, have changed everything.

Clarence L. Cooper

The Farm is a Dante-esque tour of the levels of hell to be found in a federal drug rehabilitation center and a powerful story of love growing in the most unnatural conditions. It is a stylistic tour de force and one of the most honest and unrelenting novels dealing with drug addiction ever written.

Darryl Cunningham,

In Billionaires, Darryl Cunningham offers an illuminating analysis of the origins and ideological evolutions of four key players in the American private sector--Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and oil and gas tycoons Charles and David Koch. What emerges is a vital critique of American capitalism and the power these individuals have to assert a corrupting influence on policy-making, political campaigns, and society writ large... In criticizing the uncontrolled reach of power by Rupert Murdoch (in fueling the far right), the Koch Brothers (in advocating for climate change denial), and Jeff Bezos (in creating unsafe working conditions), Cunningham speaks truth to power. Billionaires ends by suggesting alternatives for a safer and more just society.

Abi Daré

A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to get an education so that she can escape and choose her own future. Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a "louding voice"--the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni's father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir. When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing. But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can--in a whisper, in song, in broken English--until she is heard.

Carolina De Robertis

From the acclaimed author of Cantoras comes a mystical and heartening tale about seeking justice and the power of memory In his modest home at the edge of town, the former President of a Latin American country receives a journalist in his iconic gardens to discuss his legacy and the dire circumstances that threaten democracy around the globe. Once known as the Poorest President in the World, his reputation is the stuff of myth: a former guerilla who was jailed for inciting revolution before becoming the face of justice, human rights, and selflessness within his nation. And yet, he is tempted to reveal a secret from his past: while he was imprisoned and held in solitary confinement-due to madness or in a surreal twist-he survived in part by conversing with the only creature who ever spoke back, a loud-mouth frog, about revolution, the quest for dignity, and what it means to love a country. As engrossing as it is innovative, The President and the Frog explores the resilience of the human spirit and what is possible when danger looms. Ferrying us between a grim jail cell and lush garden, De Robertis emphasizes that even the smallest voice can change the world. Vivid, heartfelt, and full of wit and humor, The President and the Frog reaches beyond all borders and dares us to be human in the face of chaos.

Sonali Dev

Yash Raje, California's first Indian-American gubernatorial candidate, has always known exactly what he wants-and how to use his privileged background to get it. He attributes his success to a simple mantra: control your feelings and you can control the world. But when a hate crime at a rally critically injures his friend, Yash's easy life suddenly feels like a lie, his control an illusion. When he tries to get back on the campaign trail, he blacks out with panic. Desperate to keep Yash's condition from leaking to the media, his family turns to the one person they trust-his sister's best friend, India Dashwood, California's foremost stress management coach ... Yash has spent a lifetime repressing everything to succeed, including their one magical night ten years ago-a too brief, too bright passion that if rekindled threatens to destroy the dream he's willingly shouldered for his family and community ... until now.

Inés Estrada

Drawn in hazy gray pencil and printed in blue pantone ink, this book is about Elizabeth, an exotic dancer in cyberspace, and Carlos, who was just fired from the last human-staffed oil rig, attempting to keep their romance alive. When they realize that their bodies are full of artificial organs and they live almost entirely online, they begin to question what being human actually means. Do our ancestral, or even animal, instincts eventually kick in, or are we transcending the limits of our bodies? Inés Estrada's new graphic novel introduces us to a powerfully exquisite and chilling near future that doesn't seem too far-fetched, where virtual reality affects our diets, sex lives, and nightly dreams.

Elizabeth Everett

What is a lady's formula for love? Bring together one brilliant noblewoman and an enigmatic bodyguard. Mix in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry--it's elemental. Lady Violet Hughes is keeping secrets. First, she founded London's first social club for ladies to provide sanctuary for England's most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a clandestine mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland. The most guarded of men, Kneland learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time spent in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally. When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet's laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test--and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart.

Elena Ferrante
Glenn Frankel

A history of the making of the film Midnight Cowboy and the novel that inspired it.

Angela Garbes

An in-depth look at pregnancy through a scientific and feminist lens challenges popular assumptions, offers help for navigating contradictions, and provides facts to aid with making informed decisions.

Lev Grossman

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world. Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

Jasmine Guillory

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking. Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe's mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can't resist-it is chocolate cake, after all. Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble-not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max's high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

Yaa Gyasi

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the troubled spirit of our own nation.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

After a storm has killed off all the island's men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft.

Hermione Hoby

A powerful novel of youth, aspiration, and moral conflict, as a young man is seduced by the mirage of glamour--at a terrible cost.

Laird Hunt

After losing both her parents and her aunt, Zorrie is cast into the perilous realities of rural Depression-era Indiana. Drifting west, surviving on odd jobs, Zorrie finds a position at a radium processing plant. When Indiana calls Zorrie home, she finds the love and community that has always eluded her in and around the small town of Hillisburg, but discovers that her trials have only begun.

Kathleen Jennings

In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers-a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father's departure. A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live-and even thrive-under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles.

Lizzie Johnson

The definitive firsthand account of California's Camp Fire-the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century-and a riveting examination of what went wrong and how to avert future tragedies as the climate crisis unfolds ... A cautionary tale for a new era of megafires, Paradise is the gripping story of a town wiped off the map and the determination of its people to rise again.

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

In a small back alley in Tokyo at a century-old coffee shop rumored to offer patrons the chance to travel back in time, four customers reevaluate their formative life choices.

Michael Kleber-Diggs

Worldly Things is the 2020 winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, selected by Henri Cole.

Anita Kopacz

Cast into mid-1800s America, Yemaya, a deity in the religion of Africa's Yoruba people, as she grows into her powers, must confront the greatest evils of this era while searching for the man who sacrificed his own freedom for the chance at hers.

Quntos KunQuest

This is the debut novel by Quntos KunQuest, a longtime inmate at Angola, the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary. This marks the appearance of a bold, distinctive new voice, one deeply inflected by hiphop, that delves into the meaning of a life spent behind bars, the human bonds formed therein, and the poetry that even those in the most dire places can create. Lil Chris is just nineteen when he arrives at Angola as an AU-an admitting unit, a fresh fish, a new vict. He's got a life sentence with no chance of parole, but he's also got a clear mind and sharp awareness-one that picks up quickly on the details of the system, his fellow inmates, and what he can do to claim a place at the top. When he meets Rise, a mature inmate who's already spent years in the system, they begin to channel their questions, frustrations, and pain into rap, and flows with the same cadence that powers their charged verses. It pulses with the heat of impassioned inmates, the oppressive daily routines of the prison yard, and the rap contests that bring the men of the prison together. This Life is told in a voice that only a man who's lived it could have-a clipped, urgent, evocative voice that surges with anger, honesty, playfulness, and a deep sense of ugly history.

Andrea Lee

Gorgeously evocative, Red Island House follows two decades in the life of Shay, an African-American professor whose husband Senna, a brash and wealthy Italian businessman, builds her a dream house in Madagascar.

Chloe Liese

Get ready for an emotional ride filled with laughter, longing, and a sweet slow-burn in this sports romance about love's power not in spite of difference, but because of it.

Patricia Lockwood

This book wrecked me. The first part is basically a sendup of (/ode to?) Twitter. But then a hiccup—a pretty big hiccup—in our main character’s sister’s pregnancy rewrites all the rules in her extremely online life, and she pivots her attention to ostensibly bigger questions, questions that actually dovetail quite nicely with her earlier concerns about online existence: What makes us human, and why are we here? With all the hilarity and depth of Lockwood’s previous work, this book will certainly be on my end-of-year best-of list.

Tamika D. Mallory

A globally recognized civil rights activist presents an unwavering history of American systemic racism, a first-hand view of what makes for effective activism today, and a vision for lasting, positive change.

Syed Masood,

Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 90s through to San Francisco in 2016, a comic novel about being Muslim immigrants in modern America.

Paul Mendez

An essential and revelatory coming-of-age narrative following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of his Jehovah's Witness upbringing.

Sandhya Menon

When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud by targeting Jaya Rao's little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she will be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and she knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. His Lordship Grey Emerson is doomed once he turns eighteen-- thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch. When Jaya Rao bursts into his life, he can't shake the feeling that she is hiding something. As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it is possible to write your own happy ending.

Dolores Reyes

Set in an unnamed slum in contemporary Argentina, Earth-eater is the story of a young woman who finds herself drawn to eating the earth - a compulsion that gives her visions of broken and lost lives. With her first taste of dirt, she learns the horrifying truth of her mother's death. Disturbed by what she witnesses, the woman keeps her visions to herself. But when Earth-eater begins an unlikely relationship with a withdrawn police officer, word of her ability begins to spread, and soon desperate members of her community beg for her help, anxious to uncover the truth about their own loved ones. Surreal and haunting, spare yet complex, Earth-eater is a dark, emotionally resonant tale told from a feminist perspective that brilliantly explores the stories of those left behind - the women enduring the pain of uncertainty, whose lives have been shaped by violence and loss.

Amber Ruffin

Writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers Amber Ruffin writes with her sister Lacey Lamar with humor and heart to share absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism. Now a writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers and host of The Amber Ruffin Show, Amber Ruffin lives in New York, where she is no one's First Black Friend and everyone is, as she puts it, "stark raving normal." But Amber's sister Lacey? She's still living in their home state of Nebraska, and trust us, you'll never believe what happened to Lacey. From racist donut shops to strangers putting their whole hand in her hair, from being mistaken for a prostitute to being mistaken for Harriet Tubman, Lacey is a lightning rod for hilariously ridiculous yet all-too-real anecdotes. She's the perfect mix of polite, beautiful, petite, and Black that apparently makes people think "I can say whatever I want to this woman." And now, Amber and Lacey share these entertainingly horrifying stories through their laugh-out-loud sisterly banter. Painfully relatable or shockingly eye-opening (depending on how often you have personally been followed by security at department stores), this book tackles modern-day racism with the perfect balance of levity and gravity.

Max Seeck

A shocking murder in an affluent Helsinki suburb has ties to the occult in this thrilling US debut from Finnish author Max Seeck. A bestselling author's wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of a formally set dinner table. Her most chilling feature - her face is frozen in a ghastly smile. At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from the victim's husband's bestseller, The Witch Hunter. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she's not looking for a single killer but rather dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft. They know her every move and are always one step ahead. As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won't stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim.

Rivers Solomon

Vern gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong-not with them, but with her own body...A genre-bending work of Gothic fiction that wrestles with the history of American racism.

Camilla Sten

"he Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense. Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed "The Lost Village," since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother's entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left-a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn-have plagued her. She's gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened. But there will be no turning back. Not long after they've set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice: They are not alone. They're looking for the truth... But what if it finds them first? Come find out.

Amy Stewart

The indomitable Kopp sisters are tested at home and aboard in this ... tale of wartime courage and camaraderie.

Jesse Q. Sutanto

What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then, toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue! When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate--especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding that Meddy, her Ma, and her aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It is the biggest job yet for their family wedding business--"Don't leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!"--and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her aunties' perfect buttercream-cake flowers. But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy's great college love--and biggest heartbreak--makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding, all in one weekend?"

Lisa Taddeo

Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child--that has haunted her every waking moment--while forging the power to finally strike back.

Chuck Tingle

When a strange tear in the cosmos appears within Earth's annual path, the consequences are disastrous. For one night a year, the vast majority of humans now undergo a frightening mental change, transforming into hateful, rage-fueled zombies who will stop at nothing to satiate their desire for brutality. While not much is understood about this horrific mass hysteria, the demographic it effects is very specific: cisgender straight people. A few years after the first of these tragic events, four friends from across the queer spectrum look for safety in solitude, hunkering down in a remote desert cabin for what is now known as Saturation Day. With a vaccine available for straight people to curb their violent episodes, some predict the worst is over. Others aren't so sure. As night falls, it becomes clear that survival isn't guaranteed this Saturation Day.

Olga Tokarczuk

Set in the mythical village of Primeval, a microcosm of the world populated by eccentric, archetypal characters and guarded by four archangels, the novel chronicles the lives of the village's inhabitants over the course of the feral 20th century and the episodice violence visited on them.

C. J. Tudor

An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present--and intent on keeping its dark secrets--in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor. Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself. Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known." The more Jack and daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest. But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village's bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.