If You Like Tana French

We librarians hear a lot about readers’ favorite writers, and some names come up over and over again. One of these is Irish mystery writer Tana French, whose gritty Dublin Murder Squad series provides the perfect blend of police procedure and intricate psychological suspense. Only trouble is, she doesn’t write them fast enough. No worries: here are some other terrific titles – many by less well known writers – that are sure to please.

The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey. When her former classmate is found murdered, Det. Sgt. Gemma Woodstock uncovers puzzling mysteries in the victim’s life, from her abrupt departure from a dream teaching job to her run-down existence in spite of wealthy family ties.

Lost You, by Haylen Beck. After a closing elevator door separates them, a single mother on vacation with her son discovers he has been abducted by another woman who claims she is his mother!

One Small Sacrifice, by Hilary Davidson. An apparent suicide. A mysterious disappearance. Did one man get away with murder—twice? It is Det. Sheryn Sterling job to find out. A riveting police procedural with a strong female detective and an intriguing antagonist. Continue reading “If You Like Tana French”

Defective Detective Departments

What happens when cranky, poorly motivated or seemingly-incompetent individuals are all sidelined together into a single work unit? They end up solving the mysteries that no one else could, of course. Or, at least, in fiction they do. These books are all the first in series that find professional pariahs taking care of business.

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Chief Detective Carl Morck has always been difficult to get along with, but he was tolerated because he was good at his job. Sidelined after a shooting left him injured and his partner paralyzed, Carl finds himself dubiously in charge of Department Q, responsible for cold cases. With just a lackluster assistant, Assad, Carl starts investigating the 5-year-old disappearance of politician Merete Lynggaard. The reader knows Lynggaard is still alive; can Carl and Assad find her? While darkly humorous, this novel shares elements with other Scandinavian Noir mysteries such as Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, including some violence and a more somber undertone. Continue reading “Defective Detective Departments”

Get Out of the Lake!

The lake is where you want to be on a beautiful August day, unless you’re a character in a mystery novel. I’m here to tell you that, in my experience as an avid mystery reader, an idyllic remote lake can often double as the scene of a crime. Which is why these mysteries are wonderful choices for atmospheric lakeside (or backyard or park) reads.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman: Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this noir-inspired stand-alone novel from Lippman. Maddie Schwartz leaves her husband and son and pursues her dream of being a journalist. She’s obsessed with two murders and her involvement by happenstance in the first one helps her land a job at a reporter. The second murder is the LADY IN THE LAKE, a tale that has all sorts of urban lore around the case. Lippman, in my opinion, is one of the finest crime fiction writers today and I eagerly anticipate each new book from her, and this one delivered. Booklist said in a review: “This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the ’60s.” This is a Peak Pick, too! Take it to the lake, but don’t stay in the water too long … Continue reading “Get Out of the Lake!”

The Year’s Best Crime Writing: The 2019 Edgar Awards

Pulitzers, Bookers, Nobels – bah! For crime fiction fans it’s all about the Edgars. Last night the winners in several categories of crime and thriller books were announced at the Mystery Writers of America’s annual Edgar Awards ceremony: here’s a full list of these titles in our catalog, including non-fiction, books for children and teens, and the Mary Higgins Clark Awards for less violent novels with strong heroines.

As for the felonious Best In Show, we give you the nominees for the category of Best Novel:

Continue reading “The Year’s Best Crime Writing: The 2019 Edgar Awards”

The best of genre reading in 2018

Coordinated by the American Library Association, each year a group of librarians from across the country form The Reading List Council with the goal to identify the year’s best books across eight genres. Here are the 2019 winners (for books published in 2018) in Adrenaline, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, and Women’s Fiction, plus the short list of runners up in each category. Find new titles in the genre you love, or branch out and find something new to try. You can also find this full list in our library catalog.

Adrenaline

Book cover image for Safe HousesSafe Houses by Dan Fesperman
Managing CIA safe houses in 1979 West Berlin, Helen overhears a secret conversation that sends her on the run. Thirty-five years later, a tragedy leads Helen’s daughter to dig into her mother’s secret past, unaware that her mother’s old enemies are still watching. Continue reading “The best of genre reading in 2018”