Recommended Reads from Raul: Part Two

BookPeople is staffed by readers as prolific as they are discerning. Here, we continue our week of mystery recommendations from our first floor Inventory Manager Raul Chapa, who reads more books than seems humanly possible. 

9780385539364The Devil’s Evidence by Simon Kurt Unsworth

When unexplained fires consume both humans and demons in Hell, Thomas Fool, now Commander of the Information Office of Hell, is unable to make any headway before he is ordered to accompany Hell’s Delegation to Heaven. Experiencing Heaven is disconcerting because everything is supposed to be perfect, but Fool begins to notice certain imperfections that the angels do not grasp, and he is tasked to investigate what the angels cannot acknowledge – that there could actually be murder in Heaven. Having to balance the threat of the demons sent with him as well as insolence of the angels, Fool is left to follow the clues wherever they may lead, for there are forces at work that would agitate both Hell and Heaven to further their own agenda and plunge both the Infernal and Holy Realms into war. Unless Fool discovers out the truth. Truly a literary gem that plays out as a great mystery series with a one of a kind anti-hero!

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Recommended Reads from Raul, Part One

There’s plenty of mystery readers here at BookPeople, and Raul Chapa, our First Floor Inventory Manager, is one of the most prolific. Below, Raul reviews a few mysteries he’s been enjoying lately, some of which we’ve already gushed about on the blog, and some of which we’ve barely mentioned – until now.

9780399174551The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

Along the most northern border of America, the High Line railway crosses some of the most wintry landscapes and is deadly on its own; however, a ghost rider travels the rails hunting and killing vulnerable women, has been doing it for years. When Mila’s friend, Ash, becomes the ghost rider’s next victim, she vows to travel the rail line to kill the rider and avenge her friend. A technological lark brings the attention of the FBI to this terror stalking the North, but Windermere and Stevens will have to hurry to catch Mila before she finds the rider – or he finds her. Another fantastic thriller from an author who writes with a fervor and passion that makes you want to stay up all night just to find out what happens next.

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Crime Fiction Friday: “Socket To Me” by Glenn Gray

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  • Selected and Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Glenn Gray’s short stories are like bloody car wrecks – gross, but we’re compelled to watch. In this piece published in Shotgun Honey, he gets started with an innovative method of drug smuggling and things get darker from there.

“Socket To Me” by Glenn Gray

“Selma dug into her right orbit, using her curved index finger as a tool, and popped her right eyeball out of its socket.”

Read the rest of the story.

International Crime Fiction Pick: POLICE AT THE STATION AND THEY DON’T LOOK FRIENDLY by Adrian McKinty

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

9781633882591We read a wide array of international detective fiction here at MysteryPeople, and, of course, we each have our favorites. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (and even more in honor of the year-round excellence that defines Irish crime fiction) we’re highlighting some work, past and present, from our favorite Irish detective novelists. Last Thursday, Scott Montgomery took us through an underappreciated new classic – Cross, by Ken Bruen. Today, we’re diving into Adrian McKinty’s latest Sean Duffy novel, Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, released this March, and which just so happens to feature a few words of praise for the author on the back cover from yours truly.

Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series, set in the 80s in Northern Ireland, weaves real events (such as Margaret Thatcher’s attempted assassination, the closing of the Delorian factory, and Muhammed Ali’s visit to the troubled region) together with fiendishly plotted mysteries. McKinty doesn’t use his crime fiction to paint a black and white portrait of good and evil – his settings are too historically messy, his characters too finely crafted, to devolve into stereotype. In McKinty’s Duffy series, paramilitaries commit petty crimes for personal reasons; corrupt officials occasionally compensate for their fall from grace with a touch of honor; policemen steal drugs from the evidence room…In short, no easy line exists between the personal and the political, and even though most plotlines trace back to MI5  or the IRA, it’s never for the reasons one would think.

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MysteryPeople Review: THE PAINTED GUN by Bradley Spinelli

  • Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9781617754982Postmodern private eye novels are always a tight rope for an author. Referencing classic works and their style often reminds the reader of the old masters that did it better. It is a matter of tone that is usually the deciding factor for if these works measure up to those they imitate, something Bradley Spinelli uses to great effect in his new novel, The Painted Gun.

First, he introduces us to a hero who balances familiarity and freshness, then drops him into a provocative premise. David Crane works as an information consultant in mid-nineties San Francisco, talking and narrating in a hard-boiled style that never becomes tongue in cheek. Down near his last dollar, he takes a case from a shady detective from L.A. It seems that people are looking for a mysterious artist only know as Ash. The only clue, her paintings are of Crane at various moments of his life.

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Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to Discuss: THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets to discuss Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer on Monday, March 20th, at 1 PM. You can find copies of The Sympathizer on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9780802124944Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer has left me stunned. This hybrid spy-novel-cum-literary-satire won the Edgar Award in 2015 (which is how I convinced the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to read it) and the Pulitzer the same year, which should begin a long career of appreciation in highbrow and lowbrow circles alike.

At face value, The Sympathizer is a Vietnam War novel from the Vietnamese perspective, ostensibly the perfect place for American readers to immerse themselves in the Vietnamese experience. Yet what Nguyen does best in the novel is expose hypocrisy. Rather than gently guide his readers into unknown waters, he plunges us into confrontation with our own assumptions, our own prejudices, and our own pompous behavior. While reading it, I felt more blown away by observations about the American character than any points about Vietnamese society.

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Shotgun Blast From the Past: CROSS by Ken Bruen

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780312538842Cross, by Ken Bruen, is the sixth book  to feature his caustic “finder” (detective is a suspicious word in Ireland), Jack Taylor. I feel it is one of his lesser lauded novels in the series. This could possibly be because it is often considered a sequel to the fifth book, Priest, and can’t be discussed without dropping spoilers from the previous novel (WARNING- That will happen in the next paragraph). However, it is one of the most focused and emotionally resonate books in the series. Here, Bruen seems intent on getting Jack to another place in his life. Apparently to do this he had to destroy the man he introduced us to in The Guards.

Cross starts out very soon after Priest as Jack faces the fallout from the previous volume’s events. His surrogate son, Cody, lies in a coma, from a bullet probably meant for Jack. Jack suspects the person who fired it could be Cathy, a former friend whose child died under Jack’s drug-addled baby sitting. After going cold-turkey sober, he is approached with two jobs. First, he’s hired to look into a rash of dog disappearances (Jack subcontracts this gig to another former guard). His next case is brought in by his pal in the guards, Ridge. She knows being a lesbian has hampered her rise in the ranks and thinks solving the crucifixion death of a young man may make her career. She asks for Jack’s assistance.

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