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.
The 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.
Racing the Devil by Charles Todd
A rector from a small village is killed in an automobile accident and Rutledge is sent to investigate because the victim did not own the automobile, but rather borrowed it from the rural Squire, Captain Standish, without permission. Finding evidence that another car was involved, he begins to suspect that someone wanted the captain dead. But there is more to the tale and it all hangs on the promise of five young officers who served in the Somme offensive during the war; before the battle, they promised to meet again a year after the end of the war and celebrate their survival with a automobile race from Paris to Nice. What is the rector’s relationship to the officers who served together years ago? Could the accident the Standish suffered on the road to Nice have been an attempt on his life? Who is the party responsible? Rutledge has no clear suspects, but with more bodies piling up, he must find the person responsible and end a murder’s spree. Another fine mystery set in the English countryside.
One Life by David Lida
A detailed legal thriller highlighting the terrors and helplessness of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States. Lida provides a fantastic survey of the obstacles and difficulties immigrants face with Esperanza, a woman accused of murdering her baby in Louisiana. After years of abuse and neglect, Esperanza finds herself at the whim of prosecutors and police who are skeptical of her; without the help of Richard, a mitigation specialist, she will be put to death. But finding outstanding circumstances to her case may prove more difficult than initially imagined, and Richard may be closer to the case than he realizes.
August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones
Jones creates a wonderful character in August Snow – former Marine and ex-cop who stood up to a corrupt mayor and police department in Detroit only to lose his job and win a 12 million wrongful termination suit that tossed that mayor out and landed him and many officers in jail. After returning to the city, he is asked by an extremely rich widow whom he helped years ago to look into some strange happenings in the bank she owns. When she is found dead, Snow finds himself in the cross hairs of some very dangerous criminals determined to take control of the bank and wipe him off the face of the earth. Snow is not intimidated and this leads to a thrilling and violent conclusion. An great debut mystery that will attract fans of mysteries involving the rich and powerful and the secrets they keep.
Coffin Road by Peter May
A man wakes up on a beach in the Scottish Hebrides with no memory of who he is or how he got there; a teenage girl mourns for her father who took his own life two years ago; a grizzled Scottish detective follows the clues surrounding the murder of a man at an isolated lighthouse – these threads come together in an absolutely mind blowing environmental mystery along the lines of Nevada Barr and C.J. Box. Secrets abound in this work and nothing is as it appears, but May is a master storyteller who deftly weaves the threads into a magnificent tapestry involving nature and corrupt agricultural and pharmaceutical companies that strive to suppress important information from the world at large; companies not above destroying lives and making people disappear. A stand alone thriller that will grip you from the first page.
Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino
While it is said that evil does bad things, true evil – that dark malevolence that seethes in the blackest places and broods – manipulates others into doing its dirty work, and Higashino’s new book is a vivid study of true evil over the span of twenty years. The murder of a pawnbroker in 1973 is the core crime that Detective Sasakagi cannot solve and won’t forget – especially in relation to Ryo, the murdered man’s son and Yuhiko, the daughter of the murdered man’s lover. A complex novel with fantastic character development Higashino plays with concepts of guilt, morality and love as seen through the eyes of the myriad characters who come and go in the novel. We become aware how many pieces of the puzzle fit into place by reading between the lines, for Higashino is a master of giving you only so much to go on and the reader having to draw his or her own conclusions. The book shifts gears toward the end becoming much more of a thriller as the pages run down and the ultimate truth is revealed only at the end. Wondrous and absolutely impossible to put down, Under the Midnight Sun is another triumph for this master of the genre who will undoubtedly win new fans with this marvelous mystery novel.
Willnot by James Sallis
Having not read Sallis before, I was totally surprised to find his character of Dr. Lamar Hale so appealing and heart warming. A small town doctor who gets wrapped up in a profound mystery that recalls the brilliance of Le Carre and Russo. Some bodies are found buried in an abandoned yard; a mysterious former Marine sniper shows up after years away; a secretive FBI agent comes to town pursuing the former sniper. Not all is what it seems, for soon the sniper is himself shot, but escapes from the hospital, and the FBI agent may not know the whole truth, or maybe she has her own secrets. When Hale’s partner is also shot, the serene town of Willnot is thrown into chaos. Absorbing and full of beautiful sentences that will mesmerize you, Sallis’ character study will move you with its profound nature.
Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
Victor is an African American working undercover for the US Marshal’s service intent on taking down an organization known for rescuing slaves from the southern states. Did I mention that the Civil War never happened or that Lincoln was assassinated earlier in his political career? These rifts make for an America where slavery holds in the Hard Four and freedom for all does not include all African Americans. Winters has taken what is contemporary to our troubles and placed those ideas in a fictional world where the issues can be examined from a different perspective. Absolutely brilliant and thrilling! Victor’s character will seduce you and make you rethink many things; most importantly, he is tragically flawed and what he really wants will shake everything we take for granted about civil rights, but you will love him too.
You can find copies of the above recommended reads on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.