If you like Tana French…

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

French has a reputation across the world for designing cases that bring her protagonists’ darkest desires into play, and creating murder victims that psychologically mirror (and sometimes physically, as in The Likeness) the detectives working on the case. Her latest, The Trespasser, features a model-thin corpse, a bunch of good ole’ boy detectives, and Antoinette Conway, odd woman out at the police station, driven to solve the case by the mocking challenges of her peers, plus the usual Tana French resonance between the case and Conway’s past. Here are three stories that exploit unstable identities, distorted reflections, and the weight of the past to comment upon the anxieties of our times.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz9781451686630

In Lisa Lutz’s latest, The Passenger, two women on the run meet in a bar in Austin, form an alliance, and switch identities, hoping to outwit their pursuers. Lutz has created a fascinating meditation on the changeable nature of identity – but her slow reveals and tense travel sequences keep The Passenger moving at highway speed. You can find copies of The Passenger on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9780143108573Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

Flynn Berry’s debut, Under the Harrow, takes the reader to a remote village, where city girl Nora has just arrived to visit her sister Rachel, only to find the sister and her guard dog murdered. An attack by a slasher marred her sister’s teenage years, and police have in mind a recently released convict for both crimes, yet Nora suspects the village, and its secrets, may have more to do with Rachel’s death. Like Tana French, Flynn Berry weaves past and present together for their themes – not their coincidences. You can find copies of Under the Harrow on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9780765336378Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

In Rachel Howzell Hall’s L.A.-set debut, Land of Shadows, Eloise “Lou” Martin is a homicide detective with a porsche, but she won’t let herself forget that she comes from a poor neighborhood in South Central La and her porsche showed up as a “sorry, baby” gift from her cheating, game-designer husband. When a cheerleader is found murdered at a controversial construction site, real estate moguls clash with neighborhood leaders as the investigation stalls construction. Martin is out to get justice for the young woman, whose murder reminds her of her sister’s disappearance 20 years before, and she’s out to get a little justice for the neighborhood too. Personal vengeance mixes with housing policy to create a complex, multifaceted tale of murder, investigation and consequences. You can find copies of Land of Shadows on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

If you like James Lee Burke…

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery


James Lee Burke
has helped draw general fiction fans over to the genre with his rich literary prose and complex heroes like Dave Robicheaux. If you’re shopping for a fan who has read everything of his or are a fan yourself, here are books by three authors who share Burke’s style or approach to writing.

bayou trilogyThe Bayou Trilogy by Daniel Woodrell

Woodrell has a wonderful sense of place and prose as these three collected novels featuring Rene Shade, a police detective in a corrupt bayou parish with family that have a foot on the other side of the law. Poetic writing with vivid spots of sudden violence. You can find copies of The Bayou Trilogy on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9781453247136Coyote Wind by Peter Bowen

Montana cattle inspector, sometime deputy, part Metise Indian, and champion fiddle player Gabriel DuPre in a character with an indelible voice. In his first appearance has him looking into discovered wreckage of a thirty year old plane crash that holds a headless and handless corpse that leads to his own family secrets. A great look at culture on the fringes. You can find copies of Coyote Wind on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

last good kissThe Last Good Kiss by James Crumley

As far as I’m concerned the greatest private eye novel there is. Vietnam veteran, bartender, and sometime detective C.W. Shugrue travels with modern west with an alcoholic writer in search of a missing daughter and possibly a vanishing America. What Hunter S. Thompson did in journalism and Pekinpah did in film, Crumley did in crime fiction.You can find copies of The Last Good Kiss on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

If you like Michael Connelly…

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Michael Connelly is the current king of the police procedural. His dogged and damaged Detective Harry Bosch is a character we not only root for, but care for. Here are books with several protagonists in that mold.

9780399167263Out Of The Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce

Boyce, a former Atlanta police officer herself, has her newly minted APD detective Sarah Alt, aka Salt, catch a cold case of a blues musician’s murder. She ends up unraveling a part of the city’s shadow history where race, religion, politics, and music all meet. A great example of a protagonist interacting with her environment.  You can find copies of Out of the Blues on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9781455527410The Abbey by Chris Culver

Ash Rashad, a Muslim cop in Indianapolis, learns the body of his niece was found in a rich man’s apartment and written off as an overdose. Compromising his job and faith, his investigation leads to many of the city’s power players and one mysterious club. An intriguing hero melded with a great plot. You can find copies of The Abbey on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

9780399173035Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman

The first in what I hope will be a long series featuring Gus Murphy, a former Suffolk County cop licking the wounds life gave him as he works as a courtesy van driver for a hotel. When asked by a petty criminal he used to arrest to look into the murder of his son, not only has to put his life on the line, he is confronted with who he has become. Looking forward to where this character is going. You can find copies of Where It Hurts on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

If You Like Myron Bolitar & Win….

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780525955108Recently, Harlan Coben delivered a new Myron Bolitar novel, Home, after what seemed like a long wait. One of the keys to the success of this series is his relationship with his rich and lethal buddy, Win. If you like great banter with a sketchy sidekick who always has the hero’s back, here are three other crime fiction bromances I’d suggest. You can find copies of Coben’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Signed copies available!

Hugo Marston & Tom Green

Created by Mark Pryor

the booksellerFirst Book Together: The Bookseller

Hugo Marston, the square-jawed head of security at the American Embassy in Paris, has a sense of morality that could put a boy scout to shame. For morally ambiguous tasks, he often relies on a friend from his FBI days, Tom Green. Tom works with the CIA, has no filter and will drink anything in a bottle and chase anyone in a skirt. Anybody who has a dealt with a self destructive, yet entertaining friend will recognize these two.

Spenser and Hawk

Created by Robert Parker

9780440171973First Book Together: Promised Land

Hired gun Hawk was brought in by the bad guys during the fourth book in Robert B. Parker’s series to take on white knight PI Spenser. and ended up as the textbook detective-sidekick relationship. Whether written by creator Parker or torch carrier Ace Atkins, these books show how this kind relationship is done.

Easy Rawlins & Mouse

Created by Walter Mosley

devil in a blue dressFirst Book Together: Devil In A Blue Dress

Takes the peaceful-hero-violent-sidekick relationship to a higher, more complex level. While the sociopath buddy often allows the crime fiction hero’s hands to be clean with the results obtained, Easy is all too aware of his complicity in bringing Mouse into his dangerous games. It also shows how society and racism can push two unlikely people together.

If you like Longmire…

We are getting ready for our favorite sheriff to come to town. Craig Johnson will be here at BookPeople on Tuesday, September 13th at 7 PM to sign and discuss An Obvious Fact, his latest novel to feature Sheriff Walt Longmire, our Pick Of the Month for September. Craig’s visit just so happens to coincide with the book’s release date, so be one of the first to get a copy and one of the first to get it signed! You can find more information about the event and pre-order signed, personalized copies here. If you can’t get enough Longmire, and you’d like to hang out with similar lawmen, we though of these fine gentlemen.


Gabriel Du Pré (creator Peter Bowen)9781497676589

This Montana cattle inspector (or “cow ass inspector” as he refers to his profession) is not only a good investigator, but a champion fiddle player as well. His Métis French-Indian background gives him a unique perspective on Montana culture.

First appearance: Bitter Creek by Peter Bowen


Manny Tanno (creator C.M. Wendelboe)9780425240021

An FBI agent sent back to the place he couldn’t wait to leave, South Dakota’s Lakota Reservation. Along with murder, he has to deal with his old high school rival, now the tribal police chief; his brother, a native rights activist and sometimes suspect; and his old flame. A very human and often humorous look at life on the rez.

First appearance: Death Along the Spirit Road by C. M. Wendelboe


9780393350784Officer Henry Farrell (creator Tom Bouman)

Another fiddle playing lawman, this time in rural Pennsylvania. His jurisdiction and authority can sometimes be questionable, but the violence brought into his town by the meth trade isn’t. Picture a younger Walt Longmire dropped into Daniel Woodrell’s world.

Only appearance (so far): Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

If you liked THE CARTEL, by Don Winslow…

  • Recommendations from Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

the cartelOne of the biggest books this year was Don Winslow’s The Cartel, a dark, violent, yet human look at the drug war and its effect on Mexico. For more crime fiction covering Mexico, past and present, I suggest these books.


9780615916545Federales by Chris Irvin

This novella about a former Mexican agent protecting a mayor who has taken on the cartels is the solemn and moving chamber piece to The Cartel‘s symphony. Both use the actual politician, Maria Gorriesta Santos, as a template for a major character. You can find copies of Federales on our shelves and via bookpeople.com


9781489561541Quick by Billy Kring

If The Cartel didn’t give you enough grim violence on the border this one will. The Quick has one of the scariest villains I’ve read in the past few years and I read a lot of books with scary dudes. You can find copies of Quick on our shelves and via bookpeople.com


9780805091298The Return by Michael Gruber

When a book editor gets a mysterious diagnosis, he fills a van full of guns, grabs his loose canon buddy from Vietnam, and heads south of the border to settle some scores. A rich prose style and engaging characters give us a look at life and death in Old Mexico. You can find copies of The Return on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

If you like John le Carré…

  • Recommendations from bookseller and mystery blogger Molly Odintz

I’ve always enjoyed tales of espionage, whether they be the glamorous exploits of international men of mystery, the paranoid ramblings of an everyman caught as a pawn between spies, or the delicate and devastating critiques of washed-up bureaucrats tired of destroying nations from their armchairs.

The latter two categories, in particular, drew me to the work of John le Carré. Along with Graham Greene, in such classic works as The Quiet American and Our Man in Havana, le Carré’s clear analysis of the Cold War, bitter condemnation of corrupt and uncaring nations, and compassionate insight into its unwilling victims have hugely influenced portrayals of the Cold War since the early 1960s.

Le Carré’s work since the fall of the Berlin Wall has shifted to a critique of unregulated capitalism and its devastating environmental and health effects. Meanwhile,  declassified documents on both sides of the pond and access to Soviet sources have led to a flowering of historical scholarship covering topics which, at the start of le Carré’s time, found a home only fiction. Below, you’ll find recommendations (both fiction and non-fiction) for the fan of le Carré’s work. 
Read More »