What I’m looking forward to reading in 2018

What I’m looking forward to reading in 2018 by Meike Alana

2017 has been a fantastic year for crime fiction fans, but 2018 promises to be even better.  Here are just a few titles that I can’t wait to get my hands on:

JANUARY

Dominic by Mark Pryor:  Picking up where Hollow Man left off, the titular Austin attorney/musician (who happens to be a psychopath) continues his murderous ways.

A Reckoning in the Back Country by Terry Shames:  When a resident of Jarrett Creek is mauled by vicious dogs, Texas lawman Samuel Craddock suspects a dog-fighting ring may be operating in his town.

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani:  Originally published in France where it became a #1 bestseller and winner of France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt, it marks the American debut of an exciting new voice in crime fiction

Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner:  Following  last year’s smash thriller Unsub, newly minted FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix investigates a series of murders around the Austin area.

FEBRUARY

Sunburn by Laura Lippman:  The New York Times bestselling author returns with a superb novel of suspense about a woman who knows how to play the long game to get what she wants.

MARCH

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell:  A Victorian gothic tale about a young pregnant widow who is sent off to her late husband’s creepy, crumbling, and possibly haunted estate.

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin:  The award-winning Gaylin brings us an addictive story of psychological suspense told from multiple viewpoints.

APRIL

A Perfect Shot by Robin Yocum:  Yocum’s A Welcome Murder was a 2017 favorite of ours here at MysteryPeople and we can’t wait for this tale of a local basketball star in a small Ohio town who tries to remake his life but instead gets tangled up in murder.

MAY

See Also Proof by Larry Sweazy:  Sweazy’s series featuring North Dakota indexer Marjorie Trumaine is another favorite of ours.  As she’s mourning the recent death of her husband during a particularly harsh winter, she helps investigate the disappearance of a neighbor’s disabled daughter.

JUNE

A Stone’s Throw by James Ziskin:  Ziskin’s series features 1960’s news reporter Ellie Stone, who is one of my personal favorite characters in the genre.  This time the intrepid Ellie investigates a double murder set in the glamorous world of horse racing.

JULY

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott:  The queen of noir (part of the writing team behind HBO’s The Deuce) returns with a mesmerizing psychological thriller about how a secret can bind two friends together forever or ultimately tear them apart.

The Three Beths by Jeff Abbott:  Three women, all with the same name, have gone missing from idyllic Lakehaven.  Given that Abbott is one of the best thriller writers of our day, it’s pretty much a given that this is not a coincidence and that there are some sinister goings on here.

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Matthew’s Top 10 of 2017

We struck gold this year when our former co-editor brought Matthew Turbeville into the MysteryPeople fold. He reads a ton of books, has excellent as well as eclectic taste, and is a talented writer. His top ten list for this year has a wide range and celebrates authors who approach the genre from a unique angle.

 

 A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

This is an odd pick for best crime novel of the year, but this is, at its core, a crime novel.  Two families are interconnected by a horrific crime in which one patriarch murders the other for being an abortion provider.  The novel chronicles the lives of these two families as the children of these fathers grow and become intertwined in a dramatic and amazing fashion.  The conclusion to this novel is not to be missed, as it will somehow break your heart and put it back together—uncharacteristic for Joyce Carol Oates, but yet so fitting for this novel and for this time in our country.

 

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Attica Locke has always been a favorite of mine.  With classics like Black Water Rising and The Cutting Season under her belt, Locke has begun what is hopefully a new series with an excellent protagonist—one of the few black Texas rangers, a man struggling to keep his job and wife, a man who will do anything to find some answers—so much so that he is driven to investigate a double homicide, that of a white woman and black man in rural Texas.  You will be biting at the bit to finish this book, with its world-shaking conclusion.

 

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

I first discovered Wiley Cash with his award-winning This Dark Road to Mercy.  In The Last Ballad, Wiley Cash comes back with full force and total talent to invite his reader back into the past this time, to a young woman’s story (about her life and death)—a mother, a lover, a fighter—and a mystery that will unravel and awe you until its amazing conclusion.  

 

 

Marlena by Julie Buntin

Julie Buntin has become my favorite person, as well as writer, over the course of a year.  She has written a classic in the genre of teenaged stories about lost friendship and, frankly, loss.  Buntin writes of a young woman who looks back on her teenaged friendship with the troubled titular character, who is struggling to keep her family together until the fateful conclusion.  This is a book not to be missed, and a book that has made nearly every best-of list this year.  

 

Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah

I love Sophie Hannah.  All of her books are written with a sort of eloquence and candidness that envelop the reader.  This book is no different, about a married woman from Britain who escapes her family to come to America only to see a ghost—a woman who was believed to be dead, but is in fact possibly alive.  This book certainly does not disappoint, or ease up, just like Hannah’s earlier works.  

 

 

Blame by Jeff Abbott

Jeff Abbott sent me an ARC early this year—a copy of his newest book, Blame, his first novel to feature two primary female protagonists who are struggling with the aftermath of a deadly car accident and the loss of a dear loved one—and a crazed killer who will stop at nothing to cover up the truth.  Don’t miss this new classic of the genre.  It certainly was riveting and unstoppable as the events of the book.  

 

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough made waves with this tale of intrigue and mystery, told from multiple perspectives about the mysteriousness of a young woman having an affair with a married man, and his wife, who we know little about until the very end of the novel—and boy, is that a twist!

 

 

 

Down City by Leah Carroll

Carroll’s debut, a memoir about losing both of her parents to violence and tragedy of different sorts, is as eye-opening as it is compelling.  Carroll is certainly a talent that one should keep her eye on, as she is working on a novel currently—but don’t look over this instant classic of true crime and loss.  Down City was one of my very favorite books of the year.

 

 

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda

Ivy Pochoda has had a very good year this year.  Wonder Valley was well received by most critics, acclaimed by fellow authors, and became well known through publicity on early morning television and word-of-mouth.  This book, a crime novel about how we are all interconnected, is the new LA novel, a welcome accompaniment to James Ellroy and Megan Abbott’s earlier work, and an ecstatic read at that.

 

 

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins’ sophomore effort was a success both financially and critically.  This book, about mysterious drownings, decade old mysteries, and more, is a bit less un-put-down-able than its predecessor, a bit more literary and meticulous in its writing. Hawkins does not disappoint with Into the Water, which was a welcome addition to a year full of wonderful books in 2017.  

Top 5 Texas Crime Novels

This year Texas crime fiction had two distinctive elements. One was a deeper look at race relations in our state that serve as a microcosm for our country. the other was the return or the heroic Texas Ranger. Both helped create books that were socially aware, were packed with fun action, or both. Here were what I thought were the five finest.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

This book fuses the western with crime fiction with a black Texas Ranger trying to solve a murder involving white supremacists to look at the politics involved in race and and culture. A great entertaining genre read as well as insightful social study.

 

 

Rusty Puppy by Joe Lansdale

Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard take a case involving an African American’s murder that puts them up against a corrupt police force in a nearby town and an illegal fight game in an abandoned saw mill. One of Lansdale’s best plotted with all the fun we’ve come to expect from the man.

An Unsettling Case For Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames

Shames takes us back to Samuel Craddock’s first case as  police chief involving an arson and murder that picks at the town’s racial tensions. Shames further proves her talent at delving into the society of a small town and delivering an engaging whodunit.

 

 

Hawke’s Prey by Reavis Wortham

If Larry McMurtry wrote Die Hard. The citizens of a small south Texas town are held hostage in the local court house by a cadre of terrorists. Ranger Sonny Hawke and a rag-tag crew of citizens outside are ready to teach the bad guys a lesson in “Don’t Mess With Texas.”

Sierra Blanca by Don M. Patterson

A washed up CIA agent teams up with a ranger in the eighties to take down a soviet plot  involving a drug cartel and stolen plutonium. Full of gun fights, frayed machismo, and the right amount of self awareness, this rollicking action story keeps moving until the final period.

MysteryPeople Makes the List!

Mystery transparent_1000pxMysteryPeople has recently been featured on Feedspot’s list of the Top 50 Mystery Blogs around today, and we couldn’t be more proud to share list space with sites like The Strand Mystery Magazine, Mystery Writers of America, Killer Characters, ReviewingtheEvidence.com, and the Seattle Mystery Bookstore. We’re ranked number 17 on the list – plus we’re the highest ranked bookstore blog!

We’ve also got plenty of strange bedfellows on the list, given the multiple meanings of “mystery,” so those looking for blogs featuring paranormal mysteries, ancient aliens, Reddit discussions of unsolved crimes, and more, take a look at this fascinating list (which does primarily feature mystery fiction review sites).

Thanks to Feedspot, the authors who inspire us, and our loyal readers for helping us make our mark in the blog scene!

See the full Feedspot list. 

Scott’s Top Ten of 2017 (So Far)

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Around this time of the year, we like to look back on what has come out so far in the year as we think of suggestions for reading for the rest of the summer. Below, you’ll find recommended reads that deserve their due. In fact some are so good I had to combine a few, so my top ten is a top twelve.

97800626644191. The Force by Don Winslow

I know, an obvious choice, but it is so obviously great. This epic look at today’s New York through police eyes has plot, character, and theme singing together in this opera of city corruption. You can find copies of The Force on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

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Molly’s Top Ten International Crime Fiction of 2017 (so far)

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

After this 4th of July, I find myself thinking of other places, far from here – and the fantastic crime novels set there. Below, you’ll find a list of recommended summer reads for the international crime fiction enthusiast. This year, I’ve had a historical theme to my reading, although most of the works listed below are in communication with our modern sensibilities as much as they represent a window into the past. Not much else unifies the selections below, and perhaps that’s part of why I love international crime fiction; it celebrates the diversity of world experience in a way impossible to find in a single nation’s literature. All are great crime novels, and each one should make for perfect summer reading for the armchair traveler. 

1. The Long Drop by Denise Mina9780316380577

Denise Mina’s first historical novel is a better than the words I know to describe it – almost impossibly good. Mina bases her latest on the trial of Peter Manuel, a serial killer in midcentury Glasgow, and splits her narrative between the lurid details of the trial and the pub crawl from hell as Peter Manuel and William Watt, the surviving patriarch of a murdered family, go from bar to bar, sinking deeper into the Glasgow underworld and getting closer to admiting their most private truths to one another. The more we get to know Watt and Manuel, the more sinister the trial of Peter Manuel becomes, heightened in tension by the dramatic irony of what we know and what the jury suspects, but can’t quite allow themselves to contemplate…A knowing, mature and sympathetic portrait of a society defined by violence and proud of it, that we may now judge and find wanting. You can find copies of The Long Drop on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

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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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