Molly’s Top 10 U.S.-set Crime Novels of 2015

2015 has been an eclectic year for crime novels. Below, you’ll find historical fiction, reissues, domestic suspense, sophisticated city thrillers, and coincidentally, several books detailing the nightmarish and inescapable legacy of high school. Whether you are looking for dark and dense or light and playful, there’s a book on this list guaranteed to tickle your fancy. 

1. In a Lonely Place by Dorothy Hugheswomen crime writers 1940s

Hughes’ tale of an homme fatale turns the sexualized imagery of crime novels on its head, and like much of the genre, once again reminds us how to find the eroticism in death, and the violence in sex. In a Lonely Place, after decades out of print, is now available as part of the Library of America’s collection Women Crime Writers of the 40s & 50s.

2. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegheileen

In Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh takes us on the tour of small town life in mid-century America. Eileen, a repressed juvenile prison administrator stuck taking care of her drunk father in their filthy house, is fearful and disgusted by virtually every bodily function or urge. When a glamorous new coworker joins the prison staff as the new juvenile therapist, the two form an intense bond, liberating each from the confines of their historical context.

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MysteryPeople Review: MR. KISS AND TELL, by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

mr kiss and tell-Post by Molly

When I first came to the world of detective novels, as a fresh-faced blond suburbanite whose thoughts did not match her surroundings, I worried that I would never find the hard-boiled equivalent of me. Horror fans had Buffy and Willow, the fantasy world had Xena and Gabrielle. Crime fiction, seemingly written exclusively from a male point-of-view, had only dames, hookers, and the occasional wife or girlfriend, but no female figures to identify with as reader. I had yet to learn of the long history of renowned female crime fiction novelists, many of whom are long out of print, and others recently returned to the shelf.

When a family friend lent me Veronica Mars, I instantly fell in love with the series and its tough-talking heroine. Veronica Mars passed the Bechdel Test with flying colors in her strong friendships with women and her refusal to accept stereotypical roles. When the TV show ended, I said my sad farewell to my favorite detective heroine, but I should have known, in the era of fandom and the internet, nothing that good ever goes away forever.

And so Veronica Mars and her helpful cohort of misfits returned; first in a film, and now in a book series.The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, the first Veronica Mars Investigation novel, came out last year and picked up right where the film left off. In true Veronica Mars fashion, Veronica’s private life and private investigations become quickly intertwined as the search to find a missing spring breaker turns into a jarring confrontation with Veronica’s mother, searching for her missing stepdaughter in a case that appears to be linked to the previous disappearance.

Rob Thomas’ latest continuation of the series, Mr. Kiss and Tell, released on January 20th, has Veronica once again disrupting the lives of Neptune’s high and mighty when she is hired by the staff at the Neptune Grande to investigate a rape allegation against one of their staff members. Little does the hotel know that Veronica Mars is always the victim’s advocate, no matter who hires her. Memories of her own sexual assault return as she doggedly pursues every lead to locate the assailant, but more than one hidden truth must come out before Veronica can find her way towards the perpetrator and an appropriate punishment to fit the deed.

Mr. Kiss and Tell is tightly plotted, with the same complex morality, witty dialogue, and diabolical sleuthing of the series. Rob Thomas enjoys his freedom from the strictures of the television world, and is using the books to incorporate a wider cast of characters and locales, as well as to explore his characters’ thoughts with the intimacy of third person omniscient narration. Mr. Thomas has taken Veronica Mars from a series, to a film, to a book series, and here’s to the Veronica-verse – may it be, like our own, ever-expanding.

Copies of Mr. Kiss and Tell: A Veronica Mars Investigation are available on our shelves and via Rob Thomas comes to BookPeople Friday, January 30, at 7 pm on BookPeople’s second floor. The speaking portions of all BookPeople events are free and open to the public; you must purchase a book to enter the signing line. Can’t make it to the event? You can order a copy of the book to be signed on our website!

Want to discuss the book with your favorite mystery book club, the 7% Solution? We will meet Monday, February 2, at 7 pm on BookPeople’s third floor, to discuss this wonderful read.

Three Picks for January

Here are three new releases from some of our favorite authors to herald in the New Year. With such good reads to start out the year, 2015 is sure to be full of many more top notch mysteries.


the martini shot

Martini Shot by George Pelecanos

Martini Shot is a collection of the short work of D.C. crime writer George Pelecanos, including a new novella dealing with the TV and film business the collection is named after. Everything great about modern hard-boiled writing is encapsulated by the work of Pelecanos.

dead red  Dead Red by Tim O’Mara

High school teacher Ray Donne is pulled into his policeman past when an ex-cop friend is murdered in front of him inside a cab. To find the killer he has to team up with his shady former partner. The best book in an already great series.


mr kiss and tell   Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

The second Veronica Mars book has the Neptune private eye looking into an assault in a ritzy hotel where both staff and victim can’t be trusted. Rob Thomas will be January 30th, at 7 pm to speak and sign. Jennifer Graham will join the Seven Percent Book Club February 2nd, at 7 pm, in discussing this fantastic addition to the series.

You can find copies of the books listed above on our shelves and via



First, Veronica Mars was a series. Then, Veronica Mars became a kickstarter campaign. As a result, Veronica Mars became a movie, and now the franchise continues with Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham’s original novel, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line.

Come join the 7% Solution book club on Monday, June 2nd at 7PM, as we discuss this highly entertaining addition to the world of Veronica Mars. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line picks up right after the conclusion of the film. With her boyfriend Logan off in the navy and her father recovering from his injuries, Veronica is running Mars Investigations. As the book opens, she hasn’t snagged a case in quite some time and is beginning to wonder how she will pay the bills. Luckily for Veronica, a wealthy former underwear model and current representative of the Neptune Chamber of Commerce offers her a large sum of money to take over the investigation of a young spring breaker’s disappearance. Mars Investigations is once again, financially solvent, and Veronica is, once again, on the case.

We will be discussing The Thousand Dollar Tan Line at 7PM, Monday, June 2nd. Hope to see you there!

The 7% Solution Book Club meets on the first Monday of every month at at 7PM to explore the worlds of fiction’s greatest mysteries. Don’t miss out, the game is already afoot.