Meike Alana truly became a trusted member of MysteryPeople this year. As author Josh Stallings said, “She looks normal, but she’s just as crazy as we are.” Her tastes run the gamut to traditional, to thriller, to noir, but as you can see in her top 10 for 2016, she has great taste. The listing is in no particular order.
- Post by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana
1. You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
No one plumbs the depths of teen girl depravity quite like Ms. Abbott and she’s done it again in this gripping tale of psychological suspense. Gymnast Devon Knox is a prodigy seemingly destined for gymnastics gold, and her family will go to any lengths to help her fulfill those dreams. When a handsome young man is violently killed, rumors begin to swirl and it becomes apparent that her dreams may be at risk.
2. The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
I’ve often thought it wouldn’t be all that hard to adopt a new identity—cut and color your hair, get some glasses, throw on a hat and some baggy clothes. Tanya Dubois must do exactly that after she comes home to find her husband dead—although she knows it was an accident, she’s sure the police will suspect her so she packs a suitcase, changes her look, and heads for Texas. There she’s taken in by bartender Blue; running from her own past, Blue soon convinces Tanya to trade identities with her and things get a little crazy.
3. Young Americans by Josh Stallings
Throw a heist story in a blender with glitter, drugs, and disco; add characters like a stripper who learned the fine art of safe-cracking at her grandfather’s knee and a badass ex-Marine transsexual; you get a rollicking thrill ride of a mystery. Groove to the sound of David Bowie as you blow through the year’s best heist novel!
4. The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens
When a wealthy socialite is brutally murdered, suspicion immediately falls upon her husband. Although he claims to have an alibi, a neighbor reports seeing him at the scene on the night of the murder and he’s arrested and charged with murder. The investigating detective is convinced the police have the right man in custody; his good friend, who is counsel for the defense, is equally certain his client is innocent. Both men will go to any lengths to prove their position, even though it threatens to destroy their friendship. Fantastic twists in this one!
5. The Paris Librarian by Mark Pryor
I’ve been a fan of Pryor’s Paris-based series featuring Hugo Marston, head of security at the US Embassy, since his debut with “the Bookseller” several years ago. In this latest, Pryor tries his hand at the classic locked room mystery when a body is discovered in the basement of the American Library in Paris and Hugo is called to investigate. Stock up on croissants, you’ll be craving them with café au lait as you read this atmospheric European thriller.
6. See Also Deception by Larry Sweazy
Marjorie Trumaine lives on an isolated North Dakota farm with her disabled husband Hank, where she works as an indexer to make ends meet. When her friend Calla Eltmore, the local librarian, is found dead the police believe she committed suicide, but Marjorie is certain that’s not the case and sets out to uncover the truth. In the process she uncovers myriad small town secrets that put her safety in peril.
7. Heart of Stone by James Ziskin
Ziskin’s protagonist, Ellie Stone, is one of my favorite characters in the genre—a confident 1960’s twenty-something girl reporter with a taste for strong whiskey and fast men. While Ellie enjoys a late-summer holiday at her aunt and uncle’s Adirondacks lake property, two dead bodies are found on a nearby beach. The local police chief believes these were victims of suicide, and asks Ellie to photograph the bodies as evidence. But Ellie believes something more sinister may be behind the deaths and becomes determined to find out what really happened.
8. The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake by Terry Shames
This latest installment of Shames’ series, set in the fictional small Texas town of Jarrett Creek, finds police chief Samuel Craddock investigating the murder of a young woman who has recently returned to her home town after a lengthy stay in a mental institution. Craddock soon finds himself dealing with not only murder, but multiple layers of secrets and deception that someone is determined to keep hidden.
9. His Right Hand by Mettie Ivie Harrison
Harrison is a practicing Mormon and has written an incredibly unique series featuring Linda Walheim, the wife of a bishop in the Mormon church. Linda’s tight-knit LDS community is thrown into upheaval when their ward’s second counselor—one of the bishops’ right hand men—is found murdered. But when the autopsy reveals that this devout Mormon, a loving husband and father who was a pillar of the community, was a biological female, church officials seem more concerned with covering up the murder than with solving it. Linda must step in, and in the process Harrison explores the LDS stance on gender and sexual identity. The series provides an unprecedented glimpse inside the secretive Mormon Church and presents multiple sides to some of the complex issues its members and leaders are grappling with today.
10. Dollar Signs by Manning Wolfe
Austin attorney Merit Bridges likes her wine chilled and her men hot (and on the younger side). In order to protect one of her clients, she goes after a shady corporation that’s taking property from innocent people—aided by her bad-ass office manager Betty (she of the Ann Richards hair, motherly attitude, and smart mouth) , uber-fashionable paralegal Val, and investigator Ag (who wants more than friendship from Merit). A fantastic debut, and Austin residents will have fun identifying local landmarks.
You can find all of the books listed above on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.