- 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.
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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Cara Black joins us here at BookPeople to speak and sign her latest Leduc Investigation, Murder in Saint-Germain, this Monday, June 12th at 7 PM. You can find copies of her latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Cara Black was kind enough to answer a few questions about her latest before her upcoming event.
*Warning: those who have not yet finished Murder on the Champs de Mars will find a spoiler in the following interview, although there are no spoilers as to the contents of Black’s latest.
She’s a Parisian. Politics and discussion are in the air all the time. She doesn’t trust the government, the police or sometimes her concierge but she’d do her civic duty because she’d like liberté, égalité and fraternité to be real!
Molly Odintz: Your previous novel in the series, Murder on the Quai, was a prequel, and the book before that in the series, Murder on the Champs de Mars, left readers with a bit of a cliffhanger after a shocking denouement! Was it tricky to figure out how to continue the series and keep up the momentum with Murder in Saint-Germain?
Cara Black: Good question! After the denouement in Murder on the Champs de Mars, I didn’t know what would happen to the characters. This was a game changer. But I had no clue where to go. My editor Juliet said that’s a perfect time to write a prequel and explore Aimée’s origins, how she became a detective, got her dog Miles Davis and meeting her future business partner René. Take her back to 1989 and her year in pre-med and when her father was alive so we finally get to meet him after hearing about him in so many books.
For Murder in Saint-Germain, the challenge was to forge ahead in Aimée’s ‘present’ life in 1999, her real time, and see how she was dealing with being a single mama, having an eight month old and balancing work and the man in her life. And still be a fashionista. But once I started, I just picked up with her life and put her in a hot rainy July on the Left Bank working at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and with her baby sitter going on vacation; then the story took off.
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Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz
I’ve adored Cara Black’s ever-so-stylish Aimée Leduc Investigations ever since I first picked up my sister’s well-worn copy of Murder in the Marais over ten years ago. My Francophile sister and I read everything we could about France, so of course we would fall in love with a series that started in Paris’ historic Jewish quarter, wherein we have wandered, thought about the past and eaten falafel, while appreciating the neighborhood’s mélange of old and new, gay and cis, Jewish and Muslim, and global and local. The reasons I initially fell in love with the series are personal and simple, but the series itself portrays a complex and richly detailed world, full of evolving relationships, tie-ins to French politics, and some seriously chic style.
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This month covers the big three of crime fiction protagonists: cops, private eyes, and criminals.
Finally, Officer Henry Farell of rural Pennsylvania returns for a second book that somehow tops Bouman’s Edgar-award-winning debut, Dry Bones. After a hippie is found murdered, investigators suspect her abusive relationship as the cause, but they soon expand widen the net as the case becomes a sordid mixture of drugs, class conflict, and more killings. A compelling hero immersed in a vivid place and beautiful writing. Fateful Mornings comes out June 27th. Pre-order now!
A career criminal crosses an Aryan gang who kills his ex-wife for retribution and now has sights on his eleven year old daughter, forcing him to go on one hellish road trip with her. Harper’s debut novel is a hard boiled rocket ride through a sunburned California of lost societies, violent men, and where love has to be many forms of tough. Jordan will be joining us on our New Voices Of Noir panel with Bill Loehfelm and Rob Hart on July 26th. She Rides Shotgun comes out today! You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Aimee Leduc, still grieving the loss of her father and consumed by the needs of her new bebe, is one busy detective in Cara Black’s latest. Leduc Investigations is hard at work on a corporate espionage case, much to Rene’s satisfaction. When an old friend reaches out to Aimee after spotting a war criminal in a local cafe, then goes missing, Aimee has even more on her plate. Despite her busy schedule, she’s still the definition of effortless Parisian chic – read this book if you like detectives that can kick butt in 5-inch heels! (In fact, read the whole series.) Cara Black joins us to speak and sign her latest Leduc Investigation on Monday, June 12th, at 7 PM. You can find copies of Murder in Saint Germain on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.