Mystery
Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

This was one of the most popular books on the blog last summer. In the idyllic small town of Three Pines, Quebec, where people don’t even lock their doors, a beloved local woman is found in the woods with an arrow shot through her heart. The locals believe it must be a hunting accident, but the police inspector senses something is off. The story is constructed as a classic whodunit but it feels like anything but, with its deliberate pacing, dry wit, and lyrical writing. A stunningly good first novel. Still Life is the first in a series (of 11 books to date) that keeps getting better. For fans of Jacqueline Winspear. Great on audio.

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Veronica Mars #2: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Veronica Mars #2: Mr. Kiss and Tell

$9.99$6.79

This second Veronica Mars novel picks up right where the movie left off, with a case that hits uncomfortably close to home for Veronica. A woman is left for dead after a brutal assault at the Neptune Grand, and rather than call in the corrupt and incompetent local sheriff, the Grand’s owners turn to Veronica to prove—or disprove—the woman’s story. This standalone mystery is filled with snarky humor, twists and turns, and cameos by old favorites (even Leo!) and oozes with the spunk and intelligence of the show. This reads just like an episode of the show. So much fun for marshmallows. (Hot tip: the audio version is read by Kristen Bell.)

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The Accident

The Accident

This literary thriller revolves around a manuscript called The Accident, which reveals a damning secret that has been successfully kept for twenty-five years. When the new manuscript mysteriously appears on a literary agent’s desk, all hell breaks loose, beginning with the murder of her assistant. The action unfolds over the course of one desperate, dangerous day, as powerful forces ruthlessly attempt to contain the damage. Featuring some of the same characters from Pavone’s first novel, The Expats. A fast-moving page-turner.

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I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

Best thriller, best of 2014, best debut: every conversation I’ve had about this book has been laced with superlatives. It was a good book (although I wouldn’t want to burden any book with those kinds of expectations). Two problems: while I like big, thick books, there aren’t any doorstops in the reading guide (well, at least not to the tune of its 700 pages). And some of the storylines are pretty gruesome. Okay, seriously gruesome. Strong narrative drive, intriguing plot, but maybe not a crowd-pleaser. At least not this crowd.

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Case Histories

Case Histories

In this first installment in Atkinson's detective series, Brodie investigates three cold cases that seem to be strangely related. This was an excellent detective novel, with good writing and strong characterization, and reminded me very much of Tana French. But like Tana French, some of the content was seriously disturbing. Recommended, with caution.

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A Town Like Alice

A Town Like Alice

Nevil Shute’s best-known and most-loved novel, and one my mom has loved for as long as I can remember. I've read it once, but not for a long time. This is the story of a young Englishwoman who miraculously survived a Japanese “death march” in World War II, and of an Australian soldier who risked his life to for help her and her friends. The book's assumptions are a bit dated, but the story endures.

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The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel

The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel

This book appeared on Modern Mrs Darcy as a <a href=https://modernmrsdarcy.com/books-worth-binge-reading/>Book Worth Binge Reading</a>. Readers love it or hate it.

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The Expats: A Novel

The Expats: A Novel

I just finished this debut novel from my summer reading list last night. I'm not sure if it will stand the test of time (will I be recommending it in a year?) but I read it in a day because I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. (And it's possible my introvert batteries needed recharging, too.)

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The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: a Veronica Mars Mystery

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: a Veronica Mars Mystery

$23.95
Author:
Series: Great Audiobooks
Genre: Mystery

This wasn't high literature or anything, but it was so much fun (and had such good narrative drive) I didn't want to stop until I knew how it ended. Add Audible narration for $7.49.

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The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train

$7.99$4.99

If you've been waiting for the next Gone Girl, get yourself this brand new release immediately and dive in before you hear anything else about it. This tightly-drawn tale of another girl gone is told by three unreliable narrators. It reminded me of Rear Window: it's easy to imagine this on the big screen. Disclaimer: I didn't care for this one, but anyone who loved Gone Girl will disagree with me.

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Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery

Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery

This mystery from the author of The Mother Daughter Book Club came out late last year. Sarah and I are making due with this one while we wait for book #7.

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The Lake House

The Lake House

$12.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Audible)

In 1933, a young child disappeared without a trace. In 2003, a disgraced young detective stumbles upon the cold case and soon discovers its ties to one of England's oldest and most celebrated mystery writer (think Agatha Christie). I absolutely loved reading a mystery novel about a mystery novelist: the pages are filled with fascinating references to the fictional author's writing process and working life.

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The Likeness

The Likeness

In the second of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, detective Cassie Maddux is pulled off her current beat and sent to investigate a murder. When she arrives at the scene, she finds the victim looks just like her, and—even more creepy—she was using an alias that Cassie used in a previous case. The victim was a student, and her boss talks her into trying to crack the case by impersonating her, explaining to her friends that she survived the attempted murder. The victim lived with four other students in a strangely intimate, isolated setting, and as Cassie gets to know them, liking them almost in spite of herself, her boundaries—and loyalties—begin to blur. A taut psychological thriller that keeps you guessing till the end.

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The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Quick Lit 6/15
Genre: Mystery
Tag: Quick Lit

This German novel was first published in 2013 and reminds me of the Jack Nicholson movie As Good as It Gets. I loved the concept: Frenchman Jean Perdu owns a floating bookstore, on a barge in the Seine, and from there he prescribes exactly the right book for every customer. But an earthshaking discovery launches Perdu on a quest with his friends: a bestselling author with writer's block and a lovesick Italian chef. I didn't love this, but I'll give George a try in the future.

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No One Knows

No One Knows

$13.99$1.99Audiobook: 6.59 (Whispersync)

If you love a good edge-of-your-seat thriller, this one's for you. Five years after Aubrey Hamilton's husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee, she glimpses someone that makes her wonder if he might be still alive, and if she ever knew him at all. Ellison flips back and forth between the past and present to slowly reveal what went wrong, and what might happen next. The real fun is in puzzling out who's lying, and why. It's not a perfect novel but it's such a good ride. A real brain bender, perfect for Mary Kubica fans. Take note: this is one of the books I wanted to give the 8-line edit treatment. Published March 22 2016.

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The Secret Place

The Secret Place

The setting: a private girls’ boarding girl. The mission: to pursue the latest clue in a case that’s gone cold. The themes: trust, friendship, and class warfare. (Warning: f-bombs galore, like all French’s books.) Book club highlight: the supernatural. Does it strengthen the plot or not?

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I Let You Go

I Let You Go

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Audible)

In a season where every suspense novel is expected to have a "shocking plot twist!" this tightly-crafted novel makes your jaw drop time and again, without feeling gimmicky or manipulative. I was stunned as I slowly came to see that the story wasn't about what I thought it was about at all. On a dark, rainy night, a mother lets go of her son's hand for just an instant. The devastating accident sets the plot in motion. Part police procedural, part domestic suspense, with the ring of authenticity, no doubt thanks to Mackintosh's own 12 years as a police officer. This is an emotional roller coaster of a book. (Sensitive themes ahead, so mind your triggers.)

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In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad Book 1)

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad Book 1)

It’s no coincidence there are two Tana French books on this list: she writes a great book club novel. This is her first book in the Dublin Murder Squad, and it’s seriously disturbing. But if your book club can stomach it, you can talk about psychopaths and supernatural disturbances. Book club highlight: the ending.

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Jane Steele

Jane Steele

Jane Eyre lovers, you can relax: while Faye—and her heroine, Jane Steele—draw serious inspiration from Jane Eyre, It draws serious inspiration from Brontë's classic, it's not a retelling. Instead, it's delightfully meta: our titular narrator tells us the inspiration to write down her story came from "the most riveting book titled Jane Eyre." This Jane is a wise-cracking, whipsmart, unconventional young woman who rebels against Victorian convention, but she has a heart of gold. Though not a retelling, there are numerous winks to the original novel: Jane becomes a governess, there's a stand-in for Mr. Rochester, and of course, something important is locked away in an attic. Perfect for readers who love plucky Victorian heroines, like you'd find in Deanna Raybourn novels. Published March 22 2016.

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Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

It was supposed to be the perfect crime. But an avalanche stops the Orient Express in its tracks just before a passenger is found murdered in his berth, foiling the perpetrator's getaway, and trapping 13 potential suspects—each with an airtight alibi—in the train car with Inspector Hercule Poirot. If you've seen the movie, take note: Branagh changes Christie's ending. Hot tip: Dan Stevens's audio narration is fantastic.

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All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls

This nail-biter unravels the story of two girls who disappeared from the same tiny North Carolina town a decade apart. Ten years ago Nicolette Farrell left her hometown for good after her best friend vanished without a trace. She was never going back, but when she gets the call that her dad is sick she reluctantly heads home. Shortly after her arrival another girl vanishes—right after she'd been asking too many questions about the first girl's disappearance. The real twist here is the interesting format: after a short prologue, the story is told in reverse, starting with day 15 of the mystery and workings backwards to day 1. This would feel like a cheap trick if done poorly but it wasn't, and I loved it. If you need characters you can root for, this isn't the book for you. But if you love a creepy mystery in an evocative setting that is practically a character in its own right, bump this to the top of your list. A dark kind of fun. Publication date June 28 2016.

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Maisie Dobbs Book 1

Maisie Dobbs Book 1

Apparently I like to binge-read mysteries. This is the first installment of the instantly beloved British mystery series set between the wars, and the accents are to die for. This is a series worth binge reading.

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Don’t You Cry

Don’t You Cry

Kubica has earned quite the reputation for edge-of-your-seat thrillers with her bestsellers The Good Girl and Pretty Baby, but this is the first of hers I've read. When her ever-reliable roommate goes missing, Quinn starts to investigate, and quickly discovers she may not have known her friend at all. Warning: the flap copy is deliberately misleading. I liked this well enough, even though it didn't make the cut for the Summer Reading Guide. Publication date May 17 2016.

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A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 11.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Best novels of 2015
Genre: Mystery
Tag: Quick Lit

Penny's mysteries are alternately centered in the cozy village of Three Pines and the wider world. For this excellent follow-up to the game-changing Bury Your Dead, Inspector Gamache returns to Three Pines to solve a murder that's intimately tied to the world of fine art. The story is built around the concept of chiaroscuro—the contrast between dark and light that's significant in some artists' works, and in all our natures. It may sound obtuse, but Penny probes with a light hand. It works.

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You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me

Author:
Series: Quick Lit 9/16
Genre: Mystery
Tag: Quick Lit

A new nail-biter from Thriller Award winner Abbott is always news. She's best known for The Fever, a book I've been meaning to read for ages. I know her by reputation, though I haven't yet read her work, and was surprised to hear her forthcoming novel is focused on an elite teen gymnast, a tragedy that rocks her training facility, and the subsequent unraveling of everything the characters thought they knew about each other. Add Audible narration for $12.99. Publication date July 26 2016.

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Gaudy Night: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane

Gaudy Night: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane

This is Sayers’ tenth Lord Peter novel, her third featuring Harriet Vane, and undoubtedly one of her finest. (They needn’t be read in order, but most of the series are on sale today.) If you love this, go back and read all the Lord Peter mysteries, beginning with Whose Body?

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The Girls in the Garden

The Girls in the Garden

The action in this new suspenseful novel centers around a beautiful private communal garden in London. Most of the neighbors have lived there for years and trust each other implicitly; one family felt lucky to find their new flat when they were displaced from their home after a tragic fire. In the prologue, one of these new neighbors, 12-year-old Grace, is found in a corner of this supposedly idyllic garden, injured and unconscious after a neighborhood party. Jewell flashes back in time to introduce us to all the neighbors, and we discover much to mistrust as we try to figure out what happened to Grace. I read this as a Summer Reading Guide contender, and while it held my attention, it wasn't a favorite. Published June 7, 2016.

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Murder Must Advertise

Murder Must Advertise

Author:
Genre: Mystery

I just love Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novels. In this installment, Wimsey goes undercover at a post London ad agency to investigate a suspicious accident.

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The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, and Unnatural Death

The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, and Unnatural Death

Author:
Genre: Mystery

A special edition of the first three classic mysteries featuring British aristocrat and sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. I'm a big fan of this series.

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Bury Your Dead  (A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery)

Bury Your Dead (A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery)

There was never a question I'd continue with the Inspector Gamache series (although I will say that book 3 wasn't my favorite) but the series moves to the next level in this sixth installment, in which Penny finally brings a plotline she's only hinted at in previous books front and center, and it is riveting.

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