Crooks, murderers, detectives, and spies — a lover of mystery and suspense, Kim is a crime novel enthusiast.
The Perfect Mother is an ingeniously plotted domestic noir thriller with a generous side of spot-on social commentary. The action begins when a group of Brooklynite new mothers are enjoying a baby-free “moms’ night out” and one of their babies is abducted. The story focuses on three of these young mothers as they are engulfed by the ensuing police investigation and media frenzy. Marriages are stressed, careers are in jeopardy, painful secrets become public media fodder, and no one is getting much sleep. Intermittent chapters feature an unreliable mystery narrator, providing more clues to the case. Molloy’s meticulously crafted puzzle ends with a shocking plot twist that deliciously confounds the reader. A movie version is already in the works. Highly recommended for fans of psychological suspense and astute social commentary.
Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth is a violent, propulsive thriller based on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. It involves the struggle for power in an industrial 1970’s Scottish town reeling from unemployment, drug addiction and corruption. A young and ambitious Macbeth becomes the unwitting pawn of a manipulative drug lord, and his descent into drug-fueled brutality drives the action. Layers of treachery, betrayal, guilt and love are woven into the murderous plot, and constantly shifting viewpoints narrate the story. Filled with complex characters, unrelenting violence and technicolor action scenes, this drama is pure Nesbo. For fans of moral dilemmas, Scottish noir and the Bard’s famous play.
The Cutting Edge is a masterful forensic thriller, featuring quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme. After a gruesome triple murder in Manhattan’s diamond district, Rhyme is recruited by his former NYPD partner to help with the investigation. The killer left no clues, and the single witness who called 911 has disappeared. Rhyme and his partner, Amelia Sachs, begin investigating, and numerous plotlines unfold. Geothermal drilling, diamond-rich kimberlite, Manhattan earthquakes, gas-leak fires, a captured Mexican drug lord, a Russian lunatic, and a villainous mastermind in Paris all feature. Rhyme and Sachs use their Sherlockian deductive skills, vast knowledge of forensic science, field expertise, and state-of-the art technology to connect the dots in this intricate thriller. The final plot twist is spectacular. Another home run in the Lincoln Rhyme series, this installment will appeal to fans of puzzle mysteries, page-turning thrillers and C.S.I.
The Echo Killing is the first book in a sparkling new series featuring crime reporter Harper McClain. Sharp and spirited, yet vulnerable, Harper is haunted by the memory of her mother’s brutal, unsolved murder fifteen years ago. After she views a crime scene virtually identical to her mother’s, she begins investigating them both, hoping to find a connection between them that will lead to the killer. In her increasingly desperate and obsessive quest to solve the murders, Harper breaks all the rules, and the law, eventually losing her career, her home, her friends and her lover. Daugherty’s portrayal of crime journalism is fascinating, and her depiction of lush and languid Savannah is glorious. But it is her superbly drawn characters and their engaging dialogue that make this new series a standout. Highly recommended for fans of suspenseful, atmospheric mysteries and strong female protagonists
Sometimes I Lie is a mind-bending, Hitchcockian British thriller complete with a cliffhanger ending. It features a woman in a coma with amnesia, and she is the poster child for unreliable narrators. Events from the present and her ambiguous past comprise the story. As the labyrinthine plot unfolds, the truth repeatedly unravels amid the characters’ dysfunctional relationships, secrets, and lies. The provocative and enigmatic ending has already spawned online conjecture and discussion. A beautifully crafted, taut and diabolically twisty literary thriller, Feeney’s debut is on par with best of the genre. Not to be missed, if you like surprises.
The Sandman is a brilliant, terrifying thriller by Swedish superstar Lars Kepler. It features a young police inspector, Saga Bauer, who goes deep undercover as a patient in a maximum-security psychiatric unit where Sweden’s most dangerous serial killer, Jurek Walter, is serving a life sentence. Her goal is to get him to reveal something that will help the police find one of his victims, who is still alive thirteen years after being buried. But can she outwit him? And survive? Replete with shocking plot twists and the horrifying backstories of the two detectives who caught Jurek thirteen years ago, you may want to sleep with the lights on. Connoisseurs of Scandinavian crime fiction are in for a treat.
Force of Nature is an outstanding atmospheric thriller set in the remote Australian bushland. It involves five women who go on a corporate wilderness survival retreat. Only four of them return. The missing woman is a whistle-blower in a money-laundering scheme involving the accounting firm she works for. The tension builds slowly as the story alternates between the police investigation and the women’s recollections of the harrowing retreat. None of them tell the same story, but it was clearly a cold, wet and terrifying experience fraught with the dangers of both mother nature and human nature. Secrets gradually unfold in this twisty, layered novel, and Harper’s measured reveal and gorgeous prose are a treat. For fans of psychological suspense, wilderness survival, the Australian Outback, and Harper’s previous novel, The Dry.
Sunburn is a modern rendition of a classic noir crime novel. It is the summer of 1995, and Private Investigator Adam Bosk follows the woman he was hired to investigate, Polly Costello, to a sleepy Delaware town. They begin a torrid love affair, and a cunning game of cat-and-mouse unfolds. Polly is a formidably complicated femme fatale, and the plot slow-burns for awhile, then ignites. This retro novel has it all: seduction, deception, corruption, greed, murder, betrayal, and plenty of moral ambiguity. One of Lippman’s best. For fans of psychological thrillers, hardboiled detective novels and classic noir.
The Widows of Malabar Hill is a historical novel set in 1920s Bombay, introducing a Parsi, Oxford-educated woman lawyer, Perveen Mistry. Early in the book Perveen visits a polygamous Muslim household in which women are kept in total seclusion from the outside world. A murder occurs in their mansion, and Perveen gradually uncovers a complicated web of greed and deceit. The haunting traumas of Perveen’s past are revealed, also, and Perveen struggles to defend herself using deeply misogynistic Parsi law. The Widows of Malabar Hill includes a diverse array of characters and a fascinating portrayal of colonial Bombay’s rich multiculturalism. More books in this new series are planned. For fans of historical fiction and lawyer/sleuth novels.
A prison van is hijacked in broad daylight, and a lone prisoner escapes into a waiting car. The fugitive is a disgraced former police Special Branch agent, accused of illegal gun trafficking. But what if he is innocent? Espionage, corruption and clever plotting make The Silent Room a gripping thriller set in northeast England. Mari Hannah’s expert pacing shines as the chapters alternate between the police, the missing prisoner and three rogue agents who secretly engage in their own investigation. Their backstories and humanity help give this thriller a soul, and the pithy British copper dialogue adds to their appeal. Swedish thugs, a Russian whistle-blower, oil rig explosions and a dead brother are part of the the intrigue. For thriller and suspense aficionados.
The Mitford Murders is an engaging Downton Abbey/Agatha Christie mash-up set in the famous Mitford household in post-WWI Britain. It features the real-life unsolved murder of a war nurse who was the goddaughter of Florence Nightingale. A plucky young nursery maid, a railway policeman, and the eldest Mitford daughter, Nancy, team up to investigate the perplexing murder. The ravages of war, gender inequality, class division, and sibling rivalry are woven into the narrative. Five more books are planned for this clever series, each featuring a different Mitford sister. For fans of historical fiction, classic mysteries and Downton Abbey.
This Is What Happened is a mesmerizing psychological thriller with a strikingly clever plot. It begins when an ordinary young woman is recruited by MI5 to install a surveillance program onto a London company’s computer network. The riveting account of her attempt to do this is followed by a shocking plot twist that completely shape-shifts the story. More surprises follow. Mick Herron’s talent is on full display in this compulsively readable book, which includes spies, misogyny, Stockholm Syndrome, missing people, and sisterly love. For fans of psychological suspense and dark, literary thrillers.
The Scarred Woman features the cantankerous Carl Morck’s unusual and likable cold-case team, Department Q. In this book Copenhagen’s Department Q is tasked with investigating the murder of an elderly woman that is suspiciously similar to a cold case from a decade ago. Concurrently, a hit-and-run murderer of young women on welfare is on the loose, and Department Q’s smart and erratic Rose has a breakdown and disappears. The plot lines come together as Carl and his team investigate these cases and frantically search for Rose, before it is too late to save her. This book touches on a number of themes, including welfare system abuse, prostitution, physical disability, psychological abuse, and mental illness, but it is also laced with dark humor, kindness and love. For fans of Nordic noir, cranky detectives, dark humor, and social satire. – Kim
Favorites of 2017 I — a wild thrill-ride of a sequel to IQ, my favorite of 2016, featuring the one and only Sherlock Holmes of the 'hood.
— Sarah & Kim
Best of 2017 [Mystery] — enny won the Anthony award and the Agatha award five times each for this stellar series - enough said.
Best of 2017 [Thriller] — Harry Hole vs. a deranged vampirist serial killer - Nordic noir meets Stephen King.