The mystery genre is always diverse, but this month authors released books that fell all across the spectrum. There were stories of mysterious deaths, dead bodies surprising people in the most unexpected locales and psychological thrillers that will have you double checking the locks on your doors. This month also saw the release of a book that won the rare honor of an RT Top Pick Gold! which was awarded to Gillian Flynn’s latest. And readers welcomed debut author Elizabeth Haynes with open arms. Plus we take a look at several must-read cozies in this month’s mystery roundup!
THE GOLD STANDARD
In the world of RT ratings, a Top Pick Gold! is very rare. More than the 4 ½ star Top Pick, the books that earn a Gold rating are few and far between. This is the highest honor that an RT reviewer can give a book. These gold-rated novels that don’t just deserve a spot on your keeper shelf, they are phenomenal reads in a class by themselves. Simply put, these are the creme de la creme of genre fiction.
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl won this highest of ratings from RT’s former Senior Editor and Reviews Coordinator Stephanie Klose. This Southern-small town set story of a woman’s disappearance may cause you to look twice at your beloved and wonder what is really going on in their head. Want to learn more? Check out what Stephanie said about this twisted story of suspense:
"I almost wish I’d never read Gone Girl just so I could read it again for the first time. Flynn is utterly masterful at manipulating expectations and sympathies to make you think you know the score — only to rip not just the rug out from under your feet, but the rest of the floor as well, over and over again until the final, chilling pages. This book is absolutely engrossing, believable, stay-up-all-night suspenseful and just plain stunning. You’ll definitely want to clear your calendar for it."
In fact, Flynn's novel was such a stand out read that it earned the Seal of Excellence Award (aka the RT editor's pick for best book of the month). Find out more here >>
AROUND THE WORLD
If you love to travel but simply can’t get out of town as frequently as you desire, then we think you’ll be incredibly pleased by three of this month’s new novels. Set in different locales around the world, each will give you a taste of life in a different place (and in one case, life during a different time.) You can visit Thailand in Colin Cotterill’s Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach. But don’t expect this humorous story to be only laughter and good times, the second novel featuring Thai crime reporter-turned-resort owner Jimm Juree provides a look at the human-rights abuses suffered by the Burmese refugees in Thailand.
This month, mystery readers can also head to modern day China for Ridley Pearson’s The Risk Agent, the author’s new series starter. The novel follows Grace Chu and John Knox as they hunt for a colleague who has been sucked into the dangerous world of kidnapping, hostage negotiation and hopefully, recovery.
And our final suggestion for the eager armchair traveler, we aren’t just sending you around the world but back in time. The Emerald Storm by William Dietrich takes place during the early 1800s as protagonist Ethan Gage, and American adventurer, attempts to help Haiti’s liberator Toussaint L’Ouverture break out of Napoleon’s prison in Fort de Joux in the Jura mountains of France. And if that’s not a trip worth taking, complete with impressive historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson, we don’t know what is!
British author Elizabeth Haynes joins the pantheon of American-published mystery writers this month with her aptly titled psychological thriller Into the Darkest Corner. Haynes’ novel is a brutal crime story takes place across two different time periods. OCD heroine Cathy Bailey, who suffers from PTSD, makes friends — and hopes for something more — with a young psychologist who has recently moved into her building. If that weren’t enough to upset Cathy’s very precise life, her ex-lover and former tormentor is released from prison and will threaten both Cathy’s sanity and her life! We’ve got chills just thinking about the premise and our bet is that this new release will have you sleeping with the lights on.
The world of cozies are ever-expanding with heroes and heroines coming across murder victims in a wide variety of ways. These stories feature an amateur sleuth trying to solve a who done it. The books are often set in a small town, involve a craft- or hobby-focus and frequently include a cast of kooky secondary characters. Another fun feature of cozy novels is that many sport a cute comic cover. (Don’t believe us? Just check out the three below!)
This month there are three tales of mystery and crafting that have us considering taking up a new hobby (but just because we are thinking about sewing doesn’t mean we want to discover a dead body!) We are excited to visiting the small town of Divinity for Kari Lee Townsend’s second Fortune Telling mystery as heroine Sunny Meadows attempts to prove that her maybe-boyfriend Mitch did not murder his fiancee in Corpse in the Crystal Ball. But that’s not the only cozy we’re coveting. The Monet Murders have captured our attention (and that of police detective Victor Rossi) when interior decorator and sometimes-sleuth Deva Dunna is found at the scene of a murder and art theft in Jean Harrington’s second Murder by Design novel. And rounding out our trio is Dorothy Howell’s Tote Bags and Toe Tags which pairs murder and the world of fashion when Haley Randolph accidentally discovers a murder victim during her first day at a new job.
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