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Unusual Suspects

Unlikable Women, Apartheid, & More Mystery/Thrillers

A month into 2017 and I’ve already read so many good books (including amazing debuts–one I’ll be shouting about next month), that I can’t help but think this is going to be a fantastic year for books!


Today’s newsletter is sponsored by Serial Box.

Serial Box, today’s hottest publisher of serialized fiction brings everything that’s awesome about TV (easily digestible episodes, team written, new content every week) to what was already cool about books (well-crafted stories, talented authors, enjoyable anywhere). From Urban Fantasy to Science Fiction – they have something for every taste, and reading (or listening!) on the go has never been easier than with their iOS app. Readers who prefer their spy tales with a twist are invited to The Witch Who Came In From The Cold and the streets of Prague, 1970 where spies practice sorcery in their games of intrigue.


Give me ALL the “unlikable” women, please!

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh: Eileen Dunlop tells the story of how at age twenty-four, in the ’60s, she came to finally disappear from the small town where she worked in a boy’s prison and lived with her abusive, alcoholic father. This takes you 100% into the life of a desperate, miserable, intensely self-loathing woman while slowly building up to an ending of crime/suspense. If you like character driven novels and not knowing where things are leading this was a great read as Moshfegh places you so deeply into Eileen’s life that you can smell her life. (Not a mystery but you can read her An Honest Woman story at The New Yorker.)

New Megan Abbott in 2018 has me all muppet arms! Give Me Your Hand will be a psychological thriller about two scientists and the secret they share–is it too early to already love it?!

Watch now: Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, inspired by Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, is now available on DVD/Digital HD. Watch trailer here.

Want an ending to talk about?

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: Single mom Louise has a bit of a bar hookup with a man she’s just met only to later discover he’s her new boss and–wait for it… married! I haven’t even gotten to the awkward part yet: Louise’s boss’ wife befriends her. Everything is just weird and chaotic after that because clearly there isn’t a single person who is behaving normally or doesn’t appear to be seriously hiding something. This is a mindfck, psychological thriller, with a sprinkling of magic realism, that will keep you asking wtf and turning the page. You might want a reading partner for this one so you can share your guesses and discuss the ending.

Great mystery audiobook!

 A Beautiful Place To Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #1) by Malla Nunn, Saul Reichlin (Narrator):  Englishman Detective Emmanuel Cooper is tasked with solving the mysterious murder of Captain Pretorius, a white officer, in South Africa during the 1950s. Complicating the investigation that already has too many chefs in the kitchen–and an unidentified Peeping Tom–is the recently placed apartheid system that applied racial segregation and becomes as important to the novel as the mystery. I can’t speak for accuracy but I loved Reichlin’s narration and how he changed accents and tone between the many characters. It’s a good mystery with great characters that left me wanting to read the rest of the series and made me immediately listen to Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime which was excellent and a perfect pairing.

Another great audiobook!

  Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Translator), Hillary Huber (Narrator): You get a mix of genres including Literary, Horror, Psychological Thriller and my favorite genre WTF/Bananas! The novel starts with a woman dying in a hospital in Argentina as a young boy questions her on the events that led up to her illness. Instead she tells him the story she heard about him from his mother: poison, a healer, souls being split between bodies!… If you’re looking for a fantastic, quick-ish, unsettling read you need this novel!

Over on Book Riot: 5 Paperback Mysteries You Need to Check Out by Swapna Krishna and A Female Sleuth Reading List in Response to Sherlock’s Season 4 by Deepali Agarwal (S4 SPOILERS).

Adaptation news: John le Carré will have another spy novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, adapted into a limited-series by AMC and the BBC.

Yes, please:

Colombian writer Santiago Gamboa will have his crime novel, Return to the Dark Valley, translated to English.

Kensington bought audio and world rights to Joseph Souza’s Bring Me Closer which sounds like a thriller I need to read.

Recently released in the UK Fiona Cummins’ debut novel Rattle will be adapted to television. “A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter” has me wanting to read it now so I’m probably going to order this online from a bookstore that ships worldwide rather than waiting for a U.S. release.

And I’ll leave you with: Mystery Writers of America announced the 2017 Edgar Nominations.

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime feel free to come talk books with me on Litsy, you can find me under Jamie Canaves.

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