Do you ever reach a point where all the mystery you’ve been reading bleeds into real life? The other night I let the dog out and she charged out barking so I followed to see what had caught her attention and I found myself staring at a very large silhouette of a man holding an ax above his head. I’d just finished a novel about serial killers so I internally screamed “Serial killer! Run!” Then I realized it was my neighbor chopping his Christmas tree, I’m guessing for a bonfire. OR all my reading sounded my alarm bells and saved my dog and I because mystery books save lives.
Today’s newsletter is sponsored by The Cruelty by Scott Bergtsrom.
Taken meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Bourne Identity in this action-packed debut thriller (optioned for film by Jerry Bruckheimer) about a girl who must train as an assassin to deal with the gangsters who have kidnapped her father.
What serial killer book was I reading?
What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney: This was chilling, brutal, exceptionally written, and it gave me nightmares–I loved every minute of it. (Let’s not think too hard on what that says about me.) Chaney has written flawed characters (as humans are) that are incredibly real and rather than pushing me to dislike them I found myself constantly wondering what I would do in their situation. The novel begins by alternating point of view between three of the main characters: a pair of detectives that could not be more different from each other; a journalist who has reached the point of I’ll-do-anything to get back my career; and the serial killer’s wife, trying to start a new life. As the story unfolds–if the serial killer is in prison who is committing the new murders?!–we get more points of view added taking us deep into these characters lives, fears, desires, struggles, and need.
Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, Jonathan Lloyd-Davies (Translator): I picked this up because of the marketing that it had “a twist no reader could predict,”–and it did–but the novel was not what I was expecting. In an interview Yokoyama explained how he’s more “interested in the psychology and social dynamics of characters who happen to be affected by crime.” And that is what you get about 80% of the time as you follow Mikami, now working in press relations, as he’s struggling with the disappearance of his daughter, pushback from the media who are upset the police are holding back the name of a driver from an accident, and his digging into a fourteen-year-old unsolved kidnapping/murder known as Six Four. As a reader of a lot of U.S. police procedures I am accustomed to a book that would focus solely on this once-investigator obsessing over solving Six Four AND finding his daughter. Instead he’s wrapped up in all the politics happening in the department, dealing with his wife who isn’t leaving the house since their daughter’s disappearance, and trying to unravel a screw up during the Six Four investigation. It isn’t until about the 80% mark that it switches into a suspenseful thriller-ish novel and then BAM, you get the twist. Totally satisfying for me.
I had never heard of these studios or this YA book before but I have to say that title has me reeeeal interested: ‘The Dead Girls Detective Agency’ YA Novel Being Adapted As Digital Series.
When genres blend wonderfully:
The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy: I read a galley of this book a while ago and it’s still with me because there was this strange creepy factor throughout that I couldn’t look away from which had me constantly turning the page. Eurydice (Edie) works at the Elysian Society which basically means people come to speak to the dead through her. Not in a scam that she pretends to pass on messages kind of way. In a very real way that she takes a pill that allows the actual person who has passed on to inhabit her body temporarily and spend time with their loved one who has paid money for the service. During the service Edie has no idea what is happening, it’s kind of lights out for her (which is where my imagination kicked into gear and was creeped out). Edie is great at her job until Patrick comes to spend time with his deceased wife Sylvia and Edie becomes obsessed with Patrick and the mystery of Sylvia’s death…
You can read an adapted excerpt from Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation. (Whew, that’s a mouthful title!)
Have you been watching Riverdale? For me it’s a bit 90210 with a Twin Peaks vibe and some serious Archie angst. I really like it and am really enjoying the murder mystery part of it. I’m also here for Rioter Preeti Chhibber’s weekly podcast Riverdale: #HotArchie Edition.
I have to go shopping now:
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.