Unusual Suspects

My Best Mystery Read of February, & More Mystery/Thrillers

Hi my fellow mystery fans! Did you hear that humpback whales got together and started a mystery book club? Okay, not really but since Mother Nature seems to be weeping especially loud lately I’m just gonna pretend that’s what is happening until scientist figure this one out. (I’d just really like to be invited to a whale book club–or a game of Clue!)

Sponsored by John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester.

universal harvesterIt’s the late 1990s and Jeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. A local schoolteacher comes in to return Targets and says: “There’s something on it.” Two days later, a different customer returns a different tape and says: “There’s another movie on this tape.”

Jeremy discovers that in the middle of each movie, the screen blinks dark and the movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video.

“This chilling literary thriller follows a video store clerk as he deciphers a macabre mystery through clues scattered among the tapes his customers rent. A page-tuning homage to In Cold Blood and The Ring.” — O: The Oprah Magazine

My best read in February and I’m still raving about it!

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani: Abani is an excellent writer who wonderfully mixed literary fiction, mystery, crime, and horror together. And by that I mean the writing was perfect, the depth of character fantastic, the mystery interesting, and the horror breath-stopping the way only a reminder of how truly awful humanity can be can do. The novel begins with conjoined twins (named Fire and Water) bathing near a barrel that turns out to be filled with blood, which leads a detective desperate to solve unsolved murders to swear it must be them. Sunil, a doctor specializing in sociopaths, is tasked with evaluating the twins–and more importantly proving they are sociopaths. But he doesn’t really think they are and seems more drawn to understanding them and their lives. That is of course when Sunil isn’t remembering his life in South Africa–a dark past–and falling in love with Asia, a prostitute.

Betty Rhyzyk is my new favorite detective!

The Dime by Kathleen Kent: To be totally honest, I had planned on skipping this one since I wasn’t really in the mood for the whole Mexican gang rapist/drug dealers thing (what I assumed it would be about–it’s not!) BUT Mulholland Books has yet to disappoint at all AND Liberty recommended it. I AM SO GLAD I READ THIS ONE. After a huge weekend reading slump where nothing I picked up made me want to keep reading, this one enveloped me into its pages and wouldn’t let me go. I tell you all this because I don’t think the summary does this awesome book justice. Rhyzyk is a hard-ass, take-no-shit detective trying to balance her career, her personal relationship with her doctor girlfriend, and the ghosts of her past. And by ghost I mean her recently deceased uncle who’d always been the only true family and good advice giver in her life. While she may start out investigating a Mexican cartel in Texas, this takes some hard turns into different territory and leaves you with an ending you wouldn’t expect. Kent has written a brilliant detective with hard-edges and heart while striking the perfect balance of humor, violence, action, and procedural. I want more!

The Woman in Cabin 10 is getting a film adaptation! There was apparently some competition for the rights that CBS Films ended up winning and Hillary Seitz will be writing the script. This was one of my favorite 2016 mystery releases and I’m really looking forward to the film.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is coming to theaters in 2018: And I should finally read it! Seems all the issues with continuing the U.S. adaptation of the series have been resolved by adapting TGITSW and deciding to cast all new actors for the parts. Have any thoughts who should play Lisbeth? Blomkvist?

Have you been watching HBO’s Big Little Lies adaptation? While I agree that this was a perfect opportunity for women writers and directors to helm a project–it’s written by David E. Kelly, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée– I am really enjoying the series. The acting is A+ and the dark mood from the book and the flashbacks are perfectly portrayed… If you like think-pieces about the shows you’re watching Emily Nussbaum wrote a nice piece for The New Yorker: The Surprising Generosity of “Big Little Lies”

J.K. Rowling uses Twitter, and humor, to reveal the title for the next Cormoran Strike novel: EW rounded-up the fun.

MacMillan Audio has a sample of Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama narrated by Richard Burnip: Listen to Chapter Two. (And if you want to read my review: here.)

Has your life been missing Murder, She Wrote guest star playing cards? Have I got great news for you!

Now in paperback:

Alligator Candy by David Kushner: This is a memoir where Kushner talks about growing up after his older brother was murdered at the age of 11, and the two times in his life he faced actually learning all the circumstances of the crime. He had only been four at the time so he’s always questioned whether his memories–especially of the last moment he saw his brother before the murder–were even real. He also looks back at how his other family members dealt with the tragedy, now from the perspective of an adult. While raw in parts and gut-wrenching in others–the crime was brutal–the book is also a reminder of the healing power of community and is written without the gross sensationalizing of a crime, which sadly happens too often.

Over on Book Riot: Katie McGuire has recs for Feminist Crime Comics for Fans of My Favorite Murder and I talk about 5 Japanese crime writers I love.

I have to go shopping now:

This “Cereal Killer” spoon is awesome.

And I am all emoji heart eyes for Book Riot’s Agatha Christie “The Body in the Library” t-shirt.

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