Unusual Suspects

Why the FBI Recruits Mormons, and More Mystery/Thrillers

Hello my fellow mystery fans! Netflix is remaking Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? with Gina Rodriguez as the voice! Exploding emoji heart eyes over here! Maybe we’ll also get a new series of books?! Comic series?! I am here for it all!

Today’s newsletter is sponsored by Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick.

On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past.

Past and present mysteries!

I Found You by Lisa Jewell: Alice Lake is a single mum to three kids who finds a man on the beach who’s lost his memory and (against a bit of common sense) takes him in. That’s the thing about Alice: she doesn’t think she’s always made the greatest choices and now, having tried to correct that, she’s ended up quite lonely. So maybe this man is her chance at happiness? Except, unbeknownst to Alice there’s a young, recently married woman named Lily who has just reported her husband missing. Once the police start to ask her questions about her husband, Lily starts to realize that the very brief time they’ve known each other was not enough time to have really gotten to know him. As for the past, mystery readers are taken back to the early ’90s when a family with a teen daughter and son are vacationing, and let’s just say these chapters reminded me a bit of the movie Fear. I read this one in two sittings because I quite liked getting to know Alice, Lily, and Kirsty, and both the mysteries definitely had me hooked.

Still talking about Big Little Lies: Liane Moriarty talked about the adaptation of Big Little Lies and I’m always here for authors critique on the adaptations of their books. And I wrote about 4 things about HBO’s Big Little Lies that need discussing.

Not Hollywood’s FBI.

Three Minutes to Doomsday: An Agent, a Traitor, and the Worst Espionage Breach in U.S. History by Joe Navarro: I’m a big fan of behind-the-scenes and making-of type things, which is what I found interesting about this book, along with the reminder that the FBI we see on TV is generally not realistic. Navarro is intense AF, he literally almost killed himself more than once with his obsession over proving his hunch about Rod Ramsay. Navarro is retelling the investigation from the ’80s that started with him having to beg his boss to give him leeway to keep looking into Ramsay, all because of Ramsay’s body language from an interview. This was before it was apparently popular because it seems his boss thought Navarro was ridiculous for thinking he could read anything into suspects based on their body language. If you enjoy in-depth type procedurals and how things really work, I’d pick this one up. It sent me down a few rabbit holes, including why the FBI recruits heavily at schools with large populations of Mormons. (Just don’t expect wild car chases and shootouts type excitement–it is literally just Navarro’s obsession with proving he’s right about Ramsay and the real process–at least in the ’80s–of how suspected spies are treated.)

For Fans of Making a Murderer: Read an excerpt from Illusion of Justice by Jerome F. Buting.

Paula Hawkins upcoming novel adaptation news: With the success of The Girl on the Train many readers have been eagerly anticipating her upcoming novel Into the Water, and it appears so has Hollywood. And while the release of Into The Water is only a week away, here’s still a good round-up: 14 novels while you wait on Read it Forward.

Put your seat belts on, hell of a ride!

Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen: Hannah Monroe returns home from a business trip to discover that her boyfriend has left. Which sucks, but this is a thriller and it isn’t just that he’s left but that he’s basically extracted himself from her life as if he never existed to begin with. (What?!) I started this book wondering if this was going to be the most intense gaslighting ever or if something happened to him? I honestly couldn’t put this one down because I needed to know–and the more I read the more intense things got. It builds and builds and—ha, not gonna tell! You may want to read with a friend so you can swap theories along the way. And did I mention twists and an ending with a big bite!

On Book Riot: Katie McGuire wrote about Nostalgia, Murder, and Comic Book Adaptations.

If Booknerdlandia sounds like a place for you: Book Riot has a new subscription program called Insiders! You can track new releases (it’s an amazing database), listen to a dedicated podcast, behind-the-scenes newsletter… starting at $3/month—and one of the levels has an Insiders-only forum on Slack with a mystery channel (We’re currently talking about the creep factor of Perfect Days, and forensic books)!

I have to go shopping now:

There’s a James Bomb gift set with a bath bomb and muscle relaxer that sounds perfect for Bond fans–and pun lovers.

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.