Unusual Suspects

Unlike Every Other Spy Novel

Hello mystery fans! I have a spy novel, a super creepy procedural, and the new Jane Harper this week! I’m excited, are you excited? Let’s all be excited because yay books! (I may have had too much sugar–but also, yay books!)

Sponsored by The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Celadon Books).

The Silent Patient cover imageAlicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. She is a famous painter and her husband, Gabriel, is an in-demand fashion photographer. One evening, Gabriel returns home late from work, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face and never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, and she is hidden away at the Grove, a secure psychiatric unit. Enter Theo Faber, a psychotherapist obsessed with unravelling Alicia’s mystery. Shocking, thought-provoking, and deeply twisted, The Silent Patient is a spellbinding psychological thriller about violence, obsession, and the dark side of passion.

Character Driven Spy Novel!

American Spy cover imageAmerican Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (February 12): This is an excellent spy novel that is unlike every other spy novel I’ve read. For starters it isn’t a thriller, it’s character driven, like Who Is Vera Kelly?, and follows a Black woman FBI intelligence officer. Set in the mid-’80s the novel is a slow burn suspense–with a kick you won’t see coming–where Marie Mitchell is writing her young sons a letter in order to explain recent events. We not only get to see her upbringing and time with the FBI but also her recruitment into a task force that is the U.S. meddling in Burkina Faso’s politics. Mitchell is a fantastic lead who is smart, determined, and doing her best to do right, while working for an organization that tells you what to do–and is an all white boys-club. This is a great read for fans of literary mystery, character driven novels, and historical fiction–especially focusing on history that never gets taught. The audiobook is narrated by Bahni Turpin, who is hands down one of the best narrators–I will listen to any book she narrates.

Super Creepy Procedural (TW claustrophobia / rape)

The Craftsman cover imageThe Craftsman by Sharon Bolton: This book is a white-knuckle read to the point that even though it starts in the present, so you know how it ends, you are still freaking out during the entire novel, set in the past. It’s so good. It’s so creepy. And there’s witchcraft! Florence Lovelady was in her early twenties and was a constable when she helped catch a creepy af child killer in Lancashire, in the 1960s. She was the only woman officer at the time and she was treated exactly as you’d imagine. The novel starts with her and her teenage son, in the present, visiting to attend the serial killer’s funeral 30 years after his arrest, but a message is left for her, and of course the past is coming back! I love a thriller where you think you know everything and you really don’t know anything! I was so sucked in that I got so many chores done, which I’d been avoiding, because I needed an excuse to keep listening to the audiobook. But please be smarter than me and don’t start the book before bedtime–trust me!

Excellent Atmospheric Mystery That Will Have You Sweating (TW domestic abuse/ child abuse/ date rape/ suicide)

The Lost Man cover imageThe Lost Man by Jane Harper: Jane Harper is at the top of the crime writing genre along with Attica Locke, Megan Abbott, and Tana French. She steps away from her recent series for this standalone that is just as atmospheric. I honestly would have read this in one sitting if it weren’t for the setting giving me anxiety–it’s literally so remote and so hot that you’ll die if your car breaks down and you don’t have supplies with you. So when Cameron is found dead in the heat near his abandoned car, lots of questions are asked and speculated, including did he intentionally go out into the heat? His brothers Nathan and Bub, sharing property but still hours away from each other, reunite with Cameron’s wife and children and their mother in order to figure out what happened. Did the elements get someone who knew better or is there something they’re all missing? This takes you into the family members’ lives, while dropping you into this very harsh setting, as it slowly builds into one hell of a mystery! I will drop whatever I am doing to read a Jane Harper crime novel.

Recent Releases

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong cover imageWatcher in the Woods (Rockton #4) by Kelley Armstrong (Currently reading: I just started this and can’t put it down. A couple comes to beg a relative to assist in a bullet wound surgery at a remote location where no one can ask questions or know anything.)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ( A good psychological thriller about obsession.) (TW suicide)

The Dead Ex by Jane Corry (Currently reading: One of those mysteries where you’re following different, unrelated characters and are waiting to see how it all comes together.) (TW child abuse/ pedophile/ suicide)

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler (Psychological thriller.)

Hong Kong Noir cover imageHong Kong Noir (Akashic noir) by Jason Y. Ng (editor)

Evil Things by Katja Ivar (Historical mystery procedural.)

The Coronation (Erast Fandorin Mysteries #7) by Boris Akunin (Russian historical mystery.)

One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt (Thriller)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And here’s an Unusual Suspects Pinterest board.

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

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