Unusual Suspects

One Of My Favorite Crime Reads This Year!

Hello mystery fans! This week I have for you one of my favorite reads this year, a true crime amateur sleuth, and a unique P.I series.

Sponsored by A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson, published by Celadon Books.

A Nearly Normal Family cover imageM. T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal thriller about eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell, who stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family is a twisted narrative of love and murder.


Excellent Crime Novel (TW addiction/ past child abuse/ human trafficking/ rape/ brief past attempted suicide mention with detail)

Girl Gone Missing cover imageGirl Gone Missing (Cash Blackbear mysteries #2) by Marcie Rendon: Easily one of my favorite reads this year, I loved Cash so much! This is a character-driven crime novel with suspense that follows 19-year-old Chippewa woman Renee Blackbear, known as Cash, living in Fargo in the 1970s. She lives on the periphery of everything: she’s taking college classes but doesn’t understand the hippie students and their need to constantly talk, drives a beet truck alone late at night for work, lives on her own, and her only close relationship is with a sheriff who is like a father figure. She’s always observing, thinking, and questioning the things that are happening in her world and the larger world, especially when the brother she doesn’t know shows up to stay in her place and white girls are disappearing while calling to her in dreams. While it isn’t a mystery as you’re used to–person(s) actively solving–there is a mystery throughout that is important and has a full solve. I so very much need there to be another book about Cash, and while I definitely talk way too much for her I want to go play pool with her! (You can totally read this crime novel as a standalone, and seriously read this one!)

True Crime Podcast Listening Sleuth (TW suicide, suicidal thoughts/ eating disorder/ rape/ addiction/ animal cruelty)

Conviction cover imageConviction by Denise Mina: The way this one started, I thought it was going to be a domestic thriller but it wasn’t, instead Mina kept taking me on a ride full of turns I wasn’t expecting. This starts with a wife and mother, Anna, whose husband leaves her for her best friend. And it gets worse: so that the kids settle into the change, and Anna gets her life together, he takes the kids with the best friend on a trip leaving Anna to her own devices. The thing is Anna has a past no one knows about, and her way of coping with things is to escape into books and podcasts. She tries to escape her current situation by listening to a true crime podcast–which we get to read as she’s listening to it–but she gets way more than an escape. Someone she knew is the subject. He’s actually accused of the crime by the podcast host even though someone else has been tried. This leads Anna (and her best friend’s famous, soon-to-be ex-husband) on a wild adventure of trying to solve the mystery themselves–and soon trying to stay alive. If you like mysteries, true crime podcasts, and the past-is-coming-to-get-you novels pick this one up. And a fellow Rioter was listening to the audioook and mentioned it was great–Scottish narrator!

Unique P.I. Novel! (TW suicide/ rape/ pedophile)

Case Histories cover imageCase Histories (Jackson Brodie #1) by Kate Atkinson: The fifth novel in this series released this week–if you’re already a fan go get Big Sky–but for everyone who hasn’t read this series yet, I’m going to start you at the beginning and then you can marathon five books. Atkinson, which I only started reading for the first time this year, has very quickly become a favorite author of mine. All her novels are very different, while Transcription (Review) was a historical spy novel Case Histories is a very unique take on the P.I. genre that at times feels like a character study of not only Jackson Brody but also his clients as we’re given front row seats to their thoughts. The novel is about three cases from different decades: A woman in her kitchen next to her murdered-with-an-axe husband; a child who vanished from her backyard; a man who murdered a man’s daughter at his office. Englishman Jackson Brodie is a former police detective who is now a P.I., divorced with an eight-year-old daughter, working in Edinburgh and getting sucked into all kinds of things because of his empathy. I loved the balance of Brodie’s personality against some wild/ridiculous clients, the way the threads of the mysteries slowly came together, the caustic humor, and cynicism.

Recent Releases

Potions Tells And Deadly Spells cover imagePotions, Tells, & Deadly Spells (Romaine Wilder #3) by Abby L. Vandiver (Great cozy mystery series.)

The Black Jersey by Jorge Zepeda Patterson, Achy Obejas (Translation) (Zero interest in cycling and still really enjoyed this whodunnit set in the Tour de France.)

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean (Missing sisters mystery.)

Side Chick Nation cover imageSide Chick Nation (Justice Hustlers #4) by Aya de León (I love this crime series of women fighting wealth inequality, racism, and sexism in NY.)

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong (Psychological thriller I liked: Woman thinks she witnesses a crime but no one believes her.) (TW suicide)

Murder in the Crooked House by Sōji Shimada, Louise Heal Kawai (Translator) (Reading: Enjoying this for-Clue-fans Japanese mystery from the ’80s.)

Big Sky cover imageBig Sky (Jackson Brodie #5) by Kate Atkinson (See above Case Histories review.)

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (Translation) (Swedish legal thriller.)

Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14) by Louise Penny (Paperback) (Great Canadian procedural series.)

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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