Unusual Suspects

Beatles Fandom Meets Historical British Procedural

Hi mystery fans! This week I have for you a missing person (which happens to be a favorite read this year), a historical British procedural, and a nonviolent true crime that is super good!

One Of My Favorite Reads This Year! (TW sexual assault on page/ terminal illness/ past child abuse/ talk of suicide with some details)

A Prayer For Travelers cover imageA Prayer for Travelers by Ruchika Tomar: I feel like recently I’ve labeled a few books as unique and this one gets tossed in that pile too! The chapters are basically out of order–not in a confusing way at all, but basically the 1-whatever number of chapters were written and then it’s like they were reordered. You may be raising an eyebrow at me saying, “that does sound confusing,” but I promise it isn’t–it’s very easy to know whether you’re pre-missing woman, post-missing woman, or in childhood–and while sometimes things like this being done feels pointless, it didn’t in this case. Now enough about format here’s what happens: In a small Nevada desert town, Cale is dealing with her dying grandfather–who raised her–and trying to find her missing friend Penny. A friend who only she seems concerned to find. No matter how much those who also knew Penny and the police keep assuring Cale that people sometimes just pick up and leave for a different life, she won’t let this go and sets off to find Penny, or at least to find out what happened to her… I really recommend this for fans of Courtney Summers’ Sadie, fans of the tough woman because of circumstances that is also vulnerable, missing person mysteries, and small-town settings. It’s one I’ll be thinking about for a while.

Historical British Procedural! (TW  rape/ sexual harassment, groping/ suicide/ homophobia/ xenophobia and racism, including slurs)

She's Leaving Home cover imageShe’s Leaving Home (Breen and Tozer #1) by William Shaw (This book also has the title: A Song From Dead Lips): I started reading Play With Fire (the fifth in this series, out now) when Rioter Liberty pointed out she would be starting at the beginning of the series. In case you were wondering what would get me to finally not jump randomly into a series, it was that–thanks Liberty! So anyhoo, this series begins in London in 1968 and uses The Beatles fandom and news at the time as a fun backdrop. While dealing with the aftermath of a case gone wrong Detective Sergeant Cathal “Paddy” Breen is assigned a murdered young woman case who is found just outside The Beatles’ recording studio. He’s also assigned a woman officer, Helen Tozer, to help him in a sexist police department. As they work on the case, there’s a clash of conservatism vs the young’s new freedom beliefs, along with sexism, racism, and xenophobia at immigrants as a backdrop that bleeds into their work. This was a solid start to a procedural series I’ll definitely stick with–especially since I love his most recent series: The Birdwatcher and Salt Lane–and it works well for fans of procedurals where the leads aren’t hotmesses but are definitely fallible, and have a personal relationship.

Super Good Nonviolent True Crime! (TW briefly mentions domestic violence and eating disorder)

American Kingpin cover imageAmerican Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton: If you like narrative nonfiction and have enjoyed nonviolent true crime books like The Feather Thief and Bad Blood–and like me hadn’t gotten to this one yet–run to it. It’s pretty bonkers but also “Holy white privilege, Batman!” Basically, this young guy took his libertarian beliefs to the max by building the Silk Road on the Dark Net, essentially allowing people to sell and buy anything. Beginning with his belief that people should be allowed to do drugs because it is a person’s right to do with their body as they wish, the site started by letting people buy illegal drugs and finding a way to mail them throughout the world. The book takes you into how he created the site, the decisions he was faced with as it expanded, the law enforcement officers that would not let go of figuring out who the Dread Pirate Roberts was, and how it all came to an end. I love these nonfiction books that read like thrillers, plus, the case and “plot-twist” were super interesting but, beyond that, this book is a hell of a look at privilege starting with Ross Ulbricht. And in a time where tech companies are forgoing moral and ethical thought because everyone seems to ignore the “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should” message, there’s a lot to sit back with and think on.

Recent Releases

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Deadcover imageDrive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translation) (Currently reading: This is a unique suspense about a remote place where a woman finds her neighbor, who she hated, dead.)

Miami Midnight (Pete Fernandez Book 5) by Alex Segura (Currently reading: Final installment in the Miami Noir P.I. series!)

A Keeper by Graham Norton (I didn’t realize the Irish TV host was also a mystery writer!)

The Retreat by Sherri Smith (Currently reading: A fallen from grace child star goes with her sister-in-law to a retreat and drags a few friends. Still waiting for what will happen, but enjoying it so far.)

Jar of Hearts cover imageJar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (Paperback) (Dark Serial Killer —Review) (TW: rape scenes/ domestic violence/ pedophile off page)

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth (Paperback) (Prep School With A Secret Society–Review) (TW: suicide/ domestic abuse/ rape)

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen (Paperback) (Psychological thriller–Review) (TW suicide/ rape/ self-harm, cutting/ eating disorder)

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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