Unusual Suspects

All The Revenge

Hi mystery fans! This week I’ve got some revenge reads for you–don’t think too hard on that, I just happened to read two crime stories with the revenge theme recently and thought to share them together. Or did I?…

The Banks by Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle

Three generations of Black women, a heist, and revenge–what more could you want?! I’ve been a big fan of Roxane Gay’s work since I read her essay collection Bad Feminist, and have since made sure to read all her books, including her graphic novels/comics which I think started with Black Panther: World of Wakanda.

The Banks gave me everything I love in a heist story: the origin story, drama, revenge, thievery, and that ride-or-die mentality. The comic gives us past and present pages, so we see both how this family–a grandmother (Clara), daughter (Cora), and granddaughter (Celia)–got into the business of theft along with where they are now. Celia is pissed when she’s passed up for a promotion at work and proposes the go-big-or-go-home heist of a lifetime: she decides the family she wanted nothing to do with can now instead help her relieve her firm’s biggest client of all his money.

The problems: while Clara and Cora have made a lifelong career out of stealing, Celia has not and turned her back on her family because of it; Celia is hiding all of this from her coworker boyfriend; Celia is in way over her head; and there’s a detective following Cora and Clara…

I generally read an entire graphic novel volume in one sitting, but I was enjoying this so much that I actually sat down with one section a night so it would last longer. If you’re a fan of heists, graphic novels, and a single contained story, enjoy! (TW: one panel of possible sexual assault, quickly stopped)

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

If you’re a fan of revenge fantasies and Dexter type characters, here’s a fun thriller. We follow two stories at once, both at Gorman University. One is that of Scarlett Clark, an English professor at the university whose side—and very secret—job is to pick the worst man on campus (generally a predator) every single year and kill him, literally.

We also get to know Carly Schiller, a freshman who has not come into her own yet but is finally away from her oppressive father. She finds herself with a popular, self assured roommate–everything she is not.

While Scarlet hunts and finds herself getting too close to being found out—and dealing with the university bureaucracy and her personal life—Carly tries to protect her roommate from the fallout of an assault while trying to find her voice and the person she wants to be.

You can look forward to this becoming a TV series with Fargo tapped to write the pilot! (TW rape/ past parent abuse mentioned/ murders covered up to look like suicide discussed)

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Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming releases for 2020 and 2021. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

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

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