Unusual Suspects

Everything Goes Boom Thriller

Hello mystery fans! I’ve got two of my recent reads that I really enjoyed for you this week. One is a new release and the other a backlist. We’ve got crime with a bit of a legal thriller and a pure action thriller of con artists and heists.

They Can't Take Your Name cover image

They Can’t Take Your Name by Robert Justice

I really enjoyed this book–and got one of my favorite narrators on the audiobook, J.D. Jackson (A Little Devil In America; Bluebird, Bluebird).

It’s a crime story about our unjust system mixed with a bit of a legal thriller. At the core are three characters I was immediately rooting for, two whose paths cross, changing each other’s lives. But first the crime that starts everything: a bank robbery labeled the Mother’s Day Massacre which ended with the wrongful conviction of Langston Brown, who now sits on death row.

His daughter Liza has always believed he’s innocent, and is now in law school with the hopes of being able to free him. Eli Stone is a widow who is basically only functioning when he’s working on opening up his jazz club. Eli ends up hiring Liza at the club which happens at the same time the governor suddenly decides to quickly execute those on death row. Liza gets her law school to use their innocence project to try and stop Langston’s execution, while unbeknownst to her, Eli starts to grapple with long held information and what to do about it…

There is this really nice balance between characters you’re rooting for, a literal do-or-die timeline to stop an execution, a past mystery, an attempt to undo corruption, and this lovely relationship that begins between Eli and Liza, two people struggling in wildly different ways that show each other kindness. I’m really glad I ended the year listening to this novel and look forward to what Robert Justice writes next.

(TW brief mention past miscarriage/ mention of rape case, not graphic/ discusses lynching case, brief details/ suicide on page/ execution/ suicidal thoughts, attempt)

Vanishing Games cover image

Vanishing Games (Jack White #2) by Roger Hobbs

If you’ve been following along with my book shouting for a bit, you already know I’m a big fan of everything-goes-boom action/thrillers and this book has so much of what I love: con artists, heists, and everything-goes-boom action. I inhaled it and then I was bummed that I’d read it so fast and thus there was no more.

It’s the sequel so I will say start with the first in the series, Ghostman, because it’s super good. But if you don’t care about order or for some reason only have access to the sequel I will admit I read Ghostman two years ago and who remembers something from that long ago? I was not lost while reading the sequel and not remembering details at all from the first. But enough about book order, here’s why I loved this one!

It starts with a heist going horribly wrong and it forces Angela to have to send out a call for the Ghostman, Jack. Long ago they knew each other when Angela taught him what she knew, and now she needs him to help her disappear. It’s what he does. But this is a thriller filled with action and not one but two con artists so this is not going to be easy, if they can even succeed! There’s the whole them running for their lives thing, while also having the mystery of who is behind this and why, and then you get Angela and Jack’s backstory, and the whole layered conspiracy plot that comes with action/thrillers–all fun!

I needed something that would help me escape the current world and that could hold my attention long enough to do so and this really delivered for me.

(TW child forced labor/ animal cruelty/ torture)

From The Boo Riot Crime Vault


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Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2022 releases. 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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