Unusual Suspects

It’s Time to Bring Back the ’90s Legal Thriller

Hello mystery fans! I am currently leaning hard into my make-it-all-brujas mood so I have The Witches of Eastwick queued up (I haven’t seen it in forEVer) and am hunting around for all the fall/horror/GIVEMEANGRYWITCHES things to watch.

But first: a newish newsletter + a chance to win books! Book Riot’s editorial team is writing for casual and power readers alike over at The Deep Dive! During the month of September, all new free subscribers will be entered to win Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler plus five mystery books (as in surprise titles) from The Deep Dive. To enter, simply start a free subscription to The Deep Dive. No payment method required!

Bookish Goods

a table runner with colorful illustrations of stacks of books and typewriters

Book Theme Table Runner by WaterlooBoutique

Fun home/school/work table runner for book lovers or any book-themed event. ($35)

New Releases

cover image for Perfectly Nice Neighbors

Perfectly Nice Neighbors by Kia Abdullah

For fans of neighborhood social thrillers, current topics, and endings with a legal courtroom case.

I have learned that regardless of what you think you’re getting into with a thriller by Kia Abdullah (Take it Back; Next of Kin), it will be way more in-depth, nuanced, and more importantly, shift the ground out from underneath the reader at least once.

This time around we have Salma and Bilal Khatun moving to a new neighborhood with their son Zain. Zain had an incident in college and Salma and Bilal are in the process of closing the family restaurant so this move to a new neighborhood is meant as a fresh start, even if they’re concerned about the cost now. Upon arrival Zain puts up a BLM poster and Salma witnesses their new neighbor deface it. From there the two families are caught in an escalation of emotions, racism, and retaliations all the while their teenage sons form a friendship and work on an app together. It’s an unflinching look at the high cost of bigotry and division.

(TW ableism / miscarriage)

cover image for Your Lonely Nights Are Over

Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass

For fans of fictional serial killers, slasher films, high body counts, and October-y mood reads!

Dearie and Cole are gay best friends and whew is that friendship going to be put through the wringer when an inactive serial killer becomes active again and fingers point at Dearie and Cole! Mr. Sandman killed lonely people decades ago and he’s suddenly resurrected – or inspired a copycat – at Stone Grove High in Arizona. This time around the lead-up note telling you you’re going to die comes via text and the targets are members of the school’s Queer Club.

You’ll get to know Dearie and Cole in alternating chapters as they navigate being teenagers, their friendship, loves, and relationships all while trying to prove they are not the killers by having to solve who actually is. Oh, and most importantly: staying alive.

This book is fun with a lot of tropes, characters to root for, and others to root for their demise. It has different personalities and senses of humor, including funny cattiness, and it’s my favorite blend of murder mystery + horror slasher film. I’ve read all of Adam Sass’ novels (Surrender Your Sons; The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers) so far and continue to look forward to what comes next.

(TW emotional partner abuse)

Looking for more new releases? Check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I think a lot about what makes books successful and why great books many times never find their audience. This is a very long, never ending discussion, which I’ll spare you from but it did decide my two picks this round. Here are two books that didn’t get attention because they came out between the time that HarperCollins union workers went on strike for better working conditions and their return with better contracts (November 10, 2022 – February 21, 2023).

cover image for My Flawless Life

My Flawless Life by Yvonne Woon

For fans of twisty YA mysteries including an anonymous “requester.”

Hana Yang Lerner works as a fixer of sorts: you pay her to solve a problem for you, including test taking. Her private life isn’t great though; her father was a beloved politician until he was arrested for a hit-and-run and she no longer talks to her ex-best friend. That is until a new job comes in from an anonymous source, which contains three parts to complete. The first is helping her ex-best friend. There’s no reason for Hana to want this job, and she doesn’t, but the large sum of money that comes with it makes her take it and to start spying on her once best friend…

I enjoyed Katharine Chin’s narration on the audiobook, who you may know from her work on Cold and Acts of Violet.

(TW mentions attempt to distribute security video of teen girls skinny dipping)

cover of A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

For fans of historical YA and heists!

A team of four young women, all from different backgrounds with different skills, board the Titanic with a heist in mind. Along the way they’ll also create a found family, and a romantic sapphic pairing, but their initial focus and goal is to steal a gem-studded Persian poetry book. They’re already doing a dangerous job—with false identities and stolen tickets they’ve used to get aboard the ship—but as the chapter titles show, time is running out before the Titanic hits an iceberg…

News and Roundups

‘The Other Black Girl’ Has Its Flaws — But It Does Fix 1 Thing From The Novel

Amazon & Netflix In Bidding Battle For ‘Crime 101’: Don Winslow Novella Has Chris Hemsworth, Pedro Pascal, Director Bart Layton Attached; Deal Could Hit $100M

Alexia Gordon’s Murder in G Major has been adapted into a Hallmark film starring Tamera Mowry-Housley and will premiere on September 22nd at 9pm EST.

It’s Time to Bring Back the ’90s Legal Thriller

Richard Osman: ‘I would have been terrible in MI6. I’m too tall, spill secrets and can’t lie’

School Boards in California To Be Banned from Banning Books

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See 2023 releases and upcoming 2024 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 Bluesky, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy — you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

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