Unusual Suspects

7 Cozy Mysteries To Curl Up With

Hello mystery fans! I love a good heist film (good = entertaining!) and I recently got to watch two I enjoyed: The Thieves (Viki) and Operation Fortune (Starz).

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

pink notepad with illustrations of a pumpkin and ghost reading a book

Halloween Bookworm Notepad by EmilyCromwellDesigns

Halloweeny and bookish for those who can’t have enough notepads! ($8)

New Releases

cover image for The Golden Gate

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

If you’re wondering how you know the author’s name, it’s because she’s had “controversial” and “Tiger mom” attached to her name since she published a parenting memoir in 2011. In 2019, she made headlines when her daughter got a clerkship under Brett Kavanaugh less than a year after Chua defended him in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Her latest release is great for fans of historical fic, past and present mysteries, and procedurals!

Homicide Detective Al Sullivan is drinking in the bar of the Claremont Hotel in 1944 Berkley, California, when a presidential candidate is murdered upstairs. The case is immediately complicated because it draws in a wealthy family, the grandmother a socialite. Not only are two of her granddaughters on the suspect list, but years ago, her third granddaughter, Iris, died in this hotel at the age of 11 while playing hide n’ seek. Sullivan is going to have to navigate politics, his personal life as a caretaker for his younger sister, and the long tangled webs of the wealthy Bainbridge family to solve the most recent murder–all while trying to figure out if it ties to Iris’ death a decade before.

I was totally absorbed with this one, especially the bits of California history and following the lead detective who, while biracial, navigates a world of privilege because he passes as white.

If you go with the audiobook format, you get multiple narrators (Robb Moreira, Suzanne Toren, Tim Campbell), and there’s a bonus chat with Amy Chua on how the book came to be.

(TW child murder/ mentions past suicide attempt and suicides, detail/ brief mention past lynching/ mentions past assumed statutory/ mentions postpartum/ mentions past antisemitic attack/ farm animal butchering/ mentions of historical sex trafficking/ brief testimony of past rapes, including children/ past institutionalization/ suicide, partly on page, detail)

cover image How To Find a Missing Girl

How to Find a Missing Girl by Victoria Wlosok

For fans of YA, teams of amateur sleuths creating a PI team, fictional true crime podcasts, and past and present mysteries!

Iris Blackthorn is on a serious deadline: she’s very close to turning 18 and the detective on her sister Stella’s missing person case has warned her the second she’s an adult, she will be prosecuted if she keeps investigating her sister’s year ago disappearance. So Iris, and her two friends who make up their amateur detective agency, are on the case. That’s all complicated enough–especially since Iris isn’t being totally forthcoming with her team–when another girl goes missing. This time it’s Iris’ ex girlfriend who just happened to be hosting a true crime podcast about Stella…

If you’re looking for a sapphic YA mystery with found family and hard lessons learned, grab this one.

(Tw questions parental emotional abuse, no details/ alcoholism, including parent in past/ mentions statutory involving teacher)

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

There have been a lot of natural disasters recently with high casualties and destruction, including the Maui Wildfires, Morocco earthquake, and Libya Flood (links for ways to help). Below you’ll find a wide array of mystery books that contain, or are set directly after, a natural disaster.

cover image for Category Five

Category Five (Five Midnights #2) by Ann Dávila Cardinal

For fans of YA, horror mysteries!

This one is set off the coast of Puerto Rico on the island of Vieques following Hurricane Maria. In a plot that sounds similar to the conversations about Maui, developers on the main island are taking advantage and buying properties, all while Lupe, Javier, and Marisol look into a string of murders…

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Five Midnights.

cover image for Murder with Puffins

Murder With Puffins (Meg Langslow #2) by Donna Andrews

For cozy mystery fans with humor and zany characters!

Another tiny island setting, this time off the coast of Maine, where Meg and her boyfriend are stuck due to a hurricane. But their romantic getaway to a relative’s cabin goes sideways when they discover the rest of the family has decided to use the cabin. Now they’re all stuck together, so of course, there’s a murder Meg will have to solve!

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Murder with Peacocks.

cover image for More Than You'll Ever Know

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez

For fans of fictional true crime podcasts, murder cases, and dual POV.

Cassie wants to make a name for herself in the true crime genre by looking into a past case of a husband who murdered his wife Lore’s other secret husband. You follow both women in two different timelines, including a past one where a devastating earthquake hits Mexico.

(TW domestic abuse/ maternal mortality / mentions miscarriages, infertility/ ableism/ earthquake that killed many/ alcoholism)

The Dry by Jane Harper cover image

The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) by Jane Harper

For fans of Australian settings and procedurals!

Harper’s books all seem to contain, at the very least, extreme weather, and her debut, as the title implies, is set in a town dealing with extreme drought that leads to a wildfire.

Aaron Falk is an investigator for the Federal Police who looks into financial crimes. But when a childhood friend dies in what is ruled a murder-suicide, he finds himself returning to his small hometown and investigating a murder, and having to face a past mystery…

I loved watching Aaron Falk’s character evolve over the series.

News and Roundups

7 Cozy Mysteries To Curl Up With

Killers of the Flower Moon: Why Martin Scorsese Rewrote His Upcoming Crime Drama, Explained

The 41 new fall books we’re most excited to read

An Editorial Cartoon Criticizing Moms For Liberty Manipulated by the Group for Gain

Middle Schoolers Can’t Borrow Fahrenheit 451, Any YA Books, Without Parental Permission in Dripping Springs ISD

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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