Unusual Suspects

You’ll Love These Books With Unreliable Narrators

Hello, mystery fans! I had a fun time watching Bottoms, and I’ll sum it up by saying, “Make more weird films and TV, you cowards!”

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Bookish Goods

a sticker sheet with 8 bookish stickers including of Black women reading and hugging books

Bookish chapter stickers by eboniismoon

A lovely sticker sheet for book lovers. ($5)

New Releases

cover image for Village in the Dark

Village in the Dark (Cara Kennedy #2) by Iris Yamashita

For fans of procedurals, multiple points of view, past and present cases — including a personal one for the lead detective!

First, a bit about the series as a whole: the first book, City Under One Roof, introduces us to Anchorage Detective Cara Kennedy about a year after her son and husband died during a camping trip. She’s on a case in the remote Point Mettier that ends up having the access bridge closed during a snowstorm. This sequel takes us into the death of her husband and son, and it does tell you the solve from the first book, so you may want to start there if that matters to you. If it does not, you won’t be lost or confused starting here.

Anchorage Detective Cara Kennedy now has questions about what happened to her husband and son when they went missing, later found dead, during a hike. She’s having their bodies exhumed, and she’s getting their DNA tested again after a gang member was found with photographs of her family from the trip. Even more WTF-y is that every other person in those photographs is missing or dead. One of the missing we get to know is a woman living in Unity, an isolated village that offers protection to women and children hiding from abuse. How does this all connect? And what actually happened to Kennedy’s husband and son?

If you enjoy multicast audiobooks, go with that format, narrated by Sophie Oda, Blaire Chandler, and Aspen Vincent.

(TW past child death/ domestic abuse/ mentions past sexual assault/ off page addiction, overdose death suspected/ past miscarriage mention/ traditional hunting/ terminal lung cancer, not main characters/ mentions past child abuse/ dementia)

cover image for The Framed Women of Ardemore House

The Framed Women of Ardemore House by Brandy Schillace

For fans of book editor amateur sleuths, inheritance, and English country estates!

Jo Jones, an autistic book editor working in NY, leaves her current life for an abandoned country estate in England following her mother’s death. It’s the perfect opportunity to start her life fresh and put her energy into restoring the estate. But it’s a mystery, so you know she’s going to instead happen upon a murder: Sid Randles, caretaker, dead in the cottage. She obviously reports this to the local police, along with a woman she saw disappear, but since she’s autistic and from NY, the police take the skeptical shitty approach to the case. So Jo, along with some people she’s befriended in town, get to sleuthing!

This is one of my most anticipated 2024 mystery reads, and the only reason I haven’t gotten to it yet was HarperCollins no longer has an ALC (Advanced Listening Copy) program, and I wanted to read this book in audiobook, so I had to wait until pub day. (Life, it is so hard.)

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

Riot Recommendations

Here are two crime books that have multiple POVs and a (fictional) true crime book/writer focusing on the unsolved case in the book.

The Aosawa Murders cover image

The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda, translated by Alison Watts

For fans of translated Japanese novels, multiple POVs, and a narrative structured as responses to an interviewer!

The unsolved case: In the 1970s, on the coast of the Sea of Japan, the Aosawa family hosted a party where almost 20 people died from cyanide poisoning, which was inside drinks delivered as gifts.

The (fictional) true crime writer: More than 30 years later, Makiko Saiga, who was a neighbor child at the time, wrote a book about the crimes and is now talking to an interviewer about the case.

cover image for The Nothing Man

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

For fans of cat-and-mouse thrillers, Irish settings, and dual-narrated audiobooks!

The unsolved case: A serial killer murdered a family with only a little girl escaping.

The (fictional) true crime writer: Eve Black is that little girl, now an adult, who has written a true crime book about her case. We read her book and also the serial killer’s POV as he reads it too…

If you’re always in need of a page-turning thriller, Howard has yet to disappoint me. In no particular order, also check out 56 Days, Run Time, The Trap, and The Liar’s Girl.

(TW rape/ domestic abuse/ mentions suicide, detail)

News and Roundups

Diary of an Abomination (an excerpt from My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Book Two)

Unreliable narrators, food detectives, and more exciting February reads

Amazon Prime Video Ad Tier Sparks Class Action Lawsuit From Subscribers

Anthology in the darkness: True Detective: Night Country features some of Jodie Foster’s best work

15 Thrilling Movies Where the Mystery Doesn’t Get Solved

Trust Us: You’ll Love These Books With Unreliable Narrators

Amazon’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith Is The Reimagining You Didn’t Know That You Wanted

Over 600 writers have signed this open letter to PEN America.

Autauga-Prattville Library Board Bans LGBTQ+ Books for Under 17s; Red Labeling Queer Adult Books

Browse the books recommended in Unusual Suspects’ previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2024 releases and mysteries from 2023. 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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