Unusual Suspects

(9/13) Innocent Man Saved From Death Penalty by CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM & More!

Hello fellow mystery fans! Vision for Baltimore was created to bring eye exams and glasses to kids in need because kids who can see, read better and perform better in school. Hopefully programs like this will be created in all needed areas.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land.

Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.

Best 2017 Mystery

bluebird bluebirdBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke: This is Locke’s best work, which is saying something since she wrote for the hit TV show Empire AND has three great previous novels. This time around, Locke introduces us to a black Texas Ranger who is technically on suspension after an attempt to be a good samaritan backfired on him. That doesn’t stop him, though, from needing to figure out how a black man and white woman were murdered in a small Texas town. It’s the kind of town that holds dearly to its racism and secrets and wants no outside help, especially from a black man. We may be leaving the heat behind for fall weather, but Locke’s amazing writing will have you slicked in sweat as she places you in Texas. A fantastic mystery from beginning to end that unfortunately could not be more timely in its look at race and the justice system in the U.S.

Over on Book Riot: Mya Nunnally put together a list of Books For Fans of How to Get Away With Murder

On the Oxygen Channel website (because they’re all true crime now): New Netflix Doc Tells Amazing True Story Of How ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Saved Innocent Man From Death Penalty (Longshot will be on Netflix on September 30: watch trailer.)

Watch the trailer for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s comic book Mycroft Holmes and The Apocalypse Handbook.

I never got around to watching season two of True Detective but I’m 100% watching season 3 since it’ll be starring Mahershala Ali!

Fall Mystery & Thrillers via Bookish

Watch the trailer for Alias Grace: Netflix’s upcoming mini-series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel about an Irish immigrant in Canada and a stable hand who were convicted of murdering their employers in 1843.


March of Crime (The Murder-by-Month Mysteries) by Jess Lourey: Packed with charmingly ridiculous characters, I laughed my way through this small town mystery. Mira James has a few jobs, including being a librarian—she took a serious pay cut in hopes of keeping the library open—and PI. The PI part she’s still working on, since Minnesota mandates that before using a PI license you have to work 6,000 hours of supervised investigation. She’ll probably get through those hours quickly, though, since she seems to have the I-keep-finding-dead-bodies syndrome. This time around, one of the life-size creepy dolls a town resident has been making has a hidden surprise: A very bad surprise of a dead body. Now James, who either loves or hates you, is trying to figure out who committed murder, while working at the library, and taking on a side job as a phone sex operator for those looking for a Minnesota accent—hilarious. If I had to pick a favorite thing about this novel, it would be James’s octogenarian best friend, who is a kiss-my-grits, tells it like it is, lives life to the fullest, thong bikini-wearing lady. All the emoji-heart eyes. (You can jump into the series here, like I did, and not feel lost, but it does give away the ending of the previous book. I’m fine with that because I plan on starting at the beginning of the serious and will have forgotten by the time I get to it.)

Also Out This Week:

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium #5) by David Lagercrantz, George Goulding (Translator) (The newest in the Lisbeth Salander series which was taken over by Lagercrantz after the creator, Stieg Larsson, passed away.)

Trell by Dick Lehr (YA inspired by a true story of a wrongful conviction)

Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li (TW: rape. Follows the victim and the rapist before, during, and after the assault.)

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (While on deadline writing a thriller it appears the writer’s life starts to blur with her writing.)

More Kindle Deals!

The Zig Zag GirlThe Zig Zag Girl cover image: yellow background with title lettering and a girl dancing with top hat between the Z and the A and Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths are each $2.99 (The first two in the Magic Men series)

The Constant Gardener by John le Carré is $1.99

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And if you like to put a pin in things here’s an Unusual Suspects board.

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime come talk books with me on Twitter and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canaves.


Win a Cozy Fall Reading Package!


Our friends at Picador are running a pretty great giveaway over on their Instagram account. One winner will win the full prize pack, and three others will win the tote bag with a few of the books. Not bad right?

To enter for a chance to win, go over to their Instagram post and follow the instructions. Or just click the big beautiful image of the prize below. Good luck!

The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by Spinning by Tillie Walden.

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.

Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.

She was good. She won. And she hated it.

Ignatz Award–winner Tillie Walden’s powerful graphic memoir captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone.

No-one is born evil…are they? A lorry crashes on a dark wet road. In the wake of the tragedy, a dying man receives another chance at life – but does he really deserve it? And if he lives, will those around him wish he hadn’t? When critically ill Jacob Wilson has a heart transplant, his behavior becomes very strange. His worried parents and girlfriend try their best to understand his sudden mood swings, but as things worsen, they begin to live in terror of what they might find in their son’s bedroom next – and as Jacob’s personality morphs, so too do the lives of those around him… The Darkness Within is a spellbinding crime novel with a dark heart.

Today In Books

Newly Discovered Kurt Vonnegut Stories: Today in Books

5 Previously Unreleased Kurt Vonnegut Stories Will Be Published

It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the steamrolling of Terry Pratchett’s hard drive (at his behest), and here we are today, talking about the unearthing of five previously unpublished stories by Kurt Vonnegut. The short stories, discovered by Vonnegut’s friend Dan Wakefield and scholar Jerome Klinkowitz, will be published in a collection titled Complete Stories, out later this month. But, again, do we really need the scrapped works of deceased authors?

ABC Commits To Modern Pride And Prejudice Drama

Jane Austen fans rejoice (or gnash your teeth). ABC has committed to a put pilot for Eligible, a drama series based on the book Eligible: A Modern Retelling Of Pride And Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. The series, developed by some of the people behind the CW’s Beauty & the Beast, and I, and Pretty Little Liars, revives familiar themes. You can’t have a P&P adaptation without Elizabeth Liz Bennett falling for the mysterious Darcy against her better judgment. The series will also follow the five Bennet sisters on their journeys to find love.

Book Shopping And Bowel Movements

In totally weird book stories, BuzzFeed published a piece about something called the Mariko Aoki phenomenon. This…event is described as feeling a sudden urge to defecate when you walk into a bookstore. Why? What? How? Who knows! But plenty of people have claimed to experience it. If you experience the Mariko Aoki phenomenon, please do not let us know.

Thank you to Small Beer Press, publisher of The River Bank
by Kij Johnson, for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

Dive into the world of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows with staunch Mole, sociable Water Rat, severe Badger, and troublesome and ebullient Toad of Toad Hall. They are joined here by a young mole lady “Authoress”, Beryl, and her dear friend, Rabbit. There are adventures, a double kidnapping, lost letters, a series of sensational novels, two (threatened) marriages, and family secrets revealed at just the right moment. With color endpapers and incidental illustrations throughout, The River Bank “neatly captures the quaint whimsy of Grahame’s original book. . . . and fill[s] in some gaps for a modern readership.” (Publishers Weekly)


In The Club

In The Club Sep 13

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.

This newsletter is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

Try Audiobooks logoListen to your book club’s next pick. Visit for suggested listens and for a free audiobook download of The Knockoff!

With fall ramping up, it’s back to juggling busy school and work schedules with social engagements like date nights, yoga with friends, and book club. Luckily, you can listen to your book club’s next pick so you can stay on top of it all.

Get recommended by awesome authors: we just launched our newest podcast, Recommended, in which interesting people talk about books that matter to them. The first episode has authors Samantha Irby and Robin Sloan pitching two all-time favorites, both of which would make excellent book club picks! Go find out what they are in Episode 1.

Get medieval on your reading list: we’ve got 100 Must-Reads of medieval historical fiction for you! Not going to lie to you, Sharon Kay Penman’s novels about the English monarchy got me through several college history courses, and The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth was one of the weirdest and also most satisfying reading experiences I had last year.

Tis the season to get sporty, and I love this piece about tennis reads not by David Foster Wallace. But honestly, almost any list that has both Abraham Verghese and Claudia Rankine on it is bound to get my thumbs-up.

For when you need your reading to be louder: here’s a list of 17 read-alouds for grown-ups! Whether or not you read them out loud in your group, there’s great discussion material here.

What if you need some quiet? I love this piece on the benefits of Silent Reading Groups, particularly this line: “Here was an opportunity to be social but to also reconnect with my reading life.”

Poetry is often a struggle for groups, so here’s a great list for you! Diversify your options with 10 contemporary poets of color.

Do you have Tulip Fever fever? We have a reading list for that.

Spotlight: Nisi Shawl’s Crash Course in Black SF

Among the last few books I’ve read and been unable to stop talking about were Mama Day by Gloria Naylor and Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson — both recommended by Nisi Shawl in various places on the Internet. And then I remembered that back in 2015, she put together a whole list of black science fiction writers for Black History month. Whether you start at the beginning and work your way on or pick at random, that list and the resulting blog series are well worth your group’s consideration.

A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction
The Expanded Course at
– Here’s an interview with Shawl we did in advance of Book Riot Live
– Shawl’s own book Everfair is a great addition to this canon, and it was reviewed on NPR, LARB, and The Washington Post among many others.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Your fellow booknerd,

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

New Books

September New Books Megalist: The Sequel!

Forgive me, I know it isn’t the first Tuesday of the month, but there were so many wonderful titles out today, I couldn’t resist another big list. There are just so many incredible books to choose from. You can hear about a few of these books on this week’s episode of the All the Books! Rebecca and I talked about amazing books we loved, such as Little Fires Everywhere, The Twelve-Mile Straight, and Braving the Wilderness.

Sponsored by Lies She Told by USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan.

Liza Cole has one month to write the thriller that could land her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses start to weigh her down, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she aims to catch him in the act and make him pay. But before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then, the lines between fiction and reality blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

(And like last time, I’m putting a ❤️ next to the books that I have read and loved. There are soooo many more on this list that I can’t wait to read!)

little fires everywhereLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng ❤️

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

Worlds from the Word’s End by Joanna Walsh

The River Bank: A sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows by Kij Johnson  (Author), Kathleen Jennings (Illustrator)

Trell by Dick Lehr

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe ❤️

Berlin Syndrome by Melanie Joosten

F*ck, That’s Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well by Action Bronson

the rise and fall of adam and eveThe Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt

Affections: A Novel by Rodrigo Hasbún  (Author), Sophie Hughes (Translator)

Ordinary Beast by Nicole Sealey

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne

If Clara by Martha Baillie ❤️

Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease by Yolanda Hadid

For Two Thousand Years by Mihail Sebastian (Author), Philip Ó. Ceallaigh (Translator)

Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

the dharma of the princess brideThe Dharma of The Princess Bride: What the Coolest Fairy Tale of Our Time Can Teach Us About Buddhism and Relationships by Ethan Nichtern

David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones ❤️

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older ❤️

White Dialogues by Bennett Sims

Afterglow (a dog memoir) by Eileen Miles

The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson ❤️

We Were Witches by Ariel Gore 

bluebird bluebirdBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke ❤️

Letters to Memory by Karen Tei Yamashita

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) by Scott Reintgen

Collision: A Novel by Merle Kröger, Rachel Hildebrandt (Translator), Alexandra Roesch (Translator)

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey ❤️

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

After the Flare: A Novel (Nigerians in Space) by Deji Bryce Olukotun ❤️

Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory by Elizabeth Rosner

forest darkForest Dark by Nicole Krauss ❤️

Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova

Another Fine Mess: Life on Tomorrow’s Moon by Pope Brock ❤️

Odd & True by Cat Winters

Absolutely Golden by D. Foy ❤️

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

Kiss Me Someone: Stories by Karen Shepard ❤️

The Naughty Nineties: The Triumph of the American Libido by David Friend

warcrossWarcross by Marie Lu ❤️

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words by Michael Ausiello

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King ❤️

Rocket Fantastic: Poems by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life by Lauren Markham

a sick lifeA Sick Life: TLC ’n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins

The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt by Robert I. Sutton

We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter

Magicians Impossible: A Novel by Brad Abraham

The Amputee’s Guide to Sex by Jillian Weise❤️

Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty by Melissa del Bosque

Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

gangster nationGangster Nation by Tod Goldberg ❤️

The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad

This Is What We Do by Tom Hansen

Lightning Men: A Novel (The Darktown Series) by Thomas Mullen

Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing

The One You Get: Portrait of a Family Organism by Jason Tougaw

The Tunnel at the End of the Light: Essays on Movies and Politics by Jim Shepard

The Man in the Tree: A Novel by Sage Walker

Curry: Reading, Eating, and Race (Exploded Views) by Naben Ruthnum

you bring the distant nearYou Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins ❤️

The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil

Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Reed Farrel Coleman

Fireblood (The Frostblood Saga) by Elly Blake

Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime by Ben Blum ❤️

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb

A Burst of Light: and Other Essays by Audra Lorde

the red carThe Red Car by Marcy Dermansky (paperback) ❤️

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (paperback) ❤️

Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle (paperback)

That’s it for me today – time to get back to reading! If you want to learn more about books new and old (and see lots of pictures of my cats, Millay and Steinbeck), or tell me about books you’re reading, or books you think I should read (I HEART RECOMMENDATIONS!), you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’!

Stay rad,




Win a Set of Puffin Children’s Classics!


We’re giving away this set of beautiful children’s classics from Juniper Books, published by Puffin and designed by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazini! To enter, sign up for our weekly kid lit newsletter The Kids Are All Right and get news and kid lit reading recommendations in your inbox!

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click on the image of the set below. Good luck!


Win a Copy of GOOD ME BAD ME by Ali Land!


We have 10 copies of Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:



Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by TarcherPerigee, publisher of The Nocturnal Journal by Lee Crutchley.

An engaging and emotionally aware resource for night owls, insomniacs, and anyone else who can’t turn off their restless minds when the lights go out, The Nocturnal Journal will help you explore what keeps you up at night, and why. Prompts and illustrations tease out the pressing thoughts, deep questions, everyday anxieties, and half-formed creative ideas that need unpacking and exploring, bringing more peace of mind and a richer understanding of ourselves. Hand-lettered and illustrated throughout, Lee Crutchley’s insightful, interactive journal is a natural next step for those who have tried coloring, mindfulness, and meditation.