May 23, 2018

Hello mystery fans! I’ve got three books this week that could not be more different from each other if that had been my goal. AND Book Riot is giving away $500 (look at those zeros!) to the bookstore of your choice! Enter here, you lucky people!

Sponsored by The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle Series #1) by Ted Dekker.

Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams.

They are wrong.

In the small town of Eden, Utah, a blind girl named Rachelle Matthews is about to find out just how wrong.

So begins a two-volume saga of high stakes and a mind-bending quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

Ready? Set?


Mean Girls + Adam Silvera Breakup/Relationships + Whodunnit + A Bit of a Horror Movie Body Count! (TW: rape)

cover image: silhouette of two people in a forest holding flashlights everything washed in blue colorsWhite Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig: This felt like a mashup between a bit of a YA coming-of-age with a whodunnit mystery being solved by an amatuer sleuth. Rufus Holt is having a hard time: he still hasn’t gotten over his ex-boyfriend, his dad is a terrible person, his mom is struggling to pay the bills, and his step-sister needs his help to prove she isn’t a murderer. Trying to solve a murder is hard enough as a teen that has no training in sleuthing, but it’s even harder to do with your ex-boyfriend (who you’re clearly not over) and for your step-sister (who isn’t very nice and comes from the family that pretends you don’t exist because they’re rich and you’re not). But Rufus has to help because his sister dangles the carrot of money in front of him, which he needs to help his mom. And so did Rufus’ step-sister murder her boyfriend and now she’s playing Rufus? Or did someone else kill Fox? Either way, Rufus is gonna be kicking a hornet’s nest when he starts investigating… A good mystery with a horror-ish feeling, that has a great main character to follow as he struggles through family, relationship, and anger issues.

Dark Nonfiction About A Brazilian Hitman (TW: child rape/ torture)

cover image: a statue of a man's face with dark hair and beard and the title words crossed out over itThe Name of Death by Kléster Cavalcanti, Nicholas Caistor (translator): This is for people who like dark crime reads because I’ll admit I felt sick by the end of it. This is not a book about a psychopath who wanted to kill people so he became a hitman. Instead, it’s about a teen boy living in a village in the Amazon in Brazil who doesn’t understand electricity because he’s never seen it. A teen boy who looks up to his uncle, unaware that his uncle is a terrible person. The book takes you into Julio Santana’s life, as he reported it to journalist Klester Cavalcanti, from his first kill at seventeen–for his uncle–to his time in the military fighting communists. Towards the end of the book, Santana pulls out the book where he kept the information on all of his kills and some of the stories of specific murders are revealed, including how his wife discovered what he really did to make money, to an accidental murder, and the time he was arrested. While Santana looks back with regret, wishing he’d gone a different route–and still hopes to be forgiven by God–it is impossible not to think of all the victims and how easy the choice is to not kill someone. It was sad, interesting, and awful to see the reasons people choose to hire a hitman, and the way people move the line of what is right or wrong to fit their greed and agenda. (I could have done with much less pages of male gaze losing-my-virginity story.)

Great Character Driven Crime Novel

cover image: silhouette of the profile of a woman looking over a balcony to a blurred out street at nightThe Lonely Witness by William Boyle: I can see why people get frustrated with characters that don’t react/respond in situations the way a reader would, but for me I think we most likely won’t react the way we think we will in extreme situations. Also, I don’t find it interesting to watch characters behave like me. I enjoy reading the exploration of “But why would you do that?!”–and that was certainly the main character Amy. Living in a Brooklyn neighborhood, Amy has reduced her life after her girlfriend left her. She’s donated her time to the church and offers communion to elderly residents at their homes. It’s on one of these visits where the trouble begins: Mrs. Epifanio thinks her caretaker’s son murdered his mom, and that’s why she hasn’t shown up and he’s been coming instead with his mom’s key and rummaging in Mrs. Epifanio’s bedroom. Amy ends up trying to help Mrs. Epifanio by following the son, and finds herself witnessing a crime and opening the door to danger. A good crime novel that explores loneliness, regret, forgiveness, and whether we can ever make ourselves small enough to avoid the world, and our past, from hurting us again.

Recent Releases

cover image: a black teen girl sitting down facing the camera with the cover and photo washed in redMonday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (Great YA mystery about a girl who won’t give up looking for her best friend.)

Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura, Kalau Almony (Translator) (Japanese mystery about cults that is high on my TBR list.)

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin (TBR: just downloaded the audiobook.)

The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet (TBR: domestic suspense.)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And here’s an Unusual Suspects Pinterest board.

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

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