Aug 01, 2018

Hi mystery fans! This week I have dead cheerleaders, modern noir, and a quiet mystery for you. Is it too macabre to say, “Enjoy!”?


Against Nature by Casey Barrett cover imageSponsored by Against Nature, a Duck Darley thriller from author Casey Barrett.

Perched in an airy penthouse above the corrupt streets of Manhattan, unlicensed P.I. Duck Darley has settled into an unlikely domestic routine with a wealthy divorcée and her precocious eight-year-old son. But old nightmares return when a desperate text from Cass Kimball, the former partner Duck once took a bullet to protect, lures him back into sworn-off vices and the sinister world of professional sports . . .


Excellent Modern Noir

Dead Soon Enough by Steph ChaDead Soon Enough (Juniper Song, #3) by Steph Cha: This is the third in this really good amateur-sleuth-turned-PI series, which stars a young woman in L.A. solving crimes with her dark stained view of the world–and I hope there is more to come in the series. Song takes on the case of a missing woman, which ends up going into strange-town real quick because of the client’s unique situation. She’s hired to find Lusig’s missing friend, a woman outspoken about the Armenian genocide. But the person who actually hires Song is Lusig’s cousin Rubina, because Lusig is Rubina’s surrogate at the moment, and Rubina fears Lusig trying to find what happened to her friend is putting Rubina’s unborn child in danger. Still with me? It’s a complicated family web of drama that is deliciously bonkers while also realistic to how complicated family relationships can be. Song finds herself way over her head, dealing with the clients and the case, as once again Cha wrote a mystery with a massive nod to the noir genre but cemented it very much in the modern world. (I recommend the entire series because I love Juniper Song, and watching her progress from amateur to licensed PI, but this one can be read as a standalone.)

That’s A Lot of Dead Cheerleaders (TW statutory rape/ suicide)

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas cover imageThe Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas: I 100% picked up this book because of the cover design and then I realized it was written by the author of Little Monsters which I really enjoyed (Review). If you were also a fan, you’ll be happy to know Thomas has once again written a solid mystery with, for me, just the right amount of reveals/twists. The town of Sunnybrook has five dead cheerleaders. Two were murdered, two died in a car accident, and one died by suicide. Now five years later one of the deceased cheerleader’s younger sister finds herself with more questions than answers as she, and a new friend, do some very ill-advised sleuthing–including in her stepfather’s office. Did I mention he’s a police officer who seems to know more than he’s ever shared with her about the cases, including her sister’s?… It’s a real page-turner.

Searching For Answers: Is Her Father Innocent Or A Monster? (TW date rape)

A Double Life by Flynn Berry cover imageA Double Life by Flynn Berry: This was a good quiet mystery that I didn’t realize my brain needed after I’d read too many twisty-twist-with-another-twist-well-that-jumped-the-shark thrillers in a row. And I’m not knocking those thrillers, because I like them, but sometimes too much of one thing in a row requires a change of speed before you get fried out. Plus, I’m always a fan of mysteries that aren’t full of bells and whistles but, rather, let you get to know a character and slowly watch a mystery unravel as it builds into tension and the solve. In this case, Claire, a London doctor, is visited by police who think they may have once again found her father. Slowly it’s revealed what her father is suspected of, Claire’s life of never knowing whether he’s a wrongfully accused man or a monster, and her decision to finally go get some answers… (I really enjoyed the audiobook as the narrator, Fiona Hardingham, really placed me in Claire’s mind and world.)

Recent Releases

My Midnight Years by Ronald Kitchen cover imageMy Midnight Years: Surviving Jon Burge’s Police Torture Ring and Death Row by Ronald Kitchen,Thai Jones, Logan McBride (TBR true crime memoir)

Against the Claw (A Lobster Shack Mystery #2) by Shari Randall (TBR cozy mystery)

The Widow Spy: My CIA Journey from the Jungles of Laos to Prison in Moscow by Martha D. Peterson, Laural Merlington (Narrator) (Currently my audiobook)

This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us by Edgar Cantero (I enjoyed his mystery Meddling Kids and have this one queued up as my next audiobook.)

a gentleman's murderA Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang (Just started reading: Historical mystery that already sold rights for adaptation.)

Requiem by Geir Tangen (TBR: Scandinavian thriller)

Sunburn by Laura Lippman (Paperback) (Slow-burn modern noir: Review)

Y Is For Yesterday by Sue Grafton (Paperback) (The last in her Alphabet series since she passed away–*cries in books forever.)

And hello new Book Riot giveaway: You can win 16 awesome books featured on the Recommended podcast! And that is a seriously beautiful list of books.

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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