Hello mystery fans! In a time of fear where nothing is normal I’m going to try my best to offe...
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Mar 25, 2020

Sponsored by Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh.

Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has spent the past 25 years grappling with the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide. And when her younger sister Erin is killed in a crime that mirrors their parents’ passing, Bree knows something doesn’t add up. Especially since Erin’s husband Justin has vanished. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the truth about Erin, Justin… and her own tragic past. But as her investigation unfolds, danger hits closer to home, and Bree’s family is once again caught in a death grip.

Hello mystery fans! In a time of fear where nothing is normal I’m going to try my best to offer you some escape. This week I have for you an excellent narrative nonfiction, a procedural focused on the mystery, and a page-turner missing boss mystery. There’s also a ton of new releases (including paperbacks) and at the end I have a link to all the bookish COVID-19 news if you need that. Please stay safe and home if you can, check in on people, and be kind to yourself and others. On to the books!

Just Mercy cover imageJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: Even if you don’t read nonfiction, stay with me a moment because this is narrative nonfiction and reads like a story. Bryan Stevenson tells his story of starting his legal practice, Equal Justice Initiative, which focused on helping those in most need. He doesn’t just talk about the failures of our justice system and how it’s designed to only work for a few while punishing poor people for being poor, people with mental illness for being ill, people with disabilities for being disabled, people of color for their race/ethnicity etc. He shows you through the people he defended by taking on their cases and walking you through his defense. Including actual children on death row. Children. He recounts all of the stories, which are infuriating and heartbreaking, in a way that you can’t look away or stop reading but only gives the details needed without ever crossing the line into gratuitous.

If you watch Law & Order, legal procedurals, and/or true crime case shows this is a must-read. The audiobook is narrated by the author, who, let me tell you, could professionally be an audiobook narrator. It’s also been adapted into a film starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson. And there’s even a young adult adapted version of the book. (TW suicide, attempt/ racism, racial slurs/ accidental child murder/ lynchings/ executions/ domestic and child abuse/ stillbirth/ rape/ ableism)

Watching From the Dark cover imageWatching from the Dark (DCI Jonah Sheens #2) by Gytha Lodge: If you’re looking for a procedural that focuses on the mystery at hand, this should keep you entertained. If you need to start at the beginning of a series, here’s my review for She Lies In Wait (Review) but if you want to jump into this one you can without feeling lost. I honestly didn’t even remember any of the detectives’ personal life matters from the previous book, so it was like starting here for me.

We begin with the crime, at least the crime heard by a man who signed in to videochat with his girlfriend but instead ended up listening to her murder. So he calls the police, kind of, because he’s afraid to tell them who he is. So by the time the detective gets this case they’ve already got an added mystery of why the man who called it in didn’t want to leave his name and contact. We get alternating chapters between the detectives working on the case, the scene, interviewing witnesses, and Zoey, the murdered young woman’s life leading up to her murder. Which timeline will reveal what happened to Zoey? Will you figure it out first?… (TW suspicion of death by suicide/ abusive relationship/ mentions self-harm/ mentions pedophile/ character talks about their PTSD/ talk of rape cases/ child death/ stalking/ talk of alcoholism/ talk of eating disorder)

The Herd cover imageThe Herd by Andrea Bartz: I needed something that would not only grab my attention quickly but would be able to hold it and Bartz totally delivered. This had a lot of elements work for me: interesting workspace; longtime friendships; family drama; character struggling to get their life together; missing person case; secrets!

Katie interviews at her older sister Hana’s job at The Herd, a coworking space designed only for women, but she brings baggage she’s keeping a secret and really running away from something she’s not yet ready to reveal. Quickly, her mess begins to spill into her new work environment but, before she’s found out, Eleanor, the founder of The Herd and close friend of Hana’s, goes missing right before a huge announcement. As the group of women, friends since youth, begin to ask questions, they start to realize there are secrets, they may not have known their friend Eleanor as well as they thought, and there’s still the threat from those livid by the idea of a women-only coworking space…  It’s told in alternating POV between Katie and her sister Hana, which allows the reader to really see their relationship with each other and other people from different perspectives. The audiobook used two different narrators, which worked really well for this story. (TW stalking, not on page/ mentions past child abuse/ mom with breast cancer discussed/ suicide attempt, detail but not on page)

Recent Releases

Goldie Vance the Hotel Whodunit cover imageGoldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit by Lilliam Rivera: A fun teen sleuth mystery novel based on the comic book characters. (Review)

Execution in E (Gethsemane Brown Mysteries #5) by Alexia Gordon: This is a fun cozy mystery series starring an American living in Ireland teaching music who solves crimes and has a ghost friend. This time around Gethsemane is up against an influencer-turned-bridezilla!

The Black Ghost Vol 1: The Hard Revolution by by Alex Segura, Monica Gallagher, Greg Lockard, George Kambadais, Ellie Wright, Taylor Esposito: If you skip reading issues and wait for the volume here you go! A vigilante obsessed reporter tries to uncover the truth and help her city while ignoring her own problems which never really works out, right?

Flowers Over The InfernoFlowers Over the Inferno (Teresa Battaglia #1) by Ilaria Tuti, Ekin Oklap (translator) (Paperback): Great start to an Italian procedural series following a detective hiding her dementia as she solves a murder-mystery. (Review) (TW child abuse)

The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz: (Paperback) For Southern lit and past mystery fans! (Review) (TW past child abuse/ suicide/ dog harmed–you’ll see it coming and it’s skippable)

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (Paperback): Super good read great for fans of literary works, murder mysteries, multiple points of view, love stories, and explorations of the effects of a crime on a family and community. (Review) (TW addiction/ PTSD)

If She Wakes cover imageIf She Wakes by Michael Koryta (Paperback): If you’re looking for a page-turning thriller to escape into! (Review)

Death of a New American (Jane Prescott #2) by Mariah Fredericks (Paperback): If you need a really good historical mystery series this one is set in early 1900’s New York and has a good balance between historical events and solving the mystery. (Review) (TW suicide)

COVID-19 Updates from the Bookish World

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See 2020 upcoming releases. An Unusual Suspects Pinterest board. Get Tailored Book Recommendations!

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

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