Hello mystery fans! Do you know what is officially out in the world that you can go snag with your g...
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Oct 07, 2020

Sponsored by Size Zero by Abigail Mangin.

Condom dresses and space helmets have debuted on fashion runways. A dead body becomes the trend when a coat made of human skin saunters down fashion’s biggest stage. The body is identified as Annabelle Leigh, the teenager who famously disappeared over a decade ago from her boyfriend’s New York City mansion. This new evidence casts suspicion back on the former boyfriend, Cecil LeClaire. Now a monk, he is forced to return to his dark and absurd childhood home to clear his name. He teams up with Ava Germaine, a renegade ex-model. And together, they investigate the depraved and lawless modeling industry behind Cecil’s family fortune.

Hello mystery fans! Do you know what is officially out in the world that you can go snag with your greedy little read-all-the-book hands? Tana French’s new standalone The Searcher (I’ll talk soon about it!) and Sherry Thomas’ 5th Lady Sherlock, Murder on Cold Street (Review). And if you were a fan of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton’s new historical mystery The Devil and the Dark Water is also out and sitting next to my bed. And now on to the books I have for you this week: the start to one of my favorite procedural series and a delightful historical mystery set in a speakeasy.

The Unquiet Dead cover imageThe Unquiet Dead (Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan: This is one of my all-time favorite series so I went looking to see if there is any book announcement for a 6th book. I did not find one, but it reminded me that I never read the first book in the series because I started with the second book–you already know I am like this. The thing with going back to start at the beginning of a series is that many times, for me, the first book is not as strong as the later books. Not the case at all with this series, Ausma Zehanat Khan hit a homer with her first book.

Esa Khattak is a second generation Canadian Muslim running a police unit focusing on community policing, which was recently created by the Canadian federal government. Khattak is perfect for this job as he understands the nuance and consideration (as does Ausma Zehanat Khan) that these complex cases need. One of his detectives is Rachel Getty, a cop’s daughter with family issues, who had seen her career sink after she’d filed a sexual harassment claim. But Khattak realized that meant she knew what it was like to not have your voice heard and requested her assigned to his unit.

Now they’re working on a case where they aren’t even sure why it’s a case: a man out for a walk fell to his death, and it was ruled an accident. But it turns out that Khattak knows one of the dead man’s neighbors, from his university days, and there’s a fiancé that may have stood to gain money, and something is off.

Ausma Zehanat Khan writes these great crime novels that spotlight history and modern issues that usually don’t get the attention they deserve. In this case we get flashback chapters about the 1990s Srebrenica massacre. I also adore Khattak and Getty’s relationship of trust, admiration, and friendship as they work to unravel cases. The audiobook has a lovely voiced narrator, Peter Ganim, and you have four more procedurals that follow for a great marathon. (TW child abuse/ war crimes, torture, rape camps/ pedophile not on page, discussed/ suicide, including past child, detail)

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert: If you want to be immediately transported to a 1920s speakeasy in New Orleans’ French Quarter, to solve a murder, run to this book.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1929 and Millie’s aunt has left her in charge of her speakeasy, Cloak & Dagger, for the first time. Of course everything is going wrong, starting with a group of wealthy patrons led by a socialite who is looking for a boy. Millie realizes Marion, the Cloak & Dagger’s drag performer, is the boy and tries to warn him someone is looking for him because she knows nothing about Marion’s life prior to arriving at the club and becoming her best friend. Cut to the socialite being found dead and Marion being suspect number one.

So Millie puts on her sleuthing, breaking-and-entering, cop-fighting hat and gets to proving that Marion couldn’t have done this. It won’t be easy though, seeing as her estranged mother has shown back up in her life, the speakeasy may be a friendly home to the queer community but the world isn’t, as much as she doesn’t want to she may be falling in love with a waitress, she has to rope in some friends to help her, and there’s a pesky cop that keeps standing in Millie’s way. This is a fun mystery with absolutely delightful characters that will make you swear you lived through the 1920s. Definitely pick this one up if you need an escape. (TW implied partner abuse/ homophobia)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming releases for 2020 and 2021. 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 Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

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Katie and Rincey pick up some fun Scooby-Doo themed books based on a listener request and get really excited about some recent reads....

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