Hello mystery fans! This week I have for you a character-driven crime novel of a woman desperate to...
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May 04, 2022

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Hello mystery fans! This week I have for you a character-driven crime novel of a woman desperate to figure out how her sister was killed and a novel that stars a true crime writer.

cover image for Lemon

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun, Janet Hong (Translator)

I’m always interested in translated crime books and wish U.S. publishing would translate more. This is a South Korean crime novel that does have a mystery component because it’s a young woman wanting to know how her sister was killed, but it’s more focused on showing the aftermath of a crime and how it affects people.

The book changes characters and time, each chapter revealing those connected to the killing of Hae-on, a young woman known for her beauty. So much so that her younger sister Da-on, who lived in her sister’s shadow when she was alive and then in the shadow of her death, got plastic surgery to look more like her. We get to know Hae-on through her sister, as well as the classmates of both girls and the toll a seventeen-year-old crime has on family and friends. If you’re looking for a quick read that packs a punch that’s structured differently from what you’re used to, I really enjoyed this smart crime novel.

(TW mentions past child abuse/ mentions past suicide, detail/ brief eating disorder/ cancer/ mentions past postpartum depression/ mentions past suicidal ideation/ mentions past baby kidnapping/ mentions rape, not graphic)

cover of The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James, featuring a car with its driverside door open in the rainy dark, with a big mansion in the background

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

In our current timeline, Shea Collins, who escaped an attempted kidnapping as a kid, now spends her nights obsessing on true crime cases. During the day, she’s a receptionist and doesn’t really have a social life. So she’s pouring all her time into a case from the ’70s: Two men were murdered and the woman who stood trial, Beth Greer, was acquitted.

Now Collins is interviewing Greer, or at least attempting to, to find out her story and what really happened. But Collins feels uneasy at Greer’s mansion, and unexplainable things keep happening… Will she ever be able to get down to the truth about the murders, Greer’s life story, or will she destroy her own life in the process of chasing this story?

This was a page-turner for me that really works for readers who like past mysteries, fictional true crime writers, and things a little spooky.

(TW mentions past attempted child kidnapping, brief mention of sexual assault, not graphic/ alcoholism/ brief mention of past partner abuse/ mostly alludes to child abuse incident, not graphic/ speculates sexual assault, mentions past rape, not graphic)

From The Book Riot Crime Vault

Five Historical Spy Thrillers Based (In Part) On Real Events

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Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2022 releases. 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, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

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