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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:00 pm on 2019/04/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , kylie logan, murder she wrote: murder in red, Mysteries, , , ragnar jonasson, sujata massey, the island, the satpur moonstone, the scent of murder: a mystery,   

    May’s Best New Mysteries 

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    Good thing there’s a long weekend coming up in May, because you’re going to need some serious down time to get caught up on all the top-notch mysteries that are coming your way this month. There’s a new meta-detective novel from Anthony Horowitz, Jessica Fletcher is back in a shivery Murder She Wrote installment, and the newest Icelandic crime fiction virtuoso is back with the second book in a brand new series.

    The Sentence is Death (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Anthony Horowitz
    The second novel in the already addictive Daniel Hawthorne series features Hawthorne’s investigation into the murder of a famous divorce lawyer—found bludgeoned to death with a very expensive bottle of wine. But the victim wasn’t a drinker. And what’s to be made of his enigmatic last recorded words: “You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…”? Horowitz’s famously recalcitrant detective is accompanied once again by novelist Anthony, whose inexperience in the arena of crime solving is made up for by his enthusiasm. This elegantly written series full of twists and turns is very much worth getting into in its early days.

    Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red, by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
    Clifton Care Partners is a brand new private hospital in town that seems promising, but when Jessica’s close friend and favorite gin rummy partner, Mimi Van Dorn, checks in there for a minor, routine procedure, she never checks out. Alarmed, Jessica is convinced that Mimi’s unexpected death is due to foul play, and begins investigating the hospital in earnest. When her erstwhile beau, George Sutherland, ends up at the same hospital, her worries intensify. Can Jessica unearth the truth before someone else falls play to deadly medical malpractice?


    The Scent of Murder: A Mystery, by Kylie Logan
    Jazz Ramsay is enjoying a pretty comfortable existence in the artsy part of Cleveland. She owns her own home, has a nice job as an administrative assistant at a St. Catherine’s, a Catholic high school, and has, shall we say, a “quirky” volunteer hobby: training dogs to detect human remains. Then one day her current dog, a German Shepherd named Luther, discovers not the tooth she has hidden in an abandoned building, but the body of a young woman, dressed in Goth clothes, whom it turns out Jazz recognizes. She’s a former student of St. Catherine’s, and Jazz becomes obsessed with discovering how she met her end, unearthing much more than she bargained for in the process.

    The Island, by Ragnar Jónasson
    The Island is the followup novel to 2018’s bleakly brilliant novel The Darkness, also featuring the inimitable Insp. Hulda Hermannsdóttir, a memorable female detective of a certain age who is a bright spot in a genre rife with male detectives.  In 1987 a couple took a romantic  trip to an obscure island—with an unexpectedly tragic ending. A decade later, four friends visit the same place for a reunion of sorts, and one ends up dead at the bottom of a cliff. Jónasson’s astonishing Dark Iceland series took the US by storm in recent years, and his new series is no less breathtaking.

    The Satapur Moonstone, by Sujata Massey
    In the exciting followup to the highly impressive series debut The Widows of Malabar Hill, Bombay lawyer Purveen Mistry, a rare female attorney in British-ruled India in 1922, is enlisted to settle a dispute in the tiny state of Satpur over the education of the current maharajah, who is ten years old. Mistry soon discovers that the Satapur palace is a spider’s nest of power grabs and vengeance, and vows to protect the young maharajah from the tragic fates that suspiciously befell his predecessors.

    What mysteries are you excited to dig into this May?

    The post May’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2019/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , alex michaelides, , , Mysteries, ,   

    Agatha Christie, Sleight of Hand, and Psychological Complexity: An Interview with The Silent Patient Alex Michaelides 

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    There’s no shortage of excellent thrillers to read in the modern world, but every now and then a book comes along that rises above the rest and becomes that book that gets passed from person to person like a virus, accompanied by breathless endorsements and the sort of giddy joy only book lovers recognize. Well, we have our first bona-fide phenomenon thriller of 2019, the twisty, buzzy The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides.

    The Silent Patient has the bones of an old-school mystery, fused with a modern energy similar to The Girl on the Train or Gillian Flynn’s novels. It’s the sort of book you immediately want to recommend to your book club or best friend or, you know, strangers on your morning commute, just so you’ll have people to discuss it with. And then we thought, wait a sec, we’re Barnes and Noble, we can excitedly discuss the book with the author. So we reached out and sat down with Alex Michaelides himself to fanblog all over him, chatting about Agatha Christie, working as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, and, of course, the genesis of his remarkable debut novel.

    You obviously have a deep love for old-school mystery-thrillers like the works of Agatha Christie or Patricia Highsmith. How did those old-school cool novels influence The Silent Patient?

    Well, I grew up on the tiny island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean. It was before the internet, and there was nothing to do in the summers except read. I was thirteen when I discovered Agatha Christie, and devoured all of her novels over one summer at the beach. It was probably the happiest reading experience I ever had, and it made me into a reader—and, I suspect, a writer. So later on, when I began thinking about writing a novel, I knew I wanted something to replicate that experience I’d had on the beach. And the plan was to take a Christie-style plot and marry it with a deeper psychological complexity. I tried to imagine what Christie might be writing now, if she were alive and had my life experience. Of course it’s not just Christie—I’m a huge fan of Patricia Highsmith, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers, all women actually! There is something so satisfying about encountering a story that works on one level and yet when you reach the end you realize you have been looking at everything the wrong way up. I think that sleight of hand, like a magician’s trick, is what appeals to me the most.

    Like all magic tricks, at its core writing is all about process. They say write what you know, and you drew on your experience working at a therapeutic community to write The Silent Patient. How much ‘real life’ is in the story?

    I was pretty messed up as a teenager, neurotic, anxious, depressed—and I had a lot of personal therapy for many years. I also studied it a couple of places at a postgraduate level—but never finished my studies, as I felt strongly that I was a writer not a therapist. As part of my studies, I worked at a secure psychiatric facility for teenagers. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life, and certainly the most humbling. It was incredible, helping kids heal and get well—and it went a long way to healing the messed-up teenage part of myself. I didn’t know I was going to write The Silent Patient then, but later on when I knew that I wanted to write a Christie-style book, I needed an enclosed location—the kind of thing she does so brilliantly—and I suddenly thought of the psychiatric unit. And instead of a detective, I could have a psychotherapist. Everything went from there. I didn’t use any of the people I encountered at the unit, but I did use the atmosphere and the emotions that I felt while I was working there. I kept notes at the time, and that helped me a lot when I came to write the book.

    Many have noted the symbolism of a woman who doesn’t speak, combined with the themes of Alcestis in The Silent Patient, which ties into what’s going on today with #MeToo and other movements. Was this intentional?

    You know, it wasn’t intentional, as I wrote The Silent Patient before the #MeToo movement began. But there was a synchronicity there, for sure. When they were bidding for the movie rights, I had many producers, male and female, comment on the fact that Alicia does not speak and asking me how I felt it related to #MeToo. It was quite clear to me that when a person is imprisoned, and not believed, not being heard, then her only recourse is not to speak. So silence in my thinking is a last resort; the last weapon available, when everything else has been taken away from you. That was what interested me about Alicia—as well as the silence in the Greek myth of Alcestis. Alcestis dies to save her husband, and yet when she’s brought back to life at the end of Euripides’s play, she refuses to speak when confronted with her husband. Why? Is she overjoyed, overcome with emotion? Or is she deeply furious, angry with him, betrayed and hurt that he let her die? The refusal to conclude, the refusal to supply a definite answer, is so powerful, and has been haunting me my whole life.

    We hear you’re adapting your own novel for a film version—are there any special challenges to turning your own work into a different medium? Did you think about a film version as you were writing it?

    I think writing for screen and for novels is very different. A friend of mine is a critic, and he always says something I find very helpful—that screenplays are about contraction, and novels are about expansion. Meaning that for a movie you try to keep everything going, keep the plot ticking along. Whereas in a book you can slow down and go into someone’s thoughts and spend a day with them as they walk round the park or think about their life. And discovering that transformed me as a writer. I feel very much that I’m more of a novelist than a dramatist. I never really imagined it as a film. And I think the silence will be extremely challenging. Having said that, making the film is an incredible opportunity. It will be very exciting to take the book apart and put it together again for another medium. I am very pliable these days. I think you have to be, if you’re going to succeed as a writer. It’s never good to get stuck on ideas or lines or bits of dialogue.

    What’s harder—writing a novel or getting a movie made?

    I would say each is hard. The motivation to keep writing every day, for months at time, is a big part of writing a book. But it’s much harder—as in emotionally more painful—to make a movie. I personally have found film-making to be a soul destroying process. A movie with a decent script and a great cast can be derailed by production problems that are nobody’s fault. It’s heartbreaking. So the decision to write The Silent Patient was a last ditch attempt to try and be in control of the creative process from start to finish, and get away from movies. So the irony I am now writing the screenplay is not lost on me. I have a feeling it’s going to be different this time, as I’m working with some amazing people.

    Speaking of writing, The Silent Patient contains a DefCon-5 kind of plot twist that has people’s heads spinning, yet it works perfectly. Did you start with the twist, or did you start with the premise or the characters and find the twist as you outlined? What’s your position on ‘spoiler etiquette’?

    It was rather a magical moment, the way it happened. As I have said, the various strands came together—Greek Mythology, Agatha Christie, psychotherapy—and the idea was born in one moment, as I was walking through the park near where I live. I was trying to imagine a psychological detective story about a woman who doesn’t speak and the therapist trying to help her. I was trying to come up with an ending—and I remember asking myself, ‘what would Agatha Christie do?’ And then suddenly, I saw it. I sat down on the nearest bench and pulled out my phone and wrote down the whole plot, which I still have on my phone. The details changed of course, but the general movement of the story and the twist have remained the same. It was a really good day, that day.

    Regarding spoilers, I will always remember going to see The Mousetrap in London, when I was a kid. At the end of the performance, one of the actors steps forward and asks the audience not to reveal the ending to anyone else as it would spoil their enjoyment of the play. So I think it’s just good manners, don’t you?

    We do! So we’re not going to spoil The Silent Patient, we’ll just encourage everyone reading this to buy a copy immediately so we can all discuss it freely. Thanks, Alex, for taking the time to talk about your book with us!

    Shop all thrillers >

    The post Agatha Christie, Sleight of Hand, and Psychological Complexity: An Interview with <i>The Silent Patient</i> Alex Michaelides appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2019/03/29 Permalink
    Tags: Mysteries,   

    April’s Best New Mysteries 

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    While not everyone enjoys April showers, mystery lovers know there’s nothing like some good old fashioned raw and rainy noir weather to make it even more enjoyable to settle into a cozy reading nook and put on your detective hat (or your cozy detective bunny slippers). Just don’t forget to pick up one of our top mysteries for April first.

    Someone Knows, by Lisa Scottoline
    When Allie Garvey was a teenager, a not-so-innocent prank went wrong. Really, really wrong. About as wrong as a prank can go. She and the other kids involved have carried this dark secret with them for two decades, where at least in Allie’s case it has festered, ruining her family relationships and souring her marriage, until one of the original pranksters commits suicide on the anniversary of the event. This pushes Allie into acknowledging what happened on that dark day, and trying to get to the bottom of it. But now that this terrible, long-buried secret is out, it turns out things may not have happened exactly the way she remembers…

    The Better Sister, by Alafair Burke
    Sisters Chloe and Nicky Taylor could not be more different; Chloe is the ambitious, straight-A student who landed an enviable career in publishing; Nicky was the burnout who skipped college and dated questionable men—until she married up and coming attorney Adam Mackintosh and had a son with him, Ethan. And yet somehow, fifteen years later, everything has changed: Chloe is now married to Adam, and raising Ethan with him in New York City, and has little to no contact with her sister. But when Adam is found murdered at their East Hampton beach house, Ethan becomes a prime suspect, and Chloe and Nicky must join forces to protect him.

    The Tale Teller (Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito Series #5), by Anne Hillerman
    Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn may have retired from his job with the Tribal Police, but he’s pulled back into a confounding mystery when he is hired to investigate the disappearance of a traditional Navajo dress called a biil, a priceless artifact that was donated to a museum but never turned up. When a woman suspected of being related to the disappearance dies mysteriously, Leaphorn receives ominous warnings to back off from his investigation—or be subject to witchcraft. Meanwhile, Jim Chee and Barnie Manuelito are looking into a series of burglaries—and their case takes a dark turn when a woman is found dead near a widely-used running path, and the pair find themselves squaring off against the FBI. Before long, the two investigations begin to grow closer together, offering Bernie a rare and surprising opportunity.

    Triple Jeopardy (Daniel Pitt Series #2), by Anne Perry
    Lawyer Daniel Pitt is happy to learn of that sister Jemima and her family are back in London on a visit from the states. But he is concerned when she tells him that a good friend was assaulted while in Washington D.C., and her necklace stolen. The suspect, one Philip Sidney, is a British diplomat who fled back to London so he could claim diplomatic immunity, like a coward. But when he is charged with embezzlement, his paths cross with Daniel’s, when he ends up defending Sidney in court. As the implications of the embezzlement charges become increasingly serious, Daniel teams up with scientist Miriam fford Croft, to investigate whether his client’s crimes include those of a far more serious nature…such as murder.

    The A List (An Ali Reynolds Mystery), by J. A. Jance
    Ali Reynolds’ days as a well-known broadcaster may be over, but she’s living large in a new house with a new love while running a cybersecurity company in her Arizona hometown. When she learns an old friend has died, she’s drawn back into the last story she covered as a reporter; one which was meant to be a sentimental piece about a young man in need of a kidney, but instead led her down a very dark path that ended up with a prominent doctor jailed for life. Dr. Edward Gilchrist may have made his own bed (and a very evil bed at that), but he blames his downfall on a shortlist of individuals whose initials are tattooed on his arm—one of whom is Ali. He will not rest until every one of them is dead—and as it’s not that long a list, Ali and her team are up against the clock.

    Murder on Trinity Place (Gaslight Mystery Series #22), by Victoria Thompson
    Frank and Sarah Molloy are excited to ring in the new year at Trinity Church—it’s 1899, so the occasion is an especially momentous one—when they observe that one reveler, Mr. Pritchard, is acting oddly. The next morning he is found dead near the church. When the police refuse to take an investigation seriously, Pritchard’s family, fearing a scandal, asks the Molloys to look into it. What Frank and Sarah begin to uncover as they look closer at Pritchard’s high-society family goes far deeper than they ever imagined. The pitch-perfect period details in this evocative series alone make it worth delving into.


    The Department of Sensitive Crimes: A Detective Varg Novel, by Alexander McCall Smith
    Fans of the No 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency books, along with fans of gentle absurdity, will relish this series opener about a department of the Swedish Criminal Investigation Authority, the Department of Sensitive Crimes, whose jurisdiction is not-that-series crimes and not-quite-so-urgent mysteries. These include the case of the non-fatal back-of-the-knee stabbing, as well as the disappearance of an invented boyfriend. The interpersonal stories of the appealing and eccentric cast of characters take center stage; readers looking for a little humor with their mysteries will be hooked from the start.

    The Diva Sweetens the Pie (Domestic Diva Series #12), by Krista Davis
    It’s time for Old Town’s annual pie festival, and everyone’s excited, particularly Sophie, because not only is her rival Natasha Smith barred from participation, but she’s been asked to oversee the pie eating contest! But when its celebrity judge, Patsy Lee Presley, dies during the competition, Sophie’s friends are the main suspects—and it’s time for her to investigate! It turns out Patsy wasn’t quite as sweet as her reputation made her out to be, judging by the string of disgruntled friends and exes she left in her wake. Can Sophie serve up justice for her friends? Or are their gooses cooked?

    What mysteries are you excited to read this month?

    The post April’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 9:00 pm on 2019/02/28 Permalink
    Tags: blood oath, broken bone china, , , , , , , , , Mysteries, , run away, the american agent, the last second, , unto us a son is given, wolf pack   

    March’s Best New Mysteries 

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    There are so many good mysteries out in March that it’s almost a relief that the weather is still keeping us indoors and nestled up snugly in our armchairs. Whether you’re a fan of heart-pounding thrillers with down-to-the-wire chases, cozies filled with tea, pastries, and murder, or something in between, this month’s crop of new whodunits has got you covered.

    Run Away, by Harlan Coben
    First Simon lost his daughter figuratively: Addicted to drugs and involved with the wrong guy, her life had spiraled. Then he lost her literally, and when she disappeared, it was obvious she didn’t want to be found. But when she turns up in Central Park, playing the guitar—dirty, frightened, and unable or unwilling to recognize her own father, Simon must take matters into his own hands, risking his own life, and his family, to get her back. A dark novel of suspense from a master of the genre, Run Away will thrill longtime Coben fans, and hook new ones. The B&N special edition includes an interview with the author.

    Wolf Pack, by C. J. Box
    Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett has gotten his job back in the 19th installment in Box’s stellar series, and he’s back at work just in time to investigate an unregistered drone that’s killing wildlife. The drone turns out to belong to a wealthy man who scoffs at Joe’s attempts to get him to ground it. Worse still, the man’s son is dating Joe’s daughter, Lucy. Not only that, but both the FBI and the DOJ warn Joe to stop bothering the drone operator, which makes him very suspicious that there’s something he’s not being told. These suspicions are confirmed when the body count in Joe’s district begins to grow, and it becomes apparent that a highly trained team of killers is on the scene, and that Joe and everyone associated with him is in danger.

    The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs Series #15), by Jacqueline Winspear
    Shortly after Maisie Dobbs makes the acquaintance of Catherine Saxon, a vibrant American journalist covering the war in Europe, Catherine is found murdered in her London apartment. When Scotland Yard seeks Maisie’s help solving the mystery of Catherine’s murder, she is reunited with US Department of Justice agent Mark Scott, an American who once helped Maisie escape from Munich in 1938. In the midst of all of this, the Germans are unleashing a blitzkrieg on England, and Maisie worries about protecting Anna, the young war orphan she longs to adopt. This beautifully written series features a truly compelling female lead against the backdrop of a harrowing historical time period.

    The Last Second (A Brit in the FBI Series #6), by Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison
    Dr. Nevaeh Patel is second in command at Galactus, a private aerospace company in France. She’s also a former astronaut who is convinced that aliens she met on a space-walk will grant her immortality—if she does something for them in return. Unfortunately, helping them out involves placing a nuclear bomb on a Galactus-launched satellite that, if detonated, will trigger an electromagnetic pulse that will destroy worldwide communications systems. It’s up to Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine to stop this from happening…but this time bomb is ticking down to the very last second. Don’t miss this fast-paced installment in a well-loved series.

    Unto Us a Son Is Given (Guido Brunetti Series #28), by Donna Leon
    The inimitable Commissario Guido Brunetti is asked delicately by his father-in-law to look into the planned adoption of a much younger man by an elderly relative, Gonzalo Rodríguez de Tejada, who stands to leave someone a great fortune when he dies. Although he doesn’t really want to get involved and would rather leave the old man in peace to do as he likes, Brunetti is compelled to involve himself when Gonzalo dies, quickly and unexpectedly, and then a friend who arrives in town to attend his memorial services is killed in her hotel room. Fans of the pleasures of Donna Leon’s entrancing series will appreciate this soulful meditation on the human spirit and its capacity for good…but also terrible selfishness.

    Blood Oath (Alexandra Cooper Series #20), by Linda Fairstein
    Her leave of absence is over just in time for Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper to jump back in the game, at what feels like a watershed moment: A growing number of women are feeling encouraged to speak out against their abusers and to bring them to justice. But Alex’s newest case comes with an extra twist: Lucy, a woman who years ago testified at an important federal trial, has come forward to claim she was sexually assaulted by a well-known official during that time. Alex, along with NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, finds herself pulled into an investigation that leads her to the doorstep of Manhattan’s renowned Rockefeller University, which has become refuge for a dangerous foe.

    Broken Bone China, by Laura Childs
    Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop of Charleston, S.C. is enjoying a ride on a hot-air balloon with tea sommelier Drayton Conneley (who is enjoying it rather less), when a mysterious drone appears that is up to no good. To everyone’s horror, the drone attacks a nearby balloon, which crashes, killing everyone on board. One of the passengers was wealthy CEO Don Kingsley, and when Theo begins to dig into his past she finds a laundry list of suspects who may have wanted him dead. Her police detective boyfriend out of town, Theo takes it upon herself to begin investigating this strange murder, which means there is soon a target on her own back. The 2oth novel in this cozy series includes tasty recipes as well as tea time tips, making it perfect for armchair sleuths who enjoy a hot cuppa as they read.

    The post March’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 3:58 pm on 2019/01/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , gytha lodge, , Mysteries,   

    January’s Best Mysteries 

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    Arguably, January is your best month to dive into some juicy new mystery novels. The new year is upon us, after all, and is in itself a mystery. Who knows what the next twelve months will bring? No one—but we can sort of guarantee a steady supply of gripping mysteries to keep your little gray cells working overtime to spot clues, work out motives, and maybe solve a few murders along the way.

    The New Iberia Blues, by James Lee Burke
    Burke’s 22nd Dave Robicheaux book goes Hollywood, as Robicheaux finds his paths crossing once again with Desmond Cormier. Robicheaux first met Cormier twenty-five years earlier when Cormier was a skinny kid with big dreams. Now he’s an award-winning Hollywood director—whose embroiled in a gruesome murder. A woman had been crucified, wearing just a chain on her ankle, after being seen near Cormier’s estate. But Cormier isn’t talking, and Robicheaux finds himself going up against an array of new enemies and old demons as he delves into the mystery with only his longtime allies Clete Purcel and Alafair for backup.

    The Golden Tresses of the Dead, by Alan Bradley
    Flavia de Luce returns for a tenth go-round, the adorably precocious twelve-year old genius and expert in poisons irritated to bear witness to her sister Ophelia’s wedding. Cynical as always, Flavia intends to bring her detecting skills to the next level by going pro, setting up her office in the dilapidated mansion known as Buckshaw. She might not have to look too far for her first case, as Ophelia’s wedding cake turns out to have a nasty little surprise in the form of a severed human finger. With her trusted associate, gardener Dogger, and her unwanted cousin Undine in tow, Flavia puts her snarky intelligence and poisonous expertise to work.

    Out of the Dark, by Gregg Hurwitz
    Evan Smoak, formerly Orphan X and now the Nowhere Man, returns. Taken as a child and trained to be the ultimate deadly and deniable government asset, Smoak uses his training and skills to help the people who need it most. But now someone is shutting down the Orphan program—and trying to erase all evidence it ever existed in the first place, including the Orphans themselves and their trainers. When Smoak’s mentor is killed, he knows he cannot sit on the sidelines any longer—and he targets the man who launched the program, the man who is currently President of the United States of America. There’s only one problem: The president knows Smoak is after him, and activates the one asset that might be able to stop him—Orphan A, the very first recruit to the program, and the one person who has a chance against him.

    She Lies in Wait, by Gytha Lodge
    In 1983, Aurora Jackson was fourteen years old when she went camping in Brinken Wood with her older sister and five schoolmates. She was never seen again—until her body is discovered thirty years later. Detective Chief Jonah Sheens finds himself in the spotlight as he is forced to return to one of his very first investigations—one that strikes him close to home in all the wrong ways. Everything points to the killer being one of Aurora’s tightly-knit circle from her teenage years, and the story weaves between the present-day investigation and Aurora’s own POV on what would be her last day alive with masterful ease, spinning a dense, surprising, and thrilling tale that will keep you turning pages as everyone’s secrets are slowly teased out.

    Don’t worry; if you read all of this month’s books, we’ll be back next month with a fresh curated list. Happy New Year!

    Shop all mystery and crime >

    The post January’s Best Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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