For the reader of British mystery, traditional and contemporary, trade paperbacks or unsigned hardcover books published in the US or the UK. One unsigned paperback or hardcover per month.
March: Lloyd, Sam. The Rising Ride (Scarlet, $25.95)
In this “fiendishly clever novel,” a woman’s husband vanishes in a historic storm — and new troubles wash up in its wake (Sunday Times)
In a small fishing village on the Devon coast, Lucy Locke has built a life that anyone would envy. She and her husband, Daniel, own successful businesses and live with their two children in a picturesque home overlooking the harbor. But everything changes one morning when, following a monumental storm, the family yacht is found empty — and Lucy’s husband is nowhere in sight.
As the search for Daniel mounts, so does Lucy’s sense of dread, raised to a fever pitch when another, more terrifying revelation pushes her storybook life to the brink of total destruction. Lucy is reluctantly forced to face a harsh truth: the sea gives life, and just as quickly takes it away. And when the detective on the case uncovers suspicious details that Lucy had hoped would stay buried, she’ll have to confront the nightmarish possibility that she created her own undoing.
Beautifully rendered with evocative, atmospheric prose, The Rising Tide is at once a pulse-pounding, inescapably suspenseful thriller and a poignant tale of the power of the natural world. Its characters and settings are sure to stay with readers long after the final page—and after their heart rates finally return to normal.
February: Hallett, Janice. The Appeal (Atria, $27.99 with signed book plate).
Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this “dazzlingly clever” (The Sunday Times, London) murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child—but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect.
The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their fellow castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.
But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—nor of the good intentions of those involved. As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head at the explosive dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material—emails, messages, letters—with a growing suspicion that a killer may be hiding in plain sight. The evidence is all there, between the lines, waiting to be uncovered.
A wholly modern take on the epistolary novel, The Appeal is a “daring…clever, and funny” (The Times, London) debut for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley.
January: Robotham, Michael. When You Are Mine (Scribner, $24.99)
In this page-turning psychological thriller from an author who Stephen King called “an absolute master,” a young female police officer faces danger on all fronts—from a clever victim of abuse, her colleagues on the force, and even her own mobster father.
Philomena McCarthy is a young, ambitious police office with the elite Metropolitan Police in London. When she responds to a domestic violence call, she finds the victim, Tempe Brown, trying to protect her abuser, a married man named Darren Goodall, a decorated Scotland Yard detective afraid of no one. As Philomena pursues the case against him, she not only encounters resistance from her police force colleagues but also becomes dangerously entangled with the victim—who is not at all whom she appears to be—much to the increasing endangerment of herself and Henry, her fiancée.
Complicating matters is Philomena’s estranged father Edward McCarthy, a powerful man who has built a criminal empire along with his brothers. Philomena has long tried to pursue her career as a police officer without her father’s involvement, but as she falls under suspicion of stalking and harassing Goodall, her father becomes involved.
As the situation escalates, Tempe’s sinister maneuvers further entangle Philomena in a web of secrets, corruption, and murder, putting Philomena’s impending marriage, career, and very survival in jeopardy…
Spellbinding, suspenseful, and filled with complex characters that could be heroes or villains, Robotham has crafted a smart and propulsive thriller that’s impossible to put down.
November: Glenconner, Anne. A Haunting at Holkham (Mobius, $26.99)
The thrilling new mystery from the bestselling author of Lady in Waiting and Murder on Mustique. Set during WWII in Holkham, think Downton Abbey meets Knives Out …
It’s Christmas 1943 and Lady Anne Coke has returned to Holkham Hall from Scotland. But her home is now an army base, with large sections out of bounds. And 11-year-old Anne is in the care of a new governess, whom she hates and believes to be hiding something. At least her beloved grandfather is there with her, to share stories and keep her entertained.
But even though she’s been told to stay away from certain parts of the house, Anne knows secrets about the hall that others do not; the passageways and the cellars that allow her to move around unnoticed, watching. And when mysterious events lead to a murder and disappearance, Anne is determined to uncover the truth.
October: Rader-Day, Lori. Death at Greenwood (Harper, $16.99 pb)
From the award-winning author of The Day I Died and The Lucky One, a captivating suspense novel about nurses during World War II who come to Agatha Christie’s holiday estate to care for evacuated children, but when a body is discovered nearby, the idyllic setting becomes host to a deadly mystery.
Bridey Kelly has come to Greenway House—the beloved holiday home of Agatha Christie—in disgrace. A terrible mistake at St. Prisca’s Hospital in London has led to her dismissal as a nurse trainee, and her only chance for redemption is a position in the countryside caring for children evacuated to safety from the Blitz.
Greenway is a beautiful home full of riddles: wondrous curios not to be touched, restrictions on rooms not to be entered, and a generous library, filled with books about murder. The biggest mystery might be the other nurse, Gigi, who is like no one Bridey has ever met. Chasing ten young children through the winding paths of the estate grounds might have soothed Bridey’s anxieties and grief—if Greenway were not situated so near the English Channel and the rising aggressions of the war.
When a body washes ashore near the estate, Bridey is horrified to realize this is not a victim of war, but of a brutal killing. As the local villagers look among themselves, Bridey and Gigi discover they each harbor dangerous secrets about what has led them to Greenway. With a mystery writer’s home as their unsettling backdrop, the young women must unravel the truth before their safe haven becomes a place of death . . .
September: Lisa Jewell. The Night She Disappeared (Atria, $28.00 Signed).
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another riveting work of psychological suspense about a beautiful young couple’s disappearance on a gorgeous summer night, and the mother who will never give up trying to find them…
On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.
One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE
Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?
With her signature “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Lisa Jewell has crafted a dazzling work of suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page.
August: Paula Hawkins. Slow Fire Burning (Riverhead, $28.00).
The scorching new thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train.
“A Slow Fire Burning twists and turns like a great thriller should, but it’s also deep, intelligent and intensely human.” – Lee Child
“Only a clairvoyant could anticipate the book’s ending” – New York Times
With the same propulsion that captivated millions of readers worldwide in The Girl on the Train and Into the Water, Paula Hawkins unfurls a gripping, twisting story of deceit, murder, and revenge.
When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?
Look what you started.
July: B.A. Paris. The Therapist
The multimillion-copy New York Times bestselling author B.A. Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in The Therapist—a powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.
When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…
As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.
Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…
June: Alex Michaelides. The Maidens (Celadon Books, $27.99).
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession, that further cements “Michaelides as a major player in the field” (Publishers Weekly).
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
May: Allison Monclair. A Rogue’s Gallery
In Allison Monclair’s A Rogue’s Company, business becomes personal for the Right Sort Marriage Bureau when a new client, a brutal murder, two kidnappings, and the recently returned from Africa Lord Bainbridge threatens everything that one of the principals holds dear.
In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge—the widowed Gwen’s father-in-law and legal guardian—returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending her six-year-old son away to a boarding school.
But there’s more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter—and now their very survival is at stake.
April: Carole Johnstone. Mirrorland (Scribner, $27.00).
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is a thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.
March: Elly Griffiths. The Postscript Murders (Houghton Mifflin, $25.00)
Murder leaps off the page when crime novelists begin to turn up dead in this intricate new novel by internationally best-selling author Elly Griffiths, a literary mystery perfect for fans of Anthony Horowitz and Agatha Christie.
The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should not be suspicious. Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing out of the ordinary when Peggy’s caretaker, Natalka, begins to recount Peggy Smith’s passing.
But Natalka had a reason to be at the police station: while clearing out Peggy’s flat, she noticed an unusual number of crime novels, all dedicated to Peggy. And each psychological thriller included a mysterious postscript: PS: for PS. When a gunman breaks into the flat to steal a book and its author is found dead shortly thereafter—Detective Kaur begins to think that perhaps there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.
And then things escalate: from an Aberdeen literary festival to the streets of Edinburgh, writers are being targeted. DS Kaur embarks on a road trip across Europe and reckons with how exactly authors can think up such realistic crimes . . .
February: Russ Thomas. Nighthawking
When a nighthawker on the hunt for antiquities instead uncovers the body of a foreign student, Detective Adam Tyler is pulled into a serpentine mystery of dangerous secrets, precious finds, and illegal dealings.
You are a trespasser. You are a thief. You are a Nighthawker.
Under the dark cover of night, a figure climbs over the wall of the Botanical Garden with a bag and a metal detector. It’s a dicey location in the populous city center, but they’re on the hunt–and while most of what they find will be worthless, it takes only one big reward to justify the risk. Only this time, the nighthawker unearths a body. . . .
Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler and his newly promoted protégé, Detective Constable Amina Rabbani, are officially in charge of Cold Case Reviews. But with shrinking budgets and manpower in the department, both are shunted onto the murder investigation–and when the victim is identified as a Chinese national from a wealthy family, in the UK on a student visa, the case takes on new urgency to prevent an international incident.
As Tyler and Rabbani dig further into the victim’s life, it’s becomes clear there’s more to her studies and relationships than meets the eye, and that the original investigation into her disappearance was shoddy at best. Meanwhile, someone else is watching these events . . . someone who knew the victim, and might hold the key to what happened the night she vanished.
January: Victoria Gosling. Before The Ruins
A gripping, multilayered debut in the tradition of Tana French and Donna Tartt about four friends, an empty manor, and a night that will follow them for the rest of their lives
It’s the summer of 1996 and school’s out forever for Andy, her boyfriend Marcus, her best friend Peter, and Em. When Andy’s alcoholic mother predicts the apocalypse, the four teenagers decide to see out the end of the world at a deserted manor house, the site of a historic unsolved mystery. There they meet David—charming and unreliable, he seems to have appeared out of nowhere.
David presents an irresistible lure for both Andy and Peter and complicates the dynamics of their lifelong friendship. When the group learns that a diamond necklace, stolen fifty years ago, might still be somewhere on the manor grounds, the Game—half treasure hunt, half friendly deception—begins. But the Game becomes much bigger than the necklace, growing to encompass years of secrets, lies, and, ultimately, one terrible betrayal.
Meticulously plotted and gorgeously written, Before the Ruins is a page-turner of the highest order about the sealed-off places in our pasts and the parts of ourselves waiting to be retrieved from them.
January: Steadman, Catherine. Mr Nobody
February: Airth, Rennie. The Decent Inn of Death
March: Thomas, Russ. Firewatching
April: Bruce, Camilla. You Let Me In
May: Forry, Lauren. They Did Bad Things
June: North, Alex. The Shadows
July: Feeney, Alice. His & Hers
August: Perks, Heidi. Three Perfect Liars
September: Cleeves, Ann. The Darkest Evening
October: McDermid, Val. Still Life
November: MacMillan, Gilly. To Tell The Truth.
December: Horowitz, Anthony. The Moonflower Murders.