This club is for the mystery fan who doesn’t like to be pigeon-holed into one particular sub-genre. We’ll be drawing from a variety of different styles – thrillers, psychological crime novels, hardboiled/noir fiction, police procedurals and more – to provide you with a well-rounded reading experience throughout the year.
November: Rachel Howzell Hall. These Toxic Things (Thomas & Mercer, $24.95 Signed).
A dead woman’s cherished trinkets become pieces to a terrifying puzzle.
Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain—twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.
But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.
It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.
September: Michelle Richmond. The Wonder Test (Grove/Atlantic, $26.00 Signed)
New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond introduces a tough and spirited new protagonist, FBI Agent Lina Connerly, in this exhilarating race to save Silicon Valley teens from their own parents’ ambition and greed.
Escaping New York City and the espionage case that made her question everything, recently widowed FBI Agent Lina Connerly returns home to sell the house she has inherited in tony Greenfield, California. With her teenage son Rory, Lina hopes to reassemble her life, reevaluate her career, and find a clear way forward. Adrift and battling insomnia, she discovers that her father’s sleepy hometown has been transformed into a Silicon Valley suburb on steroids, obsessed with an annual exam called The Wonder Test.
When students at her son’s high school go missing, reappearing under mysterious circumstances on abandoned beaches, Lina must summon her strength and her investigative instincts, pushing her own ethical boundaries to the limits in order to solve the crimes. Meanwhile, an old espionage case called Red Vine keeps calling her back into the fold. While Lina struggles to balance her new role as a single mother and the complex counterintelligence puzzles she is so adept at solving, Greenfield’s shadowy dangers creep closer to her own home.
A searing view of a culture that puts the well-being of children at risk for advancement and prestige, and a captivating story of the lengths a mother will go for her son.
August: Jonathan Santlofer. The Last Mona Lisa (Sourcebooks, $27.99).
From award-winning crime writer and celebrated artist Jonathan Santlofer comes an enthralling tale about the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, the forgeries that appeared in its wake, and the present-day underbelly of the art world.
August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now returned to the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.
Present day: Art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.
The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful and seductive tale, perfect for fans of the Netflix documentaries This Is A Robbery and Made You Look and readers obsessed with the world of art heists and forgeries.
July: Kathy Reichs. The Bone Code (Scribner, $27.00 Signed).
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her twentieth gripping novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, whose examinations, fifteen years apart, of unidentified bodies ignite a terrifying series of events.
On the way to hurricane-ravaged Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner. The storm has tossed ashore a medical waste container. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she travels to Montreal to gather evidence.
Meanwhile, health authorities in South Carolina become increasingly alarmed as a human flesh-eating contagion spreads. So focused is Tempe on identifying the container victims that, initially, she doesn’t register how their murders and the pestilence may be related. But she does recognize one unsettling fact. Someone is protecting a dark secret—and is willing to do anythingto keep it hidden.
An absorbing look at the sinister uses to which genetics can be put, and featuring a cascade of ever-more-shocking revelations, The Bone Code is Temperance Brennan’s most astonishing case yet—one that gives new meaning to today’s headlines.
June: Taylor Adams. Hairpin Bridge (William Morrow, $27.99 Signed).
From the author of the “full-throttle thriller” (A. J. Finn) No Exit—a riveting new psychological page-turner featuring a fierce and unforgettable heroine.
Three months ago, Lena Nguyen’s estranged twin sister, Cambry, drove to a remote bridge seventy miles outside of Missoula, Montana, and jumped two hundred feet to her death. At least, that is the official police version.
But Lena isn’t buying it.
Now she’s come to that very bridge, driving her dead twin’s car and armed with a cassette recorder, determined to find out what really happened by interviewing the highway patrolman who allegedly discovered her sister’s body.
Corporal Raymond Raycevic has agreed to meet Lena at the scene. He is sympathetic, forthright, and professional. But his story still seems a bit off. For one thing, he stopped Cambry for speeding just an hour before she supposedly leaped to her death. Then there are the sixteen attempted 911 calls from her cell phone, made in what was unfortunately a dead zone.
But perhaps most troubling of all, the state trooper is referred to by name in Cambry’s final enigmatic text to her sister: Please Forgive Me. Lena will do anything to uncover the truth. But as her twin’s final hours come into focus, Lena’s search turns into a harrowing tooth-and-nail fight for her own survival—one that will test everything she thought she knew about her sister and herself..
May: Jean Hanff Korelitz. The Plot (Celadon, $28.00 Signed).
Hailed as “breathtakingly suspenseful,” Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.
Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.
Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.
In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.
As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?
April: Paula McLain. When the Stars Go Dark
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • “A total departure for the author of The Paris Wife, McLain’s emotionally intense and exceptionally well-written thriller entwines its fictional crime with real cases.”—People (Book of the Week)
“The kind of heart-pounding conclusion that thriller fans crave . . . In the end, a book full of darkness lands with a message of hope.”—The New York Times Book Review
“This mystery will keep you guessing, and stay with you long after you finish. Dive in.”—theSkimm
Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.
The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.
Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives—and our faith in one another.
February: Will Staples. Animals (Blackstone, $27.99 Signed late March).
When rhino poachers kill two of his fellow rangers in Kruger Park, South African Defense Force veteran Cobus Venter reaches his breaking point. Quitting his job, he embarks on a vigilante mission to take down the animal-trafficking syndicate from the inside. Meanwhile, in Florida, insurance investigator Randall Knight is called to a private roadside zoo, where a new tiger cub of suspect lineage brought a virus that wiped out all the zoo’s tigers. The disease is just one species jump away from erupting into a deadly global human pandemic. What starts as a simple insurance claim leads Knight to discover a shocking new evolution in the business of illicit animal trafficking. Both men’s journeys take them from the darkest corners of Southeast Asia to the VIP gambling rooms of Macau, where they must stay alive long enough to stop a vicious international triad from ending wildlife as we know it.
Animals is set in the world of global animal trafficking and follows converging story lines into a dark maze of corruption and organized crime, and through the journeys of the main characters, the novel explores the factors driving the exploitation and ruin of the natural world.
Though the story is fiction, the characters, locations, and plot points are almost entirely rooted in fact. They are the product of hundreds of conversations with everyone from Jane Goodall to the CIA, to Damien Mander (an ex-mercenary turned animal activist). To experience the issue firsthand, Will Staples took a month-long research trip spanning three continents and seven countries. The journey was a profoundly transformative, life-altering experience.
The author’s goal with this novel is to expose this issue to as many people as possible. To that end, all his income from this book will be donated to nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife.
January: Tracy, P.J. Deep Into the Dark
New York Times bestseller P. J. Tracy returns with Deep into the Dark, a brand new series set in LA and featuring up-and-coming LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan and murder suspect Sam Easton.
Sam Easton—a true survivor—is home from Afghanistan, trying to rebuild a life in his hometown of LA. Separated from his wife, bartending and therapy sessions are what occupy his days and nights. When friend and colleague Melody Traeger is beaten by her boyfriend, she turns to Sam for help. When the boyfriend turns up dead the next day, a hard case like Sam is the perfect suspect.
But LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, whose brother recently died serving overseas, is sympathetic to Sam’s troubles, and can’t quite see him as a killer. She’s more interested in the secrets Melody might be keeping and the developments in another murder case on the other side of town.
Set in an LA where real people live and work–not the superficial LA of Beverly Hills or the gritty underbelly of the city–Deep into the Dark features two really engaging, dynamic main characters and explores the nature of obsession, revenge, and grief.
P. J. Tracy is known for her “fast, fresh, and funny” characters (Harlan Coben) and her “sizzling” plots (People); the Monkeewrench series was her first, set in Minneapolis and co-written with her mother. Now with Deep into the Dark she’s on her own—and it’s a home run.
January: Dundas, Chad. The Blaze
February: Gardiner, Meg. Dark Corners of the Night
March: Swanson, Peter. Eight Perfect Murders
April: Black, Cara. Three Hours in Paris
May: Turow, Scott. The Last Trial
June: Young, Heather. The Distant Dead
July: Cosby, S.A. The Blacktop Wasteland
August: David Heska Wanbli Weiden. Winter Counts
September: Parish, Stan. Love and Theft.
October: Unger, Lisa. Confessions on the 7:45
November: Fleishman, Jeffrey. The Last Dance
December: Preston & Child. The Scorpion’s Tail.