The world of mystery is evolving. Though it started out as little more than true crime and detective work, publishers have seen newer mysteries more jam packed with raw, real life events. Emotional intensity and undiscovered histories were key traits of the eight upcoming mysteries featured at Publisher Weekly’s US Book Show.
Don Winslow: City of Fire
From NY Times bestseller Don Winslow comes a blast to the past. Winslow’s City of Fire was inspired by the Greek and Roman classics. While exploring ideas for his next mystery, Winslow noticed Greek and modern crime texts shared several of the same values and story arcs, including violence, justice and redemption. Thus, his creation of the complicated Danny Ryan provides those values in the flesh. Danny is a flawed, complex man, who does whatever it takes to survive, even if that ultimately means murder. He is placed in a gritty, real world setting for today, where he is caught in a war between two criminal empires. It is a powerful portrait of an unlikely hero who protects those he loves and struggles to live with the consequences.
Naomi Hirahara: Clark and Division
Author Naomi Hirahara takes us back to Manzanar, during the era of Japanese internment in the United States. In a complex, layered text, Hirahara incorporates historical details behind internment with a nail-biting plot. As a family is resettled into Chicago following their captivity, a young woman goes to reunite with her older sister, Rose. But, Rose was found dead just a day before her family was supposed to reunite, supposedly from suicide. The young woman doesn’t believe that her older sister would choose to die just a day before her arrival. Thus, the mystery spirals, containing commentary on justice and the pros and cons of the American dream. Through the book, Hirahara doesn’t shy away from her roots, looking at internment through a never-seen-before lens and showing readers what it means to be American.
Colleen Cambridge: Murder at Mallowan Hall
Agatha Christie lovers will be all over Colleen Cambridge’s mystery. Set in Britain in the 1930s, Agatha Christie’s housekeeper comes to do her daily cleaning, when she finds a dead body in Agatha Christie’s house. The Housekeeper herself is a layered character. An army nurse during WWI, she’s not fazed at the initial sight of the body, keeping herself calm and collected. Her overprotective nature makes her hide the murder from Agatha. In a sort of lighthearted mystery, the running joke is that while Agatha Christie is often in her study writing detective stories, she’s somehow oblivious to the mystery happening right under her nose.
Paula Hawkins: A Slow Fire Burning
From bestselling author Paula Hawkins comes a new mystery, this time, without an unreliable narrator. Instead, Hawkins has developed several unreliable characters, who are intensely human and very raw. This story is stuffed to the brim with thrills, including psychological suspense, deceit, revenge and murder. There are twists and turns at every corner, with surprises and cliffhangers strung along the way. Though the main crime is a young man’s gruesome murder, the story truly revolves around three living women, looking for revenge. They provide a strong emotional current for the story and will fill you with tears, rage and shock. If the plot wasn’t jam packed enough, this book is also a book about crime writing, filled with tons of easter eggs for any mystery lover. Even the title has a double meaning, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is.
Amanda Jayatissa: My Sweet Girl
After 30-year-old Paloma is cut off from her rich parent’s funds, she finally starts to experience the harsh realities in the world. When she rents out part of her apartment to Arun, her roommate, she confesses one of her darkest secrets and Arun blackmails her. But, soon enough, Arun is found face down, murdered in her apartment. Paloma can’t help but suspect that her past, in a Sri Lankan Orphanage, could be behind the mysterious events in her life. Through a book that goes back and forth between San Francisco and Sri Lanka, this book is an extremely bold and fun read. But, it also explores complex themes such as the white savior complex, what it’s like to grow up adopted in a privileged society, race and assimilation.
Chris Hadfield: The Apollo Murders
Though you may not recognize the name Chris Hadfield in the writing industry, you definitely recognize it from the space industry. Hadfield’s first book is a space thriller, written by one of the most influential astronauts in modern time. The protagonist of his story is a man who dreams of going to space. But, after an accident where he loses his eye, that dream gets shelved for good. Instead, he takes on a job as an Apollo mission 18 overseer, where he sees, firsthand, who makes it to the moon and who makes it home. At the same time, a messy murder occurs, providing a seperate plot line to run with. Chris Hadfield’s own experience in space exploration is very insightful for the book and makes it more unique. His descriptions make readers feel like they’re in space with him and tons of the book is based on his own life experiences. It’s real science, not just a science thriller.
Ann Cleeves: The Heron’s Cry
A classic British detective story, Ann Cleeves continues her long successful career with The Heron’s Cry. After a strange rural murder, where the man has been stabbed with glass from a broken vase, detective Matthew Venn starts following a trail of similar cases. This book excels in getting under the skin of its readers. Cleeves does lots of great character layering and development. Matthew Venn himself is not a flawed character. He is a detective with personality: thoughtful, appealing, but oddly stubborn. This book will take you on a journey through home, wrapped up in that classic cozy mystery.
Gabby Allan: Much Ado About Nauticaling
One of the most fun mysteries on the list, Gabby Allan’s latest release follows a mystery that occurs on Catalina Island. After main character Whitney Dagner returns to make a home on this island, she connects with locals and does fun tasks like helping around a gift shop. One day, she takes a group of people out on a tour, including the town Big Whig, but days later, he is found dead on her boat. Whitney must figure out what really happened before she becomes a suspect or her brother, the prime suspect, gets arrested. This book creates a sort of locker room mystery, as the setting sticks everyone to one place. The local dynamic lends to lots of interesting adventures. As one of the more prominent plot lines, partway through the book, an ex lover in Whitney’s life turns up and things really spiral out of control. This quirky and fun read is a perfect addition to your reading list!
Be sure to check out all of these new thrillers as they start rolling around in the fall. There are so many enticing worlds to explore.
Featured Image via @2renkov on Unsplash