The mystery book columnist for the Globe and Mail, Margaret Cannon, recently said, “Nothing goes better with warm, sunny, summer days than gory, urban mystery novels.” If you agree with that fine sentiment you may like some of these new or seems-like-new mysteries, perfect for reading at the lake or mosquito-free sun room, for when your regular work can wait:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This 2012 mystery thriller, to be released as a movie this October, is the one I’m tackling the first part of the summer. Recently married Nick and Amy, having both lost their jobs in the literary world in New York, move back to his hometown in Missouri to start a new life. Cracks in their relationship are revealed before she goes missing one unassuming day, after which their worlds go completely topsy-turvy. Because the story is told from both his and her points of view – and they are not the same – readers have the freedom to make interesting observations that are only implied in the text. Please don’t tell me how it ends!
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Cormoran Strike is a likeable misfit of a London private detective created by J.K. Rowling, I mean ‘Robert Galbraith’, her pseudonym. ‘His’ first novel The Cuckoo’s Calling was quite the page-turner so I’m looking forward to the second. Strike, by the way, lives with several strikes against him, including few clients, a large debt, no home due to a break-up, and he has lost a leg in the Afghan war.
“When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days–as he has done before–and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives–meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced. When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before… A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn….” (Goodreads)
The Son by Jo Nesbo
“A serial killer is at work in Oslo, and a maverick cop with his share of personal demons is on his trail. But beneath that surface, there is a complex psychological thriller churning its way into the reader’s nightmares. Sonny Lofthus is in prison for crimes he didn’t commit but for which he has agreed to take the fall in exchange for an unending supply of heroin. The drugs are Sonny’s way of dealing with the knowledge that his father, an apparent suicide, was a dirty cop. As the novel begins, however, Sonny has new information about his father’s death and has engineered a daring escape from prison. His revenge-fueled plan is to kill those responsible for the crimes he was convicted of by re-creating the murders with the real killers now the victims. A terrific thriller but also a tragic, very moving story of intertwined characters swerving desperately to avoid the dead ends in their paths.” (Discover)
Body Count by Barbara Nadel
“Any bloody death will lead Inspectors Ikmen and Skuleyman out onto the dark streets of Istanbul. On 21 January, a half-decapitated corpse in the poor multicultural district of Tarlabasi poses a particularly frustrating and gruesome mystery. But as the months pass and the violence increases, it turns into a hunt for that rare phenomenon in the golden city on the Bosphorus: a serial killer. Desperate to uncover the killer’s twisted logic as the body count rises, Ikmen and Skuleyman find only more questions. How are the victims connected? What is the significance of the number 21? And how many people must die before they find the answers?” (Discover)
Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnet Friis
Protecting the young daughter of an illegal immigrant who has escaped police custody in the aftermath of a brutal murder, Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg struggles with a belief in the woman’s innocence as she learns about her violent past. (publisher)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
“In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the perp; and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy. Mr. Mercedes is Stephen’s first ‘hard-boiled detective tale.’ It will transport you into a vibrant and dangerous world filled with gritty characters living on the bleeding edge of reason. Be prepared.” (GoodReads)
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
“Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.” (publisher)
Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes
“At Vertigo 42, a bar high above London’s financial district, Richard Jury meets Tom Williamson – a friend of a friend who is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered 17 years ago. Tess’s death was ruled accidental – a fall caused by vertigo – but Jury agrees to re-examine the case. A young girl’s fatal fall at a children’s party 22 years ago at Tom and Tess’s home may be connected. After an elegantly dressed woman falls from a tower near a pub that Jury and his cronies frequent, and her estranged husband is later found dead, Jury begins to suspect that the now grown ‘children’ from Tess’s ill-fated party are the key to solving these interwoven mysteries.” (publisher)
Enjoy your reading this summer.