The Best Mysteries & Thrillers of the Year So Far

Chris Schluep on July 05, 2018
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It was a good first half of the year for Mysteries & Thrillers, including big names like Stephen King, Philip Kerr, Elizabeth George, AJ Finn, Jane Harper, and even a former president. It was also a big six months in terms of variety. Spy thrillers, unreliable narrators, and detective novels are all in there--but you should also take a look at the list if you're searching for something a little different. Here are some of the books we chose for the Best Mysteries & Thrillers of the Year So Far.


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Crimson Lake by Candice Fox - Amazon's Vannessa Cronin says, "As Crimson Lake opens, former cop Ted Conkaffey is in a bad way: accused but not convicted of killing a teenager, his marriage is over, he doesn’t know when he’ll see his baby daughter again, his job is gone, and the thin blue line has turned its back on him. Alone, he spends his nights drinking in a cheap rented house in the grim suburb of Crimson Lake, listening to the sounds of angry neighbors and opportunistic teens throwing missiles at his front windows and grappling with “dark thoughts.” Even when his parole officer sets him up with a job as an investigator, it doesn’t seem like a leg up: his new boss Amanda Pharrell did time too, for murdering her best friend when they were teenagers, and Crimson Lake residents haven’t forgotten. When they go to interview the family in their first case together, Ted can only pray they don’t recognize his face from TV. Two investigators operating under this level of scrutiny and hostility is a great set up for a tense thriller and Fox does a superb job of weaving past and present murders together, setting up a literary shell game to keep the reader guessing who’s guilty and who’s innocent. And the humbled, by-the-book cop finding himself working for a damaged woman with an unorthodox approach to investigating adds an additional layer of complexity to a story that is shaping up to be a great new series."


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The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand - We've been saying this for a while, but it bears repeating that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of summer reading. In The Perfect Couple, she of course returns to her beloved Nantucket, where a lavish wedding is planned. But when someone washes up dead on shore, the party is suddenly off, and everyone is a suspect.


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The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s India) by Sujata Massey - In her Best of the Month review, Amazon's Vannessa Cronin did a great job of setting up this mystery and its fabulous new heroine: "Set in 1920s Bombay, The Widows of a Malabar Hill introduces Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female solicitor, who works for her father’s law firm, handling contracts and estate work. When one of her father’s Muslim clients dies and the trustee of the estate submits paperwork, signed by his three widows, donating the bulk of their inheritance to charity, Perveen’s suspicions are aroused. The widows live in purdah, totally cut off from the outside world, and as she delves deeper into the secrets and betrayals in the house on Malabar Hill, what started as a routine inquiry quickly escalates to murder. Perveen has painful experience of the ways in which women’s voices can be silenced, and driven by personal tragedy to protect the rights of such women, even murder can’t deter her. Massey deftly evokes the sights, the sounds, and the heat of Bombay as her clever and determined heroine, aided by a large supporting cast of sharply-drawn characters, sidesteps both custom and danger to deliver justice."


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The Wife Between Us: A Novel by Greer Hendricks - The writing duo of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have written a first wife/second wife, multi-point-of-view page-turner that firmly placed it on best seller lists earlier this year. A while back, they talked about their book on the blog.


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The Oracle Year: A Novel by Charles Soule - Amazon's Seira Wilson wrote of the book, "If you woke up with 108 predictions in your head, what would you do? Sell the information to the highest bidder? Give it away? An ordinary man named Will Dando answers this very question in the pages of The Oracle Year, the first novel from popular comic book author Charles Soule. When Dando anonymously posts a few predictions on a site he dubs The Oracle, it’s flooded with queries, all of them variations of three themes: “Will I get what I want? How can I get what I want? Why can’t I get what I want.” What a self-absorbed society we live in, and Soule’s novel prompts us to ask a few pointed questions about our own naval gazing and the lure of fate versus free will. As for Will Dando, his life is turned upside down by knowledge he didn’t ask for but can’t un-know and everyone, from everyday citizens to hellfire preachers, all the way up to the President of the United States, wants a piece of him. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, Soule throws a curveball and that’s part of what makes his characters and storyline believable and provocative. Life is unpredictable, after all."


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