Mystery

Vase of flowers in front of a window

Still Life

By Louise Penny
4
Rated by Hilary S.
Sep 19, 2020

Louise Penny has written a heart warming mystery series set in Canada. Murder and heart warming might not seem like they go together, but it works here. The series features Inspector Armand Gamache, a charming and quiet Chief Inspector of homicide. First called to the remote village of Three Pines, we meet the main characters of the town, but also Gamache’s team. There is a lot of character development and rich descriptions of the settings, which are  the real draw of the series. There seems to be an alarming amount of murder in the quaint town of Three Pines, Quebec. We find ourselves here

Cover of Open Season by C. J. Box

Open Season

By C. J. Box
3
Rated by Charles H
Sep 15, 2020

In 2001, C.J. Box released his first novel featuring Joe Pickett, a game warden from Twelve Sleep Wyoming. Establishing Pickett as a man with a strong moral compass and fierce devotion to his friends and family, it isn’t hard to see why Box has written nineteen additional stories featuring this classic western archetype.


As an introduction to Joe Pickett, Open Season drops the reader into one of his first days on the job as the new game warden in town. Somewhat bumbling, but with a clear respect for the rule of law above all else, he is not well liked in town. This is to be expected, coming

English Tea Murder

By Leslie Meier
3
Rated by Josh N.
Jul 22, 2020

"In for a penny, in for a pound."


I've read a variety of mystery novels over the years, but never a cozy mystery. Which is strange because I generally prefer lighter, brighter stories to grim and gritty, and I'm not big on gore. And I love puns, and a lot of cozy mysteries have punny titles. I decided to try my first cozy mystery and chose English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier at random. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting from the genre (no punny title, for one thing) but to cut to the big reveal, I liked it.


Having never read a cozy mystery, especially one by Leslie Meier, here's what

The Broken Girls

By Simone St. James
4
Rated by Hebah A.H.
Jul 6, 2020

One of the best things about working in a library is the regular opportunity to talk about books (and other media) with people. Often, I can provide a recommendation for something else to read or try in those conversations, but it isn’t always a one-way street. Sometimes, patrons put books on my radar that I overlooked, either because the cover or description didn’t grab me, or it’s just outside my usual genre preferences. One of these books was Simone St. James’s The Broken Girls.


As a story with a historical fiction subplot and an intrigued journalist starring in the other main plotline,

Books by Karen M. McManus

By Karen M. McManus
5
Rated by admin
May 26, 2020

Mystery fans looking for a new author to binge will want to know the name Karen M. McManus, who hit the New York Times and International Bestseller Lists with her first three published mysteries One of Us is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us is Next. Haven't heard of McManus and wondering why? It could be because her novels are published under the TEEN umbrella. But don't let that stop you from picking up a copy! McManus is a gifted mystery author who crafts top notch whodunits that are tightly plotted with gasp worthy twists! Just because her protagonists are teens, doesn't mean

Jamie & Aaron - Flume - London Theatre (Topeka) 9.17.2011

The Wives

By Tarryn Fisher
4
Rated by Meghan F
Apr 29, 2020

The Wives should come with a warning. Settle in, silence your phone, and have some snacks handy. Because once you get into this story, you won't want to stop reading.


By all accounts, Thursday has a great life. A job she loves, a gorgeous apartment, and a loving, devoted husband. There's only one catch - she only sees her husband one day a week because she shares him with two other wives. Her husband is a polygamist, having been raised in an ultra conservative Mormon family. Thursday knew this when she married him, of course, but lately it seems to be bothering her more and more. None of

Once Upon a River

By Diane Setterfield
5
Rated by Meghan F
Apr 29, 2020

Fairy tales are often dismissed as stories only for children, but I've never been able to stop reading them, even as an adult.  C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, "Some day you will be old enough to read fairy tales again."  These types of stories are ones I turn to again and again, whether they be new tales or the dark, Grimm originals.  I especially love historical novels that incorporate fairy tale elements - which is why I was so excited when I heard about the new book by Diane Setterfield.


Set in a small English town on the river Thames, the story centers around a local inn, The

Apr 1, 2020

It wasn't until about five years ago that I became a fan of audiobooks. The tedious commute to my temp job required more than just a string of good songs, I wanted a story to elevate my journey there and back. I can't recall the first audiobook I chose, but I quickly became hooked. And then I discovered the glory of downloadable audiobooks, which enabled me to bring stories into more than just the driving parts of my life--suddenly, things like gardening or cleaning or cooking could also be times for story.


Here are other reasons to love audiobooks:


·         If, like me, you love books

Persons Unknown

By Steiner, Susie
5
Rated by admin
Feb 21, 2020

Persons Unknown is the second police procedural following Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, following up Missing, Presumed. Manon's character is growing and changing throughout. She is five months pregnant at the start. And she has adopted Fly Dent, a quiet teenager whose family died in the previous book. Looking for a change of pace in their hectic life and a better quality of friends for Fly, they move from London to Cambridgeshire with Manon's sister, Ellie, and her toddler son, Solly. Life is moving along well for them until a murder investigation throws everything into chaos. 


Jon

The Family Upstairs

By Lisa Jewel
4
Rated by Lisa H
Aug 28, 2019

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewel is a well-written thriller that not only contains a mystery but is also loaded with lots of family drama.


Libby Jones, who at age 25 is happy with her simple life, working to sell kitchen remodels, finds herself pulled into discovering her past when she inherits a $7 million dollar home from her biological parents who died in a suicide pact when she was 10 months old. Told from many characters’ perspectives, we learn that the Chelsea house in London has a history that is dark and disturbing.  The book continually switches between the past and present

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens
4
Rated by Hilary S.
Jul 19, 2019

On the face of things, Where the Crawdads Sing is about murder. But this isn't your typical, fast-paced whodunit. Even when the plot moves into the investigation stage the story takes its time, much like the water Kyra lives on, winding between the present and past.  A victim of her circumstances, Kyra is alone in the world at the age of 10. As a young woman, Kyra has limited interactions with the town and its people. Her world revolves around the swamp and marsh, necessity bringing her to the edge of town and thereby society. As she grows up we see more of her inner turmoil: the desire to

Before She Was Found

By Heather Gudenkauf
3
Rated by Heather C
May 8, 2019

Small town.  Urban Legends.  A gruesome stabbing.


Before She Was Found definitely felt like it could be the ripped from the headlines fictionalized retelling of the Slender Man stabbing.  For those unfamiliar, in 2014 two 12 year old girls lured their 12 year old friend into the woods and proceeded to stab her 19 times to appease the entity known as 'Slender Man'.  For the first couple of chapters I was worried that this book was going to be nothing more than a retelling of true events with the names changed.  Though the plot does concern the aftermath of a brutal stabbing involving three

Dec 21, 2018

This story is the legend of Sleepy Hollow from the point of view of the main female character, Katrina Van Tassel. Having grown up the only daughter to a wealthy farmer and doting mother, Katrina is strong in her opinions, desires and actions. While this strength of character gets Katrina into some mischief, it also allows her to follow her heart and find a deep love with the new school teacher, Ichabod Crane.


When Ichabod first arrives at Sleepy Hollow he stays with the Van Tassel family until he finds the first host family among his pupils. Katrina's father hires him quickly to be her

Lethal White

By Robert Galbraith
5
Rated by Hilary S.
Dec 12, 2018

Lethal White is the fourth book in this mystery series, featuring detectives Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. If you're unaware, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling, and she does a great job with this adult series. 


Coming off the success of catching the Shacklewell Ripper, Cormoran Strike is busier and more famous than ever. With Robin having been fired, Strike must hire contract workers to help provide surveillance on his cases. One of his hires, Barclay, is a likable character who gets decent coverage in this book, and hopefully future books. Thankfully, we pick up

Safe Houses

By Dan Fesperman
4
Rated by Kari E.
Oct 1, 2018

Helen Abell runs four CIA safe houses for the Berlin Station in 1979. While performing routine microphone inspections she captures two important conversations that will change the course of her life. Helen knows her clearance does not allow her to investigate these agents, however a series of events leads her to uncover sinister cover ups within the CIA. In 2014, Helen and her husband are murdered in their Maryland farmhouse by their son. Anna goes home to bury her parents and discover what lead her brother to this horrific act. She enlists the help of a private investigator new to town, Henry

Cop Town

By Karin Slaughter
4
Rated by Hilary S.
Sep 4, 2018

Cop Town is set in 1974 Atlanta. There aren't a lot of women on the police force, and for those that are, things aren't always what they hoped. The only female detectives are used as under-cover prostitutes to catch perps, and the rest of the women are denigrated and harassed to no end.


We meet Kate Murphy on her first day on the job, unexpectedly forced into the working world after the death of her husband. There's a cop killer in the city, and the Atlanta Police Department is in turmoil. Kate is shuffled around because no one wants her, and eventually gets paired with Maggie Lawson for

I See You

By Clare Mackintosh
3
Rated by Jackie S.
Aug 31, 2018

I See You is a psychological thriller about Zoe Walker, who, while commuting to work on the train, sees a picture of herself in a classified ad in a newspaper. Knowing she did not place the ad, Zoe becomes paranoid and hyper-vigilant on her way to and from work. After noticing her own picture, Zoe begins looking at the ads more closely, and believes there is a connection between the women featured and the same women being victims of recent crimes. Fearing that she will come to the same fate as the strangers whose faces she now finds so familiar, Zoe begins to view everyone she encounters as a

Aug 20, 2018

Unforgotten opens with a series of scenes depicting perfectly ordinary people going about their lives and interacting with other perfectly ordinary people. At the same time, a body is discovered in the basement of a building that's over a century old, and DCI Cassie Stuart and her partner DI Sunny Khan must figure out not only what happened to the deceased, but when, in the long history of that building, he died. This mystery series is smart, engaging, thoughtful, and empathetic, and the story's interplay between ordinary people and the crime that's almost certainly been committed by one of

Jun 19, 2018

Violet has a strange secret ability. She can sense dead bodies, or at least those that were murdered. She can also feel the imprints the dead leave behind, and the imprints that attach to their killers. And now that a serial killer is terrorizing her town, she is swept up into the investigation. But can she help hunt down the killer before she becomes a target?


This book was so good and so suspenseful, that I couldn't put it down. I loved the author's writing style and how the characters were so well developed. I was captivated from page one. I could definitely see this being a movie in the

The French Girl

By Lexie Elliott
3
Rated by Hilary S.
Jun 18, 2018

As and initial suspense thriller from this author, The French Girl is pretty well done. It follows the typical plot points used by many others: there's been a murder and our main character can't remember exactly what happened. Or she thinks she might remember, but she is constantly questioning herself and her memories based on what other 'friends' tell her and say. 


Back when Kate was a student at Oxford, she and five friends spent a week at a French farmhouse. The neighbor, Severine, had gone missing, but Kate didn't dwell much on the news. Now, ten years later, it turns out that Severine

Jun 15, 2018

Esther is one of the Special Ones, four spiritual guides who provide leadership to eager followers on the outside. She lives under his protection in a remote farmhouse. But what the followers don’t know is that if she stops being special, he will renew her and replace her with another Esther. She is sure that renewing means certain death, so she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape. Because Esther also knows she is a fake, she has no ancient wisdom and needs help to leave behind her life in captivity.


This was one creepy book. Much creepier than I

And Then There Were None

By Agatha Christie
4
Rated by Jackie S.
Apr 13, 2018

And Then There Were None is the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve read, and I was not disappointed. This intense mystery follows ten strangers who have been invited to stay on an island by an unknown host. Trying to figure out which of the guests lured the rest to this remote location, and then committed murder, is what keeps the reader engaged. As I am often disappointed when I can foresee the conclusion of a book, I was delighted that Christie’s writing style kept me on my toes, and didn’t make any one suspect stand out consistently. Each flawed characters’ flashbacks show possible malice

Apr 2, 2018

No one knows what happened that day when five best friends went hunting, but only four returned. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend. And evidence shows it could have been any one of them. When Kate began an internship at the district attorney's office, she didn't expect it to be anything other than an excuse to leave school early. But now the DA hands her boss the biggest case her town has ever seen. As she helps investigate, the aging prosecutor who is her boss relies on her to see and hear what he cannot. But digging up these secrets, she realizes nothing about

Mar 19, 2018

After recovering from an accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself  with strange new powers and a strange cuff he can’t take off. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen are brought together by an annoyingly secretive girl. Their goal: to help save humanity from an ancient evil that has just awoken.


I got off to a rocky start with this one, and so I didn't think I was going to like this one. But once I got over the hurdle of the first 30 or 40 pages, and

Before the Fall

By Noah Hawley
4
Rated by Manda W
Jan 22, 2018

Everyone has their path. The choices they've made. How any two people end up in the same place at the same time is a mystery. You get on an elevator with a dozen strangers. You ride a bus, wait in line for the bathroom. It happens every day. To try to predict the places we'll go and the people we'll meet would be pointless.


In a world of 24/7 news coverage, where is the line between news and entertainment? In our instant-access world, can we handle the unknown? Do coincidences happen or is everything connected by fate? Does correlation mean causation? Before the Fall by Noah Hawley may

Silent Child

By Sarah A. Denzil
4
Rated by Amanda W.
Dec 27, 2017

Aiden was six when he went missing during a bad rainstorm which flooded the banks of the river that runs through their village. His family and police believed he had been swept away by the river and drowned, having only found his jacket floating in the river and no body. Ten years later his mom is married and in her last month of pregnancy when she gets the incredible news that Aiden is alive. Told from the viewpoint of Aiden's mom, Emma, the Silent Child is a psychological thriller that will engulf you in the chaos of Emma's intense emotions as she tries to figure out who took Aiden.


What

Persons Unknown

By Susie Steiner
5
Rated by Hilary S.
Dec 19, 2017

Persons Unknown is second in the DS Manon series, where we follow Manon Bradshaw after she has adopted Fly Dent, gotten pregnant, and left the murder squad. She's taken on cold cases to avoid strenuous duty, but it seems she has buyer's remorse. It is obvious that she'd prefer to be working on active cases, and her opinion of her former partner, Davy, and his new lead are less than kind. Steiner touches on current issues of race - Fly, twelve, is aware that he is frequently stopped and questioned or searched because he is a black, teen boy giving Manon reason to move out of London. Manon, Fly

Mother!

By Darren Aronofsky
3
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 16, 2017

On a disturbance scale, Mother! falls somewhere between other Darren Aronofsky films, Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, with a story more comparable to Noah combined with an all-out assault on social etiquette and political correctness that creates the strangest kind of satire.  


In a movie of characters' without names, Jennifer Lawrence plays the titular mother. Wife to a famous poet, played by Javier Bardem, she single-handedly rebuilds their house which has been lost in a fire. She paints, builds, and decorates all day long while he attempts to write. Quiet and secluded, their

The Night Of (DVD)

By Price, Richard
5
Rated by Edward R.
Oct 25, 2017

I was swept away by this miniseries. Not fully knowing what to expect, the first episode traps you in an engaging story of anxiety and murder. The set-up feels like the first half of The Stranger by Albert Camus. Every detail, small or otherwise, will be taken into account in later episodes that depict the trial of one of the protagonists.


The show is spearheaded by John Turturro who plays criminal court attorney John Stone. Stone can be described as an "ambulance chaser" but clearly has a soft spot for people in general and his family specifically. His struggles with eczema mirror the