Mystery & Thrillers
In Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Jun Do works for the government of “the most glorious nation on earth” as a professional kidnapper. This isn’t a science fiction dystopia, but rather it is a raw, searing novel concerning one man’s life under a regime that crushes its citizens, body and soul.
Jun Do doesn’t know his real name. Like his fellow orphans, his was chosen from a list of North Korean war heroes. There is decency to Jun Do, even as he surmounts a horrific childhood only to realize that he (and everyone else) exists primarily for their usefulness to the state. But Jun Do has ambitions.
For those of us who enjoy reading murder mysteries in a historical setting, a series written by Charles Todd is the perfect match. In the first book, A Test of Wills, we meet Ian Rutledge, who is returning to Scotland Yard for the first time after spending four years at the front and several months in a hospital for shell shock. Before the war, Rutledge had been a gifted and up-and-coming inspector with a flair for solving murder cases. Now, he often hears the voice of Hamish MacLeod, one of his men who died in the trenches of France. Hamish sarcastically comments on everything Rutledge is doing from a point behind his shoulder. Rutledge doesn’t dare turn around for fear of seeing Hamish in the flesh.
In Georgette Heyer’s The Unfinished Clue, it becomes evident that whilst some marriages end happily, others end in murder. Sir Arthur Billington-Smith was dead, and he probably deserved it. He had been chuffing and harrumphing at his male guests, leering--and perhaps a bit more--at the female ones, all the while being quite revolting to his wife.
Aren’t English country house parties entertaining? Well, they are when penned by a master craftsman such as Georgette Heyer. Her thoroughly modern (for the early twentieth century) heroine Dinah, sister to the beleaguered soon-to-be widow, has a clever wit and no intention whatsoever of being set down by her blowhard brother-in-law.
Christine has amnesia. Every day she wakes up not knowing where she is or who’s sleeping next to her. As the day unfolds, she learns that she was involved in a horrific car accident. And, although she has no recollection of him, the man in her bed turns out to be her husband Ben, who has patiently stuck with her throughout her lengthy ordeal. Thus begins Before I Go to Sleep, the debut novel by S. J. Watson.
Sherlock Holmes is looking for a swarm of wild bees and perhaps something more personally sinister at the start of Beekeeping for Beginners. What, or rather whom, he finds instead is a young person, dressed in good if tattered clothes, whose wits and keen observation are a surprising match for his own.
Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, Superintendent Battle--all of these detectives, some amateurs, some professional--are the creation of one woman, Agatha Christie.
If you’re at a loss for something to read post-Gone Girl, plan to put I Love You More at the top of your list. In Jennifer Murphy’s latest novel, smooth operator Oliver Lane has somehow managed to marry 3 different women and create a separate family with each. Because his job “requires” copious travel AND because Oliver is an attentive husband, none of the wives initially suspect that anything is awry. But when wife #2, Jewels, uncovers her husband’s transgressions, she makes it her main mission to notify wife #1, Diana—and wife #3, Bert.
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The Firm by John Grisham: "When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought that he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired the McDeeres a decorator. Mitch should have remembered what his brother Ray--doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail--already knew: You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch's firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice--if he wants to live." (Book Description)
If you liked The Firm, you may also enjoy these titles:
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes. (catalog description)
Conflict of Interest by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg is one of the most recognized names in the thriller genre. Her latest offering, Conflict of Interest, is a masterpiece of suspensea complex and profound novel featuring a veteran female district attorney attempting to reconstruct her shattered personal life when she is suddenly plunged into a moral, legal, and emotional nightmare. (catalog description)
Wayward Pines, Idaho: population 416. Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke arrives in the sleepy mountain town with one mission: to recover his fellow agents who went mysteriously missing two months earlier.