For fans of school mom mysteries (think Big Little Lies ) and amateur sleuths returning home. Paige Lancaster was a successful Hollywood writer, untilFor fans of school mom mysteries (think Big Little Lies ) and amateur sleuths returning home. Paige Lancaster was a successful Hollywood writer, until she was passed up for a promotion and cheated on by her husband so she vandalized some stuff. Now a single mom, she's back in her hometown in Connecticut living with her mom after her father, who'd been police, passed away. She enrolls her 8-year-old daughter in a new school and quickly finds out that some of the moms are a bit intense about the Parent’s Booster Association, which has always had 100% parent involvement and they are not going to let Paige mess that up. Then one of them is found dead — a death thought to be an accident — but she was married to Paige's high school boyfriend and, well, Paige may have gotten into a fight with the wife the night before... We watch as Paige tries to figure out this new life, and investigate what really happened, while also getting to know some of the PBA members — including Nina, an on-the-outs mom who just wants people to listen to her about an accounting program having an issue. If you're looking to get sucked into a town's gossip while watching a murder mystery play out, grab this one.
The audiobook has a great multicast: Amanda Dolan, Sura Siu, and Lanna Joffrey.
(TW mentions past miscarriage/ mentions past alcoholism/ mentions past rape, no details)
This is a fantastic historical crime novel with such wonderful character voice, enhanced even more by the great audiobook narrators: Janina Edwards, SThis is a fantastic historical crime novel with such wonderful character voice, enhanced even more by the great audiobook narrators: Janina Edwards, Shayna Small, and Adam Lazarre-White.
Two Black sisters from Mississippi are separately on the run in 1964. Violet flees with her wealthy white boyfriend after being assaulted and killing her assaulter. But she quickly dumps her boyfriend in the form of stealing his wallet and going off on her own. His response? To hire a man in need of money to find her. Violet's sister Marigold is already dealing with enough issues–pregnant by a man who left, in an abusive relationship, and working to secure Black residents the right to vote. When she realizes that the police search for Violet is a target on her back, too, she also flees. As each sister tries to outrun their past, neither knows someone has been hired to find Violet, because she may have accidentally taken more than just a wallet...
This is easily one of my favorite reads this year and I look forward to anything Wanda M. Morris writes next.
(TW sexual assault, not graphic/ mentions maternal mortality/ mentions child abuse/ domestic abuse/ miscarriage/ lesphobia)...more
This had somehow slipped my radar until I saw the third in the series ( Remain Silent ) is releasing next year, so I immediately grabbed this one in aThis had somehow slipped my radar until I saw the third in the series ( Remain Silent ) is releasing next year, so I immediately grabbed this one in audio. The son of a prominent New Jersey man has been murdered and Erin McCabe has been hired to represent the accused, Sharise. Sharise is a Black transgender woman being held in the male prison who says that while hired for sex work, she killed the John in self-defense. McCabe, who transitioned herself four years ago, knows the danger transgender women face but still feels like there is more to the case, which her and her ex-FBI partner are trying to figure out. That is if they can stay alive and keep Sharise safe as witnesses start dropping dead around them...
I love McCabe's character, watching her navigate her personal life and professional life, and am looking forward to continuing with the series. If you enjoy lawyer lead series, definitely pick this one up.
(TW transphobia/ misgendering/ mentions groping, and sexual assault threats in prison/ child abuse scene/ murder made to look like suicide, detail/ brief mention past cancer death, not graphic)...more
For fans of missing persons, small towns full of secrets, and Australian crime novels. Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels is sent into a small rural toFor fans of missing persons, small towns full of secrets, and Australian crime novels. Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels is sent into a small rural town when 12-year-old Esther goes missing after school. From there a shocking arrest is made, fingers are pointed, and a woman tells her friend that the man she married assaulted her when she was a teen. We get to know members of this town as the POV changes from Esther’s friends, family, a Greek chorus, and detectives. Surely, someone must know what happened to Esther? This is a good read if you want to be sunk into a particular time and place as a missing person case is used to explore human nature, violence, trauma, victim blaming, and grief.
(TW discuses case with child predators/ ableism/ homophobia/ recounts past teen gang rape, details on the lead up not much graphic details on the act/ fatphobia/ alcoholism/ domestic abuse/ brief animal abuse recounted)
I have been waiting for a new Jordan Harper novel since the second I finished She Rides Shotgun, which is From Book Riot's Unusual Suspects Newsletter
I have been waiting for a new Jordan Harper novel since the second I finished She Rides Shotgun, which is one of my favorite crime novels and one of my favorite child characters. I mention this because that’s the high bar I had when I dropped everything last year to inhale a galley of this book and it immediately became one of my favorites of 2023. It’s an L.A. crime novel that follows the kind of people that are the behind-the-scenes puppet masters no one really knows about. But bad puppet masters. Mae Pruett works for a firm that basically cleans up celebrity and wealthy people’s messes. Sometimes Mae is tasked with dealing with a once child star and other times she’s helping bad, cruel people just get away with anything. She’s always been okay with her job, she’s good at it, until a coworker who had something to tell her is murdered. It’s ruled a car jacking gone wrong, but Mae isn’t letting it go. Instead she ends up partnering with Chris, an ex who was once in law enforcement and has since gone private after being forced out. He’s also on the not right side of the law or ethics in his field of work. And like Mae, he’s willing to start risking the life he has to figure out what is really happening behind a murder. The further they dig, and the more they put their lives in danger, the more Chris and Mae are going to have to question who they currently are and whether they’re okay with that…
And just like that I’m back to awaiting for Harper’s next novel!
(TW addiction/ mentions attempt to film sex without permission/ mentions partner abuse/ alludes to past suicidal thoughts/ mentions forced, induced miscarriage without knowledge or consent/ anxiety/ pregnant teen via rape/ predators of teens, not graphic/ brief mention eating disorders/ mentions suicide, detail)
She Rides Shotgun is one of my all time favorite crime novels and since reading it I have regularly checked to see if Harper has a new novel coming out. So when I saw that not only he has a 2023 title but that there was a galley I had access to I literally dropped everything and read it. It's fantastic. Harper has the ability to write about crime, people, and our world with a laser focus to the heart of the issues and problems while stacking all the people in the way of change. This will be a favorite title I read in 2022 and a favorite title released in 2023. Now to go sit with my thoughts and wait for the feeling of "this novel has ruined me for other crime novels" to pass....more
I inhaled this audiobook, which has an excellent narration by Inés del Castillo and Yareli Arizmendi. In present day, Cassie Bowman has a true crime bI inhaled this audiobook, which has an excellent narration by Inés del Castillo and Yareli Arizmendi. In present day, Cassie Bowman has a true crime blog but wants to finally stop struggling to pay the bills. She decides to write a true crime book on a case from the ’80s by interviewing the woman at the center: Lore Rivera was married in Laredo, Texas to one man and in Mexico City to another until one husband was arrested for murdering the other.
This book tackles a lot (the ethics of true crime journalism, the effects of economic crisis, motherhood, marriage, family, one foot in two countries, what we owe others, can we ever really know a person…) while keeping the reader hooked not only in each woman’s life now and then, but also in their tug and pull with each other and their families.
If you like character-driven crime and have ever wondered how the counterfeit handbag world works. this one's for you. It's mostly told from Ava Wong'If you like character-driven crime and have ever wondered how the counterfeit handbag world works. this one's for you. It's mostly told from Ava Wong's perspective as she pleads her case to the police telling the entire story of how she, a married mother of a toddler, ended up in the illegal world of counterfeit designer handbags after Winnie Fang, who she hadn't seen since college, entered her life and pulled her into it. I love being plunged into someone's life–a mother struggling with a toddler in full tantrum mode, having given up her career, with a husband now working nonstop to be the only income earner who's never available. I was fascinated by the con in this (Chinese factories and US boutiques), loved the ending, and I always love seeing cultures and immigrant characters (all so different with various views on looking back or forward, having one foot in two different worlds etc). The audiobook is narrated by Catherine Ho and I really enjoyed the time I spent listening. ...more
This is part of the new true crime subgenre that melds memoir with true crime. The true crime aspect is the still unsolved murders of Julie Williams aThis is part of the new true crime subgenre that melds memoir with true crime. The true crime aspect is the still unsolved murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, who were murdered in 1996 in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The memoir aspect is Kathryn Miles talking about how she came to learn of this case, her ties to hiking and how this case spotlighted the dangers of hiking and camping for especially people who aren’t cis men.
The true crime part really focuses on who Lollie Winans and Julie Williams were: their lives growing up, how they met, and their lives at the time of the murders. While there was a suspect in the case, a man in prison for assaulting a woman that was publicly named, and Attorney General John Ashcroft said he’d seek the death penalty in the case and try it as a federal hate crime, he later suspended the case. To this day the same person has remained accused but not tried and the case is unsolved.
Miles lays out the case and doesn’t believe the accused is the killer. She also meets and interviews the accused’s legal team, who always believed him innocent, as well as criminal investigators, and even presents the case to a class to get the student’s opinion on who they think the killer is. I can’t say I was sold either way in the argument mostly because I did feel there was a feeling of the end of the book being rushed (can you put publishing deadlines on investigating cold cases?) and Miles posits herself that investigators will zero in on someone they believe and only use the facts to prove that, and questions whether she too was doing that in the reverse. There were a few parts where it felt that. On the plus side Miles steered clear of giving unnecessary gruesome or graphic details. And I really hope this case gets the right kind of attention that may finally help solve what happened so the women’s loved ones can at least have answers.
What I did find absolutely fascinating about this book was the deep dive into national parks, their history, how they operate, and most importantly their safety. How safe is it for people, especially non cis white men, to hike and camp out in national parks? Again, you can miss me with any hiking and camping trip, no matter how much I love nature, but that didn’t stop me from being fascinated by all the information related to those activities.
(TW child sexual abuse, not graphic/ date rape recounted, not graphic/ stalker/ brief suicide, detailed/ women and girls sexual assault cases/ mentions past child abuse)
I really like books with interesting settings, especially places that you could not pay me to even think about going to. That’s the beauty of reading I really like books with interesting settings, especially places that you could not pay me to even think about going to. That’s the beauty of reading and getting to watch someone else do it.
In this case the majority of the book takes place on a mountain, Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world. Cecily Wong is trying to basically make her career and she’s hit a moment in her life where she believes it’s now do-or-die: either she takes—and accomplishes–this opportunity, or she’s never going to be a journalist. Charles McVeigh is a world famous mountaineer and he’s agreed to let Wong interview him, a huge deal, but only after she completes the summit with him.
Teeny tiny problem: she’s broke and it costs a lot to buy equipment, she’s not a climber, her journalist boyfriend dumps her when she gets offered this assignment, and most importantly for the purposes of a mystery, people start dying. Will she make it, not only to the summit to get her interview, but back down alive?
The book has amazing detail that puts you right on the mountain, constantly aware that one slight misstep—literal and figurative—will leave you dead. Which then starts to get paired with the drama of people in dangerous situations, and the whole Agatha Christie plot of a remote place where people are popping up dead. But in a place so dangerous, surely there isn’t anything sinister beyond extreme conditions? Or is everyone in even more danger?
The author’s bio states “In September 2019, she became the youngest Canadian woman to climb Mt Manaslu in Nepal – the world’s eighth highest mountain at 8,163m (26,781ft),” and it really shows in the book that mountaineering is a thing she knows a lot about. It also shows how much the sport (? is it considered a sport) discriminates against anyone who isn’t a cis man, making an already incredibly difficult thing even more difficult for so many people. I learned a lot from this book and while I remain forever and ever certain this is not a thing for me, I loved getting to experience it while all cozy inside my home. The audiobook, narrated by Katie Leung, paired really well for me with a jigsaw puzzle.
This is a fun audiobook with heart and a great full cast of narrators. It’s set in the ’80s in Rhode Island when four partners at a law firm die in a This is a fun audiobook with heart and a great full cast of narrators. It’s set in the ’80s in Rhode Island when four partners at a law firm die in a jet crash. Now three widows and a girlfriend are not only grieving but about to find out that a lot of money is missing and the mob is here to collect.
This does have a mystery component—where is the money, why is it missing, and what is going on with this project the firm was working on? But I’d move this more to the crime side of the genre since we’re mostly following the women trying to survive and scheming to find the money and get it to the mob. We get to know four very different women and watch as their own grievances come out, they learn of secrets, and are forced to find a way to work together in order to stay alive.
Camille is the second wife with a stepdaughter that no one takes seriously, Justine has a young son and her husband was having an affair. Krystle is the funny smart-mouth who knows how to talk to the mob and will do anything for her grown son who she wants to take over the firm. Meredith is a stripper that no one knew had paperwork leaving her everything.
The book strikes a really good balance between heartfelt and real life struggles and witty banter and running from the mob. And the narrators—Dina Pearlman, Karissa Vacker, Helen Laser, Ariel Blake–knock it out of the park.
(TW a young child with cancer, not terminal / sexual harassment, groping / diet culture)
In our current timeline, Shea Collins, who escaped an attempted kidnapping as a kid, now spends her nights obsessing on true crime cases. During the dIn our current timeline, Shea Collins, who escaped an attempted kidnapping as a kid, now spends her nights obsessing on true crime cases. During the day, she’s a receptionist and doesn’t really have a social life. So she’s pouring all her time into a case from the ’70s: Two men were murdered and the woman who stood trial, Beth Greer, was acquitted.
Now Collins is interviewing Greer, or at least attempting to, to find out her story and what really happened. But Collins feels uneasy at Greer’s mansion, and unexplainable things keep happening… Will she ever be able to get down to the truth about the murders, Greer’s life story, or will she destroy her own life in the process of chasing this story?
This was a page-turner for me that really works for readers who like past mysteries, fictional true crime writers, and things a little spooky.
(TW mentions past attempted child kidnapping, brief mention of sexual assault, not graphic/ alcoholism/ brief mention of past partner abuse/ mostly alludes to child abuse incident, not graphic/ speculates sexual assault, mentions past rape, not graphic)
I'm a big fan of Zehanat Khan's Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak detective series so I did actually drop everything to read this one when I got my hands oI'm a big fan of Zehanat Khan's Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak detective series so I did actually drop everything to read this one when I got my hands on a galley. While we move from Canada to Colorado for this series, we once again get another fantastic pairing between two detectives. One of my favorite things about Zehanat Khan's writing is how different the characters are, even when containing many similarities. Immigrants and marginalized people so easily and constantly get painted and viewed as a monolith and it's comforting to not only avoid that in Zehanat Khan's novels but also find nuance.
The mystery is in a town in Colorado where a teen from a Syrian Muslim refugee family is found murdered and deliberately positioned in the local mosque. Detective Inaya Rahman—who comes with a past she's trying to shake and is sent to places with high complaints against officers—is investigating along with Lieutenant Waqas Seif. Rahman is American, half Afghan and half Pakistani with a loving family who may drive her up a wall sometimes and are split on supporting her career but are close and always there for her. Seif has been raising and supporting his two younger brothers and unlike Rahman keeps his culture/ethnicity to himself. Enter a motorcycle gang, the discovery of missing girls the police have done nothing to look for, and a community that isn't all welcoming and it's a race against time to figure out who is responsible.
If you're a fan of police procedurals don't miss this new series and getting to know Detective Inaya Rahman.
(TW scenes of assault to rip off a hijab/ racism, xenophobia, islamophobia/ police brutality stories / brief mention past domestic abuse, not graphic/ brief recount of groping, not graphic, mentions stalking/ scene in a meat packing plant)
Equally for fans of Big Little Lies and dark academia. I got sucked into this audiobook (narrated by Teri Schnaubelt) as an escape into other people’sEqually for fans of Big Little Lies and dark academia. I got sucked into this audiobook (narrated by Teri Schnaubelt) as an escape into other people’s fictional drama, and there is plenty of it. We start with a crime, a police interview, and then we’re taken six months back into time—very much follows the setup of BLL.
Three women aren’t really thriving: Natalie is taking care of her brother and working at an elite school where she does not have the financial status of everyone she’s surrounded by; Brooke’s husband left her after one too many affairs on her part and she’s trying to get him back while separately trying to keep her daughter’s boyfriend away from her daughter; Asha thinks her husband is having an affair and is trying to get her daughter into college based on her athletic abilities and is afraid to reveal she is accidentally pregnant.
In this one while you do get sucked into the women’s lives, you also never forget that there has been a crime committed and someone is under suspicion because we get some police interrogation chapters throughout.
(TW addiction/ nude photos taken and shared without consent/ use of date rape drugs/ predator/ brief mention past suicide attempt, detail/ brief suicidal ideation mention, no detail/ potential past sexual assault questioned/ brief pregnancy complication that turns out fine)
This is a great book that really sucked me into these women’s lives. It starts with “Aftermath” which is a brief opening that gives the impression thaThis is a great book that really sucked me into these women’s lives. It starts with “Aftermath” which is a brief opening that gives the impression that a crime has been committed, but we don’t know who or what really. And that’s it, until the end…
We follow Ronke, Boo, and Simi who have been really close friends for almost two decades, having bonded initially over all of them being Anglo-Nigerian. They’re all in very different places in their lives and trying their best, but not always succeeding. Ronke is really happy with her boyfriend Kayode and thinks she’s finally found the one but she can’t get her friends on board with this idea since she’s had really bad boyfriends in the past and they assume it’s just another repeat. Boo has the “perfect” life but is unfulfilled and frustrated and taking it out on her husband and daughter. Simi is secretly on the pill while her husband thinks they’re trying for a baby and she’s always stressed at work, while everyone thinks she’s got the perfect life/career. Then Simi brings along a childhood friend, Isobel, to one of the girls’ lunches; some take a dislike and others love how Isobel seems to make them feel freer and opens doors. Slowly each of the friends’ personal lives and friendships start to crack…
I loved the audiobook narrator, Natalie Simpson, and the dive into biracial Nigerian British women’s lives and I inhaled this one. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.
(TW recounts partner abuse, including sexual, not graphic/ stalker/ mentions cancer diagnosis, not detailed/ brief moment partner possible attempted assault/ colorism/ fatphobia/ mentions past suicide, no detail/ mentions past suicide attempt, detail/ domestic abuse)
Sadie fans will be thrilled by Summers' upcoming novel and its ripped-from-the-headlines story. Just note that while Sadie kept the graphic things of Sadie fans will be thrilled by Summers' upcoming novel and its ripped-from-the-headlines story. Just note that while Sadie kept the graphic things off the page, I'm the Girl does not.
Sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis has only one goal: becoming an Aspera girl. Her mother worked at the members-only resort and after once making a comment that Georgia couldn't, it's all she's ever wanted to do. With her mother dead and her older brother in charge of her, her life really takes an even darker turn when she discovers the body of a younger teen girl right before being hit by a car. Now she's determined to solve the murder along with continuing to become an Aspera girl, which she gets one step closer when she gets hired by the owner for a different job. But obsessions can so easily impair us from seeing reality, leaving us vulnerable to danger... Much of this book is just an ominous feeling layered on top of Georgia's obsession–it's hard to watch and harder to put down.
(TW rape and murder of young teen case, not graphic/ past parent cancer death, not graphic/ teen sexual assault by adult on page/ brief suicide mention, detail/ predators)
I loved this book! It’s perfect for fans of mystery books with a lead that works on cases in a job that goes to every crime scene. Rita Todacheene is I loved this book! It’s perfect for fans of mystery books with a lead that works on cases in a job that goes to every crime scene. Rita Todacheene is an overworked crime scene photographer and her ability to see the dead sometimes helps in that she can get the info needed to know what really happened to the victim. However, as she’s been warned her entire life, seeing the dead comes with a very dangerous possibility of harm which she’s about to experience when one victim is hellbent on revenge and not letting Rita live her life in peace until she gets what she wants. I love Rita’s character and especially the back and forth of seeing her present life and watching her grow up with her grandmother on the Navajo reservation, getting to see how she got into photography (her grandmother had a box camera), and watching her grapple with learning that she sees ghosts. It has a mixed tone of being a dark-ish procedural and also a beautiful book about with her relationship with her grandmother. I would absolutely read another book following Rita and also anything else Ramona Emerson writes.
(TW okay I’m just going with everything — not so much because of dark, although it does graphically describe two crime scenes, but because so many cases and things are discussed that at some point it hits everything and this would have been a paragraph of notes.)
A fun, twisty, thriller set on a horror movie set in the middle of the woods that plays with thriller and horror tropes. It also has the bonus of a fiA fun, twisty, thriller set on a horror movie set in the middle of the woods that plays with thriller and horror tropes. It also has the bonus of a fictional story you read inside the fictional story you’re reading—it’s like two for the price of one! Adele Rafferty fled Ireland after a bad experience on a film set and is living in LA. But now, after another disastrous audition, she gets a call about a horror film set to start production in a day that just lost their leading actor begging her to step in. And so she ignores all the warning signs, including a two week film schedule and skeleton crew, convinced this may be her last big break chance and gets on a plane back home. But once on set things take a turn, including the creepy things happening to the lead in her script happening to her! Will she get out in time to save herself or will she end up with the same fate as the character she’s playing–oh wait, she still hasn’t been given the ending to the movie she’s filming… While you wait, if you haven’t read any of CRH’s books pick up The Nothing Man, The Liar’s Girl, and 56 Days.
(TW sexual harassment, groping / attempted murder suicide)
Drew Leclair is a 7th grader with a lot on her plate, including that her mom has run off with her school counselor. She’s dealing with bullies, has asDrew Leclair is a 7th grader with a lot on her plate, including that her mom has run off with her school counselor. She’s dealing with bullies, has asthma, is trying to work out why she seems to only be romantically interested in fictional characters over real life humans, and she spends a lot of her spare time researching true crime.
That last bit is what makes her think she’s perfect to solve the school case: who is posting embarrassing secrets about other students? With her friends Shrey and Trissa and her true crime board, how can she fail?
I inhaled the audiobook, narrated by Devon Hales. I adored the friendships, Drew’s relationship with her father, the mystery solving, and watching the kids try to work their way through figuring out life. I really hope this is the start to a series and would love to see it age as we get to watch Drew grow up to work in criminal investigation as is her dream.
I’d place this book in the mystery category because the first half is solving a mystery, but I’d also gently move it into the crime category.
Sam and EI’d place this book in the mystery category because the first half is solving a mystery, but I’d also gently move it into the crime category.
Sam and Elli are twins who grew up working in television. The problem was that only Sam wanted to act, not Elli, so they learned how to switch places whenever one didn’t want to do something the other did. Cut to Sam as a child star addict and Elli desperately wanting to go back to just being a regular kid.
Now Sam is a year sober, and a year into not having seen or spoken to Elli when Sam gets called home by her parents because Elli hasn’t returned home from a retreat. Turns out her parents can no longer watch Elli’s toddler, a toddler that Sam had no idea even existed. Wanting to make up for years of being viewed as a disappointment, she decides to care for her niece and continue to work on her sobriety. But where exactly is her sister and what kind of retreat is it?…
The book is sectioned into three parts, taking us into each sister’s life then and now through their perspective of how they got to where they are. There’s the current crime, the predicament, and what exactly happened to Elli. The book dives into identity, child acting, what we owe other people and ourselves, and feminist wellness cults.
I definitely got sucked into these women’s lives with the audiobook, which gives each sister a narrator: Julia Whelan and Kate Rudd.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn is exactly what I wanted it to be! It was really funny–like laughing out loud funny–and smart, and also juKillers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn is exactly what I wanted it to be! It was really funny–like laughing out loud funny–and smart, and also just tons of fun! A group of women are recruited in the ’70s by an organization that takes out dangerous and powerful people around the world and they’ve decided to create an all female team. We open with one of their operations, which will have you glued from the start. And then the book takes you to the present as the women are in their 60s and get a real wake-up call when they realize there won’t be more missions or a retirement since the organization is trying to kill them all. But they haven’t spent their adult lives trained to kill to just go down easy… Follow Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie as we get to know them now, then, and their relationships while they go on missions and plan to outsmart the assassins out for them. Totally worth a prebuy and/or letting your library know they should definitely purchase. I’ll follow Deanna Raybourn and her wonderful humor anywhere.
I wish this book had existed when I was a kid. I’m glad that I got to read it as an adult. I hate that it will be banned in a bunch of states’ schoolsI wish this book had existed when I was a kid. I’m glad that I got to read it as an adult. I hate that it will be banned in a bunch of states’ schools.
Imagine finding out one day your parents are spies working for a world organization. Now imagine that at 14, you’re given your first assignment, because this is the Hail Mary and you’re the only person in the organization who fits the age range and can pass as white. That’s Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín’s life right now. She’s moved to California with her mom to go undercover at a high school in order to befriend the estranged son of a white nationalist. But stripping her identity, even for a good cause, comes with a lot of questions and soul searching for Andréa, who immediately has to drop the accent from her name, keep her mouth shut about xenophobic comments, and shelve her Spanish. Cue crush on target’s Latino roommate…
You get so much from this book, including action, friendship, a first crush, a tight family unit, spies, and fandom. Bonus: Victoria Villarreal does a great narration on the audiobook!
If you're looking for a page-turning procedural series, this one is for you. It's the second book in the series and it starts at the end of the first If you're looking for a page-turning procedural series, this one is for you. It's the second book in the series and it starts at the end of the first book dealing with the aftermath (so if you like to not have a book spoiled pick up Gone For Good ). If you don't however care about that, you can start here and not be lost — you're given all the info you need. Annalisa Vega is a detective, daughter of a retired cop, and not in many people's good graces. Her ex-husband is also currently her partner — they don't hate each other, and I love this dynamic. A new case is assigned to them which is just baffling: a cop was murdered in his sleep with his own gun while his wife was there but she was unharmed and can't identify the person because they were in scuba gear. It sounds too far fetched to be real and Vega has her work cut out for her. If you like messy personal lives of detectives you root for and fast paced mysteries, here you go. Bonus: I enjoyed the audiobook narrator, Kelsey Navarro.
(TW domestic violence/ mentions past suicide, no detail/ parent with Parkinson's/ sexual harassment and stalking stories)
This starts with a woman telling the reader she is going to kill her husband (the exact moment I was all in) and then proceeds with a past and presentThis starts with a woman telling the reader she is going to kill her husband (the exact moment I was all in) and then proceeds with a past and present timeline to reveal all.
The Amazing Arden is a female illusionist in the early 1900s known for such amazing acts as sawing a man in half, until one night her husband is found murdered on stage and she’s disappeared. Depending on who you’re rooting for, lucky/unlucky for her, police officer Virgil Holt captures her. Holt is hiding a recent disability, terrified that he’ll be fired because of it, and views catching Arden as his ticket to keeping his job. But Arden swears up and down on everything that she is innocent and did not kill her husband. So while handcuffed to a chair, Arden tells Holt the story of her life, including how she became an illusionist, and how she came to be running away from the murder of her husband.
Past and present timelines only work for me when both timelines offer me enough interesting stories that I don’t feel like it needs to hurry up already so we can get back to the mystery. I was always interested in Arden’s story, from childhood to present, but especially when she first stepped into a traveling performance and how she worked her way up. Learning about all the tricks and illusions in the 1800s was fun, and I loved the did-she-or-didn’t-she running element.
(TW cutting/ attempted child sexual assault/ animal cruelty/ brief mention murder suicide headline/ mentions sexual assault/ stalking/ kidnapping)
We’ve done classical music and country music, and now it’s time for the world of hip hop! I went with the audiobook for this one which had a great narWe’ve done classical music and country music, and now it’s time for the world of hip hop! I went with the audiobook for this one which had a great narrator, Shayna Small, and was a one day listen for me at just under seven hours.
It’s funny that the book starts with a legal author’s note about it being completely fictitious since it name drops a lot of hip hop stars and events, which I found fun and a bit of a trip down memory lane.
D Hunter watches journalist Dwayne Robinson die in SoHo, clutching a tape. Not certain the police are doing their job, he decides to look into the murder himself, especially after finding out that Robinson was working on a book and maybe that is what got him killed. From there Hunter follows the trail and listens as people point him in the direction of conspiracy theories of the government wanting to contain hip hop…
The sequel to Finlay Donovan Is Killing It contains just as much fun, chaos, and laughs with a bonus that felt like it had more Vero!
Finlay continues The sequel to Finlay Donovan Is Killing It contains just as much fun, chaos, and laughs with a bonus that felt like it had more Vero!
Finlay continues her knack for coming up with solutions that will only cause way more trouble than solve anything, which sucks for her but is fun for readers. This time a forum that lists crappy men, and seeks help in payback, leads Finlay to discover someone has put a hit out on her ex-husband. She may not like the guy, but he is the father of her two young kids, and she’s not actually a killer–just a sometimes pretend, accidental one.
So her and Vero, her kid’s nanny who has now become a good friend, go through all kinds of ridiculous situations to try and stop the hit, all while bringing along their own baggage. Finlay is also once again on deadline for writing a book that she has once again not even started.
I especially love Vero’s character who drops some hilarious one-liners, totally earned aggression, and honestly would be the actual competent criminal between the two. This was a super enjoyable listen, narrated by Angela Dawe, that was exactly what I needed during the world’s continued state of constant stress.
(TW chat board that posts about men who are sexual harassers and assaulters, mentions brief posts but not graphic)
This is a great read for fans of literary mystery/crime (think Celeste Ng) that I found incredibly fascinating as it takes you into the Japanese legalThis is a great read for fans of literary mystery/crime (think Celeste Ng) that I found incredibly fascinating as it takes you into the Japanese legal system.
It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking book about love, loss, secrets, and the justice system that focuses on exploring the humanity of the situation. Sumiko is training as a lawyer when a strange phone call sends her down a long path of discovering what exactly happened to her mother years ago—she’d been lied to about her mother’s death being caused by a car accident.
The book is split into multiple points of view and time periods: in present day Tokyo, Sumiko gains access to the case files of her mother’s murder; in the past, Sumiko’s mother, Rina falls in love with a wakaresaseya—the man Sumiko’s father hired to seduce Rina so that he could use the affair to file for divorce and take what he wants.
I found the dive into Japanese culture and legal system fascinating (including how it was possible for Sumiko to go all this time without having been contacted about her mother’s murder; lawyer’s mentality; punishments, including capital punishment), and thoroughly enjoyed my time getting to know Rina and Sumiko, especially faced with difficult decisions. I went with the audiobook, narrated by Janet Song and Emily Woo Zeller, which really made me feel immersed in the character’s lives.
(TW forced kiss/ brief-ish recount of domestic abuse)
If standing ovations were a thing given to books consider me standing and clapping right now. This is a horror novel with massive appeal for mystery/tIf standing ovations were a thing given to books consider me standing and clapping right now. This is a horror novel with massive appeal for mystery/thriller readers as we follow a true crime podcast trying to finally figure out what happened to an almost entirely murdered town after its first integrated prom. If you’re thinking that means its setting is historical, it is not. Segregated proms exists in the 21st century: schools get away with it because the proms aren’t hosted by the school but rather parents and/or students off campus. We follow the podcast, interviews from those who survived, and articles after the fact while also going back to 2014 to watch all the events that led up to the massacre and survivors to say “Maddy did it.” If you’re getting major Carrie vibes from the cover and summary I’d say this is a retelling that surpasses the original hands down.
If you’re a fan of mysteries, folk horror, and grew up on Scooby-Doo, you should absolutely pick this up. I think this book is also a great way for soIf you’re a fan of mysteries, folk horror, and grew up on Scooby-Doo, you should absolutely pick this up. I think this book is also a great way for someone who has always been too scared to read horror to dip a toe in.
Twelve-year-old James and his ten-year-old sister Ava have moved from the home where they grew up in Texas to Oregon. Their abuela died shortly before the move and James and Ava are especially missing her and working their way through the grieving process. They are also in a huge prank war between each other, supported by their abuela, which their parents aren’t really fans of. As they try to find their place in this new town, James playing baseball and Ava managing the team, strange things also start to happen. It starts with creepy notes left for James which he initially thinks is Ava pranking him, but she swears it isn’t. And then they find out that the town has a history of children going missing over the years. It also doesn’t help when they start investigating who is leaving the notes and find some people to just be creepy…
I loved the sibling relationship of them fighting and pranking but also supporting each other and helping each other grieve their abuela and solve the mystery… I would love to read more of James and Ava—especially if it flips Ava to the lead.
(TW kidnapped children/ mentions past child deaths)