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so ask already!!! > Mystery novels with strong focus on characters' psychology

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message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill I'm a big fan of Tana French and Gillian Flynn because I like how they use mystery to examine human nature and psychology. The whodunnit aspect of their stories draws me through the narrative since it keeps the pace fast, but what I most appreciate is their analysis of their characters, i.e., how crime affects those involved, what leads individuals to commit a crime.

Do you have any suggestions for authors or books that have a mystery aspect but strive to be a bit more profound than simply answering "whodunnit?" If it helps, my favorite by each of these authors is Gone Girl by Flynn and The Likeness by French, because I find the characters and character relationships in these ones to be super fascinating.

message 2: by Marie (new)

Marie (mariethea) | 2 comments I just finished a book called Protector that depended quite a bit on the psychology of the characters to carry the mystery. It was compelling in a way I haven't read in a while, and I finished it all in one day. There's a bit of a paranormal element, too, but not too much.

I can't say the main character is likeable, but watching the character arc is very strong.

message 3: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
there is The Secret History, but if you have already read the likeness, you might not enjoy it as much, because that book was kind of riffing off of it. i mean, they are not the same book by far, but some of the stage settings are the same, you know?

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Thank you, Marie! I will look into the Protector.

Concerning The Secret History, I have read that because I adored The Likeness and was decidedly underwhelmed. Thank you though :)

message 5: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3 comments Have you read any P.D. James? Any of her Adam Dalgliesh books would probably work for you. They all have that psychological aspect to them. My personal favorite is Original Sin.

message 6: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3 comments Ooh, or what about Kate Atkinson? Less overtly interested in psychology than P.D. James, but great characters and fascinating relationships!

message 7: by Peter (new)

Peter (peteepie) | 64 comments The Small Back Room

Nigel Balchin had a background in psychology, and wrote this classic at the end of WWII. The mystery involved doesn't revolve around crime, but the examination of the psychological effect of the "mystery", amongst other things, on the protagonist is one of the central themes of the novel.

message 8: by Ryandake (new)

Ryandake Sophie Hannah! i started reading her books at the same time as Tana French and Kate Atkinson. all three totally rock in their own ways. Hannah is really really good at keeping you guessing.

one caveat: her books seem to be often titled differently for US and British audiences, so if you're ordering online, make sure you're not ordering a duplicate.


message 10: by erin (last edited Jul 23, 2014 06:55AM) (new)

erin (emishki) | 1 comments I really love anything by Karin Fossum. She's a Norwegian mystery/crime writer whose characters are incredibly well developed. Her stories are definitely like a book version of Law & Order (police procedurals). Also..there usually aren't tidy endings in her books, so if you can't stand ambiguity in mysteries, don't even go there. The Indian Bride is one of my faves!

message 11: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melwyk) | 6 comments I was about to suggest Karen Fossum as well. Really great psychological mysteries.

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) The Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman series is long running and quite good. It's at book 27 or so. The lead is a retired child psychologist. His best friend is a homicide detective. Sometimes it's about Alex's former cases, sometimes it's helping Milo the friend, but he's consulted on the psychological angle.

message 13: by Mir (new)

Mir | 189 comments His wife Faye also writes a pretty psych-heavy mystery series that starts with The Ritual Bath.

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