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Readers' Advisory

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message 1: by Ame (new)

Ame (ameb33) | 43 comments Hello,

I'm creating this discussion thread in hopes that we can help each other out in terms of Readers' Advisory. Okay, mostly this is for ME so I can get help with mystery/thriller/suspense.

Whenever I find myself filling in at the adult information desk, or just overhearing conversations about books, I usually hear about a new mystery someone is reading. The only related title even semi-related to these genres that I've read over the years is Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, so I need help.

Tell me your favorites - mystery/thriller classics, contemporary, gentle reads, the British stuff, gory messes, and everything in-between that you've enjoyed so I can give some of them a try. Thank you!

message 2: by Kimberli (new)

Kimberli West Girl! Mystery/Thriller/Suspense is my genre!!!!

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena......my favorite thriller to date.

Redemption Road by John Hart - another 5 star rating on my part.

Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo is what I'm currently reading....and I've been sucked in since the Prologue!

Books that are easy reads and always good, but not mind blowing as you're reading for me are John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, and now that I've been introduced to her....Lisa Scottoline.

Feel free to browse through the books I've read that are 4 and 5 star if you're looking for something that really stood out!

Happy Reading!

message 3: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (maggieallbee) | 36 comments Ame wrote: "Hello,

I'm creating this discussion thread in hopes that we can help each other out in terms of Readers' Advisory. Okay, mostly this is for ME so I can get help with mystery/thriller/suspense.


Ok, Kimberli did a good job covering contemporary psychological thrillers. I definitely agree w/her about The Couple Next Door. That book is amazing, although I just read another one by Shari Lapena and it wasn't very good, so she's hit or miss. I refer to this genre as the "Girl, you're in trouble!" genre. Lots of missing mothers, missing babies, crazy psycho mothers-in-law, that kind of thing. Other authors that fall under this subgenre include: B.A. Paris, Ruth Ware, A.J. Finn, Gillian Flynn (all of hers are good) and Paula Hawkins (she's hit or miss). I stay up to date on authors like this via the HCPL mystery and suspense bestseller list -- it comes right to my inbox. Goodreads helps, too. This is an extremely popular subgenre right now.

Similar to these, although set in Britian and in the early 20th century, is Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, one of my all-time favorite books. It's a nice hybrid between these emotional psychological thrillers and say, Agatha Christie. I chewed off all my fingernails when I read this book. The suspense is that good. Alfred Hitchcock was a big fan of hers.

Redemption Road is another fantastic book. This is a little different than the psychological thrillers above. It's slower paced, and focused more on the character development and atmosphere rather than the emotional "girl, you're in danger!" focus of the books above. John Hart is a master at creating atmosphere and flawed heroes. Much more lyrical writing. I think all of his are set in North Carolina, so there's a lot of Southern culture involved in his stories. Redemption Road was almost literary torture -- the suspense built very, very, slowly. It was like Chinese water torture and I reached a point where I could barely stand it anymore -- it was delightful. How it's not a movie is beyond me. Tana French is an author that is frequently mentioned as being similar, but I haven't read anything by her (yet).

I also like to read the more traditional British mysteries. No one beats Agatha Christie, of course, if you want to get a feel for this type of mystery, frequently set in 1900-1955 in small British towns with a limited set of characters. You never need to read the summary on the back of her books because you know it will be good. They are all good. Some of them are *great*. Most people especially like her Hercule Poirot series (which don't need to be read in order, I believe). He's a really fun character. For patrons who have exhausted Agatha Christie, I would recommend her compatriots Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. If they want something similar written after 1960, I would steer them to P.D James or Louise Penny (although her books are set in contemporary Canada). I haven't read them, but the Flavia de Luce series (by Alan Bradley) also appear to be in the same tone. I also just read Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, and it was very clever and in the same vein as an Agatha Christie. This subgenre isn't known for having a fast-paced plot or a lot of emotional investment, but it is known for hinging on minute details (kind of like Sherlock Holmes). So there's a lot of thinking and puzzle-solving required on the part of the reader, who is trying to figure out who did it before the author reveals it (hence their nickname "whodunits"). Not the most developed characters, but enough to work with. The focus here is on the cleverness of the detective and/or the idea behind the story.

I've never read her books, but Anne Perry's mysteries are set in Victorian times. They are very popular.

Wilkie Collins is another classic author of mystery/suspense. He was British and good friends w/Charles Dickens. He's considered the father of the modern detective novel. I've heard The Woman in White is really really creepy.

Then there are "cozy mysteries", which have not appealed to me personally, but are extremely popular, especially with (sorry, I hate to be stereotypical) older ladies. These authors write long series around things like knitting, cats, baking, tea, etc. I'd be very surprised if there was any gore or violence in these books. Think of them as "gentle murder mysteries". Examples include: Rita Mae Brown (who has a great sense of humor, btw), Jenn McKinlay, Lillian Jackson Braun, Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs. (There are tons, actually.)

There are tons of mystery subgenres. This is everything I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure I'm forgetting something. I'll comment again if something else occurs to me. Hope this helps!

message 4: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (maggieallbee) | 36 comments I knew I was forgetting one! Alexander McCall Smith -- also British, but (if I remember correctly) frequently set in former British colonies in Africa. My mom likes his books, and she's a big whodunit fan who has exhausted Agatha Christie.

message 5: by Ame (new)

Ame (ameb33) | 43 comments I was hoping you and Maggie would respond. These are excellent recommendations!

message 6: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindsbrary) I'm so excited about this thread!! That's definitely an area I'm working to become more aware of (and I've got some books you've mentioned in the past on hold for audio, Maggie!!).

I could use some help with gentle reads. We do have the recommendation bookmarks for this area here, and I have a general idea of what marketing/review language points to cozy mysteries or Christian fiction, but beyond those subgenres I feel like I get so wrapped up in trying to make sure I'm not accidentally giving somebody subject matter that they've explicitly asked to avoid that I have trouble talking up the story of the text & framing the book in terms of what it does contain rather than what it doesn't.

Any favorites? Any tips to get past my anxiety in this arena?

message 7: by Kareemah (new)

Kareemah | 30 comments So you are bound to trip up at some point Lindsey, we all do. Believe it or not the covers can help you out with the Cozy Mystery genre quite a bit. Foolproof it isn't but generally if its in paperback, has a craft, pet, or food with a punny title and in the cover illustration, you should be pretty safe. This website might be helpful ? https://www.cozy-mystery.com/

message 8: by Kareemah (new)

Kareemah | 30 comments You must read the Flavia de Luce! Even better listen to Jayne Entwistle narrate them. They are superbly done, especially the first few. Flavia is a 12 year old Chemistry phenom with a penchant for murder and poison! And she has 2 sisters who , while tormenting her mercilessly, are not quite as rotten as all that.

message 9: by Kareemah (last edited Jul 24, 2018 05:28PM) (new)

Kareemah | 30 comments Mystery (not too gory and no explicit scenes that I can remember): Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear ( between WWI and WWII), Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series and the William Monk series by Anne Perry (Victorian) , Elizabeth Peters (British characters but fun Egyptian archaeological adventures at the turn of the century; if I was stranded on a desert island I'd want her series with me), Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen (1930's), Hamish Macbeth series by M.C. Beaton (recent modern), Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn (1920's England), Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers (classics but still popular, may have trouble getting one or two titles-early 1900's into the 20's) , Maggie Hope mysteries by Susan Elia MacNea (WWII) l, Bess Crawford mysteries by Charles Todd (Post WW I) , Charles Lenox mysteries by Charles Finch (Victorian) , Mistress of the Art of Death mystery series by Ariana Franklin (12th c. Britain).
Not exactly cozy but set in Britain: Stephens & Mephisto mysteries by Elly Griffiths (Post WWII),
American: Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson, Gaslight mysteries by Victoria Thompson (Victorian New York), Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn (Chet is a dog, he narrates), Home Repair is Homicide mysteries by Sarah Graves (she's also started a spin off series using most of the same characters but with a foodie twist--the Death by Chocolate mysteries (I haven't red any of her Lizzie Snow books),
Australian: Phryne Fisher by Kerry Greenwood (1920's), Aaron Falk mysteries by Jane Harper (modern).
If I haven't read at least part of a series by these authors I've made a note :)

message 10: by Ame (new)

Ame (ameb33) | 43 comments Kareemah, couldn’t you come up with any more? :)

message 11: by Kareemah (new)

Kareemah | 30 comments Is that a challenge, Ame? :)

message 12: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindsbrary) Thank you so much, Kareemah!! Incredibly helpful.

message 13: by Ame (new)

Ame (ameb33) | 43 comments Kareemah wrote: "Is that a challenge, Ame? :)"

You honestly should make a favorites spreadsheet if that's not already a firm shelf on your Goodreads and share it with everyone. :)

message 14: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (maggieallbee) | 36 comments I have heard Elizabeth Peters is good, too.

As far as gentle reads go (other than mysteries), the only one I know of is the Amish series by Beverly Lewis. Those were really popular a few years ago, I think. I wonder if NoveList can help us with this....

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