March's Top Pick in Mystery, Leighton Gage's Perfect Hatred, is "hands down the first 'do not miss' mystery of 2013!"
In Brazil-set Perfect Hatred, Chief Inspector Mario Silva faces a daunting assassination investigation immediately after a "particularly nasty" suicide bombing. Things get even more intense when a criminal seeking revenge against Silva is released from prison.
The Mario Silva series is "a perennial personal favorite" for Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney, so we chatted with Gage in a 7 questions interview about Silva's "dogged persistence," the Brazilian setting and much more. His answer to my question, "Would you make a good cop?" is proof that Gage is a born storyteller, as he shares a story to illustrate the emotional toll of being a cop:
By way of illustration, here’s a story I got from one detective’s wife:
Her husband was assigned to investigate a double murder. A 17-year-old girl claimed she’d returned home from a date to find her parents bludgeoned to death in their bed. But the cop’s instincts told him the girl was lying. Ultimately, she confessed that she and her boyfriend had committed the crime. Not because she’d hated her parents, not because they’d abused her, but because they’d objected to her continuing relationship with the thug who helped kill them. She showed no remorse for what she’d done. She didn’t shed a single tear during the entire interrogation. Her only concern was that she’d been caught.
But the cop was so shocked that he went home, sank into a chair, wrapped his 7-year-old daughter in his arms and bawled like a baby. “Seventeen years old,” he kept saying, over and over again. “Seventeen years old.”
His wife felt helpless. She couldn’t find a way to comfort him.
Our November Top Pick in Mystery stars a serial killer with a truly fascinating (and ironic) mark: the sole survivors of devastating tragedies. In The Dark Winter, Scottish cop Aector McAvoy is the only guy for the job.
Check out our 7 questions interview with author David Mark, where we talked great books (Beloved) and bad habits (whiskey and cheese). He shares how, as a former crime reporter, he has unique insight not only into police procedure but also the emotional state of a victim's families and witnesses:
"I interviewed a lot of grieving families, right when they were at their most raw, and the characters I write about tend to exist in those moments. I know how the room tastes in that particular situation."
Is David Mark on your thriller radar?
Hallinan's newest Poke Rafferty thriller, The Fear Artist, gets the gold for its intense pacing, great characters and "steamy and dangerous" Thai atmosphere. This is Poke's fifth book, and this time, Poke's witness of a murder on the streets of Bangkok inadvertently sticks him on the wrong side of the War on Terror.
Check out our 7 questions interview with Hallinan, who talks about being a wuss (his words), his favorite books and the Thailand setting. I love what he has to say about Bangkok:
"Bangkok is, as Maugham said about Monaco, 'A sunny place for shady people.' Bangkok is rich and poor, sinful and spiritual, noisy and serene, heartless and cheerful. And it's growing at the rate of one million people a year as family and community structures in the countryside break down. These people are handmade for exploitation. And yet most Thais manage to maintain a kind of equanimity I can only envy."
There's just something about the Amish. Something about their culture that makes for touching romances and tales of friendship (not to mention a hilarious vampire mash-up). And there's something about all that hard work and neighborly compassion that makes for a really gritty murder mystery series.
Linda Castillo's Gone Missing is the newest installment in her Amish thriller series and our Top Pick in Mystery. Writes Whodunit columinst Bruce Tierney, "With its wonderfully conflicted protagonist, and its incisive look into a society most of us know little about, Gone Missing is the unquestioned high point of one of the most compelling series in modern suspense fiction."
Check out our 7 questions interview with Castillo, where she shared why Amish country inspires her thrillers:
"Ohio’s Amish Country is a peaceful and bucolic place of rolling hills, farms and quaint towns. The Amish make it unique—there’s no place like it in the world. I think the element that makes it such a terrific setting for a thriller is the juxtaposition of the beautiful setting and the introduction of evil into it. That contrast is one of the things that prompted me to set my books among the Amish."
No, that's not Don Draper's younger brother. It's Jens Lapidus, author of Easy Money, our April Mystery of the Month.
Lapidus joins the ranks of superb Scandinavian thrillers with "the antithesis of a police procedural." Easy Money delves into the minds of three career criminals in what Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney calls "hands-down the best gangster thriller in years."
Swedish criminal defense lawyer by day and author of twisted thrillers by night, Lapidus answered our questions about writing and great books in a 7 Questions interview. Check it out here.
Will you add Lapidus to your list of must-read Scandinavian crime authors?
Our Mystery of the Month is original, twisted and gruesomely fascinating. Sorry by Zoran Drvenkar is a thriller unlike any other, in which a murderer manipulates an agency called "Sorry" that specializes in cleaning up other people's mistakes.
BookPage Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney writes, "Dark, demented, radical and grotesquely humorous, Sorry upends every convention of modern fiction craft, and brilliantly. Indeed, Sorry might well be the Mystery of the Year!"
In a 7 questions interview with BookPage, German novelist Zoran Drvenkar shared a handful of his favorite books and some excellent writing advice.
Does this dark thriller sound like your type of creepy read?
From a fun fact about where she writes to a disturbing fact about her (ex)Japanese publisher, Mo Hayder shared some surprises in this week's "7 Questions" column. Read the Q&A to get the full scoop.
Hayder's The Devil of Nanking consistently ranks at the top of our list of most horrific thrillers ever, and her latest novel, Gone, is February's Mystery of the Month. It's the fifth Jack Caffery book, and this time the detective is chasing a carjacker who goes after young girls.
Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney believes that "Hayder writes some of the most carefully plotted, gripping and downright scary books in the mystery genre."
Do you agree?
Author photo by Arnaud Fe?vrier.