How many times a week do you put your life in the hands of a cook you don’t know at all? Perhaps too often to count, in our restaurant-obsessed culture. The idea of a malevolent cook hidden down in the depths of the kitchen has always struck me as a frightening one.
British author Charles Lambert’s latest, The Children’s Home, is like a strange dream in which you can’t quite tell if you’re awake. Morgan, its disfigured, 20-something protagonist, lives isolated in his powerful family’s sprawling home. His estranged sister sent a housekeeper to live with him, and soon after, children began arriving. They appear with no backstory—one, in fact, materializes out of thin air—and Morgan and the housekeeper, Engel, become parents of sorts. The resulting story is a weird, poignant journey reminiscent of Calvino that explores fear, power, revenge and redemption.
This month's best new mysteries include a tense psychological thriller set in Tokyo, plenty of high-stakes espionage and a long-awaited Swedish translation.
Combining the hot genre of dark, female-driven suspense (think The Girl on the Train) with the evergreen topic of sibling rivalry, Lisa Jackson’s After She’s Gone takes readers along for the chase as Cassie tries to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance.
Readers who fancy top-notch crime procedurals need look no further than the latest by seasoned Brit author Ann Cleeves. Harbour Street is her sixth mystery featuring Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope and her Northumbrian detective team.
The premise of Dean Koontz’s mesmerizing new psychological thriller, Ashley Bell, is compelling but not complex: When doctors inform 22-year-old Southern California surfer girl and budding novelist Bibi Blair that inoperable brain cancer will shorten her life to a matter of months, she replies, “We’ll see.”
Read a page or three of Riot Most Uncouth and you may wonder why you’d want to stick around while young Lord Byron, author Daniel Friedman’s overwrought and outlandish protagonist, makes his eccentric, in-your-face debut. But stay on for a few more pages and you’ll find yourself intrigued and then committed to Friedman’s lavish, over-the-top plot and larger-than-life characters.
This month's best new mysteries include a female-powered Scandinavian thriller, a distinct noir set in Mali, a historical thriller set in Russia and the story of a conflicted contract killer set in Scotland.
Just after well-known British mystery writer Ruth Rendell died in May of this year, at the age of 85, her life and talents were described in the media with words like “brilliant,” “discomfiting” and “challenging.” Readers who’ve long been gripped by Rendell’s imaginative crime fiction, however, knew that already. From her popular Chief Inspector Wexford series with such hallmarks as the top-notch An Unkindness of Ravens and Not in the Flesh, to standalone classics like A Dark Adapted Eye (as Barbara Vine) and A Judgment in Stone, right up to her last, Dark Corners, the author’s unsettling prose has always attracted legions of readers.
In 1952, Barcelona trembles beneath the oppressive, tyrannical regime of Franco’s fascist party. Ana Marti, a young journalist sick of detailing debutantes’ fashions and high-society scandals, gets her big break when socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is brutally murdered in the exclusive upper part of the city. Ana’s shocked to be assigned such an important case, but she holds her ground while working with Barcelona’s finest detective, Isidro Castro, despite his misogynistic grumblings about working with a woman.