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ISBN: 9780062267528
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Published: William Morrow & Company - February 3rd, 2015

This book is everything I like in a good mystery – smart writing, lots of red herrings, and a great ending.

There are crosses, double crosses, characters who lead perfectly normal lives who are anything but normal themselves.

In the spirit of a good, twisty old Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes story, Swanson turns your expectations upside down.

I can’t wait for him to write another!

ISBN: 9781476728001
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Published: Atria Books - June 3rd, 2014

A woman out birdwatching in the early morning witnesses what she thinks is a crime.

Nick Davis, the Federal Prosecutor, initially doubts her, but goes along to the scene to investigate.  Sure enough, they find a body.

But then more bodies start turning up, and the investigation becomes close to home and personal to Nick.

This is a well plotted legal thriller that poses moral and ethical dilemmas we hope we never have to face.

If you’re a Defending Jacob fan, or you love a good legal mystery, do yourself a favor and pick up Indefensible

ISBN: 9781476785592
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Published: Atria Books - September 30th, 2014

Joe Goldman works in a New York City bookstore when in walks the girl of his dreams.  And Joe has some weird dreams.

And when Beck’s fraught life starts to fall apart, it’s Joe she turns to for comfort.

But their bizarre and obsessive relationship hides some dark and twisted secrets and things quickly spiral out of control.

You is a stalker tale with a lot of raw physicality and more than a fair share of dangerous obsession.

Sick, twisted, and compelling as a train wreck, You is a powerful debut by Caroline Kepnes.

ISBN: 9781250060631
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Published: Picador USA - January 6th, 2015

Mr. Heming is a realtor in a leafy village a short way from London.  He knows every square inch of his town – for as he sells a house, he makes himself a copy of the key and lets himself in and out of people’s houses and lives at will.

Slowly this novel reveals dark secrets from Heming’s past which lend a decidedly sinister bent to his proclivity to insert himself into the lives of anyone who catches his fancy.

Creepy, sickeningly plausible and interestingly revealed, the story is one of my favorites so far this year!

ISBN: 9780062282569
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Published: William Morrow & Company - February 24th, 2015

Ariana Franklin was the award-winning author of one of my favorite historical-fiction series – Mistress of the Art of Death.  She died in 2011, just before completing this novel, which her daughter Samantha Norman, herself a successful writer, columnist, and film critic, finished.

The year is 1141 and England is consumed by a war between Stephen and his cousin, the empress Matilda, for the crown.  And when royals battle, no one is safe.

A mercenary named Gwil stumbles upon a young girl who has been brutalized by a depraved monk and his roving band, and he nurses her back to life.  But Emma, now renamed Penda by Gwil, has no recollection of her former life and prefers to pass as a young boy.

The pair become famous for their skills at archery and end up at a castle that’s being fought over by the royal cousins as an important river passage.

The duo is drawn into the intrigue and their lives are forever changed.

It’s sad that this was Franklin’s final book as her writing is always a great glimpse into a time long gone.  Thankfully for us, The Siege Winter is a fine final novel.

ISBN: 9781594633669
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Published: Riverhead Books - January 13th, 2015

If you like your thrillers twisty and your red herrings in abundance, Paula Hawkins’ psychological thriller The Girl on the Train will likely be one of your first great reads of 2015.

Rachael rides the train to London every day, and has created a fantasy life for a couple who are often in their yard as she goes past: Jess and Jason are wildly in love and have a fairy tale life.  Except one day, Rachael sees Jess kissing a man who isn’t Jason and the next day she reads in the paper that Jess, whose real name is Megan, is missing.

Just about anyone in the novel could have done just about anything, and that’s what makes reading it so fun.  Your imagination goes down countless avenues before you discover what is really going on – and by then you have definite opinions about each of the characters.

If you had a water cooler at your work, The Girl on the Train would be the topic of discussion as you gathered around it, just like Gone Girl was two years ago.

ISBN: 9780812993271
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Published: Random House - June 17th, 2014

There is a club in London so exclusive that its number of members never varies.  Men must agree to join, but don’t always get what they bargain for.

This novel, set in Victorian London, was totally not what I expected to read.  This first novel by 28 year old Lauren Owen is already garnering literary prizes for a most surprising adult genre – Vampire Fiction. 

If you loved the smart writing in Deborah Harness’ novel, The Quick should definitely be on your list.

ISBN: 9781770893870
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Published: House of Anansi Press - August 12th, 2014

In 1984 in a small, seaside town in Britain, Corinne was 15 and convicted of a gruesome, ritualistic murder.  Amid rumors of Satanism, the town kept a watchful eye on their youngsters and dreaded the day when they’d grow into teens themselves.  Corrine was locked up, and the key thrown away.

20 years later, ex-detective Sean Ward takes a case as a private investigator to re-open Corrine’s case.  With the advent of new DNA technologies, the evidence suggests that she might not have acted alone.

However, the more Sean digs, the more secrets he uncovers about a fearful community that has always protected its own.

ISBN: 9780670785865
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Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 8th, 2015

Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer are back, and stumped by a crime that’s been confessed to by an obviously innocent man, and corroborated by his closest friends and all the people closest to the murdered woman – everyone swears that Tim, the not grieving husband – did it, and he agrees and demands to be locked up.

Despite knowing that they don’t have their man, the duo have nowhere to turn but to the brilliant, egotistical Gaby Struthers – Tim’s true love and the main reason it would make sense for him to have committed the crime.

And as the murdered woman was, by all accounts, a miserable human being who reveled in making everyone around her miserable too, it’s hard to see why everyone didn’t want to do her in.

In typical Sophie Hannah form, The Carrier leads the reader down one dark path after another before finally revealing what should perhaps have made sense all along.

People in Hannah’s books aren’t nice.  Life is messy.  Crimes are for real with bad consequences and those charged with solving them lead complicated and distressing lives themselves.  If her crime writing wasn’t so masterful, we might find ourselves wondering why we lose ourselves in a new Sophie Hannah mystery every year.

But we sure do! 

ISBN: 9780805098723
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Published: Henry Holt & Company - February 18th, 2014

Karen Perry is a pseudonym for two best-selling Irish authors and together they’ve crafted a fine thriller.

Harry is in Tangier, preparing his wife’s birthday dinner.  He leaves their sleeping son, Dillon and dashes out for a last minute gift.  While he’s gone, an earthquake devastates the city and reduces their apartment building to rubble.  Dillon’s body is never found.

Five years later, Harry and Robin live in Dublin, but their grief and guilt have driven a deep wedge between them.

Then one day, on the streets of Dublin, Harry spies an eight-year-old Dillon walking with a strange woman…

Fast, and while somewhat predictable, still able to deliver some surprises.  The Innocent Sleep is a very satisfying read.