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And Now She’s Gone

Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)

L.A. PI Gray Sykes, who grew up in the foster care system and escaped an abusive relationship, looks into the mysterious disappearance of Isabel Lincoln, who may not want to be found. Gray soon discovers that she and Isabel have a lot in common. Hall brilliantly explores themes of Blackness, abuse, and mirrored identities.


Black Sun Rising

Matthew Carr (Pegasus Crime)

When an English explorer dies in a terrorist bombing in 1909 Barcelona, his widow sends a private detective from England to investigate. Meanwhile, a blood-drinking murderer is terrorizing the people of Barcelona. This blend of early-20th-century Spanish history with a baffling plot is as intelligent as it is thought-provoking.


The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne

Elsa Hart (Minotaur)

The stabbing murder of Sir Barnaby Mayne, an avid plant collector, drives this fair-play whodunit set in 1703 London. Botanist Cecily Kay, who was staying at Sir Barnaby’s home, is unconvinced by the confession of the alleged killer and turns sleuth. Hart has outdone herself with this historical.


The Devil and the Dark Water

Stuart Turton (Sourcebooks Landmark)

In 1634, famed investigator Samuel Pipps is aboard a ship bound from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he’s to face trial for an unknown crime. Odd phenomena plague the voyage, including weird symbols that appear on the sails. With his ingenious explanations for all the strange goings-on, Turton shows he’s the modern master of the classic impossible crime mystery.


Eight Perfect Murders

Peter Swanson (Morrow) (Morrow)

Bookstore employee Malcolm Kershaw once posted a list of eight mysteries, each with a perfect murder, on the blog of a Boston bookstore. Years later, an FBI agent tells him she’s investigating multiple killings that she believes may have been influenced by his blog post. Swanson does a superb job updating Agatha Christie.


The End of October

Lawrence Wright (Knopf)

In this timely thriller, a World Health Organization doctor investigates the outbreak of a deadly disease in an Indonesian refugee camp. The virus soon spreads around the world. Pulitzer Prize winner Wright, best known for his nonfiction, shows he’s a master of fiction as well.


The Familiar Dark

Amy Engel (Dutton)

When two 12-year-old girls are murdered in their impoverished hometown in the Missouri Ozarks, one girl’s mother becomes enraged by what she sees as a less than vigorous probe by the local police and begins asking questions of dangerous people. With this dark thriller Engel joins the top writers of the genre.


The Forger’s Daughter

Bradford Morrow (Mysterious) (Mysterious)

After an old enemy blackmails erstwhile literary forger Will into forging a copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane and Other Poems, Will’s 20-year-old daughter puts her life at risk to assist. This smart look at the dark side of the book trade is an exceptional blend of literary homage and crime.


The Golden Cage

Camilla Läckberg (Knopf)

Devoted wife and mother Faye thinks she has it all, until she catches her husband cheating on her and vows her revenge. Läckberg, already a leading author of Scandinavian thrillers, achieves a new height with this sexy, glitzy tale of a smart, talented woman who has sacrificed everything for a man who betrays her.


Seven Lies

Elizabeth Kay (Viking/Dorman) (Viking/Dorman)

Jane Baxter, the unreliable narrator of Kay’s excellent debut, tells an unknown listener how an unlikely friendship she made at 11 evolves over two decades into a lifeline she can’t give up. The devastating reveal of the listener’s identity makes this a standout among the crowded psychological thriller field.


The Wicked Sister

Karen Dionne (Putnam)

Rachel Cunningham voluntarily committed herself to a mental institution after a family tragedy that occurred 15 years earlier at her family’s estate. Some new information about the tragedy prompts Rachel’s return to the estate to unearth the truth. Psychological suspense doesn’t get any better than this unforgettable thriller.


Winter Counts

David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)

In this outstanding debut, Virgil Wounded Horse acts as an unofficial lawman on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. After Virgil’s nephew overdoses on heroin, he goes after those who brought heroin to the reservation. Weiden matches strong prose with equally strong characterizations as he takes an extraordinarily revealing dive into contemporary Native American life.


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