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Book Favourites from Library Staff 2022: Crime and Suspense Fiction

Best mysteries 22

The Collections team are the ones who get the new books ready to put out on the shelves and some of them are right into their mysteries. Here’s a sampling of their top crime / thriller novels of the year. You can click on the titles to follow a link to the catalogue.

The Hidden One by Linda Castillo 
This is the fourteenth book in Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series and we’re back in Amish country for another murder mystery. A body has been found which turns out to be a former Amish bishop who disappeared a decade ago. There’s evidence of foul play while events of the past bring back some painful memories for Kate. Castillo again contrasts the Amish world with the modern values, the complexities of human nature, the good and the bad, while offering a suspenseful crime thriller.

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves 
The latest Vera Stanhope mystery brings the detective inspector to Holy Island, where a body has been found hanged. Vera is going to have to discover what the murder victim’s friends are hiding as well as investigate a death from many years ago – a friend of the dead man. Cleeves again brilliantly combines character and a twisty mystery with danger to create another pacey read.

Old Sins by Aline Templeton 
If you like Ann Cleeves, you might also enjoy this series featuring DCI Kelso Strang, considered the ‘crime tsar of the Scottish small town’, according to Val McDermid. This is a tale of retribution and the possible murder of an old woman with ugly secrets. And it all begins with the bone-chilling howl of a wolf. Old sins cast long shadows, the saying goes, so you know Kelso’s got his work cut out to get to the bottom of things.

A Solitude of Wolverines and A Blizzard of Polar Bears by Alice Henderson 
This enthralling new series features Alex Carter, a biologist studying endangered species. In the first book, Alex’s work attempting to save the endangered wolverine throws her up against hostile locals. The camera footage she has tracking the animals reveals images of a wounded man, but why do local law enforcement dismiss her concerns? Alex is soon in danger herself and has to use her wits plus her knowledge of the landscape to save herself and solve the crime.

A Blizzard of Polar Bears
In the second book, Alex lands a job studying polar bears in Canada’s Arctic region. When her helicopter pilot quits suddenly, equipment goes missing, and her lab’s broken into, it seems there’s trouble afoot. This story will take Alex and her team to the brink, using all their survival skills to cope with a hostile environment as well as armed assailants on snowmobiles. Whew! These books combine plenty of action and suspense with fascinating detail on the natural landscape and the animals that live there. 

The Wrong Woman and The Last Guests by J P Pomare 
J P Pomare is an expat New Zealander now living in Melbourne, but we love to claim him as our own as his books are so good. The Wrong Woman sees former cop, Reid, returning to his old hometown, the place he left under a cloud. Now he’s working for an insurance firm, investigating a suspicious car crash. Amid the rumours, there are two missing girls and Reid can only wonder if there is a connection between the two. Soon he’s putting his nose where it’s not wanted and getting himself in danger. A pacey read with great characters and an evocative setting, that could be just about be any small town.

The Last Guests
Struggling to make ends meet, Lina and Cain decide to turn Lina’s inherited lake house into an Airbnb. Cain finds the work fixing it up meaningful after a return from active duty. But both Lina and Cain have been keeping secrets. When strange things start to happen on their property, things begin to take a deadly turn. Pomare is great with flawed characters and twisty plots and does it again here.

The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher 
If you love Aussie Noir, you probably already know about Garry Disher, who has been delivering the goods for several decades now. This stand-alone novel is about Charlie Deravin, a police officer on disciplinary leave who goes back to his childhood home. It’s approaching Christmas and with an old cold case troubling him, he decides to do some nosing around. That the case just happens to be the disappearance of his mother twenty years ago gives the story plenty of emotional heft; there’s plenty of grit too, with an old cops network and small-town prejudice thrown into the mix.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley 
A new Lucy Foley novel means another intriguing setting - this time it’s a luxurious, gated Paris apartment full of secrets. Our sleuth is young Jess, down on her luck and looking to escape England, so visits her brother in Paris. Only he’s not at home and no one knows where he is. With signs of foul play, Jess fears the worse, but as she investigates, she faces danger too. Of Ben’s neighbours, who can she trust and who is telling lies? It’s a brilliant, twisty mystery that would be ideal for fans of Ruth Ware.

The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee
Another mystery featuring the dynamic duo of Captain Sam Wyndham and his Sergeant Banerjee as they struggle to solve crime in 1920s Calcutta, a tinder-box of political and social unrest. This comes to a head when Banerjee covers up a death to avoid it sparking a religious riot, only to find himself on a murder charge. Wyndham has his work cut out to get to the bottom of it all, while his sergeant goes on the run. A fast-paced, action-packed story that also delivers on setting and history.

Breathless by Amy McCulloch
The author of this mountaineering adventure became the youngest Canadian woman to climb Mt Manaslu in Nepal – the world’s eight highest mountain. With all the dangers of high altitude climbing, throw in a serial killer and you’ve got a ton of suspense. Struggling journalist Cecily Wong is thrilled to be asked to interview a famous mountaineer, but has to join the team setting out to climb one of the tallest peaks in the world. She’s soon to discover though that there’s a killer on the mountain. You'll be breathless just reading this one.

16 December 2022

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