“Today I will shoot a policeman. In the leg. And every day I will shoot a policeman, until you charge the murderer.” It isn’t enough that Cape Town homicide detective Benny Griessel is tasked with the cold-case stabbing of Hanneke Sloet; he also has to contend with the ticking clock of a sniper who insists the police are engaged in an active cover-up. South African sensation Deon Meyer writes tense crime thrillers against a backdrop of racial conflict and complex personality. With no apparent motive, no viable suspects, and no new leads, how will Benny solve a 40-day-old mystery while at the same time protecting his colleagues? British narrator Simon Vance steers listeners through Seven Days of dire circumstances to create a riveting audiobook experience.
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For 25 pieces of gold a day, sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse will take on almost any case. His office is above Angelina’s Tavern. One slow night, an occupied, oversized coffin is delivered to Angelina’s. All the regulars egg Eddie on to tell them who is in the coffin and how he could possibly know without prying the lid off. Eddie tells of a long-ago case on the island kingdom of Grand Braun, where King Marcus Drake is beloved by his people and Queen Jennifer is accused of adultery and murder. In Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe, Eddie unravels if Queen Jennifer is a killer and who is in the coffin so many years later.
Also, if you love audiobooks, Dark Jenny is a great listen, read by Stefan Rudnicki.
Fringe is more than you think it is. Yes, it began with X-Files-like investigations into strange events, and you’ll certainly find episodes with the best storytelling elements of science fiction, fantasy, and even horror. However, it grows beyond formulaic genre fare. Fringe became a complex and poignant exploration of parenthood, identity, and humanity. Terrific performances, most especially that of John Noble as the repentant, Red Vine-loving mad scientist, expose the beating hearts beneath dual worlds. Not many series boast episodes that include a noir musical, an LSD-fueled jump into animation, or a twenty-five-year fast-forward into dystopia, but that’s par for the course on a show that embraces the full spectrum of human emotion, from the creepy to the heart-tugging.
In one of the most fascinating starts in recent fiction, Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a London park surrounded by dead bodies wearing latex gloves, and she has no idea how this happened or even who she is. A note in her jacket pocket begins, “The body you are wearing used to be mine,” kick-starting a story that escalates in both action and intrigue. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley is masterfully read by Susan Duerden, who rises to the challenge of voicing two versions of Myfanwy — one of whom is revealed through stacks of preemptive letters, and the other who is trying to ferret out a conspiracy in the secret organization which battles supernatural forces in Britain.
If you knew the world were going to end in six months, would solving crimes still matter? Young Detective Hank Palace insists it does, and he is determined to prove that the apparent suicide found in a former McDonald’s restroom is really a murder victim. In The Last Policeman by Ben Winters, the impending asteroid strike has led most people to abandon their jobs and embrace life without consequences, but Palace won’t let this go. Reader Peter Berkrot’s superb narration balances the earnest with the hard-boiled, leading us through changing directions and multiple red herrings while keeping us thoroughly invested. The Last Policeman is a satisfying mystery that takes full advantage of its pre-apocalyptic setting, offering keen insights into human thought and behavior.
When Julie is 25, her Aunt Rose dies, and Julie’s inheritance is a key to a safety deposit box in Siena, Italy. The safety deposit box contains a silver crucifix, a pile of paper, a promise of family treasure, and a battered, old copy of Romeo and Juliet. Julie knew the story of Romeo and Juliet, but she didn’t know Shakespeare based his play on real families in Siena, not Verona – and she was a descendent of Giulietta Tolomei, the real Juliet. If you like historical thrillers like Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale or Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, try Anne Fortier’s fast-paced Shakespearean conspiracy, Juliet.
It is four days before Christmas. Old Saint Nick is practically here. You have officially, almost, survived the holidays without running over any Scrooges in the mall parking lot. But that doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t.
Click here for cozy mystery Christmas books.
Click here for thriller/suspense holiday novels.
If dead bodies under the mistletoe aren’t your scene, click here for fantasy and sci-fi holiday novels.
Journey to radiant Botswana and spend time with Precious Ramotswe, Gaborone’s first lady detective. Based on the international bestselling series by Alexander McCall Smith, the HBO adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency wisely allows the cases to serve only as backdrop to the real draw: the irresistible culture, community, and characters of this beloved African setting. Singer/actress Jill Scott brings Precious to engaging life, mastering the cadences of her speech and language to showcase wisdom, determination, and teasing fun. “There are so many people who want to know the truth about some mystery in their lives, some mystery they cannot solve themselves,” she claims. “That is what a detective is for, and that is what I will do.”
Being a telepath is a distinct advantage when you work as a police interrogator, but being an ex-addict means you get questioned, too – even when you foresee your own death. Clean by Alex Hughes is an escapist adventure perfect for when you need to get out of your own head.
Frank Bill writes about dirty, lowdown, pushed around, heartbroken, monetarily and (mostly) morally bankrupt folks. His debut, Crimes in Southern Indiana, is a collection of seventeen interconnected stories about people struggling on the hard side of life and, usually, the wrong end of the law. You’ll find blood, botheration, meth, desperation, and the tiniest bit of violent hope in Bill’s clipped, quick, country pulp. Southern themes like the importance of family and beautiful settings get turned on their heads when your family is what backstabs you and the scenery is where you’re buried. If you like Cormac McCarthy or Daniel Woodrell, but want a Midwestern setting and more brutality, try Crimes in Southern Indiana.