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Suspense/Mystery Books Discussion...
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Margaret



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 882

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LinnieGayl wrote:
Great thread!

I will be starting over the weekend Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson for my mystery book group.


I read this when it came out last year and thought it was a good book at the time...but details are fuzzy now.

Tomorrow I'm starting When Maidens Mourn by C.S Harris.
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Outlandish



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 69
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After reading the "Mystery Novel" blog, I went ahead and ordered the first 2 books on both Anne Perry's Thomas Pitt and Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series on audio.

I've finished 2 of Perry's and didn't find a real liking to this series. It isn't exactly memorable, so I went ahead and gave Penny's a try.

And boy was I surprised. Penny's writing is so lyrical and her understanding of the human mind shows in her phenomenal storytelling. I just finished the first one and have the next 5 on my Ipod read to go. I cannot wait to dig into the rest of these books.


Mystery Novels that I'd recommend:
C.S. Harris - Sebastian St. Cyr (MY FAVORITE HISTORICAL MYSTERY)
Lynne Connolly - Richard and Rosa (this one has more romance than the others)
Deborah Crombie - Gemma James
Julia Spencer Fleming - Reverend Clare Fergusson (LOVE THIS)


I have never anticipated traffic and a 2 hours daily commute more than I did this summer during my externship this past 2 months. Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series has became a friend of sort - I've started in finished the entire series (via audio) at the same time I started and ended my externship. A classic!
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margaret wrote:

I enjoyed her most recent, Broken Harbour. It was a good procedural that took the reader through the ups and downs of working the crime.

The Likeness is my least favorite for the same reasons as you mentioned.


I loved In The Woods and liked Faithful Place. I disliked The Likeness (too unbelievable and Donna Tartt-y) and hated with a white hot passion the end of Broken Harbor. Maybe it's the American in me, but it annoys me that French's victims become incidental. I've finally realized that she's really writing character studies, which just happen to occur around a violent event because that's an effective way to break the character down. By the end of The Likeness, I felt that everyone except Sam was of the opinion that no one liked the dead girl anyway and it was such a shame to mess up anyone's life because they'd killed her. There were similar attitudes in Broken Harbor, which absolutely stunned me.

Her next book's narrator is Stephen Moran, so I'll probably read it because I'd picked him out in Faithful Place as someone whose story I'd like to follow. She writes so wonderfully, but I'm increasingly wary of her plotting.
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MMcA wrote:


And I probablty should mention Ben Aaronovitch - again, it's a Dear Author rec from the end of July. I'd heard of the books before, but I'd somehow got the notion they were violent and dark, and I like my mysteries cosy. Not that I'd particularly count these as proper mysteries: I never have a clue who did it or why - but the narrator is charming, and they're funny, and while there's the odd dark moment, so far the good outweighs the bad by a long way. I tore through the three books one after the other, and enjoyed them a great deal.


Aren't these fun? Moon over Soho dragged a little for me - I wanted more Lesley, and I got her in Whispers. Looking forward to the next one. I read somewhere he's contracted for 6 - saw it on the Internet, must be true. Smile
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone read the Dead Detective series by Chaz McGee (a.k.a. Katy Munger - she's shifted the most recent to her own name). The first is Desolate Angel. They're about a policeman who's killed on the job - no big surprise, as both he and his partner were drunk at the time. He'd been a lousy husband, dad and cop, and now he's a ghost. The mystery's pretty good - there's not a lot he can do to help the young woman who's assigned to his old partner, but he follows along nevertheless. The thing that sets the books off is how he realizes what he threw away during his life, and how he slowly starts caring about people and events again after years of ignoring them from the bottom of a bottle. I expected light and funny, and was surprised at the level of introspection and emotion that was there. I've only read one in the series so far, it may run to maudlin as it continues but the first one was good.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1196

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it be out of line to ask for some help on this topic? My mom is the real mystery buff in our family, but with her favorites Robert Parker and Tony Hillerman gone, she pretty much reads Sue Grafton, and any Carolyn Hart's she hasn't already read. She's really glomming the Karen Rose and Roxanne St Claire books I gave her.

Any suggestions for her among the books you're talking about here, like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear perhaps? She enjoys mysteries with or without romance, and loves series. She used to be mainly a cozy reader but is branching out more. Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

ETA: She also gloms the In Death books. What about the Brockmann Troubleshooter series for her?
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I'd pop a few titles of some suspense books I'm looking forward to in the months ahead.

Already reserved
Last to Die - Tess Gerritsen
Low Pressure - Sandra Brown
The Last Victim - Karen Robards
Shadow Woman - Linda Howard
The Cutting Edge - Linda Howard

On the wish list
I'm Watching You - Mary Burton (avail now)
Scorched - Laura Griffin (Oct)
The 9th Girl - Tami Hoag (Dec)
Shadow Creek - Joy Fielding (Dec)
Did You Miss Me? - Karen Rose (June 2013)
The Cutting Room - Jillian Hoffman (no date)

A note about Jillian Hoffman. I read her first book Retribution quite a few years ago at the suggestion of another poster here at AAR. I haven't missed a book of hers yet. She's an excellent writer and I thought I'd throw her name out once again to those who may be unfamiliar with her. She doesn't issue books on any regular basis; but when she does, they are fantastic.

Right now I'm reading The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane and it's really a bit too soon to make any comments on it.

If anyone has additional books on their to-be-purchased list, let us know. Of all the genres, I really would like to be up to date on this one. Thanks. Very Happy
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Leigh



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 2689

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Would it be out of line to ask for some help on this topic? My mom is the real mystery buff in our family, but with her favorites Robert Parker and Tony Hillerman gone, she pretty much reads Sue Grafton, and any Carolyn Hart's she hasn't already read. She's really glomming the Karen Rose and Roxanne St Claire books I gave her.

Any suggestions for her among the books you're talking about here, like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear perhaps? She enjoys mysteries with or without romance, and loves series. She used to be mainly a cozy reader but is branching out more. Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

ETA: She also gloms the In Death books. What about the Brockmann Troubleshooter series for her?


I really liked Lee Child for about ten books. Also read P.J. Tracy. I love David Rosenfelt and there is two reviews here at AAR.

My mystery reading is limited by my dislike of serial killers and the heroine and hero having sex while on the run or looking for lost children.
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LinnieGayl



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Would it be out of line to ask for some help on this topic? My mom is the real mystery buff in our family, but with her favorites Robert Parker and Tony Hillerman gone, she pretty much reads Sue Grafton, and any Carolyn Hart's she hasn't already read. She's really glomming the Karen Rose and Roxanne St Claire books I gave her.

Any suggestions for her among the books you're talking about here, like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear perhaps? She enjoys mysteries with or without romance, and loves series. She used to be mainly a cozy reader but is branching out more. Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

ETA: She also gloms the In Death books. What about the Brockmann Troubleshooter series for her?


Eliza, way back in 2006 I wrote a post at AAR After Hours when it was located off-site about my favorite 10 romantic couples in mystery series. None of those posts are now available online, but my ten favorite couples include some of my favorite older mystery series:

(1) Amelia and Emerson the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
(2) Nefret and Ramses the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
(3) Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King
(4) Annie and Max the Annie Darling mysteries by Carolyn Hart
(5) Jenny and Geoff the Jenny Cain mysteries by Nancy Pickard
(6) Vicky and John the Vicky Bliss mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
(7) China and McQuaid the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert
(Cool Goldy and Tom the Goldy Schulz culinary mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson
(9) Amanda and Mackenzie the Amanda Pepper mysteries by Gillian Roberts
(10) Jane and Mel the Jane Jeffry mysteries by Jill Churchill


More recently I've written a few posts at AAR's regular blog about some of my favorite mystery series finds:

http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8664

http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8400

http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=6957

http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=4872

Maybe some of these series might work for your mother. I also heartily recommend the Maisie Dobbs series. It's wonderful. And I enjoyed the early books in Laurie R. King's Russell/Holmes series, but was very disappointed in the last one (The Pirate King).
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Eggletina



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been reading more Romantic Suspense lately and am interested in the suggestions here. What I've read this month:

Two by Linda Howard: Cry No More and Dream Man. Dream Man was my favorite of the two.

The first Troubleshooter book by Brockmann, The Unsung Hero. It was decent as a foundational book for kicking off the series, but also rather average, I thought. I usually buy my ebooks, so although I'd be interested in more, I'm debating how far I want to pursue these to read a lot of average books to get to the one or two really good ones in the series (I keep hearing Sam and Alyssa's book is one of the best). I may eventually look for these at my local library instead.

Tried my first book by Karen Rose: Die for Me. The romantic subplot was just okay but the investigative process was very good, I thought. Eventually I'll pursue more by her, but her villains are often serial killers, the murders very gruesome, so I don't think I can take reading too many in a row. Need to space them out. I think those who are really into good, procedural crime fiction would like Karen Rose. I have a question for Karen Rose readers: Has she written about Nick and Maggy who had supporting roles in Die for Me, because I kind of had the feeling...

Also read two by Laura Griffin: Whisper of Warning and the first Tracer series book, Untraceable. I liked Whisper of Warning best because I preferred the hero and heroine in that one to the couple in Untraceable. Will definitely pursue more Tracer books, though.

I haven't tried Karin Slaughter, but am thinking about picking up her Will Trent series. I see where these are set in Georgia, which is where I live, so would be interested in how she handles the setting if nothing else.

I tried the first Tana French book earlier this year. I thought the writing quite beautiful but by 70 pages in I grew impatient with the narrator and did something I rarely do: I skimmed the rest of it and by the end thought, all of that for that ending? One day I may give it a second chance and try to read it all the way through the way it should be read, but I'm not running to get to any of her books. I know she's very popular, though. She's the perfect example of a much hyped-to-me author that I find myself having negative reactions to because of all the hype. Unfair of me, I know. I want to try the new Gillian Flynn book too (have it on my ereader, in fact) but I'm afraid I might react similarly.
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Manda



Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eggletina wrote:
Also read two by Laura Griffin: Whisper of Warning and the first Tracer series book, Untraceable. I liked Whisper of Warning best because I preferred the hero and heroine in that one to the couple in Untraceable. Will definitely pursue more Tracer books, though.


I'm a huge Laura Griffin fan. I love her characterization and the freshness of her mysteries. She also writes some dead sexy heroes!

Eggletina wrote:
I haven't tried Karin Slaughter, but am thinking about picking up her Will Trent series. I see where these are set in Georgia, which is where I live, so would be interested in how she handles the setting if nothing else.


I really enjoy the Atlanta setting in these (along with the recurring characters). The most recent one, CRIMINAL, was remarkable for its details about Atlanta in the early 1970s. The Grant County series is also set in Georgia, but it could be any small southern town. Atlanta, though, has a personality of its own and I think she does a great job of capturing what its like to live there. (Not that I have, but I visit a lot.)

Eggletina wrote:
I tried the first Tana French book earlier this year. I thought the writing quite beautiful but by 70 pages in I grew impatient with the narrator and did something I rarely do: I skimmed the rest of it and by the end thought, all of that for that ending?


I started this one last night and was dismayed to see it's first person. I'm not a fan of having to rely on a first person narrator for the entire story. I want too much to know what the other characters are doing and thinking and feeling.

One first person that I really enjoyed lately was SISTER by Rosamund Lupton. It was really a fascinating story set in London, where a woman's younger sister goes missing while she (the elder sister) is living in NYC. She comes back to England to search for her. It's a psychological thriller, I suppose you'd say.

I also recently read my first book by Lisa Unger, called DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND. It featured a former detective who was forced to take an early retirement who gets involved in solving, many years after the fact, his first case. The disappearance of a young mother who vanishes one night without a trace. I really loved the characters and the setting. I'm hoping there will be more in the series. There was a book before this one, that I'm going to search out and read, too.

Thanks to Tee for starting this thread! I've been dying (pun intended) to talk about these books, but there isn't really anywhere I can.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Manda wrote:
Thanks to Tee for starting this thread! I've been dying (pun intended) to talk about these books, but there isn't really anywhere I can.

Hopefully, it'll be a go-to thread when someone wants to discuss a mystery or suspense book. We'll see how it all works out.

BTW, Eggletina and Manda, I also enjoy Laura Griffin a lot and I have her next book Scorched on my wish list.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1196

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Leigh: My mom dislikes the same mystery elements you do! Lee Child is a no for her but will definitely check out P.J. Tracy and David Rosenfelt. Thanks.

@LinnieGayl: Mom loves Hart, Pickard, Albert, Davidson, Churchill and Roberts so you must have similar tastes. The only author she doesn't care for that everyone else does is Elizabeth Peters--not sure why. So I will definitely start by looking into Laurie R. King, Jacqueline Winspear, Louise Penny, Colin Cotterill, Erin Hart, and then save the others you mentioned for future goes. Thanks.

Laura Griffin, C,S, Harris, Karin Slaughter and Julia Spencer Fleming seem like good bets too based on these posts.

Besides the In Death books, I forgot to mention we both glom anything by Linda Howard, and she inhales Lisa Scottoline.

Thanks for a great thread.
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Leigh



Joined: 29 May 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Eliza"]@Leigh: My mom dislikes the same mystery elements you do! Lee Child is a no for her but will definitely check out P.J. Tracy and David Rosenfelt. Thanks.

You know it has been so long since I read the first P.J. Tracy but it is dark and if she doesn't like Lee Child then she might not like Tracy. It does have a serial killer - but what saved it for me was the interesting unique characters . Do library so you don't waste money just in case.
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Minerva



Joined: 05 Jul 2007
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is such a great discussion! Where do I begin?

Tee and Manda - your discussion about Karin Slaughter convinced me to try her books. I read a few of her Grant County books before starting the Will Trent books. I read the spoiler letter on her website to see what I was getting myself in for. I can see why some fans were angry, but I am glad she moved the series to Atlanta. I love Will as a detective. He is so uniquely fabulous. I'm trying to savor Criminal since I know after this I'm going to have to wait for her next novel.

Tana French - I fell in love with her writing with In the Woods. There is still so much unexplored with that book, I hope she circles around to finish the mystery. The Likeness was ok, but was only good to set up the character of Frank Mackey. I loved Faithful Place. It is by far my favorite. I enjoyed the characters of Broken Harbor, but I didn't get too enthralled by the mystery. I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed Scorcher Kennedy considering how awful he was in Faithful Place. Scorcher is so complicated, I would actually enjoy another book with him as a narrator.

I bought several of Julia Spencer-Fleming's books when they were on sale earlier this year. I highly recommend her books to anyone looking for a new series.

Finally, I started reading Laura Griffin after following some recommendations from this site. I quickly glommed all her novels. I think her novels are getting better and better. Her mysteries are getting better and her characters stronger. I can't wait for her next novel.

Thanks Tee for starting this thread. I've enjoyed the blog post and various threads that pop up. I'm sure this thread will make my TBR pile explode!
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