The Mysteries and Thrillers My Friends Recommend

Approaching the beginning of October, I reached out on Facebook to find all novels thriller and mystery. I love these genres but have barely scratched the surface! I was excited for the variety of recommendations my Facebook friend gave, and it was fun to see which books resonated with different people. So, courtesy of my acquaintances new and old, here is our October reading list.

All things Agatha Christie

It seems one can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie. I have not yet approached these standards of murder mystery! I found this Amazon author’s page helpful in exploring my options with Christie. Do you have a favorite book of hers?

Gillian Flynn: Sharp Objects and Dark Places

We’ve all ready Gone Girl, right? I guess I finished the book and just sort of forgot about the author. I enjoyed the book, although sometimes all of the hype before the story leaves me a little let down after I finally finish it. One quality I like about these stories is how the truth of the crime stares you in the face the entire time, but the events throughout the story fill you with self-doubt. The answer to the mystery somehow sneaks up on you!

Gaslight Mysteries

This murder mystery series has a midwife as a main character. Any time there is a midwife, you can expect a female centered plot. Bonus: the title of each book has “Murder” as the first word.

Double recommendation for Child 44
-Sara, seconded by Rikky

This Child 44 Trilogy must be incredible. The comment section below this recommendation left few details, just a strong insistence that I must read it. There is also a movie? Somehow this is my first time hearing about the books or movie!

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Amazon tells me that devout fans of the show might not love the books. But then again, most people who read a book first always hate the tv version. A freaky book to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Final Girls

Kate says “I just finished Final Girls and it was the best book I’ve read in 2017. There were so many wonderful twists and turns. I had no idea whodunit until they revealed it. I read a lot of mystery and thriller so I like to think I’m good at this. Trust me you will enjoy it. It’s the perfect end of summer, beginning of Halloween season read. If you read it lemme know your thoughts!! I’ve been dying to talk about it.” I’m sold.

Tony and Anne Hillerman Books

These books will transport you to the stillness of the west and the sinister mood of not knowing who in your small, close-knit community can be trusted. This police procedural models the inefficiency of “the system,” and the need to keep your bits about you at all times. I ready Skinwalkers just after moving back from out west, and the spooky superstitions are told with the candidness any Navajo will tell these tales with.




The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or, On the Segregation of the Queen
-My recommendation

A Mary Russell novel, the first book of this series introduces Sherlock Holmes and his partner, not sidekick, but partner in solving mystery. I retired-ish Holmes takes on only cases than interest him, and starts the novel guiding and teaching Ms. Russell. By the end, she is able to keep up, and even wins a few matches of chess against the infallible Sherlock.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Series
-My recommendation

The Millennium trilogy is by far my favorite series of books I have ever read. Larson’s writing is captivating, and the main character Salander is such a badass. If you enjoyed the movie, Swedish or English, trust me, you won’t be able to put these books down. I do like the new books, continuing the series under a different pen. They don’t have quite the same impact on me as the originals, though.

All of Ruth Ware’s books
-Recommended by Sara and seconded by me!

I have become such an intense fan of Ruth Ware and everything that she has written. I loved “In a Dark, Dark, Wood,” but I was addicted to “The Woman in Cabin 10.” Ware’s characters are ferociously independent, but the events that lead them to risk are so relatable. A bachelorette party, a work trip, a high school reunion. We all pretty much do all of those things at some point, and they are usually considered safe and pleasant experiences. After finishing “The Woman in Cabin 10,” the gruesome murder of Kim Wall was discovered. I couldn’t get over it because I had just finished this book and been living in the mindset of the protagonist, a journalist who is kidnapped my a murderous owner of the ship. Ruth Ware’s books are almost too real.


Thanks to all of the recommendations, friends! Do you have any favorites that I missed?


Related: A Collection of Book Lists
Related: True Crime

True Crime

Have you read the awful news event about the death of journalist Kim Wall? This story has been haunting me since it was released a few days ago. At first, I thought I was only freaked out because it drew so many parallels to the thriller novel “Woman in Cabin 10,” by Ruth Ware. People everywhere are captivated and horrified by this story, and one news source compared it to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” saying that people were hooked on the brutal mystery taking place in Scandinavia. I want to check the romanticization of violence against women right at the door and learn more about this woman, her impassioned work, and the circumstances that led to her death.

A Swedish native, Kim Wall listed her address on twitter as “China/NYC,” two places she frequented. Fluent in English, she wrote many articles for papers in the UK and USA. Her self-described bio on twitter reads, “I studied foreign policy & now I write about hackers, hustlers, Vodou, vampires, Chinatowns, atomic bombs, feminism, etc.” Her bio describes her work easily. Wall traveled all over the world, often to remote areas taking risks to get gritty details on tough stories. She was an old-school foreign policy journalist in a new world age. Her friend who wrote about her life in The Guardian highlights the bitter irony that even though she traveled to communist nations and third world countries, riding motorcycle taxis and reporting when it was illegal, it was in her seemingly gender-forward (parity?) homeland where she was brutally murdered.

The more I learned about Kim Wall, the more I understood my equal parts despair and fascination with the events surrounding her murder. Kim Wall was a self-driven, confident and independent woman. She was a world traveler and an extremely successful freelance author, writing pieces that mattered and received a global audience. Kim Wall was the picture of what many young women would like to be: free, independent, and influential. Her murder was brutal and unjust. Now that I have come to terms with why this event seems so significant in my eyes, I would like to learn more about Kim Wall through her writing. Here are some important pieces I have selected to share with you, in an effort to learn more about her.

The Weekly Package
Many Cubans who have no access to the internet receive regular deliveries, “The Weekly Package,” of hard drives jam packed with news, music, movie trailers, and more. With an underground network utilizing over 45,000 foot soldiers, this “offline media” is used all over Cuba. This article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Haiti Sees Tourism Promises Fade Amidst Electoral Tensions
When the only thing you hear about a country are stories of destitution and corruption, you are not inspired to go visit that place. However, tourists are starting to see Haiti as the “last untouched corner of the Caribbean.” Which could be good for Haiti’s economy, and terrible for their ecosystem and national independence.  Kim Wall takes a close look at how the tourist industry could revive or destroy Haiti.

Fetish lovers begging for freedom: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey is our Stonewall moment’
I have never read “Fifty Shades of Grey” or any articles about BDSM. However, I found this article captivating. It is interesting that people find power in these role play situations, and equally interesting that the US has laws against it. The groups represented at this writers conference explain that their relationships are based on open communication and consent. This article serves as a reminder to refrain from judging people living lifestyles different from your own.

Vodou is elusive and endangered, but it remains the soul of Haitian people
One more story from Haiti, because as the saying goes, “Haiti is 70% Catholic, 30% Protestant, and 100% Vodou.” A tender look at religion, culture, history, and as with most of Wall’s writing, gender, this piece reveals purpose and meaning of Vodou practice. “Vodou tends to be radically unjudgmental. The alcoholic, the thief, the homeless, the mentally ill, all of these people are welcomed into a Vodou temple and given respect.”