Time and time again, we have learned that BookPage readers have a soft spot for suspense. In January, we recommend 12 books that will appeal to a range of mystery lovers—from those who love adventure thrillers, to those who read historical mysteries or classic police procedurals.
In the January Whodunit column, Bruce Tierney recommends four books that will keep you hooked past bedtime:
For fans of supernatural whodunits:
Read The Wrath of Angels, John Connolly’s new Charlie Parker thriller. Tierney writes: The books in the series “read like detective novels, but then they step over the line into Stephen King country, where apparitions dance at the periphery of the senses and where evil becomes palpable—and ever so believable.”
For fans of police procedurals:
Read Watching the Dark, Peter Robinson’s latest mystery starring Chief Inspector Alan Banks. The story gets going when a homicide is performed via crossbow, and then Banks must race from Yorkshire to Estonia to solve the crime. Tierney writes: “Taut suspense, complex characters and deft storytelling combine in this whodunit tour-de-force.”
For fans of Irish noir:
Read Ratlines, Stuart Neville’s edgy political thriller set in Ireland, 1963. The plot kicks off when a Nazi war criminal is murdered, and investigator Albert Ryan must find the killer. (Nazi collaborators were given sanctuary and new identities in postwar Ireland.) Tierney writes: “The setup is real-life history and the rest is ‘just a story.’ But what a story it is!
For fans of “Law & Order”:
Read The Intercept by “Law & Order” producer Dick Wolf, a tale of modern-day terrorism starring NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk. Tierney writes: “In moving from the small screen to the printed page, Wolf has clearly lost not one iota of his ability to deliver first-rate suspense ‘ripped from the headlines.’”
Besides the four books in the Whodunit column, here are eight suspenseful stories reviewed in the January issue of BookPage and on BookPage.com:
For fans of romantic suspense:
Read Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krentz, this month’s Top Pick in Romance. The paranormal adventure story centers on the romance between a psychic counselor and a psychic investigator. Romance columnist Christie Ridgway writes: “Imaginative and exciting, this tale will have readers guessing (and second-guessing) their way to its conclusion.”
For fans of historical mysteries:
Read A Study in Revenge by Kieran Shields, which begins when police deputy Archie Lean is called on to view a crime scene in Maine, 1893—strange occult symbols are drawn near a corpse. Then Lean and private detective Perceval Grey are off and running on their second sleuthing adventure, after 2012′s The Truth of All Things. (Read more.)
For fans of psychological suspense:
Read Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman, a haunting debut that starts ominously when Nora Hamilton wakes up to find her husband dead—by his own hand, she’s told. But all is not as it seems in Nora’s remote town in the Adirondacks, where secrets are buried in the snow . . . (Read more.)
For fans of Southern Gothic mysteries:
Read The Drowning House, a “remarkable blend of human drama and satisfyingly Southern Gothic mystery, propelled by [debut author Elizabeth Black's] lyrical, haunting narration.” The story is set in Galveston, Texas. Black is a debut author to watch. (Read more.)
For fans of action and adventure:
Read The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter, a thriller in which fictional ballistics expert Bob Lee Swagger attempts to solve America’s most baffling murder mystery: Who killed JFK? (This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination.) Read an interview with the author here.
For fans of literary suspense who want something for their book club:
Read The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, the BookPage staff favorite that takes place in 1914 after a luxury liner sinks and leaves a group of survivors on a too-small lifeboat. A pick in this month’s book clubs column, The Lifeboat came out in paperback on January 8. (Read more.)
For fans of crime novels on audio:
Listen to Phantom by Jo Nesbø, in which ex-cop Harry Hole comes back to Oslo and digs into a complex, crime-infested world. Audio columnist Sukey Howard writes: “Subplots within subplots, ingeniously fleshed-out characters and an extraordinary performance by Robin Sachs make this the best Nesbø/Hole novel yet.”
For fans of spy thrillers on audio:
Listen to Young Philby by Robert Littell, an espionage thriller based on real-life double agent Kim Philby. Philby was a British Secret Service agent spying for the Soviets during the Cold War. Howard chose this for the Top Pick in Audio for January, writing: “A living, breathing Philby emerges, but his true heart, motives, treachery or abiding patriotism (a minority view) stay fascinatingly clouded by the smoke and mirrors of real-life espionage.”
What mystery novels are you reading (or listening to) this month? Will any of these suggestions make it to your TBR? Let us know in the comments!