May 1, 2017 Booklist 5 #mysterymonth
yet: a three-generation crime saga told
in chapters that alternate between 1965,
1995, and 2015. Each story line features
full-blooded characters and intrigue that
work both on their own and in the larger
context. Race plays a large role and is
thoughtfully handled in this bleak, powerful tale of corruption and the lasting effects
of crime in the City of Brotherly Love.
Since We Fell. By Dennis Lehane. 2017.
Ecco, $27.99 (9780062129383).
Lehane adds psycho-
logical thrillers to his
résumé with this sla-
lom course of a twisty
Childs, a once-promis-
ing TV journalist who
learns that the man of
her dreams is hiding
another life. The mood and pace of the
novel change directions as quickly as the
plot, but Lehane never lets his narrative
vehicle veer out of control, and when he
hits the afterburners in the last 50 pages,
he produces an incredibly exciting and
What We Become. By Arturo
Pérez-Reverte. 2016. Atria, $27
Born in the Buenos Aires slums in the
early twentieth century, Max has reinvented himself as a thief and a bit of a
roué, employed on ocean liners as a tango
dancer. Then he meets Mecha, sees her
pearl necklace, and finds himself torn
between business and pleasure. Pérez-Reverte has written a hypnotic rhapsody of a
novel that drinks freely from many genres:
historical epic, Hitchcockian thriller, and
deliciously sexy love story.
BEST CRIME FICTION DEBUTS
The Dry. By Jane Harper. 2017. Flatiron,
Harper’s small-town, big-secrets page-turner tells the story of Aaron Falk, who
returns to his Australian hometown to
attend the funeral of a friend believed
to have shot his wife and son and then
killed himself. Falk begins to question the
details of the crime and, together with the
town’s police sergeant, undertakes an investigation that unearths secrets new and
old, some involving Falk’s father. A stunning debut reminiscent of Peter Corliss’
Cliff Hardy series.
The Girl Before. By Rena Olsen. 2016.
Putnam, $15 (9781101982358).
Clara Lawson is in her kitchen brush-
ing her daughter’s hair when armed men
dressed in black break in and take her
family. The last words Clara hears from
her beloved husband, Glenn, are, “Say
nothing.” A powerful psychological thriller
that explores the line between victim and
victimizer and shows how cruelty can be
counterbalanced by compassion and love.
IQ. By Joe Ide. 2016. Little, Brown/
Mulholland, $26 (9780316267724).
Isaiah Quintabe, known as IQ in his
East Long Beach neighborhood, is a
Sherlock-inspired, off-the-grid sleuth. Ide,
whose own background is similar to Isaiah’s (bright kid growing up in the ghetto
and loving Sherlock for his ability to triumph on intelligence alone), dexterously
juggles multiple styles and tones to create
a seamless, utterly entertaining blend of
coming-of-age saga, old-school detective
story, and comic caper novel.
Little Deaths. By Emma Flint. 2017.
Hachette, $26 (9780316272476).
This compelling crime-fiction debut
is clearly based on the Alice Crimmins
case, in which the New York woman was
convicted and served a prison sentence
for the 1965 deaths of her children. This
is absolutely absorbing literary crime fiction, perfect for fans of Megan Abbott
and Sarah Waters. Look forward to more
from the gifted Flint, who has revealed in
interviews that she has been a reader of
true crime since childhood.
Long Black Veil. By Jennifer
Finney Boylan. 2017. Crown, $25
Thirty years ago, six college friends
set out to explore an abandoned prison.
One of the group disappeared, and his
body has now been found. Boylan, the
author of acclaimed memoirs exploring
her transgender experience, doesn’t miss
a storytelling beat here, blending atmospheric elements of a Shirley Jackson–like
haunting, a secret-laden murder tale
featuring an ensemble cast, and an eye-opening glimpse into the complex choices
transgender people face.
My Husband’s Wife. By Jane Corry.
2017. Viking/Pamela Dorman, $26
Lies fester and multiply, undermining
intimate relationships in this psychological thriller. Lawyer Lilly Hall and artist Ed
McDonald are hiding plenty about their
pasts even before Ed’s painting of nine-year-old Carla brings him fame. When the
manipulative Carla, now a grown woman,
reenters their lives, very bad things happen.
Corry skillfully intertwines plotlines and
jumps back and forth in time, shrewdly
building suspense until the end.
Shadow Man. By Alan Drew. 2017.
Random, $27 (9781400067800).
Drew’s psychological thriller beats to
multiple hearts of darkness as a former
cop and a forensic specialist, both with
their own demons, struggle to find a serial
killer who has brought terror to a Southern
California town in the 1980s. Drew treats
young victims and troubled investigators
with the same sensitivity while offering a
powerful eulogy to a California landscape
under assault from rampant development.
She Rides Shotgun. By Jordan Harper.
2017. Ecco, $26.99 (9780062394408).
After short-timer Nate McClusky kills
a member of the Aryan Steel prison gang,
he is released from jail to find the gang
has put a death warrant on his head.
Taking to the road with his 11-year-old
daughter, Nate sets out to hit the gang
where it hurts. Reading like mid-period
James Ellroy, this is both a dark, original
take on the chase novel and a strangely
touching portrait of a father-daughter
relationship framed in barbed wire.
Three Years with the Rat. By Jay
Hosking. 2017. St. Martin’s/Thomas
Dunne, $25.99 (9781250116307).
Neuroscientist Hosking turns in a
startlingly fine performance with his first
novel, about a man so determined to find
his missing sister that he risks his own
reality to solve the
mystery of her disappearance. It’s quickly
apparent that this is
one of those mind-bending thrillers in
which time and space
are fluid concepts, but
Hosking draws us in
completely to his laby-
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.
By Joanna Cannon. 2016. Scribner, $26
During the hot English summer of
1976, Margaret Creasy goes missing, and
10-year-old Gracie Bennett and her best
friend, Tilly, set out to find her. In a masterfully constructed plot, Gracie—who
sniffs out the lies told by her adult neighbors—learns a lesson about loyalty and
true friendship, as secrets born of shame
are gradually revealed. An understated,
quirky debut distinguished by its pitch-perfect prose and intriguing structure.