Posts tagged with mystery

Jul 20 2023

If only it starred anyone else...


And despite my intense dislike of Kenneth Branagh, I have to admit that at least the trailer for his upcoming adaptation of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel Hallowe'en Party looks pretty solid. (They're calling it A Haunting in Venice.) As ever...

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Jul 8 2019

The Lovely and the Lost, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


In the note at the end of her most recent book, The Lovely and the Lost, author Jennifer Lynn Barnes acknowledges the debt this story owes to two of her earlier series: The Naturals and Raised by Wolves. Of course, lots of writers recycle their own work, although I was a little taken aback...

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Apr 8 2019

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, by Dorothy Gilman


While browsing through a stack of battered paperbacks at a used book sale, I was delighted to run across a very old copy of Dorothy Gilman's The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. I had read it—and loved it—as a kid, but I had concerns about how well it would hold up, and felt that a $1 copy in readable condition was the perfect way for me to revisit the story...

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Dec 17 2018

Little White Lies, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Jennifer Lynn Barnes's books must have great elevator pitches: cheerleader spies! Magic-granting tattoos! Teenage FBI agents! Unfortunately, her latest effort, Little White Lies, doesn't fully lean in to the wildness of its Gilmore Girls-meets-Peyton Place premise. Barnes is a solid writer, but her books are never as cheesy as they sound, and this was a story that could have used significantly more cheese...

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Aug 20 2018

Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart


I usually avoid novels about historical figures, because I'm constantly wondering how much of the story is real and how much is invented. But as far as I can discover, there is very little known about Constance Kopp, the heroine of Amy Stewart's novel Girl Waits With Gun, so the author was able to let her imagination run wild—something she does with wit, style, and charm...

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Apr 2 2018

Weekly Book Giveaway: Rivers of London: Body Work, by Ben Aaronovitch


This week's Book Giveaway is Body Work, the first graphic novel spin-off from Ben Aaronovitch's highly entertaining (if occasionally problematic) Rivers of London series. Body Work is co-written by Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel, and illustrated by Lee Sullivan. A full review will be posted soon...

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Jan 2 2018

Farewell, Ms. Grafton


I was very sorry to hear of the death of mystery/suspense writer Sue Grafton, who died last week at age 77 after a two-year-long battle with cancer. According to her family, Ms. Grafton did not wish for her books to be made into movie or TV adaptations, and would absolutely not approve of a ghostwriter...

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Nov 13 2017

A Spoonful of Magic, by Irene Radford


I frequently evaluate books like recipes, and it feels particularly appropriate in the case of Irene Radford's new novel A Spoonful of Magic, as it's a story filled to the brim with cooking. Unfortunately, while this particular literary recipe has some interesting ingredients, the finished product is a big ol' mess...

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Oct 30 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero


This week's Book Giveaway is Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids, which has a great cover and an even greater hook: it's being sold as a subverted, grown-up version of works like Scooby-Do, The Hardy Boys, and Enid Blyton's "Famous Five" series. I have no idea how well that combination will actually work, but it sounds like my idea of note-perfect Halloween reading. A full review will follow shortly...

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Oct 11 2017

A little cheesy, but...


I checked out the first episode of Deadly Manners, a new 10-episode podcast that features a big-name cast (including LEVAR BURTON!!!) doing a radio-drama take on a vintage-style mystery. The concept is great, although I'm not 100% sold on their execution—there's too much variation in the quality of the voice acting, and...

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Sep 5 2017

Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch


I originally bought Ben Aaronovitch's book Midnight Riot because I had heard it compared to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim books. Midnight Riot doesn't actually have much in in common with those series, however. It reminded me far more of Kat Richardson's Greywalker books, although Aaronovitch deserves props for creating a protagonist with an actual personality...

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Sep 5 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch


This week's Book Giveaway is Midnight Riot, the first book in Ben Aaronovitch's PC Peter Grant series. While you're (no doubt breathlessly) awaiting our review, I recommend reading this post about the controversy surrounding the original US cover art, which has since been replaced with the artwork featured here. Nice call, publishers...

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Jun 29 2017

"Tartan noir"


Pajiba recently posted an essay by Kayleigh Donaldson called "There’s Been a Murder: Reading Scottish Crime Novels as an Actual Scottish Person". I suspect there's some emotional crossover between Scottish crime novels and other stories set in countries with notoriously terrible weather, but...

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May 18 2017

The creepiest


The trailer is out for Cary Fukunaga's miniseries adaptation of Caleb Carr’s bestselling 1994 novel The Alienist, starring Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans and Dakota Fanning. It looks like what Crimson Peak and Penny Dreadful tried (and failed, despite using fantasy elements as a crutch) to be...

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Apr 25 2017



Everyone pokes fun at Lifetime dramas, but this upcoming 8-episode miniseries adaptation of Petra Hammesfahr's novel The Sinner actually sounds like a story People magazine would love...

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Nov 7 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: Bad Blood, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


I am in no mood for anything other than 100% undiluted entertainment, so this week's Book Giveaway is the latest book in Jennifer Lynn Barnes's Naturals series, Bad Blood. I'm not sure that even Ms. Barnes's book will be entertaining enough to distract me from my overwhelming election anxiety, but I figure it's got a better shot than most...

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Oct 31 2016

The Secret-Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart


Trenton Lee Stewart's The Secret-Keepers features loads of classic children's literature tropes: secret places, magical devices, traps, puzzles. I appreciate what Stewart was going for, but I'm way past the age of his target audience, and this is even more of a kid-specific effort than his previous series...

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Oct 31 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart


This week's Book Giveaway is The Secret Keepers, the latest book by The Mysterious Benedict Society author Trenton Lee Stewart. A full review will follow shortly, but first I must inform you that this cover art is even cooler in person...

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Sep 19 2016

Betrayals, by Kelley Armstrong


Betrayals is the fourth book in Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville series. It is also her publishers' third attempt at finding the right cover art style for these books. (The first two installments were American Gothic; the third was modern and geometric.) I really like both the look and the contents of Betrayals, so I'm hoping the ever-changing cover design...

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Aug 8 2016

The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard


Aliette de Bodard's novel The House of Shattered Wings looks like a standard fantasy novel, but has more in common with The Godfather than your typical sword-and-sorcery adventure. In an alternative universe/post-apocalyptic version of 20th century Paris, fallen angels periodically drop from the sky, stricken with amnesia but chock-full of magic. Those who survive Paris's magic-hunting street gangs usually join one of the Great Houses, mafia-like organizations...

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Jun 27 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: Stiletto, by Daniel O'Malley


This week's Book Giveaway is Daniel O'Malley's Stiletto, the sequel to his 2012 novel The Rook, which we reviewed here. Admittedly, I have about a dozen books that I seriously need to finish, but I actually want to read Stiletto, so it's jumping the queue. Our review will follow shortly...

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May 5 2016

Gothic romance dialed up to 11


The trailer is out for director Park Chan-wook's film Agasshi (The Handmaiden), and it looks incredible—dramatic, artistic, and creepy as hell. It's a loose adaptation of Sarah Waters's 2002 novel Fingersmith, and will debut at the Cannes Film Festival next week. Park, who is best known for his 2003 movie Oldboy, has...

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Apr 25 2016

Night Shift, by Charlaine Harris


Night Shift, the third book in Charlaine Harris's highly entertaining Midnight, Texas series, has the same strengths and weaknesses as its predecessors. With each installment, I grow more invested in the personal lives of Harris's characters... and with each installment, I grow more pained by her idea of what serves as romantic chemistry...

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Apr 25 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: Night Shift, by Charlaine Harris


This week's Book Giveaway is Charlaine Harris's Night Shift, the third book in her excellent Midnight, Texas series. (Our reviews of the first two are available here and here.) While I would never call Harris "the Mark Twain of things that live under your bed"...

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Jan 21 2016

Cheese in the Trap, by Soonkki


Today we're going to review something a little different: an ongoing Korean webtoon by Soonkki called Cheese in the Trap. Normally I would wait to cover this kind of thing until it was finished and fully translated, but A) I'm not that patient, and B) this story is so interesting, you guys—it's totally worth the inconvenience of reading it online...

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Nov 16 2015

These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnelly


Jennifer Donnelly's These Shallow Graves is the kind of book you want to take on a plane: long, engrossing, and simultaneously fun yet intellectually challenging enough to distract you from the super irritating guy hogging the armrest...

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Sep 28 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Devoted in Death, by J.D. Robb


This week's Book Giveaway is Devoted in Death, the most recent installment in J.D. Robb's looooong-running Eve Dallas series. A full review will follow later today, but thus far it's 40% entertaining, 60% torture porn. Not my favorite ratio...

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Jun 22 2015

And Then Everything Unraveled, by Jennifer Sturman


I feel like I've been complaining about this a lot recently, but seriously, authors: if your book is a series installment, you need to make that clear from the start. I really liked Jennifer Sturman's debut YA novel And Then Everything Unraveled, but I was not best pleased to discover that it was only half of a story...

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Jun 15 2015

Flirting in Italian, by Lauren Henderson


Lauren Henderson's 2012 novel Flirting in Italian is jam-packed with things I enjoy: girl bonding, travel, mystery, romance, and telenovela-worthy birth secrets. It's close to the perfect summer beach read—apart from one jarring flaw...

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Jun 1 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, by Natalie Standiford


This week's Book Giveaway is Natalie Standiford's 2010 novel Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters. I've always been put off by the generic cover art and the characters' names ("Sassy" is a name for an elderly Shih Tzu, not a human female), but I'm told the story is actually really good. A full review will follow shortly...

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