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Staff Reviews: mystery

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'Never Die Alone'

"Never Die Alone" by Lisa Jackson

★★★★ Twins turning 21 years old have been disappearing, only to be found brutally murdered in a seemingly ritualistic manner. Brianna, cousin of the man put in jail for the crimes, believes her cousin is innocent. When two twins she knows closely go missing the night before they turn 21, she is frantic to find them and prove her cousin's innocence, with or...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Lies That Bind'

"Lies That Bind" by Maggie Barbieri

★★★★ In this fast-paced mystery, Maeve Conlon is not the typical suburban mom. Owner of a bakery and mother of two daughters, Maeve loses her beloved father suddenly from a heart attack. At the funeral, Maeve's already tumultuous life is thrown into chaos when a relative tells her she has a sister that her father kept hidden from her. Spurred by her desire to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: '14th Deadly Sin'

"14th Deadly Sin" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro

★★★★ The latest book in the popular Women's Murder Club series finds LAPD Detective Lindsay Boxer trying to solve a series of crimes that hits a little too close to home. Robberies and murders are being committed by a group of men who wear masks and LAPD uniforms. As panic among the public sets in, Lindsay is left to determine whether these criminals are really...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Tale of Halcyon Crane'

"The Tale of Halcyon Crane" by Wendy Webb

★★★★ I happily stumbled upon this atmospheric novel and immediately couldn't put it down. We meet Hallie, a woman who receives a very mysterious and unbelievable letter from a woman who claims to be her long-lost mother. When Hallie confronts her beloved father, days before he dies, she learns the letter is no lie. What she grew up believing is, and she travels...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Magician's Lie'

"The Magician's Lie" by Greer Macallister

★★★★★ When I saw the comment that this book was compared to a cross between "Water For Elephants" and "The Night Circus", I knew that I had to read it. It did not disappoint! The Amazing Arden is a rarity, a female illusionist whose signature illusion has become the act of sawing a man in half. On one fated night in Waterloo, Iowa, Arden suddenly changes her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Absolutely Truly'

"Absolutely Truly" by Heather Vogel Frederick

★★★★ Who wants to move from sunny Austin, Texas to the small, boring town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire where winter lasts at least 6 months of the year and there’s no mall or movie theater? Middle school student Truly Lovejoy has no choice when her family decides to move to her father’s hometown after “Black Monday,” or the day her father lost his arm in a...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'By Book or By Crook'

"By Book or By Crook" by Eva Gates

★★★★★ I stumbled upon this brand new cozy mystery series by happy accident, and am thankful I did! Set along the beautiful Outer Banks, Lucy has just escaped from her chaotic Boston life to start a job in the quaint local lighthouse library. Set to host first editions of Jane Austen's work, the library hosts a party commemorating the temporary additions. But when...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Hush Hush'

"Hush Hush" by Laura Lippman

★★★★★ Rejoice, Laura Lippman fans! Tess is back! Tess, now the mother of a three-year-old, has a retired “murder police” as her new partner and a complicated childcare schedule, but she’s still Tess. She’s not one to pull metaphorical punches (at least not without deliberate effort), her curiosity is difficult to suppress, and her food choices are occasionally...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Who Done It? An Investigation of Murder Most Foul'

"Who Done It? An Investigation of Murder Most Foul" by Jon Scieszka

★★★★★ Herman Q. Mildew, an editor renowned for his lack of social skills (which is putting it very nicely!), a penchant for crushing dreams, poor hygiene, and love of stinky cheese is dead, and the police have requested alibis from the many writers and illustrators of young adult and children’s fiction that have reasons to wish him dead. These alibis range from a...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery, ya fiction with adult appeal

Cover: 'Mr. Kiss and Tell'

"Mr. Kiss and Tell" by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham

★★★★ Veronica Mars has settled into her new life back in Neptune as a P.I. at Mars Investigations. The Neptune Grand hires Veronica to investigate the allegations of a young woman who claims that she was assaulted at the swanky hotel by an employee before being smuggled out of the hotel, abandoned on the side of the road, and left for dead. The case is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'At the Drop of a Hat'

"At the Drop of a Hat" by Jenn McKinlay

★★★★★ This was probably my favorite book in the Hat Shop mystery series, the third book in a fantastic series set in London. It follows Scarlett and Viv, two loveable characters that run a hat shop they inherited from their grandmother. Their newest customer, Ariana Jackson, comes in hoping to get her mother's wedding hat restored by Scarlett and Viv, since it...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Girl on the Train'

"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

★★★★★ If you are looking for a book like "Gone Girl", this debut psychological thriller is the book for you! Rachel takes the same commuter train every day, passing by the same houses and imaging the lives of the people inside. One day Rachel notices something is wrong in one of the houses and reports the incident to the police. She cannot get what she saw out of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Dear Daughter'

"Dear Daughter" by Elizabeth Little

★★★★★ Teenage Janie Jenkins is a LA celebutante - famous for nothing but her looks, her money, and her connections. Her life is perfect...until she is arrested for her mother's murder and sentenced to prison. Ten year later, Janie is released due to a technicality, but the entire world, including Janie herself, still thinks she is guilty. In this action packed...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Cloche and Dagger'

"Cloche and Dagger" by Jenn McKinlay

★★★★★ This is an excellent new series that takes place in London. We meet Scarlett, a woman who becomes an overnight Internet sensation when she very publicly runs into her boyfriend celebrating his anniversary with his (surprise!) wife. Fleeing to London to join her cousin and claiming her half in a hat shop store she inherited, Scarlett finds even more...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Close to Home'

"Close to Home" by Lisa Jackson

★★★★★ This novel is about Sarah, a single mother of two girls starting over by moving back to her family's old, run down, estate in a small town alongside the Columbia River. Planning to remodel and bring the house she grew up in back to its old glory, Sarah is unprepared for all the memories and unanswered questions surrounding her family that the remodeling...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Invisible Murder'

"Invisible Murder" by Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis

★★★★★ 5 stars for this Danish novel! When it comes to murder-mysteries I rank them according to how far into the book I read before I figure out who did it, and the freshness of the developing plot. This one kept me in the dark until the very end without losing me along the way. The Scandinavian mysteries are really a wonderful challenge for the reader because...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'A Midwinter's Tail'

"A Midwinter's Tail" by Sofie Kelly

★★★★★ In this cozy new mystery in one of my favorite series, Kathleen, the head librarian of a small Minnesota town, is gearing up for a fundraising event and the holiday season. What starts out as a great fundraising event turns into two people sent to the emergency room and one dead body. As Kathleen tries to leave the detective work to her detective boyfriend...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, holiday

Cover: 'After I'm Gone'

"After I'm Gone" by Laura Lippman

★★★★★ On July 4, 1976, Felix Brewster flees the U.S. and an impending prison sentence, leaving his wife (Bambi), three daughters, and a mistress (Julie) behind. Julie, who had made a life for herself with the coffee shop left in her name, disappears on the 10th anniversary of Felix’s flight, leading to speculation that she left to join her lover. The speculation...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well'

"Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well" by Nancy Atherton

★★★★ If you're looking for a cozy mystery set in the English countryside with a cast of likeable characters and an ending that will make you smile, this is your next read! In the 19th Aunt Dimity mystery, Lori Shepard and the tight-knit village of Finch are burying one of the townsfolk when they meet Jack MacBride, the surprise nephew of the gentleman who passed...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Secret Place'

"The Secret Place" by Tana French

★★★★★ Tana French is my favorite mystery author, so I highly recommend the fifth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series! St. Kilda's, a boarding school for girls outside of Dublin, has a bulletin board called "The Secret Place" where the girls can express their deepest secrets anonymously. It is usually a place for gossip and rumors, but one day a photo shows up...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Good Girl'

"The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica

★★★★ If you were a fan of the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl", this is the perfect book for you! Colin Thatcher is paid to abduct Mia Dennett, the free spirited daughter of a prominent Chicago judge, and hand her over to his employers. However, once Mia is in his custody, he has a change of heart and decides to hide Mia in a secluded Minnesota...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Orfeo'

"Orfeo" by Richard Powers

★★ Composer Peter Els has become a fugitive from Homeland Security. A philosophical, retired composer, Peter has been conducting chemistry experiments in his garage to find the true essence of music in the elements of earth. Chemistry was his second love, his first being a dreamy music student by the name of Clara, who urged Peter to pursue his talent for...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Tailing a Tabby'

"Tailing a Tabby" by Laurie Cass

★★★★★ In the second installment of the Bookmobile Cat series, we again meet librarian Minnie Hamilton and her lovable cat Eddie. On one of their bookmobile runs across the Michigan countryside, they are flagged down by a woman whose husband is having a stroke. When the man is accused of murder days later, Minnie can't help but delve into investigation mode with...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Lending a Paw'

"Lending a Paw" by Laurie Cass

★★★★★ Based in the beautiful town of Chilson, Michigan, Minnie Hamilton is the assistant director of the local library who just made possible the start of bookmobile service. In this first novel of a cozy new series, Minnie is adopted by a stray tabby cat who sneaks into the bookmobile with her, and from there the adventure begins. On the very first bookmobile...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Forget Me'

"Forget Me" by K. A. Harrington

★★★★★ Morgan's boyfriend, Flynn, died in a hit-and-run accident three months ago. To finally get some closure, Morgan's best friend Toni suggests she upload one last photo of him online. When Morgan posts the photo, the face-recognition software asks if she wants to tag a boy in the town over named Evan Murphy. Morgan is in shock: Evan and Flynn are dead ringers...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery

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