April is finally here, and it even feels a little bit like spring today! And with the new month comes another pair of popular upcoming books. This time, John Sandford has a new book coming out (and it’s the beginning of a new series!). On the non-fiction side, it looks like de-cluttering hasn’t gotten any less popular. And since both of these books have waitlists, I’ve put a few read-alikes together as well!
By age twenty-four, Letty Davenport has seen more action and uncovered more secrets than many law enforcement professionals. Now a recent Stanford grad with a master’s in economics, she’s restless and bored in a desk job for U.S. Senator Colles. Letty’s ready to quit, but her skills have impressed Colles, and he offers her a carrot: feet-on-the-ground investigative work, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.
Letty is partnered with a DHS investigator, John Kaiser, and they head to Texas. When the case quickly turns deadly, they know they’re on the track of something bigger. Lorelai and her group have set in motion an explosive plan . . . and the clock is ticking down.
What are librarians reading in March? This month’s picks include the story of a delivery boy thrown into an inter-dimensional Jurassic Park, a twisted horror tale set deep in the Mojave Desert, and a thriller about a family forced into Witness Protection.
Meddy Chan is getting married, and the wedding planners are perfect–until Meddy overhears the wedding photographer talking about murdering someone at the reception. Her aunties spring into action, setting into motion a series of madcap misadventures intended to save Meddy’s special day. A charming combo of close-knit family, humor, and light mystery. — LibraryReads review by Nanette Donohue, Champaign Public Library
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up—to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? —he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
Every month, librarians from across the country pick the 10 upcoming releases they’re most excited to read. This month’s picks include a thriller set in Paris, a story about “the other woman” in Agatha Christie’s marriage, two queer romances, and a mystery revolving around the theft of a Stradivarius violin.
Foley hits it out of the ballpark with this solid thriller set in a Paris apartment building. Jess goes looking for her brother, but finds only the smell of bleach and a broken St. Christopher medal lodged in the floorboards. Written in short chapters with multiple points of view and delicious secrets dropped along the way, this gripping, wild ride is impossible to put down. If you like Liane Moriarty or Ruth Ware, pick this one up. —LibraryReads review by Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library
Two of the most popular upcoming books are the novel The Maid by Nita Prose and the memoir Enough Already by Valerie Bertinelli. You can check them out below – but while you’re waiting (because they do both have waitlists), also check out a couple of similar books that you might enjoy!
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect.
A socially awkward hotel maid finds herself at the center of a murder investigation when she discovers a wealthy hotel guest dead in his bed one day.
Molly loves her job, loved her recently deceased grandmother, and cherishes the way the rules of her work let her blend in with others. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection. But Molly’s orderly life is turned on its head the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s odd demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect and she finds herself in a web of subtext and nuance she has no idea how to untangle.
What to read while you wait: – The Lazarus Hotel: another locked room mystery set in an upscale hotel – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: about an isolated young woman and the friendships she develops after she and a coworker help save an elderly man who collapses – Pretty as a Picture: a locked room mystery with a protagonist who also just wants to do her job
What’s your favorite coping method? Lately I’ve got two. First, I’ve been daydreaming and scheming over the past 14 months about having a mini road trip adventure. Soon I will leave my dark hovel and re-enter the bright, shining world, and when that time arrives I know which books are coming with. Which leads me to coping mechanism #2; keeping an eternal, endless reading list that will never get shorter, only longer. Always longer. Check out my list below for some summer reading inspiration of your own. What’s that? It’s not officially summer til June 20th? Why don’t you tell someone who hasn’t been living in their head for the better part of a year and a half, because I will never listen.
Below, I list my top three genres and the books I’ve been saving to read on the road, along with their runners-up.
Some will know T. Kingfisher as Ursula Vernon, author of the very popular juvenile graphic novel series, Dragonbreath. She felt the need to create a pen name to distinguish the adult titles from the juvenile titles, and after enjoying work published under both names, I can see why. Kingfisher spins dark fairytale-adjacent stories filled with sinister characters, terrifying big boss-style monsters, and genre-defying badass women. Check out some of her short fiction HERE. I’ll look for a spooky roadside motel near the woods to read this one at night.
Here are some additional titles to make your skin crawl:
Summertime is murder mystery time, specifically Agatha Christie time. There’s just something about the warmth and the light that makes me want to read her work. One would think that after being a Christie stan for more than two decades I would have already gotten to this gold-star standard, but no. Along with Death on the Nile, The ABC Murders, and A Caribbean Murder, And Then There Were None is considered among her greatest novels. I have seen minimum one movie adaptation but have since forgotten whodunnit, but should know the solution to the mystery by the end of my vacation, if all goes according to plan. Ideally, picnicking somewhere gorgeous.
And Then There Were None is also a fascinating example of how beloved media can, and should change over time. The original title of this book featured the worst racial epithet I can think of and was also known at one time as “Ten Little Indians”. To read more about the racism subsequent publishers have done their best to purge from Christie’s work, take a look at THIS article. It’s an apt topic to explore and discuss while everyone is so het up about “cancel culture”. Some things should be relegated to the past, and unnecessary and negative portrayals of racial stereotypes is one of those things.
This book checks a lot of boxes for me; outer space, giant space station, giant space station disaster, artificial intelligence, neurodivergent protagonist, woman author. The past decade has been a cavalcade of excellent women and femme-penned speculative fiction and scifi, all to the credit of the genre. Reading about far off galaxies and hitherto unknown beings gives me a sense of calm and peace that I can’t articulate. I’m going to read this at an outdoor patio while I wait to be brought something delicious to eat and drink.
Will I actually end up reading the books I have picked out? No way to tell. Chances are that I will find many distracting and cruddy paperbacks in secondhand stores while I gallivant far and wide. All listed titles are available through the Monarch catalog unless otherwise specified. Don’t see any titles that float your boat? Why not give the Your Next Five Books tool a try? Never hesitate to reach out for tech help, book recommendations, or encouraging words. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 920-459-3400, option 4. Oh, and have a fantastic vacation.
Way back when this blog was starting out, I did one of my very first posts on International Mysteries. I love mystery novels, and I especially enjoy ones set in other countries. This time around, I’m going to share some mystery TV shows set in other countries (and not only the United Kingdom because there are a million of those!). International travel might be off the table right now, so here’s the alternative – you get to see another country, and there’s a zero-percent chance of getting murdered!
There are five seasons of this show (which ended in 2017). They are set in (and were made in) Australia, but they are also historical – specifically, the late 1950s. Dr. Blake is a medical doctor who also works as the medical examiner when needed, which leads to him getting involved in investigating murders. The supporting characters are also good – especially the foil his character has in his housekeeper, Jean.
While there is never a bad time to dig into a mystery, summertime is when I want to break out some Agatha Christie while basking in the sun to enjoy the off-screen demise of a country squire or unsuspecting rich auntie. This summer, escapism is more important than ever, so listed below is a brief breakdown of how to access some excellent murder mystery media at Mead. While I have highlighted some personal favorites, these searches can be adjusted to any particular genre of your liking.
What’s the best thing about Hoopla besides access to thousands of books, movies, and music CDs? NO WAIT TIME! Another thing I like about Hoopla is the intuitive search features. Click on “Browse” to the left of the search bar and select “Television”. The next screen will list all the subject categories so naturally, I chose “Mystery” which is listed as a “Top Category”. The top result was Death in Paradise Season One (2011) which is a great top result because the show is fabulous. Who wouldn’t love a fish-out-of-water cozy in a lush, tropical setting? Make yourself a pina colada to drink while you watch for verisimilitude. What if I’ve already seen this show and want to see more like it? Click on the thumbnail and from the next screen click on “BBC Studios”. This will take you to a new list of results; all media produced by BBC Studios. There’s also a way to search by publisher, which can be found under “Advanced Search” at the top of the page. Try searching “Acorn” in that field to get an astonishing list of BBC mystery series. There’s tons of Agatha Christie-inspired media like Marple and Poirot as well as more modern, gritty series like Wire in the Blood and Vera. Everyone should take some time to explore the wide range of television content Hoopla has on offer. You might be surprised because it is A LOT.
Not looking for a TV show or movie? Select “Audiobooks” from the “Browse” menu. From the next page it’s fun to see what everyone else has been reading, so under “SORT BY” select “Popularity” and feast your eyes. Lucy Foley’s excellent The Hunting Party (2018) appears near the top of this list, with good reason. Fans of locked-room, or snowed-in mysteries will get a kick out of the unreliable narrators and the sense that you are overhearing something not meant for your ears.
I also like to use the “User Ratings” setting of the “SORT BY” drop-down menu. Not everyone rates their checkouts on Hoopla so the results don’t line up with “Popularity”. Apparently, users really like The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Anthony Boucher. Will someone please read one of these to tell me if they’re any good?
Folks, I do not enjoy camping because in my mind, that is how one gets murdered by some unkillable psychopath who thirsts for the blood of co-ed campers. Confusingly, I cannot stop listening to true crime audiobooks that describe the psychology and pathology of the worst sorts of criminals. Hop on over to RBDigital to download some of the finest true crime you’ll ever encounter. First, there’s Robert Hare’s Without Conscience (1993). Hare is the man credited with creating the Psychopath Checklist and therefore a giant in his field. He’s also interviewed in Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test (2011) which is available on Hoopla. Now that some context has been laid, read Whoever Fights Monsters (1992) by Robert K. Ressler. This fella, right here, is credited with coining the term “serial killer” in the late 1970s. He also acted as a consultant to Thomas Harris while he wrote The Silence of the Lambs. More recently, he was fictionalized as Agent Bill Tench on the popular Netflix series Mindhunter. Quite the career!
Too much murderer talk? Check out Death’s Acre (2004) by William M. Bass. This man is responsible for the creation of the so-called Body Farm located at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Bass’ contributions to the field of forensic science are pretty staggering. His research facility allowed scientists to study the decomposition of human bodies in open air, buried in barrels, submerged in water, and on and on. This research has been extrapolated to aid in murder investigations around the world. Death’s Acre focuses on the science behind crime scenes as opposed to the psychology of the criminal which I thought made the content less graphic. Plus, Bass seems like a big old sweety and I enjoyed his tone.
Once again, if murder mysteries or true crime are not your favorite things, rest easy in the knowledge that all three of our digital book platforms have thousands upon thousands of titles to choose from. If that is a daunting task, I will let you in on a little secret: librarians LOVE the chance to provide old-school library services such as reader’s advisory in this ever-modernizing library landscape. Please do not hesitate to reach out for book picks, or for help using our array of super awesome digital services.
The summer run of books are frequently called “beach reads,” but hammocks are really where it’s at. You don’t have to leave your backyard to enjoy a hammock; it’s typically shaded; and you never get sand in weird places. From real life secrets to a snarky send up of #girlboss wellness culture to a rom-com in a book, here are 6 titles perfect for reading while stretched out in a hammock with a cold drink in reach on a lazy summer day.