Top 10 Must Reads of November 2013 (Mystery & Suspense)

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in the mystery/suspense (and possibly literary fiction) category for November (click on the covers to pre-order)! These are in no particular order. 


thegoodboyThe Good Boy by Theresa Schwegel (Minotaur-Nov. 5th)

Synopsis-Edgar award winner Theresa Schwegel returns with The Good Boy, her most dramatic and emotional novel to date, a family epic that combines the hard-boiled grit of her acclaimed police thrillers with an intimate portrait of a young boy trying to follow his heart in an often heartless city.

For Officer Pete Murphy, K9 duty is as much a punishment as a promotion. When a shaky arrest reignites a recent scandal and triggers a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, all eyes are on Pete as the department braces for another media firestorm.

Meanwhile, Pete’s eleven-year-old son Joel feels invisible. His parents hardly notice him—unless they’re arguing about his “behavioral problems”—and his older sister, McKenna, has lately disappeared into the strange and frightening world of teenagerdom. About the only friend Joel has left is Butchie, his father’s furry “partner.”

When Joel and Butchie follow McKenna to a neighborhood bully’s party, illegal activity kicks the dog’s police training into overdrive, and soon the duo are on the run, navigating the streets of Chicago as they try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys—bad guys who may have a very personal interest in getting some payback on Officer Pete Murphy.



thenaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Hyperion-Nov. 5th)

Synopsis-Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But, it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides-especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.


redskyinmorningRed Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch (Little, Brown-Nov. 5th)
Synopsis-It’s 1832 and Coll Coyle has killed the wrong man. The dead man’s father is an expert tracker and ruthless killer with a single-minded focus on vengeance. The hunt leads from the windswept bogs of County Donegal, across the Atlantic to the choleric work camps of the Pennsylvania railroad, where both men will find their fates in the hardship and rough country of the fledgling United States.

Language and landscape combine powerfully in this tense exploration of life and death, parts of which are based on historical events. With lyrical prose balancing the stark realities of the hunter and the hunted, RED SKY IN MORNING is a visceral and meditative novel that marks the debut of a stunning new talent.


palaceofspiesPalace of Spies by Sarah Zettel (Houghton Mifflin-Nov. 5th)
Synopsis-A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don’t.

Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she’s impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . .

History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.


fracturesFractures by Lamar Herrin (Thomas Dunne-Nov. 12th)
Synopsis-The Joyner family sits atop prime Marcellus Shale. When landmen for the natural gas companies begin to lease property all around the family’s hundred acres, the Joyners start to take notice. Undecided on whether or not to lease the family land, Frank Joyner must weigh his heirs’ competing motivations. All of this culminates as a looming history of family tragedy resurfaces.

A sprawling family novel, Fractures follows each Joyner as the controversial hydrofracking issue slowly exacerbates underlying passions and demons. With echoes of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, Fractures takes its reader deep into the beating heart and hearth of a family divided


Hostage Three by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury-Nov. 12th)
hostagethreeSynopsis-The last thing Amy planned to do this summer was sail around the world trapped on a yacht with her father and her stepmother. Really, all she wanted was to fast-forward to October when she’ll turn eighteen and take control of her own life.

Aboard the Daisy May, Amy spends time sunbathing, dolphin watching and forgetting the past as everything floats by . . . until one day in the Gulf of Aden another boat appears. A boat with guns and pirates – the kind that kill.

Immediately, the pirates seize the boat and its human cargo. Hostage One is Amy’s father – the most valuable. Hostage Two: her stepmother. And Hostage Three is Amy, who can’t believe what’s happening. As the ransom brokering plays out, Amy finds herself becoming less afraid, and even stranger still, drawn to one of her captors, a teenage boy who wants desperately to be more than who he has become. Suddenly it becomes brutally clear that the price of life and its value are two very different things . . .


deathoftheblackhairedgirlDeath of the Black-Haired Girl by Robert Stone (Houghton Mifflin-Nov. 12th)
Synopsis-In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.

As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the characters—always complicated, always compelling—wish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect them.

Death of the Black-Haired Girl is a powerful tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight.

 


dustDust by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin-Nov. 12th)
Synopsis-After working one of the worst mass killings in U.S. history, Scarpetta returns home to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Exhausted and ill, she’s recovering at home when she receives an unsettling call.

The body of a young woman has been discovered on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s rugby field. The victim, a graduate student named Gail Shipton, is oddly draped in unusual cloth and posed in a way that is too deliberate to be the killer’s first strike. A preliminary examination in the sea of red mud where the body has been left also reveals a bizarre residue that fluoresces blood red, emerald green and sapphire blue.

Physical evidence links the case to a series of uniquely weird homicides in Washington, D.C., where Scarpetta’s FBI husband has been deployed to help capture a serial killer dubbed the Capital Murderer.

The cases all connect and yet seem to conflict. Gail Shipton was murdered for financial gain—or was she? It will require the usual ensemble of characters to find out the truth, including Scarpetta’s sidekick Pete Marino, who has undergone a drastic change in his life that places him center stage in a Cambridge investigation that puts everyone at risk.


thelostgirlsofromeThe Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi (Mulholland-Nov. 19th)
Synopsis-A grieving young widow, seeking answers to her husband’s death, becomes entangled in an investigation steeped in the darkest mysteries of Rome.

Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sanda is convinced it was anything but.

Launching her own inquiries, Sanda finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband’s murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows.


whitefireWhite Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing-Nov. 12th)
Synopsis-Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who–with brutal precision–begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear. Her finding is so astonishing that it, even more than the arsonist, threatens the resort’s very existence.

Drawn deeper into the investigation, Pendergast uncovers a mysterious connection between the dead miners and a fabled, long-lost Sherlock Holmes story–one that might just offer the key to the modern day killings as well.

Now, with the ski resort snowed in and under savage attack–and Corrie’s life suddenly in grave danger–Pendergast must solve the enigma of the past before the town of the present goes up in flames.

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