I recently read (and loved!) my first-ever Christopher Brookmyre book, BLACK WIDOW - and thanks to Chris’ US publisher, Grove Atlantic, I’m thrilled to offer you the chance to check out his work for yourself! I’m giving away a Christopher Brookmyre Book Bundle today - one lucky US-based winner will receive Brookmyre’s three most recent crime novels: DEAD GIRL WALKING, BLACK WIDOW, and THE LAST HACK. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter - it’s easy!
What I Loved About BLACK WIDOW by Christopher Brookmyre
I had the chance to meet and interview Brookmyre for a "Meet the Author" style interview at the Bloody Scotland crime conference this fall, and walked away convinced that I needed to read his books. I'm so glad that I did - Brookmyre's writing is sophisticated, gritty, and totally engaging. You can read my full review of BLACK WIDOW here, but in case you need extra convincing that Brookmyre belongs on your TBR, here’s a brief snippet from my review!
Though it's about a year old now, BLACK WIDOW was a breath of fresh air to this reader: this is a psychological thriller that delves into the secrets of a marriage with the intelligence, masterful plotting, and psychological astuteness that define truly great crime fiction. On the surface, BLACK WIDOW is a standard domestic thriller: a story about a marriage gone horribly, horribly wrong, and an unveiling of the deadly secrets that existed between husband and wife. But there is so much more to this crime novel. BLACK WIDOW is a maze of deceit—it demands that the reader pay close attention as Brookmyre unravels the twisted web at its core. BLACK WIDOW is also a commentary on sexism in the workplace—a topic that is all too timely as I write this review, and one which Brookmyre navigates through his compelling main character, surgeon Diana Jager. BLACK WIDOW is complicated, complex, and impactful - in short, it's a standout.
Enter the Giveaway
One lucky winner will receive a Christopher Brookmyre Book Bundle: one hardcover copy of DEAD GIRL WALKING, BLACK WIDOW, and THE LAST HACK. Books are provided by Grove Atlantic.
- US Entrants Only
- Giveaway Closes Sunday, December 3rd
Please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or concerns. Good luck!! Xx
Happy weekend, readers! It’s been a little while since I did a Weekend Checklist - so I’m rectifying that today! In this post, you’ll find all the crime fiction entertainment I’m recommending - and loving myself! - this weekend, including a “Weekend Binge-Read,” a true-crime podcast recommendation, a TV series, and more. Without further ado, let’s dive right in. Happy reading!
Have you read a crime novel by Sharon Bolton yet? If not, make THE CRAFTSMAN your entree into this prolific UK-based author’s world. As a newcomer to Bolton’s work myself, I can safely say I have been missing out. Told primarily through an extended flashback, THE CRAFTSMAN immerses readers in the case that defined protagonist Florence Lovelady’s career as a police officer in the small village of Lancashire, England: a series of twisted child murders. THE CRAFTSMAN is just about everything you could hope for from a fall thriller: it’s deliciously chilling, rich in atmosphere, and laced with a touch of the supernatural. Add into this already-appealing mix a fiercely independent female protagonist and a decades-old mystery, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for fall reading success. Now, I consider myself quite skeptical when it comes to crime novels with supernatural elements, but my skepticism was, in this case, totally unnecessary. Much like the ghost stories of Icelandic crime writer Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Sharon Bolton’s newest thriller gracefully blends real world and supernatural scares. The result? A suspense novel that feels all the more immersive for the unique world built within its pages. In short, I savored every page of this spine-tingling mystery, and highly recommend THE CRAFTSMAN for your October (and Halloween, in particular!) reading lists.
One of the very best things about attending crime conferences like Bouchercon is having the chance to learn about the books you love from their authors. While at this year’s Bouchercon, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Caz Frear, author of SWEET LITTLE LIES - an exceptional debut that just released in August! SWEET LITTLE LIES tells the story of a young female police officer whose personal life collides with her professional life in a chilling and layered mystery. I absolutely loved this book, and was so excited to sit down with its very talented author to talk about her debut, her book’s protagonist, what comes next for her, and more.
This past weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to attend Bouchercon 2018! Known as the “World Mystery Convention,” Bouchercon brings together crime writers, readers, industry members, and more for a long weekend of crime fiction fun. One of my personal favorite things about Bouchercon is that it changes location every year; last year, Bouchercon was held in Toronto, Canada, and this year it was held in St. Petersburg, Florida! There’s nothing more inspiring to me than spending time with folks who are as passionate about the crime fiction genre as I am, and I left Bouchercon 2018 feeling totally energized and excited by all that I learned over the course of the conference. In my Bouchercon 2018 Crime Festival Journal, you will find a day-by-day recap of my time in St. Petersburg, including book and author recommendations from the weekend, recaps of author interviews and panels, and lots of photos!
There’s something about the tried-and-true police procedural that always keeps me coming back for more—and finding an author who can write a police procedural in as fresh, modern a way as can Caz Frear is a genuine treat. SWEET LITTLE LIES follows a female policewoman in London whose personal life collides with her work in a dark and dangerous way. Cat Kinsella is called to the scene of a crime: the body of a young woman has been found not far from the pub that her estranged father still runs. Things become stranger still when Cat receives a mysterious call linking this murder to the disappearance of a young woman in Ireland years prior—a young woman whom Cat and her family saw just days before she went missing. Cat had long suspected that her father knew more about the young woman’s disappearance than he admitted… and her latest work assignment will now give her a new opportunity to investigate her own past. SWEET LITTLE LIES is an astonishingly assured debut; Cat Kinsella is a fantastic protagonist, and readers will love the complexity and precision of plotting Caz Frear puts forth in this mystery. With her first suspense novel, Frear has established herself as an author to watch - I have no doubt we’ll be hearing of Frear’s work for years to come. Highly recommended for readers looking for a slow-burning, layered mystery that puts a fresh spin on classic police procedurals, and injects a male-dominated genre with a fiercely feminist protagonist.
I’ve heard raves of LIES by T.M. Logan from friends across the pond and early readers here in the US alike, but my reading experience with this buzzy psychological thriller was unfortunately less than stellar. Though undeniably binge-worthy and easy to devour, LIES was quite significantly spoiled for this reader thanks to an entirely out-of-left-field finale - a conclusion so dramatic and over-the-top I couldn’t help but feel I’d been duped. There’s no fair play here - readers are never given the chance to piece together the story’s conclusion, with the author favoring pure shock value over logical plotting. If you’re a reader who considers that fair play important, you’ll want to avoid LIES—you will very likely be frustrated by its bizarre and melodramatic finale. If, however, you’re just in it for the entertainment value - and there’s absolutely no shame in that, I might add - LIES may deliver just enough of that shock value to make it worth your while. However, I would recommend adding this one to your library list rather than purchasing a copy - it may work for you in the end, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending you out to spend your hard-earned money on it.
‘Tis the season… for Bouchercon! Every fall, crime writers and readers gather for Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. Last year’s Bouchercon took place in Toronto, and this year it will be held in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida. 2017 was my first time attending Bouchercon, and, if it’s possible, I’m even more excited for my second Bouchercon than I was for my first! Read on for an overview of Bouchercon 2018, including a list of my most-anticipated panels and author appearances, and the conference “extras” I can’t wait to attend!
It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end! I, for one, am so excited about the encroaching autumn - can you say perfect mystery reading weather?! But before summer comes to an end, there’s still time to grab a few end-of-summer (and totally fantastic) reads. My August recommendations list has a whole variety of new crime fiction for your consideration: from claustrophobic Icelandic crime fiction to a modern spin on the police procedural to binge-worthy “popcorn reads.” There are some genuinely unique and very exciting new reads to add to your TBR this month, and I'm so excited to share this list with you today!
I fell head-over-heels for bestselling author J.T. Ellison’s 2017 standalone thriller LIE TO ME last summer—so you can imagine my excitement when a copy of her newest release, TEAR ME APART, landed on my doorstep. There’s something about Ellison’s writing that just seems to work for me; though my exposure to her writing has been relatively limited compared to the extensive bibliography she has under her belt, I’m now two-for-two on loving her binge-worthy brand of psychological suspense. Though totally distinct stories, LIE TO ME and TEAR ME APART both feature a deep-dive into the personal lives of individuals working in unique professions: in LIE TO ME, the protagonists were authors, and in TEAR ME APART, the story’s central character is a professional skier and Olympic hopeful. Ellison has a knack for using these unique backdrops as springboards for truly gripping suspense stories—the page-turning fun of her writing is rivaled by the fascinating worlds in which these stories take place. TEAR ME APART is a more-than-satisfying follow-up to 2017’s LIE TO ME, and an excellent choice for readers looking to sneak in another “summer read” before the season ends. I’d expect nothing less from Ellison than a book this fun to devour, and she delivers and then some in TEAR ME APART.
Crime writing powerhouse Karin Slaughter has a brand-new book out this week: PIECES OF HER, a gripping story of a young woman who discovers that the person she thought she knew best in the world - her mom - isn’t at all who she believed her to be. On Monday, I had the incredible opportunity to join Karin in conversation at New York’s legendary Strand Bookstore to discuss PIECES OF HER! Interviewing Karin at the Strand was an absolute highlight of my Crime by the Book years thus far, and I’m so excited to share a recap of the event with you today. In this post, you’ll find a recap of the event, including a video of it (courtesy of the Strand’s YouTube!), a rundown of where you can catch Karin on tour for her newest book, and more information on PIECES OF HER!