September is always the biggest month of the year for new books, and this year is proving to be no exception! September 2017 has been jam-packed with fantastic crime fiction releases, from new series installments (Lisbeth Salander!) to standalone psychological thrillers and folklore-inspired Nordic Noir. If there’s any possible downside to this month full of new books, it’s simply that it can be hard to keep track of all the amazing releases publishers are serving up each week—so I’m here to fix that. Consider this post your guide to the best crime fiction September 2017 has to offer!
Organized by publication date, this reading list will help you prioritize your personal TBR. A star (★) next to the book title means it comes very highly recommended—but all the books in this post have been read and vetted by yours truly! If it’s in this list, I recommend it. Without further ado, let's dive in!
September 5th, 2017
★ LIE TO ME by J.T. Ellison
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: twisty plotting & pure entertainment
For Fans Of: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris
To date, I can think of no better description of Ellison’s thriller LIE TO ME than to call it “popcorn reading”—this read is utterly addictive and begs to be devoured whole. Readers are drawn into the private life of a picture-perfect couple, Sutton and Ethan, whose glamorous lifestyle hides dark secrets. Twisty and dramatic in the best possible way, LIE TO ME will appeal to readers looking for a psychological thriller with major commercial appeal and all the binge-worthy pacing of modern psychological suspense. Bonus points: the main characters in this book are both authors, delivering a glimpse into the world of writers which, personally, I always love.
September 12th, 2017
THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE by David Lagercrantz
CBTB Rating: 4/5
The Verdict: Layered & Timely Nordic Noir
For Fans Of: The Millennium Series. Pick this one up for Lisbeth Salander nostalgia!
David Lagercrantz delivers his second installment in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, etc.), and it’s a winner. Lagercrantz has written a story that’s both timely and keenly aware of readers’ dedication to the modern legend that is Lisbeth Salander. Lagercrantz draws readers into a multifaceted crime novel that serves up both a deep-dive into Lisbeth’s roots (why does she have that dragon tattoo? And what’s the real story with her twin sister?), and drops readers in the midst of the women’s prison where Lisbeth is incarcerated following the events of THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB. Though stylistically distinct from Larsson’s original trilogy, Lagercrantz’s second contribution to Lisbeth’s work is thoughtful and thought-provoking. I loved it most for its revelations about our beloved girl with the dragon tattoo.
September 12th, 2017
LIES SHE TOLD by Cate Holahan
CBTB Rating: 4/5
The Verdict: addictive, obsessive psychological thriller
For Fans Of: THE WEIGHT OF LIES by Emily Carpenter, EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell
A “book within a book” psychological thriller, Holahan’s LIES SHE TOLD serves up an engrossing balance of dual plotlines. Readers follow a crime writer whose life begins to mirror her fiction—to disastrous end. The best part of this story is Holahan’s masterful command of the both the main narrative and the story Holahan's main character is herself writing. Readers alternate between chapters about the story’s narrator and chapters narrated by the narrator’s main character—it sounds confusing, but Holahan has plotted this book to perfection. Readers will be held rapt watching the steady convergence of these two storylines, and will be hooked on wondering how fact and fiction will end up blending in LIES SHE TOLD.
September 15th, 2017 (UK Release)
HOUSE OF SPINES by Michael J. Malone
CBTB Rating: 5/5
The Verdict: spine-tingling, gothic-inspired suspense
For Fans Of: THE ICE TWINS by S.K. Tremayne
Finding a comparison title for Malone’s HOUSE OF SPINES is no easy task. This psychological suspense novel blends a gothic ghost story with an on-trend “unreliable narrator” plotline to fantastic effect. When a down-on-his-luck writer inherits a mansion in rural Scotland from a previously-unknown relative, he feels as though he’s hit the jackpot… but nothing about the house is as it seems, and it appears the house has its own plans for our wayward narrator. Bone-chilling and engrossing, HOUSE OF SPINES is an original and inventive suspense read set against a stunning Scottish backdrop. This is NOT a horror story, but its hints of otherworldly suspense will intrigue readers looking for something extra-chilling to read this fall.
September 19th, 2017
★ WHITE BODIES by Jane Robins
CBTB Rating: 5/5
The Verdict: obsessive, twisted psychological suspense
For Fans Of: THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS by Michael Robotham
One of my personal favorite psychological thrillers of the year, WHITE BODIES is a slightly quirky, offbeat read that delves into the unbreakable bond between twin sisters. When soft-spoken Callie meets her twin Tilda’s new boyfriend, she begins to suspect that he might be abusive. Determined to save Tilda from this man, Callie engages with an anonymous internet support group for women in abusive relationships, and finds herself caught up in a Strangers on a Train-inspired plot. Robins has crafted a thriller that is genuinely shocking and brimming with personality. Callie won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved her spunk and tenacity. WHITE BODIES is a spider’s web of manipulation and lies, and asks readers how far we’ll go to protect those we love.
September 26th, 2017
★ THE DEVIL’S WEDDING RING by Vidar Sundstøl
CBTB Rating: 5/5
The Verdict: Nordic Noir meets Nordic folklore
For Fans Of: SNOWBLIND by Ragnar Jonasson, I’M TRAVELING ALONE by Samuel Bjørk
A superb Nordic Noir mystery that lives at the juncture of ancient Norwegian folklore and modern-day investigation, Sundstøl’s THE DEVIL’S WEDDING RING is a fully immersive and vividly atmospheric journey into Norway’s Telemark region. When a Norwegian ex-cop (and now private investigator) learns that one of his former colleagues has passed away, he travels back to Norway from his now-home in the United States. Something doesn’t add up to him about his colleague’s death, and he soon finds himself drawn into a mystery involving a series of purported-suicides and accidents that have occurred around Midsummer’s Eve in his former town. Teaming up with a mystery novel-loving librarian, our main character finds himself drawn into a decades-old mystery, coming face to face with a very present threat. Sundstøl’s writing is lyrical and he paints a stunning portrait of Telemark while simultaneously weaving a layered and complex mystery for readers to solve.
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