New Release Tuesday: January 2nd, 2018
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn & New Sara Blaedel Novels
Happy 2018, reader! This year promises to be a fantastic one for crime fiction - from buzzy psychological thrillers to gripping serial killer thrillers and chilling Nordic Noir, 2018 will have crime fiction readers covered… and it’s not wasting any time. Today, the very first “New Release Tuesday” of the new year, marks publication day for one of the year’s most highly-anticipated debut psychological thrillers, and a bundle of re-releases from one of Scandinavia’s foremost female crime writers. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in - this blog post will walk you through the new releases that are worth checking out this week!
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn
For Readers Who: Want to keep up with the hottest new releases, and love psychological suspense
One of the buzziest psychological thrillers of 2018, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW has earned the hype surrounding it. A. J. Finn (a pseudonym) has written a superb debut thriller that will please fans of… just about any big-name psychological thriller you can think of. But perhaps the greatest praise I can give this book is to highlight for you just how original and sharp this read is, not to compare it to its predecessors. THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW doesn’t rely on shocking twists to make it gripping—although it certainly includes a jaw-dropping reveal or two. Instead, what drives this book is the taught, vivid prose of its author, and the voyeuristic world he invites his readers into.
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is a story built on claustrophobia and paranoia. Readers are given a glimpse into the reclusive life of Anna Fox, a psychologist who, for reasons which become abundantly clear, now suffers from agoraphobia and finds herself unable to leave her New York home. In her little corner of the world, Anna spends her days drinking wine, watching noir films, and observing her neighbors - until one day, she witnesses something shocking that threatens to upend the fragile ecosystem she has constructed for herself. If the plot of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW feels just a touch too similar to THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN for comfort, put your concerns aside—this book is unique through and through. Finn’s prose is sharp and emotive, and his debut recalls the best of Noir fiction wrapped up in an on-trend, modern thriller.
My personal favorite element of this book is the author’s ability to so totally draw the reader into the unhinged mindset of its isolated protagonist. From its structure to its prose, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW shows the reader exactly what it feels like to be inside the head of our main character. Finn plays with sentence and chapter structure, giving the reader an immersive experience of the protagonist’s increasingly scattered and troubled frame of mind. There is a certain voyeuristic intimacy that comes with Finn’s writing; readers are privy not only to the protagonist’s observations of her neighbors, but also to the innermost secrets and thoughts of our main character. Prepare to get up close and personal in this read—fans of character driven suspense will find THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW a superb addition to their library.
The Verdict: Meticulously plotted and calling to mind the best of Hitchcock’s work, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW delivers a read as strong as the hype surrounding it.
More Information on THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW:
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
NEW NORDIC NOIR FROM SARA BLAEDEL:
THE NIGHT WOMEN, THE RUNNING GIRL, AND THE STOLEN ANGEL
FOR READERS WHO: LOVE NORDIC DETECTIVE NOVELS WITH STRONG FEMALE LEADS
Sara Blaedel is known as “Denmark’s Queen of Crime,” and her Louise Rick books are some of my most-recommended for readers new to the Nordic Noir genre. These books deliver a fantastic blend of endearing characters - people you feel like you’d actually want to get to know in real life - with meticulously-researched depictions of police work. At the same time, Blaedel’s books are never gratuitously violent, making them an excellent choice for readers who want to get a taste for Nordic Noir while steering clear of some of the darkest examples of the genre. Up until now, US readers have only had easy access to English translations of her three most recent Louise Rick books: THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS, THE KILLING FOREST, and THE LOST WOMAN. But now, Blaedel’s US publisher is re-releasing the previous three books in the series! THE NIGHT WOMEN, THE RUNNING GIRL, and THE STOLEN ANGEL are actually books 4, 5, and 6 in the Louise Rick series—which makes now the perfect time to dive into the series or get to know the backstory of some of your favorite Nordic characters.
If you’re new to Blaedel’s work: you should feel free to dive into the Louise Rick series with either THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS (Book 7) or the newly-released THE NIGHT WOMEN (Book 4). In many ways, I actually have come to think the publisher’s (albeit slightly confusing) strategy of publishing this series out of order is beneficial to the reader; there’s something very fun about getting to know Louise through the series’ later novels first, only to rewind and learn more about her backstory in books 4 through 6. Readers who have already devoured the later three books in this series will find newfound appreciation for Louise Rick, and for her journalist friend Camilla Lind, in the backstory provided by these newly-released, older titles. On the other hand, there is (of course) also a benefit to reading the books in series order, starting with THE NIGHT WOMEN. As is so often the case, Blaedel’s series just gets stronger and stronger as it goes—my favorite book of hers remains THE KILLING FOREST. Readers who begin exploring Blaedel’s work with Book 4, THE NIGHT WOMEN, will not only meet Louise Rick earlier on in her career and watch her develop chronologically, but will also witness Blaedel’s own development as an author over the course of the series. There really isn’t a “wrong” way to approach these books, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
If you’re a seasoned fan of Blaedel’s Louise Rick series: I’m confident you will find much to love in these earlier series installments. So far, I’ve read THE NIGHT WOMEN and have begun reading THE RUNNING GIRL - and I’m planning to devour this book and THE STOLEN ANGEL before January is up! THE NIGHT WOMEN is vintage Blaedel: drawing readers into the underbelly of idyllic Denmark (this time, focused on the city of Copenhagen), and weaving together two mysteries that rely on the combined brainpower (and willpower) of police officer Louise Rick and journalist Camilla Lind to resolve. THE NIGHT WOMEN develops a grittier atmosphere than readers of the later Louise Rick books will be used to, exploring organized crime and its human fallout in Copenhagen. If you've read CBTB for a while, you'll know that organized crime stories aren't my usual picks—but I will try anything Blaedel writes, and was very happy to discover that her take on the organized crime tory still has that strong human element that I consistently love about her thrillers. True to form, Blaedel balances this book's gritty plotting with wonderfully endearing and human characters—in particular, I loved this story’s fleshing-out of Camilla Lind, a journalist and Louise’s best friend. In THE NIGHT WOMEN, Camilla steps into the forefront of the story when her young son finds an infant abandoned on the side of the road. Driven in equal parts by her journalistic curiosity and her desire to protect her son from this troubling discovery, Camilla finds herself drawn into a far-reaching mystery. Louise's personal life is developed in THE NIGHT WOMEN as well—this book marks a crucial moment in Louise's future as a mother. THE NIGHT WOMEN is a gritty and engaging glimpse into the dark side of the beautiful city of Copenhagen, and it's also a pivotal read for fans of Blaedel's Louise Rick series who wish to better understand the backstory of their favorite characters. As always, Blaedel's portrayal of police work is meticulous, and her characters are compelling and endearing. I'm so looking forward to a month of Blaedel reads ahead!
The Verdict: Blaedel’s work always feels like “comfort reading” to me—the kind of Nordic detective novels I want to cozy up to on a chilly evening. From their atmospheric setting to their slow-burning suspense, these books seem made for winter reading—and now is the perfect time to dig in.
More Information on THE NIGHT WOMEN:
A journey to a new life or a prison of despair and death? A shocking murder on Copenhagen's idyllic streets and an abandoned child reveal a perverse criminal underworld that crosses international borders.
A young woman's body is found on the street with her throat slit, and the media is clamoring for the grisly details. Detective Louise Rick is investigating the gruesome murder when her friend Camilla Lind calls. Louise assumes it is because Camilla, a crime reporter, wants to be the first to hear of any juicy new developments. Instead, her distraught friend reveals that her ten year-old son found an abandoned baby on his way to school.
As Louise digs deeper into the murder and the mysterious foundling, every clue uncovered points to organized human trafficking from Eastern Europe, run by ruthless gangsters who won't hesitate to kill anyone who gets in their way...
More Information on THE RUNNING GIRL:
Louise gets a call from her son, Jonas. It's every parent's worst nightmare: A school party has ended in terrifying chaos after a group of violent teenagers forced their way into the building in search of alcohol and valuables. Dashing to the scene, Louise discovers one of the students gravely injured-struck by a car while attempting to run for help. Now the girl's distraught mother, pushed to her emotional breaking point, will do anything to make those who hurt her daughter pay.
So when someone targets the gang members with a vicious attack, the girl's mother is the obvious suspect. But Louise can't shake the feeling that the case might not be as cut-and-dried as it first appears. Someone is lying-but who?
More Information on THE STOLEN ANGEL:
When the granddaughter of the wealthy Sachs-Smith family is kidnapped, Louise's skills as a trained negotiator are put to work. She is tasked with helping the desperate mother negotiate what soon turns into a life-or-death situation. The kidnappers will only exchange the deathly ill little girl for an infamous stained glass panel--known as the Angel of Death--that has been in the family for generations. But there's a problem... the Angel, worth millions, was recently stolen from the family home.
Racing against the clock as she matches wits with a criminal mastermind, Louise will be taken to the depths of human depravity. She's about to learn the hard way that money can buy absolutely anything. But will she be able to find the little girl before her time runs out?
That's a wrap on our first New Release Tuesday of 2018! Are any of these books on your radar? I'd love to hear from you! Happy reading!
I received free copies of the books discussed above from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of these books or the content of my review. All opinions my own.