CBTB’s Recommended May 2018 Releases
Spring is officially here, folks, and this is great news for us crime readers—because it means a number of really fantastic new releases are upon us, too! This May saw the release of one of my most-anticipated reads of the year (hint: the new Ruth Ware!!), a fantastic serial killer thriller, the paperback reprint of a 2017 release I loved, and more. We’re definitely in the swing of “beach reading” now - even if the weather here hasn’t exactly been beach-friendly just yet! I’m so excited about the books in today’s Recommended Releases post, so let’s dive right in. But first, if you haven’t yet read through my monthly release lists for 2018 so far, make sure to check them out via the links below!
Without further ado - on to my May recommendations!
CBTB's Recommended May 2018 Releases
Top Release Recommendation:
★ THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY by Ruth Ware ★
Gallery/Scout Press; May 29, 2018
For Readers Who Love: Agatha Christie + modern psychological suspense
Read CBTB’s Review
My Quick Thoughts: No one does summer reading like Ruth Ware, and THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY is her most addictive, immersive read yet. Ware is often referred to as the “modern Agatha Christie,” and this particular title - lofty as it may be! - has never been as well-deserved as it is here. Brooding and atmospheric with touches of gothic suspense, THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY is the work of an already-beloved author at the top of her game. Readers follow a young woman, Hal, as she attempts to capitalize upon a case of mistaken identities and claim a vast fortune for herself. To do so, she must travel to a remote mansion and blend in with a family of eccentric and very wealthy individuals. Everything about this premise screams Agatha Christie: the remote location, the affluent (and slightly odd) family, even the chilling atmosphere infused within the story’s pages. Yet, Ware pulls it off with utter authenticity—there’s nothing “faux Agatha Christie” about this. Instead, this is Ware at her best: crafting a suspense novel that is unlike anything else on your summer reading list, and that is page-turning, absorbing fun from the first page to the last. Bonus: Hal is the feisty and endearing female protagonist Ware’s novels haven’t yet given us; someone with resilience and spunk that will put readers squarely in her corner… even as she gets herself way in over her head.
Plot Details: On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
THE PERFECT MOTHER by Aimee Molloy
Harper; May 1, 2018
My Quick Thoughts: Soon to be a film starring none other than Kerry Washington (!!), Aimee Molloy’s THE PERFECT MOTHER is practically made for a day at the pool. This book reads a bit like a darker episode of your favorite binge-worthy TV drama, but it has a sharp edge to it, too. Molloy’s novel explores the pressures of motherhood in a confection of crime writing that will have you binging every last page; this is “popcorn reading” at its best. In THE PERFECT MOTHER, readers are introduced to the May Mothers, a group of new moms living in Brooklyn, New York. One night, when the May Mothers take a very rare girls night out, leaving the kids at home with partners and babysitters, a tragedy strikes… and by the end of the night, one of the babies is missing. What follows is a tense yet completely addictive story of motherhood and the ties that bind. As the women respond to this tragedy, their allegiances begin to fracture, and the truth behind their picture-perfect facades begin to reveal themselves. What really worked for me about this book is the balance Molloy strikes between entertainment value and whip-smart commentary; this book is proof that a read can be as fun and addictive as it can be relevant and insightful. Fun beach reading with a message that speaks to the experiences of real women? I’m all in.
Plot Details: A night out. A few hours of fun. That’s all it was meant to be.
They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.
When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar,they are looking for a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.
Thirteen days. An unexpected twist. The Perfect Mother is a "true page turner." —B.A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors
THE SUMMER CHILDREN by Dot Hutchison
Thomas & Mercer; May 22, 2018
For Readers Who Love: Serial killer thrillers + endearing characters
Read CBTB’s Review
My Quick Thoughts: Oh, Dot Hutchison, how I love your dark and twisted imagination. THE SUMMER CHILDREN is the third book in Hutchison’s Collector Trilogy (book 1: THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN; book 2: THE ROSES OF MAY), and boy does it pack a punch. While this series is best read in order, I can confidently say each book within it will be worth your time. (Book 2 is quite different from the others - see my full review for more information on this!) In THE SUMMER CHILDREN, readers hone in on FBI Agent Mercedes Ramirez, a recurring character from the prior books in the series. When we meet Ramirez in this book, she finds herself in the crosshairs of a disturbed killer—an individual who is targeting and killing parents, and, after killing them and making their children watch, depositing those children on Ramirez’s doorstep in the middle of the night. If this plot doesn’t give you goosebumps, I just don’t know what will. Perhaps best of all is how Hutchison uses this book to round out the trilogy so beautifully; reading THE SUMMER CHILDREN gave me a greater appreciation for Book 2 in the trilogy, which, I’ll be honest, I didn’t love as much Book 1. The trilogy’s overarching theme - that of the experiences of survivors of violent acts - really hits home in THE SUMMER CHILDREN. Told through the case study of the endearing Mercedes Ramirez, this really is the perfect combination for a serial killer with both thrills and heart-tugging moments.
Plot Details: This FBI agent has come to expect almost anything—just not this…
When Agent Mercedes Ramirez finds an abused young boy on her porch, covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear, she has no idea that this is just the beginning. He tells her a chilling tale: an angel killed his parents and then brought him here so Mercedes could keep him safe.
His parents weren’t just murdered. It was a slaughter—a rage kill like no one on the Crimes Against Children team had seen before. But they’re going to see it again. An avenging angel is meting out savage justice, and she’s far from through.
One by one, more children arrive at Mercedes’s door with the same horror story. Each one a traumatized survivor of an abusive home. Each one chafing at Mercedes’s own scars from the past. And each one taking its toll on her life and career.
Now, as the investigation draws her deeper into the dark, Mercedes is beginning to fear that if this case doesn’t destroy her, her memories might.
Plus: Now in Paperback…
SINCE WE FELL by Dennis Lehane
Ecco; Paperback Reprint - May 1, 2018
For Readers Who Love: Rich backstory development + literary fiction
Read CBTB’s Review
My Quick Thoughts: Dennis Lehane is one of the crime fiction greats… yet somehow, SINCE WE FELL was the first book of his I ever read. First released in hardcover in May of 2017, Lehane’s literary, nontraditional crime story is now on shelves with a gorgeous new paperback cover—and if you haven’t read it yet, it’s absolutely worth checking out. SINCE WE FELL is one of those books that somehow manages to both defy every expectation you had for it, and simultaneously make you so glad for the ways in which it surprises you. I went into this book expecting a twisty domestic thriller, and while this book definitely does have those elements, it’s a much more unusual read than I expected it to be. SINCE WE FELL stands apart from the crowd for its unique pacing and unusual structure—I would recommend this book to readers of literary fiction in the same breath as I’d recommend it to readers of crime fiction. SINCE WE FELL - and Lehane’s masterful writing - are further proof that crime fiction can be just as nuanced and intelligent as literary fiction; there’s really no need for genre distinction when a book is this well-crafted. This book will work best for readers looking for something with extensive backstory development, non-traditional plot structures, and a slow-burn pacing.
Plot Summary: Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heartbreaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.