Novelists, Realtors and Other People You Shouldn’t Trust: Winter 2015 Mysteries and Thrillers Preview

Novelists, Realtors and Other People You Shouldn’t Trust: Winter 2015 Mysteries and Thrillers Preview

It’s cold outside this time of year, so if you don’t feel like going for a (frozen) jog, we’ve got another way to get your heart pounding. These mysteries and thrillers are guaranteed to get your heart rate well above the recommended range. From subtle psychological thriller Her to the gory but oh-so-literary Irène, ‘tis the season to be scared out of your mind. You may have to sleep with the lights on. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


1. Enter Pale Death

Dark horse

Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands has hoped for some time that he might one day wed Dorcas Joliffe, and he’s more than a little startled when he learns that she’s become attached to Sir James Trulove, her academic patron. Truelove’s wife recently passed in what was labeled an accident. Sandilands believes there was foul play, though as he begins to investigate, he hopes his instincts aren’t being compromised by his jealousy. It’s Barbara Cleverly’s 12th mystery featuring Sandilands, though this one is just as surprising and enjoyable as the very first.

On shelves: December 2


2. Irène

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

They call the killer The Novelist. It’s an odd name for a murderer, but he goes about killing his victims in odd ways: The crime scenes are always perfect replicas of famous murder scenes from famous crime novels, from James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia to Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. This prequel to the award-winning Alex takes an even darker turn when Irene, the wife of the detective on the case, is kidnapped. What horrible fate lies in wait for Irene at the hands of the killer who will recreate Bret Easton Ellis’s gore? You’ll have to confront The Novelist in this gripping mystery to find out.

On shelves: December 9


3. Moriarty

Staying alive, so boring, isn’t it?

We have a long wait before BBC’s Sherlock returns for season four (though thankfully a 2015 Christmas special will help), which means we have plenty of time to indulge in Anthony Horowitz’s take on the Sherlock Holmes universe. Though don’t expect to see Holmes or even John Watson here. This novel picks up after “The Final Problem,” a short story where (spoiler alert) Arthur Conan Doyle sent Holmes and his archnemesis James Moriarty plunging to their deaths over the Reichenbach Falls. Horowitz picks up with senior investigator Frederick Chase and Inspector Athelney Jones (a creation of Doyle’s and student of Holmes’s) tracking down the criminal who seeks to place himself on the throne that Moriarty has evacuated.

On shelves: December 9


4. Die Again

Don’t feed the animals

Rizzoli and Isles are back, and this time, the homicide detective and the medical examiner are on hot on the trail of a murderer who’s an animal: literally. There are claw marks on the body of Leon Gott when he is discovered dead in Boston. But this story quickly becomes bigger than the city, or even the country. Rizzoli and Isles discover that the answer may lie in a more thorough examination of the gruesome murder of a tour group in Botswana years earlier. The killer is back, and the only way to catch this animal may just be to use bait: the only victim who ever got away.

On shelves: December 30


5. A Pleasure and a Calling

Lock and key

Our mystery and thriller preview is filled with unhinged killers, criminal masterminds, and relentless stalkers, but no one gives us the heebee jeebees like William Heming. On the surface, he comes across as very innocent. He’s a real estate agent, the kind who leaves no impression as he helps you sign the papers for your new place. But long after you’ve forgotten him, he remembers you. And, what’s worse, he has the key to your home. Written in the first person by English journalist Phil Hogan, this tale will have you wanting to change your locks by the time you’ve turned the final page.

On shelves: January 6


6. Her

BFF or frenemy?

This quietly chilling novel will cost you some sleep if you’ve ever wondered about a friendship that seems just a little bit off. Emma is living the hectic life of a new mother when Nina stops her on the street one day and works to befriend her. It doesn’t take that much effort—Nina is sophisticated in a cool and easy way, and her presence is soothing to Emma. But as the friendship progresses, it becomes clear pretty quickly that Nina is obsessed with Emma, and that she wants something from her. But what? This psychological thriller is painted with a deft hand: Her is subtle, and less about the “gotcha!” moments than the slow, creepy build-up.

On shelves: January 6


7. The Girl on the Train

Rear window

Rachel’s mornings are monotonous. She rides the same train every day, passing the same homes, and witnessing the same couple having breakfast on their deck while she heads towards her dead-end job. Still in the throes of a divorce, from a man she still desperately loves, Rachel begins telling herself a story. She gives the couple on the deck names and imagines their perfect life together, filled with unwavering love. Things seem innocent enough until the morning when Rachel witnesses something she shouldn’t and can’t resist involving herself in the real lives of her imaginary couple. Keep your eyes on this one, it’s already gaining serious momentum.

On shelves: January 13


8. The Unquiet Dead

Don’t fall for it

At first glance, it looked like the man had just fallen off of the cliff. Why would there be a police investigation? But when she gets a tip from her boss, Detective Rachel Getty looks a little more closely at the death of Christopher Drayton. What she discovers shocks her: Drayton may have been a war criminal living under an assumed name. As the investigation implicates Drayton in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Getty learns that there are more than a few people who may have wanted Drayton dead. Did the man just fall, or was Drayton murdered?

On shelves: January 13


9. The Devil You Know

Rookie beware

It’s been ten years and yet Evie still can’t forget the night that her best friend Lianne was murdered. Now 21 and a crime beat reporter, Evie sets out to use her new connections to finally close her friend’s cold case. But the clues don’t add up, at least not to Robert Cameron, the suspected killer. And the closer Evie gets, the more she feels that the real killer is right on her heels and ready to strike. Evie’s voice is relatable, especially for female readers familiar with the need for women to always be on their guard. Kirkus even commended author Elisabeth de Mariaffi for her treatment of the topic, saying, “With so many thrillers cheaply exploiting violence against girls and women, [de Mariaffi]… is refreshingly reverent.”

On shelves: January 13


10. If I Fall, If I Die

A world away

Will’s mother is agoraphobic. Her fear of the outside world is so paralyzing that she confines herself and Will to their house, a place where each room is named for a far off location: London, Venice, etc. Will is free to travel the rooms, though never to leave. It’s a fact he accepts until the day he can’t take it anymore. Using a helmet for protection, he steps outside the safety of his home and out into the modern world. Turns out, it isn’t so bad. He makes a friend, learns to skateboard, and discovers that the world outside of his house isn’t a death trap. But it isn’t all fun and games. When a neighborhood boy goes missing, Will learns that his mother wasn’t entirely wrong about the dangers of the real world.

On shelves: January 20

WinterPreview-ArticlePageBanner (1)


  1. These books sound real good. i can’t until I get transportation to go to the library, so I can check them out.

Leave a Reply