Karo Hämämäläinen, Cruel Is the Night (trans. Owe Witesman)
In Finn Hämämäläinen’s first book in English translation, we get a locked-room mystery tailormade for Agatha Christie fans (which is basically every crime fiction reader in the English speaking world—good on you, Mr. Hämämäläinen). Four friends with a long history full of grudges and resentments meet for dinner. There’s plenty of food, copious wine, and an arsenal of deadly weapons in plain sight. At the end of the sumptuous meal, three cell phones are ringing and only one guest is alive.
John Rector, The Ridge
The latest crime writer to explore the seamy side of the suburbs is John Rector, who has created one of those creepy nothing is what it seems subdivisions in Willow Ridge, the setting of The Ridge. Megan and Tyler Stokes think they are escaping the evils of big-city Chicago by buying into the peaceful facade of Willow Grove, but after Megan has a disturbing run-in with a neighbor things continue to get more bizarre and creepy. Rector does both bizarre and creepy quite well; though domestic suspense might be new for him, he is quite skilled at the thriller game.
Paula Hawkins, Into the Water
So do you remember that book about the girl on the train? That’s how every conversation about Hawkins’s follow up is going to start, and while Into the Water is its own animal people are naturally going to compare them. Water is the more complex book—more characters, more points of view, a more complex plot. Whether it is as satisfying as its predecessor is in the reader’s eye: it’s got the same kind of female-centered narrative full of secrets and twists, and doubtless many of Hawkins’s fans will be eager to dive in.
Lisa Unger, The Red Hunter
Unger’s book gives us two heroines on a collision course. First there’s Claudia Bishop, who was left anxious and broken when she was sexually assaulted 15 years ago but is now a blogger specializing in home restoration. Looking for a fresh start, she finds the perfect project in an old house and barn rumored to have a dark history. Then there’s Zoey Drake, whose parents were murdered in a home invasion robbery—was it in that same house? Unger keeps the reader guessing as she builds suspense while bringing the monsters of the past and future together.
David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
“In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma,” begins Grann, in a book which is both a marvel of information gathering and sheer pleasure to read. Like most historical accounts about native Americans, it’s heartbreaking in places, even more so because the Osage had oil on their land and yet still end up getting swindled by the American government. What’s especially fascinating about Grann’s book are the many ways government incursions affect the Osage: he is a beautiful and fair reporter, and the story sings in his hands.