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10 Novels You Should Read This April

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Each month the CrimeReads editors make their selections for the best upcoming fiction in crime, mystery, and thrillers.



Caroline Kepnes, You Love Me (Random House)

Kepnes keeps turning up the intensity with each new installment of the Joe Goldberg series, this time sending her protagonist-villain to an island in the Pacific Northwest, where he finds work, naturally enough for Joe, at a local library, and of course trains his attention (and delusions) on one of the librarians. In the past, Joe has been very much a creature and observer of cities, first New York and then Los Angeles. The move to a small-town adds a special, terrible intimacy to his crimes, not to mention that he’s now targeting a woman who has a seemingly happy family life. Joe is one of the most insidious creations to come along in crime fiction in a very long while. Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads Editor-in-Chief


Kaoru Takamura, Lady Joker
Translated by Alison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Kaoru Takamura’s magnum opus Lady Joker is already considered classic literature in her native Japan, and now we can all have a chance to read a work that earns frequent comparisons to L.A. Confidential in its epic scope. Lady Joker follows five racetrack regulars as they hatch a plan to kidnap a beer industry titan, seeking vengeance after one loses a grandchild and blames the death on the company’s discriminatory hiring practices. Despite the enormous size of the work, there are enough turning gears and ratcheting tension to stay committed to finishing this one—and then salivating for its massive sequel. –Molly Odintz, CrimeReads Senior Editor


Wallace Stroby, Heaven’s a Lie (Mulholland)

Stroby’s latest is a heart-pounding story of desperation and survival. A woman on the Jersey Shore with bills to pay and plenty of life trouble witnesses a car accident, and from the wreckage she pulls out a briefcase filled with $300,000. The decision to take the money—she has her mother’s medical bills to worry about—proves fateful, as it pits her against a local drug dealer with a maniacal determination to get back what was his. Stroby sets the scene perfectly, and as the momentum ratchets up you’ll find you just can’t stop reading until the bitter end. –DM


Carole Johnstone, Mirrorland (Scribner)

Twin sisters Cat and El, growing up trapped in a gothic manor house in Scotland, find refuge in the fantastical Mirrorland that shares a border of reality with their home. Clowns keep the tooth fairy away, and there are plenty of places to hide when Bluebeard comes searching. Decades later, one sister has vanished, and the other must return to their childhood home, where she begins following the clues her sister has scattered about in order to make sense of her disappearance (and to come to terms with the dark secrets behind their childhood fantasies). –MO


Zhanna Slor, At The End of the World, Turn Left (Agora)

Slor’s debut is a powerful story of identity and longing, as two sisters whose family left the USSR for the United States struggle to cope with the ripple effects of displacement and their own relationship. Masha, living in Israel, is called home to Milwaukee following the disappearance of her sister, Anna, following a mysterious contact from a stranger claiming to be another long-lost sibling from Russia. The webs of secrecy and lies are tangled up here, and Masha’s journey back toward her sister is moving and subtly haunting. –DM


A.E. Osworth, We Are Watching Eliza Bright
(Grand Central)

Like The Guild, Osworth’s new novel is entertaining for gamers and noobs alike. Programmer Eliza Bright has just been promoted at her gaming company when she begins to encounter sexism from her coworkers. After she reports the harassment, her attackers turn to their beloved gaming community for vengeance, assaulting her in-game character and doxing her in real life. But Eliza Bright has some powerful allies, and she’s not going to go down without a fight. This one kind of reads like GamerGate as told by the guy who directed The Lives of Others. –MO


Amy Suiter Clarke, Girl 11 (Houghton Mifflin)

This compelling new novel from Amy Suiter Clarke centers on the story of Elle Castillo, a social worker turned host of a popular true crime podcast based out of Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Castillo takes on cold cases, and the one that’s most haunted her over the years is The Countdown Killer. Police believe the ritual-killer died long ago by suicide, but Castillo gets a tip about the killer, and the tipster ends up dead, setting off a new chain of familiar killings. The serial killer novel is evolving quickly in the new true crime era, and Girl 11 perfectly captures the new approach. We’re no longer following FBI agents and expert profilers, but characters who take on crime in their own dogged way. –DM


Jesse K Sutento, Dial A For Aunties

Jesse K Sutento’s upcoming cozy has an irresistible tagline: Weekend at Bernies meets Crazy Rich Asians (with a little bit of Practical Magic thrown in)When Sutento’s unlucky-in-love heroine goes on a disastrous date that ends in the death of her suitor, she turns to family to help her cover up the crime. Will the murder get in the way of her family’s wedding planning business? And will Sutento’s charming lead get back together with the old flame she’ll be seeing at the family’s latest wedding extravaganza? And most importantly: WHAT’S IN THE DEEP FREEZER? –MO


Mike Lawson, House Standoff (Atlantic Monthly)

Lawson writes some of the best political thrillers on offer these days, but his talents carry outside of DC, too, as we see in the latest installment of his long-running Joe DeMarco series. DeMarco, the consummate politico and the Speaker of the House’s go-to fixer, decides to extend his stay in a small-town Wyoming motel after a fellow guest is shot dead. DeMarco knows a fix when he sees one, and he suspects that the investigation is going to be obstructed by a local bigwig rancher with an especially antagonistic relationship to the federal government. Old relationships and past sins get dredged up as the corruption spreads and DeMarco brings his usual acuity to the small-town murder. –DM


Richard O’Rawe, Northern Heist (Melville House)

Richard O’Rawe is a former Provisional IRA prisoner who now chronicles the stories of Northern Ireland’s turbulent decades. He also used to rob banks for the IRA, which makes him the perfect author for Northern Heist, a stylish, joyful, cynical, and action-packed heist novel about an apolitical criminal who’s committed to one thing: robbing banks. The problem is, he’s not the only one around with an interest in getting some extra cash. O’Rawe based Northern Heist on one of the biggest unsolved bank robberies in history, so now you can finally satisfy your curiosity (at least, fictionally). –MO

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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