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The Month’s Best Debut Crime Novels: June 2022


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The CrimeReads editors select the month’s best debut fiction.

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Katie Gutierrez, More Than You’ll Ever Know
(William Morrow)

We have all read books and seen movies about men who live a double life, who have a couple of families who don’t know about each other until some calamity happens. Gutierrez turns that plot on its head by giving us a woman, Dolores Rivera/Russo with two husbands: one in Laredo, Texas, and one in Mexico City. When one husband murders the other, the jig is up, and a true crime writer in Austin smells a great story. But you know what happens when true crime writers show up: more crime. Still, Gutierrez is impressive in her telling of all three stories, and More is an auspicious debut for a bold writer.

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Samantha Allen, Patricia Wants to Cuddle
(Zando)

This is the lesbian Sasquatch novel you’ve always wanted. A group of finalists for a Bachelor-style show head to a remote British Columbian island to film the final episodes of the contest. While there, they encounter a female Bigfoot and her coterie of admirers, and those that do not admire her (as they properly should) are torn limb from limb because this is the most badass book imaginable. Patricia is the Sasquatch, by the way. The publisher describes it as “viciously funny” but I thought it was also kinda sweet. I’d give Patricia a cuddle. –MO

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Joey Hartstone, The Local
(Doubleday)

In this small town legal thriller that also happens to feel very noir, a federal judge in a tiny Texas community has managed to make his court a hub of intellectual property law that draws lawsuits from across the nation. Each big city law firm finds, to the dismay of its pressed and tailored lawyers, that it needs a local attorney to sway the jury in favor of any case. That’s where the sleezy sleuth of The Local comes in, cashing in and boozing away his winnings until the murder of the judge, who also happens to be his father figure, sends him on the long, sober path to the truth. –MO

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Sascha Stronach, The Dawnhounds
(Gallery/Saga Press)

What if you were murdered by your coworkers, then a strange power brought you back to life to seek your revenge? That’s the premise of The Dawnhounds, in which a former thief, now a beat cop, gets offed by two other officers in a magical, Maori-inspired futuristic city where even the buildings are alive. A heady combination of magic, science fiction, and mystery drives this novel, along with the strength of its queer protagonist and her mission of vengeance.–MO

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Adam White, The Midcoast
(Hogarth)

The Midcoast is the story of the rise and fall of the astonishingly-upwardly-mobile Thatch family, told from the perspective of their old friend Andrew. Now, the Thatches are wealthy, powerful, and accused of a horrific crime, and all Andrew can do is try to reconcile the people they are now with the people he once were. The novel is set in the tiny seaside town of Damariscotta, Maine, which makes the whole affair feel more personal; this is a story about friends, and neighbors, and the strangers who secretly live among them. Both cozy and chilling! –OR

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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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