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The Best New Crime Novels of the Month: August 2022


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The CrimeReads editors select the month’s best new fiction in crime, mystery, and thrillers.

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Winnie M. Li, Complicit
(Emily Bestler Books)

Winnie Li stunned the crime and literary worlds with her intense debut, Dark Chapter, based around a traumatic incident in the author’s own life and nominee for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Now she’s back with another story that mines her own experiences, this time centered on the toxicity of the film industry. Complicit is both a #  thriller and a complex literary achievement that sheds an important light on Hollywood’s darkest secrets and brings an essential and underrepresented perspective—that of an Asian-American film producer—to the fore. –Molly Odintz, CrimeReads senior editor

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Rasheed Newson, My Government Means to Kill Me
(Flatiron)

You don’t want to miss My Government Means to Kill Me, the debut novel from Rasheed Newson, producer and writer of such acclaimed series as Bel-Air, The Chi, and Narcos. His novel is a powerful story about Trey, a young, gay, Black man in 1980s New York City as he comes of age personally and politically. Newson’s writing is crisp and clear, witty and engrossing—the kind of prose that pulls you in so quickly you’ll miss your subway stop (and I did). Do you like footnotes? If so, then this is the book for you: extremely thoughtful and clever on narrative, thematic, and formal levels, unfolding meaning in every possible place, My Government Means to Kill Me is a tour-de-force. –Olivia Rutigliano, CrimeReads associate editor

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Amanda Jayatissa, You’re Invited
(Berkley)

So. Much. Wedding. Drama! This is bound to be one of the best psychological thrillers out this year, and also a very compelling warning against attending any event to which you have been invited by your estranged best friend. Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood is also a good warning against doing this. Really, one should never attend any party ever, and instead just read delicious crime novels about them. Far safer.–MO

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Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner, Heat 2
(William Morrow)

Heat 2, which combines the feeling of both prologue and coda to the iconic Michael Mann 1995 film, deepens our understanding of the original world and simultaneously upends it with new wrinkles of mania and humanity. It’s a novel about the growing complications of global crime and about individuals pushing deep into that moral abyss. Mann’s brooding moments of sublime isolation are there in abundance, combined with Gardiner’s deft touch for modern thrillers. The result is an intensely satisfying crime story. –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads editor-in-chief

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Catherine Ryan Howard, Run Time
(Blackstone)

Set in the Irish film industry, this playful novel is another signature high-concept thriller from a new master of the genre. A struggling actress heads to a remote village to shoot a low budget indie horror film, and the director is ready to whatever it takes to achieve a realistic look of terror on her face. Unfortunately for the actress, the director isn’t the only one trying to scare the crap out of her…But is the set haunted, or are there more human culprits at fault? Shoutout to the year’s best title (double meaning category)! –MO

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Gabino Iglesias, The Devil Takes You Home
(Mulholland)

2022 is poised for a breakout from crime world favorite Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs and Zero Saints. His newest is an intoxicating story of a man in desperate financial straits who turns himself into a hitman and accepts a highly dangerous contract on a cartel transport operation. The job takes him and two others across Texas and further into an abyss of violence, existential dread, and paranormal happenings. –DM

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Amina Akhtar, Kismet
(Thomas & Mercer)

I’m a huge fan of Amina Akhtar’s cult classic debut, #FashionVictim, based on Akhtar’s experience working in the fashion magazine world. Her second novel skewers the wellness industry of Sedona (Amina Akhtar is now based in Arizona) and also includes a light supernatural touch that’s perfectly integrated into the thriller arc as a whole. In Kismet, a young desi woman follows her #livelaughlove mentor from New York to Sedona, befriends a bunch of ravens, and also solves some murders. Someone is killing extremely annoying people in this book, and readers may find themselves actively encouraging the killer. –MO

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Michael Seidlinger, Anybody Home?
(CLASH)

Damn, this book is effed up. Michael Seidlinger’s knowing work of metafiction, Anybody Home, is part home invasion thriller and part sly critique of the way we use violence to entertain. Seidlinger writes from the perspective of a break-in artist helping his acolytes plan their next “performance.” After all, the more arbitrary the violence, the more confused the victims, the more harm they inflict on each other for the pleasure of the attackers, the more likely it all becomes the next big thing on the silver screen. Much like Funny Games, to which the novel is an ode, Anybody Home is a warning against the casual consumption of violence and a visceral upending of consumers’ expectations. –MO

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Lisa Jewell, The Family Remains
(Atria)

It’s rare that we get to read the sequel to a standalone, and I can’t wait to dive in to Lisa Jewell’s stunning follow-up to her 2019 smash, The Family Upstairs. In The Family Remains, a new body has been discovered with connections to the three dead members of the Lamb family thirty years earlier (the mystery behind The Family Upstairs). Meanwhile, another corpse in France sparks an investigation that will soon connect to the Lambs, and Lucy Lamb, after being gone for decades, is headed home to England. Jewell is at the top of her game, and I can’t wait to see what she does next. –MO

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Lawrence Osborne, On Java Road
(Hogarth)

Osborne is the bard of modern-day expat noir, and in On Java Road he’s outdone himself, packing the usual preoccupations (estrangement, existential ennui, spiritual restlessness) in unceasingly compelling surroundings: Hong Kong in tumult. His story follows a British journalist preparing to leave the city once and for all, when his eye is caught by a young woman involved in the protest movement, and also involved with an old friend of his. The ensuing triangle brings together a story of privilege, wealth, passion, and loyalty, while also providing incisive cultural insights and full-blooded characters. Osborne’s prose is as precise and observant as ever, and On Java Road is a novel that will leave readers shaken long after they’ve finished reading. –DM

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Latoya Watkins, Perish
(Tiny Reparations)

In this devastating debut, generational trauma has riven a Black Texas family, but the death of their matriarch may give the family a final chance to tell unvarnished truths to each other and maybe, finally, heal. Latoya Watkins’ impassioned prose brings to life her complex characters and their heavy internal struggles, as well as the flawed, but overwhelming, love they feel for one another. –MO

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R.F. Kuang, Babel
(Harper Voyager)

R. F. Kuang’s historical fantasy novel Babel: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translator’s Rebellion is nothing short of brilliant. Set in the 1830s and 40s, Babel follows Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton and taken to Britain to be raised by a strict taskmaster. His education is focused on learning to be fluent in as many languages as possible, so as to excel at this fantasy world’s greatest source of magic: manipulating the gaps in meaning between seemingly direct translations in order to manipulate the world surrounding. When Robin arrives at Oxford in order to continue his training, he makes fast friends with his cohort of fellow linguists and retreats from worldly concerns into the safety of the Ivory Tower, even as he and his friends face racist, sexist, and classist attacks from fellow students, but eventually the rapidly changing world around them will leave these scholars no choice but to confront the realities of exploitation enabled by the magic they create. The industrial revolution is booming, the Opium Wars are coming, inequality is growing, and the Oxford-based translators, with their silver bars engraved with conquered tongues in translation, are ready to revolt. Also this book is pitched as a response to The Secret History so it totally belongs on this list, okay? –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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