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The Best Reviewed Crime Books of the Month


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Deanna Raybourn, Killers of a Certain Age
(Berkley Books)

“… so inventive, the only ageist wisecracks it deserves are the ones its characters make about themselves … a singular suspense story thanks to its deftly fluctuating tone, which is by turns comical, violent and unexpectedly affecting … t’s impossible not to root for these dangerous dames and their refusal to let themselves be put on the ash heap — a phrase that, in this thriller, should be taken literally.”

–Maureen Corrigan (Washington Post)

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Robert Harris, Act of Oblivion
(Harper)

“Fast-paced yet wonderfully detailed … Cleverly, the adventures and privations of Ned Whalley and his son-in-law, Will Goffe, are set in counterpoint to the trials of Will’s wife, Frances, as she hides in London with five young children, relying on the charity of her religious community as she faces plague, poverty and the great fire that will later destroy much of the city.”

–Alida Becker (New York Times Book Review)

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Tracey Lien, All That’s Left Unsaid
(William Morrow)

“… suspenseful … Lien’s novel, by turns gripping and heartbreaking, makes room for forgiveness and understanding. Ky knows all about her people, and to know all is to forgive all.”

–Arlene McKanic (Bookpage)

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Kate Atkinson, Shrines of Gaiety
(Doubleday)

Shrines of Gaiety revolves around this grimy power struggle, and yet is—outwardly at least—Ms. Atkinson’s airiest creation to date. A feather-light confection of intersecting dramas that recalls the antic comedies of P.G. Wodehouse, the novel has it all: a runaway teenager, a sleuthing ex-librarian, a dogged Chief Inspector, even a stash of purloined jewels. There is the perfect balance throughout of sweetness and heartbreak … And, as always, there is the unmistakable zest of Ms. Atkinson’s dry wit … t is hard to think of another writer who can flit from darkness to levity, often in a single sentence, without lapsing into coyness or cynicism…Ms. Atkinson has perfected the comic wizardry that keeps us both airborne and immersed in her mosaic-like narratives … if such scenes border on farce—just as some of the novel’s dialogue veers toward archness—this only accentuates the underlying darkness. For here, once again, with nonchalant dexterity, Ms. Atkinson has depicted a world ripped apart by war and a city still emerging from the shroud of ‘muffled mourning.'”

–Anna Mundow (Wall Street Journal)

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Richard Osman, The Bullet That Missed
(Pamela Dorman Books)

“Osman concocts a satisfyingly complex whodunit full of neat twists and wrong turns. But unlike most crime novelists, he ensures his book’s strength and momentum stem not from its plot or its thrills but rather its perfectly formed characters. Once again, the quartet of friends makes for delightful company … If there is fault to be found it is a recurring one throughout the series – namely that Osman’s two men have less to do than his two women, and as a result feel like extras around the main double-act. But what a double-act … What could have been twee and uninvolving is in fact heartwarming and enthralling. ‘They carried a kind of magic, the four of them,’ a policeman muses. That magic is still there in abundance.”

–Malcolm Forbes (Washington Post)

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Barbie Latza Nadeau, The Godmother: Murder, Vengeance, and the Bloody Struggle of Mafia Women
(Penguin Books)

“Pupetta, who died last December at 86, may be the star but she is hardly the only engaging figure in this crisply written, dutifully researched book exploring the role of women in a sector of Italian society not noted for its embrace of a #MeToo ethos … [Nadeau’s] prose is straightforward, with welcome flashes of irony.”

–Clyde Haberman (New York Times Book Review)

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Daniel Stashower, American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper
(Minotaur)

“The premise is a grind house fever dream … The reality of this case is far more mundane and messy, and far more fascinating … Both Ness and the Torso Killer are operating in Cleveland at the same time, but Stashower is admirably forthcoming about how these two threads barely intersect … Stashower demonstrates an ear for the vivid poetry of the era’s tabloid journalism as he resurfaces the outlandish writing that came out of the press’s attempt to cover the Torso Killer … American Demon is a winding, and sometimes confusing, jaunt.”

–Patton Oswalt (New York Times Book Review)

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Virginia Hartman, The Marsh Queen
(Gallery Books)

“With its atmospheric swampland setting, Hartman’s debut brings to mind Delia Owens’ blockbuster Where the Crawdads Sing (2018), while the mystery itself is on par with Stacy Willingham’s A Flicker in the Dark (2022)…While the plot has many different threads to follow, the fast pace and short chapters keep the story moving for an enjoyable ride.”

–Cari Dubiel (Booklist)

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Iain Reid, We Spread
(Gallery/Scout)

“.. another masterful example of high-concept psychological horror. Laid out in captivating, first-person prose … Through Reid’s spare, fragmented passages, the reader is immediately situated deep within Penny’s solitary world: hours, days, perhaps weeks pass in a heartbeat. We know only what she sees and experiences … Reid confronts that which is unavoidable for us all: ageing and death. His deft hand at plot and atmosphere calls to mind the films of David Lynch or the ‘strange tales’ of English author Robert Aickman. We Spread is a fast-paced, engrossing thriller that will hold you in its clutches from the opening right through to its stunning conclusion.”

–Justin Avery (Readings-Aus)

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Ainslie Hogarth, Motherthing
(Vintage)

“… a grim, disturbing novel of family drama and mental illness, yet a bizarrely funny glimpse into one woman’s mind … Hogarth rocks readers via Abby’s turmoil, her swings from devotion to fury, self-loathing to self-aggrandizement. Motherthing keeps readers as unstable as its narrator, struggling to manage the traumas and the waves of emotion … The result of these roiling thoughts and images is a darkly comic, kaleidoscopic novel of unhealthy fixations, love, murder, the gifts and wounds that family can inflict and one woman’s fight to save herself.”

–Julia Kastner (Shelf Awareness)

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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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