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10 Crime Novels You Should Read This February

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The CrimeReads editors make their choices for the month’s best new releases in crime fiction, mystery, and thrillers.



Rebecca Makkai, I Have Some Questions For You

I was sure the true crime podcast novel was dead by now—at least, until I picked up Rebecca Makkai’s latest, which completely revitalizes this common trope. A professional podcaster returns to the private school she once attended to teach a two week seminar on podcasting and journalism; one of her students decides to investigate a 90s-era murder that the podcaster was much closer to than she lets on to her students. Every year, I look for the novels that truly respect their victims, and think carefully about the tropes of true crime; for 2023, this is that novel. –MO


Walter Mosley, Every Man a King

Mosley, a modern master of the noir form, brings readers a worthy follow-up to Down the River Unto the Sea. This time, Joe King Oliver is asked for a favor from a friend he can’t refuse, a case that forces him to look into the unsavory connections between white nationalists, Russians, and high finance. Mosley knows exactly how to craft a mystery that keeps you at the edge of your seat all the while forcing you to reckon with sinister forces at the heart of American society. –DM


Stephen Graham Jones, Don’t Fear the Reaper

Stephen Graham Jones blew me away with the first in his Indian Lake trilogy, My Heart is a Chainsaw, and Don’t Fear the Reaper is, if you can believe it, even better than the first! Jade is back, now in her 20s, as a killer and a snowstorm converge on the town of Proofrock and another massacre looms. Can Jade stop the serial killer Dark Mill South before he finishes taking vengeance for 38 Lakota men killed in the 19th century? The fast-paced novel takes place over only a day and a half, and you’ll want to read it just as quickly. –MO


Kwei Quartey, Last Seen in Lapaz

Quertey’s engaging private eye Emma Djan is on a new case, on the trail of a young woman who abandoned law school and a comfortable life in Nigeria, presumably for her new boyfriend. The trail leads to Accra, and soon enough to a potential sex trafficking ring spanning West Africa. Quartey always brings great skill and a sense of urgency to his stories. –DM


Rafael Frumkin, Confidence
(Simon & Schuster)

In Rafael Frumkin’s devastatingly witty Confidence, two teenage con artists meet at a summer camp for troubled youth and start scheming together almost as soon as they meet. After the two reunite on the outside, it’s time for the cons to get bigger, and the romantic tension between the two to grow. I would like to go back to reading this now so I can keep shipping the two main characters. Destined to be a new LGBTQ classic of suspense! –MO


Hank Phillippi Ryan, The House Guest

Hank Phillippi Ryan’s dark and twisty divorce thriller about exes, friends, and making deals is a top-shelf cocktail of a book. It’s the kind of book I would bring to read at a swanky bar if I read at swanky bars. It’s slick, the story of a woman who realizes that her wealthy almost-ex-husband is scheming to make sure she ends up with nothing, and her new friend, whom she invites to stay in her guest house, who might have an idea about how to turn the tables on him. Salut! –OR


Mariana Enriquez, Our Share of Night

What a strange and luminous novel. Mariana Enriquez stunned with her collection The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, and Our Share of Night is just as fantastic (and fantastical). Beginning in Argentina in the years of the dictatorship, Our Share of Night follows a father and son on a grief-driven road trip as they mourn the loss of the woman who united them, her dangerous (and possibly immortal) family close in pursuit. A dark vampiric noir that heralds a new era in South American horror. –MO


Paz Pardo, The Shamshine Blind

Paz Pardo’s The Shamshine Blind is one of the more exciting debuts to hit in early 2023, a heady mix of high-concept speculative fiction, alternative history, and hardboiled detective fiction. In an alternate 2009, a new chemical compound that can elicit targeted human emotions has been weaponized in war and made ubiquitous for recreational purposes, upending the global and social orders. Amidst the new chaos, a small city enforcement agent gets put on the trail of a new product, a trail that points in the direction of a much broader conspiracy. Pardo’s novel is full of wit and wild invention and is sure to leave readers wanting more. –DM


Johnny Compton, Spite House
(Tor Nightfire)

Eric Ross and his two daughters are on the run and looking to settle down somewhere where they won’t be too scrutinized. Enter the Spite House, a haunted house on a hill overlooking an abandoned orphanage, whose owner is looking for a new caretaker to help prove definitely that the house is occupied by ghosts. If Eric can stay in the house long enough to get proof of paranormal activity, he and his daughters will receive enough funds to go completely off the grid. But given the home’s propensity to rob its previous caretakers of their sanity, it’s a toss-up—will Eric find safety for his family, or has he placed them in more danger than ever before?  –MO


Margot Douaihy, Scorched Grace
(Zando, Gillian Flynn Books)

Margot Douaihy’s chain-smoking nun Sister Holiday may be the most original character you’ll come across for quite some time. Douaihy wanted to reclaim pulp tropes for a female protagonist, and I have to say, Sister Holiday is punk AF. Set in New Orleans, Scorched Grace takes place at a Catholic school where an arson attack has harmed several students. Sister Holiday, a fan of detective fiction, is ready to solve the case (or else face suspicion herself). –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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