Classic literature, literary novels, and nonfiction are all well and good, but sometimes it’s a great mystery novel or a suspenseful thriller you’re craving – or a real-life mystery story. Here are our adult summer reading staff picks for mysteries and thrillers. Leave a comment to let us know what you think, or to add your own suggestions!
Case Histories, Kate Atkinson, 2004
Set in England, Case Histories is Atkinson’s first (and best) Jackson Brodie mystery. Brodie, a private detective, investigates three seemingly unrelated cases that eventually connect. Unlike many mysteries, the characters here are strong, well-rounded and developed; Atkinson keeps the dramatic tension high all the way through. This is a suspenseful, well-written book that will likely send you off in search of more of this author’s work. Request this book from the catalog.
Track of the Cat, Nevada Barr, 1993
This first mystery book of the Anna Pigeon series draws you in right away to the murder mystery story. Not only is the story gripping, but you also learn about West Texas and the life of the National Park Service rangers. When you finish this book, join Anna as she travels around the country to different national parks and the mysteries that unfold. Request this book from the catalog.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, Allison Hoover Bartlett, 2009
This is the surprising, unique, and true story of a book thief, a bookseller/detective, and the author’s relationship with each. Bartlett writes, “Collecting is like hunger, and having one more book doesn’t quench the longing for another.” Many a book lover can identify with that—but Bartlett shows how obsession tips over into theft. Request this book from the catalog.
Primary Justice, William Bernhardt, 1991
Ben Kincaid leaves the DA’s office to start his corporate legal career in this debut book in the legal thriller “Justice” series set in Tulsa, OK. While fighting for what is right, Ben discovers that his client’s interests may be in conflict with his moral compass. Follow Ben on his subsequent adventures through the rest of this series. Request this book from the catalog.
The Last Season, Eric Blehm, 2006
A fascinating account of a park ranger, Randy Morgenstern, who patrolled some of the remotest parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and then goes missing one day. For anyone who likes to “get lost” in a book, this is the ultimate nonfiction mystery story set in the wild. A superb addition to mountaineering lore. Request this book from the catalog.
Faithful Place, Tana French, 2010
Tana French is a master of character-driven psychological mysteries. In Faithful Place, Detective Frank Mackey of Dublin’s Murder Squad gets called to a case that is tied to a disappearance in his own past: Rosie Daly, his childhood sweetheart, who was supposed to meet him to run away together 22 years ago and never showed. Everyone, including Frank, thought she left without him—but what if that’s not what happened? Request this book from the catalog.
Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane, 2003
This psychological thriller set in the 1950s follows US Marshal Teddy Daniels as he investigates the disappearance of a patient from an asylum for the criminally insane. He discovers radical treatments from doctors and starts to question why he was assigned to the case. Teddy starts to wonder if he can trust his partner, his memory, or even his sanity. Request this book from the catalog.
The Kill Artist, Daniel Silva, 2000
In this fast paced complex spy thriller, Silva introduces us to Gabriel Allon, an art restorer and former key operative in the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. Allon is lured back into the fray by Israeli master spy Ari Shamron in order to help thwart a Palestinian plot to halt peace talks. Request this book from the catalog.
Child 44, Tom Rob Smith, 2008
Soviet Russia holds a firm belief that crime is a Western phenomenon, so a series of sickening child murders goes uninvestigated. Leo Demidov, a war hero who has always been loyal to the government, begins to notice a pattern in the murders and question the government, putting himself and his family in great danger. The tension and horror in this novel is as much from the life conditions in Russia as from the serial killer. Request this book from the catalog.