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Staff Reviews: Mystery

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of books for all ages! (For reviews of books of all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty

"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

★★★★★ Mayhem. Madness. Murder. This is not how the annual trivia night fundraiser at Perriwee Public School was supposed to go, culminating in the death of one of the school's parents. But as the story unfolds, we find that appearances can be deceiving in this small, seemingly perfect oceanside community, and that boiling tensions will eventually erupt. ...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction

'All the Missing Girls' by Megan Miranda

"All the Missing Girls" by Megan Miranda

★★★★ 28 year-old Nicolette Farrell reluctantly returns to her North Carolina hometown after a 10-year absence in order to renovate and sell her childhood home and care for her father, who is ailing from Alzheimer's. While back in town, Nic reconnects with her brother Daniel, with whom she has a strained relationship; and her high school boyfriend Tyler, whose...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers

'Missing, Presumed' by Susie Steiner

"Missing, Presumed" by Susie Steiner

★★★★★ Manon Bradshaw loves her job as a detective sergeant in the Cambridgeshire Major Incident Team and excels at it, but her personal life is unfulfilling. She has grown weary of the internet dating scene, even as she plays the game of shaving a few years off her actual age (39) and cribbing her hobbies and interests from other people’s profiles. In her latest...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Mystery

'Ink and Bone' by Lisa Unger

"Ink and Bone" by Lisa Unger

★★★★ Finley does not know what it feels like to really be alone. Sitting on the floor by her bed is a young boy playing with a train, and on her way down the hall she passes a woman watching her carefully, both of whom have been long dead. Haunted by a gift she neither wants nor understands, Finley is quickly pulled into a missing persons case. Merri has been...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'All Is Not Forgotten' by Wendy Walker

"All Is Not Forgotten" by Wendy Walker

★★★★ In a small, wealthy community in Connecticut, Jenny Kramer is violently assaulted in a wooded area outside a high school house party. With her parents’ consent, she is given a relatively new drug that erases her memories of the traumatic event, in hopes of sparing her emotional distress. Unfortunately, the emotional trauma remains, and those emotional...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Little Black Lies' by Sharon Bolton

"Little Black Lies" by Sharon Bolton

★★★★★ In the Falkland Islands terror grips a small community when children start to go missing. Though no one can believe there is a murderer among them, everyone becomes involved when the third child disappears. Among them is Catrin, a woman who lost all of her children in a horrible accident three years ago, who now seeks revenge on the woman who used to be her...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'I Let You Go' by Clare Mackintosh

"I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh

★★★★★ In this unforgettable and deeply moving novel, Jenna Gray's life is catapulted into chaos one rainy night in November. To try to survive her nightmare, she escapes to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast. But her past never stays truly hidden, and she is plagued by what happened and the choices she made, even though she tries to heal from her mistakes. When...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Fool Me Once' by Harlan Coben

"Fool Me Once" by Harlan Coben

★★★★ In his latest thriller, Harlan Coben introduces us to Maya, a pilot recently home from the war. When the unthinkable happens and her husband is murdered by unknown assailants, Maya focuses on caring for her daughter more closely. Maya's life is radically changed again when she sees the impossible: her dead husband playing with their daughter on the newly...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Wilde Lake' by Laura Lippman

"Wilde Lake" by Laura Lippman

★★★★★ Luisa “Lu” Brandt, a middle-aged widow and mother of eight-year-old twins, is the new state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a position her highly-esteemed father once held. Homicide is relatively rare in Howard County, so Lu is eager to prove herself as she tries the case of a homeless man being tried for strangling a woman to death in her apartment...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Where I Lost Her' by T. Greenwood

"Where I Lost Her" by T. Greenwood

★★★★★ I absolutely loved this gripping new novel! Not only was it about a woman's difficult but ultimately uplifting journey of healing after an adoption gone horribly wrong, it was a captivating mystery about a missing little girl seen wandering in the woods. As Jess is on her way back from getting more wine to drown her emotions at her best friend's cabin in...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'No One Knows' by J. T. Ellison

"No One Knows" by J. T. Ellison

★★★★★ In this fast-paced new thriller, Aubrey Hamilton is still intensely grieving over the mysterious disappearance of her husband five years later. Not only was she accused (but thankfully acquitted) of his murder, she now receives a letter from the state declaring Josh officially dead, even though no body has ever been found. It seems that her ex mother-in-law...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen' by Kathleen Hale

"Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen" by Kathleen Hale

★★★★ Kippy Bushman is still recovering from the physical and psychological damage caused by her investigation into her best friend Ruth’s death. She and her father have a rocky relationship, her former tormenter Libby is the closest thing she has to a friend, and the sociopath who killed her friend Ruth continues to contact her. At least things are going well...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Widow' by Fiona Barton

"The Widow" by Fiona Barton

★★★★ What would you do if you found out the innermost secrets your husband has locked away; that he has a whole other life he's been keeping from you? What if you realize your husband could really be a monster? These are the questions Jean is forced to face after a local girl suddenly vanishes and the police end up on her doorstep. The novel shifts between the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Shadow Year' by Hannah Richell

"The Shadow Year" by Hannah Richell

★★★★★ In this captivating novel, Lila is devastated from a terrible loss. When she is anonymously sent the key to a tucked away cottage in the Lake District, Lila flees London for the quiet of the mysterious cottage. As her bruises, both physical and mental, slowly start to heal, Lila throws herself into renovating the hidden cottage. But the cottage isn't what...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'River Road' by Carol Goodman

"River Road" by Carol Goodman

★★★★ Nan Lewis, still devastated by her young daughter's death by a drunk driver, just found out she's not getting tenure at the college where she teaches creative writing. On the way home, emotional from the day's revelations, she hits a deer that she's unable to find after she strikes it. The next day the police are knocking on her door because a student was...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Need' by Joelle Charbonneau

"Need" by Joelle Charbonneau

★★★★ The teens in Nottawa Wisconsin high school are joining the newest, hottest networking site and answering one question: what do you need. In exchange for a minor task, the NEED site will fulfill their request. One of the teens, Kaylee, is desperate to help her brother who needs a new kidney. Others are asking for backstage passes to a concert, new iPhones...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Lie Still' by Julia Heaberlin

"Lie Still" by Julia Heaberlin

★★★★★ Julia Heaberlin is one of my new favorite voices in the mystery genre. I've loved all of her books so far, and "Lie Still" is no exception! Emily Page and her husband have moved from New York City to small town Texas in order for her husband to accept a job of police chief. Emily, pregnant with the couple's first child, hopes her haunted past and the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'In Bitter Chill' by Sarah Ward

"In Bitter Chill" by Sarah Ward

★★★ Two girls disappear in a small English countryside town in 1978. One of them walks out of the woods alive, while the other is never found. Over thirty years later, the mother of the still missing girl commits suicide. Days later, another body is found. For present day detectives and Rachel, the girl who survived the day she still has no memory of, the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Zig Zag Girl' by Elly Griffiths

"The Zig Zag Girl" by Elly Griffiths

★★★★ When the body of a girl, cut into three, is found in Brighton by Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens, his first thought is the popular magic trick called the Zig Zag Girl. His next thought is of an old friend he served with in the war, Max Mephisto, who was the inventor of the famous trick. When the two combine forces to solve the murder, the clues seem to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Lake House' by Kate Morton

"The Lake House" by Kate Morton

★★★★★ This astounding and captivating new novel from Kate Morton is utterly amazing. When detective Sadie Sparrows is forced to take a leave from work and stay with her grandfather in Cornwall, she stumbles upon an abandoned lake house standing beautiful and stagnant in time. When she finds out that the family left everything in place behind locked doors after...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction

'Pretty Girls' by Karin Slaughter

"Pretty Girls" by Karin Slaughter

★★★★ Twenty years ago, free-spirited and beautiful Julia Carroll disappeared. Her body was never found, and her family has not been able to put her to rest. Unable to come to terms with their grief, Julia's family is ripped apart. Her father dies searching for an answer, while her sisters, Claire and Lydia, refuse to speak to each other. In the present, the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel' by Robert Galbraith

"Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ When a severed leg is sent to Cormoran Strike’s assistant Robin Ellacott, the private detective immediately knows of three individuals from his past that could be targeting them and has murdered a young woman in the process. As the two coworkers search for the killer, they delve into each other’s personal lives and become closer than ever before. While the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Gates of Evangeline' by Hester Young

"The Gates of Evangeline" by Hester Young

★★★★ Charlotte Cates has not only just lost her young son suddenly, but now single and completely alone, she wakes up from a haunting dream where a young boy, around her son's age, asks her for help in finding him. When she is given a sudden job opportunity to write a book about an infamous thirty-year-old cold case about a young boy, Charlotte feels she must...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Ice Twins' by S. K. Tremayne

"The Ice Twins" by S. K. Tremayne

★★★★★ What would you do if your one surviving daughter, a year after the other twin's death, suddenly tells you she's really the dead twin? For over a year you've been calling her the wrong name and the wrong daughter survived. Forced to move from London into a lighthouse on a remote Island in Scotland after financial disaster and the death of one of their twin...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'The Walls Around Us' by Nova Ren Suma

"The Walls Around Us" by Nova Ren Suma

★★★★★ Ballerinas, a juvenile detention facility, and a murder--what happened the day two ballerinas were found dead with Ori and Violet at the scene? Ori is the best ballerina at the studio, earning all the solos and leading roles, while her best friend Violet is always in the background. Ori comes from an unstable, poor home, while Violet has adoring, well-off...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

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