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Staff Reviews: Mystery

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


Cover: 'No One Knows'

"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

Cover: 'Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen'

"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

Cover: 'The Widow'

"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

Cover: 'The Shadow Year'

"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

Cover: 'River Road'

"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

Cover: 'Need'

"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

Cover: 'Welcome to Night Vale'

"Welcome to Night Vale" by Joseph Fink

★★★★ Nineteen-year-old Jackie Fierro, owner of the pawn shop in Night Vale, has remained nineteen-years-old for more years than she can remember and has grown accustomed to her unvarying routine. Then a man wearing a tan jacket and carrying a briefcase comes into her shop and gives her a piece of paper with the words, “KING CITY” on it. In that instant, her...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Lie Still'

"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

Cover: 'In Bitter Chill'

"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

Cover: 'The Zig Zag Girl'

"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

Cover: 'The Lake House'

"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

Cover: 'Pretty Girls'

"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

Cover: 'Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel'

"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

Cover: 'The Gates of Evangeline'

"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

Cover: 'The Ice Twins'

"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

Cover: 'The Walls Around Us'

"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

Cover: 'No One Else Can Have You'

"No One Else Can Have You" by Kathleen Hale

★★★★★ Seventeen-year-old Kippy Bushman is reeling from the murder of her best friend Ruth, not to mention the revelations in Ruth’s diary. Ruth’s boyfriend—Colt Widdacombe—seems like the perfect suspect—he has a history of violent behavior and a sense of entitlement that might lead him to believe he could get away with it. However, Kippy is convinced that the...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Dead to Me'

"Dead to Me" by Mary McCoy

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Alice has been waiting for four years for her older sister Annie to come home. Alice knew one thing—her wealthy, reputation-conscious, Hollywood-insider parents had not been truthful about the reasons for then sixteen-year-old Annie’s rebellious departure. Summoned to her comatose sister’s hospital bedside, Alice decides that she cannot...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Black-Eyed Susans'

"Black-Eyed Susans" by Julia Heaberlin

★★★★★ In this extremely addicting, fast-paced thriller, Tessa Cartwright is months away from watching the man on death row executed for leaving her mistaken for dead in a field filled with black-eyed susans and the bodies of young women who did not survive his attacks. But when a patch of freshly planted black- eyed susans appears under her bedroom window, Tessa...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Run You Down'

"Run You Down" by Julia Dahl

★★★★ In this sequel to "Invisible City", Rebekah Roberts—a twenty-three-year-old stringer for a New York City tabloid—is struggling to recover from the emotional trauma inflicted by her first investigation, which took her into the insular Hasidic community in Brooklyn, her mother’s hometown. Rebekah is Jewish by birth but still new to Jewish practice since she...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Beneath the Shadows'

"Beneath the Shadows" by Sara Foster

★★★★★ When newly-weds Adam and Grace inherit a cottage in the Yorkshire's moors, they leave their frantic life in London with their newborn Millie, ready for a quiet life. But when Adam disappears a week later and Millie is left on the doorstep, Grace's life is forever changed. A year later, Grace finally returns to the cottage to confront what happened, seeking...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Buttercream Bump Off'

"Buttercream Bump Off" by Jenn McKinlay

★★★★ The second novel in the cozy "Cupcake Mystery" series, finds Mel and Angie, co-owners of Fairy Tale Cupcakes Bakery, wrapped up way too closely in murder. Mel's mother has just found her first date in decades floating in his pool. Now she is a prime suspect, and her daughter Mel and best friend Angie race to find other suspects for the police to focus on....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'The Fate of Mercy Alban'

"The Fate of Mercy Alban" by Wendy Webb

★★★★★ This is a must read for fans of gothic suspense and mystery, with even a bit of romance thrown in to soften the strong female lead's journey of discovery that spans decades of family secrets. When Grace Alban hears of her mother's untimely passing, Grace returns to their sprawling family estate on Lake Superior with her teenage daughter. But after finding...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Paper Towns'

"Paper Towns" by John Green

★★★★★ Graduation is rapidly approaching, and Quentin, a fairly well-adjusted senior, has his future planned out—skip prom (why bother?), go to graduation, and start at Duke University at the fall. He is not one to take risks or draw attention. Then his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, childhood playmate, current acquaintance, and long-time unrequited crush, comes...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Cover: 'Once Upon a Lie'

"Once Upon a Lie" by Maggie Barbieri

★★★★ The first in a fantastic mystery series, readers meet Maeve Conlon, a baker whose bakery is struggling, a mother whose ex-husband has a new wife and baby, and daughter whose father is falling into the depths of dementia and possibly worse. When Maeve's brutal cousin dies under alarming circumstances, police start to be interested in her father as a prime...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

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