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2019 Staff Picks: Mystery and Suspense

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • The Wolf and the Watchman: A Novel

    2019 by Natt och Dag, Niklas

    If you like your historical fiction cruel, bleak, and pitch dark, you’ll have a field day with this unsettling Scandinavian import. Man is wolf to man, indeed. Recommended by Steven.

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  • The Girl Who Lived Twice

    2019 by Lagercrantz, David

    More of Salander and her evil sister, along with the usual cuprits. Entertaining and fast-paced. Recommended by Mary.

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  • The Devil Aspect: The Strange Truth behind the Occurrences at Hrad Orlů Asylum for the Criminally Insane : A Novel

    2019 by Russell, Craig

    Russell skillfully balances no fewer than seven creatively vile murderers, Nazi sympathizers, and malignant supernatural forces in his polished debut thriller. Recommended by Steven.

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  • Lady in the Lake: A Novel

    2019 by Lippman, Laura

    In 1966 Baltimore, Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz is desperate to escape her comfortable life and marriage. In short order, she leaves her husband, gets a job at a newspaper, and starts a torrid affair with a policeman. Between chapters shown from the main character’s point of view, Lippman writes about side characters so real and human that I wanted a whole book about each one. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • The Silent Patient

    2019 by Michaelides, Alex

    An interesting and riveting thriller set in London. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the storytelling, as well as the writing style, from this debut author. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • The Turn of the Key

    2019 by Ware, Ruth

    By far my favorite book of the year! One of the best thrillers I've read in a long time, and definitely Ware's best. Tense and taut, right up to the very end, where too many thrillers let me down. This one did not disappoint. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • The Cold Way Home

    2019 by Keller, Julia

    The eighth in the Bell Elkins series, Keller once again delivers an excellent mystery featuring her fiesty, emboldened former rural West Virginia prosecutor. Not as good as the first in the series, but Keller's style and structure is very readable and will keep readers coming back for more. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • Gallows Court

    2019 by Edwards, Martin

    More a thriller than a traditional mystery, Edward’s delightfully old-fashioned tale of a murderous conspiracy set in 1930s England will keep you unbalanced and guessing from beginning to end. Recommended by Steven.

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  • Loch of the Dead

    2019 by De Muriel, Oscar

    De Muriel never ceases to impress me with his prose, plotting, and sense of humor in his trademark blend of historical mystery with all the trappings of supernatural horror fiction. Recommended by Steven.

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  • The Department of Sensitive Crimes

    2019 by McCall Smith, Alexander

    Charming series debut set in contemporary Sweden. As with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, the cases investigated are a vehicle for exploring human behavior; the crimes themselves are rarely dramatic. Detective Vlarg is a kind man with romantic feelings for a colleague, a possible cliche but always fresh in this author's hands. Recommended by Lukie.

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