There's a good crop of mysteries and thrillers this month. Here are some of our favorites from the Best Mysteries & Thrillers of February.
Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith - I hesitate to bring up a thriller that isn't a February book, but a lot of readers are no doubt eagerly awaiting March 21st-- that's when Mississippi Blood, the third installment in Greg Iles' Natchez Burning trilogy, will publish. If this describes you, here's your chance to get some Mississippi violence and revenge while you're waiting. If it doesn't, the fantastic author Ron Rash described Desperation Road as "an elegantly written, perfectly paced novel about a man and woman indelibly marked by violence. Characters who would be mere stereotypes in a lesser writer's hands are fully realized, and we come to care deeply as they attempt to create a better life for themselves." Here's a really good character-driven thriller set in the south.
Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner - Lisa Gardner has built quite a writing career, and her latest novel continues to raise the bar. Set in Oregon, a thirteen-year-old girl is in the process of being adopted by FBI partners Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner. Eight years earlier, the girl's brother killed their natural father in order to defend himself and his sister--but now it appears he has turned violent again. Is the brother a hero or a killer? Read on and learn that the person you should fear most could be right... behind... you.
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller - This was a main Best of the Month selection. Swimming Lessons is the kind of book you want to spend an evening with. Maybe with a fire and a cup of tea. The story sets off when a famous elderly author looks out the window of a bookstore and thinks he sees his deceased wife. Upset by this event, he takes a near-fatal tumble and winds up in the hospital. Flora, his youngest daughter, returns home to help care for him—shortly thereafter, letters from her mother will be discovered hidden inside the books of her father’s prized library. Thus begin two plotlines, as Flora and her sister care for their father, and as their mother’s letters lay out her side of the marriage—starting with their first meeting when she was a student and he was a professor. Is their mother dead now, or did she run away? And what other secrets are hidden inside the letters? Swimming Lessons is a mystery about an uncoiling family that will keep you turning pages and cause your loyalties to ebb and flow like a tide.
Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama - Here is an interesting novel. It was a best-seller in Japan and England. In Japan it was the winner of the Best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year award. It's definitely more literary and atmospheric than many mysteries or thrillers you'll read. And it's long, although it reads quickly. I found myself getting lost in Six Four--and in a good way--but the novel doesn't follow along at a bullet ridden pace. There's politics. There's bureaucracy. It's not a novel that delivers you anywhere very quickly. The customer reviews are going to be split on this one, so if you're still on the fence, have a look at them to see which side you think you would fall on.
You can see all of our Best Mystery & Thrillers of February picks here.
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