Off the Shelf: Escape into a good mystery

Right now who couldn’t use an escape? I love nothing better than an absorbing mystery that keeps me turning pages until the end. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed recently.

“Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke

When two bodies show up within a few weeks of each other in a bayou behind a roadside cafe in rural East Texas, Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is convinced that they are related to activities of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white nationalist group. As he begins his investigation into the murders, he finds his own life and marriage in jeopardy. Will justice be served? If so, whose? Locke’s compelling writing distracted me from current events through the last delicious page.

“Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)” by Kate Atkinson

Really, who can resist a fatalistic Scottish curmudgeon? Former cop turned PI, Jackson Brodie solves entwined cases—missing children, murder victims, and a criminal seeking reunion with a relative. Enjoy the first? There are five in the series, ending in last year’s delightful Big Sky. If you’ve never tried clever Kate Atkinson, you’re in for a treat as she has a gift for interconnected plots.

“The Death of Mrs. Westaway” by Ruth Ware

If you received a letter telling you that you’d inherited a fortune from a relative you’d never heard of and were sure you weren’t related to, what would you do? A young, struggling, tarot card reader with serious financial troubles decides to accept the boon and finds herself headed to an eerie, decrepit, Miss Havisham-like, Trepassan Hall in Cornwall, posing as a relative to the deceased Mrs. Westaway. When she arrives, she begins to question her decision as it becomes readily apparent that things are far from simple, and perhaps even deadly. Wickedly atmospheric, it will keep readers guessing until the final heart-pounding end.

“A Madness of Sunshine” by Nalini Singh

When a promising young woman goes missing in the remote town of Golden Cove, Detective Will Gallagher can’t help but be reminded about the disappearance of a several hikers nearly a decade before. Are their disappearances linked? Meanwhile, the sudden appearance of a beautiful local prodigal daughter with a link to the victim (and most of the suspects) adds an element of steamy romance. New Zealand’s uncompromising, brutal coast steals the show.

“In The Woods (The Dublin Murder Squad #1)” by Tana French

Oh, the layers of complexity in the mind! This is one of those twisty psychological thrillers that keeps you reading all night long. Dublin murder detectives Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned the case of a twelve-year-old girl that mirrors a twenty-year-old unsolved case with a link to Ryan. As they dive deeper into the case, will Ryan be able to maintain his objectivity and deal with the unbidden memories of the past? This one will leave you thinking long after you close the spine…look for others in the series which are narrated by different members of the Dublin Squad.

Need more suggestions? The staff at the North Olympic Library are here for you! Visit nols.org/Bookmatch for more information.

Jennifer Knight is the Youth Services Librarian for the North Olympic Library System.

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