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The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (2012)

A thriller without a trail of blood and gore and an author with expertise in the art world, B.A. Shapiro takes us underground to the history and methods of art forgery. When a struggling artist commits to do a reproduction of a famous painting by Degas, the action begins. The plot twists and turns between the past and the present, but I was never confused; rather, I was fascinated by Shapiro’s knowledge in the art world. The Art Forger races to an ending that left me hoping this author will write another book.

The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker by Eric Powell (2007)

Fans of The Goon will go into Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker not knowing what to expect. But the first page says it all: "this ain't funny."

The Goon is an Eisner Award-winning comic series about a zombie-killing gangster and his stab-happy partner in a 1930s/1940s pastiche of a town overrun by monsters, and known for its black (and at times, quite slapstick) humor. But Chinatown is a marked departure, instead focusing on the titular character Goon's mysterious past and the reasons for his scarred face and heart. Writer and artist Eric Powell pulls it off beautifully, the almost purely black-and-white art evoking the clear noir influences that have always been present in the darker stories in The Goon.
After the publication of Chinatown, the regular series took a more dramatic shift, while still maintaining its black comedy elements. For this reason, it's both essential for fans of the series and a good jumping off point for new readers.

 

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli (2012)

This is at once a modern family saga of the Brands, who have produced generations of thieves, con men, and crooks, but it also story of two brothers. One brother, wild Collie, is in prison, waiting to die for the brutal, senseless, massacre of eight people; the other brother, Terry, a man with regrets, left the family for five years but has returned because Collie needs him to solve a mystery. Now there is twist. Collie claims one of the victims was killed by serial killer, who is flying under the radar and will continue to kill more women.

And so the reader enters the world of the dark side. Is there honor among thieves? Is loyalty to the family their strange salvation? Will Terry find his own core? Wasn't the "good thief" the first to enter heaven?

This book is more than crime fiction; it explores the psychological effects of one man against his environment who dares to find peace. The author is the winner of the International Thrillers Writers Award and rightly so. Check out The Last Kind Words today.

The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diane Wagman (2012)

Winnie, a mom and ex-wife to a famous game show host and daughter of a movie star, is kidnapped and she doesn't really understand the motive behind it. As the novel goes on, clues are revealed. The book is told from numerous points of view and the characters are very well developed for as short as the book is.

According to a Booklist review, "The novel is a darkly humorous and occasionally violent exercise in suspense, and a dramatic exposition of the Stockholm syndrome. Wagman does a nice job of lending her characters psychological depth and creating a fast-paced, readable plot."

Check out The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diane Wagman.

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Hansen (2012)

Cathy Bailey’s new boyfriend seems almost too perfect to be true. Their “perfect” relationship quickly becomes a nightmare. A portrayal of obsession and recovery make this a can’t-put-down thriller to the last page.

Check out Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Hansen today.

Mad River Road by Joy Fielding (2006)

An evil man just released from prison and obsessed with getting revenge on his ex-wife. A misguided young woman who thinks she has finally met the man of her dreams. A woman and her young son living in fear in Ohio. Blend these all together and you’ll have a suspenseful thriller that is guaranteed to keep you up late into the night. A well-written story. I was sorry to see it come to an end.

Check out Mad River Road by Joy Fielding today.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)

I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn...it was the best book I have read in a LONG time. This captivating story unfolds in alternating chapters. A woman disappears from her home on the morning of her 5th wedding anniversary and her husband is the prime suspect. The truth is revealed in a tale with twist and turns up until the very end. This book kept me turning pages long into the night! I highly recommend it!

Defending Jacob by William Landay (2012)

An unforgettable page-turner with surprising plot twists and well-developed, complex characters. Anyone who enjoys reading mysteries or legal thrillers will want to read this book. It takes you on a suspenseful and emotional roller coaster ride that touches on many family and social issues, and gives you a lot to think about. This would be a great choice for book clubs as well!

Check out Defending Jacob by William Landay.
 

Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt (2012)

Jamie Wagner is an underachieving lawyer without much ambition until he takes on the pro bono case of a lifetime. As he meets the plaintiff he is drawn to her and thus to her problem, which is a pip. She is in prison for killing her husband in cold blood, her daughter will die without a heart transplant, and she wishes to donate her heart to her daughter by committing suicide.

The plus side of this book is the interweaving of an old story that completely changes the facts as we know them. Wry humor and real human beings give this read a special voice. Enjoyed it immensely.

Read David's Rosenfelt's Heart of a Killer today!

The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins

The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins (2011)
The Worst Thing is a strong suspense novel with a few surprises. Bryan Bennett’s worst thing is panic attacks. But he has learned to deal with them, at least he thinks so. However, when his boss suggests that he make a trip to Iceland to teach a seminar on hostage negotiation his composure begins to slip.

Bryan agrees to go to Iceland to please his very patient and understanding wife and ironically becomes the hostage! The author’s interesting insights and an equally interesting setting make this a good reading experience.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (2011)
Absorbing and well crafted, S.J. Watson's debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, is definitely a thriller. It pieces together a story inspired by true amnesiacs and makes you realize how much our identity depends on our memories.

It is the story of Christine Lucas, a woman suffering from severe impairment to her episodic and long term memory. Christine is able to remember things for a number of hours…but when she goes to sleep, she loses all of the memories that she has built up over the course of the day. This book is a psychological thriller and one with a great plot line.

We know that something isn’t quite right from the beginning, but as we are no more clued in than Christine (whose story we continue to follow through her diary entries). We only know what she knows. A great suspense novel!

Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (2005)
This Icelandic writer is pure noire. He is grouped with the popular Scandinavian crime writers who are currently hot sellers. As read by George Guidall, Inspector Erlendur is an empathetic policeman who investigates a complex situation with stubborn persistence, always digging into the past. The paths finally come together, but the journey intrigues the reader. The voice of Guidall gives a humanistic touch that allows the listener to accept the cold, dark atmosphere of Iceland.

For more Scandinavian crime novels here is a list of our favorites.

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (2010)
Interesting premise about a woman who is contacted by the man who had kidnapped her as a teen, holding her captive for weeks, and is now on death row and about to be executed for murder. What makes it more interesting is that it was inspired by a true crime.

The story alternates between present day and 1985, when Eliza was kidnapped, and provides haunting insights into the mind of the kidnapper, the effects of the kidnapping on Eliza, as well as an interesting look at the death penalty. Although some of the issues in this book are a bit disturbing, I found the characters to be intriguing and the storyline absorbing.

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann (2010)
Set the Night on Fire is the first book in a long time that I literally could NOT put down. I lost a lot of sleep with this book, but it was worth it. It's part historical fiction, part thriller, and an all around well-written story.

It starts and ends in the present with the daughter of activists from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, who is trying to deal with a family tragedy and fight for her own life with stalkers watching her every move. Eventually she finds out it all goes back to 1968. The middle of the book tells the story of what happened to her parents and their friends from 1968-70.

Watch a trailer for the book:

Saving Max by Antoinette Van Heugten

Saving Max by Antoinette Van Heugten (2010)
This is a good legal thriller that will keep readers engrossed until the last chapter. Danielle Parkman is a single mother who struggles against insurmountable odds to prove her teenage son is innocent after being accused of murder. The novel also explores the difficulties parents face when raising a child with special needs.

For more legal thrillers here is a list of books in genre  we recommend.