Crime Fiction's "Girl" Power | Mystery Genre Spotlight

Women dominate psychological suspense, the Roaring '20s hit historicals, and diverse representation improves but has a way to go; meanwhile, a debut thriller from Zoje Stage demonstrates a truly murderous mother-daughter connection

Spring and summer are particularly rich publishing seasons for crime fiction, which continues to outpace other kinds of fiction in popularity. According to ­Barbara Hoffert’s 2018 Materials Survey feature, “What’s Hot Now?” (LJ 2/1/18, p. 34–36), mysteries, and in particular thrillers, were cited as the top circulating print genres by fully 70 percent of the survey’s respondents, compared with last year’s 56 percent and only 42 percent in 2013. In order to assess trends and forthcoming books, we asked publishers a few questions about the state of the industry and books to look out for over the next few months and into the fall.

GIRLS, GONE AND Still Selling

In the wake of the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, publishers continue to traffic in suspense novels involving missing women. Riley Sager, author of the best-selling Final Girls, gives us The Last Time I Lied (Dutton, Jul.), in which her protagonist, Emma Davis, returns to her old summer camp to look into a 15-year-old tragedy involving several of her friends who vanished without a trace. In The Disappearing (Dutton, Jul.), Edgar Award winner Lori Roy weaves a dark narrative about a single mother who comes back to her small North Florida hometown; when Lane Fielding’s older daughter goes missing, she wonders if it is connected to Lane’s father’s sinister role as the director of a boys’ reform school.

In a twist on the increasingly popular lost child theme, Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone (Atria, Apr.) features a mother who meets a young girl who uncannily resembles her long- missing daughter. Holly Overton, who broke onto the psychological thriller scene with the compulsive Baby Doll, returns with her sophomore effort, The Runaway (Redhook: Hachette, Aug.); her protagonist is a psychologist for the Los Angeles Police Department who searches for her runaway foster daughter. In Still Water (Touchstone, Jul.), the sequel to Amy Stuart’s Arthur Ellis Award–nominated debut, Still Mine, Clare O’Dey is hired to track down a missing mother and son. Complicating Clare’s hunt is that the town where her targets vanished is a haven for women who want to escape their past.

Though most of these domestic thrillers are written by women, Jeff Abbott, who took a break from his “Sam Capra” series with 2017’s Blame, a female-led stand-alone, returns with The Three Beths (Grand Central, Oct.). Mariah Dunning catches a glimpse of her mother, Beth, who disappeared two years earlier. Now two other women named Beth are missing, and Mariah is determined to find a connection among all three.

“There has always been a strong element of psychological suspense in my books, whether they were more thriller or mystery,” says the author. “It’s liberating in a way to be able to go so deep into a damaged psyche—before I did it more with antagonists, as opposed to protagonists. It’s compelling to see characters strip away their own view of themselves and get closer to the truths about their own lives.”

An artist who fails to show up to her big museum opening is the subject of Maria Hummel’s Still Lives (Counterpoint, Jun.; LJ 4/15/18), a literary, feminist thriller that Counterpoint associate publisher and publicity director Megan Fishmann believes will be one of the most talked-about books of the summer. Maggie Richter, an editor at L.A.’s Rocque ­Museum, gets drawn into investigating the disappearance of provocative artist Kim Lord, whose new exhibit is a series of self-portraits depicting herself as famous murdered women.

“Maria’s intimate first-person narrator, with her seemingly off-handed observations that hint of psychological trouble beneath the surface, feel very much like reading a conventional thriller,” explains Fishmann. “But her fully formed characters, the smartly noted details about the art world’s inner workings, and the through-line of wonderfully wry humor are all elements sure to satisfy readers of Naomi Alderman’s The Power, Edan Lepucki’s Woman No. 17, or Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.”

FRIENDSHIPS AND FAMILY TIES

Publishers such as Kensington Publishing are seeing more novels of psychological suspense that explore the dynamics in female relationships, which, notes Kensington communications manager Lulu Martinez, can be either a source of strength or something that turns dark and evil. She cites Kensington’s June release, Little Sister, as one example. The premise of British author Isabel Ashdown’s U.S. debut asks the question, “What if your sister did the unforgivable—but if you cannot trust your sister, then whom can you trust?” Catherine O’Connell’s The Last Night Out (Severn House, Sept.) centers on a bride-to-be when one of her friends is murdered the night of her bachelorette party, and the police suspect it was one of the guests who did the deed.

High on Little, Brown’s summer list are ­Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made for This (Jun.) and Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand (Jul.). Editor Emily Giglierano points out that both titles focus on toxic women’s friendships as much as bad marriages. “This year, it feels like we’re at another moment of transition. The bad-marriage [theme of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train] has played out, so now we get to look at other relationships, like motherhood and social class.”

Hector DeJean, associate publicity director of St. Martin’s Minotaur Books imprint, agrees. “Thrillers focusing on family, marriage, and other domestic relationships have proven wildly popular, and in forthcoming books by Jennifer Hillier and Sandie Jones these intimate connections of family and friendship—beyond married couples—turn deadly.” In Jar of Hearts (Jun.), Hillier delves into the story of a woman who survived a relationship with a dangerous boyfriend and kept secrets about her best friend’s murder, while Jones, in her debut, The Other Woman (Aug.), focuses on a woman facing an increasingly manipulative mother-in-law.

Anxieties about motherhood and the parent-child relationship are driving other domestic thrillers. Inspired by the case of the New York City nanny who killed two children in her care, Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny, winner of France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, became a surprise U.S. best seller when it was released by Penguin Books this past January. Coming in July from St. Martin’s is Zoje Stage’s [see a Q&A with the author below] chilling debut, Baby Teeth, in which silent and emotionally detached seven-year-old Hanna conspires to kill her mother. St. Martin’s executive editor Jennifer Weis devoured the book in one sitting. “I couldn’t look away as it exposed family truths, a child’s threat to her parents’ relationship, and a continuous feeling of impending doom with dire consequences. We Need To Talk About Kevin meets Gone Girl meets The Omen—it hits all the right notes.”

Sisterhood bonds are examined in award-winning sf/fantasy and YA author Sarah Zettel’s first foray into domestic suspense, The Other Sister (Grand Central, Aug.). Wild Geraldine Monroe runs away after her mother’s death and then returns home to her stolid sister, Marie, and their emotionally abusive father, Martin. When the siblings band together to kill Martin, the plot exposes shattering truths about the family. Crooked Lane Books’ lead fall title, Laurie ­Petrou’s Sister of Mine (Aug.), also revolves around a deadly secret that tears two sisters apart. “Psychological suspense is shifting in new directions for us,” notes senior editor Chelsey Emmelhainz. She sees a resurgence of domestic suspense “but with an increased focus on interior lives, lies, and ­secrets.”

Q&A: Zoje Stage

By Jordan Foster SHORTLY after Talia Sherer, Macmillan’s director of library marketing, buzzed about Zoje Stage’s debut novel, Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s, Jul.; starred review, LJ 4/1/18), to a crowd of 1,000 librarians at last month’s Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Philadelphia, the title became the most requested giveaway ARC at the publisher’s booth. The lucky readers who snagged a copy discovered a deliciously creepy thriller about a budding young sociopath who conspires to kill her anxious stay-at-home mom so she can have her father to herself. You chose to split the narrative between Suzette Jensen and her seven-year-old daughter, Hanna. What challenges did you face in creating a voice for Hanna, a character who chooses not to speak out loud but has a rich internal life? Writing Hanna’s POV was, in fact, the most writing fun I’ve ever had. I loved the challenge of trying to see the world through a child’s eyes in general and through Hanna’s unique eyes in particular. I had to ask a lot of questions—from the most basic (“Would Hanna know about this?”) to the more esoteric (“How might she misinterpret this and then what conclusions would she draw?”). Even in the exposition for her chapters, I tried to think visually, because she is not confident with words but is bursting with imagery and emotions she can’t figure out how to express. Alex Jensen, Suzette’s husband and Hanna’s father, plays a key role in the narrative, yet the reader sees him only through the dual—and often dueling—lenses of Suzette and Hanna, and they paint very different pictures. What made you decide to make him the one major character who doesn’t tell his side of the story? This story is very much a battle of perception and wills between Suzette and Hanna, so while I very much wanted to make Alex an important and developed character, his perspective doesn’t drive the narrative. I also find it somehow more interesting for readers to “figure him out” through the, as you put it, dueling lenses of his wife and daughter. Illness and the body, especially Suzette’s and her struggles with Crohn’s disease, almost seem like physical manifestations of the emotional pain that the characters suffer and also inflict on each other. How did you balance, as a writer, the world of the body and the world of the mind? In real life, I think there can be a very strong body-mind connection. It’s a popular self-help belief that the body can be healed through meditative thought processes. However, because I have Crohn’s myself, I view this in the opposite way. From my perspective, the body impacts the thought process more than the other way around. This is likely true for Suzette as well: part of her emotional insecurity and her doubts about her efforts to be a good wife and mother stem from a deeper sense of failing, having been unable to “rely” on her body for much of her life. Her illness also serves as a tangible vulnerability, which is something Hanna recognizes and exploits. Truth, and the manipulation of it, are tropes that work well in your novel. How did you sustain the suspense when the reader has knowledge about Hanna’s behavior and yet Suzette’s retelling of that behavior isn’t always met with sympathy or acceptance, even from her own husband? Many people don’t know this about me, but I am a theatrically trained actor. One of the most indelible things I learned from an acting class was in regard to playing “evil” characters. The advice we were given was to never think of a character as evil but to see their motivation as a natural consequence of their life, their experiences, [and] their desire. This changed my thinking in many areas. In regard to Baby Teeth it meant that I was always focused on each character’s truth. I think the tension actually comes from the reader and their awareness (and frustration) that there is a disconnect between one person’s truth and another’s. Alex, a Swedish transplant in Pittsburgh, keeps much of his home country alive by speaking bits of the language to Suzette and Hanna and, in a climactic scene, celebrating the Swedish tradition of warding off evil with bonfires. What made you decide to incorporate Swedish culture into the novel? Writing can be the most magical process: you make a decision, and then see how it unfolds in ways you never foresaw. A few years ago I started teaching myself Swedish—partly because of a general love of languages, and partly because of an interest in Scandinavian film. When I first decided to make Alex Swedish I thought, “Oh, this will be fun—drop a few Swedish words in here and there.” But, of course, it became more than that: his heritage became an integral part of his career, which spoke to the home they live in, and various cozy family traditions. As the novel developed, and Hanna’s antics worsened, I realized I could [use] a Swedish holiday in a rather unusual way. So that initial decision impacted many levels of the story. Jordan Foster is a freelance writer living in Portland, OR. She received her MFA in fiction from New York’s Columbia University Photos by Karen Meyers

 

Female-Centric Suspense

It’s too soon to know exactly how the #metoo and #timesup movements will affect mystery and suspense writing, but plenty of strong female protagonists are headlining a crop of new titles. Zachary Wagman, an editor at HarperCollins’s Ecco imprint, notes that it takes a while for real-world events to trickle down into fiction. Still, he argues that women crime writers and female characters in crime fiction have been getting bolder and more complicated for a while now. “I suspect that the palpable anger and bravery that’s in the air will only further embolden writers and novels, which is a very good thing.” One such promising example on Wagman’s list is Christine Mangan, who debuted in March with Tangerine; set in 1956 Tangier, this literary thriller follows two former college roommates with a twisted past as they explore a beautiful and seedy Moroccan city that’s inspired so many writers.

“The resilient woman is the next unreliable narrator,” says William Morrow publicity director Danielle Bartlett. “We want courage and conviction in our female protagonists.” She credits the pioneering efforts of veteran authors such as Sara Paretsky and her “V.I. Warshawski” series for this surge of female-centric crime fiction. In Shell Game (Oct.), V.I. returns to Chicago to investigate the case of a stolen artifact. Meanwhile, Owen Laukkanen takes a break from his acclaimed “Stevens and Windermere” series to introduce McKenna Rhodes, the captain of a salvage boat in Gale Force (Putnam, May; LJ 4/15/18), who must battle a rival operator, Japanese gangsters, and a monster storm as she seeks to score a big payday for her crew and redemption for herself.

Women and Violence

Four-year-old Crooked Lane has always featured tenacious and capable female leads, and senior editor Emmelhainz is seeing that demand continue. “We’re also finding that some of the long-accepted, somewhat-sexist tropes of suspense and thrillers (i.e., gratuitous violence against women) are being challenged by readers, authors, and even award committees.” This past January, British screenwriter and author Bridget Lawless launched the Staunch book prize for the best thriller that doesn’t depict any violence against women.

The winner will be named in November, but Polis Books founder and publisher Jason Pinter questions the practicalities of administering such an award. Last fall he published Winnie M. Li’s Dark Chapter, now nominated for an Edgar for best first novel (the paperback edition releases in April). Inspired by the author’s own sexual assault, the book depicts a rape in terrifying but necessary detail. “­Winnie knew how important it was for the reader to visualize that kind of violence up close and personal, in order to truly understand it.” Going forward, though, Pinter believes crime fiction will take a larger role in examining its use of extreme violence.

In the meantime, many female characters are no longer passive victims. In The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra (MIRA: Harlequin, Oct.), a woman seeks to destroy the mean girls who bullied her in high school. Sandra Block’s What Happened That Night (Sourcebooks Landmark, Jun.) focuses on a Harvard student assaulted at a party who years later avenges herself on her attackers.

Gracie Doyle, the editorial director of ­Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer mystery imprint, has observed particular interest from both readers and writers in women who have fought back from victimhood and become warriors for justice. “Jude Fontaine, the heroine of Anne Frasier’s 2017 Thriller Award winner, The Body Reader, and the upcoming The Body Counter (Jun.), channels the trauma of her own kidnapping into a unique ability to ‘read’—and catch—killers of other women.”

The 1920s Roar Into Mystery

World War II–era mysteries remain a hot category, but Soho Press senior vice president and associate publisher Juliet Grames receives so many submissions set during this period that for her such a crime novel has to be really special to set itself apart from the ­deluge. But lately she has seen fantastic reader interest in other historical periods, perhaps especially the 1920s. Out this month is David Downing’s final volume in his espionage series, The Dark Clouds Shining (Soho Crime), which takes place in 1921 Russia, just after the Bolshevik Revolution. In May, Barbara Cleverly, the doyenne of the between-the-wars British crime novel, launches her new series set in 1920s Cambridge, starting with The Fall of Angels (Soho Crime) about the university’s first female students.

“The 1920s have been an interesting foil for our own time because of the political and social shifts the characters encounter,” says Grames. “It is also a period that makes room for fascinating, dynamic, and nuanced female characters, since women’s rights movements were in full swing all over the world, and readers are certainly hungry for more and different female leads in the crime fiction genre.”

Australian Kiki Button, the star of Tessa Lunney’s April in Paris, 1921 (Pegasus Crime, Jul.), must draw on her spycraft skills acquired during World War I to track down a double agent and a missing Picasso in Jazz Age Paris. In a switch from his technothrillers, Terrence McCauley explores the end of the Prohibition era (1920–33) in The Fairfax Incident (Polis, Jun.), set in 1933 New York City. “As shown by television [series] like Boardwalk Empire, this is a ripe time period with many stories to tell,” explains Polis’s Pinter. Meanwhile, best-selling author Andrew Gross continues his detour into the past, with Button Men (Minotaur, Sept.), a story of brothers in New York’s garment business in the 1930s, one of whom becomes involved in the Mob.

The two decades between the world wars was also ­traditional mystery’s Golden Age, and ­Sophie Hannah returns this August with her salute to Agatha Christie’s beloved Hercule Poirot, The Mystery of Three Quarters (Morrow). November sees the arrival of best-selling trivia book writer Ben Schott’s homage to English humorist P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the King of Clubs (Little, Brown), in which Wodehouse’s iconic characters Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves become spies in service to the Crown.

The Alienist effect

The Victorian era still appeals to historical mystery fans, as best-selling authors such as Anne Perry and C.S. Harris have proven, but Kensing­ton assistant editor Elizabeth May believes the success of TNT’s television series The Alienist, based on Caleb Carr’s best-selling historical thriller set in 1896 New York City, may bring new readership to the genre. On May’s summer list is Heather Redmond’s A Tale of Two Murders (Kensington, Aug.), which she describes as a reimagining of “a young Charles Dickens as an amateur sleuth in London, during his days working as a journalist before he became a novelist, and how solving mysteries may have influenced his future writing.”

Other periods like the Edwardian era and the American Revolution are becoming more prevalent as settings for historical mysteries. “Given the success of [the Broadway musical] Hamilton, I see early American historicals becoming more popular across genres, and the wild, lawless time is ripe for historical thrillers,” explains Tor/Forge executive editor Diana Gill, who eagerly anticipates the June release of The Devil’s Half Mile (Jun.) by Paddy Hirsch. “Set in 1799 New York, this historical fiction debut by an NPR journalist has all the atmosphere and action you want. It appeals to fans of historical page-turners like those of ­Caleb Carr along with the viewers of Ripper Street and Peaky Blinders.”

Loren Jaggers, associate director of publicity for Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, credits the strong shift in the genre to readers paying more attention to character than necessarily historical period. “Strong female characters, more often breaking the social norms of the ­period they are written in, have resonated with readers in very strong ways.” Among them is Charlotte Holmes, the star of Sherry Thomas’s “Lady Sherlock” series, who puts her powers of deduction to good use in The Hollow of Fear (Berkley, Oct.). Rhys Bowen’s Edwardian sleuth Lady Georgiana Rannoch prepares for her nuptials in Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Berkley, Aug.).

Recent history is also a budding backdrop for new mysteries. In Who Is Vera Kelly? (Tin House, Jun.), Rosalie Knecht introduces Vera Kelly, who in 1962 is trying to make rent on her Greenwich Village apartment and fit into the underground gay scene when she is recruited by the CIA for undercover work in Argentina. Multi-award-winning author Lou Berney’s stand-alone thriller November Road (Morrow, Oct.) is the story of a cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America in the wake of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Early enthusiastic in-house reads have led the publisher to select this title as its Lead Read pick for the fall.

CrossinG Borders

Although Nordic noir is still a strong seller, some industry professionals notice not so much a cooling as a maturing of the genre. “It is broadening,” says Elizabeth DeNoma, a senior editor at Amazon Publishing’s AmazonCrossing imprint, which is dedicated to releasing works in trans­lation. “We’re also seeing more remote locations and victims and more diverse detectives. One example is Zygmunt Miloszewski, who is writing terrific crime fiction from Poland.”

Translated mysteries are also the core business of Bitter Lemon Press, and its publisher, François von Hurter, believes international crime fiction is becoming more multicultural. “It’s just more fun to read about different underworlds, different societies, and different police and legal systems. Tell me about your crimes, and I’ll tell you about your society.” Von Hurter’s lead summer title examines the violence that broke out in southern Italy when two anti-Mafia judges and a number of police officers were assassinated in 1992. The protagonist of Gianrico Carofiglio’s The Cold Summer (Jun.) is an officer of the Carabinieri who must handle a personal crisis while dealing with the region’s new gang wars.

Compelling suspense is also coming out of Africa and Asia. This May, Nigeria-based Cassava Republic Press, which was profiled last November in the New York Times after opening UK and U.S. offices, is releasing The Carnivorous City by Toni Kan. In this noir debut, teacher Abel Dike arrives in bustling Lagos, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, to look for his missing brother. From Japan comes Hideo Yokoyama’s Seventeen (Farrar, Nov.), a tense investigative thriller set amid the aftermath of disaster, from the best-selling author of Six Four. And China is represented with Zhou Haohui’s Death Notice (Doubleday, Jun.), the first volume in a best-selling hard-boiled trilogy.

Crossing genres

One of this summer’s most anticipated thrillers is Raymond A. Villareal’s horror-tinged A People’s History of the ­Vampire Uprising (Mulholland: Little, Brown, Jun.), in which a virus that turns people into something more than human quickly sweeps the world. “We’re seeing a really interesting trend of psychological suspense bordering on horror,” notes Sourcebooks senior editor Anna Michels, who points to her February release, Carter Wilson’s Mister Tender’s Girl, as a great example of how some elements of the horror genre can ratchet up the emotional impact of psychological suspense.

The genre-bending in crime fiction can be found in other creative and interesting ways, as in Erin Lindsey’s October debut from Minotaur. Murder on Millionaires’ Row reveals a secret branch of the Pinkertons that investigates supernatural phenomena in 1880s Manhattan.

Writers are also incorporating cutting-edge science into stories that appeal to fans of both thrillers and speculative fiction. For Tor/Forge’s Gill, S.L. Huang’s Zero Sum Game (Oct.) combines her two favorite genres—sf and fast-paced action thriller. Thomas & Mercer’s May release Obscura by Joe Hart takes place in a near future where the hunt for a cure for a mysterious disease leads to a horrifying discovery in outer space. “These stories work,” explains editorial director Doyle, “because they are first and foremost great thrillers; they stand out because of the ‘what-if’ scenarios they capture so vividly.”

Returning favorites

The upcoming publishing season often marks the release of favorite series titles and stand-alones by big-name writers. Jonathan Lethem’s The Feral Detective (Ecco: HarperCollins, Nov.) is his first foray back into crime fiction since best seller Motherless Brooklyn. “This is a return to form,” says Ecco editor Wagman. “Lethem’s first book, Gun with Occasional Music, was a hard-boiled detective novel. [With the new work], his comfort in the genre is on full display. It’s loose, confident, and very sharp—plus it has all the hallmarks of Lethem’s other works, too.”

After a stint away in television, George Pelecanos returns to the mean streets of Washington, DC, with The Man Who Came Uptown (Mulholland: Little, Brown, Sept.), in which an ex-con must choose between the man who got him out of prison and a woman who represents a better future. Karin Slaughter’s star has been on the rise, says Morrow’s Bartlett. “With Pieces of Her (Jul.), she delivers what is sure to be the breakout thriller of the summer, an electrifying stand-alone exploring the deadly secrets kept between a mother and daughter.”

Meanwhile, Michael Connolly makes an encore performance with the second entry in his new Renee Bullard series, Dark Sacred Night (Little, Brown, Oct.); this time out the young LAPD detective teams up with retired cop Harry Bosch to investigate a cold case. Kathy Reichs’s A Conspiracy of Bones (Bantam, Aug.) sees her forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan planning a wedding and investigating the death of a mutilated corpse (ain’t love grand?).

Other notable returnees include Lee Child with his next Jack Reacher adventure, Past Tense (Delacorte, Nov.), Amy Stewart, who continues her Kopp sisters historical series with Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit (Houghton Harcourt, Sept.), and Mark Billingham, who returns to his detective Tom Thorne series in The Killing Habit (Atlantic Monthly, Jun.).

Increased diversity?

As an indie publisher, Pegasus Books doesn’t follow trends, but deputy publisher Jessica Case is aware of an overall movement and appetite among readers as well as editors for an increasingly diverse array of voices, whether it’s international or cultural, within the thriller genre. Little, Brown’s Giglierano agrees. “In Break It Down (Mulholland, Oct.), Joe Ide’s third ­Isaiah Quintabe novel, we have a [person of color] author and a POC protagonist who share a cultural background—growing up in the same central L.A. neighborhood—although the author is Japanese American and the character is African American.”

Sheena Kamal’s It All Falls Down (Morrow, Jul.) revisits the Canadian government’s removal of indigenous children from their families and arranging for their adoption by whites, known as the “Sixties Scoop.” The biracial heroine, Nora Watts, faces violence as she investigates the history of this practice and her father’s death years before.

Still, Kensington editor Esi Sogah argues publishers could do more. “Though there is perhaps more diversity in the mystery and thriller genre than people might expect, like all genres, it could be better. Since many are set in or around big cities, it’s only natural that we’re starting to see a cast of characters who more closely reflect the reality of those areas.”

In June, Kensington is publishing Broken Places, the first entry in the “Chicago Mystery” series, which introduces Cass Raines, an African American cop-turned-PI. Debut author Tracy Clark is a native Chicagoan who has been an editor at the Tribune Company for 22 years. “She knows the city inside and out,” says Kensington’s Vida Engstrand.

The house’s communications director is also seeing more diversity in the cozy genre. Coming in June is Olivia ­Matthews’s Peril & Prayer, the second entry in her mysteries starring Sister Lou, an African American Catholic nun. “Religious diversity is another highlight of this series,” notes ­Engstrand.

Minotaur’s DeJean has been thrilled to see an increase in the diversity of voices and stories the imprint has been receiving on submission from agents, especially in the last two years. “We wish to actively bring #ownvoices to our list and seek to publish inclusively at every level—from our staff, through to our authors, and beyond into the world through the stories they write and audience they reach.”

Mystery Lineup

Below are the forthcoming titles mentioned in this article.
AUTHOR TITLE PUBLISHER RELEASE
Abbott, Jeff The Three Beths Grand Central Oct.
Abbott, Megan Give Me Your Hand Little, Brown Jul.
Ashdown, Isabel Little Sister Kensington Jun.
Berney, Lou November Road Morrow Oct.
Billingham, Mark The Killing Habit Atlantic Monthly Jun.
Block, Sandra What Happened That Night Sourcebooks Landmark Jun.
Bowen, Rhys Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding Berkley Aug.
Carofiglio, Gianrico The Cold Summer Bitter Lemon Jun.
Child, Lee Past Tense Delacorte Nov.
Clark, Tracy Broken Places Kensington Jun.
Cleverly, Barbara The Fall of Angels Soho Crime May
Connolly, Michael Dark Sacred Night Little, Brown Oct.
Downing, David The Dark Clouds Shining Soho Crime Apr.
Frasier, Anne The Body Counter Thomas & Mercer: Amazon Jun.
Gross, Andrew Button Men Minotaur: St. Martin's Sept.
Hannah, Sophie The Mystery of Three Quarters Morrow Aug.
Hart, Joe Obscura Thomas & Mercer: Amazon May
Huang, S.L. Zero Sum Game Tor Oct.
Hillier, Jennifer Jar of Hearts Minotaur: St. Martin's Jun.
Hirsch, Paddy The Devil’s Half Mile Forge Jun.
Hummel, Maria Still Lives Counterpoint Jun.
Ide, Joe Break It Down Mulholland: Little, Brown Oct.
Jewell, Lisa Then She Was Gone Atria Apr.
Jones, Sandie The Other Woman Minotaur: St. Martin's Aug.
Kamal, Sheena It All Falls Down Morrow Jul.
Kan, Toni The Carnivorous City Cassava Republic May
Knecht, Rosalie Who Is Vera Kelly? Tin House Jun.
Laukkanen, Owen Gale Force Putnam May
Lethem, Jonathan The Feral Detective Ecco: HarperCollins Nov.
Li, Winnie M. Dark Chapter Polis Apr.
Lindsey, Erin Murder on Millionaires’ Row Minotaur: St. Martin's Oct.
Lunney, Tessa April in Paris, 1921 Pegasus Crime Jul.
McCauley, Terrence The Fairfax Incident Polis Jun.
Matthews, Olivia Peril & Prayer Kensington Jun.
O’Connell, Catherine The Last Night Out Severn House Sept.
Overton, Holly The Runaway Redhook: Hachette Aug.
Paretsky, Sara Shell Game Morrow Oct.
Pelecanos, George The Man Who Came Uptown Mulholland: Little, Brown Sept.
Petrou, Laurie Sister of Mine Crooked Lane Aug.
Redmond, Heather A Tale of Two Murders Kensington Aug.
Reichs, Kathy A Conspiracy of Bones Bantam Aug.
Roy, Lori The Disappearing Dutton Jul.
Sacks, Michelle You Were Made for This Little, Brown Jun.
Sager, Riley The Last Time I Lied Dutton Jul.
Schott, Ben Jeeves and the King of Clubs Little, Brown Nov.
Slaughter, Karin Pieces of Her Morrow Jul.
Snoekstra, Anna The Spite Game MIRA: Harlequin Oct.
Stage, Zoje Baby Teeth St. Martin’s Jul.
Stewart, Amy Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit Houghton Harcourt Sept.
Stuart, Amy Still Water Touchstone Jul.
Thomas, Sherry The Hollow of Fear Berkley Oct.
Villareal, Raymond A. A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising Mulholland: Little, Brown Jun.
Yokoyama, Hideo Seventeen Farrar Nov.
Zettel, Sarah The Other Sister Grand Central Aug.
Zhou Haohui Death Notice Doubleday Jun.

Lisa Levy is a freelance writer and a contributing editor at the literary website Literary Hub and its newly launched offshoot, Crime Reads

Comments

Heather Redmond

Thank you so much for mentioning my historical mystery, "A Tale of Two Murders." What an honor to be included among these books.

Posted : Apr 12, 2018 07:59


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