Trust by Hernan Diaz
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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7M ago
Riverhead Books, 416 pages, $28 This is not a murder mystery, but there are certainly mysterious machinations afoot. The reader involvement starts with the title. Trust? Should the reader trust Hernan Diaz, an potentially unreliable author? Hmm. I enjoyed “In the Distance,” another book by Diaz. It contained many diversions, all of which were inventive. So, inventive was my default expectation for Diaz’ new work. I entrusted him to fulfill this mission, and I was not disappointed. There are major divisions: four stories, at first glance. The first story is about a man of great financial ..read more
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Bewilderment by Richard Powers
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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7M ago
W. W. Norton, 288 pages, $27.95 This is not a mystery. It is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Richard Powers, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Overstory,” has created another wonderment that embraces the entire world (and beyond). “The Overstory” and “Bewilderment” bring us closer to the wonders of nature, but also closer to the certainty we will lose them if we continue on our carbon dioxide-spewing path. It’s a story for our times, written in order to avoid what is around the corner. It is also a story of love and bewilderment ..read more
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The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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7M ago
Harper Voyager, 576 pages, $17.99 (c2017) This is not a mystery. I admit a weakness for stories with genies. A recent favorite genie book didn’t even have an actual genie in it! “The City of Brass” is based on middle eastern tales of the djinn, or Daeva, as they are known in this book,  Eighteenth-century Cairo is pretty much our eighteenth-century Cairo. Where it veers into the fanciful begins with the supernatural healing powers of a young ragamuffin girl who tells “healing” fortunes. She is about eighteen or nineteen, does not remember her family, and lives by her (sometimes crimi ..read more
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Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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8M ago
World Noir, 320 pages, $17 (c2021) “Bobby March Will Live Forever” is the third in the Harry McCoy books by Scottish writer Alan Parks. I guiltily admit I did not read the first two but just jumped right into the third. I don’t think my comprehension suffered for that. Alan Parks is a good writer who can paint a large swathe of pertinent information efficiently and cohesively. The story is set in the 1970s and is soaked in the music and dark vibe of a very noirish Glasgow. Harry McCoy is a cop, a rare honest cop, with asterisks. *He knows the Glasgow criminal underworld very well. *Some o ..read more
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Deer Season by Erin Flanagan
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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9M ago
University of Nebraska Press, 320 pages, $21.95 (c2021) This is a special book and it is a mystery, but the emphasis is on character development. And on setting. And on plot. It’s everything done well. It won the 2022 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. If you have grown up in a small town, maybe this book will strike a particular resonance with you. Everybody is up in everybody else’s business. Everybody, it seems, gossips, even the most saintly sometimes. Not that Alma Costagan is saintly and she hates gossip. Alma still sees herself as a Chicago girl. So what is th ..read more
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The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Negendra
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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9M ago
Pegasus Crime, 304 pages, $26.95 Murder is an act most foul, and its portrayal in crime stories can be quite graphic. In 1920s India, there was overcrowding, shantytowns, beggars, a sense that life was cheap for a certain percentage of the population. There’s nothing sweet about the act at the center of a murder mystery or the problems emblematic of British-controlled India of that time period. The days of the Raj were not happy ones for the colonized, even if they were of a high caste or well-placed family. There was bigotry, racism, misogyny, religious persecution. Given all of that, “The ..read more
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The Appeal by Janice Hallett
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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9M ago
Atria Books, 432 pages, $27.99 What did I like about this book? Some of the gimmicks. What did I not like about this book? The rest of the gimmicks. Ostensibly, when you have many voices vying for attention, it’s great if they sound different. Mostly the characters in “The Appeal” were indistinguishable. That shows up especially because of the format of the story. It is an epistolary work; that is, you read a lot of emails, some phone texts, and a few letters, and an occasional legal memo. I guess the voice of Martin Hayward of the manor born sounds a little more sophisticated than that of ..read more
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A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton, aka S. J. Bolton
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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9M ago
Minotaur Books, 448 pages, $21.99 (paperback)  (c2014) I have a tremendous (tremendous!) number of books waiting to be read. Every once in a while I grab something from down deep in the pile, resist the siren call of newer titles, and dig in. “A Dark and Twisted Tide” is what I plucked out of the grab bag and it actually made it to the finish line.* That’s because it had a couple of elements I couldn’t resist. First, the heroine of the story, Lacey Flint, recreationally swims in the Thames. How clean is that river, really? How clean was it in 2014, when the book as issued. There is eve ..read more
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Edgar Award Nominees
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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9M ago
The Edgar Awards will be presented on April 28. See the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards webpage: https://edgarawards.com for the complete list of nominees in the various categories. These are the nominees we have reviewed so far. Most of them are nominated for the Best Novel of 2021. Venice Sketchbook, by Rhys Bowen (https://mbtb-books.blogspot.com/.../the-venice-sketchbook... Five Decembers, by James Kestrel (https://mbtb-books.blogspot.com/.../five-decembers-by...) No One Will Miss Her, by Kat Rosenfield (https://mbtb-books.blogspot.com/.../no-one-will-miss-her... Never Saw Me Co ..read more
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Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
MBTB's Mystery Book Blog
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9M ago
Flatiron Books, 336 pages, $17.99 (c2021) This has been nominated for an Edgar Award. S. A. Cosby’s most widely known books, “Blacktop Wasteland” and this book, “Razorblade Tears,” weren’t published until the author was in his 40s. His success is due to his perseverance and his outstanding writing. “Razorblade Tears” is grim and compelling. After each chapter was finished, I gulped and gasped as if there weren’t enough air. I don’t find the word “propulsive” attractive except when referring to jet fuel, but were I to use that word I would use it for this book. Cosby knows how to keep hi ..read more
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