In 2012 I made a reading resolution for New Year's: listen to at least one audiobook each month. It turned out to be so much fun that I decided to set a new reading resolution for 2013: read at least one mystery novel each month.
As much as I enjoyed adding audiobooks to my reading routine, it seems that mysteries just aren't my genre. While I greatly enjoy books that incorporate elements of mystery and suspense, if the main focus of a story is whodunit I'm done with it the minute that I solve the puzzle. The result is that I checked out a number of mysteries this year, but only read a few cover to cover. Below I've listed the ones that I enjoyed the most.
Suspect by Robert Crais
I started my year off with the newest title by Robert Crais, Suspect. Crais is known for his series of hardboiled mysteries featuring Elvis Cole, an LA private eye. I wasn't looking to jump into a series though, so I was happy to see that Suspect is a stand alone title. It's a suspenseful and fast-paced tale of a LAPD cop, Scott James, who is hunting for the men who killed his partner. James is aided in his investigation by his new partner, Maggie, a German Shepard. Maggie carries her own wounds from her deployment in Afghanistan. I liked this book so much that I've already blogged about it once, and I went and bought a copy for my mom to read.
Invisible Murder by Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis
Invisible Murder is actually the second book in a series, I recommended the first, The Boy in the Suitcase, in an earlier blog post. While you could certainly jump into this series with the second book, if you skip the first, though, you'll miss a lot of the character development. This fast-paced, gritty series is the product of Danish coauthors Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. Nina isn't a detective, she's a dedicated nurse, who finds herself unable to balance the pressures of her job working with refugees for the Red Cross with her life as a wife and mother.
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
Marian Keyes is known for writing humorous chick-lit, not mysteries, but! with a title like The Mystery of Mercy Close and a main character who is a private investigator, I'm going to go ahead and count this as a mystery. Because this is the fifth novel in her series following the Walsh sisters, that means I have four other books to read and enjoy. Helen Walsh is struggling with a bout of suicidal depression, a new relationship, and a missing person case involving a former boy band (that her ex is managing). I listened to the audiobook, and Irish narrator Caroline Lennon provided a clear and lively delivery.
The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
At first glance, the premise of a setting where there are only six months until the end of the world might seem unbearably depressing, and that isn't wrong. The Last Policeman, first of a trilogy, is not a cheerful book, but there is something hopeful in the story. Hank Palace was promoted to detective shortly after the announcement that the asteroid Maia is on an unavoidable collision course with Earth. Hank has dreamed of being a detective since he was a kid, but trying to solve his first murder in the chaos of looming disaster is nothing like he expected. The plot is fast-paced and twisted, but it's the characters that make the story shine. Even the characters who don't rate names are vividly alive, and it's terrible to think how they'll all be dead so very soon.
Trying to read 12 mysteries in 2013 left me feeling pressured (self-imposed goal or no), but I never would've discovered these books without reading books outside my comfort zone. I want to keep pushing my reading interests, so for 2014, I plan to explore the world of superhero comics. It's hard to tell where to start with a genre that's been building backstory for decades, but luckily I have coworkers to help guide me on my journey.