12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Recently we set out to make a list of the mysteries and thrillers we were most excited for this fall, but we quickly realized that there were so many great series titles publishing between September and December that one list was not going to be enough. With all the great series fiction coming out, there was little room to discuss any of the great standalone crime fiction coming this fall (sidebar: we’re happy to report that another golden age for female thriller writers continues to flourish).

So we cheated and made two lists (so many books, so little time). From a thriller about gentrification in a New York neighborhood, to a group of English nursing home residents who turn amateur sleuths to assist a PC crack her first murder case; from an art thief using a small town’s coffers as her own, to a London lawyer navigating a racially charged rape case, here are the standalone titles that promise to make this fall a boon for mystery and thriller readers.

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51bXDerhmUL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Described as Rear Window meets Get Out, this is one of the most anticipated thrillers of the fall, judging by the advance reviews. Describing the plot, where gentrification takes a decidedly scary turn, fellow author Marian Keyes says: "Dread builds and mutates into near-horror… It was eye-opening, sad, shocking, gripping, I devoured it in one go." (September 1)

51HFLeyizAL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

51HFLeyizAL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Wendy Walker’s specialty is taking ordinary, suburban families and putting them in "what-would-you-do" high-stakes situations, and then ratcheting the suspense up to 11. Here, a fractured family is left to wonder if mom abandoned them, or was taken, until her teenage daughter decides to get answers, come what may. (September 11)

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51ch IJI0sL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Exotic Marigold Hotel meets Midsomer Murders when a local developer is found dead in the English countryside. PC Donna De Freitas catches her first big murder case and four of the septuagenarian residents of a nearby nursing home decide to help her solve it, whether she wants their assistance or not. (September 22)

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51Bw8BPm pL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

When a rich doctor wants PI Grayson Sykes to find the girlfriend who ran off with his dog, the task seems simple enough. But the more Gray finds out about the missing girlfriend, the more she suspects that not finding her may be the best outcome. (September 22)

41Li7ipjrcL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

41Li7ipjrcL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe

The Talented Miss Farwell has been described as Catch Me if You Can meets The Talented Mr. Ripley. In it Becky Farwell of Pierson, Illinois works unnoticed as the town treasurer. But in New York she’s known as the glamorous Reba Farwell, owner of a fabulous art collection. What if neither of Miss Farwell’s twin identities can keep her double life from unraveling? (September 29)

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51CaQLHi9YL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

The Kingdom by Jo Nesbø

Roy is a mechanic who lives a simple life in a rural village. But when his brother Carl, an entrepreneur, returns home with plans to build a hotel in town, dark secrets about their family, and the town, rise to the surface. And the protection Roy gave his brother when they were kids, protection Carl counted on, may be about to run its course. This standalone promises to be another disturbing thriller as only Nesbø can write them. (September 29)

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41L6pJljNUL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

The Searcher by Tana French

The writer the New York Times has said "inspires cultic devotion in readers" is back with more small-town Irish noir. This time, instead of the Dublin Murder Squad, the story centers on a Chicago PD veteran and recent divorcé who wants nothing more than to lick his wounds and hoist a pint or two in the peace and quiet of an Irish backwater. But being pulled into a local murder investigation opens his eyes to the fine line between picturesque and grotesque. (October 6)

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51rGwAo8x+L - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

The lives of a group of people—including Owen Pick, a disgraced geography teacher-turned incel, and a suburban couple, the Roans—intersect with shocking consequences when a young woman, once a patient of Dr. Roan, disappears. Told from three points of view, including the missing girl, Invisible Girl is creepy and compelling in equal measure. (October 13)

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51Yyq4F4WYL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

The Perfect Mother—a standout thriller soon to be a movie starring Scandal’s Kerry Washington—was about a group of new moms dealing with the disappearance of a baby. In Goodnight Beautiful happy newlyweds move to a small town in upstate New York, where the wife eavesdrops on her therapist husband’s sessions through a vent in the ceiling. So when he goes missing she thinks she has a pretty good idea who he’s with, but that’s just the beginning of some crazy twists. (October 13)

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41FJeZoLyOL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Little Threats by Emily Schultz

Kennedy Wynn’s bond with her twin sister Carter was damaged when Kennedy was convicted of murdering her best friend, Haley. Fifteen years later, Kennedy is out of prison and back in their small Richmond neighborhood, but her return—and the arrival of a crime show host in town—opens up old wounds and old secrets. Schultz’s last novel, The Blondes, was excellent, so we have high hopes for this one. (November 10)

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51qgelka6BL - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

Unraveling Oliver and Lying in Wait were two of our favorite thrillers of the past few years; with them, Liz Nugent proved she wasn’t afraid to reach for a brand of darkness not seen since Patricia Highsmith was writing at the height of her powers. In Little Cruelties she does it again, telling the story of William, Brian, and Luke, three brothers still playing the dangerous games they learned at their mother’s knee. (November 10)

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517hkVC7YgL. SY346  - 12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

When Zara Kaleel trades in her high-powered legal career for a job at a sexual assault center she looks forward to helping people like Jodie Wolf, a poor, disadvantaged teenager with a horrific claim about being raped by four classmates. But the boys she accuses come from respectable Muslim families and a legal firestorm breaks out, with the media, the community, and even Zara’s own mother taking intractable stands in this thoughtful and provocative legal thriller. (December 8)

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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