The Mysterious Bookshop

 

Wondering what the Mysterious Bookshop staff is reading these days? Here are our picks for April, as published in our April Newsletter

    

OTTO'S FAVORITE 

  

   

Hannah Tinti, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, Dial Press.

Tinti’s second novel was years in the making, and well worth the wait. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley tells of teenaged Loo and her father, a hardened criminal by the name of Samuel Hawley, as they attempt to settle down from a life on the road in the small coastal town of Olympus, Massachusetts, the hometown of Loo’s mother Lily, who died when Loo was too young to know her; it is also resistant to outsiders. Only after Hawley’s heroic strengths are put on display do the townspeople warm to the family’s presence, and then only momentarily. Perhaps I should mention that the novel is a contemporary interpretation of the Greek myth of Hercules, whose twelve labors are represented by Hawley’s twelve bullet wounds. But Hawley is certainly more man than god – the stories of his past transgressions, related in chapters that alternate with those told in the present, read like a catalog of bungled heists, burglaries, and kidnappings. These freewheeling episodes traverse the American continent and each provides a discrete, suspenseful tale, countering the storyline in the present which builds its tension steadily throughout the book. This present thread follows Loo’s teenage years as she tries to learn more about her mother and the mystery of her death, gradually uncovering the life that her father tries so desperately to bury in the past. Eventually, of course, that past catches up with both of them but, by then, Loo is ready for whatever it brings. At once an American epic, a hardboiled crime story, and an exploration of familial love, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a truly unique literary thriller.
Signed copies available here. $27.00.

 

STEVE'S FAVORITE

  

   

Nicholas Obregan, Blue Light Yokohama, Minotaur

First time author Obregan delivers an exciting fast-paced thriller set in Tokyo. He grabs your attention from the opening prologue set on a cable car. Inspector Akashi witnesses a woman with a child stab a man then leap from the car. Fifteen years later Inspector Iwata is transferred to the Homicide Division in Tokyo. Akashi is gone. An apparent suicide never having recovered from that tragic incident. Considered an outsider, not being a Tokyo native, Iwata is partnered with Noriko Sakai, and assigned a case involving the slaughter of an entire family. The only clue is a symbol of a black sun drawn by the killer. Shortly after, there is an attempt on Iwata's life and a second brutal killing, and again that symbol. Iwata is convinced there will be more killings, but his superiors are more concerned with getting rid of him. Obregan, having lived in Japan as a travel writer seems to have really absorbed the city and the nuances of it's people. His writing style propels the action forward, to a very exciting conclusion.

Available here. $25.99. Signed UK copies available here. $33.00

 

TOM'S FAVORITE

  

 
   

David Swinson, Crime Song, Mulholland.

When private detective Frank Marr comes home to find his house surrounded by police tape, his precious record collection missing, and his cousin murdered on his kitchen floor, his first thought is, “My stash wall.” Crime Song is the second Washington D.C.-based Frank Marr novel from David Swinson following the excellent The Second Girl. Frank is a hard-drinking ex-cop, but he’s not your average P.I. He’s a full-blown drug addict who supports his habit by using his police experience to rob drug dealers. Though Frank appears high-functioning to the outside world, he walks around with a pocket full of cocaine and he’s constantly on the hunt to replenish his stash.

Frank had been tailing his murdered cousin, Jeffrey, as a favor to the boy’s mother who suspected that Jeffrey was in trouble. After discovering that Jeffrey was dealing cocaine, Frank was planning to rob the boy and force him out of the life (and score a little for himself). Now his cousin lies dead in Frank’s home, murdered by Frank’s stolen gun in an apparent burglary gone wrong. But Frank knows that this is no coincidence and he must find out who’s targeting him, and why.

David Swinson, an ex-D.C. police detective himself, writes of Frank’s sordid streets with an insider’s knowledge. Swinson succeeds in highlighting the horrors of addiction without wallowing in Frank’s torment. Frank is a refreshingly unrepentant drug addict protagonist, detached and damaged, yet matter-of-factly maintaining his habits rather than racing them to rock-bottom; hopefully this means we'll be seeing more of him soon.

Pre-order a signed copy here. $26.00.

 

MIKE'S FAVORITE

  

   

MJ Carter, The Devil's Feast, Putnam.

At a prestigious London club, Soyer, the celebrated chef, oversees one of the City’s most famous and desirable restaurants. But an MP dies after eating there, and shortly more victims follow him to the hereafter. Is there a connection between the deceased? What of the men who have been poisoned but survived? Does the famous French chef have enemies among suppliers that he’s stiffed, or kitchen help he’s browbeaten?

Captain William Avery and his cohort, Jeremiah Blake, served together in India and are now back in England. But Blake has been imprisoned after running afoul of his patron Collinwood, so Avery must go it alone.

Is the political intrigue roiling 1840s England affecting the case? The Tories are in power, but the Whigs and the so-called ‘radicals’ are trying to form a coalition to take over, and a linchpin of their strategy is to host a lavish banquet at the Reform Club for Ibrahim Pasha which will keep the Middle East at peace and make Lord Palmerston and his allies look very good indeed. Then Avery’s own arrest on trumped-up charges throw a monkey wrench into the works.

Along the way we are treated to a detailed description of what each and every character is wearing. It is one way to bring the past to life, as are the depictions of the sumptuous meals and the inner workings of the kitchen. Enjoy a topnotch historical which will definitely stimulate your muse, and your appetite as well!

Available here. $26.00.

Written by Ian Kern — April 06, 2017

Specializing in Mystery Fiction and all its subgenres, including Detective, Crime, Hardboiled, Thrillers, Espionage, and Suspense.

Located at 58 Warren St in New York City, we are open Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm.

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