It is that time during the summer when I kind of get tired of summer. This means I dream of a crisp fall full of changing leaves and cozy sweaters. Unfortunately, I can’t make the cold weather come any faster. But I can start my other favorite thing to do in the fall… add a bit of murder into my media entertainment. Come discover some of my favorite murder-themed books that have come out over the past month.
If you are looking for a traditional English cozy mystery
An English Garden Murder (Julia Bird Mysteries Book 1)
I give this book a 3.5/5. I am a huge fan of cozy mysteries, so a new series written about a murder in the Cotswalds discovered by a newly divorced and retired protagonist is right up my alley. It took a little bit of time to warm up to Julia, but once I did, I was actively rooting for her to figure out who was killing people in her new hometown. The final reveal was well done. I had figured out the killer before the reveal, but the reason why was unexpected. If I had any complaints, I would say there may be a few too many red herrings. But that was a minimal barrier to my enjoyment of the story. I would read another book in the series in the future.
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A good mystery with a strong female lead
A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett
I give this book a firm 3/5 stars. The mystery was solid and had some cozy mystery vibes I enjoyed. I appreciate how in-depth the writer went with Nell’s career as a wildlife surveyor. The added details regarding her job helped flesh out the crime scene and the clues pointing toward the killer. The conclusion was fast-paced and interesting. There were several plot points that I had not guessed before they were revealed. The negative was Nell’s possible love interests. I didn’t think they added much in moving the plot forward, and in the end, I didn’t care about Nell’s personal life. The fact that this aspect was left a bit open-ended just made me roll my eyes.
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For those looking for some True Crime!
Helltown by Casey Sherman
Helltown is about one of the early serial killers whose story was overshadowed by the Manson murders. By combining the details of his kills and the historical context seen through the viewpoint of two famous writers, we get a layered story.
I give this book 4/5 stars for sharing a murder topic that I had never heard about before. A quick warning that there are some very graphic details about the murders.
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If you want unexpected twists
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
The Woman in the Library was a brilliantly written mystery, and I was shocked at how many times the narrative twists and turns surprised me. What looks on the surface to be straightforward “find the killer mystery” slowly becomes a multi-mystery narrative about writers, their muses, and how real life can be scarier than fiction. I highly recommend giving this book a chance to hook you, just as it hooked me. The Woman in the Library gets 5/5 stars and a huge thumbs up from this reader.
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Anyone up for a great film convention murder mystery?
The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson
This mystery book was so much fun to read. By using three generations of actresses who played the same character in film and cinema, The Three Dahlias succeeds in combining the classic golden age of cinema vibes with a modern setting. The book also gives all three of our sleuths their own narrative by breaking it into three POV segments. This doesn’t always work for me, but this time it was a huge success. I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
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Til the next turn of the page,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi