John's Staff Picks

John Kwiatkowski, Event Coordinator at Murder By The Book since 2010

In previous career incarnations, John has sold model and toy trains, and been a barista.  Prior to joining the Murder By The Book team he managed one of the local chain bookstores.  When his nose isn't in a book he loves going to concerts, seeing musicals, going to Las Vegas, and spending afternoons in Hermann Park.

John's favorite authors include: Arturo Perez-Reverte, Tasha Alexander, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Daphne Du Maurier, Wilkie Collins, Jacqueline Susann, Victoria Laurie, Mary Kay Andrews, Beatriz Williams, and Jon Steele.

John's 2016 Top 10:

1. What We Become by Arturo Perez Reverte
2. The After Party by Anton DiSlafani
3. American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin
4. A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock
5. The Assistants by Camille Perri
6. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
7. A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander
8. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
9. American Housewife by Helen Ellis
10. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye 

John Top YA/MG of 2016 (in no particular order):

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle 
The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble


Late in the Year Discovery (aka: Why Didn't I Read This Sooner?!)

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544925472
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - November 1st, 2016

I don't even know how to review this one other than to say it reads like an extravagant opera, and I'm obsessed with it. Instead, I'm just going to give you the first paragraph. It'll tell you whether you'll love it or not... - John

"WHEN IT BEGAN, it began as an opera would begin, in a palace, at a ball, in an encounter with a stranger who, you discover, has your fate in his hands. He is perhaps a demon or a god in disguise,of­fering you a chance at either the fulfillment of a dream or a trap for the soul. A comic element—the soprano arrives in the wrong dress—and it decides her fate.

The year was 1882. The palace was the Luxembourg Palace; the ball, the Sénat Bal, held at thebeginning of autumn. It was still warm, and so the garden was used as well. I was the soprano.

I was Lilliet Berne." 

The Rules of Magic Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501137471
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 10th, 2017

Prequels can be tricky, especially when it involves characters that are as beloved as the aunts from Practical Magic. This book was everything I wanted it to be. Hoffman's prose is effortless. The book is hopeful, sad, and just beautiful. The Rules of Magic ($27.99) stands on its own, and readers will fall in love with the Owens sisters all over again. TheRules of Magic is an unexpected treat. - John

Death in St. Petersburg: A Lady Emily Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250058287
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - October 10th, 2017

Colin's work has brought him to Russia. A night at the ballet with Emily comes to an abrupt end when a ballerina is found dead outside the theater. Emily is asked to look into the murder by an aristocrat. As always, you can tell that Tasha Alexander falls in love with a place when she writes about it. The passages about the history of ballet are beautifully written. And long time readers of the series will be pleased at the appearance of a certain thief. - John

Death on Tap Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250108630
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - October 3rd, 2017

After discovering her husband in the arms of another woman, Sloan leaves the family business to work for a new brewery in town. Did I mention that every building in town looks like it belongs in the German mountains, and the town is known as Beervaria? When Sloan's ex is accused of murder, it's up to her to clear his name. I wasn't sure that beer brewing was something I cared about when I started Death on Tap, but the characters immediately sold me. It's just quirky enough, but not enough to be silly. Which is exactly what I love in my cozies. I love when they walk that line of whimsy. Highly recommended by John! 

The Last Mrs. Parrish Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062667571
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - October 17th, 2017

Amber thinks she deserves Daphne's life, and she will stop at nothing to get it. Will she get it? Will her past catch up with her? It's inevitable that this book is going to get the Girl book comparisons (Gone GirlThe Girl on the Train), and they're wrong. There's no unreliable narrator here. It's The Talented Mr. Ripley meets Big Little Lies. I couldn't put it down. It's bonkers and delicious. It's been a while since I had this much fun reading a book. - John