Sam's Staff Picks

Sam Mayer has been working at Murder By The Book off and on since 2008. He likes to read British whodunits and bleak, American noir. 


Sam's 2017 Top 10:

1. The Fact of a Body by Alexandra Marzano-Lesnevich 
2. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
3. Shadow Man by Alan Drew
4. Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
5. Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre
6. Safe by Ryan Gattis
7. Proving Ground by Peter Blauner
8. The Dry by Jane Harper
9. Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes
10. Different Class by Joanne Harris

Spotlight on Second in Series:
Righteous by Joe Ide
Down for the Count by Martin Holmen
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen * 

Staff Pick Logo
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250080547
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - May 16th, 2017

"Complex and challenging... push es] the boundaries of writing about trauma." --The New York Times
"A True Crime Masterpiece" - Vogue
Entertainment Weekly "Must" List and Best Books of the Year So Far
Real Simple's Best New Books
Guardian Best Book of the Year

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Magpie Murders Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

"Magpie Murders is a double puzzle for puzzle fans, who don't often get the classicism they want from contemporary thrillers." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

*A New York Times bestseller

*#1 Indie Next Pick

*NPR best book of 2017

Shadow Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400067800
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - May 23rd, 2017

A novel of psychological suspense about an idyllic community rocked by a serial killer--and a dark secret.

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Six Four Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374265519
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 7th, 2017

Named one of the best books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Literary Hub. Winner of the Best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year Award. One of Vulture's 10 Best Thriller Books of 2017.

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A Legacy of Spies Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735225114
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - September 5th, 2017

LeCarre's latest novel, and the first to feature George Smiley in 20 years, is also one of his best in recent memory. In A Legacy of Spies the secrets of the Cold War come face to face with the modern intelligence state. LeCarre's narrator, Peter Guillam, is an ex-Circus agent now retired in France. Called back to England and forced to recall the disastrous Operation Windfall, Guillam must reckon with mistakes of the past and their deadly reverberations into the present. An absolute joy to read. - Sam

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Safe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374253370
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD - August 1st, 2017


Two voices dominate this compulsive new book from Ryan Gattis (All Involved). At the center is Ghost, a junkie turned master safe-cracker, and his quest to play ghetto robin hood as the fiscal crisis of 2008 spirals out of control in Southern California. On the other side is Glasses, a gang enforcer with problems of his own. As Ghost robs safe houses and Glasses hunts him down, the line between good and evil blurs and blurs. Gattis writes with great humor and sympathy. This book is a dark, vivid tale of crime and redemption. - Sam

Proving Ground Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250117441
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - May 2nd, 2017

"A must read. I couldn't put the sucker down."--Stephen King

Nathaniel Dresden never really got along with his father, an infamous civil rights lawyer who defended criminals and spearheaded protest movements. As an act of rebellion, Natty joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq, coming back with a chest full of commendations and a head full of disturbing memories.

The Dry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105608
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - January 10th, 2017

"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." --The New York Times

Party Girls Die in Pearls Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062429025
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - May 9th, 2017

"A rollicking murder mystery. . . . a wildly entertaining romp. . . . Laugh? I died."--Vogue

The New York Times bestselling author of Bergdorf Blondes takes us back to the decadent 1980s in this comic murder mystery set in the tony world of Oxford University.

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Different Class Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501155529
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Touchstone Books - September 26th, 2017

"It's Goodbye, Mr. Chips meets The Bad Seed. Joanne Harris's latest novel, Different Class, has a killer elevator pitch and, what's more, it delivers on its intriguing premise.... A] rich, dramatic tale that builds to a surprising conclusion." --The Washington Post

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Righteous Cover Image
By Joe Ide
ISBN: 9780316267779
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - October 17th, 2017

The follow up to one of my favorite books of last year, Righteous ($26) finds our hero IQ-- the Sherlock Holmes of East Long Beach-- investigating the supposedly accidental death of his brother. At the same time, IQ must travel to Vegas to track down a wayward DJ who has run afoul of the Triads. Hilarious, fast-paced, and incredibly clever Righteous cements IQ as one of the best new series around. If you haven't met IQ yet, I don't know what's wrong with you! - Sam

Down for the Count Cover Image
By Martin Holmen, Henning Koch (Translator)
ISBN: 9781782272182
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pushkin Vertigo - September 5th, 2017

November, 1935. Harry Kvist walks out the gates of Langholmen jail into another biting Stockholm winter. He has nothing to his name but a fiercely burning hope: that he can begin a new life with the lover he met in his cell. That he can leave behind his old existence of gutter brawls, bruised fists and broken bones. That he can finally go straight.

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Lightning Men Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501138799
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - September 12th, 2017

Picking up where last year's Darktown ended, the follow up finds our heroes investigating the influx of drugs from the hollers of rural Appalachia and into Atlanta's African American neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Boggs' fiance has a dark secret, Rakestraw's cousin joins the Klan, and Smith must contend with the violence and crime that comes with desegregation. Hard-boiled noir, historical fiction, and a great procedural all collide in this riveting sequel. Beautiful and dark, Lightning Men is not to be missed. - Sam