Sam's Staff Picks

Sam Mayer at Murder By The Book since 2008

Sam has been working at Murder By The Book off and on since 2008.  His favorite authors are: Jasper Fforde, Joyce Porter, Ann Purser, Hazel Holt, Marne Davis Kellogg, and Daniel Woodrell.  He's around when he's not at school in Vermont.

Sam's 2016 Top 10:

1. Dr. Knox by Peter Spiegelman
2. The Whipping Boy by Allen Kurzweil
3. Clinch by Martin Holmen 
4. Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
5. Darktown by Thomas Mullen 
6. The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo
7. Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah
8. Last Days of Night by Graham Moore 
9. IQ by Joe Ide
10. The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda

Honorable mentions:

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards 
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Staff Pick Logo
Darktown Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501133879
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - June 6th, 2017

Set just after WWII, Darktown follows the first African American cops in Atlanta and their white counterparts. Rake is white, idealistic, and new to the force. Boggs and Smith, two of the first black cops, are struggling to police a population that doesn't trust them for a force that doesn't want them. When Boggs and Smith begin investigating a simple missing persons case, they find themselves swept up in the dark underbelly of post-war, pre-civil rights Atlanta. Darktown is a fast-paced procedural and a fantastic debut noir. One of my favorite books of 2016, and shortlisted for the LA Times Book Award. - Sam

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She Rides Shotgun Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062394408
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - June 6th, 2017

One afternoon, Polly's dad Nate picks her up from middle school. The only catch is Nate has just been released from prison, Polly's mom has been murdered, and just about everyone from the cops to biker gangs want the two of them dead. An action-packed race against the clock, She Rides Shotgun is as wry and hard-boiled as they come. As Nate and Polly try to establish a relationship they must also dodge bad guys everywhere from the Inland Empire to the Joshua Tree desert. Jittery and fast-paced like a hot-wired car, She Rides Shotgun marks Jordan Harper as a writer to watch. - Sam

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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

A gripping hybrid of In Cold Blood and 'Serial,' The Fact of a Body($26.99) is both true crime and memoir-- a captivating attempt to understand why a 26-year-old man in rural Louisiana would murder a 6-year-old boy and, more stunningly, why the victims mother would argue against the death penalty for him. Parallel to this case are the dark and violent secrets that Marzano-Lesnevich's family keep and force Alexandria to carry. The Fact of a Body is one of the most visceral and dark books I have read in a long time. It's a compulsive read, but it's also a beautiful and difficult book with great rewards. - Sam

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The Birdwatcher Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316316248
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - June 27th, 2017


Set on the Kentish coast, The Birdwatcher is about William South, a modest beat-cop with a passion for birding and a dark past. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, South may or may-not have killed his own father. When South's birding buddy and neighbor is found murdered in his cottage, South is reluctantly thrust into the investigation. Seamlessly floating from past to present, and with intricately drawn characters, The Birdwatcher is a fantastic British procedural. The book has enough action to keep you engaged while still being well written. This is sure to be the start of a sensitive, gripping series. - Sam

Staff Pick Logo
The Long Drop Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316380577
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - May 23rd, 2017

A wry, gritty novel set in the underworld of Glasgow in the 1950s. Mina uses the real-life murder spree that left 9 women dead as a jumping off point for her novel that's part legal-thriller, part psychological roller coaster. Mina's writing sparkles and this little book captivates. - Sam