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 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

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

Staff Pick Logo
Soul Cage: A Lieutenant Himekawa Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250061584
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - July 18th, 2017

The Detetive Himekawa series has already sold over 4 million copies in Japan and been made into two TV series' and a movie. Soul Cage, however, is just the second of this hugely popular series to be translated into English. Soul Cage finds Himekawa unraveling a brutal murder and racing against the clock to predict and protect the next victim of a ruthless killer. Unlike Six Four or the work of Fuminori Nakamura, Soul Cage is as fast paced as they come! Himekawa is one bad-ass cop and I love reading about her. - 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

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

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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

Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316506861
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hachette Books - October 17th, 2017

Over the course of one weekend in 1952, a great smog consumed London. In four days, 3000 people had died and in the following weeks another 3000 would follow. The smog was so dense that hearses could not safely pickup bodies. At the same time, a serial killer in a Notting Hill slum was beginning to unravel. Dawson's immensely readable book takes us from the mind of a serial killer and into the halls of Parliament where a great government cover-up is hatched and subsequently destroyed. A great crime book and fascinating portrait of post-WW 2 England. Perfect for fans of Erik Larson! - Sam