Brenda's Staff Picks

Brenda Jordan at Murder By The Book since 2009

After years of reading only True Crime, I slowly moved to mystery novels. Now, I primarily read British, Historical, Foreign and Espionage novels. From Peter James to Alan Bradley, Geraldine Brooks to Mark Pryor, Kate Morton to Amor Towles, Martin Walker to Daniel Silva, each author offers his/her unique ability to tell a story well. And, the well-written, well-told story is what I want!

Whether fast-paced, intense, poignant, charming— I know the story has “it” when I can’t get it out of my mind. What’s better than the anticipation of a new book by a favorite author, or the unexpected find of a great book by a new author? Nothing! That’s what it’s all about.

Brenda's 2018 Top Ten:

1.  The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachmann
2.  The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
3. Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield
4.  The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
5.  Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
6.  Force of Nature by Jane Harper
7.  The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
8.  Dead if You Don't  by Peter James
9.  Sirens by Joseph Knox
10.  A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang
Finds of the Year:

Iona Whishaw - Lane Winslow series
Steve Burrows - Dominic Jejeune series
Robert Bryndza - Erica Foster series
Robert Galbraith - Comoran Strike series

Staff Pick Badge
Careless Love: A DCI Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels #25) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062847522
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - February 12th, 2019

A local young woman's body is found in an abandoned car on a country road.  Assuming suicide, it soon becomes apparent there are too many questions surrounding her death to close the case as suicide.  She couldn't drive, didn't own a car, but how did she get there?

Not long after this call was received, another call comes in...a dead man who appears to have fallen from an isolated moorland road.  Wearing an expensive suit, but with no identification, who is he?  What's he doing there alone?  Where's a car?  Was he pushed?

Are the two cases connected?  Many questions for Alan Banks to answer...and two cases to solve. - Brenda 

Staff Pick Badge
The Good Detective Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525535539
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 19th, 2019

Set in Georgia, Detective P. T. Marsh is a policeman's policeman, on the path to all things good.  Then, his wife and son were killed in a tragic accident.  Since then, Marsh hasn't made the best decisions, personally or professionally...and the consequences may be deadly. 

Steeped in Southern tradition, this debut is for fans of Greg Iles. Can't wait for a sequel! - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
The Book Artist (Hugo Marston #8) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781633884885
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Seventh Street Books - February 5th, 2019

So atmospheric and well-written, Mark Pryor's 8th book in the Hugo Marston series may just be my favorite. - Brenda

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The Lost Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105684
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - February 5th, 2019

Jane Harper's latest book, The Lost Man, is an atmospheric standalone. With the feel of The Dry,  Harper again transports the reader to the intense heat and arid landscape of rural Australia. Set at Christmas, this is the story of family secrets, jealousies and grudges which are finally out in the open.

Three brothers own and operate large cattle ranches in the outback. Their properties border each other, but their homes are hours apart. When middle brother is found dead near an old landmark, the question is asked...suicide, or murder.

The Lost Man is just what you'd expect from Harper. ..well-written, incredible sense of place and an unexpected climax. Pick up a copy, get a big glass of ice water and enjoy! - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
The Stranger Diaries Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328577856
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - March 5th, 2019

Elly Griffiths, the ever-popular author of two series - Ruth Galloway and the Magic Men - has now given us an amazing standalone in The Stranger Diaries. Clare and her teenage daughter Georgia live in a rural area outside London where Clare is a high school English teacher and Georgia is a student. An integral part of Clare's curriculum each year is teaching R. M. Holland's The Stranger.  When a friend and fellow teacher is murdered, a note featuring a line from Holland's short story is found next to the body.  

Enter Harbinder, a police detective assigned the case.  Told by the three narrators, Elly has seamlessly intertwined their stories in this eerily atmospheric tale.  And, her thoughtful use of classic literary references adds to the unique intrigue of The Stranger Diaries.  I loved it! - Brenda