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CBTB’s Guide to Riley Sager Thrillers You know those authors whose work just instantly clicks for you? That’s me with Riley Sager’s thrillers. Over the past few years, Riley Sager has quickly cemented himself as one of my absolute favorite writers working in the psychological thriller space. His books are an irresistible blend of compelling characters, can’t-stop-reading plots, and ode to horror film and fiction, and he’s one of those rare authors whose novels truly seem to just get better and better. This summer, Riley’s next psychological thriller hits bookstores—and it’s got my favorite Sager plot yet. HOME BEFORE DARK is a psychological thriller inspired by the Amityville Horror. I mean… if that doesn’t just scream must-read, I don’t know what does. We’ve got a bit of a wait for Sager’s newest to release - HOME BEFORE DARK goes on sale June 30th - and while I know waiting can be so hard, let’s use this time as the perfect moment to dig into Sager’s fantastic back-list! I promise, time spent in any of Sager’s books is time well spent. In today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing my personal story and experience with Sager’s books, plus giving you a rundown of what kind of reader I think will best appreciate each of his fantastic previous releases. Sager is one of those authors I just can’t stop cheering for—he is so deserving of the success that has come his way over the past few years, and I can’t wait to hopefully get a few more readers hooked on his work today! Read on for my personal anecdotes on Sager’s books, and a guide to his thrillers so far. This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Crime by the Book may receive a small commission from items ordered through this link. Why I Love Riley Sager’s Thrillers I first encountered Riley Sager’s work when I was a brand-new publicity assistant working at my first job in publishing. I was lucky enough to begin my publishing career at Dutton, the fabulous division of Penguin Random House that published Sager’s breakout novel Final Girls. As a young publicity assistant reading Sager’s manuscript, I was instantly captivated. I couldn’t believe my luck that, in my very first job in the industry, I was getting my hands on a book that so perfectly captured what I love in a crime novel. I’m a huge horror movie fan, and Sager’s novel Final Girls is very much an ode to the leading ladies of slasher films (my favorite kind of horror movie!)—but more on that book later. I was instantly captivated by Sager’s page-turning writing, engaging characters, and his passion for the film genre that I love, too. You know when you read a book that feels somehow tailor-made for you? That’s how I felt with Final Girls. I was an instant Sager fan, and nothing has changed as the years have gone on. I ultimately changed jobs, and am now reading Sager’s work simply as a fan, but I will never forget the experience of getting to help launch Final Girls. Oh, and my obsession with Sager’s thrillers has only grown as time has gone on. Book after book, Riley Sager just seems to get better. With each new release, he both maintains the trademark features of his writing (addictive plotting, relatable characters, and touches of horror inspiration) and pushes himself in new directions. His 2020 release HOME BEFORE DARK promises to deliver his most ambitious, pushing-the-envelope thriller yet: this thriller is essentially two books in one. If you’ve been around Crime by the Book for a little bit, you already know how much I love a “book within a book”-style thriller, so suffice it to say, I think Riley’s newest release has a very good shot of being my favorite book of his yet—and I haven’t even read it yet! The moral of the story here is this: Riley Sager’s career is just getting started, and now is the perfect time to begin your own obsession with his thrillers. To that end, I’ve created this Guide to Riley Sager Thrillers to help you decide which Sager book you want to dive into while we wait for his new release this summer! All of Sager’s books are standalones, and they’re all excellent—you really can’t go wrong here, but this guide will help you get your Sager pick exactly right. Read on for a rundown of Sager’s currently-available psychological thrillers, including my recommendations for what kind of reader will like each book best! And if you’re already obsessed with Sager, scroll to the bottom of this post for everything we know about his 2020 release HOME BEFORE DARK so far. CBTB’s Guide to Riley Sager Thrillers FINAL GIRLS For readers who love: Horror movie franchises like Halloween and Scream Strong female leads—especially strong female leads in a slasher movie! Stories featuring secrets from the past coming back to light in the present Why I loved Final Girls: I’m a huge horror movie fan, and I’m particularly obsessed with slasher franchises like Halloween and Scream. In Final Girls, Riley Sager delivers the perfect homage to this movie genre—and to the leading ladies of these franchises in particular. Final Girls is not itself a horror novel—that’s very important to keep in mind! But it is a fantastic ode to the genre. For those not familiar with the term “final girl,” it refers to the last woman standing in a slasher film. (Think Laurie Strode in Halloween!) In Final Girls, Sager imagines what happens to a “final girl” after she survives a horrific ordeal. Once the media attention surrounding her story has died down, once her life is supposed to have gone back to “normal,” how does she feel? What is her experience of returning to “normalcy” after surviving something unthinkable? Sager’s irresistible breakout novel follows a young woman named Quincy who, years prior, survived a massacre. She has worked hard to rebuild her life, but her past is about to come back to call—and she’s going to have to prove herself a final girl once more. Guys, this book is so good. Whether or not you love horror movies personally, this psychological thriller will sweep you up in a twisty, addictive story with a protagonist you’ll root for every step of the way. Plot Details: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls: Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second Final Girl, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished. Final Girls: A Novel By Riley Sager THE LAST TIME I LIED For readers who love: Cinematic settings (summer camp!) Stories of female friendship Pretty Little Liars Why I Loved The Last Time I Lied: Remember what I said about Sager being so good at pushing his writing in new directions while also remaining true to his roots? The Last Time I Lied is a prime example of that. Where Final Girls was directly linked to a very bloody genre of horror film, The Last Time I Lied leans into a lighter brand of horror—but delivers the same irresistible entertainment value. The Last Time I Lied follows a young woman who returns to the summer camp she attended in her teenage years, this time as a camp counselor. But she has hidden motivations for her return. When she was a teenager at the camp, one of her cabin-mates disappeared, and she has forever been haunted by this mystery. Now, she’s determined to find out the truth. The Last Time I Lied delves into the complexity of female friendships in a way that felt so authentic to me; I loved following our protagonist as she revisits and reassesses the events and emotions of her teenage years. A huge selling point to this novel is its fantastic summer camp setting. This book truly feels made for the big screen: this summer camp is a perfect balance of picturesque and very creepy, and readers will absolutely love their time spent in this spine-tingling environment. There are certain snapshot moments at this camp that I literally can’t get out of my head, even though it’s been years since I read this book. Plot Details: Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees. Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera--the only one on the property--pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price. The Last Time I Lied: A Novel By Riley Sager LOCK EVERY DOOR For readers who love: New York City Gothic vibes Stories set in iconic (and creepy!) buildings Why I Loved Lock Every Door: Lock Every Door reads like Sager’s love song to New York—but a very creepy one at that. This book is, I think, objectively Sager’s strongest release yet. Lock Every Door is a stellar blend of Gothic inspiration and modern sensibility. Following a millennial woman whose motivations and anxieties will feel deeply relatable to anyone trying to make it in the adult world for the first time, Lock Every Door keeps itself firmly rooted in the 21st century - and in reality - even while its plot takes a turn for the very scary. Lock Every Door follows a young woman who accepts a job as an apartment-sitter at a luxury New York apartment building. The building is old and gorgeous, and she can hardly believe her luck. But as she settles into her new role, she begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems. And when another apartment sitter in the building goes missing, she takes it upon herself to investigate. Lock Every Door is a truly fantastic blend of Gothic influences and gripping, modern plotting. I absolutely love thrillers that take place in a building with a rich and creepy history, and that’s exactly what Sager gives readers in his fictional apartment building, the Bartholomew. The Bartholomew becomes a character unto itself here, and I never wanted to tear myself away from this cinematic building and its very creepy past. A very down-to-earth protagonist keeps Lock Every Door grounded in reality, and keeps readers deeply invested in the ultimate fate she will meet. I loved this book. Plot Details: No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears. Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent. ..read more
THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by Simone St. James Berkley; 2/18/20 CBTB Rating: 5/5 The Verdict: an unputdownable mystery-meets-ghost story ..read more
Jo Nesbø Announces New Thriller THE KINGDOM My personal favorite crime writer broke the news today that he will be releasing a standalone thriller this fall, and longtime CBTB followers will know just how excited I am about this! THE KINGDOM is slated for publication in September, and promises to deliver all the gritty atmosphere and superb crime writing we have come to expect from Nesbø, this time in a stand-alone thriller. A cover for THE KINGDOM has not yet been revealed, but I’ll be updating this post accordingly as soon as more information becomes available!  For any newcomers to Nesbø’s work, consider this announcement the perfect time to begin exploring my personal favorite author’s extensive backlist. Crime by the Book has a ton of resources available for readers interested in familiarizing themselves with Jo Nesbø’s novels. You can find a full rundown of who Jo Nesbø is, and why I love his work, in my Beginner’s Guide to Jo Nesbø, and you can catch up with a rundown of CBTB coverage of Nesbø in my Nordic Noir By Country blog post (just look for his name and you’ll find a list of CBTB links below it!). If a more simplified rundown of recommendations and background information is your thing, today’s blog post will be your perfect resource. Here you’ll find background information on THE KINGDOM, plus a quick Frequently Asked Questions section that can give you tips on where to start reading Nesbø’s books! As always, I’m more than happy to answer any questions. Happy reading! xx A This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Crime by the Book may receive a commission for items ordered through these links. What We Know About THE KINGDOM So Far:  US Publication Date: September 15, 2020 | UK Publication Date: September 17, 2020 Plot Details:  #1 New York Times best-selling author Jo Nesbø delivers an electrifying stand-alone novel about a dark family secret that tests the limits of brotherly love. In a rural village deep in the mountains, mechanic Roy leads a quiet, simple life, but when his little brother Carl, an entrepreneur, returns with a proposal for a grand hotel to revive the struggling town, dark secrets from their childhood threaten to resurface. As children, Roy defended his little brother against schoolyard bullies and vicious rumors, but his loyalty to family is tested when greed and betrayal saturate Carl's plans--not to mention when Roy's sister-in-law Shannon catches his eye. The farther he goes to protect Carl, the more Roy finds himself dredging up the town's shocking past. And when the town sheriff starts looking into Roy and Carl's parents' tragic deaths, Roy will have to reckon with how far he will go to protect his brother. Pre-Order Links:  Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Amazon UK  Why I’m Excited:  Okay, this one is a no-brainer. Jo Nesbø is my all-time favorite author, and I am basically always in a state of waiting to see what he will release next! THE KINGDOM is a particularly exciting release, though, as it finds Nesbø exploring universal themes of family secrets and tensions, and takes place in a rural setting that, based on the plot description, might evoke a similar feeling as Winter’s Bone. The fact that THE KINGDOM is a standalone thriller is equally exciting, as it promises to allow new readers the perfect entry point into Nesbø’s work! One of my personal favorite things is to help you guys get as hooked on Nesbø as I am, and I suspect that this standalone thriller will be a perfect introduction for those of you who are totally new to his novels. (And for those of us who have been reading Nesbø for years, I expect we’ll see all the masterful plotting, thrilling storytelling, and emotional insight that define a Nesbø crime novel here, too.) I simply cannot wait to see what brilliant story Jo Nesbø’s newest book will deliver. The Kingdom: A novel By Jo Nesbo Nesbø Books To Read While We Wait for THE KINGDOM  You can find an in-depth discussion of Nesbø’s crime novels in my Beginner’s Guide to Jo Nesbø, but if you want a quick recommendation for where to start with his work, read on right here! Frequently Asked Questions Who is Jo Nesbø? Jo Nesbø is a crime writer based in Norway. He is one of the world’s most successful crime writers: his books have sold over 33 million copies around the world. Along with a very successful career as an author, he is also an economist, a rock climber, the frontman of a rock band, and a former soccer player. Oh, and he has also written children’s books. (Basically a modern-day Renaissance man!) What are his best-known books? Jo Nesbø is best known for his crime fiction series following Detective Harry Hole in Oslo, Norway. There are currently twelve installments in the Harry Hole series:  THE BAT COCKROACHES THE REDBREAST NEMESIS THE DEVIL’S STAR THE REDEEMER THE SNOWMAN THE LEOPARD PHANTOM POLICE THE THIRST KNIFE  Should these books be read in order?  Yes, but there’s a catch. I typically recommend that readers interested in digging into this series as a whole begin with Book 3, THE REDBREAST. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but hear me out. The first two installments in this series are certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but their content and pacing is quite quite different from the remainder of the series. Based on my own reading experience and many conversations with readers all around the world, a commonality has made itself clear: for so many of us, myself included, it was THE REDBREAST - and its finale in particular - that hooked us on the Harry Hole series. It is not necessary to read THE BAT and COCKROACHES in order to understand THE REDBREAST; THE REDBREAST will, in fact, give you a much better feel for Nesbo’s writing than the series’ first two installments. But no matter whether you choose to start with THE BAT or THE REDBREAST, the Harry Hole books are best understood when you continue reading them in series order. Nesbø is a master at crafting characters, and you won’t want to miss out on the incredible character development that occurs over the course of these novels. What if I want to try the series, but not commit to reading the whole thing? In that case, I would recommend trying Nesbø’s book THE SNOWMAN. This is Book 7 in the Harry Hole series, and it’s probably his best-known book, too. It can easily be read as a standalone, and it’s a perfect way to sample his writing style and see if it’s for you! If you love the read, you can always go back to Book 3 and read through the series from there. Also, word to the wise, do not watch the movie adaptation of THE SNOWMAN - it butchers my favorite Nesbø story of them all.  What about his standalone novels?  Along with his Harry Hole series, Nesbø has a number of excellent standalone novels, too! They are:  THE SON HEADHUNTERS  BLOOD ON SNOW MIDNIGHT SUN MACBETH  Of these books, BLOOD ON SNOW and MIDNIGHT SUN are loosely connected, but aside from that, they’re all true stand-alone novels. My personal favorites are BLOOD ON SNOW and MACBETH: both novels showcase really different sides of Nesbø’s writing, and illustrate his range as an author. BLOOD ON SNOW is a gentler, more emotional novel, following a surprisingly endearing hit man; MACBETH, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, is a gritty crime drama that you can easily understand and enjoy regardless of your familiarity with the original work. While we wait for THE KINGDOM to go on sale this fall, now is the perfect moment to begin exploring Jo Nesbø’s work! As always, I’m totally happy to answer any questions or provide personal recommendations for where to begin with my favorite author. The countdown to new Jo Nesbø is officially on!  ..read more
CBTB’s Guide to Early-2020 Nordic Noir The Scandinavian crime fiction that belongs on your early-2020 TBR! It’s no surprise that I’m always on the lookout for new Nordic Noir. Scandinavian crime fiction is my personal favorite crime fiction subgenre, and a staple of Crime by the Book—and luckily for all of us who adore it, 2020 is going to be a fantastic year for new releases in this category! Today I’m rounding up the Scandinavian crime fiction that belongs on your to-read list early this year, including both books I’ve already read and covered here on CBTB, and titles that I haven’t yet dug into, but which are on my personal TBR list. If I’ve already read a book on this list, you’ll find a link to my coverage of that book included here, too! The books included in this post have US publication dates that fall between January and April 2020—which means that some of them are already on sale, and some are releasing very soon! From new installments in beloved series to exciting debuts, there’s a little something for every Scandinavian crime fiction fan releasing early this year. Dive into this list and fill your TBR with all the gritty, gripping storytelling that Scandinavian crime fiction has to offer.  This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Crime by the Book may receive a commission for items ordered through these links.  JANUARY RELEASES THE RABBIT HUNTER by Lars Kepler Read CBTB’s Q&A with Lars Kepler Why I’m Excited: A new Lars Kepler thriller is always cause for celebration. This is a new installment in Kepler’s bestselling series following detective Joona Linna in Stockholm, Sweden. This book features one of Kepler’s most complex plots yet: it’s a story that spans continents, and involves past secrets coming to light in the present day. Oh, and it’s got a killer with a very creepy penchant for nursery rhymes, too. If you’re a total newcomer to Kepler’s world, you may wish to start with Book 3 in the series, The Sandman, and work your way from there, but Kepler’s books are crafted in a way that they truly all can be read as standalones. This is another intricate, dark, violent thriller from a writing duo producing some of the scariest serial killer thrillers out there.  Plot Details: Ten little rabbits, all dressed in white Tried to get to heaven on the end of a kite. Kite string got broken, down they all fell, Instead of going to heaven, they all went to... It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die. A masked stranger stands in the shadows. He watches his victim through the window. He will kill him slowly—make him pay. Soon the Rabbit Hunter has claimed another three victims. This predator will stop at nothing to reap his ultimate revenge. It’s up to Joona Linna and Saga Bauer to untangle one of the most complex cases of their career, and follow the killer’s trail of destruction back to one horrific night of violence. The Rabbit Hunter: A novel (Joona Linna Book 6) By Lars Kepler THE TENANT by Katrine Engberg Read CBTB’s Review of THE TENANT Why I’m Excited: I’m always thrilled to see new authors breaking into the Nordic Noir genre, and Katrine Engberg has quickly established herself as an author on the rise in this category. Her debut novel, THE TENANT, introduces readers to the protagonists of her series: a duo of police officers in Copenhagen. THE TENANT finds these officers investigating a bizarre crime that may be inspired by an unpublished manuscript. I love thrillers that have bookish elements to them, and found this thread of THE TENANT very engaging! While I did find some elements of this story uneven (more on that in my full review), this was a strong debut and a compelling introduction to an author to watch.  Plot Details:  An electrifying work of literary suspense from international bestselling author Katrine Engberg, this stunning debut introduces two police detectives struggling to solve a shocking murder and stop a killer hell-bent on revenge. When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her own apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. In short order, they establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who’s a bit too fond of drink and the host of raucous dinner parties with her artist friends. Esther also turns out to be a budding novelist—and when Julie turns up as a murder victim in the still-unfinished mystery she’s writing, the link between fiction and real life grows both more urgent and more dangerous. But Esther’s role in this twisted scenario is not quite as clear as it first seems. Is she the culprit—or just another victim, trapped in a twisted game of vengeance? Anette and Jeppe must dig more deeply into the two women’s pasts to discover the identity of the brutal puppet-master pulling the strings in this electrifying literary thriller. The Tenant By Katrine Engberg STALKER by Lars Kepler (paperback edition)  Read CBTB’s “Buzzworthy Books” Post Why I’m Excited: My personal favorite Lars Kepler book has just been released in a gorgeous new paperback edition… what’s not to be excited about?! STALKER is an absolutely gripping serial killer thriller that puts readers up close and personal with one of my favorite fictional villains to date. This book is another series installment from Kepler, but it’s particularly easy to read on its own, as it spends a lot of time focused on a police officer who hasn’t appeared elsewhere in Kepler’s series. I love this book, and highly recommend it for my fellow serial killer thriller addicts!  Plot Details: The internationally bestselling authors of The Sandman and The Hypnotist return with a terrifying new thriller: Detective Joona Linna--recently returned from compassionate leave--reunites with hypnotist Erik Maria Bark in a search for a seemingly unassailable sadistic killer.     The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she's being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman's body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there's nothing they can do. Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna's worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things.   Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he's beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars--and a serial killer still on the loose. . . Stalker: A novel (Joona Linna Book 5) By Lars Kepler FEBRUARY RELEASES THE ABSOLUTION by Yrsa Sigurdardottir Available 2/11/20 Read CBTB’s Review Why I’m Excited: Yrsa Sigurdardottir is one of my absolute favorite authors, and the series she is currently writing in - the Children’s House series - is one of the best Scandinavian crime series out there right now. THE ABSOLUTION, the third installment in the Children’s House series, is Yrsa’s best series installment yet. (Yes, I realize this is a ton of praise I’m heaping on this book right now… but it deserves it.) The Children’s House books are gritty, slow-burning procedurals that explore the impact of childhood trauma. THE ABSOLUTION puts a fresh spin on this series’ themes, using social media as an integral part of the killer’s modus operandi. This book is intricate, masterful, and utterly engrossing. While this mystery is self-contained and can be read on its own, I would recommend reading your way through the whole series so you get the full scope of the characters’ development. Book one is The Legacy and book two is The Reckoning.  Plot Details:  The Absolution is the third installment in Queen of Icelandic crime fiction Yrsa Sigurdardóttir’s series about the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar. The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows a terrified young woman begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number “2”. Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager's friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim, but who could have hated her enough to kill? Then another teenager goes missing, more clips are sent to social media, and the body with a “3” is found. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. The killer is not done yet. And is there an undiscovered body carrying the number “1” out there? The Absolution: A Thriller (Children's House) By Yrsa Sigurdardottir DEATH DESERVED by Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger Available 2/20/20 Read CBTB’s Review of DEATH DESERVED Why I’m Excited: Two of Norway’s most beloved crime writers teaming up on a new serial killer thriller? This is a dream project to me as a reader, and boy does it deliver. DEATH DESERVED is a superb blend of the writing talents of its two authors. Jorn Lier Horst is an author known for his meticulous and realistic portrayal of police work, drawn from his own experience working in Norway’s police force. Thomas Enger is an author whose novels are always infused with raw emotion and rich character development. Combine Horst and Enger’s skills, and you’ve got a crime novel that blends realism with human drama to fantastic effect. In DEATH DESERVED, a serial killer is targeting individuals in the public eye in Norway. DEATH DESERVED is the kind of Nordic thriller you’ll tear through in a couple of sittings. I’m already counting down the days until we can get our hands on the next English release from this talented writing team.  Plot Details:  Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number "one" has been pinned to the TV. Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation 19 years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated—evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing. Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention. The trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it.  Death Deserved (Alexander Blix) By Thomas Enger, Jorn Lier Horst MARCH RELEASES VICTIM 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen Available 3/3/20 Why I’m Excited: I’ve been reading Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series for years now, and am so excited that he’s got another crime novel releasing in the US this spring! Adler-Olsen is a staple of the Nordic Noir genre, and his Department Q series explores the dark underbelly of idyllic Copenhagen through the eyes of Department Q, the cold case.. ..read more
DEATH IN THE FAMILY by Tessa Wegert Berkley; 2/18/20 CBTB Rating: 4.5/5 The Verdict: An engrossing “locked room” mystery for Agatha ..read more
Author Q&A: C.J. Tudor THE OTHER PEOPLE C.J. Tudor has quickly become one of my absolute favorite suspense authors. Her previous ..read more
THE OTHER PEOPLE by C.J. Tudor Ballantine Books; 1/28/20 CBTB Rating: 5/5 The Verdict: A gripping, inventive, sinister thriller I breathe ..read more
THE TENANT by Katrine Engberg Gallery/Scout Press; 1/14/20 CBTB Rating: 3.5/5 The Verdict: A compelling mystery and new series to watch ..read more
Author Q&A: Lars Kepler THE RABBIT HUNTER I’ve been a Lars Kepler fan for years now, and a new book by Kepler is always cause for ..read more
DEATH DESERVED by Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger Orenda Books; 1/15/20 (e-book) & 2/20/20 (paperback) CBTB Rating: 4.5/5 The ..read more

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