Recently in Mystery Category

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Frank Chambers, the scuzzy main character in James M. Cain's noir masterpiece The Postman Always Rings Twice, is not a nice guy. He will not come to a happy end. Nor will his adulteress in crime, Cora. These folks are dour, desperate and defeated. They plot. They murder. They rot from inside out, like a tapeworm slowly sucking the humanity from their life-blood.

The Postman Always Rings Twice is the type of short novel that punches you in the gut from the first paragraph and keeps on jabbing at your spleen on the way up your throat till it hits a vital point. The vileness is addicting, the repugnance complete. The desperation of the main characters mirror the desperation of 1934 America stuck deep in the gorges of the Great Depression and hang onto the reader like the jaws of a rattler on a trapped mouse.

We're all familiar with the story of the aimless drifter roaming into town and seducing the wife of a local resident. We've seen the furtive eyes, the lustful clenches, the faraway looks of longing to be anyplace but where they reside and with anyone else but who they're with. This is such a story. But this is a story so well written, so psychologically brutal, so sparse in language that it's as if it were chiseled onto stone slabs to be read by tallow light.

The film adaptation of this novel is great, but read the book first.

Dan @ Washington Park

It Happens in the Dark by Carol O'Connell

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Before there was Lisbeth Salander, there was Kathy Mallory, NYC's scariest detective. In It Happens in the Dark by Carol O Connell, the eleventh Mallory Mystery, Mallory, whose deductive and manipulative abilities more than make up for her lack of people skills, takes on the case of a playwright murdered during the opening of his new Broadway play. Mallory sees through the histrionics and obfuscations of the theater company to find a killer lurking in the wings.

Fran @ Bay View

S by Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams

sabrams.jpegS. by Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams isn't your typical fiction book. No, what's packed between those two covers (and on the cover itself) is an experience, a mystery that overflows from the pages of the book, spilling forth in the form of inserted post cards, letters, even maps scrawled on napkins. The book itself is styled as a copy of 'Ship of Theseus' by a fictional author V.M. Straka, stolen from a California school library. In the margins, there are notes scrawled in different colors: an ongoing conversation between two people intensely studying both the text of Ship of Theseus and the mysteries surrounding the author.

If you were a fan of the intricate mysteries that were part of Abrams' Lost or all the secret society intrigue of Alias, this is a distillation of those themes and elements into a book that is unlike probably anything you've ever read. As a unique experience, I cannot recommend S. highly enough. We have several copies available at the library, though there's a wait list right now. Place a hold today so you can experience this book yourself!

Tim @ Central

Murder in The Kingdom: Saudi Mysteries by Zoe Ferraris

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Author Zoe Ferraris knows Saudi Arabia. She lived in the Kingdom of Saud with her conservative Saudi-Palestinian in-laws and used her experiences to bring to life Katya Hijazi, a crime scene technician with a desire to become a detective; a rare thing in the male dominated society of Saudi Arabia. Katya struggles to balance what is deemed appropriate for an unmarried woman and her capabilities as an investigator.

Finding Nouf sees Katya and desert guide Nayir unravel the mystery of the death of a wealthy Saudi's teenage daughter. While investigating the murders of a controversial filmmaker and American security contractor, Katya comes dangerously close to the limit of permissible behavior in City of Veils. What is Katya willing to risk to solve her case? In Ferraris' most recent Saudi mystery, Kingdom of Strangers, the city of Jeddah reels from the discovery of seventeen murdered women. Katya, Nayir, and liberal minded Detective Zahrani must delve into the hidden lives of Saudi Arabia's many immigrant workers to find the twisted mind behind the killings.

To learn more about Saudi history and culture, try reading Karen Elliott House's On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines-- and Future.

Kristina @ Central

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Hear about the best books 2013 has to offer. Suggestions made by librarians Tom Olson and Jacki Potratz will make holiday gift-giving a breeze. This is your chance to ask questions before you buy. Many genres, as well as children's and young adult recommendations, will be presented. All books on display will be available for checkout. Preview the titles on our Give Books! 2013 Pinterest board.

Jacki @ Central

Daddy's Gone a Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark

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Daddy's Gone a Hunting is the latest novel by Mary Higgins Clark. Sisters Kate and Hannah Connelly lost their mother at a young age and Hannah now fears losing her sister. Kate was badly injured in a fire she may or may not have set to the family business. While Hannah keeps a bedside vigil, along with juggling her new fashion line and budding romance, their father seems more concerned with his much younger girlfriend and the insurance money. Clark writes an interesting tale, which also includes a homeless veteran and a man searching for clues on his sister's death decades earlier. As usual, the book ends with all of the loose ends tied up and even some romance, but it is her best book in years.

Meredith @ Central

Washington Park Reads

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Scotland Yard's murder squad is back at work in Alex Grecian's follow-up to The Yard. Inspector Day and Sergeant Hammersmith have several mysteries to unravel in the British Midland's coal mining village of Blackhampton. Everyone seems to have a secret, superstitions run high, and danger abounds in The Black Country; an historical thriller set in the late 19th century.

Kathryn @ Washington Park

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