5 New Books to Read this Week: January 2, 2018

Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!

This week, a highly anticipated debut from A. J. Finn and the 21st Dave Robicheaux novel from James Lee Burke help kick off 2018 with a bang! See what else we're reading:

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times … and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Read an exclusive Q&A with A. J. Finn!

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Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.

During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he’s investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave’s beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge.

Read Thomas Pluck's review of Robicheaux!

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Darkness, Sing Me a Song by David Housewright

Holland Taylor is a PI who does simple background checks and other mostly unchallenging cases. Still wounded by the long-ago death of his wife and daughter, and newly mourning a recently failed relationship, Taylor doesn’t have much interest in more challenging work. But almost by accident, he finds himself in the middle of the crime of the century.

Eleanor Barrington, the doyenne of a socially prominent family of great wealth, has been arrested for the murder of Emily Denys, her son’s fiancée. Barrington made no secret of her disdain for the victim, convinced that she was trying to take advantage of her son and her family.

Taylor had been brought in to do a full background check on Emily, only to discover that both her name and her background were fabricated. Before he could learn more, she was murdered―shot in the head outside her apartment.

Barrington had been overheard threatening to kill her son’s fiancé and an eyewitness claims to have seen her kill Emily. But that’s not the worst of it. Barrington’s own son has even worse accusations to make against her.

Caught in the dark tangle of a twisted family and haunted by his own past, Taylor finds that the truth is both elusive and dangerous.

Read an excerpt from Darkness, Sing Me a Song!

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In the Shadow of Agatha Christie, Edited by Leslie S. Klinger

Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s best-selling mystery author, hailed as the “Queen of Crime,” with worldwide sales in the billions. Christie burst onto the literary scene in 1920, with The Mysterious Affair at Styles; her last novel was published in 1976, a career longer than even Conan Doyle’s forty-year span.

The truth is that it was due to the success of writers like Anna Katherine Green in America; L. T. Meade, C. L. Pirkis, the Baroness Orczy, and Elizabeth Corbett in England; and Mary Fortune in Australia that the doors were finally opened for women crime-writers. Authors who followed them, such as Patricia Wentworth, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Agatha Christie would not have thrived without the bold, fearless work of their predecessors―and the genre would be much poorer for their absence. So while Agatha Christie may still reign supreme, it is important to remember that she did not ascend that throne except on the shoulders of the women who came before her―and inspired her―and who are now removed from her shadow once and for all by this superb new anthology by Leslie S. Klinger.

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A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

Even as her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, FBI Agent Elsa Myers can't ignore a call for help. A teenage girl has disappeared from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads obscures the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, Elsa's carefully compartmentalized world collapses around her. She finds missing people, but she knows too well how it feels to be lost. Everything she has buried—her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother's death—threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

Can our most painful childhood secrets be forgotten? Or will they always find their way back into our adult lives?

Read John Valeri's review of A Map of the Dark!

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