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Sunday, January 29, 2023


As determined by the iconic Strand Magazine 

Editor’s Note: The Strand Magazine is a quarterly which offers the best of both worlds—publishing previously unpublished works by literary masters such as John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams and H.G.Wells, as well as new works of fiction by today’s bestselling authors such as Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder and Jeffery Deaver. Our reviews section looks at the latest mystery/thriller offerings, Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and anthologies, in addition to audiobooks and DVDs. 

GUEST BLOG / By Andrew Gulli, Managing Editor, Strand Magazine--Here are the Top 25 Mystery Novels of 2022 in no order of importance or rank, they all are number one. 

The Heron’s Cry By Anne Cleeves (Minotaur Books) Time and again, Cleeves has proven that she’s a contemporary Agatha Christie with a touch of Colin Dexter and P.D. James, this is her best novel yet. 

Lost Man of Bombay By Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton) Khan does a great job of combining humor, and mayhem, in a historical setting. His books are series books that never feel the same. Those wishing for a cookie cutter series, had better look elsewhere. 

Standalone: A Dickie Cornish Mystery By Christopher Champers (Three Rooms Press) After reading this novel, it’s apparent that the modern heir to Chandler. Woolrich, and Cain is Christopher Chambers, enough said. 

Flight Risk By Cherie Priest (Atria) The clairvoyant genre has sadly become cliche, oversaturated, and predictable. Thankfully, Cherie Priest has emerged as a writer who can spin and weave a great tale that’ll keep you riveted from the first to the last page—and it’s also a playful book which is much needed after the past few years. 

The Registration By Madison Lawson (Camcat Books) Can you get away with committing one murder for every lifetime? I know that’s a loaded question, but Madison Lawson answers that question in a very startling and unsettling way. 

What Jonah Knew By Barbara Graham (Harper) If you like twists and turns and to be continually unsettled read this wonderful novel. The only question I have now is, when will it be made into a major Hollywood film? 

The Widow By Kaira Rouda (Thomas & Mercer) In this traditional thriller, ambition, romance, and murder combine for a shocking and absorbing novel that I read in one sitting. 

My Darkest Prayer By S A Cosby (Flatiron Books) True, this is a republished debut by S.A. Cosby, but it was well-worth reading and if you’re new to this wonderfully talented writer, this is the book to start your reading odyssey. 

Fake Money, Blue Smoke By Josh Haven (Mysterious Press) Everyone likes a heist novel and Josh Haven has created a cracking one at that. Double crosses, twists, and great character development—finally a heist novel for the 21st century. 

The Kind to Kill By Tessa Wegert (Severn House) Wegert emerged onto the scene right before the Covid pandemic and despite the bad timing, she’s rightly earned the badge as one of the finest talents of the past three years. And The Kind to Kill is her best novel to date. 

Night Flight to Paris By Cara Black (SOHO) Rewind to World War II and delve into intrigue, assassination and romance and you have a novel where I felt I traveled back in time. Great job from SOHO Press, they are one of the bravest and most enterprising publishers around. Cara Black’s novels only get better and better, and she’s a pro at creating visual atmosphere in just a few sentences. 

Picture You Dead By Peter James (Macmillan) The latest installment in the Roy Grace series of mystery novels is also a personal favorite. James is a solid writer–character, action, and plot are perfectly balanced in this fantastic and gripping novel. If you haven’t read Peter James, make 2023 your resolution to start. 

The Maze By Nelson DeMille (Scribner) Plum Island is one of my favorite mystery novels ever. The magician from Long Island is able to weave complex plots around his coterie of characters that feel real and above all interesting. Aspiring writers and readers in general need to have this must-read book on their nightstand. 

The Unreliables By Katherine Nichols (‎Black Rose Writing) The line between insanity and sanity is explored in this wonderfully plotted tale of murder with a conspiracy adding menace. 

The Enigma Affair By Charlie Lovett (Blackstone Publishing) A Nazi coding machine, a mysterious assassin, and the improbable premise that the world has something from the past to fear, are made probable and plausible by Lovett who has written a novel that is a must read for fans of Dan Brown and Raymond Khoury. 

Must Read Well By Ellen Pall (Bancroft) Pall left nothing on the table with this novel. If you’re into a writer who writes with the style of John Cheever, but adds a touch of menace, then this novel is for you. Must Read Well is one of those novels filled with subtle notes, hidden secrets, and after the final page, you’ll call a friend and insist they read the book, because great literature should not only be read, but it should also be discussed. 

The Wife Before By Shanora Williams (Kensington) In this page-turner, Williams takes us on a fairytale romance that proves to be a nightmare. 

Two Nights in Lisbon By Chris Pavone (MCD) Pavone is a contemporary Eric Ambler and Graham Greene and this international tale of intrigue is a must read for fans of those two masters. 

Tomboy By Shelley Blanton-Stroud (She Writes Press) Who doesn’t like a reporter story and that is not only prescient but character driven and makes Tomboy one of those rare historical novels that’ll have you searching for something similar–it won’t be easy, this one is a unicorn. 

Ruby Falls By Deborah Goodrich Royce (Post Hill Press) Novels that pay homage to a legendary author are fraught with pitfalls. Royce in her homage to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca pulls off this tour-de-force effectively and pens this tale of secrets for a modern audience–Daphne would be proud. 

Always The First To Die By R.J. Jacobs (Sourcebooks) Psychological suspense, horror, a film set rife with murder, and a hurricane thrusting a city into darkness equals the making of an absorbing novel by a new talent. 

Hell and Gone By Sam Wiebe (Harbor Press) Even Vancouver has a criminal underworld and this wonderful fast paced novel explores the contrast between the haves and have nots and has two protagonists matching wits against criminals–a highly recommended read. 

The Kingdoms of Savannah By George Dawes Green (Celadon Books) Savannah is a city of many contrasts and when a homeless man is killed, a few principled people will stop at nothing to get to the truth of the murder and along the way discover how one horrible crime can serve as a link to so much more. 

All Good People Here By Ashley Flowers (Bantam) I know, I know, the past and the future intersect in crime novels and this gripping debut links a missing person case with one that occurred twenty years before–in the hands of Ashley Flowers, she conjures up something unique, inventive, and shocking. 

Flicker in the Dark By Stacy Willingham (Minotaur Books) Great suspense fiction, forces to you off balance, if the author can pull off a stunning and unlikely premise off, then you have one of those novels where you go back to the book and ask yourself how you could have missed so many things. Willingham pulls it off and we hope this new voice will craft more dark, unsettling mystery novels in the future.  

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