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August 9, 2023

2 Crime Novels You Won't Be Able to Put Down

by MK French

We are in the dog days of summer and it is much too hot to do much of anything. So it is the perfect time to pick up a novel you won't be able to put down. Forget the heat as you lose yourself in the pages of these crime novels.

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Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

book cover of psychological thriller Dark Corners by Megan Goldin
August 2023; St. Martin's Press; 978-1250280688
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); psychological thriller

True crime podcaster Rachel Krall is called in by the FBI to help find the social media influencer Maddison Logan, who disappeared after visiting Terence Bailey in prison. While he had been imprisoned for breaking and entering, he was suspected of killing six women. Maddison has a huge online presence, but no apparent real one. Rachel creates a fake Instagram account to investigate and finds the world of social media influencing to be much more cutthroat than she thought. When a body is found, police are concerned that Bailey has an accomplice outside prison, one who is fixated on influencers, including Rachel herself.

Rachel appeared in Megan's novel The Night Swim, but it's not necessary to have read that first. She's a podcaster that found evidence that freed someone wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. "Dark corners can be danger points" is a line early on from the FBI agent that brought Rachel to the prison. In any missing person case, understanding who the victim is helps find them. With no sense of who Maddison is, the FBI has a much harder time. Rachel has no intention of backing off when told to, and posing as a micro-influencer allows her to ask questions about the influencers, and their relationship with Maddison and Terence. This leads to digging into the past, and those missing women that police attributed to Terence despite lack of evidence. 

The thriller moves at a quick pace, with a short timeline to get things done. Rachel is very much a reporter first, and podcaster second, though we see chapters of her podcast transcript. She has the ability to connect with other people due to her genuine interest in finding the truth, and no other agenda. This gets her farther into the investigation than the FBI or police, allowing us to discover what really happened. Another great thriller for the summer from Megan Goldin. 

Buy Dark Corners at Amazon

A Killer in the Family by Gytha Lodge

book cover of murder mystery A Killer in the Family by Gytha Lodge
August 2023; Random House; 978-0593242940
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); murder mystery

Aisling Cooley isn't paying attention to the bodies left at bonfires. She has two teenage sons and planned to find the father that left when she was a teenager in Ireland. She submitted her DNA to an ancestry website, hoping to find her father. Instead, a detective shows up saying her DNA is a close match to the bonfire killer.

This is the fifth Jonah Sheens detective novel. It's all right if you haven't read the prior ones, as it just gives a link regarding the detectives' private lives. (The fourth one is Little Sister, reviewed here.) The focus is more on Aisling, her sons, and the red herrings along the way as the police try to zero in on a killer related to Aisling. We get to see the investigation and all the avenues they take in tracking Aisling's sons and hunting down her father. Eventually, the events of Aisling's past come out completely, and we see the ties she has with the other families involved. The ties become clearer as the novel progresses, and it is fascinating to see how that all came together. Your guesses change as new information is revealed, and it's a race to the finish in the final third of the novel. I simply couldn't put the book down and had to see how it ended.

Buy A Killer in the Family at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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