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8 Criminally Good Reads To Look Out For This Year

By Alison Bunis

Hoping to find that perfect book to send a shiver down your spine? The kind of read that keeps you up late because you just have to know how it ends? We get it, we’re addicted to mysteries and crime thrillers, too.

Here’s a quick list of some of our favorites coming from Forge this year. It’s a pretty wide range, so pick your poison, grab your deerstalker hat, and get reading!

Court of Lies by Gerry Spence (February 19)

Gerry Spence is one of America’s greatest trial attorneys. He hasn’t lost a jury trial in fifty years, and he’s never lost a criminal or a capital case. Now, Spence brings those decades of experience to storytelling in Court of Lies. Lillian Adams is on trial for the murder of her wealthy husband before Judge John Murray. Judge Murray wants justice to run its course, but prosecutor Haskins Sewell plans to advance his own career by framing Lillian for murder and railroading the judge into prison. You’ll be up all night with this fast-paced courtroom thriller!

Redemption Point by Candice Fox (March 19)

Not only is Candice Fox one of our favorites, but she’s also one of James Patterson’s favorite collaborators. Readers who’ve met her unconventional detective team of Ted Conkaffey, a former police officer wrongly accused of abducting young Claire Bingley, and Amanda Pharrell, a private detective whose murder conviction a decade ago left her with some odd behavioral traits and head-to-toe tatts, can’t get enough of them. After a thrilling debut in Crimson Lake, Ted and Amanda are back in Redemption Point. This time, the hunt for the truth will draw them into a violent dance with evil. Redemption is certainly on the cards – but it may well cost them their lives…

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall (April 9)

A beautiful private island? Strangers? Secrets? False pretenses? What more could a reader want? Delighted by a surprise invitation, Miriam Macy sails off to a luxurious private island with six other strangers, where they soon discover that they’ve been brought to the remote location under false pretenses – and that they all harbor a secret. Danger lurks everywhere. Sporadic cellphone coverage and miles of ocean keep the group trapped in paradise. And strange accidents stir suspicions as one by one…They All Fall Down. 

Strong as Steel by Jon Land (April 23)

1994: Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigates a mass murder on a dusty freight train linked to a missing cargo for which no record exists.
Present Day: His daughter, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself on the trail of that same cargo when a body is found in the Texas desert. As she gets closer to uncovering a long-buried secret, Caitlin must overcome a bloody tide that has been rising for centuries. With one hell of a strong female lead and twists that will leave you guessing until the end, Strong as Steel is one you won’t want to miss!

Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn (July 2)

And now, for something completely different. If you love mysteries but also can’t get enough of dogs, we’ve got the perfect canine caper for you. Narrated by the lovable canine Chet, who works with his PI pal Bernie, Heart of Barkness continues the delightful mix of lighthearted comedy and addictive mystery found in the Chet & Bernie series. And if the title isn’t enough to make you fall in love with this series, we don’t know what will.

The Retreat by Sherri Smith (August 13)

Let’s just admit it – we’ve all got a secret fascination with celebrity self-destruction stories. In The Retreat, Katie Manning was a child star until an attack permanently scarred her face, ended her career, and sent her into a familiar post-Hollywood downward spiral. Now, at age 27, Katie and her two best friends sign up for a weekend away at a tranquil wellness retreat upstate to try and find inner peace. But each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has secrets to hide. And at the end of the weekend, only one will be left standing.

The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan (August 20)

We absolutely love Hank Phillippi Ryan, and so should you. In The Murder List, we’re introduced to Rachel North. Rachel is a smart, hardworking law student with an internship that guarantees a successful career, and she’s married to a devoted husband who’s a lion of Boston’s defense bar. Rachel knows that her future is set. Problem is―she’s wrong. When her life turns into a cat and mouse game, the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

Hudson’s Kill by Paddy Hirsch (September 17)

If you’re more into historical thrillers, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. New York, 1803. When a young black girl is found stabbed to death, City Marshal Justy Flanagan and schoolteacher Kerry O’Toole each separately decide to go after the killer. As they find their way to a shadowy community on the fringes of the growing city, they uncover a political conspiracy tied to a criminal enterprise that is stunning in its depravity. If you can’t wait for this historical page-turner to hit shelves on September 17, pick up The Devil’s Half Mile to read about Justy’s earlier adventures.

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