Over this much extended winter (sigh) I have been gobbling up mysteries left and right. I have recently realized that the ones that keep me on my toes the most are those with a non-linear timeline. Not to worry, these books have nothing to do with math! By non-linear, I mean that the story unfolds in pieces because the timeline typically jumps between the past and present. This is a storytelling convention that is used in all genres, but I especially enjoy reading mysteries that unfold in this manner because I think it makes the whodunnit harder to figure out. I’ve become quite a good couch detective, but most of these books kept me guessing until the end!
A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window is one of my favorite books of the year so far. It’s also one of the best “woman/girl” stories to be written since the infamous Gone Girl. The flashbacks throughout the story surround Dr. Anna Fox and her crippling agoraphobia. Anna is under a great deal of stress and when she mixes her prescribed medications with too much alcohol it’s hard to know if what she witnesses through her window is real or her mind playing tricks on her. Finn keeps us guessing about a number of different storylines as we follow Anna through a tumultuous few weeks filled with uncertainty and some great classic Hitchcock films. Are the movies putting ideas in her head or is her neighbor real dead?
Sunburn is Laura Lippman’s self proclaimed first foray into noir. When we first meet Polly she is an unhappily married 30-something desperately seeking a way out from her stale, boring life. But the more we learn about Polly’s history the more we understand that really she is playing a very clever and calculated game. Will she win or will everything fall apart? Whether or not Polly is justified in what she does throughout the novel depends upon the reader, and I appreciate that Lippman leaves it up to us.
If you enjoy reading series, then The Dry by Jane Harper should be placed at the top of your list. Indeed it has received all kinds of critical acclaim including the Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. As the story begins, we find Aaron Falk returning to his hometown of Kiewarra, Australia for the first time in nearly twenty years after his childhood best friend and family are brutally murdered. Falk (now a federal agent in Melbourne) quickly gets pulled back into the small town and the darkness he tried to leave behind years ago. Harper’s page turner reveals the truth behind the murders now, as well as what made Falk and his father flee all those years ago, in such gripping detail that you may be surprised to learn that this is her first novel.
Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates splits its time between present day and a pivotal few weeks in 1982 when Patch, Matthew, and Hannah were teenagers in an idyllic small town in New York. In one grisly moment all of their lives are irrevocably changed. They all grow up and try to move on, but that sentiment is easier said than done. Some decisions can never been forgiven. Yates does a masterful job of unraveling their lives then and now as well as all of the lies that they are entangled in.
Quincy Carpenter is part of an infamous club that no one would ever want to be in. She is one of three women who survived horrific crimes while the rest of their friends were murdered. Indeed, these woman are known as the Final Girls and author Riley Sager explores what it’s like to be a survivor carrying these memories around even decades later. Quincy has made quite a good life for herself until her former club members start being murdered. She must figure out what is happening before she is the next victim.
Hope you all enjoy some twisty mysteries, and until next time…happy reading!