It's Mystery Monday on The Princess and the Pen, where I highlight a few mystery novels on my radar. I come across so many mysteries on Goodreads, from social media and word-of-mouth recommendations and Mystery Monday will feature a small selection of those. Some are debut authors, others well-established. One thing they all have in common, though, is that they might make my to-read mountain topple over!
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Everything that Follows by Meg Little Reilly
"For fans of Megan Abbott and Chris Bohjalian comes a novel of moral complexity about friends who must choose between self-preservation and doing the right thing in the wake of a fatal boating accident. Set in the moody off-season of Martha’s Vineyard, Everything That Follows is a plunge into the dark waters of secrets and flexible morals. The truth becomes whatever we say it is…Around midnight, three friends take their partying from bar to boat on a misty fall evening. Just as the weather deteriorates, one of them suddenly and confusingly goes overboard. Is it an accident? The result of an unwanted advance? His body disappears quickly, silently, into the dark water. The circumstances are murky, but what is clear is that the other two need to notify the authorities. Minutes become hours become days as they hesitate, caught up in their guilt and hope that their friend has somehow made it safely to shore. As valuable time passes, they find themselves deep in a moral morass with huge implications as they struggle to move forward and live with their dark secret."
"Therapist Dr. Mark Fabian is dead, bludgeoned in his office. But that doesn't stop former patient Nadine Raines from talking to him -- in her head. Why did she come back to her hometown after so many years away? Everyone here thinks she's crazy. And she has to admit, they might have good reason to think so. She committed a shockingly violent act when she was sixteen and has never really been able to explain that dark impulse, even to Fabian. Now that Fabian's dead, why is she still trying? Meanwhile, as Detective Henry Peacher investigates Fabian's death, he discovers that shortly before he died, Fabian pulled the files of two former patients. One was of Nadine Raines, one of Henry's former high school classmates. Henry still remembers the disturbing attack on a teacher that marked Nadine as a deeply troubled teen. More shockingly, the other file was of Johnny Streeter, who is now serving a life sentence for a mass shooting five years ago. The shooting devastated the town and everyone -- including Henry who is uncomfortable with the "hero" status the tragedy afforded him -- is ready to move on. But the appearance of his file brings up new questions. Maybe there is a decades-old connection between Nadine and Streeter. And maybe that somehow explains what Nadine is doing in Fabian's office nearly twenty years after being his patient. Or how Fabian ended up dead two days after her return. Or why Nadine has fled town once again. But as Nadine and Henry head toward a confrontation, both will discover that the secrets of people's hearts are rarely simple, and even in the hidden depths of a psychologist's files, rarely as they appear."
"Cal Hudson knows the world can be an ugly place. As a reporter for a big Chicago newspaper, Cal has journeyed into society’s darkest corners to expose the vilest crimes. But the world he and his devoted wife, Faith, share with their son is much nicer. They have made sure of it, creating a tranquil haven in suburban River Ridge to protect the person most precious to them.Until the unthinkable happens, and nine-year-old Gage vanishes.In a split second at a local carnival, the Hudsons’ storybook world begins unraveling. A frantic search starts to uncover splinters in their carefully crafted facade, revealing buried secrets that cast just as much suspicion on Cal and Faith as any ill-meaning stranger, and proving that the line between love and violence can disappear as suddenly as a child on a chaotic midway."