The New Year brings an explosion of publishing’s new book releases, and if the start of the year is any indication for what’s to come, it’s gonna be a fine year for crime. The genre. Obviously, I mean the crime genre. I selected a bunch of new books this month, including a few detectives–from a wet-behind-the-ears one Ghana, the return of a favorite P.I., wonderfully mismatched partners–a thriller, and true crime. The problem is not with finding new great crime books to read in 2020 but finding the time to read them all!
by Joe Ide
The East Long Beach P.I. IQ is back! We’ve gotten to watch Isaiah Quintabe grow both as a man and a solver of mysteries as he’s taken on cases that pay the bills and ones that pay in chickens (because he believes in helping those in his community). And that's one of the great aspects of this series: how well Ide brings to life a community of mixed races and ethnicities that always shows characters' humanity and veers away from stereotypes and caricatures. This time around, IQ is threatened into taking on a case by a west coast arms dealer who wants IQ to prove his daughter is innocent of murdering her boyfriend. It sounds like IQ’s in quite a pickle from the start!
You may know Quartey from his procedural series set in Ghana that completed a few years ago–perfect for fans who are completists. Well, he’s back, this time with a P.I. working in Accra, Ghana! Emma Djan didn’t get her dream of working for the Accra police department, but she has started work as a P.I. for a firm, and she’s tearing her teeth on her first missing person case...Someone should warn her about email scams and fetish priests. Oh my!
by Roy Johansen
And here’s the seventh book in the Kendra Michaels series! Michaels didn’t set out to be an investigator but ended up being sought out for her keen observations. Now, as a recently sighted person, she must try to help solve two murders in her former school for the blind: A stabbing victim and a gunshot victim. It isn’t even clear if the two murders are related, so this is far from an easy case…
Last year, this series started with a wonderfully mismatched partnership between an out-of-town bounty hunter who teamed-up with a local ex-cop (now P.I.) to solve the case of two missing girls. It left the door open for so many options on how to continue the series, and I’m so happy that it’ll be with Alice Vega and Max Caplan still working together. This time, we’re taken to Vega’s home turf of San Diego, where the FBI and local police reach out for help with Jane Doe murders. If it’s anything like the first book, readers can count on a solid mystery, thrills, and fantastic partnered characters that are very different from each other–one being a wild card!
by Ian Rankin
Originally published in 1990, this refresh of a timeless cat-and-mouse classic examines political tensions in an era of espionage. In Europe, the Americans are pulling out their troops in a tide of isolationism. Britain, torn between loyalties to America and the continent, is caught in the middle. Across the pond, a space shuttle crashes on landing, killing all but one of the crew on board: A British citizen named Mike Dreyfuss, who will become vilified by the US press and protesters.
Halfway across the world, at English ground control headquarters, Martin Hepton watches with dismay as they lose contact with the most advanced satellite in Europe. When a colleague who suspects something strange disappears, Hepton realizes there is much more at stake than anyone knows—and many more people on his trail than he can possibly evade.
Bonus Pick for True Crime Lovers:
And a book for true crime readers, especially if like me, you prefer your true crime books to take a broader look beyond killer(s) and victim(s). Eisenberg investigates and meditates on The Rainbow Murders, the 1980 murders of Vicki Durian and Nancy Santomero, who were traveling to a peace festival. After going unsolved for years, finally, a local West Virginia farmer was convicted and sentenced to life before it was learned that a convicted serial killer had also confessed. This is a case that went from national media attention to being completely forgotten except by the families affected and the Appalachian community where it occurred. Eisenberg takes readers into the investigation of the case, West Virginia's history, and the division between class and gender and its ties to violence.
Here’s to an excellent year of reading!