Mystery & Crime

This diverse collection of study guides highlights mystery and crime titles for middle grade, YA, and adult audiences -- from Agatha Christie’s iconic “whodunits” to John Grisham’s popular page-turners. Read on to get the most out of these exceptional books that present baffling puzzles and expose dark secrets.

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: GenderTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Magical Realism, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Japanese Literature

1Q84 is a novel written by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The book was first published in Japanese in three volumes and released in 2009 and 2010, ahead of an English translation published in 2011. Set in 1984 in Tokyo, the story concerns an assassin who stumbles upon an alternate world she refers to as 1Q84. There, she becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving an abusive religious cult.This study guide refers to the 2011 edition... Read 1Q84 Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: MarriageTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Grief / Death

1st to Die (2001), by bestselling author James Patterson, is the first novel in The Women’s Murder Club series. The club features four friends—San Francisco homicide detective Lindsay Boxer, medical examiner Claire Washburn, crime reporter Cindy Thomas, and assistant district attorney Jill Bernhardt—who work together, both professionally and personally, to solve crimes. In this first novel, the club works to solve the Honeymoon Murders, the killing of three couples just after their weddings. 1st to... Read 1st to Die Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

A Fatal Grace is the second title in Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache cozy mystery series. First published in 2007, it won the 2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel and has been hailed as “a highly intelligent mystery” by Library Journal. The series currently consists of 15 titles, most of which have reached the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. Penny has won multiple awards for the series, including the Anthony (five... Read A Fatal Grace Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: MidlifeTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Addiction / Substance Abuse

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

A Great Reckoning (2016) is the 12th novel in the Inspector Gamache series. The series consists of contemporary mysteries written by the Canadian author Louise Penny. Like the other novels in the series, A Great Reckoning revolves around the small village of Three Pines, Quebec, and its inhabitants. The novel includes a standalone murder mystery plot and references to events in other novels within the series; Penny explores themes of parenthood, loss, and betrayal. This... Read A Great Reckoning Summary


Publication year 1917Genre Short Story, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The short story “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell describes the investigation of a mysterious murder in rural Dickson County. Glaspell explores gender roles in the early twentieth-century, the effects of isolation on people’s emotional and mental states, and the duty of neighbors to help one another. Additionally, Glaspell comments directly on the sexism of this period in American history and the prejudices inherent in the belief that women’s proper and only place... Read A Jury of Her Peers Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Race, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Grief / Death

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Southern Literature, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, African American Literature, Social Justice

Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Identity: Mental Health, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Along Came a Spider (1992) is the first novel in the Alex Cross psychological thriller series by James Patterson. Alex Cross is a Black psychologist and police detective working in Washington, DC, with his partner and childhood friend, John Sampson. In this novel, Alex and John are part of a hostage-rescue team investigating the kidnapping of two children by their teacher, Gary Soneji. As of 2023, there are 32 novels in the Alex Cross series... Read Along Came a Spider Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: RaceTags Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, LGBTQ

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: WarTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, LGBTQ, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 1925Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: MarriageTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, American Literature

Published in 1925, Theodore Dreiser’s realist novel An American Tragedy is one of the author’s most critically acclaimed works. Set in the 1920s in Kansas City, Chicago, and small-town New York state, the novel is the story of how Clyde Griffiths, the son of poor, itinerant preachers, kills Roberta Alden during a boat trip in the Adirondack Mountains.This guide is based on the Kindle edition published by Rosetta Books.Content Warning: This novel contains racist slurs... Read An American Tragedy Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Society: ColonialismTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Modernism

Published in 1939, And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, best-selling novelist of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. With over 100 million copies sold, And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling crime novel as well as one of the best-selling books of all time. It has had more adaptations than any other work by Agatha Christie, including television programs, films, radio broadcasts, and most... Read And Then There Were None Summary


Publication year 1972Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

P.D. James wrote four detective novels centered on Inspector Adam Dalgliesh before publishing An Unsuitable Job for a Woman featuring protagonist and private investigator Cordelia Gray, with the popular character Dalgliesh making a cameo appearance. The novel was published in 1972 and is set at the same time, in the city of London.While this book is faithful to many tropes of the genre, it is notable for James’s elegant prose and detailed descriptions, as well... Read An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Summary


Publication year 1986Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

A Perfect Spy is a 1986 spy novel by British author John le Carré. Described by the author as his most autobiographical work, the story involves the unexpected disappearance of British spy Magnus Pym after his father’s funeral. While hiding from his superiors, Pym reflects on his father’s influence and his lifetime spent lying to the world. A Perfect Spy has been adapted for television and radio. The story explores themes common to the world... Read A Perfect Spy Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: FamilyTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Relationships, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Self Discovery, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Romance, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Education, Relationships, Technology, Crime / Legal

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Crime / Legal

Publication year 1989Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

John Grisham’s 1988 novel A Time to Kill tells the story of attorney Jake Brigance and his infamous client, Carl Lee Hailey. Set against the backdrop of racially charged Mississippi, the legal thriller examines themes of inequality, intolerance, and retribution. The novel begins when two white men, Billy Ray Cobb and Pete Willard, abduct and rape a ten-year old black girl named Tonya Hailey. They throw her off a bridge, thinking the fall will kill... Read A Time to Kill Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: MothersTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Action / Adventure, Ekphrastic

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Romance, Satire

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Identity: Race, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Romance, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Music, Identity: Race, Relationships: Mothers, Natural World: Food, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Race / Racism, African American Literature

Bluebird, Bluebird (2017) by Texas native Attica Locke, published by Little, Brown and Company, is a 2018 Edgar and Anthony award-winning mystery novel. It was also selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Kirkus Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2017. The first in the Highway 59 series follows Texas Ranger Darren Mathews through the backroads of Texas in search of justice and reform... Read Bluebird, Bluebird Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Femininity, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Gender / Feminism, History: U.S., Incarceration, Internet Culture / Social Media, Journalism, LGBTQ, Love / Sexuality, Politics / Government, Psychology, Relationships, Social Justice, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Crime / Legal

Publication year 1981Genre Novella, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Magical Realism, Latin American Literature

Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a 1981 novella by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. Told in non-chronological order and in journalistic fashion by an unnamed narrator, it pieces together the events leading up to and after the murder of Santiago Nasar by Pedro and Pablo Vicario. The novella has been adapted several times as a film and also as a Broadway musical.This guide uses the 2014 Penguin Books edition, translated by Gregory Rabassa.Content Warning:... Read Chronicle of a Death Foretold Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Society: Education, Relationships: MothersTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1964Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Chester Himes’s 1965 novel Cotton Comes to Harlem is the sixth and best-known novel in his Harlem Detective series. The book follows black detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed as they search for $87,000 stolen from hardworking African American families who dream of returning to Africa and to escape poverty in America. The novel’s popularity led to other crime novels featuring African American cops and detectives, earning Himes the reputation as the father of... Read Cotton Comes To Harlem Summary


Publication year 1866Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Philosophy, Poverty, Class

Crime and Punishment is a novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in 1866. The story charts the alienation of a student named Raskolnikov, who decides to commit the perfect crime as a way of philosophically proving his superiority over others. The novel traces the depths of his mental disintegration as he comes to grips with the psychological consequences of being a murderer.Dostoevsky is widely considered one of the world’s greatest psychological fiction writers... Read Crime and Punishment Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: The PastTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Published in 2010, Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is a literary crime novel centered around two unsolved murders that connect past and present. The novel follows Silas Jones, a black constable in a small town in Mississippi, and Larry Ott, the white suspect in a decades-old, unsolved murder. Silas and Larry grew up alongside each other and developed a tentative friendship that the two grown men explore through flashbacks. When another teenaged girl goes... Read Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 1937Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Beautiful twenty-year-old Linnet Ridgeway is one of the wealthiest women in England, the heir to a vast fortune. She is in the final stages of renovating her newly-acquired estate, Wode Hall, when her best friend, the poor but clever Jacqueline “Jackie” de Bellefort asks a favor: could Linnet hire Jackie’s fiancé, Simon Doyle, who is penniless and recently out of a job? Linnet agrees to meet Simon and is immediately drawn to him. Soon the... Read Death On The Nile Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Nurture v. NatureTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Defending Jacob is a 2012 crime novel by William Landay. The main character is Andy Barber, a Massachusetts assistant district attorney, who finds his personal and professional life thrown into turmoil when his son, Jacob Barber, is accused of murdering his classmate Ben Rifkin. Andy, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, narrates the events of the 2007 murder and trial alongside the transcripts of a 2008 grand jury investigation whose subject remains unstated until the final... Read Defending Jacob Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders is a 2005 thriller by American novelist, poet, and essayist Alicia Gaspar de Alba. The novel takes place in 1998 when Juárez, Mexico is experiencing a spate of brutal killings of poor young women and girls, mostly factory workers. The protagonist, Ivon Villa, is a women’s studies professor from Los Angeles who returns to her hometown of El Paso, Texas—just across the border from Juárez—to adopt a baby. When the... Read Desert Blood Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Romance, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Humor, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Asian Literature

Publication year 1982Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, Psychological Fiction

Introduction Different Seasons (1982) by Stephen King is a collection of four novellas that are tied together by a connection to the four seasons. Three of the four stories (“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”, “Apt Pupil”, and “The Body”) have been made into films, and the fourth (“The Breathing Method”) is under consideration for adaptation. This guide refers to the 1983 Signet edition.Content Warning: This book contains references to death by suicide, sexual assault... Read Different Seasons Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Society: Class, Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Dolores Claiborne (1992) is a psychological thriller by the American novelist Stephen King. The novel, narrated from Dolores’s first-person point of view, tells the story of her work as a housekeeper for the wealthy Vera Donovan and Dolores’s eventual murder of her abusive husband. Unique among King’s work for its unconventional narrative style, including a lack of chapter designations and section breaks, the novel deals with themes of revenge, family, physical and sexual abuse, and... Read Dolores Claiborne Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Satire

Olga Tokarczuk is among Poland’s most famous and critically acclaimed contemporary authors. She has received multiple national and international literary awards, including the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her most well-known novels and their translation dates into English are House of Day, House of Night (2003), Primeval and Other Times (2010), Flights (2018), and The Books of Jacob (2021).Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was published in Poland in 2009 but didn’t... Read Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: AgingTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Elizabeth Is Missing by British author Emma Healey was published in 2014 and tells the story of Maud Horsham, an old woman suffering from dementia. Maud’s older sister, Sukey, disappeared in the 1940s. Seventy years later, this tragic event continues to haunt Maud, who now thinks her best friend Elizabeth is missing. Maud is desperate to figure out what happened to Sukey and Elizabeth before she loses her ability to piece together the clues. Maud’s... Read Elizabeth is Missing Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 1940Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely, first published in 1940, is a crime drama best described as a noir novel. Intended for adult audiences, the novel follows many noir conventions, such as the plot centering around a murder investigation; the protagonist, Philip Marlowe, being both a private investigator and an anti-hero; and the setting consisting of a dark city run by criminals. This is Chandler’s second novel in a series that uses Philip Marlowe as the... Read Farewell, My Lovely Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Magical Realism, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: SexualityTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, LGBTQ, Gothic Literature, Victorian Period, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality

A thrilling tale of thievery, betrayal, and mistaken identity, Fingersmith, by Welsh author Sarah Waters, tells the story of two women from two very different stations of life whose fates are inextricably linked. Set in the 1860s, Fingersmith is narrated alternately by Sue Smith (also known as Sue Trinder) and Maud Lilly. One is a young “fingersmith”—slang for a thief—lovingly protected from the worst of her world by Mrs. Sucksby; the other is an aristocratic... Read Fingersmith Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Humor, Romance

Publication year 1935Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Gaudy Night (1935) is the tenth title in Dorothy L. Sayers’ popular Lord Peter Wimsey series. The novel features Harriet Vane, Wimsey’s future wife, as its principal character. She appears in five of the Wimsey books: Strong Poison (1930), Have His Carcase (1932), Gaudy Night (1935), Busman’s Honeymoon (1937), and In the Teeth of the Evidence (1939). Gaudy Night was produced as a BBC three-part series in 1987 and was shown in the United States... Read Gaudy Night Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Marriage, Self Discovery, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Survival Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Relationships: Family, Relationships: SiblingsTags Romance, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Ghosted is British novelist Rosie Walsh’s first novel, published in 2018. After a career in television that included extensive travel, Walsh settled in the United Kingdom with her family, and Ghosted is set primarily in Gloucestershire and partially in other parts of England and Los Angeles, California. Released in the UK as The Man Who Didn’t Call and Ghosted in the United States, the novel addresses the phenomenon of “ghosting” in which a potential partner... Read Ghosted Summary


Publication year 1979Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: The PastTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Arts / Culture, Poverty

Susan Vreeland, author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue, (Penguin Books, 2000) was an internationally known author of art-related historical fiction who, after a long and notable literary career, died in 2017. A New York Times bestseller, the novel was originally published in 1999 by McMurray and Beck, but subsequent editions were published by Penguin Books. The novel’s popularity gave rise to a 2003 Hallmark Hall of Fame production based on the novel. The painting in... Read Girl In Hyacinth Blue Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, The Lost Generation

Published in 1939, Good Morning, Midnight is a semiautobiographical work written by Jean Rhys. A writer of Creole and Welsh descent, Rhys lived in the British West Indies before traveling to England to study. She married and traveled throughout Europe with her first husband, a journalist of French origin. This marriage ended in divorce. Sasha Jensen, the narrator of Good Morning, Midnight, also leaves London to follow her husband Enno. They eventually settle in Paris... Read Good Morning, Midnight Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Romance, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: Class, Relationships: Mothers, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Disability, Identity: Mental Health, Identity: RaceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Race / Racism, Disability, Health / Medicine

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Self Discovery, Identity: Femininity, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Leadership/Organization/Management

Published by Minotaur Books in 2013, How the Light Gets In is the ninth book in Louise Penny’s bestselling Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series. The series is famous for its heroic protagonist, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the head of the homicide division at the Sûreté du Québec. The novel comprises of three narratives: the murder of Constance Ouellet, the internal conflict at the Sûreté, and the mysterious death of a clerk at the Ministry of... Read How the Light Gets In Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Action / Adventure

I Am Pilgrim is a 2014 spy thriller by Terry Hayes. The work was his first novel and became a New York Times bestseller. He worked as a journalist before transitioning to writing for film and television. His major credits include Payback, Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the US), and Dead Calm.Content Warning: This study guide and its source material discuss recreational drug use, death by suicide, depictions of torture, and... Read I Am Pilgrim Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Published in 2011, I Let You Go is Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel. In 2016 it won Theakson’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. That same year, the French translation won Best International Novel at the Cognac Festival Prix du Polar Awards. In 2017, publisher Little, Brown said it had sold more than one million copies. Mackintosh spent 12 years in the police force before becoming a writer. She has said that a real-life... Read I Let You Go Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Sherman Alexie’s 1996 novel Indian Killer is part crime thriller and part darkly humorous study of interracial violence. This guide uses the 1996 edition published by The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York. Telling the story of a serial killer known as the Indian Killer, the novel progresses through many short chapters that shift between the viewpoints of multiple characters. Although the characters are not actually narrators, the narrative voice closely follows their experiences and perspectives... Read Indian Killer Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Arts / Culture, Science / Nature, History: European, Renaissance, Italian Literature

Inferno by Dan Brown is the fourth installment in Brown’s Robert Langdon series of mystery/thriller novels, following (in order) Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol, and preceding Origin. Each edition covers a self-contained story, so readers need not follow the series in order, and often includes themes centered on European and Christian history and cultural traditions. The title character, Robert Langdon, is the only recurring character. Inferno won the Goodreads... Read Inferno Summary


Publication year 1965Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Society: CommunityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Diversity, Class, American Literature

Published in 1965, John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night is a crime novel set in Wells, South Carolina. The story focuses on the police department’s numerous struggles to solve a recent murder. Virgil Tibbs, a Black detective from Pasadena, California, lends a helping hand, but his interactions with the locals reveal the deep-seated racism of Wells. Through this murder mystery, the novel addresses issues of systemic racism and offers hope for a better... Read In the Heat of the Night Summary


Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

A thriller with an unsolved mystery at its core, In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien, explores love and the nature of the heart, then carefully explicates the psychological damage of war and the toll it takes on individuals, families, and society as a whole, through the story of one man—John Wade. The plot’s central mystery—the disappearance of Kathy Wade—is one of several unveiled in this novel. O’Brien constructs a novel in which... Read In the Lake of the Woods Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

In the Woods by Irish author Tana French is the story of two Dublin police detectives assigned to the Murder Squad. Published in 2007, this is the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad mystery-thriller series. The novel debuted to much critical praise for its intelligent plot and clever pacing. The novel’s main protagonist and narrators is Detective Adam Robert Ryan, who experienced a horrific ordeal as a child.At age 12, Adam loses his best... Read In the Woods Summary


Publication year 1862Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Classic Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Victorian Period

Lady Audley’s Secret was published in 1862 and caused a stir among Victorian readers with its depiction of murder, madness, extortion, and bigamy. The novel centers on a young woman, Lucy Graham, a governess working in the village of Audley. Everyone in the village is charmed by her, including Sir Michael Audley, who was instantly smitten with her youth, beauty, and sweet demeanor. Sir Michael is a wealthy, 56-year-old widower who did not want Lucy to... Read Lady Audley's Secret Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Masculinity, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Leaving Time, the 2014 novel by Jodi Picoult, is the story of a young girl’s search for her missing mother. When Jenna Metcalf was 3 years old, her mother, Alice, went missing under mysterious circumstances. Jenna’s parents run an elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire. One night, an employee’s body is found trampled by an elephant. Jenna’s mother is taken to the hospital with a head injury, possibly caused by the same elephant, but checks herself... Read Leaving Time Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ, Bullying, Depression / Suicide, Parenting, Love / Sexuality, Social Justice, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Diversity, Relationships, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Written in the spirit of British mystery writer Agatha Christie, Anthony Horowitz’s bestselling whodunit novel Magpie Murders (2017) is a cleverly spun and endlessly suspenseful thriller that is actually a story within a story. Horowitz argues that his mystery novel occupies a unique genre and has the ability to leave the reader with a satisfying ending. Set in present-day London and a quaint English village in the 1940s, the devious and dark story takes its cues from vintage... Read Magpie Murders Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

David Baldacci’s mystery novel, Memory Man, is the story of a man who has lost the ability to forget. Amos Decker starts out as a football player for the Cleveland Browns. During his first game, he suffers a head injury that alters his brain.Decker spends time at the Cognitive Research Institute, where his condition is diagnosed as a combination of hyperthymesia—which Decker refers to as his inner DVR (that is, digital video recorder)—and synesthesia. He... Read Memory Man Summary


Publication year 1941Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: Class, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Identity: Mental Health, Relationships: Marriage, Identity: GenderTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Modern Classic Fiction, Relationships, Parenting, Class, Business / Economics, Finance / Money / Wealth, Great Depression, American Literature, Love / Sexuality, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 1999Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

When Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn first appeared in 1999, critics hailed the novel as an homage to classic 1930s hard-boiled crime fiction. In his novel, Lethem bends the traditional elements of the genre, creating a detective story that is both an enthralling crime story and a clever parody of one. Wannabe detective Lionel Essrog, who has Tourette’s syndrome and is given to involuntary outbursts, relates the narrative in strings of often rhyming and obscene words... Read Motherless Brooklyn Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Fantasy

We first meet Clay Jannon, the protagonist and narrator of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, shortly after he has lost his first job as a web designer for NewBagel, a casualty of the recession that is sweeping America. When he spots a help-wanted sign in the window of a bookstore, he embarks not only on a new career but also on a journey that will see him attempt to decipher a centuries-old encrypted manuscript. While he... Read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Summary


Publication year 1934Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Classic Fiction

Murder on the Orient Express, first published in 1934, is a mystery by Agatha Christie featuring one of her most famous characters, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. A locked-room mystery, the entire plot unfolds in a train, the Orient Express, which has become stranded in a snowstorm. Poirot happens to be on the train when a man named Mr. Ratchett is murdered. Poirot is called upon to solve the case, and the book follows his... Read Murder on the Orient Express Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Class, Identity: Sexuality, Society: Community, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Mothers, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: FathersTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ, Arts / Culture

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Indigenous, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, New Adult, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Dennis Lehane’s 2001 thriller/mystery novel, Mystic River, follows the lives of three childhood friends who suffer a traumatic event. Twenty-five years later, they are forced back into one another’s lives when one of their daughters is found murdered. In 2002, the novel earned the Dilys Award and was made into an Academy Award-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood. This study guide uses the 2003 First Dark Alley edition of the book. Plot SummaryIn 1975, Dave... Read Mystic River Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: GenderTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Family, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Religion / Spirituality, Relationships

Nine Perfect Strangers is a 2018 novel by Liane Moriarty. Set in Sydney, Australia, the novel follows a group of strangers who gather at a wellness retreat to receive treatment from a mysterious health guru. The novel was adapted for a 2021 television series starring Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, and Michael Shannon.This guide uses an eBook copy of the text published by Flatiron Books. It also discusses potentially triggering situations, including death by suicide, trauma... Read Nine Perfect Strangers Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Western

In No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell investigates a sudden spate of murders in his typically quiet corner of the Texas borderlands. Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam vet and hunter, gets caught up in the aftermath of a drug-deal gone wrong, and soon both Sheriff Bell and a mysterious hit-man race to be the first to track Moss down: one with the intention of saving his life and the other... Read No Country for Old Men Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Politics / Government, Journalism, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Oil on Water is a 2010 novel by Helon Habila, who originally worked as a journalist and poet in Nigeria before becoming a professor of creative writing at George Mason. His writing has earned many accolades, including the Music Society of Nigeria national poetry award, the 2001 Caine Prize, the 2003 Commonweath Writers Prize, the 2008 Emily Balch Prize, and the 2015 Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction. Oil on Water is his third novel, and foregrounds... Read Oil on Water Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Nation, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Arts / Culture, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Depression / Suicide, History: U.S., Mental Illness

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Ordinary Grace is a mystery and coming-of-age novel written by William Kent Krueger. Published in 2013, the novel is narrated from the perspective of Frank Drum. Like many of Krueger’s other works, including the Cork O’Connor series and the Iron Lake series, Ordinary Grace is set in Minnesota. The plot centers on a series of deaths that strike the fictional town of New Bremen in 1961, and the book is a bildungsroman for both Frank and his small... Read Ordinary Grace Summary


Publication year 1967Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Identity: Femininity, Natural World: PlaceTags Historical Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Gothic Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Magical Realism, Health / Medicine, History: Asian, Gender / Feminism, Parenting, Asian Literature

Translated from the Korean by Chi-young Kim, Please Look After Mom (2008) by Kyung-sook Shin is an international work of best-selling fiction. When 69-year-old So-nyo Park goes missing one Saturday outside Seoul Station, her disappearance sets in motion a desperate search not only for where So-nyo might be but for who So-nyo was to her shocked and confused family members. One by one, So-nyo’s family comes to terms with the fact that they didn’t know... Read Please Look After Mom Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: ClassTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change, Health / Medicine, Science / Nature, Technology, American Literature

Publication year 1938Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Class, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags British Literature, Romance, Classic Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Drama / Tragedy, Gothic Literature, Modernism

Rebecca, a bestselling novel by famed English writer Daphne du Maurier, was published in 1938, and has never gone out of print. The winner of the National Book Award for favorite novel of 1938, Rebecca has been adapted numerous times, including Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film version, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and a 1997 television miniseries. It was most recently adapted for a Netflix film in 2020 by the same name. Rebecca... Read Rebecca Summary


Publication year 1981Genre Novel, FictionTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Red Dragon is a 1986 crime novel by Thomas Harris. The story follows the psychological profiler Will Graham, who comes out of retirement to track down a serial killer. The novel is famous for introducing the character of Hannibal Lecter, who would play an expanded role in the novel’s sequels. Red Dragon has been adapted for film and television.This guide is written using the eBook version of the 2000 Penguin edition of the novel.Content Warning:... Read Red Dragon Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Relationships: MarriageTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2022Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Crime / Legal, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Journalism, Business / Economics, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Grandparents, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Food, Natural World: PlaceTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Crime / Legal

IntroductionEmma Donoghue’s Room is a 2010 novel about a boy named Jack who lives in a single room with his mother, Ma. Room is a crime thriller novel that explores themes of trauma, innocence, and adaptability through the eyes of five-year-old narrator, Jack. Room has received many awards, including the ALA Alex Award, the Indies Choice Book Award for Fiction, and The New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year award. Room was... Read Room Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Music, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Relationships

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Action / Adventure, Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Shantaram is a 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts. Written as a semi-autobiographical telling of his adventures as one of the most wanted men in 1980s Australia, Shantaram tells the story of Lindsay Ford (who usually goes by “Lin”), who, after fleeing from an Australian prison, escapes to Mumbai. He falls in love with the country and rises through the ranks of a criminal organization led by Abdel Khader Khan.At the time of its publication... Read Shantaram Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Community, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult’s 2016 novel, takes its title from a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” The book takes its major section titles from the stages of childbirth, beginning with “Stage One: Early Labor” (1). This short opening section takes place in 1976, with Ruth Jefferson narrating an incident from her childhood in which she and her... Read Small Great Things Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Civil Rights / Jim Crow

Publication year 2022Genre Short Story Collection, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Teams, Society: Class, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Crime / Legal, Incarceration, Social Justice, Finance / Money / Wealth

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: ClassTags Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Gothic Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Relationships: Teams, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 1950Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: MarriageTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Strangers on a Train (1950) is a suspense thriller by Patricia Highsmith, based on the premise that two strangers swap murders. The novel has been adapted multiple times, most famously by Alfred Hitchcock in his 1951 film. Highsmith is known for telling stories in which relatable characters are coerced into crime, although in an interview with Diana Cooper-Clark, Highsmith rejected the idea that just anyone can commit murder. On a train from New York to Metcalf... Read Strangers On A Train Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: RegretTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: FateTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Relationships

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (published as The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in Canada and the United Kingdom) is Stuart Turton’s first novel. The novel was first published in 2018 by Harper Collins; this guide references the first Canadian edition. The novel is primarily a mystery, with some elements of science fiction and fantasy. The plot features elements traditionally associated with the murder mystery genre made famous by Agatha Christie, since the... Read The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Angel's Game is a 2008 supernatural mystery novel by the Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Set in Barcelona in the 1920s and 1930s, the book chronicles a young crime novelist's efforts to unravel an occult conspiracy amid the political turmoil of pre-Francoist Spain. It is the second entry in Zafón's Cemetery of Forgotten Books series and a prequel to 2001's Shadow of the Wind, but The Angel's Game is designed to be read as... Read The Angel's Game Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: New Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, LGBTQ, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Relationships, Science / Nature, Social Justice, Education, Philosophy

Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Society: Globalization, Society: Community, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: War, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Action / Adventure, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Travel Literature, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Mental Illness, Military / War

The Beach is an adventure fiction novel written by Alex Garland and originally published in 1996. Garland wrote the book during his time in the Philippines and was inspired by the landscape there, as well as historical events such as the Vietnam War. It was adapted into a successful major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Danny Boyle in 2000, and the novel was included on a BBC list of most-read novels in... Read The Beach Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Teams, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Music, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Religion / Spirituality, Arts / Culture

The Beautiful Mystery, published in 2012, is the eighth book in former Canadian journalist Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series. The Gamache series is known for its recurring cast of characters, psychological depth, and long-term story arcs. Gamache is a longtime member of Québec’s provincial police force, most often known by its French name, the Sûreté du Québec. Gamache’s struggles with police corruption form the main plot of several books, including A Fatal Grace and... Read The Beautiful Mystery Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Classic Fiction, American Literature, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Finance / Money / Wealth, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality

Published in 1939, The Big Sleep by novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler is a murder mystery widely regarded as one of the greatest hard-boiled detective stories of the 20th century. The work introduces Philip Marlowe, a fictional private eye with a jaundiced view of humanity but a strong sense of fairness, who appears in seven other novels by Chandler. Hired by a super-rich family to negotiate with a blackmailer, Marlowe encounters murder, mayhem, and a... Read The Big Sleep Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: War, Relationships: Teams, Identity: Mental HealthTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: U.S., History: Asian, Military / War

The Black Echo (1992) is Michael Connelly’s first novel and the first book in the long-running series featuring Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch. It won the 1993 Edgar Award for Best First Novel and is now a classic in the modern crime genre. Connelly, who worked as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times while starting his career as a novelist, has written over 37 novels, including 24 featuring Detective Bosch. His works... Read The Black Echo Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: FriendshipTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Crime / Legal

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Aging, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: TeamsTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Humor

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: The PastTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, History: Asian

Publication year 1949Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: AgingTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee is an 18th-century Chinese mystery novel detailing three complex cases solved by Judge Dee (also known as Ti Jen-chieh or Di Renjie), a famous stateman who lived during the Tang dynasty in the 7th century. These crimes are dubbed “Double Murder at Dawn,” “The Case of the Strange Corpse,” and “The Poisoned Bride,” respectively, and they take place in three distinct locations—the roadway, a small village, and a wealthy... Read The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Nation, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Politics / Government

China Miéville’s The City and the City, originally published in 2009, is a hybrid of two distinct genres—speculative fiction and detective fiction—that explores the human susceptibility to fear and the erection of borders as a response to that fear. Other themes examined in the novel are political corruption, violence inspired by far-right politics, and the allure of myths. The City and the City is the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the World Fantasy... Read The City and the City Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Depression / Suicide, Incarceration

The Client is a legal thriller written by John Grisham. Published in 1993, it is Grisham’s fourth novel. An international best-selling author, Grisham was a lawyer himself for nine years and even served in the Mississippi House of Representatives for six years. His legal and political expertise lend especially well to The Client’s subject matter involving legal ethics, notions of justice, the power of government over its citizens, and political careerism. The Client was adapted... Read The Client Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Victorian Period

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: CommunityTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Relationships: Mothers, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Crime / Legal, Social Justice, Incarceration, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism

Publication year 1932Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Relationships: MothersTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena’s 2016 international best-seller, begins as a classic detective story. As the mystery deepens, the novel turns into a tense psychological study of a dysfunctional family, the calculating logic of emotional manipulation, the spiral of post-partum depression, and the corrupting power of greed. Paramount Television optioned the novel for a TV series adaptation in 2018. Shari Lapena is the author of eight novels for adults, including The Couple Next Door... Read The Couple Next Door Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 1951Genre Novel, FictionTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (the pseudonym for Scottish writer Elizabeth MacKintosh) is the story of a man’s quest to solve a centuries-old historical mystery. The novel was published in 1951, shortly before Tey’s death the following year. It explores themes of historical relativism and the importance of an objective search for truth. Repeatedly voted as a top mystery novel by critics and readers alike, it is considered one of the best books... Read The Daughter Of Time Summary


Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Religion / Spirituality

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was originally published in 2003 and has become an international bestseller, with sales of over 80 million. It was made into a popular movie starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou, and Ian McKellen. The novel is Brown’s fourth, a fast-paced thriller with political, historical, and religious overtones. Its initial release generated controversy for perceived condemnation of the Catholic Church and historical inaccuracies. Despite the charges, The Da Vinci Code... Read The Da Vinci Code Summary


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Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

For the first time in 20 years, Falk returns to his hometown of Kiewarra to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke Hadler. Luke is suspected of killing his wife, Karen Hadler, and son, Billy Hadler, before turning the shotgun on himself. Many residents in Kiewarra do not blame Luke for taking such drastic, violent measures, considering how desperate everyone has become because of the two-year-long drought. Falk and Luke’s father, Gerry Hadler, discuss... Read The Dry Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Natural World: Place, Life/Time: The Past, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Relationships

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Grief / Death, Mental Illness, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1991Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Society: Politics & Government, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Crime / Legal

The Firm is a legal thriller by author John Grisham. The Firm is Grisham’s second novel, and the first to bring him widespread fame as the number one novel of 1991 on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel was made into a feature film in 1993 directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise. In 2012, The Firm was made into a television series that enjoyed a single season on NBC that portrayed... Read The Firm Summary


Publication year 1843Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Society: Class, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: Mental Health, Identity: RaceTags Classic Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Action / Adventure

An instant success, Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” was published in 1843. Poe submitted the short story to a writing competition that was sponsored by the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. “The Gold-Bug” was awarded first place and subsequently published in three installments. The story was Poe’s most widely read work during his lifetime. This guide refers to the 2021 Amazon Kindle eBook edition of “The Gold-Bug.”“The Gold-Bug” is a mystery and has been viewed by critics... Read The Gold Bug Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Crime / Legal, Social Justice, Race / Racism, Incarceration, Politics / Government

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Life/Time: The PastTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Guest List by Lucy Foley is a contemporary murder mystery novel published in 2020. Foley, an English author, weaves a tale of intrigue, secrets, and betrayal upon the backdrop of an isolated island in West Ireland. Often likened to Agatha Christie, Lucy Foley’s novel is a slow-burn, whodunit.Plot SummaryMany perspectives compose The Guest List; each chapter jumps from character to character and through time from past to future. The novel is set on a... Read The Guest List Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: The Future, Society: GlobalizationTags Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality, Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish rabbi and author, is Cahn’s debut novel. The Harbinger is described as a Christian novel; it uses and relies on themes, concepts, and scripture that are prevalent in the Old Testament. It was initially published in September 2011 by FrontLine, an imprint of Charisma House, which is a religious publishing group dedicated to spreading religious messages. FrontLine is the imprint of Charisma House used for discussing cultural... Read The Harbinger Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Literature, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mental Illness, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Grief / Death, Addiction / Substance Abuse

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: FriendshipTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Relationships: MothersTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Class, Grief / Death, Education, Love / Sexuality, Relationships

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Politics / Government

The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar (2003) is a historical fiction novel detailing the fate of the Romanovs by Robert Alexander (a pen name for Robert Zimmerman). Although Alexander is American, he spent decades in Russia. He attended Leningrad State University and, afterward, ran various businesses in St. Petersburg. As such, he has personal experience with Russian culture. He wrote several historical fiction novels that take place during the Russian Revolution—including Rasputin’s... Read The Kitchen Boy Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Lake House, a 2015 mystery novel by Australian author Kate Morton, centers on the mysterious disappearance of Theo Edevane, an 11-month-old baby who goes missing from his crib during a party in 1933. The devastated family members each have their own theories about who is responsible, but no one is more affected than his teenage sister, Alice. Seventy years later, Sadie Sparrow, an ambitious young detective, discovers the cold case while visiting her grandfather... Read The Lake House Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Gothic Literature

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Relationships, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, Modernism, American Literature

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 1976Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: TeamsTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

In The Life We Bury, author Allen Eskens combines literary fiction and suspense to tell the tale of the mystery surrounding a young girl’s murder. The book is set in Eskens’ native Minnesota in the year 2010. However, its events center around the 30-year-old murder of a young girl, Crystal Marie Hagan, which took place in 1980. Told from the first-person perspective of Joe Talbert, a 21-year-old college student at the University of Minnesota, the... Read The Life We Bury Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Crime / Legal, Class, Social Justice, Incarceration

Michael Connelly is a prolific New York Times bestselling author. His legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, won the Shamus Award and Macavity Award in 2006. The book was then successfully adapted to film. Connelly is widely regarded as one of the best American mystery writers. This guide refers to the 2005 Hieronymus, Inc. edition. Plot SummaryMichael “Mick” Haller is a criminal defense attorney working in Los Angeles. He spends most of his time working out... Read The Lincoln Lawyer Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Lock Artist, published in 2010, is a standalone, young adult crime novel by Steve Hamilton, a prolific crime author known for the Alex McKnight series. The Lock Artist won the 2011 Edgar Award for best novel.Plot SummaryThe Lock Artist is narrated in the first person by Mike (or Michael), a young man who possesses an extraordinary talent for picking locks and cracking safes. He has not spoken a word since a trauma he survived... Read The Lock Artist Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

The Long Way Home (2014) is the 10th novel in the Inspector Gamache series written by the Canadian author Louise Penny. Like the other books in the series, the novel revolves around the village of Three Pines, Quebec, although it also encompasses events in other places. In addition to a central mystery focused on a wife’s attempt to find her estranged husband, the novel explores themes of art, creativity, ambition, and loss. This guide references... Read The Long Way Home Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Depression / Suicide

The Lovely Bones, written by American author Alice Sebold and published in 2002, tells the tragic story of Susie Salmon. Susie is 14-year-old girl from suburban Norristown, Pennsylvania, whom her neighbor, George Harvey, rapes and murders. After her death, Susie narrates the novel in the first person from heaven as she uses her omniscience to observe her friends and family. The novel focuses on how those who knew Susie react to her death and attempt... Read The Lovely Bones Summary


Publication year 1930Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: ImmigrationTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression

Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (1930) is a detective novel that was first serialized in the magazine Black Mask. As Hammett’s third novel, The Maltese Falcon includes the introduction of Sam Spade as the protagonist, a departure from the nameless Continental Op who narrated his previous stories. Spade’s hard exterior, cool detachment, and reliance on his own moral code would become staples of the hardboiled genre, and The Maltese Falcon has since been named one... Read The Maltese Falcon Summary