A while back I gave you a run-down of my favorite authors of all time. Now that I’m firmly ensconced in the 9-to-5 world, with around an hour of commuting time each day, I’ve been getting through more and more books. That means I’m spending a lot more time looking for new authors and interesting plot lines. I figure I’m not the only one in this situation, so today I thought I’d share some of my newer favorites – in case you don’t want to sift through the massive list of all the books I’ve already read on Goodreads (499 and counting!) just to get a recommendation.
Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May Series – Witty detective mysteries, with a ton of madcap adventures and lots of random odd facts thrown in. I was drawn in by the wonderful, colorful cover art of the paperbacks and decided to buy the first three after skimming through them in Barnes and Noble. It wasn’t long before I went back for the rest of the series. In fact, although I bought the most recent book in Nook format, I’ll probably go back for the paperback version as well. The cover art is just so cool, and I love how they look on my bookshelves 🙂
Part of what I love about these books is that neither Mr. Fowler nor his characters take themselves too seriously. Although the plots at times shift from standard-mystery into the thriller category, there is also a sense of fun to the books and they contain a ton of historical tidbits about London and its environs (if you’re not familiar with the city, do yourself a favor a grab a map or two, it really helps draw you into the stories!) as well as a grab-bag of other topics.
The Meaning of Night and The Glass of Time, by Michael Cox – The Meaning of Night is one of those books that I automatically recommend whenever someone is looking for a new book in the historical fiction or mystery genres. Cox does a fabulous job of setting the stage in these Victorian mysteries, and I found myself very much on the side of the protagonist, even though you discover that he murders someone in the very first sentence of the book – a great first line that still gives me a little chill when I read it – “After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.” I was absolutely sucked in by the end of the first chapter, and I loved the the sequel just as much as the original. If you like these books, I highly recommend checking out The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, below.
The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, by Caleb Carr – These are a little darker than my usual mystery read, but they’re downright thrilling and the impeccable writing of Mr. Carr will suck you right into New York in the early 1900’s. Set in a time where psychology is still an emerging field, Dr. Lazlo Kreizler and his friends must divine the motives of two very different killers in order to capture them and keep them from killing again. These books reminded me of the movie Gangs of New York, but without most of the graphic violence. I enjoy that while Kreizler is the main character as far as the psychology is concerned, each of the others gets time in the spotlight and has their own unique contribution to the plot, taking them beyond superficial side-kicks.
Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce Series – Mysteries featuring a precocious pre-teen heroine in 1940s England. I enjoyed the main character of this series so much that I went looking for similar novels and found Peter Abraham’s Echo Falls series, which in my opinion is good, but not quite as amazing as Flavia. The photo above links to Barnes and Noble where you can get a NookBook Bundle of the first 4 novels for $38 (which I’d highly recommend! I’m not being paid or perked by B&N or anyone else, I just think that’s good deal!)
Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness Series – These are my favorite go-to for a light, fun mystery read. Lady Georgiana Rannock, 35th in line for the British throne, is determined to make her own way in the world, and she really has no other choice. While bouncing from place to place and trying to figure out how to support herself, Georgiana becomes involved in all sorts of mysterious deaths. She’s a bit naïve, but has a quick wit and a charmingly elusive suitor.
Of course, if you’re interested, you can see the full listing of what I’ve read and how I’ve rated it on Goodreads (Helpful hint: A small sampling of my Goodreads lists are on the widgets on my right sidebar!)
*A quick note, all of the pictures above are linked to the book’s listing on Barnes & Noble’s website. I have no affiliation with them, but B&N is my favorite place to buy books, so that’s where the links go!