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The Best Mysteries & Thrillers of February

Here are some standouts from our Best Mysteries, Thrillers & Suspense of February. There are some notable debuts on this list--names to watch for years to come. You can see the full list here.


The Ex by Alafair Burke - Kudos to the author and publisher for not calling this book The Girl on the Train Tracks. Cooler more civilized heads prevailed, thankfully. But Burke's book definitely falls into the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, and if you're in the mood for suspense, strange relationships, and unreliable narration you should check out this book.



The God's Eye View by Barry Eisler - Eisler has had a long and illustrious career, and he's keeping things fresh with this new thriller about NSA surveillance. You know they're watching, don't you? If you're not so sure, you can read this novel for a thrilling narrative about a government employee who is head down, trying to operate NSA's camera network and facial recognition program. When she discovers a dark secret about government spying, it only leads to danger and more secrets. This one has many starred reviews and admiring readers. 


The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer - This debut was published in late 2015 in the UK, where it was a hit. The attention is growing in the US as well; it was our Debut Spotlight for our Best Books of February. A mother named Beth takes her young daughter, Carmel, to a festival and the daughter vanishes. "Hamer masterfully manipulates the reader into anticipating the worst with each (frantically) turned page," Amazon's Erin Kodicek writes. "But ultimately it's two parallel tales of survival: How does Beth press on in the face of paralyzing shame and worry? How does Carmel keep her wits about her in a frightening and complex situation beyond her comprehension?"


Shaker by Scott Frank - Another debut here. The author, Scott Frank, is a working screenwriter whose credits include Out of Sight, Get Shorty, and Minority Report, which should give you an idea of the quality in this novel. There's action, great plot, backstory, and memorable characters (including LA itself). What's very special about this book is how he puts us in the minds of his characters. It's a fantastic novel.


Arcadia by Iain Pears - This book is a fantasy-thriller. It is a long novel, full of fascinating characters and multiple times and worlds, and it's one to really get lost in. The setup is that an Oxford Professor is writing a fantasy novel in the tradition of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. One day, while the professor's neighbor is chasing his cat, she finds a doorway in his cellar that leads to another world. There are three worlds in this book: the world we live in, the pastoral world found by his neighbor, and a future world that's not too savory. Some are calling it Pears' masterpiece.


Perfect Days by Raphael Montes -The author Raphael Montes is a big deal in his native Brazil. Many readers are going to read him here and fall in love with him, while others will wish his books hadn't made the trip north. Here's what I wrote about Perfect Days: "Brazilian medical student Teo Avelar is not your standard protagonist: for starters, he lives with his mother and his best friend is a cadaver. He is also a psychopath, with no (living) friends, who falls for an aspiring screenplay writer who is his polar opposite. Clarice is bombastic and passionate, while Teo comports himself with a quiet stoicism. After he falls for her, he quickly kidnaps Clarice—with the idea that she only needs time to fall for him—and the wheels are set in motion for Montes' odd, macabre, fast-paced, twisted, and twisty novel. Is it for everyone? Not at all. But if you've ever wondered what Humbert Humbert would look like in modern times, you might want to pick up this short, dark, kind of sick, alternately propelling and repellant book. In its own creepy way, it's kind of perfect."


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