The Rabbit Hunter, by Lars Kepler (Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril)
A new addition to the knife-edge Swedish noir of Kepler’s Joona Linna series, and page for page the scariest book of a scary year. When the eponymous killer, bedecked in a gruesome headdress, signals the end for his next victim with an eerie little children’s rhyme, you’ll want to hide under the bed.
The Last Hunt, by Deon Meyer
Meyer imagines an attempt on the life of a corrupt South African politician from the perspective of the assassin, a man of conviction who’s burned out but willing to make one last stand. This first-rate political thriller brings humanity and an engaging cast of characters to a sometimes chilly genre.
The Silence of the White City, by Eva García Sáenz
Ostensibly about a series of staged murders that seem to resume after stopping 20 years earlier, this is really an examination of the soul of Vitoria, Spain, and its inhabitants’ inability to shed the past. Sáenz conjures Vitoria’s medieval-yet-modern allure so seductively you’ll emerge from its spell primed to read the second installment of this trilogy, due in March.
Troubled Blood, by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)
Yes, it’s a long book, but Galbraith’s storytelling is unbeatable as private detective Cormoran Strike works a cold case from the 70s. He faces a baffling array of scenarios and oddball suspects while barely managing his personal life, which includes a long-running will-they-won’t-they relationship with his partner in the agency.
Eight Perfect Murders, by Peter Swanson
What a stealthy piece of work our bookseller antihero is! He begins his tale as a regular guy depressed about the death of his wife, but as he reveals incidents from his past, his obsession with the impeccably executed murders in eight classic mystery novels takes on new meaning. An extra-special treat for mystery fanatics.
Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Every word of Winter Counts rings true. Weiden’s gritty evocation of life on a South Dakota Indian reservation is narrated by a vigilante-for-hire who tries to purge it of a drug-dealing ring. You feel the frustration and fury behind his quest, but also the humor and determination.
The Last Flight, by Julie Clark
The fates of two very different women intersect when each tries to escape her dangerous life, one of them superficially glamorous, the other privately criminal. Clark’s subtly feminist message of salvation through solidarity lingers even after the gripping, sophisticated plot finally allows the reader to take a breath.
Black Sun Rising, by Matthew Carr
Political upheaval in 1909 Barcelona is the backdrop for a half-Irish, half-Chilean detective’s investigation into the bombing murder of a prominent British scientist. Harry Lawton is in over his head, but his resourcefulness as he navigates civil unrest to track down a gang of proto-Nazis provides plenty of excitement along with a vibrant history lesson.
Lisa Henricksson reviews mystery books for AIR MAIL. She lives in New York City