Sam's Staff Picks

Sam Mayer at Murder By The Book since 2008

Sam has been working at Murder By The Book off and on since 2008.  His favorite authors are: Jasper Fforde, Joyce Porter, Ann Purser, Hazel Holt, Marne Davis Kellogg, and Daniel Woodrell.  He's around when he's not at school in Vermont.

Sam's 2016 Top 10:

1. Dr. Knox by Peter Spiegelman
2. The Whipping Boy by Allen Kurzweil
3. Clinch by Martin Holmen 
4. Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
5. Darktown by Thomas Mullen 
6. The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo
7. Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah
8. Last Days of Night by Graham Moore 
9. IQ by Joe Ide
10. The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda

Honorable mentions:

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards 
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Staff Pick Logo
Darktown Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501133879
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - June 6th, 2017

Set just after WWII, Darktown follows the first African American cops in Atlanta and their white counterparts. Rake is white, idealistic, and new to the force. Boggs and Smith, two of the first black cops, are struggling to police a population that doesn't trust them for a force that doesn't want them. When Boggs and Smith begin investigating a simple missing persons case, they find themselves swept up in the dark underbelly of post-war, pre-civil rights Atlanta. Darktown is a fast-paced procedural and a fantastic debut noir. One of my favorite books of 2016, and shortlisted for the LA Times Book Award. - Sam


Staff Pick Logo
Proving Ground Cover Image
$20.79
ISBN: 9781250117441
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - May 2nd, 2017

Proving Ground ($25.99) is a razor sharp, fast-paced New York City procedural and a fantastic return to form for Blauner, who hasn't had a book out in 10 years. When a high profile defense attorney is shot in an apparent car robbery, both the victim's family and Detective Lourdes Robles suspect foul play. Complicating matters is the victim's son, an Iraqi war vet with demons of his own. Blauner has a great ear for dialogue and character: Blauner's New York is vividly drawn with darkness and humor. The plot twists and turns, moving us effortlessly to the conclusion. Perfect for fans of Connelly, Coleman, and Lehane. - Sam

Peter Blauner will sign at MBTB on Thursday, May 18th at 6:30 p.m.


Staff Pick Logo
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250080547
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - May 16th, 2017

A gripping hybrid of In Cold Blood and 'Serial,' The Fact of a Body($26.99) is both true crime and memoir-- a captivating attempt to understand why a 26-year-old man in rural Louisiana would murder a 6-year-old boy and, more stunningly, why the victims mother would argue against the death penalty for him. Parallel to this case are the dark and violent secrets that Marzano-Lesnevich's family keep and force Alexandria to carry. The Fact of a Body is one of the most visceral and dark books I have read in a long time. It's a compulsive read, but it's also a beautiful and difficult book with great rewards. - Sam

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich will sign at MBTB on Thursday, May 25th at 6:30 p.m.


Magpie Murders Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

"Magpie Murders is a double puzzle for puzzle fans, who don't often get the classicism they want from contemporary thrillers." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times


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Six Four Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374265519
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 7th, 2017

A giant, fascinating puzzle of a book from Japan. A kidnapping gone wrong is just the start... - Sam


Staff Pick Logo
Party Girls Die in Pearls Cover Image
$21.59
ISBN: 9780062429025
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - May 9th, 2017

Part Clueless, part Agatha Christie, this book is so much fun! Set in Oxford c.1985, Party Girls... follows Ursula Flowerbutton- a naive farm girl just starting her history degree. Ursula quickly finds herself seduced by the fashion, glamour, and pink champagne of the wealthy Oxford set. That is, until she stumbles upon the body of an Oxford It-Girl. Tasked with solving the murder for a prestigious paper, Ursula plays amateur sleuth with the help of her gauche-but-amazing American friend, Nancy. Sykes sharply evokes the fashion, music, and culture of the 1980s, creates a love-able amateur sleuth, and plots a cunning murder. This book is like a Pimms Cup on a summer day: light, refreshing, and absolutely perfect! - Sam (also HIGHLY recommended by McKenna!)

Signed copies available!


Shadow Man Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781400067800
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - May 23rd, 2017

 Set amidst the backdrop of Southern California suburbia in the 1980s, Shadow Man is a gripping debut. The book follows Ben Wade-- a detective on the hunt for a crazed serial killer. Known as "the Night Prowler," the killer is slipping into affluent suburbia in the dead of night and strangling victims in their own homes. Wade, newly divorced and battling his own demons (obviously) teams up with  tough and electric medical examiner Natasha Betencourt to outsmart the killer. Shadow Man has been drawing Michael Connelly and Tana French comparisons and I couldn't agree more: this book is twisty, fast-paced, and action packed. Some of Drew's sentences will knock you out, and so will the conclusion. - Sam


Staff Pick Logo
Since We Fell Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062129383
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - May 9th, 2017

Rachel Child's husband, Brian, has always been there for her. Eversince she had an on-air meltdown and lost her job as a television reporter, Brian has helped her cope with the panic attacks and agoraphobia that have kept her confined to her apartment for years. But all is it not right and nothing is as it appears. Written with his signature grace, humor, and unflinching humanity-- Since We Fell is a fantastic new novel about lies, cash, and blood. - Sam

Dennis Lehane will sign at MBTB on Monday, May 22nd at 6:30