Brenda's Staff Picks

Brenda Jordan at Murder By The Book since 2009

After years of reading only True Crime, I slowly moved to mystery novels. Now, I primarily read British, Historical, Foreign and Espionage novels. From Peter James to Alan Bradley, Geraldine Brooks to Mark Pryor, Kate Morton to Amor Towles, Martin Walker to Daniel Silva, each author offers his/her unique ability to tell a story well. And, the well-written, well-told story is what I want!

Whether fast-paced, intense, poignant, charming— I know the story has “it” when I can’t get it out of my mind. What’s better than the anticipation of a new book by a favorite author, or the unexpected find of a great book by a new author? Nothing! That’s what it’s all about.

Brenda's 2022 Top Ten:

  1. Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor
  2. The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
  3. The Maid by Nita Prose
  4. Pignon Scorbion and the Barber Shop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss
  5. The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman
  6. The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
  7. Metropolis by B.A. Shapiro
  8. Look Closer by David Ellis
  9. The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz
  10. The Cloisters by Katy Hays

Find of the Year: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Check out Brenda's Recommendations Playlist on the MBTB YouTube channel.

Die Around Sundown: A Henri Lefort Mystery (Henri Lefort Mysteries) By Mark Pryor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250824820
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - August 16th, 2022

My upcoming pick: Fans of Mark Pryor — get ready.  His new book Die Around Sundown  ($27.99) will be out August 16th. Set in German-occupied Paris in 1940, Inspector Henri LeFort is given the assignment to solve a murder of a German soldier found in the Louvre. But, the Germans will not allow him inside the Louvre and have given him a list of 5 suspects and only 5 days to solve the crime.  Witty, sarcastic and smart — don’t miss this one! - Brenda

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The Marlow Murder Club: A Novel By Robert Thorogood Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728250519
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - May 3rd, 2022

Think a spunky Miss Marple…77-year-old Judith Potts lives on the banks of the River Thames.  She’s a crossword puzzle creator, loves jigsaws, crosswords, whiskey and swimming (in the nude) in the River Thames, daily.  One evening, Judith was swimming and heard (coming from a neighbor’s property) a plea, and then a gunshot.  She had witnessed a murder.  

When police are less than willing to share information with Judith, she decides she’ll solve the murder herself.  Aided by a local dog-walker, Suzie, and the vicar’s wife Becks, Judith is unstoppable.  

Delightful!  A perfect easy summer read - witty, well-crafted and fun! - Brenda

The Maid: A Novel By Nita Prose Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593356159
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - January 4th, 2022

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • “A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center” (Real Simple), this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.

Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives By Rick Bleiweiss Cover Image
ISBN: 9798200991990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blackstone Publishing - June 28th, 2022

One of my favorites: For armchair detective fans, pick up a copy of  Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss ($28.99). He solves crimes while sitting in the local barbershop.  Throw in 2 barbers, a shoe-shine guy, a journalist, and a pretty bookseller and you've got the setting. Quirky—think Christopher Fowler, Sophie Henaff and Fred Vargas.  Delightful!

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The Bullet That Missed: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery By Richard Osman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593299395
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - September 20th, 2022

As per Osman’s usual, follow the antics of this foursome as they come together once again to save the day. Third in the series, I believe this is his best yet!  And, given the first two - that’s saying a lot!!  Loved it!!! - Brenda

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The Murder Rule: A Novel By Dervla McTiernan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063042209
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - May 10th, 2022

New on McTiernan’s horizon is The Murder Rule. Hannah Rokeby is a third year law student in Maine.  Wanting to work for the Innocence Project, she submits an application to the University of Virginia where she hopes to become a Project volunteer.  Their work - investigating requests from prisoners who claim their innocence.  And, Hannah is accepted into the program.  But are her motives to free a convicted felon, or see that he remains in prison for life?

As I’ve said before, McTiernan just gets better with each new book.  And, The Murder Rule is her best yet!  If you haven’t read her, pick up a copy of The Ruin, first in a series featuring Cormac Reilly.   Good job, Dervla! - Brenda

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Metropolis: A Novel By B. A. Shapiro Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616209582
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - May 17th, 2022

A book you may have missed: Metropolis  by B. A. Shapiro ($27.95) begins with the auctioning of unclaimed property in four self storage units. Follow the mysteries associated with six people -- the owner of the self-storage building - the Metropolis, his receptionist and four individuals whose units are being auctioned. From the author of The Art Forger…another unique and entertaining read.

Look Closer By David Ellis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399170928
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - July 5th, 2022

A young married couple - Simon and Vicky - wealthy, he's a law professor, she’s an advocate for domestic abuse.   But nothing is as it seems.

One of the two may be a killer.  But who?  

A wealthy socialite is found hanged in her home in suburbia Chicago.  The investigation reveals a sorted affair, a multi-million dollar trust fund, revenge and old grudges…Simon?  Vicky?

Twists, twists, and more twists.  

I’ve been an Ellis fan for years, but I think this is his best.  This fast-paced thriller will keep you on your toes.  An excellent read! - Brenda

The Twist of a Knife: A Novel By Anthony Horowitz Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062938183
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 15th, 2022

In New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s ingenious fourth literary whodunit following The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, and A Line to Kill, Horowitz becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation—and only one man can prove his innocence: his newly estranged partner in solving crime, Detective Hawthorne.

The Cloisters: A Novel By Katy Hays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668004401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - November 1st, 2022


A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick

“For fans of The Talented Mr.

The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel By Peter Swanson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062267535
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 4th, 2016

Sitting in an airport bar in London, businessman Ted Severson greets a young woman seated next to him, Lily Kintner.  As they begin to talk with one another, Ted asked if they have met before.  Little does he realize they have.  Lily and Ted play a little game in which they reveal secrets about themselves, and Ted talks about his wife Miranda. Ted knows she's having an affair.  When they board their plane, they find themselves seated next to one another and continue the game.  By the time they arrive in Boston, Ted has confessed that he would like to kill his wife - and Lily agrees to help him.  And so it begins.  

First in the Detective Henry Kimball series, the sequel The Kind Worth Saving is slated to be published in March 2023.  Be ready for the sequel — pick up a copy of The Kind Worth Killing.  Author of Eight Perfect Murders and Nine Lives, Swanson once again shows he’s a master at deceit and revenge.  - Brenda