Cindy's Staff Picks

Cindy Burnett at Murder By The Book since 2018

My reading tastes span a wide range of genres: mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction, memoirs, and engaging non-fiction. I love almost anything related to art, France, New York City, Golden Age Hollywood, the Gilded Age, Texas and World War 2. I enjoy C.J. Box’s mysteries because I always learn something fascinating about the environment or a current political issue, and I love Fiona Davis’s novels because she explores in-depth places like Grand Central Terminal and the Dakota. I will read anything written by Jacqueline Winspear, Susan Elia McNeal, Martin Walker, Michael Connelly, Kate Morton, and Elly Griffiths. They all create incredibly well-written, engaging stories.

Some of my recent non-mystery favorites have been News of the World, A Gentleman in Moscow, How to Walk Away, and Dear Fahrenheit 451. I even have a few books that I return to again and again: both Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion by Jane Austen and Robert Frost’s The Road Less Taken.

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Our House Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451489111
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - August 7th, 2018


Our House is a standout in the heavily saturated genre of domestic suspense.  The story was captivating and contained some fun, unexpected twists and turns.  The story starts off strong and doesn’t slow down until the very last page.  The ending deserves a special mention – it was fabulous and made me love the book even more.  I highly recommend Our House.  It is a well-written and highly-entertaining read. - Cindy

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Side by Side: A Novel of Bonnie and Clyde Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765398451
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Forge Books - June 5th, 2018

Side by Side tells the story of Bonnie and Clyde as they embark on the self-destructive path that led them to become the most infamous duo of the 1930s. Bonnie's devotion to Clyde ran deep and clearly contributed to the choices they ultimately made and the life they cose to pursue. While most readers will be familiar with their names and explosive ending, they will still be fascinated with the dramatic, destructive, and tragic lives they lived. And the Texas connection is an added bonus! - Cindy

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The Prisoner in the Castle: A Maggie Hope Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399593826
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam - August 7th, 2018

The Prisoner in the Castle is the 8th Maggie Hope mystery and is an excellent addition to the series.  In a departure from her earlier novels, MacNealutilizes Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None strategy of eliminating characters one by one while the remaining individuals race to determine who the murderer is.  As the book opens, Maggie and various other SOE agents are being held prisoner on the Isle of Scarra off the coast of Scotland; each agent has some knowledge or issue that the SOE believes impacts that person’s ability to serve during the war so they are all sentenced to spend the rest of World War 2 on this remote island.  MacNeal provides fabulous detail regarding both the Scottish setting and the garish castle in which they are all trapped.  The Scottish legends are fascinating and add depth and character to the tale.  The use of Christie’s plot device was clever and effective for this tale.  As the book progressed, I was so curious to see who would die next which made reading the book a ton of fun. The Prisoner in the Castle is a highly enjoyable read. - Cindy

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Broken Ice: A Novel (Nils Shapiro #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765391315
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Forge Books - June 12th, 2018

Broken Ice is the second book in Goldman’s Nils (Shap) Shapiro series.  Shap is a Minneapolis-based private detective who is clever, irreverent, and highly entertaining.  In Broken Ice, Shap is hired to find Linnea Engstrom, a missing teenage girl who vanished during the Minnesota high school hockey playoffs.  Early on in the investigation, he is shot in the arm by an arrow alerting him that someone does not want Linnea found.  As he and his partner Anders Ellegaard dig further into Linnea’s disappearance and people continue to die, Nils realizes that his search for Linnea is uncovering dark secrets that people have gone to great lengths to keep hidden.  


My favorite part of this book is Goldman’s rich evocation of Minnesota’s Scandinavian roots and culture. His descriptive imagery brings Minnesota’s unique personality to life, and this fabulous depiction of the area combined with Shap’s clever wit make Broken Ice a standout in the private detective genre.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next Nils Shapiro mystery. In received this book to read and review; all opinions are my own. - Cindy

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Next Year in Havana Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399586682
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - February 6th, 2018

Every once in a while I start a book and from page one I am completely enamored with every aspect of it - the plot, the characters, the setting, and the relationships. To me, that is the sign of a good book. Chanel Cleeton artfully incorporates both the beauty and the history of Cuba into her tale about courage in the face of family and loss. I highly recommended this gem! - Cindy