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.

Cindy's 2018 Top 10

1. The Echo Killing by Christi Daughtery
2. Force of Nature by Jane Harper
3. Past Tense by Lee Child
4. The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
5. Still Lives by Maria Hummel 
6. The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
7. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
8. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
9. Liar’s Candle by Thomas August
10. The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis


Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Mycroft and Sherlock by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The Echo Killing: A Mystery (A Harper McClain Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250148841
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - March 13th, 2018

When a murder echoing a fifteen-year-old cold case rocks the Southern town of Savannah, crime reporter Harper McClain risks everything to find the identity of this calculated killer in Christi Daugherty's new novel The Echo Killing.

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Force of Nature: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105639
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Published: Flatiron Books - February 6th, 2018

Goodreads Choice Award Finalist (Mystery & Thriller, 2018)
BookBrowse Best Books of 2018
Winner of the Prix Polar Award for Best International Novel
BookRiot’s 25 Best Suspense Books from 2018
Davitt Awards shortlist for Adult Crime Novel 2018
Dead Good Reads shortlist for Best Small Town Mystery 2018

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Past Tense: A Jack Reacher Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399593512
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Published: Delacorte Press - November 5th, 2018

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from “a superb craftsman of suspense” (Entertainment Weekly).

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The Woman in the Window: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062678416
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Published: William Morrow - January 2nd, 2018

The #1 Instant New York Times Bestseller – Soon to be a Major Motion Picture

“Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing.” —Gillian Flynn

“Unputdownable.” —Stephen King

“A dark, twisty confection.” —Ruth Ware

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Still Lives Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619021112
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Published: Counterpoint LLC - June 5th, 2018

Still Lives is a fascinating read set in Los Angeles that focuses on the disappearance of an up-and-coming artist right before the opening night of her exhibition.  Maggie Richter works as an editor at the Rocque Museum and has mixed feelings about Kim Lord’s exhibition, self-portraits of Lord dressed up as famous, murdered women including Nicole Brown Simpson, the Black Dahlia, and numerous others.  On a professional level, Maggie is uncomfortable with the subject matter and the fact that the art work itself has drawn a lot of criticism; on a personal level, Kim Lord currently dates Maggie’s ex-boyfriend Greg who Maggie still misses. While the subject matter of the book is dark, Hummel’s deft and careful handling of the graphic elements of the story lessened the gruesomeness and allowed me to focus on Kim’s disappearance and the craziness of the modern art world.  I highly recommend Still Lives. - Cindy

The Banker's Wife Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735218451
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Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - July 3rd, 2018

A USA Today Bestseller

"Immersive, satisfying, tense--and timely: This is probably happening for real right now."--Lee Child

"First-rate...Slick, heart-hammering entertainment."--The New York Times Book Review

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The Death of Mrs. Westaway Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501156212
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Published: Gallery/Scout Press - May 29th, 2018

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is the first Ruth Ware book that I have read.  The gothic elements of the book appealed to me (and the magnificent cover), and I was not disappointed.  The book is full of dark and twisty story lines and a mysterious and creepy family home, and I thoroughly enjoyed following Hal’s progression as she attempts to uncover the sinister goings-on at the Westaway family home. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a clever, highly atmospheric book with creepy undertones that made me want to keep my light on at night after I finished the book. - Cindy

The Clockmaker's Daughter: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451649390
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Published: Atria Books - October 9th, 2018


“An ambitious, compelling historical mystery with a fabulous cast of characters…Kate Morton at her very best.” —Kristin Hannah

A love affair and a mysterious murder cast their shadows across generations in this multilayered and spellbinding novel from the New York Times bestselling author of t

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Liar's Candle: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501172847
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Published: Scribner - April 17th, 2018

Liar’s Candle is an incredibly well-written spy novel with an authentic and believable cast of characters and a page-turner of a plot.  Penny Kessler is an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey who survives a bombing of an Embassy party and is thought to have information on the bombing which causes her to flee for her life.  August Thomas provides just enough backstory on Penny to make her a plausible heroine and keeps the reader guessing on the rest of the characters – who is truly helping Penny and who is trying to further along her demise?  My favorite part of the book was Thomas’s seamless inclusion of details about Turkey including the culture, the food, the politics, and even several historical areas.  Liar’s Candle is fast-paced, relentless, and such a fun read. - Cindy

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The Masterpiece: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524742959
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Published: Dutton - August 7th, 2018

The Masterpiece focuses on Grand Central Terminal (I never knew it was Grand Central Terminal versus Grand Central Station) during the late-1920’s and the mid-1970’s, two very different time periods for the terminal.  In 1928, Clara Darden works as an art instructor in the Grand Central School of Art located high up in the terminal when Grand Central Terminal is beautifully maintained and a highlight of the city; in 1974, Virginia Clay is newly divorced and sent by a temp agency to work at the terminal when Grand Central has seen better days and is being targeted for demolition.  The story alternates between the two time periods, and Davis fabulously recreates the atmosphere and relevance of the terminal in both time periods.  As the stories progress, the two tales converge in a surprising and satisfying manner. I highly recommend The Masterpiece; it is a beautiful read. - Cindy

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


"A beautiful novel that's full of forbidden passions, family secrets and a lot of courage and sacrifice."--Reese Witherspoon

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Mycroft and Sherlock Cover Image
ISBN: 9781785659256
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Published: Titan Books - October 9th, 2018

When I first saw this series, I have to say I was a little unsure what a book about Sherlock Holmes written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would look like.  I have long been a fan of his basketball playing but clearly have not followed him very closely because he has written many books and is well known in the Sherlock world for his love of Sherlock Holmes.  With this series, Abdul-Jabbar demonstrates that he is incredibly talented in more than one field because his portrayal of Sherlock, Mycroft, and their world is outstanding.  The Sherlock Holmes in this series is young (only 19), and I really enjoyed the life invented for him before he becomes famous.  The mystery is clever, the writing is spectacular, and the resolution is highly satisfying.  I look forward to Mycroft and Sherlock’s next adventures! - Cindy