Donna's Staff Picks

Donna Vass, at Murder By The Book since 2023.

Donna has been a preschool teacher, teacher-supply-store manager, and production editor of legal books but now has her dream job being surrounded by mysteries and thrillers. When she's not reading, she's listening to an audiobook and tending her garden or watching the Houston Astros. 

Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, Dervla McTiernan, Daniel Silva, Jussi Adler-Olsen, C.J. Box, William Kent Krueger, Jane Harper, and Louise Penny.


The Clementine Complex By Bob Mortimer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668024164
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 5th, 2023

This book is utterly delightful. Gary is an extremely awkward protagonist who finds himself in the middle of an increasingly dangerous situation. He and his elderly neighbor, Grace, try to figure out who they can trust while they attempt to solve the mystery. One of my top books of the year! - Donna

An Honest Man: A Novel By Michael Koryta Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316535946
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - July 25th, 2023

Michael Koryta weaves a tale of murder, suspense, and revenge in his latest novel An Honest Man. We meet Israel Pike, a man who served time for killing his father, Lyman Rankin, a boy living with an alcoholic father, and a mysterious woman the boy calls Hatchet, whose stories intertwine to create an intense story full of anger and lies. Once the stage is set, the book is hard to put down. - Donna


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What Never Happened: A Thriller By Rachel Howzell Hall Cover Image
ISBN: 9781662504136
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas & Mercer - August 1st, 2023

In this thriller, we meet Coco, an award-winning obituary writer, who's been through the wringer. Her family was murdered, her marriage has disintegrated, and she's moving back to scene of the crime, literally. She learns of old women disappearing on Catalina Island and can't resist investigating.

This begins a rollercoaster of events that will keep you guessing until the end. - Donna

The Bitter Past: A Mystery (Porter Beck #1) By Bruce Borgos Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250848079
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - July 18th, 2023

A Russian assassin, an FBI agent, and a rural Nevada sheriff with a military background, whose territory includes the Nevada Proving Grounds, come together in a race against time to catch the killer before he catches them. The story alternates between the the late 1950s and current day, and keeps you guessing until the end. Sheriff Porter Beck is a complex protagonist who will go to great lengths to protect his family and friends. A great start to a book series! - Donna

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel By Diane Setterfield Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743298032
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - October 9th, 2007

Instant #1 New York Times bestseller

“Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story.”—People

“Eerie and fascinating.”—USA TODAY

Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny.

Reclusive author Vida W

This Tender Land: A Novel By William Kent Krueger Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476749303
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - May 26th, 2020


“If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, you’ll love This Tender Land...This story is as big-hearted as they come.” —Parade

The unforgettable story of four orphans who travel the Mississippi River o

The Only One Left: A Novel By Riley Sager Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593183229
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton - June 20th, 2023


Named a summer book to watch by The Washington Post, Boston Globe, USA Today, Oprah, Paste, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, and Nerd Daily

"Propulsive ... a dizzying Gothic whodunit."
New York Times Book Review

A Curious Beginning (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1) By Deanna Raybourn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451476029
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - July 12th, 2016

The New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries returns once more to Victorian England and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell....