McKenna's Staff Picks

McKenna Jordan, Store Owner at Murder By The Book since 2003

Having read crime fiction almost exclusively for the last fifteen years at MBTB, this “staff stack” was incredibly challenging to narrow down. I decided to go with an approach of which books represent both my reading taste as well as my history - to this point - with the bookstore. Every one of this holds a special place in my heart and has a story to go along with it. 

I have a real respect for the genre and its icons, and I love unique characters. That’s basically all I can find as a thread of similarity throughout my reading taste. I’m happy to read across the genre as long as it’s well-written, and there’s nothing that beats a fresh new voice that grabs you from the first line. 

McKenna's 2019 Top 10:

1. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
2. The Butterfly Girl  by Rene Denfeld
3. The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
4. Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard
5. City of Windows by Robert Pobi
6. Stick Together by Sophie Henaff
7. The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone
8. Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
9. A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty
10. Death in Provence by Serena Kent

Check out McKenna's Recommendation Playlist on the MBTB YouTube Channel.

Staff Pick Badge
The Jane Austen Society: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250248732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 26th, 2020


"This novel delivers sweet, smart escapism."

The Safe Place: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250264800
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - July 14th, 2020

Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downes's debut, The Safe Place, is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

Welcome to paradise...will you ever be able to leave?

Emily is a mess.

Staff Pick Badge
The Lion's Den Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538733639
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 30th, 2020

Sex, betrayal, and intrigue: A dream vacation on a luxurious yacht turns deadly in this pulse-pounding beach read "chock full of delicious characters who flaunt their sins . . . like the latest Birkin bag" (Adriana Trigiani).

Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth.

Staff Pick Badge
Death in Provence: A Penelope Kite Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062869869
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Paperbacks - February 25th, 2020

British divorcee Penelope Kite decides to get away from it all and retire to the south of France, where she finds Le Chant d’Eau—The Song of Water—a stone farmhouse with a garden, swimming pool, and sweeping mountain vistas. She falls in love with the property and decides, with the help of a local realtor, to make an offer despite the property's title being tied up in something fishy. When she finds out the house is hers, she relocates quickly, eager to renovate and create her little slice of heaven. But when she finds a body floating in her swimming pool on her first morning, she knows she might be involved in something tricky. Fortunately, as a former staff member for a forensic pathologist, Penelope is no stranger to crime, and sets out to help the police in any way she can.... Perfect for fans of Peter Mayle, this mystery full of small-town politics, an evocative Provencal setting, and vibrant characters was an absolute bonbon of a first novel. I'm so happy to know this is the first in a new series  - I can't wait to read the next installment! - McKenna

Staff Pick Badge
The Mountains Wild: A Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250256430
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - June 23rd, 2020

"With its evocative Dublin setting, lyrical prose, tough but sympathetic heroine, and a killer twist in the plot, Sarah Stewart Taylor's The Mountains Wild should top everyone's must-read lists this year!" — New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie