evil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Washington Square, $14). Set in 1940s Los Angeles, this great noir thriller features an African-American protagonist who has an outlook not seen before in the genre. A smart, valiant war veteran who defended his country but now has trouble landing a job, Easy Rawlins can go places a white policeman or detective can’t go. For this first Rawlins mystery, Mosley created an unforgettable supporting cast, led by a psychotic killer named Mouse.
The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen Carter (Vintage, $15). A terrific twist on the legal thriller. A young African-American professor learns that his recently deceased father, a former Supreme Court nominee, was not the man his son thought him to be. A story of satisfying complexity.
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s, $8). Stephanie Plum is one of the most unlikely crime fighters you will ever meet. A former department store buyer, Plum becomes a reluctant bounty hunter. Evanovich’s great series/consistently combines humor and thrills.
Tell No One by Harlan Coben (Dell, $10). The first chapter of this book grabs you and doesn’t let you go. When a man finds a webcam video that seems to show that his murdered wife is not in fact dead, the reader can’t help but be freaked out. Coben is a master of grabbing the social zeitgeist and ramping it up to a new level of paranoia.
The Deadhouse by Linda Fairstein (Pocket, $8). A former New York City sex-crimes prosecutor, Linda Fairstein introduced a unique authenticity to contemporary crime fiction. This story, about a murder victim who had been studying the secrets of New York City’s Roosevelt Island, provides a real insider’s look at what goes on in the prosecutor’s office, and history lessons about the city to boot.
Along Came a Spider by James Patterson (Grand Central, $8). Alex Cross was and is one of the most original characters to come down the mystery/thriller pike in a long time. A psychologist turned detective working Washington, D.C.’s mean streets, he fights some of the most bizarre criminals this side of Batman.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- There's a number of reasons the grammar of this headline could infuriate you
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 7 ways to quickly become a master at anything
- The Warren Buffett formula: How you can get smarter
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
- How any actor (even a really nice one) can play a truly evil villain like King Joffrey
Subscribe to the Week