12 Thrillers to Read This Summer


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Hello, mystery fans! Welcome to another edition of the Unusual Suspects newsletter! While I am not the biggest fan of rehashing old properties—*points at all the incredible new writers waiting for a shot*—I did grow up a huge fan of the everything-goes-boom action comedy films and a big Eddie Murphy fan, so I am absolutely going to watch Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F this weekend.

Bookish Goods

tshirt with the word vote where every letter is a symbol for banned books, repo rights, activism on etsy by by CuTeesCustomShirts

Political Activism Shirt by CuTeesCustomShirts

If you sat through history class during the horrific/unprecedented times lessons and wondered how and why no one did anything, it seems all of us are now in those times. Here’s a tee! Now, go find an organization to support however you can and make sure you’re registered to vote, have a plan, and ensure everyone you know does, too. These might be uncomfortable convos, but not as uncomfortable as living under Project 2025 will be. $20 for the shirt, with lots of styles and color options, unisex up to 5XL.

New Releases

cover of What Fire Brings by Rachel Howzell Hallcover of What Fire Brings by Rachel Howzell Hall

What Fire Brings by Rachel Howzell Hall

For fans of remote mystery, suspense, missing persons, and undercover investigating!

Bailey Meadows has secured a coveted writing job with author Jack Beckham as his writer-in-residence. He’s a famous author, and she’ll be staying at his Topanga Canyon estate. But what no one but Bailey and her real boss know is that Bailey is actually there to find out what happened to Sam Morris, who disappeared months before while possibly on another missing person case. Now Bailey is trying to act the part of a writer while looking for clues, and she’s finding herself weirded out by plenty of things on the estate, including the history of women who have gone missing in the area.

The God of the Woods coverThe God of the Woods cover

The God of the Woods by Liz Moore

For fans of missing person cases, family drama, multiple points of view, and nonlinear narratives!

It’s 1975, and teen Barbara Van Laar has gone missing from her summer camp. The Van Laar family is well known: not only do they own the camp, but their eight-year-old son Bear disappeared a year before Barbara was born. She’s the daughter her parents didn’t know how to control, who didn’t ever live up to Bear, and now no one can find her.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

I am a huge fan of picking up books based solely on their cover or title and learning absolutely nothing about the book before diving in. So I loved seeing this year’s #16 Read Harder prompt “Read a book based solely on the title.” Here are two backlist titles that I read based only on the title.

the man in my basementthe man in my basement

The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley has an extensive list of authored books (and he writes in every genre!), so it was a bit daunting when I was searching for which book of his to read after Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore—which I obviously picked also because of the title. The second I saw the title The Man in My Basement, I needed to know the who, why, and how of it all. The book turned out to have really interesting, strange, and wtf answers for how a Black man ends up with a white man and a cage in his basement.

And if you’re a fan of adaptations, it’s currently being made into a film.

cover image for I Woke Up Dead At The Mallcover image for I Woke Up Dead At The Mall

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

I immediately needed to know if the title meant literal death (it does!) and if that meant they’re a ghost? (Not yet!)

16-year-old Sarah has to solve her own murder. She’s at the Mall of America and has a death coach who has informed her that, yes, she’s dead because she was murdered; the mall is purgatory; and if she wants to not spend eternity as a mall walker, she has to figure out what happened to her and make peace.

News and Roundups


Browse the books recommended in Unusual Suspects’ previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2024 releases and mysteries from 2023. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Bluesky, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy.

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