At the end of the year, it is commonplace for reviewers to pick the “best of 2014” novels. Here’s a look at 5 mysteries that are on more than one “best of” list for 2014. (I would classify most of these as mystery thrillers.)
The Son by Jo Nesbo
Sonny Lofthus has been in prison for a dozen years for crimes he didn’t commit to feed his heroin addiction. Now’s he’s discovered some new information about his father, whose suicide started his downhill spiral into drugs. He cleans up, escapes and is dead set on seeking revenge even if it leads him to Oslo’s crime overlord, a terrifying man known as the Twin. If you’re wondering where the police are in this rampage, Simon Kefas is an aging detective who was Sonny’s father’s best friend and is trying to catch Sonny before the Twin does. Note: there is a lot of violence in this tale.
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith (who also wrote the excellent novel, Child 44)
Imagine that your mother and father moved to Sweden to retire peacefully on a rural farm. You then get a phone call from your father who tells you that your mother is not well and has been admitted to a mental asylum. Then you get a phone call from your mother who is on her way home to you in London and she insists that she is not insane but that your father is in the middle of a horrible crime and conspiracy and trying to lock her up. That’s the scenario that the main protagonist is this story, Daniel, is thrown into. While his mother’s story is difficult, it is not implausible. Who should he believe? What will the truth be?
I am a Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Pilgrim is a codename for a man who once headed up a secret unit of the C.I.A. and also wrote a book detailing forensic criminal investigation techniques. Now that book has come back to haunt him because someone else used it to commit the perfect crime and Pilgrim has to find him. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Soon Pilgrim is in a race against time and traveling the world to stop a jihadi terrorist who is planning to introduce a strain of plague that is vaccine-proof.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Colin Thatcher is supposed to kidnap Mia Dennett. Colin Thatcher is not supposed to hide her in a secluded cabin evading the police and his superiors. This story is told from different perspectives: Mia’s socialite mother, the detective and even Mia herself. What starts out as a simple kidnapping turns into a thriller that reveals how nothing is as it seems.
The Secret Place by Tana French
In the leafy suburbs of Dublin, a boy named Chris Harper was murdered on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school. A year later, the police are still searching for answers. Then, Holly Mackey, who attends the boarding school and is Dectective Frank Mackey’s daughter, brings the police a photo of Chris found posted at her boarding school where someone wrote: “I know who killed him”. A haunting look at teenage friendship and loyalty, this is another tale involving the Dublin Murder Squad. Previous books in this series: In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor.