Sarah Michelle Gellar Cast in ‘Dexter’ Prequel Series ‘Original Sin’

Hi, mystery fans! Welcome to another edition of the Unusual Suspects newsletter! I’ve mentioned before that I love Lily Gladstone and will watch anything she’s in, which is why I pressed play on Fancy Dance (apple TV+) knowing nothing about it. Happy surprise: it’s a crime film with a missing person case. It’s also a coming-of-age story, road trip movie, and family drama. And, now I will also watch anything Isabel DeRoy-Olson is in.

Bookish Goods

a mug with an illustration of a woman walking through a doorway that says

Leaving Reality Entering Fiction Coffee Mug by ArtsyLegacy

This is a great one-for-you, one-for-me gift. ($25: 2 sizes, 8 color options.)

New Releases

The Night of Baba Yaga cover

The Night of Baba Yaga by Akira Otani, Sam Bett (Translator)

For fans of dark Japanese crime novels set in the ’70s/’80s!

Yoriko Shindo grew up with her grandparents and learned to fight from her grandfather. As an adult, she’s a very good fighter, leading to mafia leader Genzo Naiki having her kidnapped and giving her the decision of a slow and painful death or to work for him as his daughter Shoko Naiki’s bodyguard. Shoko is to be married off by her father but is being permitted to attend two years of college. Neither woman likes the other or wants to be in this forced situation, but over time, they start to see each other for who they really are: trapped in the violent world of the Yakuza.

cover image for The Haters

The Haters by Robyn Harding

For fans of author MCs and anonymous harassers!

Camryn Lane is a school counselor, divorced with a teenage daughter, dating a younger man, and has just published her first novel. She’s ecstatic to be a published author until a reader’s review throws her for a loop: she’s accused of using her student’s personal information for her novel. Lane immediately denies this, and her agent tells her to ignore it and never read bad reviews. But it’s only the beginning, and the more Lane pushes back, the more anger towards her and her book grows. Against everyone’s advice, including her publishing team, she decides to get to the bottom of who is making these accusations, even as the further she fights back, the more it upends her life…

Audiobook readers get great dual narrators — Jess Nahikian and Megan Tusing.

Riot Recommendations

We are officially halfway through 2024, and the Best of 2024 Books (So Far) lists have begun, so I thought I’d share two of my favorite mysteries from the year so far.

cover image for The Murder of Mr. Ma

The Murder of Mr. Ma by John Shen Yen Nee, S.J. Rozan

Lao She is an academic in London during the 1920s, and the most excitement in his life is the novel he’s working on. That is, until Bertrand Russell summons him and asks him for a favor: they’ll go to the prison that is keeping Judge Dee and he’ll swap places with Dee, then once Dee is gone, Lao will exclaim he’s not Dee. It doesn’t go as planned, but it does lead to Dee and Lao teaming up to solve the murder of a shop owner who was killed with a sword from his store. Dee will jump straight into detective mode, and fighting mode, while Lao will be his Watson!

Why I loved it: The balance of history mixed with the mystery, the action scenes, the Sherlock/Watson partnership of two opposite personalities, and the excellent narrator (Daniel York Loh) on the audiobook! If there’s a sequel, I’m in!

Fun fact: “Dee and Lao are based on real people as well, though they lived 1,200 years apart. Dee is based on Di Ren Jie, a magistrate who lived during the early Tang Dynasty, while Lao was the pen name of a Manchu intellectual.” —From the Sun Sentinel.

rainbow black book cover

Rainbow Black by Maggie Thrash

We start with a 28-year-old woman worried she’s finally been found — we learn she and Gwen are being hounded by the media, who want to know which of them shot and killed a kid almost 15 years ago. Then, we’re taken back to 1983 New Hampshire, where Lacey Bond is growing up with her parents — her mom is erratic, and her dad is her hero — and her older sister, who takes zero shit from anyone. Lacey’s world is spun out of control when her parents, who run a daycare in the house, are arrested and tried in the Satanic Panic sweeping the country (The very real history where conspiracy theories about childcarers practicing satanic rituals on young children lead to trials and imprisonments.).

Why I loved it: The focus on the harm caused by the Satanic Panic in the ’80s, the accurate ’80s and ’90s backdrop, the characters, dark humor, and the broad reader appeal that includes mystery/crime readers and contemporary readers who may not think they like mysteries!

If you want a great podcast episode on the Satanic Panic: “The 1980s were real, but the Satanists weren’t. Sarah tells Mike about why America spent a decade worried about witches running daycare centers.” You’re Wrong About: The Satanic Panic

News and Roundups

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar Cast in ‘Dexter’ Prequel Series ‘Original Sin’
  • Apple TV+ Sets September Release Date for ‘Slow Horses’ Season 4
  • David Tennant Has Joined The Star-Studded Cast Of This Bestselling Novel’s Film Adaptation
  • 12 thrillers to read this summer
  • Ryan Coogler, Mattson Tomlin Team for ‘A Vicious Circle’ at Universal
  • The First American Union Understood The Necessity of Public Libraries and Education
  • The Authors of Summer’s Scariest Books Share Their Horror Picks
  • So, You Want to be a Hitman?: 8 Assassin Stories to Read Right Now

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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