With the leaves falling, Halloween fast approaching, and nights getting colder, it is once again the season for picking up thrillers and mystery novels. These Minnesota-native writers have been receiving local, national, and in some cases international attention for their work, and their latest offerings are great options for lovers of everything from an experimental crime saga to a good old-fashioned whodunit. Find the following at one of Minnesota’s local bookstores.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James: The Macalaster College professor’s third novel was just awarded the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and has received international acclaim for its inventiveness and ambition. Set against a backdrop of social unrest, the epic novel follows Jamaica through several decades in the 20th century following the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. James’ highly stylized and compulsively violent novel, also the winner of a Minnesota Book Award, has been compared to the films of Quentin Tarantino.
The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy: This dystopian thriller from the author of Red Moon reimagines Lewis and Clark’s 19th century expedition as an escape from a militant community following an apocalyptic event. Living in the remnants of St. Louis, Missouri now known as the Sanctuary, this present-day Lewis and Clark fight against tyrannical rulers and fantastical monsters as they attempt to create their own civilization outside the walls of their dystopian society. Percy’s fast-paced thriller is nominated for next year’s Minnesota Book Awards.
The Grave Soul by Ellen Hart: A mainstay of the local mystery writers’ community, Ellen Hart has been writing well-received crime novels for decades. Her just-released The Grave Soul is the latest in her Jane Lawless detective series, and tells the story of a young couple who call on Lawless to step in when family secrets threaten to tear them apart. Hart is a five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award, which honors LGBT literature, and her latest novel is receiving early attention for its riveting plot and well-rounded characters.
Delivering Death by Julie Kramer: The latest installment in Kramer’s Riley Spartz series sees the Minneapolis investigative reporter entangled in a high-profile homicide case that grows increasingly strange. As Riley attempts the case in the news, she grapples with contentious media characters, identity fraud, and a giant wedding that threatens to draw attention from the case. Praised for her witty writing style and ability to inject humor and heart into her suspense stories, Kramer’s novel is the cold-weather equivalent of a beach read.
Uncle Janice by Matt Burgess: Burgess’ police novel follows young cop Janice Itwaru as she works as an “uncle,” or an undercover narcotic officer, for the NYPD. Janice finds herself questioning her morality as works toward a promotion under demanding superior officers. Burgess gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at a little-known, dangerous form of police work. A nominee for next year’s Minnesota Book Awards, Uncle Janice is receiving critical acclaim for its unconventional voice and fresh portrayal of contemporary New York City.