The Return of Captain John Emmett
by Elizabeth Speller
I am a sucker for books that take place during or after World War I, and this one has all the elements that I love about that period. Laurence Bartram returns from the war psychologically wounded, his wife and infant son have died from the Spanish Influenza, and an old girlfriend writes him a letter asking him to investigate her brother's supposed suicide. Betrayals, mysteries, lies, and passion lead our hero down a dark path. What more can a reader want?
In The Woods
by Tana French
Dublin. 1984. Dusk. Three children disappear in the woods and the police find one standing in blood-soaked sneakers, gripping a tree. The mystery goes unsolved. Until twenty years later another child is murdered in those same woods and that surviving boy, now a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad, is assigned the case. There's enough bad weather and visits to pubs in this book to keep me happy all winter long.
Field of Blood
by Denise Mina
Denise Mina's books are so dark and wonderful that they've generated their own genre, Tartan Noir. Field of Blood is the first in her Paddy Meehan trilogy. In it, Paddy is a working class Glaswegian with dreams of becoming a journalist. When she learns that a sensational murder case of a young boy has ties to her own fiance, Paddy finds herself an unlikely investigator. Maybe the best part is that there are two other Paddy Meehan novels, and then three Alex Morrow novels, so that you can completely lose yourself in dreary Glasgow.
by Benjamin Black
I can't think of a protagonist I adore more than an alcoholic detective, and Dublin coroner Quirke is so drunk and cynical and angry that I fell in love with him on page one. The story takes place in the 1950s, and Quirke's investigation into the death of Christine Falls and the disappearance of her newborn eerily echoes a secret from his own past. Benjamin Black is the pseudonym for Booker Prize winner John Banville, but I do not hold that against him.
The Wrong Mother
by Sophie Hannah
Imagine if you had a brief affair. Imagine that you vowed to never see each other again. Now imagine that you are watching the news with your husband and you hear about that your ex lover's wife and daughter have been murdered. He's the suspect, but that picture they're flashing on TV is not the man you slept with. It just gets better and darker and more plot-twisted from there!
Ann Hood's newest book is Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting—an anthology about one of her favorite passtimes. Her other books include An Ornithologist's Guide to Life, The Knitting Circle, Comfort, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, O, The Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere.