Scary Reads? Not all of the mystery novels I have reviewed are about a place as creepy as Cora Harrison’s Burren of Ireland (♥)or Martin Cruz Smith’s Wolves Eat Dogs (♥♥♥♥). I’m wrapping up the two weeks of scary things and mystery novels with a list of some of the reader-preferred mysteries, with hearts to denote how fast they’ll make your heart beat.
And sometimes a creepy story doesn’t need a creepy place, and sometimes a creepy place has a tame story! I recently read two books that would have earned five stars for terror, but they really did not fit the criteria for A Traveler’s Library. So, if you want a really horrific read, try one of these unreviewed books that are based on real events.
♥♥♥♥♥Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis Beautifully written and well-drawn characters but horrendous acts.
♥♥♥♥♥I Dreamt I Was in Heaven: the Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter. It may be based on real events, but the book seems gratuitously gruesome.
Keep in mind the stars are not for overall quality–just for the terror factor.
♥♥♥A Mystery in a National Park–High Country by Nevada Barr has her middle-aged female park ranger heroine scrambling across the back country of Yosemite National Park in California. Barr, a former park ranger herself, has written mysteries set in 17 National Parks, so far.
♥♥♥Spenser’s Boston. The Godwulf Manuscript. This post talked more about Boston as the setting for the many Spenser novels than about the books themselves, but Robert Parker wrote an extremely popular detective in Spenser. The post includes 5 restaurant recommendations from the Parker website, but he passed away in 2011, and those are no longer on the web site. However another writer has been hired to continue the 39-book Spenser series.
♥♥♥♥A Pair of posts proved popular about a Robert Wilson mystery and Lisbon Portugal. I wrote about A Small Death in Lisbon, and followed it up with a post called Plan Travel to Lisbon courtesy of Pack a Book.
♥♥♥♥A Vienna Mystery was shared by guest author Kristen Gough, who usually writes the tamer My Kids Eat Squid. She shared her own experiences in Vienna and the locale painted by author Daniel Silva in A Death in Venice.
♥♥♥♥♥ A Spooky Vienna Film to go along with the Vienna theme–is one of my favorites of all time, The Third Man. I called the post How to Find the Third Man in Vienna.
♥♥Exploring the Dark Corners of Venice talks about Donna Leon‘s mysteries starring the lovable Commissario Brunetti. She keeps turning them out, and I’m falling behind, but loved the dozen or so I’ve read. Related Announcement: Venice is such a wonderful place to set all kinds of stories, that next week is Venice week at A Traveler’s Library.
♥♥♥♥American Road Trip Thriller—Greek novelist Alexis Stamatis wrote a Hitchcock-worth tale of mistaken identity and a chase across country in American Fugue. It is fascinating to see an outsider’s take on the American road.
♥♥♥♥Florence Italy Real Life Horror Story tells about a murder case in Florence Italy that Douglas Preston presents in his non-fiction book, The Monster of Florence. The way that the legal system functions–or doesn’t–made me glad that I did not know this story before I went to Florence.
♥♥In Raymond Chandler nails Southern California, I talked about the master American detective story writer and his masterpiece Farewell My Lovely. My love for Chandler is about the language and the attitude–not about the suspense and terror. But he does set a spooky scene!
♥♥In Murder in Paris,I talk about Cara Black introduces a delightful young woman and visits the neighborhoods of Paris, book by book. I chose Murder in the Latin Quarter, because that is where Ken and I spent most of our time in Paris. I liked it because of its terrific heroine and great scene setting.
I want to thank the generous photographer who made this photo available with a Creative Commons license at Flickr.com. And although I did not include the usual Amazon links in this post, if you go to the original post, you can order any of the books directly, in case your local Independent bookstore doesn’t have it immediately available.
The Holiday Season is coming, and your Amazon gift orders through this site help me buy MY holiday gifts–or even better, buy a copy of the beautiful Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist for someone. Native American magazine just listed it as their top pick for special gifts for the holidays. (There’s a convenient Buy Now button over on the right hand side of the blog.)
So was your favorite mystery from A Traveler’s Library on this list? Do you have a different one you’d like to nominate? Let me know in the comment section.