On a snow day, what could be better than curling up with a beverage of your choice (wine, cocoa, hot tea, beer, coffee, hot cider), a blanket and a book to fall deeply into until the last page?
With five phenomenal books all her own, I could have easily made a list of only Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. Eerie, but not easily solved, French’s books feature a unique narrator for each mystery. Responsible for many a 3 or 4am bedtime, I sped through the first four and I’m waiting to savor her much lauded new novel, The Secret Place on the next snow day I know March has in store for us.
If you’re just starting out, begin with Into the Woods, French’s first novel and the introduction to the characters her readers have come to know so well. Skip this series entirely if you need Dickensonian endings with every loose end tied up in a bow…but dive in head-first if you love compelling but unreliable narrators with distinct voices.
So we all know this is the vaguely incognito J.K. Rowlings’ new project, but if you love language, dialogue and symbolism, as well as lovable characters, snap up this series but start with the first mystery, The Cuckoo’s Calling. The Silk Worm is similarly addictive, but reads so much better if you know the characters and their earlier adventures. BBC is filming both novels as miniseries, so now if the perfect time to read the adventures of Cormoran Strike before you can no longer disentangle them from the tv series.
3. Marisha Pessl
The Night Film stood in my top spot for anticipated new novels for years, until its release in 2013. Special Topics in Calamity Physics remains a favorite, but this mystery lived up to all my expectations and more. Just know that when you crack open the first page, you won’t be letting go until the very end. Plan your weekend accordingly.
4. Jeff Vandermeer
I really did not expect to find this series occupying as much of my mind as it did – a perfect mix of The X-files, Lovecraft, Lost and Margaret Atwood, I dreamed about Area X more than once and highly anticipate finally reading the last section of this trilogy. If you like some science with your mystery and don’t mind lengthy description and scenes that crawl under your skin delicately and just won’t leave, Vandermeer’s Area X trilogy is the one for you.
And now the dark horse of the pack! With so much critical appreciation for Beukes’ The Shining Girls, I avoided her novels for no real reason other than general persnickety-ness on my part. I finally gave in and downloaded Broken Monsters after some glowing reviews highlighting the female relationships in this novel and I am so happy I did. Tonight, I fully anticipate keeping a light on until the darkest hours, unable to turn away from this one.
What novels keep your eyelids open until the small hours? Please share here – I’m always looking for something new to try!