The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
“For the odd girls, the nerdy girls, and the murderinos. This one is yours.”
― Simone St. James, The Sun Down Motel
We all know sketchy small-town motels like The Sun Down. It’s not the kind of place you want to be after dark unless you’re a person passing through or a person with a secret, but this is a spot you will enjoy reading about. The Sun Down Motel is a horror/crime novel written from two different perspectives on two different timelines, but the motel is the connective tissue between the two stories and certainly is a character of its own.
Viv Delaney 1982
On her way to New York City, Viv takes the night clerk position at The Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY, but things aren’t quite right. Women in the area are turning up missing and murdered and Viv is hearing and seeing things at the hotel that can’t be real. As Viv delves deep into the mystery of the murdered women in the area, she mysteriously goes missing herself.
Carly Kirk 2017
Carly’s Aunt Viv went missing back in 1982 and it seems to her that no one cared. A true crime aficionado, Carly takes it upon herself to move to Fell, NY and find out what happened to her aunt. When she arrives, strange twists of fate allow her to move into the apartment her aunt had and even pick up the night clerk positon at the place her aunt used to work- The Sun Down Motel. The motel isn’t all it seems though. Was her aunt murdered or was something darker and paranormal at play?
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Rice weaves a truly realistic post-apocalyptic tale in Moon of the Crusted Snow. It leaves plenty to the imagination, but I thoroughly enjoyed Rice’s straightforward writing style, use of the Anishinaabe language, and it’s a fairly quick read- which can be a bonus if you’re absorbed in a story. If you don’t enjoy ambiguous books though, this one may not be for you.
A quick summary: A small Anishinaabe community in northern Canada notices their power is out, this is inconvenient, but not unusual. What is unusual is that the power does not come back, and winter is closing in. It’s not just their community- the electricity is gone. There’s no power, no phones, nothing. We follow Evan Whitesky, a young man with a young family to protect. The tribe knows of their old ways, but can they go back to them well enough to survive the winter on the supplies they have? When a mysterious stranger shows up from the south, and bad things begin to happen, can the community stay unified long enough to survive?
The Return by Rachel Harrison
“You can’t erase your past when there are pieces of it scattered inside other people.” Rachel Harrison, The Return
Julie is missing and all her friends believe she’s probably dead. Well, everyone except Elise. Elise just knows Julie is still out there. It turns out that Elise is right. Julie turns up two years after she goes missing from a secluded park. After Julie resurfaces, the friends decide to meet up at a remote inn. Apparently, Julie doesn’t remember anything that happened to her. When Elise is reunited with Julie, she knows something isn’t quite right with her friend. She looks terrible, smells terrible, her skin is dull, she’s emaciated, and seems off. Who- or what- is this new Julie?
This one really had me hooked the entire time. There’s a looming sense of dread that you just can’t shake and you just long to know more. It may walk you in circles a little bit, but it’s worth sticking with and has a great climax. The whole time you’ll be asking “What’s wrong with Julie?” and though you may or may not be surprised, you’ll be thoroughly creeped along the way to discovering the mystery.
I love a good mystery, true crime story, ghost story, or horror novel. All the books in this review reflect that. I thoroughly enjoyed each of these and would recommend them to anyone with tastes similar to my own. My favorite part of the horror genre is constantly wondering what’s going to happen next and the satisfaction of trying to put together what’s going on in a novel. I hope you pick one of these up, you can find them on READS or Audible. I enjoy trying to find the allegory in the creepy and disturbing that you usually find in a good horror story. I enjoy seeing an author hold society up to a carnival fun-house mirror- that’s what horror is to me. But beyond that, I just love a good scary story for the sake of a scary story as well.
by Chelsea Bennett, Reference Department
Treetops, aflame. The air, crisp. Bonfires, hot cider, plaid shirts as far as the eye can see: classic signs of winter. Here’s one more timeless association for you: whodunits. Whether you’re into the classics, the creepies, or the cozies, winter is the perfect time of year to shroud yourself in Mystery.
Publishing professional Valerie Peterson divides the Mystery genre into four main types, and many subgenres. She starts with the types: Hard-Boiled (moody detectives and femmes fatales), Soft-Boiled (similar, but less explicitly violent or sexy), Cozy (Miss Marple and her descendants), and Procedural (thorough analysis of cops and crimes). Within those types, you may find any combination of hijinks and capers, amateur sleuths, local flavor, daunting puzzles, gritty detectives, historical figures, cats, romance, and more. 
Unless you simply “hate being titillated,” there’s bound to be a Mystery out there for you. Below, I’ve listed some of the genre’s best-loved authors, both classic and modern. Since mystery writers love to stick with their characters, I’ll sometimes include a character or series name rather than a book title.
(Quick note: some Mysteries have more intense content than others, especially if they cross into Thriller territory. If you’re concerned about potential triggers, check out a site like www.doesthedogdie.com, which helps you steer clear of certain content. You can also check out our blog post about cozy mysteries!)
Jennifer Finney Boylan – Long Black Veil
K. Chesterton – Catholic priest and amateur detective Father Brown stars in 53 of Chesterton’s short stories.* Netflix has the BBC’s adaptation.
Agatha Christie – Christie’s 75 novels run the gamut from fun and cozy to truly chilling. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, her two most famous characters, each appear in dozens of works. And Then There Were None is a must-read, but Christie named Ordeal by Innocence and Crooked House as her favorites among her own books.*
Mary Higgins Clark –Where Are the Children?; A Stranger Is Watching; Loves Music, Loves to Dance
Harlan Coben – Tell No One; The Woods; Fool Me Once; the overlapping Myron Bolitar and Mickey Bolitar series (a sports agent and his nephew)
Wilkie Collins –The Law and the Lady; The Moonstone; The Woman in White
Michael Connelly – Harry Bosch series. This bestselling police procedural series forms the basis for Amazon’s TV series, Bosch.
Deborah Crombie – Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series (Scotland Yard)
Colin Dexter –Inspector Morse series (a senior criminal investigator who loves Wagner, cryptic crossword puzzles, and cask ale)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The character of Sherlock Holmes needs no introduction. Doyle’s non-Sherlockian mysteries include The Mystery of Cloomber, and short stories such as “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement.” *
Barry Eisler – Eisler is a former covert CIA operative, a trained lawyer, and a black belt martial artist. His three series each feature a different hero: assassin John Rain, black ops soldier Ben Treven, and SVU detective Livia Lone.
James Ellroy – The L.A. Quartet (The Black Dahlia; The Big Nowhere; L.A. Confidential; White Jazz)
Dashiell Hammett – Because of The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and a host of series and short stories, The New York Times eulogized Hammett as “the dean of the… ‘hard-boiled’ school of detective fiction.”*
Kellye Garrett – Hollywood Homicide
Tess Gerritsen – The Bone Garden
Lamar Giles – Overturned (YA)
Alexia Gordon – The Gethsemane Brown Mysteries (an African-American classical musician)
Sue Grafton – Famous for her Alphabet Mystery series (A is for Alibi, etc.), Grafton passed away after completing Y is for Yesterday. “[As] far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y,” wrote Grafton’s daughter. 
Carl Hiaasen – “America’s finest satirical novelist” is a “laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly entertaining” “master of the revenge fantasy.”  Try Tourist Season, Strip Tease, Skin Tight, or Double Whammy for a taste of his madcap, Florida-based mysteries.
Patricia Highsmith – Strangers on a Train; Deep Water; The Glass Cell; The Talented Mr. Ripley
Tony Hillerman – Leaphorn & Chee series (Navajo Tribal Police)
Joe Ide – IQ series (an unconventional, unofficial detective)
P. D. James – Death Comes to Pemberly; Adam Dalgliesh series (Scotland Yard)
Iris Johansen – Eve Duncan series (a forensic sculptor)
Ausma Zehanat Khan – The Unquiet Dead
Laurie R. King – Mary Russell series (a teenage girl who becomes Sherlock Holmes’ apprentice)
Attica Locke – Jay Porter series (a struggling Texas lawyer)
Sujata Massey –Perveen Mistry series (historical fiction; India’s first female lawyer)
John Mortimer – Horace Rumpole is “an ageing London barrister who defends any and all clients.” 
Abir Mukherjee – Sam Wyndham (Scotland Yard, historical fiction)
Jo Nesbø – Brilliant and troubled, Harry Hole (pronounced Hoo-leh) comes from Oslo, Norway, but his work takes him around the world. The series has been translated into English out of order; Hole first appears in The Bat.*
Leonardo Padura – The Mario Conde quartet is on Netflix as the Four Seasons in Havana miniseries.*
Sara Paretsky – Fierce, independent, and sharp, private detective V. I. Warshawski (Victoria) specializes in white-collar crime.
Louise Penny – Chief Inspector Gamache (character-driven, set in provincial Quebec)*
Dr. Kwei Quartey – Darko Dawson (a detective in Ghana)
Marcie Rendon – Murder on the Red River
Tess Sharpe – Far from You (YA)
George Simenon – Simenon’s legendary detective Jules Maigret has been portrayed by a wide range of actors, from Shakespearean stars (Charles Laughton) to slapstick comics (Rowan Atkinson). But why not picture him for yourself? He appears in 76 novels and 28 short stories.
Dwayne Alexander Smith – Forty Acres; The Unkind Hours
Sherry Thomas – Lady Sherlock series
Stephanie Tromley – Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (YA)
Nicola Upson – Josephine Tey (British theatre in the 1930s)
Randy Wayne White – Doc Ford series (a marine biologist / ex-CIA)
* indicates quotations and stats were taken from Wikipedia pages about the authors and/or their works