Lesbian Books for Spring: More Than 150 Fascinating Finds
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Mysteries and Thrillers
Sue Bennet is a whip-smart amateur detective who avoids a close call one day when she loans her car to her friend, Anil. The car is rigged with a bomb, killing him inside. Baffled and angry, she digs to the dregs of criminal society to find out what happened that day. Her determination to get to the bottom of the case doesn’t impress local law enforcement—until she reveals an animal rights-based terror organization with plans for mass violence, money laundering and assassination. A great taste of British contemporary mystery writing that doesn’t skimp on action.
The Torso, Helene Tursten (Soho Press)
When a torso washes up on a Swedish beach, Detective Inspector Irene Huss must try to solve the crime--and an unsolved murder nearby--using the body's only identifying mark: a mysterious tattoo. Huss, a mother in her forties, is a steady and fully realized character along the lines of the Prime Suspect, and The Torso is among the best of the new Swedish crime fiction boom in the U.S. giving the author comparisons to Linda Fairstein. Though this book is a bit older than the rest here, it has a gay link that demands its inclusion. That mysterious tattoo now found on two mutilated and gender ambiguous torsos is actually the logo for a gay sex shop in Vesterbro ("known as Sin Central in Copenhagen") and may belong to the owner's lover.
No One Tells Everything, By Rae Meadows (Macadam Cage)
Grace is enjoying a long, languishing alcoholic meltdown when she sparks to some media coverage about a murder in her hometown. Her wine-muddled observation begins tinged with self-loathing and not without a touch of schadenfreude—or is it envy? But the plight of the murderer soon draws her in, compelling Grace home to face the truth behind the childhood event that threatens to tear her adult life apart. A well-choreographed redemption story that tempers hope with realism.
The Prophet Murders, Mehmet Murat Somer (Serpeants Tail)
Think Pedro Almodavor meets Cosmo meets Turkish crime and you get this wildy dark and incredibly clever rom-com-thriller. Something's amiss in Istanbul--a killer is murdering trans women in increasingly bizarre ways. Thankfully, our protagonist is herself a glamourous trans woman (thanks to translation they're all called "transvestitites" inthe book) who is also a glamourous nightclub owner who balances leg waxing, lipstick and stilettos while pursuing the killer.
Now a major BBC radio drama, The Sister Agnes Investigates revolves around, you guessed it, a nun named Agnes, who in this book is finally "paid up" on her spiritual dues and no longer confined to the convent. Now living in her own apartment and working at a hostel run by the church, Agnes is plagued by doubts and by death. First, when Abbie is found dead, Agnes wonders whether it is murder or suicide all while enduring an existential crisis over whether she became a nun to avoid real life.
Death of a Dying Man: A Micky Knight Mystery JM Redman (Bold Strokes Books)
The fifth installment of this Lambda award-winning mystery series finds PI Micky Knight in a Katrina ravaged New Orleans, seeking the child of a dying gay man and dodging her sexy assistant. Like every Redman book, it's a crime lover's must-read.
Twisted Triangle, Caitlin Rother (Jossey-Bass)
Finally, nearly ten years after the fact we can access the details of the true life love triangle that pitted married FBI agents against each other when the husband kidnapped and attempted to murder the wife after she had a secret love affair with best selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell.
One Last Kiss, Mary Wilbon (Kensington)
Set in Newark, “the compost heap of the Garden State,” and employing a blaxsplotation style of 1970s films, this mystery stars Cassandra Slick as a Foxy Brown-like lesbian cop turned P.I. called in to help exonerate a homophobic colleague accused of murdering a prostitute.
Justice For All, Radcyffe (Bold Strokes Books)
The latest installment in the award-nominated Justice series revolves around a human trafficking ring and puts Detective Lt. Rebecca Fry undercover.
Visions, C.L. Zastrow (iUniverse)
One crime scene starts to look just like another for Detective Devon McKinney until her girlfriend is murdered. Full of grief and pain, Devon knows she’s losing it when she starts hearing voices as she continues on the trail of a child murderer. Is someone attempting to contact her in her time of need, or is she just going batty? Add “beautiful forensic anthropology professor Brid Morrigan” to all this, and things really get interesting. Zastrow’s background as an investigator shines through the carefully detailed descriptions of Devon’s crime scene investigation. A tight, pleasurable read.
The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin, Colette Moody (Bold Strokes Books)
Set in the Gulf of Mexico of 1702 two women must navigate the perilous world of gypsies, pirates and slave-traders.
Murder Most Modern, Sari Kawana (University of Minnesota Press)
Kawana proposes an art history of modern Japan via the detective fiction genre. Gender-based violence, racial tension, and anxiety about mass destruction all find their expression in this popular genre as Japan grapples with a new identity. Kawana lovingly recounts the rise of mystery and crime fiction, the corresponding sensationalism in real crime coverage, and its eventual use as a vehicle for national ideals. With her coverage of events and the quirky personalities involved, Kawana’s enthusiasm becomes contagious.
A Deadly Paradise, Grace Brophy (Soho Press)
Author Grace Brophy is a New Jersey girl (who lives in New York and Maine now), but her Commissario Cenni Investigations are set in Italy.This one, in the peaceful village of Paradiso, follows the shocking murder and mutilation of an elderly German woman who happens to be a retired cultural attache.Things get interesting though when Inspector Cenni discovers that the victim was a bisexual swinger with a female lover--and that woman, a young African lesbian and illegal immigrant becomes a scapegoat for the higher ups. Only Cenni wants to solve the crime without letting this woman get railroaded.
Looking Glass Lives, Felice Picano (Bold Strokes Books)
Reprint of the 1997 ghost story love triangle by gay literary giant Felice Picano.
A Pirate’s Heart, Catherine Friend (Bold Strokes Books)
Following a treasure map a librarian and investigator stumble upon romance and the mystery of a female pirate who disappeared with her loot.
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