Find it at your library!

I’ve spent a good chunk of the fall in a thrills and chills mood, reading all kinds of fabulous mysteries, thrillers, and horror. Moods are fleeting, though, and with winter approaching, I decided what I really needed was a heist novel. I wanted a lovable gang of misfits taking on the world kind of story. Want is just the book to scratch that itch.

The publisher’s blurb focuses on Jason and makes the book sound like his story, but really it’s about a whole group of teens and how they use their varied talents to bring down an evil corporation. I loved each of the characters on their own, but the real magic is in the chemistry when they’re together. It sounds cheesy, but they care about each other. They’re always supportive, even when they don’t agree or when things go wrong.

Another bonus: the setting—a dystopian, polluted version of Taipei where the rich can afford fancy suits that shield them from their poisoned environs, while the poor suffer and die in growing numbers. Jason and his friends are working to infiltrate the company that makes the suits, but when Jason gets involved with the daughter of the CEO, he may have to decide between his mission and his feelings. *cue mournful violins*

Overall, a fun, fast read, and ideal for audio, as it’s surprisingly easy to follow.

Find it at your library!

Is it just me, or is this book criminally under the radar? I’m not even sure where I heard about it or how it ended up on my list, but it’s certainly not one I’ve seen bandied about much. I didn’t even have any immediate plans to read it—I used an Audible credit on it out of desperation one night when the two other books I planned to read next in audio turned out not to be available in the format (#firstworldproblems).

My sweet spot when it comes to mysteries and thrillers is somewhere between cozy and brutal, which in my experience can be a pretty narrow target to hit. I am weirded out by books that are too cutesy or jokey about death, but I also can’t stomach outright gore. So my ideal mysteries are the kind that take crime seriously, but don’t wallow around in the bloody details. As I flipped through my TBR, desperately searching for anything that might fit the bill, I reread the synopsis of The Crossing Places and thought, yeah, that sounds about right. And it totally was!

Ruth Galloway is my jam. I don’t know when I’ve more closely identified with a character. She’s an antisocial nerd, a bit overweight, much more confident in her field of expertise than interactions with people. Her work as an archaeologist leads the police to seek her help on a case dealing with bones found in a salt marsh near her home. The bones turn out to be thousands of years old, and not those of a missing girl, but Ruth gets sucked into the case anyway, partly out of her own interest and partly by forces out of her control. While I’m a little miffed that I hadn’t heard of this series before now, I’m tickled that there are eight other books for me to enjoy, no waiting required.