Book reviews: Mysteries perfect for heart of winter

These book reviews were written by Kim Brack, a bookseller at Off the Beaten Path. This review was originally published in Steamboat Pilot.

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The Trespasser: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780670026333
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking - October 4th, 2016

Tana French’s “The Trespasser” is a terrific mystery couched in a social, political dilemma and set in the fraught world of Antoinette Conway, a biracial female detective navigating a white, male-dominated Irish police department. Embedded in the story is a compelling murder mystery that explores the psychology and motives behind murder. 

The victim in this case is picture-perfect in every aspect, from her “Pottery Barn catalogue decorated home” to her Barbie Doll looks. But what is under that make-up? Who is she? Why would anyone want her dead? Nothing is as it appears. Detective Conway is defensive and guarded, but proves effective. She and her loyal partner attempt to close the murder case, which has many implications.

“The Trespasser” is Tana French’s sixth mystery novel and the second story following the fierce Detective Conway. All French’s novels take place within the Dublin Murder Squad, and many of the books have won prestigious awards. For fans of mystery, French is a must-read.

- Recommended by Kim

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The Sleepwalker: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385538916
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday - January 10th, 2017

In 2001, Bohjalian visited Steamboat Springs as a Literary Sojourn author. Since then, he has published numerous books and amassed quite a collection of bestselling titles. In his latest, “The Sleepwalker,” Bohjalian takes readers into the dark, fascinating world of parasomnia.

Annalee Ahlberg, a wife and mother of two daughters, goes missing in the middle of the night. The search for her unravels a series of secrets revolving around her sleeping adventures.

Each chapter begins with a concise medical diagnosis of her condition, followed by the experience from her perspective. Why was she found washing the cat in the middle of the night? Or, why does she often wander naked from her bed, but only when her husband isn’t home? “No one ever thinks of dreams as playful. But they are … It’s only when the dreams lead you from your bed — from sleep — that the amusements become dangerous.” These short explanations become an enticing thread throughout the novel.

Join Annalee’s daughter, Lianna, on a journey to discover what happened to her mother. Along the way, she questions whether she really knows her parents and becomes unnerved by her attraction to a detective on the case.

True to his style, Bohjalian employs a profuse vocabulary to pull readers through a tangled web of secrets and, ultimately, to a surprising conclusion.

- Recommended by Kim