The Twelve Days of Thrillers

December 14, 2020 | M. Elwood

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In the Christmas carol, "The 12 Days of Christmas", the singer describes all the gifts they have received from their "true love". But I'm not convinced the relationship will last. Those are pretty awful presents. Having all those birds would definitely break the condo rules and where are seven swans going to be a-swimming? My bathtub isn't that big. 


Instead, I recommend books as gifts. They're portable, easily stored and you don't have to cook for them – unlike milk maids, dancing ladies, leaping lords, drummers and pipers who have surely worked up an appetite with all the milking, dancing, leaping, drumming and piping. Drumming and piping would also be considered a violation of my condo agreement.

I like crime novels so here are my choices for the season. The sticklers among you will notice these are not all "thrillers", some are other types of mystery novels like police procedurals and cozy mysteries. The Twelve Days of Thrillers is just a better title for a post.


On the first day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

One fatal mistake

One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Mayo's future is looking bright until he makes a terrible mistake. He accidentally killed a man and fled the scene. Now Joshua and his mother Karen are desperate to keep anyone from finding out but everything goes wrong and they find themselves in deeper trouble. 

On the second day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Two kinds of truth

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch gets involved in two different cases in this one. A convicted killer is saying that Bosch framed him and new DNA evidence seems to support his accusation. Harry needs to investigate to discover the truth. At the same time, he is drawn into an investigation of the murders of two pharmacists that leads to questions about big pharmaceutical companies. 

On the third day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Three days and a life

Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaître

Award-winning crime writer Pierre Lemaître is renowned in Europe but his books have yet to find an audience in North America. His books about Commandant Camille Verhœven are fantastic and you should read them immediately. In this stand-alone novel, a young doctor who was responsible for the death of a childhood friend years earlier, finds that his past has come back to haunt him. What will he do to protect his perfect life?

On the fourth day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Fourth figure

The Fourth Figure by Pieter Aspe

The Commissioner Pieter Van In series is set in Bruges, one of my favourite places in Europe. Grab some french fries and mayo and settle in to this dark tale of satanic cults, heroin and murder in one of the most picturesque places ever. A young woman has died in an apparent suicide but when Van In learns of her involvement in a satanic sect, he suspects something more sinister may be happening. 

On the fifth day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Five red herrings

Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers

Five Red Herrings is set in Galloway, Scotland – an area popular with artists and fishermen. A notoriously unpleasant, hard-drinking painter is found dead in a stream. It is possible he fell and died accidentally but Lord Peter Wimsey, in the area on a fishing vacation, suspects murder. There are six other artists in the area who may be responsible and it's up to Wimsey to figure out which of them are the red herrings and which is the murderer. 

On the sixth day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:


The Sixes by Kate White

Biographer Phoebe Hall has come to teach at a small private college in Pennsylvania after a plagiarism accusation has killed her writing career. After the suspicious death, the school's dean asks Phoebe to investigate and see if the death is connected to a secret society called The Sixes. 

On the seventh day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Seven lies

Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay

Marnie and Jane have been friends since they were 11 years-old. When Marnie met the man she would marry, she asked Jane what she thought of him. Jane lied. That was the first lie she'd ever told Marnie and, looking back, Jane recognizes that that lie had unexpected consequences that the women may never get over. 

On the eighth day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Eight perfect murders

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Mystery bookstore owner Malcolm Kershaw is contacted by the FBI after a murderer seems to be using Malcolm's list of eight perfect fictional murders as inspiration for real life killings. Malcolm becomes convinced that the murderer is someone he knows and begins his own investigation. Lots of twists and turns in this one and lots of book recommendations too!

On the ninth day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

The 9th girl

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

A teenage girl's body is thrown out of a car trunk on New Year's Eve. She is believed to be the ninth victim of a serial killer known as Doc Holiday who kidnaps a victim in one city and leaves their bodies in another – always on a holiday. Homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are faced with the job of identifying the victim and solving the murder. Could she be Holiday's ninth girl? Or is there another person responsible for her death?

On the tenth day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Woman in cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Travel writer Lo Blackstock is given an assignment that could make her career. She will be on the maiden voyage of an exclusive luxury cruise liner as it sails through the fjords of Norway. Shortly into the trip, she witnesses a woman being thrown overboard but none of the passengers are missing. Lo knows what she saw was real but no one around her believes her and she may be the murderer's next target. 

On the eleventh day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

11 missed calls

11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter

Anna's mother Debbie disappeared when she was a baby and believed to have died. Although her father and stepmother have done their best, Anna has always felt that void. Now at 30 with a child of her own, she finds herself wondering what really happened to her mother. When Anna receives a mysterious letter, she realizes how little she knows and begins a search for the truth. 

On the 12th day of thrillers the librarian gave to me:

Twelve angry librarians

Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James

It may surprise civilians to learn that some librarians carry grudges from graduate school... for decades. It's a small profession and that person who annoyed you in cataloguing class is destined to reappear on a regular basis. But enough about me. In this cozy mystery, an academic library conference is coming to town and college librarian Charlie Harris is dreading having to give a speech opening the event. Even worse, Gavin Fong, his old enemy from grad school will be delivering the keynote address. It turns out that the years have not smoothed things over and there's a scuffle as soon as the men are reunited. When Fong is murdered, prime suspect Charlie investigates to solve the crime. 


Seasons Readings, everyone!