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Just Desserts: Series Share and Reading Recommendations from group members in May 2020

Hey, mystery fans! Looking for something good to read?

At the May 2020 Just Desserts meeting that took place online using Zoom meeting software, 9 members participated in our annual “Series Share” discussion, in which attendees were encouraged to read the first or second volume in a new series that’s started within the past few years, and share their thoughts in a “round-robin” format. Here’s a list of the novels/series that were mentioned by group members. We asked all attendees to also give a “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” for whatever series they sampled – all participants this month gave a “Thumbs Up” to whatever they read – some more strongly than others:

  • The Jimm Juree series by Colin Cotterill, starting with Killed at the Whim of a Hat (as an audiobook)
  • The Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle (a.k.a. Alice Alfonsi & Marc Cerasini), starting with On What Grounds (as an audiobook)
  • The Jack McEvoy mystery series by Michael Connelly, starting with The Poet (she actually read both The Poet and The Scarecrow)
  • The Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey, starting with The Burning
  • One of us wanted to sample the Wayward Pines mystery series by Blake Crouch, but was unable to get them due to the library closure
  • The Evelyn Talbot mystery series by Brenda Novak, starting with Her Darkest Nightmare
  • The D.C. Belsey series by Oliver Harris, starting with The Hollow Man
  • The Atlee Pine mystery series by David Baldacci, starting with Long Road to Mercy
  • The Alaska Wild series by Paige Shelton, starting with Thin Ice
  • The Timber Creek K9 series by Margaret Mizushima, starting with Killing Trail

Following the “Series Share” portion of the meeting, we held our monthly round robin in which all 9 attendees were able to share recommendations of what other books they’ve been reading recently.

Here’s the list of mystery, thriller and suspense books recommended by Just Desserts members in May 2020:

  • Unholy Writ, in the Mark Treasure series by David Williams
  • Various books in the V.I. Warshawski series by Sara Paretsky – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Various books in the Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci on audio – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Various books in the Will Robie series by David Baldacci – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Various books in the Dylan Reinhart series by James Patterson and Howard Roughan – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Various books in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Splinter the Silence and Insidious Intent by Val McDermid – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  • The Heat of the Sun DVD series
  • The Hamish Macbeth DVD series
  • The White Bones by Ridley Pearson – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • The Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun on audio – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • The Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockmann on audio
  • The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • A few group members were unable to attend the Zoom meeting, but shared recent reads via e-mail:
  • Friends in High Places by Donna Leon (I’ve read all the books in her Commissario Brunetti series, and this is one of the ones I really like, so I listened to it in Overdrive. I like the plotting with a twist at the end, and the doggedness of this police procedural. It’s interesting to listen to a book you’ve read, to catch all the different nuances.) – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Morse’s Greatest Mysteries by Colin Dexter (I’m more of a Morse/Lewis/Endeavour TV series fan rather than a book fan, having read a couple of Dexter’s Morse novels and not liking them so much. I thought I would listen to the short stories to see if I would like his style better in small doses. The book was acceptable, and laid out some good examples of the grumpy Morse, so I would recommend it for a newbie, but I wouldn’t read it again since it was just so-so. Again, I listened in Overdrive.)
  • Shake Hands Forever by Ruth Rendell (I’ve read her Inspector Wexford series and liked them, but I hadn’t read this one. It was available in Overdrive, and I liked it, though there was a deadline before the suspect left the country, and Inspector Wexford was hampered at every turn, including being taken off the case. You knew there would be an 11th hour save, but you didn’t know how it was going to happen. Even so, the coincidence with another case was a little unbelievable, so I would rate this as a good read/listen, but not my favorite of her series.) – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • Hid From Our Eyes by Julia Spenser-Fleming. (Two of my thumbs up! After a six year hiatus, the return of Rev. Claire Ferguson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne, wife and husband mysteries. The author returned to school to earn degrees in Law and Theology. In 2017 her husband died of cancer and her mother died. The mysteries set in the small community of Millers Kill remind me of Louise Penny when the genre rises above a good story to the depths of tragedy.)
  • Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler. (The first Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery begins in the present with flashbacks to 1940 and the beginning of the friendship. Two thumbs up! Fowler is a master of characterization. He makes me laugh at foibles and ponder the injustices. Thank you, Scott, for introducing me to the series. I would never have picked it up on my own.) – past author selection for Just Desserts
  • I enjoyed The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica and The Big Lie by James Grippando – Grippando was a past author selection for Just Desserts

And here were some non-mystery titles some group members also recommended in May 2020:

What mysteries have you been reading lately that you’d recommend?

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