In THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE (Holt, 304 pp., $26.99), Alex Pavesi’s cerebral box of delights, an editor for a British publishing company matches wits with a reclusive author who wrote a book of short detective stories years earlier and then disappeared into obscurity. The stories, happily reprinted here in their entirety, are diabolical and often cruel, and each reflects a different approach to the classic detective story — a different configuration of victim, suspect and detective. But as the editor reviews the stories with the author so that she can republish the book, anomalies and inconsistencies in the plots emerge, an uneasiness sets in and it becomes clear that there are some urgent real-life mysteries at play.
You are cordially invited to a wedding on a virtually uninhabited island off the coast of Ireland that will soon be made inaccessible because of a violent storm. The bride and groom are perfect together — she’s a glamorous fashion editor; he’s the hunky star of a reality television show that allows him to show off his wilderness-survival skills — yet they appear to barely know each other. The actual guests in Lucy Foley’s highly entertaining THE GUEST LIST (Morrow, 320 pp., $27.99) turn out to be replete with problematic pasts and possibly murderous secrets. One thing is certain: At least one person will die before this ghastly celebration is over.
In New York City in 2015, 46-year-old Abby Willard, the heroine of Debra Jo Immergut’s startling YOU AGAIN (Ecco, 288 pp., $27.99), sees an unsettling sight outside her taxi window: herself, walking down the street at the age of 22. Further sightings of the younger Abby going about her daily life lead Abby into an anxious re-examination of her past (and her sanity). To make matters worse, her possible descent into hallucination coincides with her teenage son’s newfound enthusiasm for antifa-style political activism. What should Abby have done differently? It turns out that her younger self has a few things to tell her, too.
Anthony Horowitz’s fiendishly plotted MOONFLOWER MURDERS (Harper/HarperCollins, 608 pp., $28.99) is really two books in one — the novel itself, and an Agatha Christie-esque golden-age murder mystery that is embedded, fully formed, inside. Susan Ryeland, who edited the book-within-the-book (its author has since died), is hired to scour it for clues that may have a bearing on a pair of modern-day mysteries: a murder in which the wrong man may have been convicted, and the disappearance of a woman in Suffolk, England. The extraordinarily prolific Horowitz is cleverer than you, and one can only marvel at the ingenuity of his solution.
Playful, fresh, full of life, Joe Ide’s sparkly prose will seduce you into HI FIVE (Mulholland, 352 pp., $27), the latest in his series set in South Central Los Angeles and starring the unlikely private investigator Isaiah Quintabe, a.k.a. IQ. This is a land of warring gangs, petty criminals, sketchy side-hustlers and people trying to make a quick buck. IQ, who specializes in helping clients who would prefer not to deal with the police, is approached by an unsavory arms dealer eager to prove that his beloved daughter, Christina, is innocent of murder. A complicating factor is that she has five different personalities, not all of whom agree on the facts of the case.