Mysteries and thrillers reviewed in 2020

Victim 2117 (Department Q #8) by Jussi Adler-Olson—The latest Department Q police procedural takes on terrorists

The Decent Inn of Death (John Madden #6) by Rennie Airth—Retired Scotland Yard detectives face off with a suspected war criminal

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney—A prize-winning novel of suspense probes the impact of trauma

A Double Life by Flynn Berry—A thriller that falls prey to the curse of the second novel

The Secret Guests by Benjamin Black—Booker Award winner Benjamin Black returns to historical fiction

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight by Jimmy Breslin—Jimmy Breslin’s hilarious classic novel about the Mafia

To Shield the Queen (Ursula Blanchard #1) by Fiona Buckley—A worthy murder mystery set in the court of Queen Elizabeth I

A Game of Lies (Hannah Vogel #3) by Rebecca Cantrell—Undercover at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Murder by Misrule (Francis Bacon Mystery #1) by Anna Castle—A lawyer is murdered in the Elizabethan Age

Mexico Set (Bernard Samson #2) by Len Deighton—In Len Deighton’s classic spy series, Bernard Samson goes to Mexico

Moscow Sting (Anna Resnikov #2) by Alex Dryden—A former British intelligence officer imagines a female Russian superspy

House on Fire (Nick Heller #4) by Joseph Finder—Joe Finder’s excellent novel about the family that started the opioid epidemic

Prince of Spies (Richard Prince #1) by Alex Gerlis—British spies and the Nazi V-2 rocket

Groucho Marx and the Broadway Murders (Groucho Marx Mysteries #4) by Ron Goulart—Groucho Marx solves two baffling murders

Groucho Marx, Secret Agent (Groucho Marx Mysteries #5) by Ron Goulart—Groucho Marx exposes Nazi spies in Hollywood

Groucho Marx, King of the Jungle (Groucho Marx Mysteries #6) by Ron Goulart—Groucho Marx solves another baffling murder

The Comedians by Graham Greene—Expatriates observe Haiti’s reign of terror in a classic Graham Greene novel

Camino Winds by John Grisham—A hurricane, a murder, and a nursing home scam

The Humans by Matt Haig—Kurt Vonnegut lives in Matt Haig’s novel

The Case of the Love Commandos (Vish Puri #4) by Tarquin Hall—India’s #1 private detective and the Love Commandos

Jade Dragon Mountain (Li Du #1) by Elsa Hart—An intriguing murder mystery set in 18th century China

The Catch (Slough House #9) by Mick Herron—About that billionaire who committed suicide in prison

The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley #1) by Patricia Highsmith—A classic mystery novel about a creepy criminal

Clean Hands by Patrick Hoffman—A diabolically clever thriller about corporate espionage

Hi Five (IQ #4) by Joe Ide—Multiple personalities, neo-Nazis, and a psychopathic arms dealer

Agents of Innocence by David Ignatius—The CIA and the PLO in Cold War Beirut

The Paladin by David Ignatius—The latest from David Ignatius is a little hard to believe

Death of a Dissident (Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov #1) by Stuart M. Kaminsky—A grim murder mystery set in the USSR

The Fire Witness (Joona Linna #3) by Lars Kepler—Nordic Noir at its best

Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery by Wendy Lesser—Down the rabbit hole of Nordic noir

The Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman—Laura Lippman’s shifting point of view in her latest novel

A Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver #2) by David Liss—Rampant political corruption in 18th century England

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke—Attica Locke’s brilliant second mystery novel

Black Water Rising (Jay Porter #1) by Attica Locke—Corporate crime and political corruption dominate this promising debut

An Expensive Education by Nick McDonell—Special Forces are up to no good in Somalia

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides—The Silent Patient underwhelms as a psychological thriller

Death in the East (Wyndham & Banerjee #4) by Abir Mukherjee—A murder mystery in the British Raj

Lover Man (Artie Deemer #1) by Dallas Murphy—An accidental detective solves not one mystery but several

Nairobi Heat by Mukoma Wa Ngugi—An African American detective investigates the Rwanda genocide

Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh—Dirty money from China is at the root of this thriller

Dead Land (V. I. Warshawski #21) by Sara Paretsky—The private eye as investigative reporter

The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser #1) by Robert B. Parker—The first Spenser novel by the “Dean of American Crime Fiction”

Heresy (Giordano Bruno #1) by S. J. Parris—An historical spy thriller in the Elizabethan Age

The Leper of St. Giles (Brother Cadfael #5) by Ellis Peters—Brother Cadfael stars in a gripping medieval murder mystery

The Virgin in the Ice (Brother Cadfael #6) by Ellis Peters—Organized crime medieval style, in a complex Brother Cadfael mystery

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips—A mystery set in a remote corner of Siberia

The Missing American (Emma Djan #1) by Kwei Quartey—A nitty-gritty view of Ghana today in this inventive detective novel

East of Hounslow (Jay Qasim #1) by Khurrum Rahman—Undercover, a small-time drug dealer becomes an accidental jihadist for MI5

The Collaborator of Bethlehem (Omar Yussef #1) by Matt Rees—A murder in Palestine exposes the fault lines in the refugee community

Masked Prey (Prey #30) by John Sandford—John Sandford’s millionaire  investigator takes on the alt-right

Provisionally Yours by Antanas Sileika—A fascinating spy story set in Lithuania following World War I

The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Martin Beck #5) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö—A gripping tale in the original Nordic Noir series

The Coldest Warrior by Paul Vidich—Project MK-Ultra and the scientist who fell to his death

The End of October by Lawrence Wright—An all-too timely thriller about a pandemic

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