2022 Beltie Mystery Prize
The Beltie Mystery Prize is our annual award given to the best mystery book of the year. Pete Mock, McIntyre's lead buyer and resident Mystery Guru, is the sole judge and jury. Pete's list and his recommendations for the 2022 prize are below! You'll also find a deal on our bundle of all the nominees together.
Wanting to stock up on some terrific mysteries for yourself or use for holiday gifts?
Pete has you covered. We are offering this bundle of 9 hardcover titles with a 10% discount for instore pick up or free freight for those who need them shipped.
We will apply free shipping when we process the orders. The prediscount value is $239.73.
Midnight, Water City by Chris Mckinney
Damascus Station by David McCloskey
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
The Gods of Green County by Mary Elizabeth Pope
The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell
The Savage Kind by John Copenhaver
Lightseekers by Femi Kayode
One Half Truth by Eva Dolan
Five Decembers by James Kestrel
What a fantabulist mix of Scifi and mystery with more emphasis on the mystery side of things. It's 2142 and 40 years earlier the earth narrowly escaped a near collision with an asteroid. Now the scientist that saved the world is dead, murdered in her sleep pod, sending us off on a great locked room, cat and mouse chase, reminiscent of both Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler but set in a new day and age.
If you like spy novels you have to read this one! It's the one I've been waiting for, the one that delves deep into the Syrian mess without all the bombast of a superhero coming to the rescue. Instead you get a great nuts and bolts tradecraft story that feels so very, very, real. The CIA has a chance to place a mole deep inside the Assad. It's a dangerous assignment but Sam Joseph takes it without hesitation and step by step teaches his recruit the tricks of the trade and we, the reader, follow them deeper and deeper into the grim and hellish morass that is Syria. The author, a former CIA analyst, definitely knows his stuff, keeping us in the palm of his hand as the tensions rise. A must read for anyone who likes the spy genre.
S.A. Cosby is the real deal. He is rejuvenating the mystery scene in a way not seen since Elmore Leonard during his prime. And his new novel is the perfect example how. This story of two ex-cons, fathers, seeking answers to the murders of their married sons has it all. Fast paced and relentless, it is an excellent look at our culture wars through the eyes of a parent who can't understand his child's choices. Super smart, incredibly entertaining, and all-around satisfying this is a book no one should skip!
This is one of those nice surprises that come around once or twice a year. While technically not a mystery it does revolve around a murder and like the brilliant Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark, an Edgar Award winner, straddles the fence between straight fiction and mystery. With understated eloquence the author, Mary Elizabeth Pope, takes us to tiny Rural Green county, Arkansas. It's 1926 and a man is killed. The rest of the book follows the consequences of that action and beautifully illustrates the hardscrabble lives of the depression era while exploring what really happened that one night.
The story begins in 1883 London when a young seamstress, locked in a room at the top of a rich patron's home, finishing an elaborate dress, quietly opens a window stands on the sill and jumps head first into the gently falling snow. From there we are drawn into an elaborate conspiracy of a secret cabal with sinister plans. It's up to Scotland Yard Inspector Cutter, who will leave you chuckling at his bon mots and laser sharp intuition and his new sidekick, Gideon Bliss a shy former student at Cambridge who sees and interprets the clues the inspector misses. Together they form a team that is both formidable and hilarious and a force to be reckoned with in this very good start to what should be a very good series going forward.
This was another nice surprise. it's a very atmospheric story about two young women, high school students, in postwar Washington, DC. One's a troubled adoptee taken in by her new family to literally replace their murdered only child. The other is a military brat who has never had a place she truly could call home. They become friends and when their favorite teacher suddenly quits and disappears they decide in their own inimitable style to figure out what happened. But nothing is what it seems and slowly a little bit of Machiavelli creeps in, tinged by Daphne Du Maurier, to make us wonder what has actually happened. This is one that will leave you thinking, without a doubt.
Crime is universal, all that differentiates it is the culture within which it occurs. Lightseekers is a perfect example. Set in a small college town in Nigeria a young man is necklaced by a tire filled with gasoline and burned to death by a mob, ostensibly for drug dealing . When the police don't do anything the man's father hires Philip Taiwo, an investigative psychologist to discover what really occurred and why. What he uncovers harkens back to the Biafran wars of the late 60's and early seventies and ruffles of some rich and influential people who don't want their reputations sullied. A smart, well written story, this begs the age old conundrum that you don't always get what you want, or like what you hear when all you want is closure, especially when politics is involved.
This was my first foray into the works of Eva Dolan and it sure as heck won't be my last. Set in a seedy English city where industry is fleeing, leaving lives destitute and crime on the rise, a young journalist is murdered. From there this fine police procedural takes us on the twists and turns, the blind alleys, and crackpot theory's, that plague all big cases. Especially when the politics of the boss cops come into play. I can't wait to dive in deeper this series.
After having already finalized my Beltie Prize nominee list, I had to go ahead and read this after my sales rep passed it on to me from the trunk of their car (my first in-person rep visit in two years!) After handing it to me she then had the nerve to adamantly demand that it be added to the list. Of course I acquiesced after discovering what a great cinematic story it was. Starting with a double murder in Honolulu just before Thanksgiving 1941 (which eventually took the investigating Detective to Hong Kong where he arrived on December 8th, or December 7th in Hawaii...) and ending Five Decembers later. Utterly enthralling, there's a reason why this is being added to The Beltie List at the last minute.