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firstCLUE - September 2022 Releases

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Many firstCLUE readers have told us that they wish our reviews appeared closer to their books’ publication date, because tracking titles that won’t be available for another six months or so is frustrating.
And who wants frustrated readers?
Some day, we’ll have a bright and shiny database that can be searched in all kinds of ways—it’s coming, we swear—but meanwhile here’s the next best thing. The first Wednesday of each month, we’ll publish a list of all the books we have reviewed that will be published that month, arranged by date of publication (see below for the September list). We’ll also link to the issue the review appeared in, for those who want to dig deeper.
As always, thanks for your patience. And keep the feedback coming.
Henrietta Verma and Brian Kenney
Ames, Jonathan. The Wheel of Doll. (Happy Doll #2). September 6. 224p. Mulholland Books.
This is turning out to be one of the most unique, captivating, and above all emotionally engaging crime fiction series being published.
Lasky, Kathryn. Light on Bone (A Georgia O'Keeffe Mystery). September 6. 298p. Woodhall Press.
Readers who enjoy this intriguing, emotional series debut could try another featuring celebrities: Erin Lindsey’s A Golden Grave, in which Nikola Tesla is a character; or for more New Mexico-set mysteries with a female sleuth, pick up Amanda Allen’s Santa Fe Revival series.
⭐Raybourn, Deanna. Killers of a Certain Age. September 6. 368p. Berkley.
I dare you to read the first chapter of this book and then put it aside. Because this is one of the most inventive, suspenseful, exciting, and just plain fun crime novels I’ve read this year.
⭐Balson, Ronald H. An Affair of Spies. September 13. 336p. St. Martin’s.
There are sad moments and romantic ones here, but overall this is one nailbiting espionage scene after another, and perfect for fans of the large World War II spy genre.
Christie, Agatha. Marple: Twelve New Mysteries. September 13. 304pp. William Morrow.
Billed by the publisher as a way to introduce a new generation to Miss Marple—likely best done by Christie’s books, actually—this collection reads more like fanfiction and is sure to delight Marple enthusiasts, who comprise a great swath of mystery fiction’s readership.
⭐Morgan-Bentley, Robin. The Guest House. September 13. 320p. Poisoned Pen Press.  
Just take all those accolades used for thrillers—unputdownable, twisty, dark, chilling, vivid, explosive, intense—and heap them on. Because this book is that good.
Flower, Amanda. Because I Could Not Stop for Death (An Emily Dickinson Mystery). September 20. 336p. Berkley.
Flower is an accomplished mystery author who moves the story along at a perfect pace while immersing us in the complexities of Emily and her time. A gem for historical-mystery fans.
Olguin, Sergio. There Are No Happy Loves. (Veronica Rosenthal Mystery Book 3). Translated by Miranda France. September 20. Bitter Lemon Press.
But don’t for one minute think this is some linear thriller. This book ricochets from family drama to Argentinian history to the picaresque (Verónica in nun’s garb, infiltrating a convent) to the deeply emotional. 
Stephenson, Simon. Sometimes People Die. September 20. 320p. Hanover Square.
If you open this book thinking it’s a medical thriller—which is how it’s marketed—then you’ll be terribly disappointed. But take it on its own terms and it is one of the most evocative and heart-rendering tales you’ll have encountered in quite a while.
Hamdy, Adam. The Other Side of Night. September 27. 304p. Atria.
Recommend this book to readers who love a good tale and aren’t afraid of fiction that can’t be easily categorized.
⭐Reid, Iain. We Spread. September 27. 304p. Gallery/Scout.
By the author of the cult classic I’m Thinking of Ending Things, this book looks squarely at a future many of us will experience but that we seldom discuss. A great choice for book groups—readers will want to hear and discuss other reactions.
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Henrietta Verma & Brian Kenney
Henrietta Verma & Brian Kenney @1stClueReviews

At firstCLUE we read crime novels way in advance of their publication and share our favorite finds with you. We hope that firstCLUE will help librarians and booksellers select titles and make recommendations, and readers find that next great read. If we really love a book we put a star on it.

Any fiction that involves crime we consider to be fair game. We’re especially interested in books by authors of color, LGBTQ writers, first novelists, books that are first in a series, as well as translations and titles from smaller publishers.

We are two, New York City-based librarians and former editors at leading review magazines—Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. We hope you'll subscribe—it’s free!—and after that, watch your email box every Thursday for our recommendations.

In the first week of every month we publish a list of the titles we have reviewed that are publishing that month.

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