11. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman – the 11th installment in the Tess Monaghan series. Spoiler alert: Tess has a baby! But first … she has to solve a mystery. While on mandatory bed rest during her third trimester, she watches the world from her window. For several days she observes a young woman in a green raincoat walking her dog, until one day the girl is nowhere to be seen and the dog is running free. Using her phone and computer to do research, as well as cajoling her friends and associates to do her leg work, she discovers there is far more to the young woman’s disappearance than she expected. She also uncovers some surprising information about her parents’ marriage and ponders the changes in her life and career that will surely come about with the birth of her child. The series itself will also change tone and character now that Tess is a mother, and I was pleased with the way this story closed out this segment of her life.
12. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan – the 4th book of 5 in the series. Percy and his cohorts continue to explore the demigod world and continue their mission to protect the world at large from the Titan Kronos and his followers. While this installment still has Percy’s self-conscious humor and the easy-going camaraderie among the main characters, there’s a darker and more wistful tone as Percy and his friends begin to appreciate the full gravity of the task they have taken on and the challenges they have ahead of them. I’m torn between wanting to devour the last book in the series and holding off for a while because I don’t want to get to the end.
13. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol – first installment of a children’s series. I recently came across Amazon’s list of 100 mysteries/thrillers to read in a lifetime, and I decided to start working my way through those I haven’t read (most of them!), which is timely now that I am more or less current with my personal favorite authors of the genre. This particular entry is a charming collection of vignettes involving a precocious young man who solves petty crimes in his community through a combination of keen observation, common sense, and calm under pressure.
14. In the Woods by Tana French – first in the Dublin Murder Squad series. In 1984 three 12-year-old kids disappear in the woods adjoining their neighborhood in suburban Dublin; one child is found several hours later with bloody shoes but no memory of what happened to his friends, who remain missing. The boy and his family move away shortly thereafter, and as he gets older he keeps this aspect of his past a secret. Twenty years pass, and he is working on the Dublin Murder Squad when a young girl is murdered in the same town. He wonders if he has a chance to solve not only the current crime but also the mystery of his past, but as one might expect there are many twists and turns before he and his partner uncover the true culprit. Along the way he jeopardizes their partnership as well as his own career. On a certain level this plays out like a straight procedural police drama, but the many layers to the story add complexity and poignancy.