Carol O’Connell and her Mallory books:
Stories revolve around murders and a group of NYC detectives. One in particular is Kathleen Mallory who’s had a checkered past as a runaway, street rat, thief, hacker, dark horse, and overall enigma. The stories are neat in that she’s a main character and the plots always center around her in some way, but the chapters themselves are rarely told from her perspective and we the readers do not get a solid look in her head to see what she’s thinking. Instead, we see what she does and the reactions of those who work with, care about, and admire her.
The one that I started with was The Chalk Girl and the beginning hooked me completely. It’s about this orphaned 8 year old girl Coco who is witness to some brutal violence in the Rambles. Due to her young age, though, and her Williams Syndrome, there’s concern about her witness ability. Mallory has utter and ruthless confidence that the girl can help solve this, but Charles, the psychologist assigned to her case, and a friend of Mallory’s, is pushing back, concerned about the girl’s ability to withstand Malloy’s tactics. Then I read an earlier one, Stone Angel, where Mallory goes back to her home town on the hunt for the mob that stoned her mother to death when she was a child and the dangerous religious local cult in Owltown mixed up in it.
I’ve just gotten Mallory’s Oracle from the library, which is also one of the early ones. Her foster father’s been murdered (I was wondering which book covered that) and his death appears to be linked to others cases he’d been working on at the time. Sergeant Mallory will solve it, of course, because she’s damned good at her job and probably should be in prison for all the illegal shit she does do to get the job done. ..
Camilla Läckberg ‘s Fjällbacka series from Sweden:
Started with the Ice Child, the 9th book, where Detective Patrik Hedström and his crime writer wife Erica Falck, are piecing together a series of cases involving missing girls. In that one, I thought I’d actually figured out the twist a hundred or so pages in but then discovered I’d only discovered half of it. That was cool.
Just got The Ice Princess from the library today which looks to be the 4th book, likely showing the start of Erica and Patrik’s relationship as they sort through what’s supposed to look like a suicide victim in a tub but is likely more.
Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series:
I started at the beginning of this one with In the Woods where a current murder case is coming close to resembling a case from Detective Rob Ryan’s youth, where he was the only survivor of a tragedy and the details are lost in his amnesia surrounding those events at the time. A body is found at an archaeology dig near where his own friends had gone missing years earlier and were never found.
I’m midway through The Likeness now, where Rob’s old partner Cassie has gone undercover to find out more about a murdered girl who looks exactly like Cassie and who stole Cassie’s old fake name from an undercover operation years earlier. It seems this girl changed her life so many times, nobody’s yet sure who she really is and why someone killed her. Now Cassie is pretending to be Lexie (with the lie that she’d just been lightly stabbed and is now fine) in the house where she lived with a bunch of English majors, all of whom have secrets in their past that they’re hiding for various reasons. The town has secrets of its own, though; some locals hate the original owner of the big house and seem to be taking that hatred out on the man who inherited the house and his friends residing there. Cassie/Lexie is claiming amnesia for the hours before and after the “incident” that left the “real Lexie” dead in a old, deserted cottage, but could one or more of her friends be behind it after all? Time will tell…