Book Clubs

Searching for a great book club mystery? 

The first book I want to recommend isn’t a mystery at all. There are very few books that can save your life; Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear is one of them. Many of the chapters read like true crime, because they are: he works with survivors of violent crimes to help them see how listening to their instincts either saved their lives or could have prevented their attack. Usually, both are true. That’s the gift of fear, and he breaks it down and makes it accessible to everyone. 

Here’s a link to de Becker’s website (he also has a page on child safety and another on resources). While I hope you never need his insight, don’t miss out on this game-changing and empowering book.

If you’re looking for a series that has cozy elements and is a fun read, while also having deeper themes to explore, I recommend The Accidental Alchemist series by Gigi Pandian. Zoe accidentally discovered the key to immortality while trying – and failing – to save her brother from the plague. Now, hundreds of years later, she has to deal with the guilt of outliving everyone she’s ever loved. She’s lived a nomadic existence, but in The Accidental Alchemist, she has finally decided to settle down. Too bad her peace is short-lived: within days, she discovers a dead body on the porch and a living gargoyle in a storage crate. The gargoyle stowed away in her belongings because he needs her help: he’s dying, and only an alchemist can prevent him from turning back into stone.

This is a crackerjack series that has it all: great characters; a growing friendship between Zoe and the gargoyle Dorian; a complicated love interest; themes of immortality, loneliness, betrayal and connection; and cooking! Dorian is a gourmet chef while Zoe is vegan, and the resulting meals Dorian creates are — pardon the pun — to die for. Gigi has a recipe page here, and you could definitely do a delicious potluck based on food from the series. (Invite me if you do!)

Other books your club might consider:

Into competitive racing? Tammy Kaehler’s Kate Reilly mysteries are each set at a different race track, and the protagonist is a professional race car driver who just happens to be female.

History buffs? Check out Susanna Calkins’ evocative mysteries set in London during the Enlightenment — and the social upheaval of the Plague and the Great Fire of London.

Looking for social issues to explore? The private eyes in both Steph Cha’s Juniper Song mysteries and Désirée Zamorano’s Inez Leon mysteries take on big issues and will leave you with plenty to talk about.