In case you’re just joining us, May is Mystery Month at Booklist and, all month long, we’ve featured wonderful reading recommendations from some of the best mystery, crime fiction, espionage, and thriller writers currently working. Today we hear from Karin Slaughter, a number-one international bestselling author who just the other day received a starred Booklist review for her twelfth novel, Fallen, which merges her Grant County and Atlanta series “with stunning results.” (In July, Slaughter will be a Silver Bullet Award recipient at ThrillerFest VI.)
Asked to share her favorite read of the last year, Slaughter recommended an author with whom she has something in common (besides good Booklist reviews). The particular book she raves about hasn’t come out in the U.S. just yet—but, don’t worry, we’ll let you know when it does.
I’m hard-pressed to think of an author I admire more than Mo Hayder. Her first novel, Birdman, was published around the same time as my first book, and we were both hailed as women conquering the man’s world of meaty crime fiction. You don’t have that sort of thing said about you without thinking you’re in it together, so Mo and I have, over the years, developed the kind of relationship you normally find between soldiers who’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the same foxhole. Like a fellow veteran, I appreciate Mo for more than just wearing the uniform. She’s an incredible writer, the sort of author who isn’t afraid to take on hard topics and show the human side of tragedy. Her subsequent books, from The Devil of Nanking to the Walking Man series [see Gone—Ed.], have been works I’ve devoured in one sitting. But nothing she’s done so far has given me the same reaction as her latest, Hanging Hill.
Aside from being a gripping story (Mo could teach a master class in how to write a thriller) the characters in Hanging Hill are so well drawn that you’d swear they’re actual people you’ve met before. The circumstances of the case that brings this disparate group together are just as compelling as the mystery of how the characters will respond to each new test. The one problem I had with the book is this: the story had to end. Or, maybe not—the last page leaves your heart pounding, your brain lurching in your head like a golf ball in a paint mixer. This is a must-read for lovers of good crime.