Further Reading is a new feature on The Booklist Reader, designed to provide readers’ advisory for today’s headlines.
When Steve Stephens murdered Robert Godwin on Sunday, he filmed the despicable deed and uploaded the video to Facebook. Millions of people watched it before Facebook pulled it down. While the murder and its aftermath shocked the nation—and rightfully so—crime fiction fans are no strangers to the intersection of murder and social media. Nor are these recommended titles, linked to their excerpted Booklist reviews.
Dangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas
A few questionable pictures on Facebook, an argument observed and misconstrued, a few creative-writing assignments with violent imagery, and a smile captured at the wrong time—each of these things on its own couldn’t convict someone of a brutal murder, could it? This is what Anna wonders while locked up in Aruba and standing trial for her best friend Elise’s murder: “Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?”
Fever of the Bone, by Val McDermid
The Internet as a means of targeting and tormenting victims forms the backdrop of McDermid’s twenty-fourth mystery. First published in the UK in 2009, this thriller features RigMarole (the British equivalent of Facebook) as an effective social networking site for serial killers. Criminal profiler and clinical psychologist Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan join forces once again (this is the fifth in the Tony Hill series) when a young teenage girl is found brutally murdered.
Sacrificial Offerings, by Michael A. Black
A murder investigation involving an old-time TV star—think Bob Crane—is interrupted by a lengthy account of the training SWAT-team hopefuls endure. The writing is so good the reader is pleased to go along. So it is with the secondary characters our no-nonsense lead detective is stuck with: a dweebish Twitter addict who thinks he’s in a CSI episode and an aging K-9 cop who never got over losing his dog. He consoles himself by conversing with a hand puppet.