FOSEL advisory board member, Nick Altschuller, has compiled a selection of mysteries, suspense novels and thrillers to get you through the dark season and into the light of spring. The stories either take place in or around Boston or are written by people from the area. Here’s Nick’s take on it:
The mystery genre is impossible to pin down to just the usual suspects. Even the protagonists are slippery. Detectives can be a Holmesian men of society, dressed in tweed and smelling of fine tobacco. Or they can be the exemplars of noir: hardboiled, hard-drinking and reeking of unfiltered cigarettes. Spies can come besuited at a baccarat table or bespectacled behind a desk. Heroes don’t even have to be good; they can be decidedly “anti.”
Even narrowing the scope to Boston doesn’t limit the genre’s breadth. The writers themselves come from all walks, as former prosecutors (Margaret Mclean, Raffi Yessayan), medical examiners (Patricia Cornwell) and cops or criminals (or in the case of David Marinick, people who were both). Their stories can be suspenseful and brutal, or cozy, focusing on housework, crochet or cats (Barbara Neely).
The novels of Robert Parker and Tess Gerritsen have spawned television shows. The works of Dennis Lehane, Chuck Hogan and George Higgins are the basis of movies. Exhilarating tales can come in fiction (The Art Forger) and non-fiction (The Gardner Heist), even when taking place in the same peaceful setting, like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The genre has something for every reader. (You could say it has us all figure out.) With so much variety, the thrill lies in narrowing down which types of mysteries are for you.