Stressed out by the holidays?  Exhausted by family obligations?  Why not take a break and lose yourself in some new mysteries and thrillers here at the Field Library, to help take your mind off your ordinary stresses?


Robert Harris is famous for his historical and alternate historical novels, including Fatherland (a book starting with the premise that the Nazis won World War II) and a trilogy of novels set in ancient Rome (Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator), but he’s also quite skilled at writing different kinds of suspense novels.  His newest book, Conclave, takes the notion of a thriller in a different direction: looking up close at the machinations and deliberations necessary for the selection of a new pope. He makes clever use of the restrictions imposed on the cardinals by centuries of tradition (no outside influences of any sort, no newspapers, no radios, no television, no computers or phones, no contact with anyone but other cardinals and the nuns and priests who serve them in the conclave) and lets us watch as different factions form and combine and split, as the cardinals struggle with the question of who should be the next leader of the Catholic Church.  As the deliberations go on longer and longer, the stresses on the cardinals increase, and the suspense of the book grows.  If you’ve ever been curious about how exactly the smoke at the Vatican turns from black to white and what leads up to that, Conclave is the next best thing to an insider’s report.


If a bunch of elderly religious men dealing with the burdensome choice of who’s going to be the next Pope isn’t exciting enough for you, why not turn to the story of a serial killer stalking a new victim, with a depressed cop racing against time to try and stop him?  That’s the premise of Bernard Minier’s new thriller,  Don’t Turn Out the Lights.  Christine Steinmeyer is the host of a radio show who finds an odd suicide note in her mailbox, saying “You did nothing.” She has no idea what it’s about and assumes it was dropped there by mistake.  However, the man calling in to her radio show has other ideas, and bit by bit strange things start happening to her until her whole life is falling apart and she’s living a nightmare.  Meanwhile, Officer Martin Servaz, on leave from the police force due to depression caused by the loss of his sweetheart to a serial killer, is contacted by someone who seems to want him to start investigating again.  Could the same man who killed Servaz’ girlfriend be the person who’s stalking Christine?  Can Servaz save her in time?  An edge of your seat thriller.


Or, if you’re interested in putting yourself in the hands of a master mystery writer, you’ll be delighted to hear that Val McDermid has a new novel out, Out of Bounds.  Karen Pirie, a detective, is brought into a case involving a teenage joyrider who stole a car, crashed it and ended up in a coma.  A routine DNA test reveals a link to an unsolved murder case from twenty years before.  It should be easy to wrap up that old case with the new information, but it turns out to be much more twisted and complicated than Karen imagined.  Not to mention that she’s drawn into another cold case that she shouldn’t have anything to do with, a twenty year old case of domestic terrorism, where nothing is as it seems and this, too, becomes extremely complicated.  A cross between a political thriller and a police procedural, Out of Bounds grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go.  And if you like this book, be sure to look into McDermid’s older books as well.


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