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Father’s Day Reads: The Detective

The following books are thrilling, mysterious, and at times gruesome—and they’re united by relentless curiosity, boldness, and attention to detail. We recommend them to all the dads possessed by these singular qualities, those who can’t help but get to the bottom of a mystery.

About Face / Donna Leon
Donna Leon’s twenty-seven novels have won her countless fans, heaps of critical acclaim, and a place among the top ranks of international crime writers. Through the warm-hearted, perceptive, and principled Commissario Guido Brunetti, Leon’s best-selling books have explored Venice in all its aspects: history and tourism, high culture and the changing seasons, food and family, but also violent crime and political corruption. In About Face, her latest mystery, Leon returns to one of her signature subjects: the environment, which has reached a crisis in Italy in recent years.

Black Out / John Lawton
London, 1944. While the Luftwaffe makes its final assault on the already battered British capital, Londoners rush through the streets, seeking underground shelter in the midst of the city’s black out. When the panic subsides, sinister things begin to surface along with London’s war-worn citizens. John Lawton’s debut novel—first published by Viking in 1995, and reissued by Grove Press—is a stunning, war-time thriller that cements his place among the greatest crime writers of our era. The first of the Inspector Troy novels, Black Out singularly captures the realities of wartime London, weaving them into a riveting drama that encapsulates the uncertainty of Europe at the dawn of the postwar era.

The Borrowed / Chan Ho-kei
From award-winning Hong Kong writer Chan Ho-kei, The Borrowed tells the story of Kwan Chun-dok, a Hong Kong detective whose career spans fifty years of the territory’s history. A deductive powerhouse, Kwan becomes a legend in the force, nicknamed “the Eye of Heaven” by his awe-struck colleagues. Divided into six sections—each taking place at a pivotal moment in Hong Kong history from the 1960s to the present day—this novel reveals how we have come full circle to repeat the political upheaval and societal unrest of the past.

The Dead Student / John Katzenbach
Timothy Warner, a PhD student who goes by the nickname “Moth,” wakes up on his ninety-ninth day of sobriety with an intense craving for drink. He calls his uncle Ed, who has become Moth’s mentor and father figure. Moth bikes to Ed’s office only to discover his uncle lying in a pool of blood, shot through the temple. Two words are scrawled across Ed’s prescription pad: My fault. A master of the modern psychological thriller, John Katzenbach follows Moth as he travels into dark territory, intent on discovering the truth about Ed’s death, and circling ever closer to a devious mind that will flinch at nothing to achieve revenge.

Forensics / Val McDermid
Val McDermid’s novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of complex crimes and unimaginable evil. (Her latest, Insidious Intentis no exception.) In the course of researching her bestselling novels, McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real world murders, and the people who must solve them. It’s a journey that takes McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, bringing her into contact with both bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

From Holmes to Sherlock / Mattias Boström
Everyone knows Sherlock Holmes. But what made this fictional character, dreamed up by a small-town English doctor in the 1880s, into such a lasting success? In From Holmes to Sherlock, Swedish author and Sherlock Holmes expert Mattias Boström recreates the full story behind the legend for the first time. This captivating, novelistic history includes tales of unexpected fortune, accidental romance, and inheritances gone awry and tells of the actors, writers, and readers who have transformed Sherlock Holmes from the gentleman amateur of the Victorian era to the odd genius he’s considered today.

Rush of Blood / Mark Billingham
In this stand-alone novel, internationally bestselling author Mark Billingham puts a sinister twist on a deceptively innocent topic: the beach vacation. Three couples meet around the pool on their Florida holiday and become fast friends. But on the last day of their vacation, tragedy strikes: the fourteen-year-old daughter of an American vacationer goes missing, her body later found floating in the mangroves. Ambitiously plotted and laced with dark humor, Rush of Blood is a first-rate suspense novel about the danger of making new friends in seemingly sunny places.