With the new semester steadily underway and midterms just around the corner, you may find yourself stressed out and hard-pressed for study time. However, there's only so much studying and stressing a person can do before it becomes unhealthy. Bear in mind that it’s okay to take a step back, relax and flip through a new book. Even if it's just for a few minutes, reading can help you retain what little sanity you have left. Just think: when was the last time you had the opportunity to curl up on a cold Sunday morning with a new book and a warm cup of coffee? To help you get started, Fresh U has compiled a list of must-read mystery books.
1. "Before the Fall" by Noah Hawley
When a private place carrying extremely influential people crashes, only two people manage to survive. One is the young son of a media mogul and the other an obscure painter. Each chapter of "Before the Fall" delves deeper and deeper into the mystery of the plane crash — whether it was intentional, who was targeted, how it happened etc. Gradually, more is revealed about the dead passengers as media speculation threatens to destroy truth and common decency. With an extremely satisfying ending, "Before the Fall" is definitely worth the read.
2. "A Hero in France" by Alan Furst
A mystery worthy of any devoted historian, "A Hero in France" explores the French Resistance during France’s occupation in WWII. Without giving too much away, the novel follows a French army captain dedicated to helping a British bomber crew. The crew had been forced to bail from their plane and is desperate to return to the RAF. Full of intrigue, action and mystery, this book is nearly impossible to put down.
3. "When Falcons" Fall by C. S. Harris
Another historical mystery, "When Falcons Fall" takes place in a Shropshire village in 1813 and follows the story of Sebastian St. Cyr. On his own mission to honor a killed friend, St. Cyr’s quest is placed on hold when a widow’s body is found on the banks of the river. Needless to say, he is in for a long and confusing ride.
4. "You Will Know Me: A Novel" by Megan Abbott
A twist on the classic mystery novel, "You Will Know Me" is about 15-year-old Devon Knox, a talented gymnast well on her way to the Olympics. However, Devon’s mother, Katie, is holding onto some dark secrets that may threaten to tear everything apart. Full of betrayal, murder and more than a little back-stabbing, this novel is a gripping tale of psychological suspense.
5. "Under the Harrow" by Flynn Berry
A psychological mystery and thriller, "Under the Harrow" is almost Hitchcock-like in its dark tale. The novel opens with a woman named Nora, who stumbles across her sister’s murder when wandering the British countryside. As she seeks to uncover the secret of her sister’s death, Nora steadily becomes unhinged, leading the reader down a dark and depressing rabbit hole.
6. "Jane and the Waterloo Map" by Stephanie Barron
A must read for any and all Jane Austen fans, this novel takes place in November 1815, shortly after the Battle of Waterloo and in the midst of the British economic collapse. When a family emergency calls her to London, Jane Austen discovers a dying man who utters the dying phrase, “Waterloo map." This sets off the events of a classic detective novel, complete with treasure and an elusive murderer.
7. "The Woman in Cabin 10" by Ruth Ware
In "The Woman in Cabin 10," when travel writer Lo Blacklock sees the body of a woman fall off the side of a luxury cruise ship in the North Sea, she does everything she can to raise the alarm and help the woman. However, in a style reminiscent of the Twilight Zone, the passengers of the ship tell Blacklock that there was no woman fitting that description on board.
All in all, just because midterms and the daily struggle of college life has you worn down to a nub, that doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally enjoy yourself. Even if it’s just half an hour on a Sunday afternoon, also be sure to squeeze some me-time into your schedule.
Lead Image Credit: Juan Antonio S. Segal via Flickr Creative Commons
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