I like mysteries and I read a lot them. I thought it would be easy to find one that I was excited to write about. I even thought Read a Book About a Crime might be the easiest category from this year's reading challenge, 10 to Try. But it wasn't until this month that I found a new mystery I can't wait to tell you about: The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin.
The Bird Boys is set in Beaumont, Texas, in 1973. Sandlin is a wonderful writer with a spare style that brings Beaumont and the backroads of rural Texas to life. But it's her characters that made the book shine for me. The detective is a young Vietnam veteran named Tom Phelan; he's trying to figure out how to be a PI and what, exactly, to do with himself in post-war life. His assistant, Delpha, is a fascinating character. She's just out of prison after serving 14 years for killing a man who was raping her. She's both elated and a little overwhelmed by her freedom, and she's determined to be independent. As a bonus for librarians and library-lovers, there's a funny and stereotype-busting librarian character, too.
The Bird Boys is the second in a series, but I'm here to tell you that you don't need to read the first one to enjoy. On the other hand, The Bird Boys is so good that mystery lovers should check out its prequel, The Do-right. As of my writing this, there are available copies, too, you can read it while you wait for your hold on The Bird Boys to come in.
What books about crime do you recommend?