ON THE SHELF: Thanksgiving Thrillers to make you talk turkey

Published 8:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week the library is featuring Thanksgiving mystery and thriller titles from our Adult Fiction collection. 

Susan Wittig Albert’s 23rd China Bayles mystery is called “Bittersweet.” China’s plans for Thanksgiving are to visit her mother, Leatha, and her stepfather, Sam. She’s also looking forward to catching up with her old friend Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers who is the local game warden. Plans change, however, when Leatha calls her daughter to tell her that Sam has had a heart attack. Leatha and Sam have help in the form of Sue Ellen Krause during Sam’s recuperation. Sue Ellen has troubles of her own. She is leaving her husband who is the assistant foreman at a trophy game ranch. Before Sue Ellen can give China all the juicy details, she is killed in a car crash. Mack, too, is looking into why a local veterinarian has been shot. It is believed the incident is related to a theft of fawns from a nearby ranch. China thinks Sue Ellen’s death may not have been an accident either and wonders if there is a connection to the stolen animals. The two friends team up to solve the theft and murder in this South Texas ranching community.

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“A Fatal Feast is a Murder, She Wrote Mystery” by Donald Bain. Jessica Fletcher would love nothing more than to sit back and relax for Thanksgiving in Cabot Cove. But this year she’s got a lot on her plate, and she can’t seem to relax. She is suffering from an unusual case of writer’s block and the deadline for her new novel is fast approaching. Jessica is also preparing for the arrival of her friend, Scotland Yard Inspector George Sutherland, from London. He is eager to experience the American holiday. Moreover, her guest list for her bountiful Thanksgiving dinner is growing by the day. Jessica carries on and is elated with the results of her dinner party. That is until she and George stumble over the body of a man with a carving knife in his chest on their post-dinner stroll.

Isis Crawford delivers a tale of a dysfunctional family holiday turned deadly in her book “A Catered Thanksgiving.” While Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for any family, it is especially so for the Field family. If everything isn’t absolutely perfect, then somebody will be cut out of the cantankerous patriarch Monty’s will. That is where the catering company of sisters Bernie and Libby comes in. Their divine lumpless mashed potatoes and scrumptious gravy are sure to satisfy even this super dysfunctional family for one meal. Unfortunately, the turkey explodes right in Monty’s face and sends him to the great dining room in the sky. Every member of the Field family has secrets, but which one sent Monty to the afterlife? As a monster snowstorm strands everyone at the mansion, they are all trapped with a killer who is determined to get all the dough. Bernie and Libby spring into action to figure out who killed the grumpy patriarch before anyone else bites it.

“The Thanksgiving Day Murder: a Christine Bennett Mystery” is by Lee Harris. It has been a year since Natalie Gordon went to buy a balloon at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and disappeared into thin air. Neither the police nor the PI hired to find her have come up with any leads. So, Natalie’s desperate husband pleads with ex-nun Christine Bennett to help find his wife and she cannot refuse. Christine finds that not only is Natalie’s whereabouts a mystery, but so is her past. Her personnel file at her old job has been stripped of information and her husband doesn’t even know a whole lot about his wife. Christine looks for clues in a cardboard box of Natalie’s belongings — a few books, keys and some cosmetics. She realizes that someone has tried very hard to erase Natalie and her life and concludes that murder seems not only inevitable but also likely to happen again.

Leslie Meier pens an autumnal tale with her book “Turkey Trot Murder: a Lucy Stone Mystery.” Part-time reporter Lucy Stone is contemplating the quickly dying plants on her front porch and the upcoming Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. She expects her holiday to be a wholly uneventful one, but instead, Lucy finds the beautiful Alison Franklin dead and frozen in Blueberry Pond. All that is really known about Alison is that she was the daughter of wealthy investor Ed Franklin and she quietly struggled with drug addiction. In fact, the police blame her death on an accidental overdose, but Lucy is unconvinced. Alison’s funeral is also a puzzle. There are many who believe that Ed’s young and very pregnant wife, Mireille, divided the family and left Alison twisting in the breeze. Ed claims that Mireille adored Alison, but did she really? Some say that the stepmother pit Ed against his daughter for personal gain. Whatever the reason, Lucy finds herself in full-blown investigator mode and is in a race against time to find a killer.

“Black Friday” is an explosive story of a full-scale terrorist attack on American soil by William W. Johnstone. The American Way Mall is packed with holiday shoppers on the biggest shopping day of the year — Black Friday. Machine-gun fire rings out and within a few minutes, hundreds are dead or dying. Others have been taken hostage by a group of fanatical Middle Eastern terrorists ready to blow the symbol of American capitalism to smithereens. Iraq War veteran Tobey Lanning has become separated from his girlfriend but refuses to give up without a fight. The FBI and local police are at the mercy of the terrorists because the outcome will be determined inside the mall, and they are stuck squarely on the outside. Lanning knows what he must do, so he attempts to assemble a makeshift platoon of Black Friday shoppers — a teenage security guard, a retired Chicago P.D. officer, a schoolteacher who has never fired a gun, a young ex-con who has, a soccer mom, a priest, and a wheelchair-bound WWII vet. These brave everyday Americans decide to stand up and meet their enemy face-to-face.