From the bucolic peaks of the Berkshires, through the distinctive neighborhoods of Boston to the picturesque Cape, Massachusetts offers many varied terrains despite its diminutive size. Authors are always on the lookout for captivating settings with rich histories to host their creations, and our state can boast of many great works situated within its borders.

For this month’s blog, I wanted to highlight some MA-based books—an abbreviated sample of recent releases in the mystery and true crime genres. In many cases, these works have been written by authors native to our beloved Commonwealth.

Eight Perfect Murders

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

"A chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders."

PulsePulse by Michael Harvey

"Harry, a Harvard football star, is murdered in an alley. Detectives “Bark” Jones and Tommy Dillon are assigned to the case. They find heartbreaking loss, sordid characters, and metaphysical conspiracies. Even on the rough streets of 1970s Boston, Jones and Dillon have never had a case like this."

All HallowsAll Hallows by Christopher Golden

"It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. With the 80's nostalgia of Stranger Things, this horror drama follows neighborhood families and a mysterious, lurking evil on one Halloween day."

The Woman in the LibraryThe Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

"The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman's terrified unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all."

Because I Could Not Stop for DeathBecause I Could Not Stop for Death by Amanda Flower

"Emily Dickinson and her housemaid, Willa Noble, realize there is nothing poetic about murder. She and Willa are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse that reveals corruption in Amherst that is generations deep."

Murder in a Cape CottageMurder in a Cape Cottage by Maddie Day

"As Mac delves into the decades-old mystery with the help of librarian Flo and her book group, she discovers a story of star-crossed lovers and feuding families worthy of the bard himself."

Moonlight MileMoonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (Kenzie & Gennaro series)

"Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most."

Murder, Sweet MurderMurder, Sweet Murder by Eleanor Kuhns

"Will Rees accompanies his wife to Boston to help clear her estranged father's name in this gripping mystery set in the early nineteenth century."

Plymouth UndercoverPlymouth Undercover by Pamela Kelley

"Emma McCarthy, is a thirty year old failed actress who moves home to Plymouth, MA when she and her mother, Cindy, inherit a private detective agency."

Watch HerWatch Her by Edwin Hill

"Fans of Ruth Ware and B.A. Paris won’t want to miss this complex psychological thriller from an acclaimed author about a powerful Boston family desperate to keep their darkest secrets from coming to light."

Fatal RoundsFatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin

"When a stranger’s picture sends Liza’s schizophrenic mother deeper into psychosis, Liza does a reverse-image search to identify him. Upon discovering he is a trauma surgeon at a Massachusetts teaching hospital, she impulsively changes her pathology residency program of choice to his center."

The House in the PinesThe House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

"Armed with only hazy memories, a woman who long ago witnessed her friend's sudden, mysterious death, and has since spent her life trying to forget, sets out to track down answers. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer."

Before the Devil FellBefore the Devil Fell by Neil Olson

"Will Connor returns to his hometown, a village north of Boston, to care for his injured mother. As Will looks deeper into his family’s history he discovers that her practices weren’t so much a passing fad but the latest link in a long tradition of New England witchcraft, which still seems to hold a strange power over the town."

Death on NantucketDeath on Nantucket by Francine Mathews

"When a body is discovered at Step Above, the sprawling Murphy house near Steps Beach, Nantucket police detective Meredith Folger is called in to investigate."

House of AshesHouse of Ashes by Loretta Marion

"A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast."

Hold Me DownHold Me Down by Clea Simon

"A middle-aged musician, is back in Boston to play a memorial for her late drummer/best friend, when she finds herself freezing on stage at the sight of a face in the crowd."

Nantucket PennyNantucket Penny by Steven Axelrod

"It's wedding season on Nantucket, and two unwelcome guests are crashing the party...Has someone come back to the island with a sinister grudge to settle?"

We Keep the Dead CloseWe Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper (True Crime)

"A true crime narrative of an unsolved 1969 murder at Harvard, of obsession and love for a girl who dreamt of rising among men."

The BabysitterThe Babysitter by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan (True Crime)

"Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later."

Summaries sourced from publishers' marketing materials

May's Featured Reviews

The Last Word

The Last Word by Taylor Adams


Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Hop on the Holds List

1. The Only Survivors – Megan Miranda

2. Poverty, By America – Matthew Desmond (NF)

3. The Last Remains – Elly Griffiths

4. Crook Manifesto – Colson Whitehead (July)

5. Prom Mom – Laura Lippman (July)

Recent Readings

I have recently just finished reading Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourne and The Angel Maker by Alex North. I also just finished listening to Lanny by Max Porter on Hoopla.

Right now, I am reading Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza and The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz. I am also listening to the audiobook version of Tell No One by Harlan Coben.

Do you have a favorite spot here in Massachusetts (besides Groton, of course!)? Do you have any exciting summer plans closer to home? Tell me all about it : (

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!


So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 3 children in college (and one at GDRHS) and a Samoyed that keeps my vacuum well-employed. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them. I have been devouring them ever since.

May 01, 2023 / Joelle M Egan