Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
Looking for fascinating stories, informed takes, useful advice, and more drawn from our collective experience as power readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and bookish professionals? Subscribe to The Deep Dive, a biweekly newsletter to inform and inspire readers, delivered to your inbox! Your first read (The Power Reader’s Guide to Reading Logs & Trackers) is on the house. Check out all the details and choose your membership level at bookriot.substack.com.
Hey there, friends! I hope your Pride month is treating you well and that your book stacks are plentiful going into the weekend. To celebrate Pride, I am sharing a great recent queer thriller I loved!
We’ll Never Tell by Wendy Heard
Casey and her three friends are the anonymous creators behind a popular YouTube channel whose videos focus on exploring old and abandoned places throughout L.A., sometimes relying on some light breaking and entering in order to capture the perfect shots. They’re about to graduate and go their separate ways, and they want one last hurrah. When Jacob convinces the others to break into a house that’s been left virtually untouched since a 1970 murder, Casey is reluctant, but allows herself to be convinced. The experience is thrilling and the footage is unreal…until a security alarm is tripped and the four of them make a hasty retreat, only to discover that Jacob has been stabbed. They make the snap decision to leave him behind, but he hangs on by a thread, lingering in a coma. While they try to cover their tracks, Casey is suspicious of why their friend is targeted, and becomes determined to discover who is responsible for his attempted murder…even if the answer leads to one of them.
This is a great twisty mystery with plenty of thrills, set against the backdrop of L.A.’s more mundane places, and where the elements of fame have a darker edge. I liked Casey as a protagonist and could sympathize with her struggle to balance what they do as an interesting hobby (Casey is responsible for the research elements of their show) alongside with the discomfort she feels as a tragedy tourist for their more sensitive locales. Casey’s mom was a victim of an unsolved murder years before the book begins, so she is especially sensitive to how victims of crimes and their relatives are treated after the fact. The mystery aspect of this book takes her right back to the original murder that occurs 50 years earlier, and it’s a compelling journey for a cold case with some surprising developments. The queer representation in this book also feels very casual and natural — Casey and two of her friends are queer, and although this book doesn’t focus in on any of their romantic relationships, their queer identities have a natural progression and are important to the book.
If you like fiction that interrogates the nature of true crime, is inspired by real locations (the Los Feliz Murder Mansion), and has a queer cast, definitely pick this one up!
Subscribe to First Edition for interviews, lists, rankings, recommendations, and much more, featuring people who know and love books.
Find me on Book Riot, Hey YA, All the Books, and Twitter. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, click here to subscribe.