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Mystery and intrigue abound in The Globe and Mail staff’s favourite crime stories:

A city full of trouble. A mysterious blonde. A detective who’s tired of everything except mysterious blondes. A modern writer (John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black) who brings Philip Marlowe back to life by channelling Raymond Chandler in a most uncanny way. It’s called The Black-Eyed Blonde. Read it, you big lug. – Elizabeth Renzetti

Ian McGuire’s The North Water is a truly terrifying tale about a disgraced 19th-century military surgeon, a scam Arctic whaling expedition and a madman. Parts of it are even true. It is not new, and there is now a TV series based on the story, but it can’t be better than the book, because the book is perfect. – Ian Brown

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz sets up a wild premise – a writing teacher steals the plot of one of his students’ drafts; the teacher publishes it and hits it big. A cat-and-mouse game ensues – but not the kind you might think. There are so many twists in this book that the less you know, the more enjoyable it’ll be. – Angela Pacienza

Don Winslow represents a genre unto himself: Peak Page-Turner. Thanks to the author’s affinity for hard-boiled staccato sentences, an impressively disturbing affinity for bare-knuckle violence, and a caffeine-fuelled sense of go-go-go narrative, Winslow’s work grips and rattles until it’s suddenly 2:15 a.m. and your agenda for the next day is utterly ruined. Winslow’s new book, City on Fire, is billed as the start of a new trilogy – allegedly Winslow’s last literary hurrah before concentrating on his television and film work – but it doesn’t matter if he ever writes a follow-up. Everything you need to know about Winslow’s super-pulp power is contained within City of Fire’s barn-burning 384 pages, which chronicle the rise, fall and possible comeback of a New England mobster. This is the kind of book you need to hook into your veins and let loose in your bloodstream. – Barry Hertz

If you’re looking to settle in with an old friend and just spend an evening or weekend being comforted then Louise Penny’s series, which takes place in Three Pines, is one of the best series out there. The intelligent and careful Armand Gamache is the protagonist in Penny’s books (which now number more than a dozen) but it’s the supporting characters in the charming fictional Quebec village, a sort of sanctuary for lost souls, that makes the novels stand out. Start with Still Life and you’ll have a companion for those days when you just need a break from everything. – Roma Luciw

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