LGBTQIA+ Mystery/Thriller Authors We Should Be Reading

While I was putting together a ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆPride book stack for a #bookstagram post in June, I realized that I didn’t really have (or know if I had) any queer authors on my shelves. I was disappointed that I couldn’t include queer authors while trying to acknowledge queer people, and was privately called out in my DMs for this as well after the post went up. Trust me, I hear you and I am listening! I weighed the pros and cons of that post extensively before deciding to go ahead with a caption focused on queer issues.

There have always been queer authors since the beginning of literature, but chances are that part of their life was not revealed until much later when societal norms shifted, or it was never revealed at all.

For instance, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Wolfe, James Baldwin, Truman Capote and Walt Whitman are all counted among the LGBTQ+ community. (Whitman is debated by historians as he was notoriously cagey about his personal life, but Wilde is quoted as confirming Whitman was gay and said, “I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips.”)

Speaking of Wilde, did you know that after a botched libel trial initiated by Wilde himself, evidence was present in court that proved Wilde was gay and he was subsequently arrested and jailed for two years (hard labour) for “gross indecency” with men?

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Wilde was released from prison in 1897 and published The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life, one year later. He died in 1900 at the age of 46 due to meningitis.

Today, there is a myriad of authors who are publicly “out” and there are others who just don’t feel a need to comment on such things. And honestly I understand it either way. On one hand it’s important to showcase representation for marginalized and oppressed groups, and on the other hand it’s not like straight authors ever have to make a statement about their straightness.

But, in honour of that sassy bitch Wilde, and all others who came before and after him, I present to you my round-up of LGBTQ+ mystery/thriller authors who are indeed out and proud. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but simply a place to start in order to help us diversify our bookshelves with dark and twisty stories that haven’t been written by the typically published cis, straight author.

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Black Mystery/Thriller Authors We Should Be Reading!

Alright, Nerds, this is going to be your one stop shop for all the books that will help you better diversify the mystery/thriller section of your bookshelves! I’m not going to lie, I fucking need this too! By no means is this comprehensive, but it’s a start.

I think we’ve all become aware that in the world of books, black authors get lower advances, lower marketing and less readership because of it. And I’ve seen the push in the book community to really make a change.

When I was putting together a book stack for Pride Month I realized I have a very white, very straight physical bookshelf. (I’ll get to queer authors in a different post.)

The truth is, I was never the kind of reader who gave a second-thought to who was writing the book. If the cover caught my eye and the synopsis sounded like it was up my alley, I’d TBR it, buy it or borrow it.

While I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with being that kind of reader, it’s also important to realize how book publishing works and why – nine times out of ten – you’re likely to pick up books by white authors.

The only way to create a more equitable bookshelf in this moment in time is to actively seek out author diversity.

And let’s be honest, if you’re mostly into mystery, thriller and horror genres, book store shelves are not exactly overflowing with anything except white people… and James Patterson (*shakes fist at my arch nemesis*)

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I put together this list in the hopes that you and I will both find something that speaks to us, and intrigues our book nerd hearts, that we didn’t realize was out there and can now we can seek out with purpose.

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My Totally Inappropriate Quarantine Reading List!

These are crazy times we’re living in, booknerds! Forget 2019, 2018 and 2017. If you thought those years were bad, 2020 busted in like “hold my beer!” I swear to Thor, when Donald Trump was elected, we crossed over into some fucked up multi-verse timeline and it has been tripping me out for nearly four years. I’m so tired.

Just in the first three months of 2020, World War 3 was nearly upon us, half of Australia burnt to the ground, Kobe Bryant died and now we’re in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which I can’t remember ever happening before in my lifetime. And I am old enough to remember the SARS outbreak, but honestly, that sticks out in my memory mostly because of Peter Sarsgaard’s SARS Guards.

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As of yesterday morning, Ontario is officially in a state of emergency. I still have to work, because you know mortgage payments and shit. But I’ve spent most of today running around updating systems to allow people to work from home. Shout-out to my company for being super flexible during this time!

Not to tempt the universe, but seriously, what the fuck is next? An Avengers-like alien invasion? Part of me thinks just let it happen because this episode of Black Mirror fucking sucks. Let’s just end it. Start over. Maybe next time we won’t screw everything up so badly.

That said, does Coronavirus have you sufficiently terrified? Are you self-isolating, quarantining or social-distancing? Have you used so much hand sanitizer that you can now see all the bones in your hands since your skin peeled away? (Seriously, I am running out of moisturizer.) Are you hoarding toilet paper like a fucking idiot? I certainly hope you’re not sick or otherwise closely affected by this illness, like my dear, sweet, beautiful Idris Elba.

WHY GOD WHY! WHY HIM!? TAKE ME INSTEAD!

*clears throat* I digress…

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I have to admit, I wasn’t social distancing as much as I should have been. I was still going to the gym regularly until its doors closed indefinitely on Monday. I mean I get it, but what? Now I have to work out at home, like by myself?? Without equipment??? It’s almost as if this virus just does not care that I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that I prefer convenience.

Oh wait, that’s exactly what it does not care about.

I’m not sick. I don’t know anyone who is and the confirmed cases are in the single digits for my area, so I guess we’re doing something half-way right (I’m going to look back at this point in weeks, months or years and laugh at my naรฏvetรฉ, I just know it.) It can only get worse from here! Bright side, it’s a great time to be an introvert.

The kid is officially out of school for three weeks. He was supposed to travel across the border to southern New York for March Break, but that trip was cancelled on Monday. If I don’t have COVID-19 now, I sure as shit would if the people in my house were to step one foot into the U.S. Get your shit together down there already. It’s embarrassing, like Americans have the world’s most incompetent trumpy president… oh, hey! They do!

As of Monday, my family switched gears from paying attention, but not really caring, to full-on isolation mode. That means we bought extra groceries that should keep us from leaving the house for two weeks, if not three. We are set with streaming services, games and books. Though I am kind of bummed that I didn’t check out more books from the library before if closed. Overall, this isolation business is in no way an issue for me because I’m severely introverted. As long as I have Netflix and cheese, I’m good.

Seriously, you should see how much extra cheese I bought last night.

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Women in Horror Month: Goddesses of the Dark & Twisty You Need To Read!

Okay, booknerds, you’ve probably heard already, and if not, I’m here to let you know that February is Women in Horror Month!

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What’s that you ask? Stupid question. I don’t know why you even asked it. I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory…

WiHM is an international, grassroots initiative aimed at showcasing and bringing awareness to the underrepresented work of women in horror industries. Movies, novels, TV… you name it! Women are getting creepy shit done when it comes to artistic expression in horror. Don’t you want to celebrate that and make it more visible in a largely male dominated genre? Of course you fucking do!

There are even events you can attend, which you can check out here.

Listen, I love horror. I’m a woman. And the truth is that I definitely don’t base my entertainment choices on the gender-identity of the creator. Does that make me a bad feminist? Depends on who you ask. Should I be trying harder? Goddamn right I should be.

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#Slashmas: All The Thrillers For A Creepy Christmas (Or Whatever You Celebrate!)

Oh, shit, I’m so tired, you guys. This is going to be a chill post with lots of book recs, but just let me fucking complain for a hot minute.

I feel completely wiped out and I’m not sure why. I have no motivation when it comes to books lately. I think it’s because I’m so far behind in my reading. The more I look at the pile, the less I want to read, and the less I read the less I want to. It’s a vicious cycle.

The last quarter of the year has been a total wash for me in a lot of ways. I don’t know where the time went, or what I did or how I got to two weeks before Christmas and I’m not even done shopping yet.

I know a lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that, in a “I haven’t even started yet!” kind of way, but I’m usually done shopping, with everything wrapped, by the first weekend of the month. I make it a point to push myself to get ‘er done because I’d much rather be home in the evenings watching movies, reading and enjoying the general holiday vibe, then stressing out with a sore back in a packed mall.

But honestly, I’m so off my game right now. I’m not sure I’ll even hit my reading goal (which I’ve already lowered once.)

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In a bit of good news, I recently started fostering a rescue dog! We’ve named him Jovi because he’s got 80’s hair band kind of fur. Check out my Instagram page (@thefuckingtwist) to see pictures of him in my highlights and stories.

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7 Novels To Ease Your Mindhunter Withdrawal

If you’re anything like me, the release of the new season of Mindhunter might have sent you into an orgasmic tailspin and you’ve binged the entire season already, maybe even twice.

Let’s be honest, Bill Tench could fucking get it.

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David Fincher is a genius. This show is diabolical perfection. I’ve never been more in love with anything in my entire life, except for maybe Silence of the Lambs.

Now that it’s over, I’m hurting. I’m hurting bad.

All I have left is re-watching the 19 episodes over and over again while I wait another 2 years (probably) for season three, if we even get one. I know you feel the same. You might be wondering what exists out there that will tide you over just a little bit. That will take the sting out of having zero new episodes on deck.

You came to the right girl to find out. I mean, probably. If you’ve read all of these books than this is not going to be any help to you whatsoever. Contact an addictions counsellor because I have a limited number of ideas.

For the rest of us, I can’t promise these novels of death and madness will make everything better, but it’ll sooth the craving if only for a little while.

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#Slashmas: My Bookish Holiday Wishlist! (Someone Please Buy Me These Books, Thank Youuuu)

I’m sure all of us booknerds are the same: We are asked for a wish list for the holidays – “What do you want for Christmas? Give me some ideas!”  – and your ideas turn into a long list of books. 

Generally, people are too nervous to buy me books (at this point in my life, I’m fully aware people are legit scared of me but I’m really not that bad?) so, I just end up with a lot of gift cards. But that is totally fine with me! The more excuses I have to walk around a bookstore the better. 

So, today I thought I’d share the books that are top of my list this holiday season. 

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#Slashmas: All the Winter Holiday-Themed Reads You Need!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, booknerds!

And I mean that in the most inclusive way possible. There are 11 holidays celebrated this time of year by people of all different backgrounds. And that’s just what I know of. It is completely possible that there are more celebrations that I’m ignorant to. 

The point is, that to me, it doesn’t matter what you celebrate this time of year, I just want your holidays to be everything that you want them to be. I want you to wish people whatever lovely greeting you choose to and I want you to be happy and loved.

For me and my little family, we are celebrating Yule/Saturnalia. And I need my Yule to include some goddamn murder! 

That’s right, I said it. With the stress of shopping and wrapping and getting the house in order for family and friends, I like to wind down at the end of the day with some dead bodies and a big mystery to unravel. 

Nothing says “Christmas” like blood in the snow. 

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So, if you’re anything like me, maybe you’re looking to build your TBR in December around some winter holiday themed crime fiction. And because I love you all so much, I’ve put together a list of what I think are your best bets to add to your pile, just to start you off. 

Here’s my fucking list of the top holiday-theme books to quench your thirst for death this season! 

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#YAWeek: My TBR’d YA Mystery-Thrillers!

I’ll be honest, I enjoy YA fiction, even though, I am no longer included in the targeted demographic and haven’t been for almost two decades a while. You know what, let’s not get into specifics about ages and dates. Those are all technicalities.

Sometimes I can feel a little bit weird when I have some interest in a YA books. A feeling of “I know I’m 30-something, but please don’t judge me for reading this” can wash over me from time to time.

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I try to let myself like what I like, but there is a sense that YA is my “guilty pleasure” because it’s really not intended for me. And sometimes it’s painfully obvious that I am not intended for it.

I can also feel a little bit weird in reviewing YA books, because usually if the book didn’t work for me it’s because the 16-year-old main character says/thinks something along the lines of, “I’m not child!” And I immediately think, “oh, yes you are young lady!

Or the 18-year-old who works at a grocery store part time is decorating her warehouse style loft apartment and it’s total bullshit because I didn’t buy my first piece of new furniture until I was 30 years old. That sense of utter and complete bullshit about how teenagers on their own would truly live annoys me because no one ever plays within the boundaries of real life, at least not of what I’ve read so far.

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Nevertheless, I remain dedicated to my search for an amazing YA mystery-thriller that I actually like; one that feels honest and genuine and manages to pull some punches on someone who is hard to please. (Me. That’s me who’s hard to please.)

In honour of #YAWeek, I’m going to be taking a look at what’s floating around my YA TBR pile; what books I’ve come across and thought, “yes, you could be THE ONE.”

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