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6 Books to Investigate if You Love the Stumptown TV Show

by  | January 13

The only thing better than a gripping murder mystery is a badass female protagonist solving it. In ABC’s Stumptown, Marine Corpsveteran and newly mintedprivate investigator Dex Parios gets the job done solving crimes while also navigating her own PTSD and a complicated personal life. She is a character we can relate to even if we’ve never escaped from the trunk of a locked car driven by kidnappers or single-handedly taken down a would-be robber attempting to hold up our local convenience store.

But Dex Parios is just one of fiction’s many strong and capable women solving crimes and seeking justice, destroying the male image that comes to mind when we think “private investigator.” Between episodes of Stumptown, explore these six mystery and suspense books that also celebrate tenacious female energy.

The Infinite Blacktop

The Infinite Blacktop

by Sara Gran

Claire DeWitt, the hard-living and tough-talking private investigator, has always had a penchant for solving crimes. Growing up in Brooklyn, she spent countless hours solving cases with her best friends, Tracy and Kelly, honing the skills she would later use in her professional career. The disappearance of teenage Tracy fueled her desire to obtain her P.I. license, but in order to earn it, she must first take on a cold case involving the death of a painter and his widely admired girlfriend, which has stumped the LAPD for years. On her way to Las Vegas in pursuit of answers, Claire is nearly killed herself by a homicidal driver. Sara Gran artfully weaves these three narratives, which span 25 years, together into one cohesive story that shows true grit and heart.

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One for the Money

One for the Money

by Janet Evanovich

The first book of the long-running Stephanie Plum series serves as an origin story for our protagonist, showcasing her fearless entry into work as an “apprehension agent” by blackmailing her bail-bondsman cousin when she runs out of work. Inexperience does not deter her from tackling her first case, which also happens to involve Joe Morelli, a former vice cop and Stephanie’s first lover. You’ll enjoy discovering whether Stephanie’s pursuit of justice and her reawakened, highly inconvenient feelings for Morelli will win in book one of this engaging series.

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Bad Axe County

Bad Axe County

by John Galligan

Heidi Kick, the wife of a local baseball legend, mother of three small children, and interim sheriff of Bad Axe County, doesn’t like to dwell on the death of her parents, which took place on their small farm during her childhood. Heidi buried the clues she found to the alleged murder-suicide on that night deep in the past and tried to move on with her life, chasing down missing girls and battling local drug dealers. However, someone is now planting clues that unveil the murder of one young woman amid Heidi's search for another girl—clues that also lead to ugly suspicions about the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. Battling on multiple fronts, Heidi incorporates the resourcefulness and wit only a strong female lead can deliver to find out what really happened the night her parents died.

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The Secret Place

The Secret Place

by Tana French

The Secret Place brings the feminine mystique of teenage youth to new heights in this psychological thriller. Detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran are forced to reopen the case of a boy murdered in a girl’s boarding school when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey presents a photo of the boy with the caption: “I know who killed him.” Can Conway and her partner solve this case without treading on the toes of Holly’s father, fellow detective Frank Mackey? The twisted tangle of relationships that connect both Holly’s friend group and their rival clique to the boy’s death complicate matters and prove the private underworld of teenage girls to be more dangerous than Conway imagined.

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Naked in Death

Naked in Death

by J.D. Robb

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant with over ten years of experience on the force, successful in her career due to her unflinching instincts. By 2058, not much surprises her until an Irish billionaire by the name of Roarke charms his way into her bed. Thrown off by his smooth demeanor and his snapshot in the list of suspects for her top case, she will have to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about. Prepare to be hooked by the first installment of J. D. Robb’s incredibly popular In Death series, which now spans 49 books and will keep you well-stocked with good mysteries for a long time to come.

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Stumptown Vol. 1

Stumptown Vol. 1

by Greg Rucka

Can’t get enough of the one and only Dex Parios? Read the first volume of the Stumptown comic book series that inspired the show. This graphic novel, a collection of the first four issues of the comics, allows for a deeper dive into Dex’s character, providing further background on her gambling addiction and the struggles she faces while determined to maintain stability for her younger brother, Ansel. Much like the pilot episode of the TV series, Dex must track down a missing girl to absolve her debt to the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast. She may not be Superwoman, but the comic-book format of Stumptown, Volume 1 will have you rooting for Dex’s success.

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Photo Credit // ABC/Jessica Brooks

Categories // Bookish Lists

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