***THRILLERS, CRIME NOVELS & MYSTERIES--Discussion Thread***
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Here's a list of crime novels published in 2018 to get us started.
Note: I'm dispensing with touchstones for the forthcoming titles because aren't always available in advance here. Assume the book is hardcover unless otherwise noted. This is a selection from the Mystery/Thriller pages of the journal with a few notes or short quotes.
From the Dec 24th issue:
Treason by Rick Campbell. 5th "gripping" series thriller featuring US National Security Advisor Christine O'Connor. (due out in March)
American Heroin by Melissa Love. *Starred review* Sequel to 2017's Lola. "Love crafts a first-rate plot, but this crime thriller's real strength is the character study of Lola, who eschews preconceived notions of what a drug lord should be." (due out Feb)
Watcher in the Woods. A Rockton Novel by Kelly Armstrong. 4th in the series. (due Feb)
Never Tell by Lisa Gardner. "Nail-biting" ninth novel featuring Boston police detective D D Warren. "Commendable storytelling" (due Feb)
The Coronation: A Fandorin Mystery by Boris Akunin. 7th in the series, this one set in Moscow 1896. "Keeps the action fast-paced, and the logical twists head-spinning, without sacrificing humor or depth of characterization." (due Feb)
The Overnight Kidnapper by Andrea Camilleri. 23rd Montalbano mystery. "...fans are in for a treat" (due out in Feb, trade paperback)
That Old Scoundrel Death: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider. 25th and last in the series. "Crider (1941-2018) created a completely plausible fictional sleuth with a sense of humor in Rhodes. Fans will miss him." (due Feb)
February's Son by Alan Parks. Set in 1973 Glasgow. "Serviceable" sequel to 2018's Bloody January. Features Det. Harry McCoy (due Feb, trade paperback)
In the Dark by Cara Hunter **Starred Review** "Arresting, unnerving" sequel to 2018's Close to Home/ Features DI Adam Fawley. (due out Feb, trade paperback)
After She's Gone by Camilla Grebe **Starred Review** "Stellar crime novel" features psychological profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schon, last seen in 2016's The Ice Beneath Her. Grebe delivers an "unflinching, heart-wrenching message about the plight of refugees in this scorching thriller." (due Feb)
Fate: The Lost Decades of Uncle Chow Tung by Ian Hamilton. Series Debut from this Canadian author. (due Feb. in trade paperback)
A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan. **Starred Review** " Issues of religion, culture, and racism take center stage in Khan’s outstanding fifth novel featuring Insp. Esa Khattak, the Toronto-based head of Canada’s Community Policing Section." (due Feb)
"How would you define "interesting" in your case? What do you like and dislike in a crime novel/mystery? Are you interested in social issues? history or historical settings? cultural insights? "foreign" or domestic locations, city or pastoral locations? a breathless run through the woods with the dogs after you? the cerebral buzz of complex criminal case? lightweight? humorous?"
PS: Although there IS a second Fandorin series (with the grandson Nicholas Fandorin) but the one coming out this year is from the original series.
The Good Detective, John McMahon
Set in Mason Falls, GA featuring Detective P.T. Marsh. “…he’s (McMahon) a talented writer with a good sense of place, and readers are sure to look forward to Marsh’s next outing.” (due Mar)
Killing Eve: No Tomorrow, Luke Jennings
“Jennings’s pallid second thriller featuring British intelligence agent Eve Polastri and her arch-nemesis, Villanelle (after 2018’s Codename Villanelle), lacks the appeal of the BBC America TV series Killing Eve based on the earlier book… —“Still, many fans of the TV series will want to check this one out” (trade paperback, due March)
The Gardener of Eden,David Downie
“A mysterious stranger camps out in the parking lot by the Eden Seaside Resort & Cottages in this so-so crime novel from Downie (City of Night), set in the scenic but seen-better-days Pacific Northwest community of Carverville.” “Fans of the author’s food and travel books may best appreciate this one.” (due March)
Open Carry, by Marc Cameron
“This terrific series launch from bestseller Cameron (the Jericho Quinn thrillers) introduces Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter, a skilled tracker….Cameron, who has nearly three decades in law enforcement and a stint as a U.S. marshal, keeps all these plot points delicately balanced and at the same time creates sympathetic heroes, depraved villains, and nail-biting action.(due March)
Double Exposure,Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.
“Gough and Millar, the creators of TV’s Smallville, miss the mark in their cartoonish fiction debut. In December 1961, Korean War veteran David Toland, who’s now a film preservationist in Washington, D.C., is approached by attractive CIA agent Lana Welles, who tells him that the U.S. government needs his skills….”
The Wolf and the Watchman, Niklas Natt och Dag, **starred review** trans from the Norwegian
“The discovery of a torso in a lake outside Stockholm drives Natt och Dag’s masterly first novel, set in 1793. … The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers named this the best debut novel of 2017. “ (Due March)
Something Read, Something Dead: A Lighthouse Library Mystery, Eva Gates
“Gates’s charming fifth Lighthouse Library mystery (after 2018’s The Spook in the Stacks) finds Lucy Richardson of the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library in Nags Head, N.C., and her friends making preparations for the small, simple wedding of …” (due March)
Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna, Mario Giordano, trans. from the German by John Brownjohn, **Starred Review** “In Giordano’s sharp, hilarious follow-up to 2016’s Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, Isolde “Poldi” Oberreiter, a 60-something Bavarian with a penchant for wigs who has settled in the charming Sicilian village of Torre Archirafi,….”
A Dangerous Collaboration: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Deanna Raybourn.
“In March 1888, Veronica Speedwell agrees to accompany Tiberius, Viscount Templeton-Vane, to a windswept Cornish isle, the home of a rare butterfly, in Raybourn’s deliciously gothic fourth mystery featuring the adventurous lepidopterist (after 2018’s A Treacherous Curse).” “…delightfully creepy tale with twists that would make Daphne Du Maurier proud.” (due March)
In the Shadow of the Enemy, Tania Bayard.”
The mystery unfolds slowly in Bayard’s well-researched sequel to 2018’s The Presence of Evil. In 1393, a fire during a celebration at the royal palace in Paris results in the death of a band of revelers who were closely associated with King Charles VI. Queen Isabeau, convinced that her husband was the target of an assassination attempt, asks intrepid scribe Christine de Pizan, a widow with a reputation for crime solving, to discover the villain’s identity.” “History fans will enjoy this one more than mystery lovers.” (due in March)
Beautiful Bad, Annie Ward **Starred Review**
This harrowing psychological thriller from Ward (The Making of June) begins with an aborted 911 call originating from the home that Ian and Maddie Wilson share with their three-year-old son, Charlie. Meadowlark, Kans., police officer Diane Varga responds… …Evocative descriptions and strong senses of time and place complement the intricate, intelligent plot, which shocks and chills while thoughtfully examining trauma’s toll on people and their relationships.”
Cookin’ the Books, Amy Patricia Meade.
This breezy series launch from Meade (the Marjorie McClellan mysteries) introduces Letitia “Tish” Tarragon, a former banker who has moved to the little town of Hobson Glen, Va., to open Cookin’ the Books Café, which offers such dishes as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Baked Ham on Cheesy Edgar Allan Poe-lenta (due out in March)
Murder by Matchlight, E.C.R. Lorac.
“Lorac (1894–1958) offers a nicely deceptive whodunit with a WWII setting, first published in 1945, in this entry in the British Library Crime Classics series… …This fair-play puzzle will be a welcome treat for golden age fans. (trade paperback, due in March)
Wendall’s Lullaby, Kip KoelschIn
“Koelsch’s imaginative, plausible suspense novel, scientists around the world are baffled when hundreds of dolphins beach themselves in Texas, Virginia, and Mozambique, numbers far greater than ever previously observed…” …”Fans of the film The Day of the Dolphin will enjoy this unusual and intelligent thriller.” (trade paperback)
Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens’s London, Claire Harman. **Starred Review**
"Biographer Harman (Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart) effectively uses a novelist’s approach to recreate a now obscure 1840 English murder case that was a sensation at the time. Lord William Russell, uncle to the secretary of state for the colonies, was found in the bedroom of his London home with his throat slit...." (due March)
The Department of Sensitive Crimes, Alexander McCall Smith.
New series set in Sweden. (due in March)
The Devil Aspect: The Strange Truth Behind the Occurrences at Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane by Craig Russell.
“What if a Jack the Ripper copycat was at work in 1935 Czechoslovakia? That’s the premise of this sensational serial killer novel, Scottish author Russell’s U.S. debut, in which twists are both jaw-dropping and logical.” (due March)
The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear.
**Starred Review** As a volunteer ambulance driver in London in 1940, Maisie Dobbs aids the victims of the German blitz, in bestseller Winspear’s excellent 15th novel featuring the psychologist/investigator (due in March)
Death at the Wychbourne Follies by Amy Myers
In Myers’s buoyantly amusing sequel to 2017’s Dancing with Death, Escoffier-trained chef Nell Drury muses: “In this year of 1926, the war had been over for seven years, but how did one calculate ‘over’?” … Myers balances the fun with acute observations on the aftereffects of WWI. Historical fans will be pleased. (March)
The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg
Thriller. Sequel to 2018’s The Kremlin Conspiracy (due March)
A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty.
In Daugherty’s gripping sequel to 2018’s The Echo Killing, Savannah Daily News reporter Harper McClain investigates the murder of law student and bartender Naomi Scott. (due March)
The Liar’s Child by Carla Buckley
Familiar themes of love, loyalty, and lies merge in this snoozy thriller from Buckley (The Good Goodbye) about Sara Lennox, who’s in a federal witness program and grudgingly beginning her new life… (March)
A Taste for Honey by H.F. Heard.
A love of honey leads Sydney Silchester, the curmudgeonly narrator of this solid entry from Heard (1889–1971) in the American Mystery Classics series, to the door of the Heregroves, the only beekeepers in the environs of the English village of Ashton Clearwater. (March)
I, Witness by Niki Mackay
PI Madison Attallee, the prickly, troubled heroine of British author Mackay’s psychologically astute debut… Mackay builds tension to a fever pitch and throws in more twists than a corkscrew. Readers will look forward to Madison’s next case. (March)
Murder in an Irish Pub by Carlene O’Connor
O’Connor’s pleasing fourth Irish Village mystery…A clever twist on the locked-room mystery and the convivial village community will leave cozy readers well satisfied. (March)
The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage
“In British author Savage’s deliciously creepy first novel, Patrick and his wife, Sarah, who’s depressed after her mother’s death, move with their two teenage children, Mia and Joe, from Cardiff to Patrick’s childhood home on the South Wales coast. They’re disturbed to learn that the once magnificent Victorian house has been empty for 15 years…” (due Mar)
A Puzzle for Fools, Patrick Quentin **Starred review**
What if a sanitarium patient was asked to play detective by the facility’s director? That’s the intriguing hook in this entry in the American Mystery Classics series, originally published in 1936 under the Quentin pseudonym used by Hugh Callingham Wheeler and Richard Wilson Webb. (March)
Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare. **starred review**
A bad, bad thing has happened to 17-year-old Kate Bennet, the narrator of Australian author Pomare’s outstanding debut, with even worse looming. …Almost nothing will turn out as it initially appears in this devastating novel of psychological suspense. (due March)
Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins
Professional genealogist Lucy Lancaster, the heroine of Perkins’s fun debut, is hired by Gus, the patriarch of Texas’s Halloran clan, to delve into his family history, but what she finds is proof that Gus’s great-great-grandfather’s death in 1849 was no accident. …Lucy’s officemates and other quirky friends add spice to this delightful cozy. (March)
Red Hotel by Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller.
“The luxury hotel industry is at the center of this engrossing, if windy, collaboration between Grossman (Executive Actions) and Fuller, a longtime Marriott executive and author of the business book "You Can’t Lead with Your Feet on the Deck". (due Mar)
Dead in a Week by Andrea Kane
At the start of bestseller Kane’s riveting seventh Forensic Instincts novel (after 2017’s A Face to Die For), college student Lauren Pennington, on a junior year abroad, is kidnapped in Munich.
This thriller is a nail-biting adventure with a stunning conclusion.
The Better Sister, Alafair Burke
Burke paints a poignant portrait of sisterhood and sacrifice with this twist-riddled, character-driven whodunit. (April)
The Reign of the Kingfisher by T.J. Martinson **Starred Review**
Fans of superhero tales will relish Martinson’s energetic debut, in which the Kingfisher legend looms large over Chicago 30 years after the shadowy vigilante supposedly died. ….Martinson ratchets up the tension and keeps the suspense high to the end. (March)
Blood Oath by Linda Fairstein
Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Alex Cooper has no time to ease back into her routine after being kidnapped and witnessing the assassination of her boss in 2017’s Deadfall, in bestseller Fairstein’s 20th series legal thriller, notable for its focus on how to prove a rapist’s guilt. (March)
Between the Lies by Michelle Adams.
When Chloe Daniels, the narrator of this gripping psychological thriller from British author Adams (If You Knew My Sister), wakes up after a monthlong coma, she can’t remember anything about her former life. (March)
The Elephant of Surprise by Joe R. Lansdale.
At the start of Edgar winner Lansdale’s relentlessly paced 12th novel featuring Hap Collins and Leonard Pine (after 2018’s Jackrabbit Smile), the two wise-cracking buddies are driving through a winter rainstorm in East Texas when they spot a young woman, who runs onto the highway and collapses…. (March)
The Last Act by Brad Parks.
Inspired by the real-life case of Wachovia Bank, which failed to apply proper controls on Mexican money exchanges, this crime novel from Shamus Award winner Parks (Closer Than You Know) offers an intriguing setup but few thrills. (March)
The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman **Starred Review**
This brilliantly conceived and executed gothic thriller from …Goodman (The Other Mother) opens on a bus heading through Upstate New York on a cold and snowy December day…..Goodman provides readers with that delicious frisson that comes from not knowing what will happen next. (March)
Cemetery Road by Greg Iles. **Starred Review**
Marshall McEwan, the star of this compulsively readable thriller from bestseller Iles (Mississippi Blood), returns to his hometown of Bienville, Miss., for two good reasons: his father’s getting old and rickety, and the woman he loves still lives there. (March)
Desert Redemption: A Lena Jones Mystery by Betty Webb.
In Jones’s electrifying 10th and final Lena Jones mystery (after 2017’s Desert Vengeance), Scottsdale, Ariz., PI Lena is approached by Harold Slow Horse, one of Arizona’s leading artists, who insists that she investigate the Kanati Spiritual Center, a compound promoting a mishmash of Native American symbolism and philosophy…. (March)
Memo from Turner by Tim Willocks.
Willocks (Green River Rising) holds nothing back in this impressive crime novel featuring a relentless and incorruptible black South African police officer. …Fans of the gritty and gory work of James Ellroy and Paul Cleave will appreciate Willocks. (March)
Bones of the Earth by Eliot Pattison **Starred Review**
Edgar winner Pattison incorporates the political realities of Tibetan life under Chinese occupation into a page-turning whodunit in his 10th Shan Tao Yun mystery (after 2017’s Skeleton God). …Pattison has never been better in depicting a brave man’s dangerous pursuit of justice in a “land of broken places and broken people.” (March)
Redemption Point by Candice Fox.
“In Australian author Fox’s gripping sequel to 2016’s Crimson Lake, charges have been dropped against former New South Wales policeman Ted Conkaffey, who was accused of the rape and attempted murder…. …Fox, who coauthors the bestselling Harriet Blue series with James Patterson, keeps the tension high throughout.” (March)
A Deadly Turn by Claire Booth
“At the start of Booth’s strong third Hank Worth mystery (after 2017’s Another Man’s Ground), Hank, the sheriff of Branson County, Mo., is on patrol one evening when he flags down a car going over the speed limit….” (March)
A Town Called Malice by Adam Abramowitz **Starred Review**
A crafty plot and a nuanced look at gentrified Boston lifts Abramowitz’s impressive second mystery featuring bike messenger and would-be stand-up comic Zesty Meyers (after 2017’s Bosstown). …Robert B. Parker fans will appreciate Abramowitz’s depiction of the darker corners of Beantown. (March)
Mrs. Jeffries Delivers the Goods by Emily Brightwell.
Early in Brightwell’s overly complex 37th Victorian mystery (after 2018’s Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women)
Safe Haven by Patricia MacDonald
Pastry chef Dena Russell, the protagonist of this overstuffed domestic thriller from MacDonald (The Girl in the Woods), has reason to regret moving in with stable owner Brian Riley, a former schoolmate, by whom she’s become pregnant despite precautions, in her hometown of Monroe, Pa. (March)
The Unsuspected by Charlotte Armstrong **Starred Review**
Can it ever be ethical to gaslight someone? That’s the intriguing question raised by this superb entry in the American Mystery Classics series, originally published in 1946. ….Armstrong (1905–1969) is especially good at making readers doubt which characters they should be rooting for, while maintaining a nail-biting level of suspense. (Mar.)
Anyhoo, here is my JANUARY question:
Thinking back to your reading, can you share with us three mystery/crime/thriller books you have read and can recommend that stood out as especially intriguing in some way. Perhaps it is the way it was told, its underlying theme, the character/s, a richly detailed setting .... what makes it stand out in your mind?
1. The Method by Shannon Kirk. I really liked the way the story was told and the action unfolded.
2. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R King. I love the narrator Mary Russell, I think she's an interesting character.
3. Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R A Spratt. This is the first of a children’s (9 - 12) detective series complete with super clever heroine, her trusty sidekick, and her nemesis. Lots of fun.
1. Dreamless by Jørgen Brekke. Intriguing dual plot lines: one contemporary, one 18th century. And brief introductions to early Norwegian and Swedish musical tradition, music boxes and the Ringve Museum.
2. North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo. Refreshing different. Mixes the fishing industry with the perfume industry, and with a tough, screwed up, 2nd generation Russian female protagonist (and rich) - took me a bit to warm up to her.
3. White Heat by Melanie McGrath. Half-Inuit female investigator on Canada's Ellesmere Island. Reasonably good crime story with a fabulous cultural information dump. Entertainment & education!
1. Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall -- a novel told from the point of view of the ex-boyfriend, it combines an unreliable narrator with a genuinely shocking twist at the end.
2. The Trespasser by Tana French -- I don't generally follow series mysteries - there are a few rules for these novels that have grown stale for me over time, but French's series follows a different detective each time and she writes with real insight about people and motivations. The Trespasser follows a multi-racial woman detective who had to fight to become a homicide detective and is still fighting, despite having a decent partner (relationships between detectives partnering on cases are French's real strength). Here, the case involves a woman who was murdered by someone she'd clearly invited in.
3. The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney -- the investigation concerns Travelers and the private detective is from that background. He's also a heavy drinker and suicidal and Penney writes a wonderful and humane character study.
4. Darktown by Thomas Mullen -- the first in a series of police procedurals set in Atlanta, GA during the late 1940s, when the first black police officers were hired. They are severely restricted in what they can do and they can't even visit police headquarters due to the animosity of the white police, but they are determined to solve the case of a black woman murdered by a white man. This is a wonderfully researched look at a time and a place, and Mullen shows both the tenacity and terror of the two black officers determined to find justice for the victim. There's also a white officer, somewhat less racist (or at least more conflicted) than his fellow officers and Mullen is just a very good writer.
Sorry for going over the limit. It's probably good you set one in the first place.
1-3. The Marseille Trilogy (Total Khéops, Chourmo and Soléa) by Jean-Claude Izzo - these are fantastic crime novels that seem to have just about everything - poetry, an eclectic multi-culti soundtrack, cooking, scenery, and an engaging detective trying to deal with a black, black, black storyline of bent cops, racism and organised crime. Like Rebus, but with better weather and worse crime.
D.D. Warren by Lisa Gardner
Eve Dallas by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts/45+ books)
Kendra Michaels by Iris and Roy Johansen
Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun
In this thought-provoking psychological thriller from Lasdun (The Fall Guy), journalist Marco Rosedale, an English expat living in New York, stands accused of sexual assault from an encounter 40 years earlier… the story is a powerful social commentary that examines the consequences of such an accusation on both parties. …this novel comes to a brilliantly ironic conclusion that will leave readers reeling.
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson. **starred review**
At the start of this exceptional psychological thriller from Swanson (All the Beautiful Lies), bipolar Hen “Henrietta” Mazur and her husband, Lloyd Harding, have dinner one night at the suburban Boston home of neighbors Mira and Matt Dolamore, with whom they’ve recently bonded over their mutual childlessness. …urprising twists help keep the suspense high to the end.
The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets.
Marian Engström, the 26-year-old heroine of this elegantly written thriller from Les Becquets (Breaking Wild), joins a conservation study group in northeastern Alberta, where she begins her instruction as a dog handler. …Eloquent, detailed descriptions of nature and of rescue dog training, survival techniques, and the peripatetic life of conservationists enrich the narrative.
Smoke and Ashesby Abir Mukherjee **starred review**
Mukherjee makes the most of his setting, 1921 Calcutta, in his superior third mystery featuring the all-too-human Capt. Sam Wyndham, of the British Imperial Police, and his Indian assistant, Sgt. “Surrender-Not” Banerjee (after 2018’s A Necessary Evil). …Mukherjee, who only gets better and better with each book, has established himself as a leading historical mystery writer.
The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry **Starred Review**
Bestseller Berry’s enthralling 14th Cotton Malone novel (after 2018’s The Bishop’s Pawn) finds former U.S. Justice Department operative Malone on a freelance assignment to retrieve long-lost correspondence between Benito Mussolini and Winston Churchill. …Fans of Dan Brown will have fun, and some may even prefer Berry’s action-oriented hero to Brown’s cerebral Robert Langdon.
Wolf Pack: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box **Starred Review**
When game warden Katelyn Hamm observes a herd of elk being stampeded by a drone in Edgar-winner Box’s excellent 19th novel starring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett (after 2018’s The Disappeared), she enlists Joe’s aid in tracking down the drone’s owner. …Box is the king of contemporary crime fiction set in the West.
Her Father’s Secret by Sara Blaedel, trans. from the Danish by Mark Kline
Blaedel’s grim sequel to 2018’s The Undertaker’s Daughter takes Ilka Jensen from Denmark to Racine, Wis., to inherit her estranged and now deceased father’s failing funeral home…. …he book’s cliffhanger ending will make readers look forward to the next set of secrets for Ilka to unravel.
Black Souls by Gioacchino Criaco, trans. from the Italian by Hillary Gulley.
Set in Calabria, Criaco’s debut suffers from its unnamed narrator’s lack of emotional reaction to the violence he commits. The narrator, along with his friends Luciano and Luigi, grew up used to their families’ involvement in holding hostages, known as swine, for ransom on behalf of the mob.
Finding Katarina M. by Elisabeth Elo
At the start of this gripping thriller from Elo (North of Boston), surgeon Natalie March meets Saldana Tarasova, a Russian ballerina performing in the city, in her Washington, D.C., office…. …Fascinating historical details encompass uranium mining, the gulags, and cultural life in the Soviet era. Natalie’s tense and illuminating journey will enthrall readers.
A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle **starred review**
Early in this addictive hardboiled crime novel from Boyle (Gravesend), Rena Ruggiero, the widow of murdered Brooklyn mobster “Gentle Vic” Ruggiero, hits her octogenarian neighbor, Enzio, over the head with a heavy ashtray after he makes an unwanted pass at her. Thinking him dead, she takes off in Enzio’s prized ’62 Impala. ….Boyle skillfully mixes a classic Westlake/Leonard–style caper with the powerful tale of three women facing the ghosts of their pasts.
The Dutch Shoe Mystery by Ellery Queen.
First published in 1931, this exceptional entry in the American Mystery Classics series from MWA Grand Master Queen (the pen name of Fredric Dannay and Manfred B. Lee) offers a scrupulously fair puzzle. …This is a genuine treat for those who love to match wits with fictional detectives.
Until the Day I Die by Emily Carpenter
In this chilling psychological thriller from Carpenter (The Weight of Lies), grief-stricken Erin Gaines is forced to take over the leadership of Jax, the Birmingham, Ala., tech company that her recently deceased husband ran. After a harrowing incident …. …Carpenter keeps the suspense high all the way to the shocking conclusion.
The Horseman’s Song by Ben Pastor. **starred review**
Set in 1937, Pastor’s outstanding sixth mystery featuring German investigator Martin Bora (after 2017’s The Road to Ithaca) makes effective use of the death of Federico García Lorca, the celebrated poet, during the Spanish Civil War…. ,,,Pastor does an excellent job of creating a backstory for her lead that fits in well with the previous books.
What is it about not-yet-published books that make them so much more attractive than books that already exist?
Arrow’s Fallby Joel Scott.
“Canadian author Scott’s stirring sequel to 2018’s Arrow’s Flight finds Jared Kane, the book’s narrator and captain of the wooden sailing ship Arrow, moored at New Zealand’s North Island, along with Danny Maclean, his best friend… …Fans of nautical thrillers will enjoy the sailing lingo … as they happily ride the waves and dive the seas with the intrepid crew of the Arrow. (due out May)
Alice’s Island by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, trans. from the Spanish by the author.**Starred Review**
“Spanish author Arévalo makes his English-language debut with this moving, fairy-dusted novel. Elementary school teacher Alice Williams is devastated when her young husband, Chris, dies from a brain aneurysm while driving back from a business trip, but she can’t help but wonder what Chris was doing 40 miles east of their Providence, R.I., home instead of west….” (April)
Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
“…Only an awkward closing twist undercuts a heartfelt tale that touches on family, marriage, justice, and how emotional wounds drive the choices people make. Scottoline’s fans will be well satisfied.” (April)
The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan
“In Irish author Kiernan’s well-paced sequel to 2018’s Too Close to Breathe, Dublin Det. Chief Supt. Frankie Sheehan is asked by attorney Tanya West, who happens to be her sister-in-law, to look into the case of Seán Hennessy… …Frankie’s insights at crime scenes, her close relationships with squad members, and the vivid picture of Dublin lift this police procedural.” (April)
The Last by Hanna Jameson
“Historian Jon Keller, the narrator of this engrossing post apocalyptic psychological thriller from British author Jameson (Something You Are), and a small group of others have decided to stay in place at L’Hotel Sixième, a Swiss hotel in “the middle of nowhere,” in response to reports of nuclear attacks devastating major cities in the U.S. and Europe…. …Jameson asks powerful questions about fear, community, and self-interest while exploring human interactions that range wildly from the tender to the brutal to the purely mercenary. She succeeds in evoking a palpable, immanent sense of tension in a story that’s equal parts drama and locked-room murder mystery.”
The Invited by Jennifer McMahon.
“In this powerful supernatural thriller from bestseller McMahon (Burntown), history teacher Helen Wetherell and her husband, Nate, buy 44 acres in rural Vermont on which to build their dream house, land the locals believe to be cursed… …Whether one believes in ghosts, McMahon’s consummately crafted chiller is guaranteed to haunt.” (April)
The Tale Teller: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel by Anne Hillerman
“At the start of bestseller Hillerman’s laconic fifth Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito novel (after 2018’s Cave of Bones), PI Joe Leaphorn, a former Navajo police lieutenant, and Daisy Pinto of the Navajo Nation meet at the tribal library to discuss some recent museum donations, in which the most valuable item listed on the paperwork was either not included or has gone missing. They’re interrupted by the news that a young woman is lying unconscious…” (April)
Death of a New American by Mariah Fredericks **Starred Review**
“Fredericks’s wonderfully moving sequel to 2018’s A Death of No Importance opens in 1912 with lady’s maid Jane Prescott helping Louise Benchley, the shy daughter of an upper-class New York family, prepare for her society wedding… …Fredericks has a sharp eye for the complexities of human nature and how even good people are capable of committing terrible deeds to protect the ones they love. This is a touching portrait of early-20th-century New York in all its glory and ugliness.”(April)
Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Dow. **Starred Review**
“Defense attorney Dow, the founder of the Texas Innocence Project, makes an impressive fiction debut. Wealthy Tieresse Kerryman courts Rafael Zhettah, a chef from a humble background, after she has a meal at his Houston restaurant… …The plot is a page-turner, and the addition of Dow’s knowledge of the legal machinery of death and his nuanced characterization of his lead elevate this above similarly themed legal thrillers.
A Dream of Death: An Antique Mystery by Connie Berry.
“In Berry’s suspenseful, elegantly written debut and series launch, Ohio antiques dealer Kate Hamilton reluctantly returns to the Scottish isle of Glenroth… …Readers will look forward to seeing more of the intelligent and resourceful Kate.” (April)
Fatal Judgment: An Andy Hayes Mystery by Andrew Welsh-Huggins
At the start of Welsh-Huggins’s intriguing sixth Andy Hayes mystery (after 2018’s The Third Brother), Judge Laura Porter, for whom the Columbus, Ohio, PI once did security work after Porter was threatened by a convict’s relative, shows up at his house… …Fans of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone books will be pleased. (April)
Save Me From Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchunk **Starred Review**
“…This intelligent, action-packed thriller will resonate with readers as it touches on such themes as domestic violence, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the intrusive potential of advance technologies… …a credible plot and solid prose are pluses but the book’s real appeal stems from its powerful, distinctive protagonist.” (April)
The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards. **starred review**
“…Bianca and Colin’s sizzling chemistry makes for a great match up, and the cinematic, relentless action is sprinkled with Robards’s trademark humor. This is Bianca’s most exciting and satisfying adventure yet.” (March)
Crown Jewel: A Simon Riske Novel by Christopher Reich
“Early in Thriller Award winner Reich’s entertaining sequel to 2018’s The Take, Lord Toby Stonewall, Duke of Suffolk and shareholder in the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, approaches professional problem solver Simon Riske in London… …Reich infuses his narrative with numerous plot threads that seem separate but end up satisfyingly intersecting for a suspenseful ending.” (March)
Murder in Belgravia: A Mayfair 100 Mystery by Lynn Brittney.
“Set in 1915, YA author Brittney’s enticing first adult novel and series launch finds London’s Metropolitan Police woefully shorthanded. When Lord Murcheson, a wounded army officer recently sent home from France, is stabbed to death… …This is a must for Downton Abbey fans.” (March)
St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking by Dana Haynes **Starred Review**
“This clever, fast-paced thriller from Haynes (Gun Metal Heart) introduces a decidedly odd crime-fighting couple—Michael Finnigan, a tough former U.S. marshal, and Katalin Fiero Dahar, a lethal ex-spy, who operate an illegal international bounty hunting enterprise based in Cyprus… …Haynes effectively interweaves the unusual working relationship between his cop and spook with copious descriptions of military hardware and ops details.”. (March)
And Then You Were Gone by R.J. Jacobs
“Emily Firestone, the narrator of Jacobs’s taut debut, lost her father at a young age and has struggled with bipolar disorder for years. Finally, her life is on track… …Jacobs, a psychologist himself, delivers a compulsively readable yet complex thriller, filled with red herrings, plenty of action, and an appealing but deeply flawed protagonist.” (March)
I love the way Tana French writes about relationships, and my favorite of her novels is Faithful Place.
I also liked Ghostwalk several years ago, by Rebecca Stott (read by Rosalyn Landor) a historical novel that combines a story set in two different time periods in Cambridge. There may or may not be a ghost involved.
Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel. **Starred Review**
“In de Muriel’s excellent fourth Victorian mystery featuring the Commission for the Elucidation of Unsolved Cases Presumably Related to the Odd and Ghostly (after 2018’s A Mask of Shadows), the commission’s two members, Scottish Insp. Ian Frey and his superior, Adolphus McGray, look into a particularly creepy case….” (April)
I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
“For most folks, being suspected in the disappearance of their spouse would be about as bad as it gets, but not for London actress Aimee Sinclair, the narrator of bestseller Feeney’s shock-filled second thriller (after 2018’s Sometimes I Lie). …The action speeds toward a finale that’s about as subtle as an ax. Fans of over-the-top psychological thrillers will be satisfied.” (April)
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall.
“This cleverly updated version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None from Hall (A Quiet Storm) stars Miriam Macy, who’s going through a difficult patch… …Hall slips from funny to darkly frightening with elegant ease. (April)
I Am Watching by Emma Kavanagh
“In 1996, 15-year-old Isla Bell, the heroine of this engrossing mystery from Kavanagh (The Missing Hours), finds three bodies strangled and lined up against Hadrian’s Wall in the moorlands of Brigandon, England. Two more murders follow … …Kavanagh keeps the suspense high to the chilling conclusion.” (April)
The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith
“When three unidentified bodies with mutilated faces turn up on the banks of the Vistula River in 1992 Warsaw, the police initially assume that they are dealing with a serial killer in this solid thriller from Smith (A Vision of Angels). Later, they determine that the victims are Russian and carry traces of radioactivity… …Interest lies in watching how various strands of the straightforward plot gradually converge as events play against a moody picture of daily life in post–Cold War Poland. Sharply drawn characters, rich dialogue, and a clever conclusion bode well for any sequel.” (April)
The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni.**Starred Review**
“Forty years after leaving the CIA, Charles Jenkins, the hero of this nail-biter from Edgar finalist Dugoni (The 7th Canon), is living in Camano Island, Wash., with his pregnant wife and nine-year-old son. Since Charles is threatened with losing his debt-ridden security consulting company and his home, he agrees to be reactivated when his former CIA station chief… …Dugoni delivers an exceptionally gripping spy thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. “ (April)
The Missing Corpse: A Brittany Mystery by Jean-Luc Bannalec, trans. from the German by Sorcha McDonagh.
“Bannalec’s droll fourth Brittany mystery (after 2018’s The Fleur de Sel Murders) finds Commissaire Georges Dupin, who’s been banished from a Parisian post to “the end of the world,” set to attend a required seminar whose topic is “Conducting Systematic and Systemic Conversations in Investigative Situations.” Fortunately, he’s able to skip the seminar after receiving a call that sends him to the banks of the Belon River, where a corpse has been discovered…. …Bannalec’s easy, digressive, but occasionally plodding narrative touches on Breton culture, from druids to bagpipe bands. The usual food obsessions and Parisian fish-out-of-water tropes become more amusing with each installment, making Dupin something of a contemporary provincial Poirot.” (April)
Condor: The Short Takes by James Grady **Starred Review*
“The five previously published short stories and one original novella in Grady’s superb collection will please fans of the spy known as Condor, who first appeared in the 1974 bestseller Six Days of the Condor… …Grady’s writing has changed dramatically over the years, evolving into a literary, impressionistic style that will unbalance some readers, but is a perfect fit for the aging, unhinged, yet still-lethal Condor. This is an author writing at the top of his, or anyone else’s, game.” (April)
Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen, trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston.
“In this inspired meld of crime and dark comedy from Tuomainen (The Man Who Died), Jorma Leivo hires two bumbling thugs, Kari “Chico” Korhonen and his friend Robin, a cook at a restaurant called Beverly Hills Dining (formerly the Hungry Herring), to vandalize the home of Olivia Koski… …Colorful characters and awkward situations… enhance the zany plot. Tim Dorsey fans will have fun.” (April)
Before She Was Found by Heather Budenkauf **Starred Review**
“This scintillating psychological thriller from bestseller Gudenkauf (Not a Sound) examines the cruelty of children, judgmental adults, and the consequences of pranks… …The stunning plot builds to a chillingly realistic ending… Gudenkauf is at the top of her game.“(April)
Sweeney on the Rocks by Allen Morris Jones
“Ted Sweeney, the protagonist of this fine crime novel from Jones (A Bloom of Bones), has been living a peaceful life in Rockjaw, Mont., having given up his former identity of New York City gangster Cosimo Aniello when he entered the Witness Protection Program. But… “ (April)
The Godless by Paul Doherty. **Starred Review**
“Sir John Cranston, Lord High Coroner of London, needs Brother Athelstan’s help in Doherty’s outstanding 19th historical featuring the Dominican parish priest. In 1381, someone has been slashing the throats of prostitutes, stripping their corpses, and adorning their heads with a red wig before leaving the bodies in a skiff on the Thames… …Doherty keeps the action brisk, the crimes baffling, and the deductions and solution fair” (April)
A Bloody Business: The Rise of Organized Crime in America by Dylan Struzan
“Based on a series of interviews with gangster Jimmy Alo (1904–2001) in his old age, Struzan’s first novel takes a sweeping look at the Prohibition era from 1920 to 1933. The narrative focuses on friends and business partners Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky, but it also includes a large cast of lesser-known Italian, Jewish, and Irish mobsters … …Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 18th Amendment, this crime saga thunders along with the authority of an erupting Tommy gun… “ (April)
Why Was Rachel Murdered? by Bill Prentice.
“Prentice’s taut debut draws the reader into the world of Ponzi schemes, money laundering, political corruption, and greed…. …Prentice’s complicated but enjoyable thriller provides some insight into current real-life headlines about international criminal activity.” (April)