Tom Straw's (Emmy-nominated TV writer/producer of Night Court, Grace Under Fire, and Cosby) debut novel is a heady, stylish, and deft action-thriller narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Hardwick. After a scandal over an embarrassing picture taken of a powerful congressman, Hardwick hits lean times. He can't quite squeak by as a tabloid paparazzi ("celebrity shooter?ǥ) and he owes a ruthless loan shark, Rudy Newgate, money. So, Hardwick accepts a fee to hunt down TV sitcom star Bonnie Quinn ("a walking basket case?ǥ) to film the one-hundredth episode of the big hit Thanks for Sharing. When Bonnie returns to the set but winds up dead, Hardwick turns into a hard-nosed detective out to prove her drug OD suicide was murder. His ex-fiancee and partner from their Vietnam news beat, Meddy Benson, sets aside their past differences to assist Hardwick. His flashy neighbor Amanda St. Hillaire and crotchety associate Pinkham round out his sidekicks. The network brass led by the pious billionaire Otis Grove and his sycophants Elliot Pratt and Monte Arnett have their reasons to keep close tabs on Hardwick. The pace builds at a keen clip to the clever final solution. Hardwick, a Twain aficionado, is a likeable, relentless protagonist.
Harlan Coben, author of the bestselling Myron Bolitar series, has produced a first-rate stand-alone novel featuring Paul Copeland, lawyer and county prosecutor for Essex County (Newark), New Jersey. His wife Jane died of cancer five years earlier,and Paul is raising his six-year-old daughter Cara alone. Paul also lives with another tragedy. Two decades ago, he worked as a camp counselor when four campers disappeared in a vast forest. The bodies of teenagers Margot Green and Doug Billingham were soon recovered, but Gil Perez and Camille Copeland, Paul's kid sister, were never found. Convicted serial killer Wayne Steubens (called the "Summer Slasher") serves in a super-max prison for the murders.
When a corpse thought to be Gil Perez turns up, Paul sets out to unravel what really happened in the woods all those years ago. Intricate subplots include Paul's rekindled interest in his ex-girlfriend Lucy Silverstein now a college professor, his prosecution of a volatile rape case, and on investigation of his father's sketchy KGB past. Superb dialogue, a keen sense of pacing, and a flawed but noble protagonist add to this thriller's appeal.
Heads are rolling, literally, in Edna Buchanan's latest Britt Montero novel. When the skull of Spencer York, the infamous kid-snatching custody crusader for divorced fathers, bounces off the steel lip of a construction site bulldozer, Sergeant Craig Burch's Miami Cold Case Squad is soon constructing a long list of possible suspects. Seems York had outraged at least half the population with his venomous tirades against women. Britt Montero, a police beat reporter for the Miami News already familiar with York, is called back from her self-imposed exile to assist with the case.
She also happens to have a camera she found washed up on the beach, which holds evidence that puts her on the trail of a serial killer and a front-page story that will expose him. In the meantime, the Cold Case Squad continues their search for York's executioner.
Love Kills offers two unfolding storylines served up by a seasoned writer. Buchanan draws well on her sensual setting of Miami
Kjell Ericksson's character-driven police procedural, The Cruel Stars of the Night, tells the story of two women and the crime which brings them together. Ann Lindell is a police officer and Laura Hindersten is the daughter of a tyrannical professor. Both are trying to cope with loss and loneliness and reach out to a new life.
It begins when Laura reports the disappearance of her father, an expert on the Renaissance poet Petrarch, and Ann begins the investigation of the bludgeoning death of a bachelor farmer. When a second farmer is found beaten to death, Ann's bosses begin to worry that a serial killer is loose and the pressure mounts on her to discover the killer.
The Cruel Stars of the Night was well received in Sweden and Ericksson's previous novel, The Princess of Burundi, won Best Swedish Crime Novel. The translation into English of this wonderful series is a welcome addition to other terrific works like the novels of Henning Mankell the Martin Beck books by Maj Sj
Anthony award-winner Charlaine Harris, author of the popular Sookie Stackhouse vampire mysteries, has published the third title in her Harper Connelly series. Since a lightning bolt zapped her at age 15, Harper has been able to to locate corpses and discern their causes of death. It earns her a passable living.
As the book title suggests, it is late January. Harper, 31, is summoned to the mountain hamlet of Doraville, North Carolina, with her stepbrother Tolliver, 28. A serial killer (
PI Easy Rawlins is depressed. His beloved has left him, and now his best friend Mouse is missing, suspected of murder.
Mouse's disappearance has hit Easy hard. The fiercely loyal, sometimes psychotic Mouse has saved his life many times, and he understands Easy. But finding Mouse puts his own family in danger and Easy will do anything to keep his cherished
By turns suspenseful, cynical and violent, the 21 hardboiled tales that make up this terrific collection cast the Windy City and its occupants in a dark light: Sara Paretsky's
In this simple and beautifully written short novel (240 pages), we spend 12 hours in the life of Police Constable Billy Tyler. Billy is assigned duty in a hospital morgue overnight, guarding the recently deceased body of one of England's most notorious female killers, Myra Hindley. She and her male partner kidnapped, tortured, and murdered children during the 1960s and buried them on the moors. Somehow, in death Myra is again attracting as much--or more--attention and hate as she did during her trial, and Billy's job is to
Aurelio Zen takes his final bow in this ironically elegiac mystery. This time the Italian detective heads to Calabria in the lawless south, where an American visitor has been murdered. The victim was last seen climbing a hill to a ruined village and nobody knows what he was doing there, or why someone used a remote control detonator to blow his head off. At least, they're not telling. Calabrians tend to keep their secrets.
There are many tangled threads: an American company making a blockbuster film about the apocalypse (or are they?), the hunt for an ancient menorah (or is it a fake?), and a violent and vindictive local thug who terrorizes the locals into silence, all woven together with double- and triple-crosses. Dibdin mingles high humor with an undercurrent of anger, particularly in the relationship between an ignorant young American millionaire who can only think in computer metaphors and doesn't read anything in
Business attorney and kayaking enthusiast Hannah Dain has her hands full. She's been appointed lead counsel in a pollution case brought against the Feds by an Arizona Indian tribe. Struggling with numerous personal and family problems, Hannah thinks the quick settlement offer is a blessing until a distraught Indian woman approaches her and pleads for a chance to tell her story in court. Hannah reluctantly agrees, but soon learns that there are people who will do anything to keep the case from going to trial.
With only her athletic abilities, her desert
For ten years, Detective Archie Sheridan worked on the
Sherry Moore is a woman you'll want to know. Cerebral blindness from a childhood accident produced a curious side effect: She can touch the dead and witness the last 18 seconds of their memory. Her gift is not without a cost, leaving her vulnerable to what she sees and causing severe psychological stress.
The police request her help to identify a serial killer who asphyxiates and hangs his female victims. On the inside the killer is compulsively self-analytical, while on the outside he strives to
Doherty's second book about The Cellar--a covert US government organization that outranks even the CIA--mixes equal parts mystery and military thriller, but the resulting concoction is unadulterated success.
One year after a special ops mission in Columbian drug territory goes wrong, leaving three soldiers dead, four young women back in the US are abducted and/or killed--and in one case, the attacker leaves behind fragments of a cache report giving precise locations to hidden arms or supplies. But the cache is human.
The Cellar calls in a pair of top operatives to investigate as well as a psychologist working as a
Joe Trumbull, the hero of Steve Hamilton's first standalone novel, has a lot in common with Hamilton's series protagonist, Alex McKnight: both of them can't stay out of trouble, and both have a habit of getting seriously hurt. But Trumbull is better prepared, because boxing is his hobby and he's in good shape. A probation officer and investigator in a Hudson River town 90 miles north of New York City, he works with male juvenile offenders trying to keep them out of the prison system.
Joe lives a constricted life since the murder of his fiancee two days before their wedding. He has no interests other than his job, the boxing he does to keep himself from slipping deeper into depression, and his collection of jazz music.
The book begins when he tries to date again--but his new interest is soon murdered, strangled like his fiancee. Joe becomes the prime suspect, leading him to re-investigate his old cases, particularly those in which he failed to keep his accused client out of prison. There is a twist at the end that's as tense as it is unexpected.
The publisher calls this book Hamilton's
All the best books, especially mysteries, begin with an implied
When L.A. restaurateur Wendy Harper is severely beaten and begins to fear for her life, she hires PI Jack Till to help her disappear. Six years later, evidence surfaces implicating her former partner Eric in her alleged
The Betrayed is the second in a historical trilogy about a group of early Christians known as
Stella Crown, a Harley-riding dairy farmer, joins her boyfriend Nick and their friends Lucy and Lenny in a rare night out using free rock concert tickets provided by their mutual friend Jordan. But they end up racing for the exit with other panicked rockers after someone shouts
This second title in a series (after The Grail Conspiracy) is set in Russia, Washington, D.C., and Kentucky. Cotten Stone is the daughter of a fallen angel named Furmiel. She serves God's will on earth as one condition of Furmiel's atonement, taking the mortal form of a young journalist working for Satellite News Network (SNN). She receives a message from her old school friend, Lindsay Jordan. Lindsay and her eight-year-old daughter, Tera, have gone into hiding and need Cotten's help.
Tera has the ability to see auras surrounding people, a talent that puts her in danger from Secretary of Homeland Security Rizben Mace. Mace, who actually works for Satan, is behind a global cyber-terrorism plot and his cohorts project a
No one has ever accused Joyce Carol Oates of being the life of the party, but in her newest collection of short stories, she takes her penchant for the ghastly and grim to a new level. Not that we mind, though, when the stories are as well-imagined and told as hers.
In the title story, we visit a nasty little museum devoted to
Donna Andrews' popular comedy troupe is back--appearing this time at the Caerphilly, Virginia farm where Meg Lanslow and her fiance Michael are moving in advance of their upcoming marriage.
While digging a pit in the new house's basement for some
Driving home through a typhoon one night, Japanese journalist Shogo Kosaka picks up Shinji, a teenage boy, who claims he has just seen a six-year-old child die as the result of a thoughtless prank by two grown men. Shinji ultimately admits that he only saw the event unfold in his mind, but excuses his white lie by explaining that he’s a psychic. Being a journalist, Kosaka is skeptical, but when the child is later found dead in the same circumstances Shinji described, he smells a good “weekender” story and begins to investigate Shinji’s other claims. The boy’s apparent ESP talents come close to convincing Kosaka, but then an old friend of Shinji’s shows up and says the boy is merely mentally ill, with a talent for inflicting his delusions on others.
Ultimately, Kosaka begins to question his own motivations. Is he his brother’s keeper, or a reporter in search of a story? In Sleeping Dragon, what begins as a thriller emerges as a profound treatise on the limits of personal responsibility. Miyuki Miyabe has written more than 40 novels and is the recipient of the Naoki, Japan’s top prize for popular fiction. No wonder. Under the guise of “entertainment,” she always asks the big questions.
Chinese-American cop Robert Chow explores the corrupt world of “snakeheads” or human smugglers while investigating a double homicide in New York’s Chinatown of the mid-1970s. Chow’s investigation centers around three community leaders representing China’s fractured politics. While hunting for the killer, he launches a personal vendetta against the snakeheads, spurred in part by his father’s trials as an illegal alien. In Chow, Lin has created a character with the unique perspective that comes from straddling two cultures. Among the book’s greatest strengths are its depiction of Chow’s relationships with his black male partner, his girlfriend and the various colorful characters populating Chinatown. A subplot involving a psychologically damaged fellow Vietnam veteran adds texture to the story and underscores the wounds Chow himself suffered during the war. In addition, Lin’s dour sense of humor leavens the otherwise dark material. The dialogue is crisp and funny, for the most part, though it can become too expository on the subjects of China’s history and politics. And although the topic of illegal aliens working in sweatshops is often discussed, it’s never depicted. Nonetheless, Chow is a likable protagonist, whose humor, passion and insights into Chinese and American culture make the book well worth reading. The story works up to a stunning climax and, for Chow, the unearthing of a disturbing secret.
The Last Fix is billed as a thriller but in truth Dahl’s latest is an intricate, absorbing Norwegian police procedural with well-drawn, believable characters. In the first 70 pages, the enigmatic Katrine Bratterud’s last day comes alive in immediate, vivid detail. Katrine, fragile and vulnerable, spent three years in drug rehab. A day after a man from her past shows up at work and threatens her, she is dead. The investigation of Oslo Inspector Gunnarstranda and his partner Frank Frolich uproots secrets surrounding Katrine’s past, and their chief suspects soon become the very people at the rehab center who helped Katrine kick her drug habit.
Gunnarstranda and Frolich take center stage in Last Fix. The inspectors’ reflective nature and personal lives balance the crime element of the book. Frolich evaluates his life with longtime girlfriend Eva-Britt, while widower Gunnarstranda learns to deal with his ultra sensitivity to the women who come into his orbit, while amusingly coming to terms with his new goldfish. And if great characters weren’t enough, the unexpected solution to the mystery of who killed Katrine should cause readers’ jaws to drop.
In authors Mary Reed and Eric Mayer’s eighth John, the Lord Chamberlain Mystery set in sixth century Constantinople, John must investigate the deaths of two rebel instigators. The masses think the Emperor Justinian is behind the deaths and the city erupts in riots. Against a backdrop of mob rule, raging fires, and political intrigue, John must discover who these men were, as well as who killed them and why, if he hopes to restore the peace.
Eight for Eternity is a complex, political thriller. The murders of the two instigators, and later poisoning of a visiting merchant, are of less importance to the plot than the unraveling of the conspiracy that may be underway to dethrone Justinian. With his own life at stake, John must unmask the ringleaders before Constantinople is destroyed.
Constantinople and the historical Nika Riots are described in such crisp detail I could almost smell the smoke of the city burning and hear the chants of the enraged masses. The book’s greatest weakness lies in the final revelations of who and why, which fall flat. The journey with John, however, is compelling. His character is easy to sympathize with as his loyalties are stretched thin and his world spins out of control. Fans of historical novels and political intrigue will enjoy following this protagonist as he bobs and weaves through numerous obstacles and wades through lie after lie in order to save the city he loves.
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