Not every bookstore employs a graduate of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Her retired librarian chops, though, may be more what you’re looking for as you seek refuge from Winslow Way. She’s also the pit crew boss of our Mystery Book and Readers’ Circle Book groups, and will send you towards a pulse-pounding thriller if you let her.
Val McDermid’s “pandemic novel” thriller is the first in a new series starring Allie Burns, a journalist fresh out of college and working to make a name for herself on the staff of a Glasgow daily. She is struggling with the prejudices of the times, and not seen as a hard-core journalist or a peer by her fellows, but lucky to have befriended a fellow reporter, Danny Sullivan. Together Danny and Allie uncover two criminal cases that could make their careers. One involves financial misdeed and Danny’s brother; the other is an attempt to involve the IRA in a plot against the Scottish move for independence. McDermid does a wonderful job of recreating the tenor of the time while introducing a new character with brains and grit. More Allie Burns please! ~Susan
Every five years since school a group of friends meets to celebrate their friendship and to remember Isobel, a member of their group who died during their first trip together. On their tenth celebration one member of the group, a media celebrity recently fired for misconduct, is murdered. Vera Stanhope and her team are called in to investigate. As Vera, Joe, and Holly work their way through interviews of the friends and neighbors, a complex landscape of guilt, long-kept secrets and betrayals is bared; soon Vera and her team find themselves in grave danger. Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Ann Cleeves and this tenth in her Vera Stanhope series is possibly her best! ~Susan
Full disclosure: I love to cook and have collected cookbooks for decades. I am also a huge fan of Melissa Clark’s contributions to the food section of the New York Times. Her recipes are fun, tasty, and most importantly reliable. This collection of one-pan recipes is a treat for any cook who relishes the simplicity of minimal cleanup while providing an attractive and palate-pleasing meal. The book is full of gorgeous photographs and includes a wide range of dishes from soups to pastas to meat and meatless dishes with a variety of international selections. The Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta is delicious! It is not only a practical addition to any cookbook collection but a lovely gift book. ~Susan
Nina Totenberg's Supreme Court and legal coverage has won her every major journalism award in broadcasting. She has been celebrated by the American Bar Association and awarded countless honorary degrees for her exceptional body of work. Along the way she forged an enduring friendship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As both carved careers in male dominated fields, their friendship served as a sounding board for efforts to strengthen the rights of women. And as each suffered the pain of widowhood, their friendship gave them an anchor. More than simply the genial memoir of a titan of journalism, Totenberg's book is a unique view of American jurisprudence at the highest level and an homage to the exceptional friendship of two fierce and brilliant women. ~Susan
Julian Lawndsley left his high-powered finance job in London and bought a bookshop in a small seaside village. One of his first customers is Edward, the husband of a high-ranking intelligence officer and resident of the Silverview manse on the edge of the village. Strangely, he seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and early life and is eager to engage Julian in a new business enterprise. Shortly thereafter, a letter turns up at the door of the spy chief in London warning him of an intelligence breach in a small seaside village, and the le Carré roller coaster begins! This, the 26th and final of le Carré’s work, is full of love and betrayal, loyalty and morality, and dedication to public duty. Elegantly written, silkily plotted and ending with a satisfying punch this is a bittersweet finish to a stunning writing career. ~Susan
O’Reilly’s mother died when he was five, leaving him and his ten siblings in the care of their beloved father in rural Derry. It was the 1990s, and the violence of the Troubles was a part of everyday life, but Joe O’Reilly was more focused on feeding and schooling his eleven offspring. Making certain that his brood knew they were loved was his mission. Séamas, ninth of the eleven, shares a life filled with grief, music, books, dogs, and the perplexity of being a little boy. Readers of Say Nothing and Angela’s Ashes will relish this big-hearted and gorgeously written memoir. It was a runaway best seller in Ireland. Full of humor, tears, and the quirky observations of eleven obstreperous children it is a joy to read! ~Susan
This collection of three novellas captured my attention from the first paragraph. Homecoming features Jake Brigance, the attorney from Grisham’s first blockbuster A Time to Kill. Strawberry Moon gives a glimpse of young Cody Wallace on the day he is scheduled to be executed. The story is a meditation on the futility of taking a life for a life. Sparring Partners tells of two estranged brothers who run their father’s law firm. Their father, convicted of malpractice, is on the verge of a pardon. The pages in this collection fly by and are an excellent appetizer of Grisham’s great storytelling talent. ~Susan
Liv Green is the housekeeper for bestselling author Essie Starling, and her biggest fan. When Essie passes away suddenly, her dying wish is for Liv to finish her last novel. With just months to finish the book, Liv realizes that she really loves to write, and discovers secrets of her own past and Essie’s that connect them in a way that changes her life forever. This latest from the author of Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and Library of Lost and Found is a feel-good story in which hearts are mended, lives find purpose, and books are the touchstones to finding life’s secrets. A seat near a fireplace would be the perfect venue to soak in this simply delightful read. ~Susan
In her 17th book of the Inspector Gamache series, the village of Three Pines is emerging from the pandemic, when a stranger appears who tests Gamache’s belief in our common humanity. Using the statistics of the pandemic to derive a plan to apply eugenics to the control of populations, a well published professor shakes the village to its very core. Her university address ignites a firestorm of philosophical polarity. Good versus evil, our duty to the weak, elderly and challenged, and the endurance of relationships in a post-COVID world are layered throughout what is easily Penny’s best, albeit darkest, story to date. It is a book not to be missed! ~Susan
Benjamin Franklin was the ultimate Renaissance man—inventor, statesman, populist, writer. Few of us knew of his legacy to the tradesmen of Boston and Philadelphia that survives today. Fulbright and Guggenheim scholar Mayer delved into this deathbed gift, established to be lent to tradesmen over the next two centuries, intended to support the “leather apron” class. Designed to jump start careers, the loans are repaid with interest over ten years, perpetuating the initial nest egg many times over! Meyer salts the story of these amazing with tantalizing tidbits and little-known facts about Franklin that make his book so much more than another Benjamin Franklin biography. I loved it! ~Susan
Sprakkar is Icelandic for extraordinary women. This marvelously insightful and inspiring glimpse at one of the world’s most gender equal countries is a joy to read! Eliza Reid, Iceland’s First Lady, leads the reader on a journey through her adopted homeland from medieval legend, to the day in 1975 when Iceland’s women went on strike, to the stories and voices of contemporary women. In what could be a blueprint for the world, Iceland took a determined path to giving women the equity that would culturally and economically benefit the entire country. In relating her own story Reid gives us a unique view into the extraordinary life of this small but mighty nation. Her voice is warm, thoughtful, and leaves the reader feeling like they have just spent an afternoon chatting by the fire with a strikingly intelligent new friend. ~Susan
Ray McMillan is a prodigy. He has a gift and a dream to be a world-class violinist, but growing up Black in rural North Carolina has limited his opportunities. His mother wants him to get a job, he can’t afford lessons, and his training is limited to his public-school orchestra. When he discovers that his family fiddle is a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition the violin is stolen, a ransom note left in its place. Ray must not only reclaim his precious violin but also prove to himself—and the world—that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him. Ray is the ultimate underdog, and you’ll find yourself rooting for him as you turn every page!
There’s no love lost between Secretary of State Ellen Adams and the newly elected President she serves. He’s keeping this enemy close, hoping she crashes and burns. But when she takes off after an evil Middle Eastern mogul who’s bent on destroying America and its democracy, with help from Al-Qaeda and the ultra-right prior President, President Williams has little choice but to hope she succeeds. This pulse-pounding political thriller by former Secretary of State Clinton and superb mystery writer Penny is a cautionary tale full of Washington insider intrigue, wonderfully crafted characters, and a plot line that is terrifyingly (well, sort of) plausible. ~ Susan
This charming tale of two authors, eighty years apart, is as much an homage to the talents of the real Nancy Mitford and her life working in a bookshop in wartime London as it is the fictional story of young American Katie Cabot, struggling to follow-up her debut bestseller and survive an unraveling romance. Nancy’s wit and her irreverent descriptions of high society London life are delightful and Katie’s search for the mysterious missing Mitford manuscript make this story of books, war, and unexpected love a true page-turner. ~ Susan
Widower Mukesh grieves and passes his days in routine loneliness. Aleisha is working in her local library for the summer, escaping the troubles at home and tamping down university anxiety. When Mukash visits the library, Aleisha gives him a list of novels she discovered in a returned book. As they read through the list, their lives open in surprising directions, demonstrating once again the enriching qualities of the novel. This thoughtful and heartwarming debut joyfully joins The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, The Red Notebook, and The Little Paris Book Shop -- as yet another homage to the power of books and reading. It is an absolute delight and will be catnip to book groups craving a story that reminds us why we read and why libraries and book shops are so important. ~ Susan
If you need a reminder that humanity still exists in our world, read this book! After tragedy struck on September 11, 2001, 38 jet liners bound for the U.S. were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. The citizens of this small community took the passengers and crews in and gave ceaselessly of their time, resources and emotional support until the journeys could be safely continued. This amazing act of humanity got little publicity at the time, but DeFede set about interviewing those involved, and created an astonishingly wonderful and touching story. We should never forget what they did!
In this prequel to Miller’s superb Norwegian by Night, we meet Sheldon Horowitz at age twelve, recovering from the murder of his father and adapting to life with his Uncle Nate and two teenage cousins. It’s 1938 and Sheldon is consumed with desire for vengeance for his father’s death. As he lurches toward adulthood with his best friend Lenny, he encounters comedians in the Catskills, mafia hitmen, wacky accordion players, and a burning desire to defend his country. If you loved Norwegian by Night and American by Day, Miller’s third book in the series will make you laugh out loud and wipe away tears as you share the coming of age of this stunningly crafted character. Norwegian by Night is one of my all-time favorite novels and How to Find Your Way in the Dark just might be a close second. ~ Susan
Bestselling author Gerry Anderson is confined to bed in his Baltimore penthouse, the victim of an accident. When he receives a phone call from a voice purporting to be Aubrey, the central character in his latest bestseller, he descends into a muddled flashback of his marriages and affairs. Aubrey is fiction, so who is on the phone? Could it be his most recent ex, who threatened to destroy him with a lurid #MeToo expose? Then Gerry’s eavesdropping night nurse sets off a domino effect of jealousy, mayhem, blackmail, and murder. Following her award-winning thriller Lady in the Lake, Lippman has created a darkly comic thriller that takes gaslight to new heights and just might trigger a nightmare or two. ~ Susan
In 1905 young Belle da Costa Greene was hired as a librarian at Princeton University to be the personal librarian of J.P. Morgan. Her job was to organize and enhance Morgan’s stunning collection of art and literature, making the J. Pierpont Morgan Library one of the finest collections in the world. In the process of her extraordinary career, she scaled the heights of high society in New York, London, and Paris, and navigated Mm the treacherous waters of the world’s most famous auction houses, museums, and galleries, as the lone woman. Her story is stunning by any measure—but the fact that she did it while denying her identity to protect herself and her family from racial persecution speaks volumes. Meticulously researched, her story is inspiring, moving, passionate and totally captivating!
Mozley’s sophomore novel after Elmet (2017), proceeds to parse the relationships between inheritance and wealth, gentrification and squalor, and men and women. Agatha is a millionairess with loads of London properties inherited from her father. Her current focus is on the redevelopment of a dilapidated Soho building populated by a colorful clan of prostitutes, sex traffickers and small-time gangsters. Rumors of eviction grow and the residents do not plan to go quietly. What could have become a biting contemporary satire is a well-told, gently humorous tale of avarice, entitlement, and strength amidst one of London’s most historic districts. ~ Susan
Imagine that the 1998 Good Friday agreement hadn’t happened. Sisters Tessa and Marian Daly live in an IRA hotbed in Belfast, ever watchful for potential violence. Tessa is a single mom and a journalist for the BBC and Marian is a paramedic. When Marian is arrested as an IRA operative, Tessa is horrified, until the day Eamon comes calling and she too is recruited. How can she raise her son while waiting for a call to plant a bomb or assist in a murder? Can she really function as a double agent? Tense, terrifying, and briskly paced, this exceptional addition to the Dublin Noir genre deftly combines the emotions of love and motherhood with the desire for peace and stability amidst persistent terrorism.
Eve has just left a corporate career; Sally has just walked away from an unfulfilling marriage and Anastasia must move from her narrowboat on Britain’s famed canal system for medical treatment. They meet by chance, rushing to rescue Noah, Anastasia’s dog. Their personalities could not be more different, but the life challenges each is facing are very similar. To all three their decision makes perfect sense. Sally and Eve will spend six weeks moving the narrowboat through the canals for a haul-out and servicing and Anastasia will recuperate in Eve’s flat. Their experiences are instructive, heartwarming, and transformative. Following Youngson’s hugely popular Meet Me At the Museum, this is a charming, well-crafted, feel-good story perfectly suited for either beach chair or cozy fireside. ~ Susan
Touted by many as a modern classic, this spare novel is a paean to the immigrant experience and the tragedy of the Colombian diaspora. Talia, a fifteen-year-old escapee from a Colombian girls’ detention facility, is desperate to get a flight to the US to reunite with her mother and siblings. Though born in the US, she has lived her life as a refugee, ever fearful of capture and incarceration because of her father’s unfortunate choices. In a time of both pandemic and merciless immigration issues, Engel’s book speaks to us about family, forgiveness, love, resilience, and strength in the face of tragedy. ~ Susan
When a lobster fisherman discovers a dead body in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, DCI Karen Pirie is called into investigate. Simple murder cut and dried, done and dusted. Well, not really... Number 6 in award winning Val Mc Dermid’s Karen Pirie series is arguably her most complex and tightly plotted. Karen dives into this multilayered case revealing a clever art forger, a skeleton in a suburban garage, false identities, and the required cooperation of police from Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. And just how are these elements connected and who’s the real villain you might ask? Ah, that is what makes this latest Val McDermid so propulsively readable and so very entertaining. Throw in a lot of Edinburgh urban detail and gorgeous Irish countryside and you will be delightfully entertained for hours! ~ Susan
This latest by Cleeves sets up a new series featuring Matthew Venn, a detective with the Devon and Cornwall Police, and follows his investigation of a man found dead on the beach. We meet Jen Rafferty, a young, strong character with a clearly solid career ahead of her. The plot unfolds around a local art center and the potential suspects who inhabit its studios. Meanwhile Matthew is confronted with a conflict of interest; should he withdraw from the case to pursue the killer full on? And a primary witness and central character is a young woman with Down's syndrome, which brings inclusion front and center. This new series, locale and central character show real promise and Cleeves’ masterful storytelling leaves the reader hooked on Matthew Venn, eager for book two. ~ Susan
Twenty-three years ago, Maggie D'arcy's cousin Erin disappeared in Dublin. The experience was what prompted Maggie to become a cop in her Long Island town. Fast forward twenty-three years, when Erin’s scarf has been found and another young woman has gone missing. Maggie heads back to Ireland, determined to solve the case and give her family closure, and where she stirs up more than just random clues about a cold murder. This introduction to a new series by Taylor is filled with lush Irish atmosphere, well defined characters, and a shocking twist that many readers will not see coming! More Maggie D’arcy stories, please!
It is 1867, the American Civil War is over and the Fenian uprising in Ireland is straining for freedom from England. Stephen Doyle, an Irish American veteran of the Civil War, fuels his appetite for adrenaline by joining the Fenian Brotherhood as a spy in Manchester, England. James O’Connell, an Irish Head Constable bearing a load of grief, heads to Manchester as well to start a fresh life and assist the local police in their hunt for Fenians. This is a tight-wound historical tale full of the grit and grime of industrial England that is bleeding Ireland dry and setting the stage for the rebellion of the next century. More a noir thriller than historical fiction, it is driven by a thirst for retribution and freedom.
Driving home on a snowy night, Vera sees a car that has skidded off the road and stops to help. There is no driver, but a cry from the back seat reveals a toddler in a car seat. Momentarily disoriented in the storm, she fetches the toddler from the car then realizes she is near Brockburn, the stately home of her late father’s estranged family. Not wanting to open old wounds, but feeling she has no choice, she drives up to the great house and presents herself and the child. It is not until the next morning that the body of a young woman, presumably the child’s mother, is found in the snow nearby. Vera is in her element and her team is hot on the heels of a killer. With homage to Robert Frost, she has stopped by woods on a snowy evening, has miles to go before she sleeps, and promises to keep! This is Ann Cleeves at her very best. If you are not a fan already, fasten your seatbelt for a most satisfying ride that will leave you craving more of Vera Stanhope’s adventures.
On a fall afternoon in 1999, teenage siblings Matthew, Duncan and Zoe are walking home from school when they encounter a boy lying in a field, unconscious and bloodied. The boy’s life is saved thanks to their quick thinking and concern, but as a result the lives of the siblings are forever changed. On the surface the story is a classic whodunit, but the deeper mysteries of the story lie within the lives of the siblings, their comings of age, their family, and an amazingly prescient dog. This is a spare, swift-moving story, superbly told by a literary master. Livesey’s novels always entertain and always leave the reader a bit breathless. As I came to the end of the story only one word sprang to mind – stunning!
In what may arguably be his best legal thriller yet, Connelly places Mickey Haller in a desperate fight for his life as he defends himself against a murder charge. He’s been set up with a body in his trunk after a celebratory session at a local bar. To avoid a lengthy prison sentence, it will take the best work of his legal staff and his ex-wives and his half brother Harry Bosch to prepare him for his defense. The suspense is almost unbearable and the pace of the story exhausting, but worth every minute of your reading time! I loved it!
Gabriel Allon and his wife Chiara are in Venice on holiday when the news breaks that the Pope is dead. The young Swiss Guard assigned to the Pope on the night of his death is missing, as is the letter he had been writing… to Allon! And this is only the beginning of this meticulously detailed and breathtakingly fast passed story. From Rome to Venice, to Assisi, to Florence the chase is on to find a missing gospel, and to protect the historic passing of the Keys of St. Peter to the duly elected new Pope. It is hard to imagine this is the 20th in the Gabriel Allon series! Daniel Silva certainly has not lost his touch and Gabriel is as charming and crafty as ever!
Part memoir, part meditation on the meaning of home, this thoroughly wonderful book is the story of Bauermeister’s love affair with a 100-year-old Port Townsend Victorian. Nearing the empty nest period of her life, Erica and her husband Ben come upon a rundown Victorian while on a visit to Port Townsend. In a series of essays, Bauermeister leads us from dumpsters of rubbish to the elegance of a well-restored old lady as she and her family scrape, peel, hammer and plaster. Just see if you can tell which Victorian is hers next time you wander through ort Townsend!
Years ago, bookseller and mystery buff Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders.” Now Mal’s the manager and co-owner of the Old Devil’s Bookstore in Boston, enjoying life and working his dream job, when the FBI shows up one day asking about a series of cold case murders that seem to be tied to his online list. The agent is convinced that someone (maybe Mal?) is using his list as a textbook for serial murder. In self-defense, he begins his own investigation, believing that there really may be a killer out there, bent on his demise. The story then picks up speed with s series of twists and turns (and a few unfortunate corpses) that will keep you engaged to the very last page. It’s a clever premise and a very fun read!
In this latest addition to Moseley’s new Leonid McGill series, P.I. McGill is contacted by an elderly Mississippi jazz musician, “Catfish” Worry, who asks him to deliver a letter to a wealthy young heiress. This seemingly simple task becomes immediately complex when the contents of the letter reveal the black lineage of the assumedly white young woman. The letter is from Worry’s late wife to his granddaughter. The young woman’s wealthy albeit corrupt father is Catfish’s estranged son. The task of delivering the letter and its explosive contents is tantalizing for Leonid but causes him to navigate some treacherous waters, putting himself and his son at great risk. This short but powerful story is not to be missed. Moseley is a fabulous storyteller and despite the book’s brevity, its impact is very powerful. More McGill books please!
Estranged sisters Mickey and Kacey were once very close but their lives took very divergent paths as teenagers. Mickey befriended a cop in her afterschool care program and went straight into her career as a cop as soon as she could. Kacey became a victim of Philadelphia’s opioid crisis, living on the streets and blaming her fate on their dead mother. When a string of murders coincides with Kacey’s disappearance from her favorite street corner, Mickey becomes obsessed with finding her. This propulsive police procedural is as thoughtful and complex as any I’ve read in a long time. The layers of family drama, police corruption and addictive behavior are peeled away so delicately and painfully that I had to remind myself to breathe while reading. Small wonder Barack Obama listed it as one of his favorite reads of 2020. It’s a must for anyone who likes Tana French, Ken Bruen, Dennis Lehane or Lisa Scottoline.
Hayley Burke has just landed her dream job as curator of the First Edition Library, housed in the manse of the late Lady Georgiana Fowling in the heart of Bath, England. Not only is it a great job, but it also comes with living quarters on the premises. The other resident in Middlebank House is Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling’s former secretary. Mrs. Woolgar is suspicious of Hayley’s youth and enthusiasm for making the library into a showplace for the study of Golden Age Mysteries. She would love to catch her at something about which the Board would disapprove When one of the members of a fan fiction writers’ group that meets at Middlebank House is found dead in the library, Hayley plays detective to find the killer, save the library and keep her new job! This first book in Seattle author Wingate’s latest series is a thoroughly engaging cozy with all the appropriate elements – even a prescient tabby named Bunter. ~ Susan
Golden Cove is a small, mostly Maori village on the coast of New Zealand where everybody knows everybody. So when a young, lovely, very popular woman goes out for a run and vanishes without a trace, her friends and family go into full blown panic. This debut by New Zealander Singh is a top notch crime novel set in a smothering town in an unforgiving landscape and populated by people haunted by past grievances, present secrets and just possibly a serial killer .Be prepared to do nothing else once you begin this hugely suspenseful story!
Detective Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Gemma James, travel to the picturesque Cotswolds in order to spend a holiday weekend at Beck House, a stately home. An auto accident soon after their arrival results in the deaths of a local woman and a notorious London chef, the sometime mentor to the owner of the local pub. This sets in motion all the requisite elements for a highly satisfying mystery. The setting is as delicious as the innovative pub fare, the characters solid and believable. Curl up by the fire with a cup of tea and savor a charming story by a real master.
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages on the coast of Ireland, is a voyeur who tapes the goings-on in the bedrooms of the rentals. Natalie, a successful blogger finds Andrew a bit creepy. Against her better judgment, she stays in a cottage and doesn't come home. Audrey, an aspiring journalist, sees Natalie's disappearance as her big chance. Think Psycho meets Fatal Attraction as the village's young Garda tries to solve this murder caught on video. If you love books by Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn or have read any of Howard's previous thrillers, this is a must read - full of twists and turns and just the right touch of creepiness.
The body of a young woman is found in a well near St. Denis in the Perigord. She's the daughter of a wealthy couple with ties to the White House who was completing her thesis with a local art collector. He is a former Resistance fighter with a penchant for Renaissance art of dubious provenance. Enter Bruno, Chief of Police, who must solve the case with utmost discretion, lest it become an international incident. This latest in the Bruno, Chief of Police series is a feast for all the senses. As fans of Bruno expect, it is full of gorgeous countryside, eccentric characters, and wonderful meals whipped up with flair in Bruno's farmhouse kitchen.
Virginia Hall was an American spy who worked undercover as a journalist throughout WWII for the UK Special Operations Executive (SOE). Fond of languages and excitement, she became an underling for the State Department so she could live abroad. She constantly hit the glass ceiling at the State Department, so she volunteered for ambulance duty in France at the start of WWII, where she was recruited as a spy by SOE acting in occupied France. She soon became one of the most successful and decorated undercover agents in the French Resistance. This is an astonishing story of a truly amazing woman who slipped through Hitler's clutches and saved untold lives. Purnell's biography of Hall reads like a thriller!
This is one of Coben's most propulsive thrillers! Simon Green and his wife Ingrid have lost their daughter Paige to the Central Park drug scene. He and his wife attempt to follow Paige via sketchy leads from area junkies. When Paige's boyfriend is found brutally murdered, Simon intensifies his search and ends up a possible suspect. Simon is sucked into a dark and dangerous world beyond his imagining and his fight to save both his wife and his daughter is a stunning story. To call this a page turner is a gross understatement. I am a huge fan of Harlan Coben and I am excited to see that his stories just get better and better!
Richard Jury, Melrose Plant and Grimes' usual cast of quirky characters team with Patty Haight and her fellow street kids to solve a double murder on the steps of a posh casino in London. Patty's a better detective than many from the Met, though she's not yet 10! She can insinuate herself anywhere, and carries a tote bag full of disguises. Filled with the requisite twists and turns that make Grimes' mysteries so very delightful, this could be her best story yet. You may not learn the location of The Knowledge, but you'll visit enough pubs to make the trip worthwhile!
Accused but not convicted of a brutal abduction, Ted Conkaffy's police career is toast, his marriage is over, and he's banished to a tiny town in the Outback where everyone knows his alleged crime and he's public enemy number one. His lawyer sets him up with a PI job working for Amanda Pharrell, a convicted killer. This debut novel by Australian Candace Fox is a gritty but hugely enjoyable thriller. Ted is a knight errant with an Aussie accent who can't shed his police commitment to catch the bad guys and protect the innocent. I loved it!
A cold case in a cold country! In 1955 two couples move to an uninhabited, remote fjord in Iceland. Soon after, they abruptly leave when one of them dies under mysterious circumstances. The case is was never solved. Fifty years later, a photograph surfaces indicating that the four people may not have been the only ones living on the fjord. Who else was there? This intrigues young policeman Ari Thór, assigned to Siglufjörður, a nearby town. The town is under quarantine for a flu-like virus, no one is leaving their home, and Ari is bored and antsy, determined to find a crime to solve. But no one wants to help him. Secrets are a way of life for the townsfolk, and to their way of thinking this old mysterious death is best left unsolved. But Ari is undaunted, and the case slowly moves forward as he persuades the locals to speak. This is a deft blend of Nordic Noir and British Golden Age mystery! Haunting, frightening and complex, this is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers (who translated the Agatha Christie mysteries into Icelandic).
Kate Waters is a crack journalist who prides herself on getting great stories. When two eighteen-year-old girls disappear on a trip to Thailand, Kate rushes to be on scene. Fiona Barton ( The Widow, and The Child) is a stunning storyteller. Her journalistic career has given her just the right experience to make this story terrifyingly real. Every twist of the plot seems very authentic and very scary, tearing the central character between being a parent and a successful professional.
When Alice Somerville and her husband travel to a remote Scottish farm to retrieve an inheritance left buried at the end of WWII, they find more than they expected. Not only did they uncover two very rare military motorcycles, worth thousands, but a body shot between the eyes. Enter DCI Karen Pirie of Scotland’s Unsolved Crimes Unit. She’s the expert at unraveling aged and long cold cases and her work brings accolades to her department. But her dogged perseverance and unorthodox style often rankle her stodgy hierarchy. As she begins to peel back the story of the body in the bog, more than just the motorcycles are found to have been buried, revealing secrets that some locals had hoped never to revisit. Val Mc Dermid is a master of the police procedural and always gives fascinating insider views of the Scottish legal system, as well as delicious descriptions of Edinburgh and environs. This latest addition to her Karen Pirie series is solid, intelligent and hugely entertaining. Not to be missed!
Bombay, 1921 - Perveen Mistry is a recent Oxford law grad and one of the first female solicitors in India. She has joined her father's law firm, biding her time until women are granted full solicitor rights. She's sent to the home of three widows, whose common husband has died leaving an estate managed by a disreputable estate manager. When the manager turns up dead, Perveen assists the widows in navigating the labyrinth of Muslim law to insure the widows' security and find the killer. Much historical detail, lots of suspense, and Perveen is a totally captivating new character! This new series is a gem!
Berwald left a thriving career in ocean science to raise a family far from water in Austin, Texas. But the pull of current events, climate change, and coastal development, combined with an offer she couldn't refuse, brought her back to the sea and her first love, jellyfish. Part personal memoir, part scientific quest, her passion for the ethereal, gelatinous jellies is infectious! Who knew that their fragile, nomadic lives could be so enticing? If you loved Soul of an Octopus and Hidden Life of Trees, Spineless will draw you in and make you a fan of jellyfish.
Halliday's debut novel is stunning for several reasons, including her use of language and the unconventional blending of two seemingly unrelated stories. First, we encounter Mary Alice and her June/December affair with a Nobel laureate; then we swiftly shift to Amar, an American-Iraqi economist who has been detained at Heathrow Airport. As each story unfolds, the reader is enticed to find the threads that knit them together-fame, political turmoil, isolation, dissatisfaction, coming of age, and the search for passion. This is a high wire act of amazingly articulate proportions that deserves to be savored!
This stand-alone novel by young and immensely talented Tana French is deliciously atmospheric, masterfully articulate and both an insightful and critical look at lives of privilege. Her stories are wonderful blends of literary and crime fiction and this is just possibly her best yet!
At the age of 18, in 1940, Juliet Armstrong is recruited by an obscure department of MI5. Her job is to transcribe meetings of Nazi sympathizer groups infiltrated by top British spies. Later, after having been vetted by her spy bosses, she assists in several covert and often terrifying activities. Ten years later, while working for the BBC, she is confronted by persons from her past and realizes that though the war is over espionage is still very much alive. This is Atkinson at her very best! If you loved Women in the Castle, All the Light We Cannot See or any of the Masie Dobbs stories, Transcription will provide even more insight into the bravery and intelligence the young women of Britain applied to the war effort.
I eagerly awaited the next Cormoran Strike thriller like the kids who queued up for days to get the latest Harry Potter book, and was not disappointed! When a case involving the blackmailing of a prominent member of the House of Commons turns from bad to murder, Cormoran and Robin are drawn deeply into the convoluted lives of the titled and infamous. Predictably populated with complex characters, a full barrel of red herrings, possible art forgeries and a colorful array of London pubs, Rowling's latest thriller is an absorbing and thoroughly engrossing read!
This is the tale of a bright, robotics-coding AI specialist who changes her life when she learns to bake bread. Sloan delivers a mashup of mystery, magic and sci-fi that is a bit like sourdough itself. Quirky, funny, suspenseful and a little bit romantic, this is a thoroughly captivating story.
Attorney Dismas Hardy, mostly recovered from two recent gunshot wounds, is pondering retirement after more than thirty years in the law. But when a former client is accused of murdering her boss, a prominent business tycoon, Dismas just can't resist one more murder case. This is Lescroart's 27th deftly crafted and hugely entertaining legal thriller, featuring snappy dialogue, Hardy and his merry band of San Francisco cops, district attorneys, private eyes, and the wonderful atmosphere of the City by the Bay. Not to be missed!
Michael Hudson spends his days in prison devouring books recommended by the prison librarian and participating in a cell block book group. Suddenly, he is released after a PI manipulates a witness and Hudson’s court case disappears. Once on the outside, Michael gets a job, lives with his mom, rekindles some friendships from before his criminal days and he reads….voraciously. But one day the PI comes calling and expects Michael to help with a case. Reluctantly, he agrees and his world teeters on the brink of devastation. Will he slip back into a life of crime or can he keep the freedom he has worked so hard to retrieve? Will he go with the guy who got him out of jail or the woman who has shown him an alternate path? Pelecanos has created a stunning cast of characters whose daily choices thrust them into the high-stakes underworld of D.C. crime. If you haven’t read any of Pelecanos’ novels, this is a great place to start. Great atmosphere, nail-biting suspense and heartwarming redemption!
Willa Drake can count the defining moments of her life on one hand. From the whirlwind courtship with her college beau to marriage, parenthood and beyond, she floats along in comfortable bliss. But as her life as a widow begins she is drawn into a new chapter filled with not only grief and loss but twists and turns involving family, community, commitment and experiences she would never have envisioned in any of her former lives. How did she find herself here? Will she stay? Is this what she really wants? Ann Tyler's stories are always filled with humor, intricate emotions, warm friendship and complicated but wry moments of joy and this is no exception.
Kit Owens and Diane Fleming, friends since childhood, have both chosen to enter the male bastion of scientific research. Sailing through their PhDs, they are then thrust into the gender-power world of academic laboratories, grant battles, and politics that would rival anything in Washington. Though competitors, their friendship endures because they share a dangerous secret that could derail their careers and destroy their lives. Abbott often chooses a subculture in which to set her thrillers and the maelstrom of scientific research is perfect for this taut, emotion-steeped tale of ambition, competition, excellence and obsession.
Nina Hopgood is a farmer's wife in the English countryside. Anders Larsen is a curator in a museum in Denmark. Through a common interest in the Tolund Man, the topic of Seamus Heaney's famous poem, they begin a correspondence that enriches and changes them. Both plagued by loneliness and lives that have become something they hadn't anticipated, their correspondence spawns a deep and surprising relationship. There have been several meaningful epistolary novels of late, but this is something very special and heartwarming. If you loved the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society you will find Anne Youngson's debut novel every bit as wonderful!
New Jersey Detective Napoleon Dumas has never stopped looking for his twin brother’s murderer. He was found with his high school sweetheart on the tracks of a railroad siding, the same night Napoleon’s girlfriend Maura walked away from him. The tragedy has haunted their town for fifteen years. When Maura’s fingerprints are found in the rental car of a suspected murderer, this episode from Napoleon’s youth is suddenly reopened and long buried secrets begin to surface. Coben is a great storyteller, one of my real favorites, and this new detective is one that must come back in a sequel…soon!
This tenth addition to the Ruth Galloway series is one of the best! Forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway gets a call from an Italian colleague (former lover?) asking for help with a skeleton. Craving some sun, she packs up her daughter and another colleague and heads for a romantic hill town still haunted by ghosts of the Resistance. Griffiths deftly balances the plot lines at home and abroad to deliver another hugely satisfying and entertaining Galloway mystery full of atmosphere and loose ends. Fans of this series will love it, and if you haven't been introduced to Dr. Ruth Galloway, don't miss it!
Derek Miller’s debut novel Norwegian By Night is one of my all-time favorites, and American By Day is an astonishingly good sequel. Police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård, last seen at the end of Norwegian By Night, must leave her native Norway and head to a tiny college town in upstate New York, where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. Dry-witted, charming and utterly compelling, this blend of Scandinavian crime thriller and literary police procedural is not to be missed! It will leave you eager to learn more about Sigrid Ødegård and her American counterpart.
Celine is in her 60s, an artist, a New York blueblood and a crack PI who specializes in reuniting children with their families. Enter Gabriela Lamont, a fellow Sarah Lawrence graduate, who enlists Celine's help finding her father, whose disappearance is shrouded in suspicion. A legendary photographer, he was presumed killed by a grizzly in Montana. Celine and her partner Pete take off in her son's camper to investigate. Heller, author of the acclaimed Dog Stars, has hit it out of the park with this charming, compelling novel of suspense that leaves the reader panting for a sequel!
Jean Perdu owns the Literary Apothecary, a bookstore barge on the Seine where he dispenses books to mend the reader’s broken heart. He succeeds in mending all but his own, broken twenty years earlier by the love of his life. When he learns what really happened to his beloved, he casts off the lines of his barge with his two cats, 8,000 books, and a young author aboard and heads downriver. Along the way they encounter friends for life and absorb the glorious countryside. This is a tender and enchanting homage to books and France, reminding us why we read and how much books can change our lives.
This stunningly written story of author Macdonald’s journey through grief and despair, guided by a recalcitrant, single-minded young goshawk, is an inspiration to us all. Mabel is not your typical bloodthirsty bird! I rooted for Mabel from start to finish!
Eighty-two year old Sheldon Horowitz moves from New York to Oslo to be with his granddaughter Rhea. He’s tough, a Korean War veteran, a watchmaker and an acerbically humorous survivor. When he’s caught in the crossfire of an act of domestic violence in a neighboring apartment, he grabs the neighbors’ young son and runs for safety. With no common language, they hit the road in hopes of evading the bad guys who want the kid. This debut novel is smart, funny, suspenseful, and a worthy addition to the genre of Scandinavian crime fiction. Readers will clamor for more by Derek Miller!