New Mysteries for October

New mysteries for October include more recommended Scandinavian crime fiction from Jo Nesbo, Arne Dahl & Anne Holt; the next entry in Sue Grafton’s alphabet series; the latest series entries from J.D Robb & Elizabeth George; and the zeitgeist mash up of Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Bleeding Edge’.

Syndetics book coverPolice / Jo Nesbo ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“Three shots fired at point-blank range. Harry Hole has to be dead, doesn’t he? And, yet, here is a new Harry Hole novel, not an earlier installment of the series published out of order. Ever since word of this novel’s publication started leaking, fans of Nesbo’s best-selling series have been scratching puzzled heads: Harry alive? Well, you’re not going to find the answer in this review, and in fact, you won’t find it definitively until page 505 of Nesbo’s maddening yet riveting cat-and-mouse game of a novel. But let’s leave poor Harry in a kind of literary limbo for the moment and focus on what with or without Harry is one hell of a thriller. Police officers in Oslo are being murdered by a serial killer with a bizarre agenda: each victim is discovered at a crime scene that mimics the scene of an earlier unsolved murder. Not only that but the new victims all participated in the investigations of the earlier crimes. Is the killer a fellow cop? Working as an off-the-books task force, Harry’s former colleagues Beate Lonn, Stale Aune, Bjorn Holm, and Katrine Bratt set out to find the answers. It’s clear that Chief of Police Mikael Bellman and his henchman, Truls Berntsen, are dirty, but are they killers? Nesbo cunningly plays with the reader throughout this devilishly plotted tale, introducing multiple corkscrewing twists.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad blood / Arne Dahl ; translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles.
“Autumn in Stockholm can be a time of foreboding for many Swedes, and that’s especially true this year, thanks to the unending, torrential rains, which seem almost biblical. Paul Hjelm is obsessively listening to John Coltrane’s wailing-yet-strangely-reverent Meditations, reading Kafka’s Amerika, and worrying about his relationship with his teenage children. It gets worse: an American serial killer who has eluded the FBI for two decades has arrived in Sweden. The killer’s MO is believed to involve a monstrous and lethal form of torture that the FBI says was first used in the Vietnam War. Clues to the killer’s identity and whereabouts are nil. Bodies begin to pile up, and Hjelm and his mismatched detective squad seem hopelessly overmatched. As in his wonderful Misterioso (2011), Dahl’s latest is a stunning, muted howl of Scandinavian despair for a once orderly nation unhinged by racial malaise, predatory capitalism, and the sense that Swedish society is becoming Americanized. But, like Coltrane, Dahl plays all over the scale. He’s mordantly funny, particularly in dialogue between squad members. His caustic appraisal of American “community policing” and the justice and penal systems will resonate with many American readers. And his coda on the damage parents may visit on their children is poignant. With two superb novels, Dahl has established himself as one of the leading voices in Scandinavian crime fiction.” (From Amazon.com review)

Syndetics book coverW is for wasted / Sue Grafton.
“Kinsey Millhone goes through a dry spell workwise in bestseller Grafton’s absorbing 23rd mystery featuring the Santa Teresa, Calif., PI (after 2012’s V Is for Vengeance). The death of a homeless man, who was found with a slip of paper in his pocket with Kinsey’s name on it, provides some wanted distraction. The man may be Kinsey’s distant relative-who, it turns out, has left her his entire life savings, putting Kinsey in the middle of a case of a more personal nature than she’s used to. Along with the murder of a fellow PI, the disreputable Pete Wolinsky, Kinsey finds little time to deal with the reappearance of her onetime boyfriend, Robert Dietz. Grafton ties together these disparate threads with her usual skill.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath of the demon / Anne Holt ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“Edgar-finalist Holt’s stellar third Hanne Wilhelmsen novel (after 2012’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst) finds the Oslo police detective uncomfortable with her six-month-old promotion to chief inspector, a dully managerial position that’s put her willy-nilly in the thick of the professional intrigue she deplores. Now faced with the murder of the formidable administrator of a foster children’s group home, the detective must also confront her own troubling demons…. Holt also relentlessly explores the agonies of a mother unable to manage a monstrously brain-damaged 12-year-old boy-and the tragic ironies implicit in a society priding itself on cradle-to-grave welfare that condemns its most powerless and needy to inevitable disaster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThankless in death / J. D. Robb.
“In best-selling Robb’s thirty-sixth title featuring the tough-as-nails police detective, Eve Dallas, and her enigmatic billionaire husband, Roark, Carl and Barbara Reinhold have spent their life trying to help their son, Jerry. They ignored his failures at school, excused his inability to hold down a job, and overlooked the times he borrowed money from them without asking. When Jerry is fired once again, however, and kicked to the curb by his girlfriend, they decide enough is enough. But what they see as tough love Jerry views as endless, annoying nagging. One morning, while his mother reminds him yet again to look for work, Jerry snaps, picks up a knife, and stabs her to death. Later the same day, he beats his father to death with a baseball bat. Now only one person can stop Jerry from paying back all the people he feels have wronged him, and that person is Eve.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe strangler’s honeymoon : a Van Veeteren mystery / Hakan Nesser.
“When a woman’s strangled body is found decomposing in her flat, the Maardam police must discover who has committed this terrible crime. It isn’t long before they realise the perpetrator may have killed before — and is likely to do so again. Meanwhile former Chief Inspector Van Veeteren finds himself drawn into the mystery when a priest, who has learned dreadful secrets, appeals to him for help. But when the priest falls beneath the wheels of a train and the police find more dead ends than leads, it seems Van Veeteren will have to come up with a new approach to unearth this dark serial killer, before he chooses his next victim.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIdentical / Scott Turow.
“Best-selling author Turow’s (Innocent; Presumed Innocent) personal and professional fascination with identical twins inspired this story, based loosely on the myth of Castor and Pollux, of Paul and Cass Giannis and the convoluted relationship between their family and their longtime neighbors the Kronons. In 2008, Paul is running for mayor of Kindle County, while Cass is being released from the penitentiary, having served 25 years for the murder of his girlfriend Dita Kronon. However, Hal Kronon, Dita’s grieving brother, hires ex-FBI agent Evon Miller and Tom Brodie, a former homicide detective, to reinvestigate her murder. Dr. Hassam Yavem, an expert in genetic research, conducts a thorough DNA analysis and reveals startling results-unearthing long-buried secrets involving family betrayal, incest, and chilling deceit.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJust one evil act / Elizabeth George.
“As her devoted readers know, George’s D.I. Lynley procedurals are more about characters than crime. This entry is certainly no different, but, unlike the most recent books, which center on a distraught Lynley, recovering from his wife’s murder, the focus is on Lynley’s partner (and polar opposite), D.S. Barbara Havers. It begins when Taymullah Azhar, Barbara’s neighbor, asks for help in finding his beloved daughter, Hadiyyah, with whom his wife has absconded. So begins a sprawling investigation that careens from England to Italy and back again, as cops in both countries investigate child abduction and murder, ending with Azhar looking very like a killer. Through it all, volatile, unkempt, vulnerable Barbara is so invested in Azhar that she loses sight of everything and everyone else.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBleeding edge / Thomas Pynchon.
“Once again, Pynchon delivers an -extraordinary sense of the zeitgeist. As the book opens, Maxine Tarnow-sort of separated from staid Horst-gets her sons off to school in an artfully rendered Upper West Side directly before 9/11. A fraud investigator who’s lost her license, which makes for scuzzy clients but lets her pack a Beretta, Maxine is on the case when filmmaker friend Reg contacts her about his suspicions regarding hashslingrz, the computer security firm he’s been asked to document. Maxine’s investigations lead her to hashslingrz monomaniac Gabriel Ice; Igor, a Russian mafioso with a conscience; and two rap-spouting sidekicks named Misha and Grisha; government agent Windust, a murderer and torturer with whom Maxine exchanges information and a carnal moment; and many more. Then there’s friend Vyrva, whose husband has helped create the virtual escape site DeepArcher, emblem of the turn-of-the-21st-century techno-angst, -greed, and -possibility that is the book’s thematic context.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeadly heat / Richard Castle.
“Determined to find justice for her mother, top NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat continues to pursue the elusive former CIA station chief who ordered her execution over a decade ago. For the hunt, Nikki teams once again with her romantic partner, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Jameson Rook. Their quest for the old spy and the motive behind the past murder unearths an alarming terror plot – which is anything but ancient history. It is lethal. It is now. And it has already entered its countdown phase.” (From Syndetics summary)