New mysteries for May include the return of popular series characters with John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy & Abe Glitsky, Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery, Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti, and Katherine V. Forrest’s Kate Delafield. Also hitting the stacks is Ariel S. Winter’s acclaimed Noir triptych and a new translation from France’s Fred Vargas.
The keeper : a novel / by John Lescroart.
“In the latest Dismas Hardy legal thriller, a missing-persons case gets very complicated, very fast. Hal Chase is a guard at the San Francisco County Jail; one night, while he’s out at the airport picking up a relative, his wife, Katie, disappears from their home. Hal is soon picked up by police as the prime suspect. Because Katie was a client of Hardy’s marriage-counselor wife, Hal wants Dismas to take his case. Hardy asks his old pal, former homicide cop Abe Glitsky, to pitch in with the investigative legwork. Glitsky soon uncovers some serious holes in Hal Chase’s story his alibi, for instance, is very shaky and when Katie’s body is found, and her husband is arrested for the murder, Dismas wonders if he could possibly be defending a guilty man, while Glitsky wonders if he’ll come out of this case alive. Lescroart has occupied a chair at the head table of the legal-thriller society for quite awhile, and this smartly plotted, sharply written novel will do nothing to dislodge him from that lofty perch.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
The twenty-year death / by Ariel S. Winter.
“This isn’t a first novel so much as a series of three discrete but interrelated first novels, each written (with apologies from the author) in the style of a different iconic thriller writer-Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson, respectively…Set in the fictitious Verargent, France, circa 1931, the first book, Malniveau Prison, revolves around the mysterious death of a prisoner-the father of one Clothilde-ma-Fleur Meprise, Rosenkrantz’s beautiful wife…In the second, The Falling Star, set in 1941, Rosenkrantz is a womanizing L.A. screenwriter on a self-destructive slide. His wife, now working under the name Chloe Rose, is a successful but unstable starlet who suspects she’s being followed. A suitably laconic Chandlerian PI, Dennis Foster, is enlisted to help the troubled star-but is he really being set up for a homicidal fall? In the third, and arguably darkest, tale, Police at the Funeral, it’s 1951 in Calvert, Md., and Rose has been institutionalized, leaving Rosenkrantz-now a remorseful has-been-roiling in the tide of his boozy dissolution. “Yeah, I’d always gotten a raw deal, and I was too pathetic to do anything about it, and I hated myself for that” pretty much sums up the self-inflicted purgatory this antihero wallows in. The stories work wonderfully well individually, but taken together create a tapestry of associations and reflections, sort of like mirrors trained on other mirrors. The whole, as they say, is greater than the sum of its parts.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
Wolf / by Mo Hayder.
“In Hayder’s best Jack Caffery thriller yet, a worn-out Jack is feeling all the years he has put into police service and his never-ending quest to find out what happened to his long-lost brother. The novel opens with a young girl finding a stray dog with a ripped note tucked into its collar that states, “Help us.” A vagrant known as the Walking Man witnesses this and promises the young girl that he will help the dog. Never one to give out information willingly, the Walking Man surprisingly contacts Jack-offering up a trade: find out who needs help and, in return, the Walking Man will give Jack some closure about his brother. This deal with the devil sets off a home invasion novel unlike no other. The Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy family with secrets and issues of their own, are being held hostage in their estate. Will Jack find them in time? And why was this family chosen in the first place? VERDICT Dark and twisty, this gripping crime novel by an Edgar Award winner is an outstanding read, whether Jack is a new character to the reader or an old friend.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
Dog will have his day / Fred Vargas ; translated by Siân Reynolds.“Keeping watch under the windows of the Paris flat belonging to a politician’s nephew, ex-cop Louis Kehlweiler catches sight of something odd on the pavement. A small white object, surrounded by the excrement of local dogs. A piece of bone. Human bone, in fact. Naturally, when Kehlweiler takes his find to the nearest police station, he faces ridicule. But the tiny fragment obsesses him so much that he stops shadowing people with something to hide in the city and follows the trail to the tiny Breton fishing village of Port-Nicolas. Because someone there owns a pit bull terrier. A dog that would take a bite out of anything. Even the foot of a corpse.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)
High desert / Katherine V. Forrest.
“It’s been almost a decade since readers have seen LAPD homicide detective Kate Delafield (Hancock Park, 2004) and the years are beginning to take a toll. Kate is newly retired and struggling with leaving the job, controlling her drinking, and the imminent loss of her friend Maggie to cancer. But concern for her old partner, Joe Cameron, breaks her isolation, when she learns that he may be missing. Asked by their former boss to quietly investigate, Kate finds herself learning more about her partner in a few days than in the years they served together. Forrest broke ground in the 1980s with the introduction of her lesbian police detective. While her contemporaries Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton also expanded gender roles in the detective genre, Forrest has allowed Kate to grow old into the 2010s and there is a melancholy, but not unhopeful, tone to her newest work. Verdict A solid mystery underpins a meditation on the passing of friends and Kate’s struggle to make peace with time-and herself-before it is too late.” (From Syndetics summary)
By its cover / Donna Leon.“Donna Leon’s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its characters, and its fearlessness in exploring politics, morality, and contemporary Italian culture. In the pages of Leon’s novels, the beloved conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they never have been before. One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem—the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn’t exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)
The facts of life and death / Belinda Bauer.
“‘Call your mother.’ ‘What do I say?’ ‘Say goodbye.’ This is how it begins. Lone women terrorised and their helpless families forced to watch – in a sick game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder. Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. Bullies on the school bus, the forest crowding her house into the sea, and the threat of divorce. Helping her Daddy to catch the killer might be the key to keeping him close. As long as the killer doesn’t catch her first.” (Syndetics summary)
Gallowglass / Gordon Ferris.
“Douglas Brodie is dead. The Glasgow Gazette announced the tragic death on 26 June 1947 of their chief crime reporter. Just three weeks before, life was rosy. After a tumultuous winter chasing war criminals across Glasgow, Douglas Brodie was revelling in the quiet life. His relationship with advocate Samantha Campbell was blossoming and he’d put the reins on his impulsiveness. Hope and promise filled the tranquil summer air. A day later, Brodie was arrested for the kidnap and murder of Scotland’s top banker. The case against Brodie is watertight: caught with a gun in his hand next to a man with a bullet in the head – from Brodie’s own revolver. He has no alibi. No witnesses. Despite Samantha’s best efforts, Brodie faces the gallows. Is this the sordid end for a distinguished ex-copper, decorated soldier and man of parts?” (Publisher’s description from Syndetics summary)
Murder in merino : a seaside knitters mystery / Sally Goldenbaum.
“The satisfying ninth Seaside Knitters cozy (after 2013’s Angora Alibi) from Goldenbaum has the knitters of Sea Harbor, Mass., planning a gala and gift for the 40th wedding anniversary of member Nell Endicott and her husband, Don. In the meantime, the Endicotts’ niece, Isabel “Izzy” Chambers Perry, and her husband, Sam, are putting Izzy’s old cottage home on the market. Newcomer Julia “Jules” Ainsley puzzles the community when she reveals her determination to buy the cottage, sight unseen, despite having no previous connection to Sea Harbor. When a murder victim is found in the cottage’s backyard, Jules becomes a suspect. Gradually, the knitters realize the killing has its roots in a long-buried town secret. Fans of previous entries will enjoy spending a few more hours with the Seaside Knitters, and the most dedicated might be inspired to reproduce the group’s special anniversary afghan, or their Friday-evening martini parties.” (Syndetics summary)
The last kind word / David Housewright.
“Here’s the ninth Rushmore McKenzie novel…Rushmore was a detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, before he resigned from the police department so he could collect a seven-figure reward for busting a major embezzler. Now independently wealthy, he’s a sort of crimesolver-for-hire. Here Rushmore is recruited by the ATF to infiltrate a gang of gunrunners, a plan that seems dicey to start with and positively suicidal once he’s in too deep to extricate himself without somebody noticing. If you took a modern-day noir and mixed it with a light comedy, you’d get something very much like a McKenzie novel: a serious, occasionally dark story told by an entertaining, often bemused narrator. Housewright just throws us into the story, too, filling us in on the background only after we’ve become convinced Rushmore might have lost his way. An excellent but strangely underappreciated series.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)