New mysteries for April include the return of Loren D Estleman’s Amos Walker & Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce; a ‘prequel’ entry in Harry Dolan’s David Loogan series; new books from Mary Higgins Clark & Nevada Barr; and the last novel from late author Leighton Gage.
I’ve got you under my skin / Mary Higgins Clark.
“Fans of MWA Grand Master Clark will find plenty of intrigue and excitement in this contemporary thriller, which opens with the fatal shooting of Dr. Greg Moran in a Manhattan playground by a shadowy figure known only as “Blue Eyes”-the latter’s moniker originating with the chilling shouts of the victim’s three-year-old son, Timmy: “Blue Eyes shot my daddy. Blue Eyes shot my daddy!” Five years after this tragedy, the doctor’s high-powered TV producer widow, Laurie, who’s still haunted not only by her husband’s death but also by his killer’s parting promise to come back to murder her and Timmy, hatches an idea for a new TV series to reenact unsolved criminal cases…She selects the 20-year-old murder of Betsy Powell, the wife of eccentric billionaire Robert Powell, for the pilot episode. Four estranged best friends-one of them Betsy’s own daughter-are reunited at the Powell estate in Westchester County, N.Y., to recall the harrowing evening of the murder. Clark keeps readers guessing and in suspense, with any one of the old companions potentially culpable and Blue Eyes making a number of startling reappearances.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
The ways of evil men / Leighton Gage.
“When 39 of the 41 members of an Indian tribe living in the Brazilian rainforest die by poisoning, Jade Cameron, a National Indian Foundation worker, rescues the remaining man, Amati, and his young son. Then a white rancher is murdered in the nearby village, and Amati is framed for the death. The villagers lynch him in the hopes of destroying the tribe and opening the reservation to development. CI Mario Silva of the federal police is sent to investigate. As on his home turf in Sao Paulo, Silva finds corrupt officials, political connections, greed, racism-and more murders. The possibility of a major gold strike ups the machinations as well. Verdict?: This is the seventh and final Silva investigation (the author died in July 2013). Gage knew the Brazilian locale intimately. He passionately displays the ecological problems and pervasive corruption at all levels.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
Where monsters dwell / Jørgen Brekke ; translated by Steven T. Murray.
“Gruesome, nearly identical murders in the U.S. and Norway send detectives on both sides of the Atlantic on the hunt for a killer in Norwegian journalist Brekke’s underwhelming debut. Soon after the curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., is found flayed and beheaded, the archivist of the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim, Norway, is found murdered in a similar fashion. The American and Norwegian sleuths assigned to the killings-respectively, newly minted homicide detective Felicia Stone and Chief Insp. Odd Singsaker, recently returned from an extended sick leave due to a brain tumor-begin working together after it’s revealed that both victims had been researching a rare 16th-century text, the Johannes Book.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
Murder in the afternoon : a Kate Shackleton mystery / Frances Brody.
“One Saturday afternoon, stonemason Ethan Armstrong is murdered. Oddly, his ten-year-old daughter, Harriet, was the only one to see his corpse in his workshop. When the authorities arrive later, the body has disappeared. Harriet’s observations are not taken seriously, except by her mother, Mary Jane, who asks PI Kate Shackleton to investigate. Over the period of a week, Kate gradually untwists a number of village secrets, including some of her own. While Ethan’s political leanings (he was a leftist union organizer) made him many enemies, it may be that other long-held secrets led to his death. Verdict?: This meaty historical set in post-World War I England succeeds as a satisfying traditional mystery and as a fascinating historical novel tackling women’s roles in the early 1920s. Brody’s series, now at three (after A Medal for Murder), merits serious attention.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
Lion plays rough : a Leo Maxwell mystery / Lachlan Smith.
“At the start of Smith’s tight second Leo Maxwell mystery (after 2013′s Bear Is Broken), the young Oakland, Calif., attorney receives a collect call from Santa Rita Jail. The man on the other end introduces himself as Jamil Robinson and, because he feels it unsafe to talk over the phone, sends his sister, Lavinia Martin, to speak with Leo in person. Lavinia claims that the Oakland police have framed Jamil. Despite his suspicions about the story, Leo goes to the DA with evidence that points to police corruption, only to discover he’s been set up-the real Jamil has not only never heard of Leo but does not have a living sister. As Leo continues to pursue the truth, he puts his life at risk and discovers a trail of crooked police activity that leads disturbingly close to home. This finely paced mystery is full of intelligent plot twists and should appeal to any fan of good writing.” (Description from Syndetics summary)
Destroyer angel / Nevada Barr.
“When her friend Heath (Hard Truth, 2005), a paraplegic, agrees to road test a wheelchair poised to revolutionize the sports-gear market, park-ranger Anna Pigeon guides Heath; her daughter, Elizabeth; the chair’s designer, Leah; and Leah’s daughter on a trek in Minnesota’s Iron Mountains. It’s all fresh air and fireside chats until four armed men suddenly appear and abduct the hikers. Anna returns from a canoe jaunt to discover her friends held at gunpoint and stays hidden so that she can track them, seizing every opportunity to help her friends. Meanwhile, Heath struggles to survive the off-trail hike and protect the girls. With no cellular reception, Anna’s cunning strikes are the only hope for rescue, and she ferociously, sometimes savagely, harnesses the rules of the wild to even the odds. Anna Pigeon’s eighteenth adventure is equal parts psychological thriller and wilderness-survival tale sure to please series followers.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
The dead in their vaulted arches / Alan Bradley.
“The irrepressible, nearly 12-year-old Flavia de Luce, amateur detective, faces a particularly personal crisis in this, her sixth outing. Her mother, lost in the Himalayas when Flavia was a baby, is coming home in a coffin, escorted by none other than former British prime minister Winston Churchill. If that isn’t odd enough, the great man, before leaving, approaches Flavia and asks her if she has acquired a taste for pheasant sandwiches. Shortly thereafter, she is approached by another man with an equally cryptic message, after which he is crushed beneath a train…If the somewhat tangled plot requires a bit of patience to negotiate, be assured that Flavia is as fetching as ever.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
The last dead girl / Harry Dolan.
“When 26-year-old David Malone stops to aid Jana Fletcher at an accident scene, his life changes dramatically. He spends ten days, and nights, with the mysterious young law student, and then she is brutally and ritualistically murdered. Naturally, he is a suspect but not yet charged. Jana had been passionately involved in the Innocence Project, seeking to free a local high school teacher convicted of killing his wife. David decides to pursue this case on her behalf. Through “interlude” chapters we learn about Jana’s earlier harrowing ordeal, the anonymous killer’s mind-set, and more murders. Verdict This is a more sober prequel to Dolan’s humorous and witty Bad Things Happen, also featuring David Loogan ne Malone. With just three books (including Very Bad Men), Dolan is already a seasoned pro, worthy of high acclaim-and so is his protagonist.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
The first rule of ten : a Tenzing Norbu mystery / Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay.
“Tenzing Norbu (‘Ten’ for short)–ex-Buddhist monk and soon-to-be ex-cop–takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles. Growing up in a Tibetan monastery, Ten dreamed of becoming a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. So when he was sent to Los Angeles to teach meditation, he joined the LAPD instead. But as the Buddha says, change is inevitable; and ten years later, everything is about to change–big-time–for Ten. One resignations from the police force, two bullet-wounds, three suspicious deaths, and a beautiful woman later, he quickly learns that whenever he breaks his first rule, mayhem follows.” (Syndetics summary)
Don’t look for me : an Amos Walker novel / Loren D. Estleman.
“The winner of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America isn’t resting on his laurels. Estleman’s PI sees a familiar enemy (Charlotte Sing) aiming for him in the concluding title in a trilogy (American Detective and Infernal Angels) within the long-running series that began in 1980 with Motor City Blue. The Walker series now stands at number 24.” (Syndetics summary)