Category: Recent picks

New Mysteries for May

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.

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverWolf / 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)

Syndetics book coverDog 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

Syndetics book coverHigh 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)

Syndetics book coverBy 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

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverGallowglass / 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)

Syndetics book coverMurder 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

New Mysteries for April

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.

Syndetics book coverI’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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverWhere 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)

Syndetics book coverMurder 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)

Syndetics book coverLion 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)

Syndetics book coverDestroyer 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Cover imageThe 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)

Syndetics book coverDon’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)

New Mysteries for March

Some new mystery novels for March include the rebirth of the iconic character Phillip Marlowe from Benjamin Black; the final fiction adaptation of the popular Danish TV series The Killing; the latest Hamish MacBeth novel; & new French and Icelandic mysteries…

Syndetics book coverDeath of a policeman / M.C. Beaton.
“Local police stations all over the Scottish Highlands are being threatened with closure. This presents the perfect opportunity for Detective Chief Inspector Blair, who would love nothing more than to get rid of Sergeant Hamish Macbeth. Blair suggests that Cyril Sessions, a keen young police officer, visit the town of Lochdubh to monitor exactly what Macbeth does every day. Macbeth hears about Blair’s plan and is prepared to insure that Cyril returns back to headquarters with a full report. But Cyril is soon found dead and Hamish quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.” (Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverThe chosen seed / Sarah Pinborough.
“The tables have turned, and now Detective Inspector Cass Jones is a wanted man on the streets of London. Framed for murder and hunted by his former colleagues, Cass needs every ally he can get–including a very unexpected figure from his past. While detectives Hask and Ramsey search for the killer behind the lethal Strain II virus, Mr. Bright continues to pull strings from the shadows, and there are dire warnings of a final battle that could tear everything apart. As he searches for his kidnapped nephew while eluding his own pursuers, Cass is determined to find the answers–even if he has to confront the darkest secrets of the history of humanity to do it.” (Publisher Description)

Syndetics book coverThe dark angel / Dominique Sylvain ; translated from the French by Nick Caistor.“On the one hand, there’s Lola. A grumpy retired policewoman who cannot get by without her two best friends: red wine and jigsaw puzzles. On the other, there’s Ingrid, an American in love with Paris. By day she gives the best massages in the city, and her long nights are wilder still… Their paths might not have crossed were it not for the murder of a young neighbour. Vanessa Ringer’s body is found in the flat she shared with two schoolfriends, mutilated in the most cruel and unusual manner. Suspicion falls on Maxime Duchamp, a charming restaurateur whose suave exterior hides a tragic past. Convinced of his innocence, Lola and Ingrid hit the streets to unmask the real killer. Meanwhile, lying low, the victim’s spurned lover, a high-stakes thief with one last heist to go, is plotting his revenge. His inner demon, the Dark Angel, has foreshadowed all.” (Publishers description from

Syndetics book coverDie-off : a John Marquez novel / Kirk Russell.
“In Russell’s solid fifth mystery featuring Lt. John Marquez (after 2011′s Redback), the former DEA agent turned Northern California game warden doggedly follows the trail of shadowy figures who are systematically violating environmental laws. At the same time, Marquez investigates a new lead in the brutal murder of a pair of campers that occurred two years earlier, in the process arousing suspicion himself. Connections gradually emerge between the cold case and the planned ecological crime… Marquez is a sympathetic, meticulous, and resolute investigator… the setting is portrayed with care, and the chance to root for an animal-saving, nature-loving detective is a pleasant respite from the weary cynicism of typical police procedurals.” (Abridged from Publisher Weekly)

Cover imageJazz and die / Stella Whitelaw.
“Jordan Lacey, former policewoman-turned-private-investigator, needs work, so when dishy DCI James offers the job of guarding Maddy, unruly daughter of a famous jazz trumpeter, from a stalker, she accepts immediately and heads off to the festival in Dorset in her new sports car, the Wasp. But discovering DCI James’s cold case involves a victim the same age as Maddy, and from the same school, Jordan is sure there is a link. Events escalate and Jordan must rely on her wits and training to keep Maddy safe. Once again she’s on the heels of a cold-blooded murderer and is unstoppable in her determination to chase the killer down.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe black-eyed blonde : a Philip Marlowe novel / Benjamin Black.
“Despite Robert B. Parker’s lengthy experience in the PI genre, his sequel to The Big Sleep, Perchance to Dream, pales in comparison with Black’s pitch-perfect recreation of the character and his time and place. As for the language, Black nails Chandler’s creative and memorable similes and metaphors. When Marlowe shakes hands with someone, “It was like being given a sleek, cool-skinned animal to hold for a moment or two.” The title character, Clare Cavendish, wanders into Marlowe’s office to ask him to trace her lover, Nico Peterson, who disappeared two months earlier. The case appears to wrap up quickly after Marlowe learns that Peterson was the victim of a hit-and-run, but Cavendish has some major revelations in store. While the mystery is well plotted, Black elevates it beyond mere thoughtful homage with a plausible injection of emotion in his wounded lead.” (Abridged from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverSteeped in evil / Laura Childs.
“In Childs’s charming 15th cozy featuring Theodosia Browning (after 2013′s Sweet Tea Revenge), the owner of a tea shop in Charleston, S.C., the heroine encounters a new mystery while accompanying friend and business partner Drayton Conneley to a wine-tasting party. Drew Knight, the son of Knighthall Winery’s owner, Jordan, is found murdered on the premises, and Jordan’s friend Drayton persuades Theo to help the incompetent local sheriff with the investigation… As Theo considers a wide range of possibilities, the list of suspects grows. It includes Drew’s beautiful model girlfriend, Tanya Woodson; his social-climbing mother, Pandora; rival winery owner Georgette Kroft; and Drew’s as-yet-unidentified drug dealer. With humor, plenty of action, and a tantalizing array of teas and recipes, Theodosia is sure to win more followers with this enjoyable whodunit.” (Abridged from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverChilled to the bone / Quentin Bates.
“In her third outing, Iceland police sergeant Gunnhildur (Gunna) Gisladottir investigates the murder of a businessman found tied to a bed in an upscale Reykjavik hotel. He’s not the first man to be similarly abandoned midway through a paid-for tryst. To make matters worse, a laptop containing sensitive government data was stolen from one of the rooms. All this would be pressure enough for Gunna, but there’s someone else looking for the disappearing dominatrix Baddo, a thug just returned to Iceland after an eight-year prison stint in Lithuania… A solid police procedural with some genuinely rewarding surprises at the end. When it comes to frosty crime novels, Iceland may just be the new Sweden.” (Abridged from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe price of innocence / Lisa Black.
“Romance comes to Theresa MacLean for the first time since her fiance’s death, in Black’s satisfying sixth mystery featuring the Cleveland forensic scientist (after Blunt Impact). From the moment Theresa meets David Madison she’s captivated. That the feeling appears to be mutual, though, only serves to make the savvy crime fighter suspicious. Questions plague her. How does he know the murder victim at whose funeral they meet? Is David connected to a 25-year-old fire in Cleveland State University student housing-a fire that’s somehow connected to a series of explosions she’s currently investigating? With only her gut to go on, she-and the reader-scud through a series of devilishly clever blind alleys and red herrings.” (Abridged from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe killing. III / David Hewson.
“Detective Inspector for homicide, Sarah Lund, is contacted by old flame Mathias Borch from National Intelligence. Borch fears that what first appeared to be a random killing at the docks is the beginning of an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Troels Hartmann. The murder draws attention towards the shipping and oil giant, Zeeland, run by billionaire Robert Zeuthen. When Zeuthen’s 9-year-old daughter, Emilie, is kidnapped the investigation takes on a different dimension as it soon becomes clear that her disappearance is linked to the murder of a young girl in Jutland some years earlier. Hartmann is in the middle of an election campaign, made all the more turbulent because of the mounting financial crisis. He needs Zeeland’s backing. Lund needs to make sense of the clues left by Emilie’s perpetrator before it’s too late. And can she finally face the demons that have long haunted her?” (Publishers description from

New Mysteries for February

New mysteries for February include the acclaimed mystery debut of Isabel Allende; new stand-alones from Laura Lippman & Zoe Sharp; and new translated crime from Finland, Florence & The Pyrenees.

Syndetics book coverRipper : a novel / Isabel Allende ; translated from the Spanish by Oliver Brock and Frank Wynne.
“Super-smart high-school senior Amanda Martin is obsessed with an Internet role-playing game, Ripper (as in Jack), and oversees a group comprising four other brilliant misfit teens from around the world as well as her grandfather, who raised her after her very young parents divorced. Amanda’s father, Bob, is a deputy chief of homicide in the San Francisco police department. Her mother, Indiana, is a healer too kind for her own good who is romantically entangled with a former navy SEAL and a wealthy dilettante. As Amanda and her cyber-brigade investigate a series of ritualistic murders no one else believes are connected, Allende richly portrays a range of intriguing characters, from Ayani, a famous Ethiopian model and women’s rights activist, to Attila, a heroic war dog. Sensitive to inequality, injustice, and psychological complexity and touching on everything from aromatherapy to illegal immigrants to PTSD, Allende’s tightly plotted tale of crimes obvious and masked is sharply perceptive, utterly charming, and intensely suspenseful.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter I’m gone / Laura Lippman.
“Rather than face 15 years in prison, Baltimore gambling boss Felix Brewer goes on the lam in 1976, leaving behind his wife, Bambi, the love of his life; his beloved daughters, Linda, 17, Rachel, 14, and Michelle, three; and his mistress, ex-stripper Julie Saxony. Ten years later, Julie disappears. It’s suspected that she joined Felix, until her body is discovered in 2001 in a park near Bambi’s childhood home. The Saxony cold case is reopened in 2012 by Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a widowed retired detective working as a consultant for the Baltimore police department. Chapters detailing critical points in the Brewer women’s lives from 1959 forward alternate with those about the murder investigation, which is ultimately solved by following the money. Verdict? In this stand-alone (adroitly linked to the Tess Monaghan series), Lippman focuses on the inner lives of the women left behind. Despite the murder at its center, this is less a suspenseful whodunit than a masterly novel of character, with secrets skillfully and gradually revealed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrooked Numbers / Tim O’Mara.
“O’Mara never hits a wrong note in his suspenseful sequel to 2012′s Sacrifice Fly, which introduced Raymond Donne, a former NYPD detective who now works as a middle-school dean in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After graduation, one of Donne’s students, Douglas Lee, got a scholarship to a private school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. A year-and-a-half later, just short of his 17th birthday, Dougie dies at the tennis courts under the Williamsburg Bridge, the victim of multiple stab wounds. Donne attends the funeral home wake, where Dougie’s mother beseeches him to do what he can to pressure the police to dig deeper into her son’s murder. With the cooperation of newspaper reporter Allison Rogers, Donne does just that, at the risk of stepping on the toes of his former colleagues on the force. He quickly concludes that the simple explanation for the killing-that Dougie had fallen from grace and that his murder was gang- and drug-related-doesn’t add up. The plot is intricate without being elaborate, and the likable lead makes a plausible investigator.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe blood whisperer / Zoë Sharp.
“The uncanny abilities of London crime-scene specialist Kelly Jacks to coax evidence from the most unpromising of crime scenes once earned her the nickname of The Blood Whisperer. Then six years ago all that changed. Kelly woke next to the butchered body of a man, the knife in her hands and no memory of what happened. She trusted the evidence would prove her innocent. It didn’t. Now released after serving her sentence for involuntary manslaughter, Kelly must try to piece her life back together. Shunned by former colleagues and friends, the only work she can get is for the crime-scene cleaning firm run by her former mentor. But old habits die hard. And when her instincts tell her things are not as they appear at the scene of a routine suicide, she can’t help but ask questions that somebody does not want answered. Plunged into the nightmare of being branded a killer once again, Kelly is soon fleeing from the police, Russian thugs and a local gangster. Betrayed at every turn, she is fast running out of options. But Kelly acquired a whole new set of skills on the inside.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA bitter taste / Annie Hauxwell.
“She was ten years old, but knew enough to wipe clean the handle of the bloody kitchen knife. The night was stifling; the windows were closed, sealing in the chaos. A table upturned, shattered crockery. Her distraught mother, bare shoulders raw with welts, knelt beside her motionless father. The child snatched up her backpack, and ran…London sweats in the height of summer. The parched city has slowed to a claustrophobic shuffle and there’s no end in sight. Heroin-addicted investigator Catherine Berlin hides her scars from prying eyes while working on the worst of all cases: matrimonial. The capital’s junkies suffer from a drought of a different kind. A strung-out ghost from Berlin’s past turns up on her doorstep with a desperate plea for help: her ten-year-old daughter is missing. Reminded of a debt owed, Berlin agrees to help, but the search becomes far deadlier than she could ever imagine, drawing her deep into an underworld of corrupt detectives, ruthless drug dealers, and a child killer. ‘A Bitter Taste’ is the thrilling second instalment in the magnificent crime series featuring civilian investigator Catherine Berlin, whose long-standing heroin addiction is only part of her story.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverDeath in Florence : an Inspector Bordelli mystery / Marco Vichi ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Florence, October 1966. The rain is never-ending. When a young boy vanishes on his way home from school the police fear the worst, and Inspector Bordelli begins an increasingly desperate investigation. Then the flood hits. During the night of 4th November the swollen River Arno, already lapping the arches of the Ponte Vecchio, breaks its banks and overwhelms the city. Streets become rushing torrents, the force of the water sweeping away cars and trees, doors, shutters and anything else in its wake. In the aftermath of this unimaginable tragedy the mystery of the child’s disappearance seems destined to go unsolved. But obstinate as ever, Bordelli is not prepared to give up.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe Mangle Street murders / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“Set in 1882, Kasasian’s sparkling debut introduces a memorable new detective duo. Twenty-one-year-old March Middleton, on the death of her father, decides to accept the offer of Sidney Grice, the godfather she has never met, to live with him in London. When she discovers that Grice is a personal detective – the word “private,” he insists, is best reserved for bedrooms – March insists on being involved. Her first opportunity arrives with Mrs. Grace Dillinger, who wants Grice to prove that her son-in-law, William Ashby, is innocent of her daughter’s murder. Despite March’s protests, Grice becomes convinced of Ashby’s guilt. Playful references suggest that Arthur Conan Doyle will model Sherlock Holmes on Grice. But unlike Holmes and Watson, the feisty, gin-swigging Middleton and irascible, mercenary Grice are evenly matched in both brains and determination. Their clever sparring, the appealing secondary characters, and an ingenious plot bode well for future installments.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe frozen dead / Bernard Minier ; translated by Alison Anderson.
“In a valley deep in the Pyrenees, a group of workers discover something deeply unnerving: the headless body of a horse suspended on a frozen cliff. On the same day, a young psychiatrist starts her first job at a secure asylum for the criminally insane just a few miles away. For Captain Servaz, a 40-something city cop, this might be the strangest case of his career. Why would anyone go to such trouble to kill a horse? But things get even stranger when they find DNA from one of the most notorious inmates of the asylum on the corpse…and a few days later the first murder takes place.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLight in a dark house / Jan Costin Wagner ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
“Finnish detective Kimmo Joentaa is called to the local hospital in which his young wife died several years before. An unidentified woman in a coma has been murdered by someone who wept over the body, their tears staining the sheets around her. The death marks the start of a series of killings, with the unknown patient at their centre. As autumn turns to winter, and Christmas fast approaches, Kimmo’s attempts to unravel the case and identify the first victim are complicated by the disappearance of his sometime girlfriend, who has vanished after an awkward encounter at a party thrown by the head of the police force, and by a colleague’s spiral into the depths of a gambling addiction.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe drowning spool / Monica Ferris.
“In Ferris’s diverting 17th needlecraft mystery (after 2012′s And Then You Dye), intrepid needlework shop owner Betsy Devonshire has to exercise at Watered Silk, a senior living facility near her home in Excelsior, Minn., because the pool at her regular gym is under repair. When the nude body of a young woman turns up in the Watered Silk pool, it raises several questions. Who is she? How did she get in past the five locked doors? And why is there lavender bath salts in her lungs? The realistic needlework details are germane to the investigation, which includes a second death. Readers will readily accept that Betsy is smarter than the cops and that the police welcome her contributions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for January

Syndetics book coverThe gingerbread house / Carin Gerhardsen.
“From the same Swedish editorial team and publisher as Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy comes a sensational new crime writing talent. Ingrid Olsson returns home from a Stockholm hospital to discover a man in her kitchen. She’s never seen the intruder before. But he’s no threat – he’s dead. Criminal Investigator Conny Sjöberg takes the call, abandoning his wife Åsa and their five children for the night. His team identify the body as that of a middle-aged family man. But why was he there? And who bludgeoned him to death? Lacking suspect and motive, Sjöberg’s team struggle until they link the case to another – apparently random – killing. And discover they face a serial killer on a terrible vendetta . . .The Gingerbread House is the first title in The Hammarby Series, novels following Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and his murder investigation team – a gripping feast for all fans of Jo Nesbo, Camilla Lackberg and Henning Mankell.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe gods of guilt / Michael Connelly.
“Defense attorney Mickey Haller returns with a haunting case in the gripping new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly. Mickey Haller gets the text, “Call me ASAP – 187,” and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Mickey must work tirelessly and bring all his skill to bear on a case that could mean his ultimate redemption or proof of his ultimate guilt.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSomething more than night / Ian Tregillis.
“Ian Tregillis’s Something More Than Night is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas’s vision of Heaven. It’s a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God. Somebody has murdered the angel Gabriel. Worse, the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing, putting Heaven on the brink of a truly cosmic crisis. But the twisty plot that unfolds from the murder investigation leads to something much bigger: a con job one billion years in the making. Because this is no mere murder. A small band of angels has decided to break out of heaven, but they need a human patsy to make their plan work. Much of the story is told from the point of view of Bayliss, a cynical fallen angel who has modeled himself on Philip Marlowe. The yarn he spins follows the progression of a Marlowe novel—the mysterious dame who needs his help, getting grilled by the bulls, finding a stiff, getting slipped a mickey. Angels and gunsels, dames with eyes like fire, and a grand maguffin.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe lost girls of Rome / Donato Carrisi ; translated by Howard Curtis.
“A secret sect worthy of a Dan Brown novel, the penitenzieri are a group of rogue Catholic clergymen who archive the admissions made in the confessional and then mete out justice on their own. When some of Rome’s most unrepentant killers are suddenly struck down, it seems that this centuries-old network is coming out of the shadows. Could this be the story that forensic analyst Sandra Vega’s journalist-husband was working on when he died? The brusque and mysterious Interpol agent Schalber certainly seems to think so. A race against the clock to find one killer’s final victim keeps the story moving, but Carrisi loses momentum with the introduction of a secondary fabulist plot regarding a transformationist. This multilayered thriller was a best-seller in the author’s native Italy.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverOnce upon a lie / Maggie Barbieri.
“Maeve Conlon’s life is coming apart at the seams. Her bakery is barely making ends meet, and one of her daughters spends as much time grounded as the other does studying. Her ex-husband has a new wife, a new baby, and a look of pity for Maeve that’s absolutely infuriating. Her father insists he’s still independent, but he’s slowly and obviously succumbing to Alzheimer’s. And now, her cousin Sean Donovan has been found dead, sitting in his car in a public park, shot through the head. There was never much love lost between Maeve and Sean and she’s not exactly devastated by his death, but suddenly the police are poking around asking the family questions. It’s just one more hassle Maeve doesn’t have time for, until she realizes that her father, whose memory and judgment are unreliable at best, is a suspect in the murder. Maeve is determined to clear his name, but is she prepared to cope with the dark memories and long-hidden secrets that doing so might dredge up?” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGone in seconds / A.J. Cross.
“When the skeleton of a young woman is found near a West Midlands motorway, evidence suggests that it is that of teenager Molly James, who went missing five years ago. Forensic psychologist Dr Kate Hanson and the Unsolved Crime Unit are called in to re-investigate Molly’s case. The deeper they dig the dirtier the clues get, and when a second set of remains is unearthed Kate suspects they’re looking for a Repeater: a killer who will adapt, grow and not stop until they are caught.Will Dr Hanson manage to unravel the tangle of clues that the killer has left behind before he has a chance to take another innocent victim?” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe second deadly sin / Åsa Larsson ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.“Dawn breaks in a forest in northern Sweden. Villagers gather to dispatch a rampaging bear. When the beast is brought to ground they are horrified to find the remains of a human hand inside its stomach. In nearby Kiruna a woman is found murdered in her bed, her body a patchwork of vicious wounds, the word WHORE scrawled across the wall. Her grandson Marcus, already an orphan, is nowhere to be seen. Grasping for clues, Rebecka Martinsson begins to delve into the victim’s tragic family history. But with doubts over her mental health still lingering, she is ousted from the case by an arrogant and ambitious young prosecutor. Before long a chance lead draws Martinsson back into the thick of the action and her legendary courage is put to the test.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverEntry Island / Peter May.
“When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city. Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home. The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met. Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarbour Street / Ann Cleeves.
“Harbour Street is the sixth book in Ann Cleeves’ crime novel series Vera – which is a major TV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn on ITV. As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revellers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro. But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that an old lady hasn’t left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed as she sat on the crowded train. Nobody, including the policeman himself, sees the stabbing take place… Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. Soon Vera and Joe are on their way to the south Northumberland town of Mardle, where Margaret lived, to begin their inquiry. Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what had been troubling Margaret so deeply before she died – before another life is lost.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe beginning / Jonas Winner ; translated by Edwin Miles.
“Originally published in Germany as a seven-volume series, Berlin Gothic (appearing here as a two-parter) tells the story of Inspector Konstantin Butz, whose investigation into a series of murder-mutilations leads him to question whether his lover, Claire Bentheim, might know a lot more about the killings than he could possibly have suspected. Butz’s story is alternated with that of young Till Anschutz, who, 12 years earlier, is adopted into the Bentheim household, in which he discovers that Xavier Bentheim, his adoptive father, is a horror novelist who is hiding some truly horrific secrets. Richly detailed and populated by characters who breathe remarkable life into the story, the book ends not with a cliffhanger but with an abrupt stop, leaving readers with no option but to wait for the second volume to see how Winner brings this thrilling, terrifying story to a conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHades / Candice Fox.
“Hades Archer, the man they call the Lord of the Underworld, surrounds himself with the things others leave behind. Their trash becomes the twisted sculptures that line his junkyard. The bodies they want disposed of become his problem – for a fee. Then one night a man arrives on his doorstep, clutching a small bundle that he wants ‘lost’. And Hades makes a decision that will change everything…Twenty years later, homicide detective Frank Bennett feels like the luckiest man on the force when he meets his new partner, the dark and beautiful Eden Archer. But there’s something strange about Eden and her brother, Eric. Something he can’t quite put his finger on. When the two detectives are called to the scene of an attempted drowning, they find a traumatised victim telling a story that’s hard to believe – until the divers start bringing up bodies. Frank is now on the hunt for a very different kind of serial killer: one who offers the sick and dying hope at murderous cost. At first, his partner’s sharp instincts come in handy. Soon, he’s wondering if she’s as dangerous as the man they hunt.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCopper heart : a Maria Kallio mystery / Leena Lehtolainen ; translated by Owen F. Witesman.
“Former police sergeant Maria Kallio gladly left her tiny Finnish hometown of Arpikylä without looking back. But even though Maria despises the small town and the acrid smell from its now-closed copper mine, when Arpikylä’s sheriff asks her to serve as deputy sheriff for the summer, she agrees. What should have been a quiet summer soon turns dramatic’and deadly. Meritta, an outspoken local artist, plunges to her death from the copper mine’s tower, and Maria immediately suspects someone helped her fall. Now Maria must face the harsh truth that one of the town’s residents killed Meritta, and friends Maria has known for decades all harbor their own murderous motives’even Johnny, her gorgeous former crush who almost makes her forget about her long-distance boyfriend, Antti, who is studying in Chicago. In this thrilling addition to the internationally successful Maria Kallio mystery series, the past and present of the beloved Finnish detective violently collide, leaving her future in grave danger.” (From Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for November

New mysteries for November bring more translated Scandinavian crime fiction from Leif G.W. Persson, Kristina Ohlsson, with debuts from Vidar Sundstøl and Leena Lehtolainen; the latest Inspector Montalbano from Andrea Camilleri; and Barry Lancet’s acclaimed debut thriller ‘Japantown’…

Syndetics book coverThe disappeared / Kristina Ohlsson ; translated by Marlaine Delargy.
“The body of a young woman is found carved up and buried in a forest glade in an innocuous Stockholm suburb. As Fredrika Bergman and her colleagues in the Stockholm Police continue to excavate the site, several more bodies are unearthed. Meanwhile, the name of a children’s fiction author keeps cropping up in the investigation. All the bodies in the mass grave appear to have some connection to the old author and her enigmatic circle of friends The Guardian Angels who formed an elitist film club in the 60s. But the elderly writer is mute and incapable of helping Fredrika with the investigation.” (Adapted from Syndetics review)

Syndetics book coverHe who kills the dragon / Leif G.W. Persson ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“It should have been an open-and-shut case. Two drunks, previously acquainted with one another, meet for a bite to eat and considerably more to drink, fall into an argument about one of the many pointless matters that make up their private shared history. And one of them brings their evening together to an end by beating the other to death. A strangely routine and yet puzzling scenario for Detective Superintendent Evert Bäckström, whose legendary poor temper not been improved by strict orders from his doctor to lead a healthier life. His gut feeling proves him right: within days, his team has another murder on their hands, linked to the first, and reports of alleged ties to a van heist in which two people died. The nation needs a hero, and who better to save the day than Evert Bäckströ – misanthropic, ostentatious, devoid of morals, Hawaii-shirt-clad, and latterly armed? Once again a combination of laziness, luck and an unbelievable sense of timing may rescue him from the perils of his fifteen minutes of fame.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverJapantown : a thriller / Barry Lancet.
“Lancet successfully places a PI in an international thriller plot in his highly entertaining debut. Five members of the Nakamura family have been gunned down at a pedestrian mall in San Francisco’s Japantown. SFPD Lt. Frank Renna asks Jim Brodie, an antiques dealer who inherited his father’s Tokyo-based private investigation firm, to decipher the one clue found at the crime scene: a single kanji, or Japanese letter, written on a piece of paper. Jim saw that same letter before-at the house fire in which his wife, Mieko, perished. Tokyo communications mogul Katsuyuki Hara hires Jim to find out who murdered his eldest daughter and the four other family members, including two children. The PI gets on the trail of the ruthless Soga, a private army for hire that’s responsible for unsolved high-profile deaths worldwide. The case becomes personal when the Soga kidnap Jim’s six-year-old daughter, Jenny. Readers will want to see more of the talented Jim, with his expertise in Japanese culture, history, and martial arts.” (Adapted from Syndetics review)

Syndetics book coverThe land of dreams / Vidar Sundstøl ; translated by Tiina Nunnally.
“Norwegian crime novelist Sundstol’s stellar psychological thriller, the first in his Minnesota Trilogy, stunningly evokes the North Shore of Lake Superior and its people-Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish settlers, as well as Objibway Native Americans. When 46-year-old forest ranger and amateur historian Lance Hansen checks out a report of someone illegally pitching a tent near the lake, he comes across a distraught naked man smeared with dried blood and close by the body of the man’s murdered companion, both apparently Norwegian tourists. Lance soon gets entangled in a web of intrigue, revenge, and old unresolved conflicts-not the least agonizing of which is with his brother, Andy, whom Lance saw near the murder site before discovering the body… Like his detective Eirik Nyland, brought from Oslo to investigate the crime, Sundstol is an outsider, and as such, he clearly recognizes the violent energy beneath the placid surface of Cook County, Minn. Nunnally’s convincing translation helps bring it all to unforgettable life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe treasure hunt / Andrea Camilleri.
“Sicilian police inspector Salvo Montalbano has a way of finding himself in some truly oddball situations, but this time he outdoes himself, with the oddball gauge securely in the red zone from the get-go. It starts with a comical action scene: a crazed brother and sister open fire from their apartment window on the plaza below, prompting Montalbano to turn Spider-Man and scale the building, collaring the seventysomething snipers. The inspector’s unlikely heroics are heralded in the press, prompting a curious response: someone begins sending Salvo peculiar notes, in rhyme, demanding that he take part in a treasure hunt. The clues seem only eccentric in the beginning, but as Montalbano follows the paths they chart, he begins to sense a sinister undertone. Could the hunt possibly tie in to the disappearance of a local girl? As always, Camilleri expertly mixes comedy with serious crime, but this time the evil foreshadowings dominate the tone (harking back to the earlier volumes in the series). Salvo wears his melancholy well—musings on aging accentuate the dark direction of the plot—and the bittersweet ending hits just the right end note.” (From review)

Syndetics book coverSavage spring / Mons Kallentoft ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“The Swedish town of Linkping is bathed in Spring sunshine. The trees are blossoming and families are having breakfast at outdoor tables in the main square. Then a deafening explosion rips through the air. Broken glass and tulip petals cover the cobblestones, and two little girls, twin sisters, are killed while their mother is left fighting for her life. Detective Inspector Malin Fors has just attended her own mother’s funeral when she is summoned to the devastating scene. But, although Malin is plagued with questions about her past and the secrets her mother never revealed, she must once again bury her own pain if she is to find Tuva and Mira Viger?’s killer before he strikes again.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverLet it burn / Steve Hamilton.
“A teenager Alex McKnight helped arrest for a savage murder is being released from prison. McKnight decides to make a sentimental journey to Detroit, scene of his finest hours as a cop as well as subsequent events that derailed his life and caused him to seek refuge on Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula. But soon after his arrival in the city, he begins to think he may have helped send an innocent teenager to prison, and he is determined to set things right. Let It Burn reads like several different kinds of novel. It begins with a man approaching 60, looking back ruefully on events that ended the life he’d anticipated. Then, in flashback, it describes the frantic hunt for the murderer before returning to the present and becoming a private-eye novel. By turns, it is either gauzy and impressionistic or a minutely detailed procedural.” (From review)

Syndetics book coverMy first murder / Leena Lehtolainen ; translated by Owen F. Witesman.
“Rookie detective Maria Kallio is called out to a puzzling case involving a respected choir composed of college-age and 20-something adults. One of the members has been murdered at the Helsinki villa where the choir was invited for the weekend. Odds are that one of the victim’s fellow choristers killed him. Coincidentally, Maria knows many of the individuals, having gone to college with them. Despite the potential conflict of interest, the short-staffed police department makes it her case. But can Maria stay professional and not let her personal prejudices blind her to the mounting evidence? VERDICT Lehtolainen’s first entry (originally published in 1993) in a series long popular in Finland is an engaging Scandinavian procedural sure to appeal to Helene Tursten fans. It is also a good choice for readers who like a young protagonist trying to establish herself in a man’s world, not unlike Tess Gerritsen’s early Rizzoli and Isles titles.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeason of the witch / Arni Thorarinsson ; translated by Anna Yates.
“An inconvenient reassignment has landed Reykjavik crime reporter Einar in the small northern town of Akureyri, where his biggest story to date has been the college stage production of Loftur the Sorcerer, an Icelandic folktale of ambition and greed. But that supposedly ancient history becomes ominously relevant when an unexpected new story lands in Einar’s lap: a local woman dies after falling overboard during a corporate boating retreat. All evidence suggests an accident, but when the victim’s mother cries foul play, kind-hearted Einar agrees to investigate. Days later, the lead actor in Loftur vanishes, leaving the locals reeling – and Einar unconvinced that a single village could be so accident prone. Keenly perceptive and hungry for the truth, he begins to chip away at the small-town facade, uncovering a tangled and all-too-modern web of power and greed that threatens to devour the historic community once and for all.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDaybreak / Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson ; translated by Björg Árnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery.
“When the shotgun-blasted body of a goose hunter is discovered, the police believe they have a list of suspects who may have wanted the victim dead, from his young wife to the caretaker of his property. But then a second body, another hunter, is found with a similar fatal wound. And then a third. As the pattern emerges–all goose hunters, all shot at the break of dawn–Reykjavik policemen Gunnar and Birkir face the terrifying possibility that a serial killer is stalking the idyllic Icelandic countryside. Gunnar and Birkir set a trap for the one they call ‘the Gander,’ but it quickly becomes a wild goose chase as the murderer plays some tricks of his own. With the clock running out and the discovery of another body all but guaranteed, the cops must determine if there is a thread connecting the victims or if the killings are all part of a twisted game.” (From Syndetics summary)

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 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)

New Mysteries for August

New mysteries for August include new titles from Laura Lippman, Elaine Viets & Joanna Campbell Slan; a new Dave Robicheaux novel from James Lee Burke; the translation of Karin Fossum’s first Inspector Sejer novel; Ace Atkins’ continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series; and the mysterious new author Robert Galbraith…

Syndetics book coverAnd when she was good / Laura Lippman.
“*Starred Review* Readers first met Heloise, a brainy madam with class, in award-winning crime writer Lippman’s stellar short story collection, Hardly Knew Her (2008). In her eighteenth book, Lippman deepens her distinctively ironic and caring inquiry into the hypocrisy and sleaze of Baltimore and the endless array of oppressive and violent acts against women that take place the world over. Heloise runs an airtight operation with a devilishly clever cover, a fail-safe filing-shredding system, and a firewall around her son, who believes that his father is dead, although Heloise’s tyrannical and murderous former lover and pimp is in prison instead… Vigilant Heloise feels reasonably secure until she reads the headline Suburban Madam Dead in Apparent Suicide, the start of harrowing disclosures that put everything she’s worked so hard to achieve in danger. Lippman, so smart, clear-sighted, and polished and yet so intense and furious, surveys the intersection of perpetual misogyny and the criminality of sex work in this  stylishly righteous tale of atrocities and revenge.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLight of the World: Robicheaux novel / James Lee Burke.
“*Starred Review* Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading Good and Evil to Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. Robicheaux, the Cajun detective with a melancholy streak as wide as the Mississippi, grieves lost innocence in all its forms, but as much as he remembers goodness in the past, he crusades against evil in the present. The bad guys against whom Robicheaux along with his equally tormented comrade-in-arms, Clete Purcell campaigns sometimes take the form of bent rich guys driven by blind greed. But occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form depravity beyond sociology giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone, with Robicheaux cast as a contemporary Beowulf, asked to plunge deep into the heart of darkness to confront the Grendels lurking beneath the surface of daily life. So it is here, when serial killer Asa Surette, believed dead, resurfaces in Montana with scores to settle, including one with Robicheaux’s daughter, Alafair.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Cover imageThe girl next door / Brad Parks.
“*Starred Review* Reporter as detective hero isn’t anything new, but few have been as convincing in the dual role as ink-stained wage slave Carter Ross, the fearsomely articulate hero of Parks’ fine new novel. He didn’t become a newshawk to save the world; he did it because he wants to find stuff out. He’s not uncomfortable in the role of professional bystander. It’s not just what he does; it’s who he is. And when a nice young woman who works for the newspaper is brutally murdered, he’s sure who did it. Someone in newspaper management, of course. Aren’t they responsible for all evil? But this is a detective story so there’s more to it, and Ross’ constant prodding finally gets him suspended, which means he no longer has to worry about making nice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cuckoo’s calling / Robert Galbraith.
“Lula Landry, a celebrity model rumored to have a drug problem, falls to her death one snowy night. Even though the police rule it a suicide, Lula’s brother asks struggling London PI Cormoran Strike to investigate. Cormoran knows what he’s up against: the rich are famously good at blockading information sharing. Nonetheless, he and his new assistant, Robin, forge an effective partnership as they interview fashion insiders, jealous boyfriends, and dysfunctional family members. The results are devastating. Cormoran’s own celebrity roots and status as a wounded veteran (he lost his leg in Afghanistan) color a fascinating tale that explores the lifestyles of the rich and the unhappy. Galbraith’s take on contemporary celebrity obsession makes for a grand beach read. It’s like a mash-up of Charles Dickens and Penny Vincenzi.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRobert B. Parker’s Wonderland / Ace Atkins.
“Boston PI Spenser and Henry Cimoli, owner of a Boston gym, formerly a haven for boxers but now supported by spandex-clad exercisers, have been friends for years. Now Henry needs help. Developers are bullying the mostly older occupants in Henry’s condo in an attempt to make them sell cheap. So far it’s been mostly intimidation, but folks are scared. Hawk, Spenser’s longtime cohort, is out of town, so the PI enlists the assistance of Zebulon Sixkill, an intern of sorts. They send the developer’s thugs on their way and then negotiate a lucrative buyout for Henry and his neighbors, but it could be all for naught when the developer is decapitated and a plethora of greedy, jealous, and ambitious players attempt to take control. After an uneven start at re-creating Spenser (Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby, 2012), Atkins finds his footing this time, settling into the character more comfortably and concocting a fairly complex caper with urban development, organized crime, and sex all playing roles.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFoal play / Kathryn O’Sullivan.
“Smalltown hilarity buoys O’Sullivan’s charming debut, winner of Malice Domestic’s best traditional first novel competition. On a hot Fourth of July, Colleen McCabe, the fire chief of Corolla, N.C., goes to the scene of a burning house owned by cantankerous former school teacher Myrtle Crepe. Inside lie the remains of a charred female, whom everyone fears is Myrtle. Later, Colleen inspects another burned body, which washed up on the beach earlier in the day. Colleen knows better than to do some inconspicuous investigating, especially since her best friend and town sheriff, Bill Dorman, has given her a stern warning against it, but keeping her nose clean proves easier said than done. Readers will enjoy the quirky supporting cast-from Pinky Salvatore, the town’s closest thing to a criminal, to Little Bobby, Myrtle’s beleaguered only child-though some will hope the author will develop Colleen more in future installments.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBoard stiff : a dead-end job mystery / Elaine Viets.
“In Viets’s entertaining 12th Dead-End Job mystery (after 2012′s Final Sail), Sunny Jim Sundusky, the owner of a Florida paddleboard concession, hires married PIs Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont to find out who’s been vandalizing his boards and otherwise trying to drive him out of business. When a customer, Ceci Odell, expires in the ocean on her rented board, Helen and Phil discover that Ceci’s death was no accident. A bitter ex-employee, the victim’s abusive husband, and greedy competitors all have a stake in seeing Sunny Jim fail-as do the city officials of fictional Riggs Beach, known as “Rigged Beach” for its rampant corruption. Meanwhile, a blackmailer threatens to expose the role Helen and her sister played in the disappearance of Helen’s ex-husband, Rob. Attempting to end the extortion, she reveals a deception that may leave her current marriage as dead as the murdered paddleboarder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPicture perfect corpse / Joanna Campbell Slan.
“Police detective Chad Detweiler is overjoyed to learn he’s having a baby with Kiki Lowenstein. But when his estranged wife, Brenda, is found shot to death with bullets from his revolver, the proud papa-to-be finds himself up the creek without a lawyer. Meanwhile, Kiki and Dodie Goldfader are in for a surprise when an unidentified young woman bursts into their craft store claiming to have killed Dodie’s son. Embarking on a memorial scrapbook project as a ruse to unravel the facts, Kiki can’t stop herself from wondering if the man she loves is tangled up in murder.” Description from

Syndetics book coverEva’s eye / Karin Fossum ; translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson.
“Eva Magnus is a struggling artist and the divorced mother of a seven-year-old child, Emma. One afternoon she and Emma are walking by the river when an unknown man’s body floats to the surface of the icy water. She tells her daughter to wait patiently while she calls the police, but when she reaches the phone box Eva dials another number altogether. When the police discover the body, it doesn’t take long for and his team to determine that the man, Egil, died in a violent attack. But Egil has been missing for months and the trail to his killer has gone cold. It’s as puzzling as another unsolved case on Sejer’s desk: the murder of a prostitute who was found dead just three days before Egil went missing. Sejer sets to work piecing together the fragments of these two impossible cases; soon enough he realizes that they might not be as separate as they had seemed. Gripping and thought-provoking, Eva’s Eye is Karin Fossum’s first novel featuring the iconic Inspector Sejer.” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe gift of darkness / V.M. Giambanco.
“Twenty-five years ago in the woods near the Hoh River in Seattle, three boys were kidnapped. One did not come home. A quarter of a decade later, a family of four is found brutally murdered, the words thirteen days scratched near their lifeless bodies. Homicide Detective Alice Madison ran away from home as a child, one breath away from committing an unforgivable act; as an adult, she found her peace chasing the very worst humanity has to offer. Madison believes these murders are linked. And she has thirteen days to prove it. To stop a psychopath, Madison must go back into the woods and confront the unsolved mystery of the Hoh River Boys. She must forget her training and follow her instincts to the terrifying end as enemies become allies and, in the silent forest, time is running out to save another life.” (Description from syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for July…

From politically charged assassinations to decades-old cold cases, to vicious unsolved robberies, our new mysteries in July span the globe, with novels set in New York, Brighton, Johannesburg, London and Mississippi.

Syndetics book coverThe kill room : a Lincoln Rhyme novel / Jeffery Deaver.
“Lincoln Rhyme and partner Amelia Sachs investigate a controversial, politically charged case involving the assassination in the Bahamas of a U.S. citizen at the behest of the director of the National Intelligence and Operations Service (NIOS). Although Moreno, a New York City resident, long harbored hatred for the U.S. exploitation of the Central and South American economies, Nance Laurel, the New York assistant district attorney, will not permit the U.S. government to abuse, ignore, and avoid the law; hence, the extensive search for witnesses. However, NIOS director Shreve Metzger learns of the investigation and, in turn, orders his assassin, Jacob Swann, to systematically minimize and/or eliminate anyone aware of his Special Task Order…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe devil and the river / R.J. Ellory.
“When the rains came they found the girl’s face. Just her face. At least that was how it appeared…On a perfect summer evening in 1954, sixteen-year-old Nancy Denton walked into the woods of her hometown of Whytesburg, Mississippi. She was never seen again. Two decades on, Sheriff John Gaines witnesses a harrowing discovery. A young woman has been unearthed from the riverbank, her body perfectly preserved, yet she bears evidence of a brutal ritualistic killing. Nancy has come home at last, but her return does not bring closure to her family, nor to the townsfolk of Whytesburg. Already haunted by his experiences in Vietnam, Gaines must now stretch his abilities to the limit, pushing himself ever closer to breaking point. What really happened to the beautiful and vivacious Nancy? And why do her friends refuse to talk? As Gaines closes in on the truth, he is forced to not only confront his own demons, but to unearth secrets that have long remained hidden. And that truth, so much darker than he could ever have imagined, may be the one thing that finally destroys him…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverDead man’s time / Peter James.
“A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. And millions of pounds’ worth of valuables have been taken. But, as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that the old woman’s powerful family cherish above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and will do anything, absolutely anything, to get it back. Within days, Grace is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe, and all the way back to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the force of one man’s greed and another man’s fury…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle Green / Walter Mosley.
“In 2007′s Blonde Faith, set in 1967, Easy Rawlins drove drunkenly off a cliff in what his creator indicated was likely his last appearance. Now, after two months of sliding in and out of consciousness, Easy begins the long journey back to the living, in Mosley’s superb 12th mystery featuring his iconic sleuth. Saved by Ray “Mouse” Alexander and the ministrations of Mama Jo, Easy is asked by Mouse to find Evander “Little Green” Noon, who went clubbing on the Sunset Strip and disappeared. Weakened but determined to keep moving, Easy is buoyed by Mama Jo’s potent brew she calls “Gator’s Blood” and the support of numerous friends, including Martin Martins and Jackson Blue…(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe two deaths of Daniel Hayes / Marcus Sakey.
“The only sign of life for miles is an empty BMW. Inside it he finds clothes that fit perfectly, shoes for his tattered feet, a Rolex and a driving licence in the name of Daniel Hayes, resident of Malibu, California. None of them is familiar. How did he get here? Who is he? Who was he? While he searches for answers, the world searches for him – beginning with the cops who kick in the door of his dingy motel room with guns drawn. Lost and alone, the man who might be Daniel Hayes flees into the night. All he remembers is a woman’s face, so he sets off for the only place where he might find her. Her image becomes his home, his world, his hope. And maybe, just maybe, the way back to himself. But that raises the most chilling question of all: what will he find when he gets there?…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverWaiting for Wednesday / Nicci French.
“Waiting For Wednesday by Nicci French is the thrilling third novel in the highly acclaimed Frieda Klein series. Ruth Lennox, beloved mother of three, is found by her daughter in a pool of her own blood. Who would want to murder an ordinary housewife? And why? Psychotherapist Frieda Klein finds she has an unusually personal connection with DCI Karlsson’s latest case. She is no longer working with him in an official capacity, but when her niece befriends Ruth Lennox’s son, Ted, she finds herself in the awkward position of confidante to both Karlsson and Ted. When it emerges that Ruth was leading a secret life, her family closes ranks and Karlsson finds he needs Frieda’s help more than ever before. But Frieda is distracted. Having survived an attack on her life, she is struggling to stay in control and when a patient’s chance remark rings an alarm bell, she finds herself chasing down a path that seems to lead to a serial killer who has long escaped detection. Or is it merely a symptom of her own increasingly fragile mind? Because, as Frieda knows, every step closer to a killer is one more step into a darkness from which there may be no return…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverA serpent’s tooth / Craig Johnson.
“Just in time for the second season of the A&E TV series Longmire comes bestseller Johnson’s deeply satisfying ninth Walt Longmire novel (after 2012′s As the Crow Flies). On the personal front, the Wyoming sheriff worries about his deepening relationship with Victoria “Vic” Moretti, his intelligent undersheriff, because of their age difference and because he’s the boss. A more serious worry for Walt is Cord Lynear, who appears to be about 15 and is looking for his mother. A delusional homeless man appoints himself Cord’s bodyguard. Cord turns out to be a “lost boy,” kicked out of a secretive polygamous group led by his stepfather, Roy Lynear, which has been putting down roots in nearby states…Suspense propels the brisk plot, complemented by a sly sense of humor and a breathtaking look at Wyoming…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA house to die for / Vicki Doudera.A House to Die For
“Darby Farr returns home to Hurricane Harbor, ME, to handle a real estate deal for her terminally ill aunt. With a greedy woman and an unscrupulous doctor vying to buy the property, the closing comes down to murder. VERDICT This gentle cozy with some unexpected plot twists is sure to please fans of Sarah Graves…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPale horses / Jassy Mackenzie.
“Johannesburg, South Africa: At first, the case appears to be one of simple misadventure. Sonet Meintjies, a base jumper, falls to her death while attempting to parachute off a newly built sixty-five-story skyscraper. But Sonet’s jumping partner insists that this was no accident, and he hires private investigator Jade de Jong to uncover the truth. Jade discovers that Sonet worked for a charity that helped impoverished communities become self-supporting farming units. When Jade travels out to the community farm in Limpopo, she finds it not just abandoned but razed to the ground. Digging deeper for answers about where the residents went, Jade learns about a fatal but unidentified disease that swept through the entire community…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe reckoning / Jane Casey.The Reckoning
“London Det. Constable Maeve Kerrigan, introduced in Irish author Casey’s series debut, The Burning (2011), should win plenty of new fans with this entertaining follow-up, an enticing mix of police work, romance, evildoers, sex, and sexism. Kerrigan’s boss, Supt. Charles Godley, assigns her to work with Det. Insp. Josh Derwent on two murders that appear to be linked: both victims had convictions as sex offenders and both were tortured before being killed. Not only do more victims follow but the nature of the case also changes as the search for the missing young daughter of vicious mobster John Skinner becomes the focus of the investigation. Meanwhile, Kerrigan must deal with Derwent’s almost constant put-downs and confusion about her on-again, off-again romance with Det. Constable Rob Langton. Casey surrounds Kerrigan, an appealing blend of confidence and self-doubt, with a large cast of well-drawn characters…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for June…

New mysteries for June include Scandi-crime from Stockholm, Finland & Copenhagen; & new series books from Mark Billingham, Laura Lippman, Chris Grabenstein & Gyles Brandreth’s popular Oscar Wilde mysteries…

Syndetics book coverThe dying hours / Mark Billingham.
“A growing number of suicides start looking like murder in Billingham’s absorbing 11th novel featuring Det. Insp. Tom Thorne (after 2012′s The Demands). With the apparent joint suicide of an elderly London couple, Thorne, who’s no longer with the CID, senses something amiss but can’t pinpoint what. His suspicions are met with ridicule from his former CID colleagues. With the reluctant help of old friends Det. Sgt. Dave Holland and Det. Insp. Yvonne Kitson, Thorne looks for other recent questionable suicides and finds several promising cases, but no clear link between the victims other than their advanced age. At home, the moody Thorne is doing no favors for his burgeoning relationship with fellow copper Helen Weeks, whom he met in The Demands. Billingham takes a chance by shaking up Thorne’s career, but it pays off in this consistently tense thriller that’s as much about Thorne as it is about solving the crimes…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl in the green raincoat / Laura Lippman.
“In Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart played a photographer who spies on his neighbors while recuperating from a broken leg. In Lippman’s latest entry in her long-running series featuring Tess Monaghan, a hugely pregnant Tess, suffering from preeclampsia, is ordered to spend the last two months of her pregnancy on bed rest. And, shades of Rear Window, it doesn’t take long for the curious and incredibly bored investigator to procure a pair of binoculars and start spying on the dog walkers in the park across the street. She’s especially interested in the girl in the green raincoat and her prancing little greyhound. When, later in the week, she spots the dog running through the park alone, she determines to track down the pet’s missing mistress. And what she finds is a guilty-looking husband with two dead wives and a dead girlfriend in his past. In addition to the central mystery, Lippman provides witty writing and a running theme on the meaning of family, and there are also welcome appearances by Tess’ independent-minded best friend, Whitney; her long-suffering boyfriend, Crow; and her ace employee, Mrs. Blossom. Another winning entry in the series…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageMore bitter than death / Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff ; translated from the Swedish by Tara Chace.
“Sometimes reliving the past revives old demons …In a Stockholm apartment, five-year-old Tilde watches from under the kitchen table as her mother is brutally kicked to death. Meanwhile, in another part of town, psychotherapist Siri Bergman and her colleague Aina meet their new patients – a group of women, all of whom are victims of domestic violence. From Kattis, who was beaten by her boyfriend and lives under the constant threat of his return, to Malin, the promising young athlete who was attacked by a man she met online, and from Sofi, the teenager abused by her stepfather, to Sirkka, an older woman who had a troubled marriage – each woman takes her turn to share her story in the safety of the sessions. But as the group gets closer, it is not long before the dangers lurking in the women’s lives outside invade the peace with shattering consequences. And somehow, the fate of five-year-old Tilde is intertwined with that of Siri and the other women, so that what started out as the search for peace will swiftly turn into a tense hunt for a murderer…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe dead caller from Chicago / Jack Fredrickson.
“Just outside Chicago, Rivertown appears to be a sleepy suburb built on hard work and good intentions. Not so much. More of a back room than a bedroom community, Rivertown, with its notoriously corrupt city government and proximity to the windy metropolis, attracts criminal heavyweights. When his best friend, Leo, disappears, Dek Elstrom, quirky private eye and amateur carpenter, descends from his peculiar habitat, an unheated turret, seeking answers…Dek knows the answers lie in the bizarre connections he’s made between Leo’s disappearance, the city’s rapidly increasing murder rate, a missing painting, and the city garage. Fredrickson dexterously splices these seemingly incompatible plotlines into a sometimes gritty, often humorous, remarkably intricate puzzle complete with a cast of improbably realistic characters who never fail to entertain…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSnow angels / James Thompson.Snow Angels
“*Starred Review* American born Finnish resident Thompson’s first novel is set in northern Finland during kaamos, the country’s two weeks of complete darkness. Inspector Vaara is newly married and about to become a father, but his American wife finds northern Finland depressing and lonely, especially after a young Somali movie star is brutally murdered, and the case consumes Vaara’s days and nights. Vaara has been chief of police in his small hometown ever since being injured as a young beat cop in Helsinki, and the few murders that have come his way have been easily solved domestic disputes or drunken bar fights. That’s not the case this time, but Vaara refuses to give up, even after finding out that his ex-wife might be involved…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFree fall / Chris Grabenstein.
““I didn’t do it!” is something cops hear all the time. But when the plea comes from a close friend who’s fallen on hard times,it’s tougher to ignore, especially for young Officer Danny Boyle. It’s the start of another action-packed summer for the wise cracking Boyle and straight-arrow cop (now Chief of Detectives) John Ceepak down the Jersey Shore as they do their best to help Danny’s friend, a young nurse who claims she has been falsely accused of aggravated assault by a prestigious Sea Haven doctor. Ceepak’s unshakable code of honor is tested when he trusts that the nurse is telling the truth. It’s stretched to the limit when one of the nurse’s home health care patients turns up dead.Now Ceepak and Danny must answer the hard and horrible question: “Did we just help a friend get away with murder?”Get ready for another fun and fast-paced page-turner from Anthony and Agatha award-winner Chris Grabenstein…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverThe hanging / Lotte and Søren Hammer.
“On a cold Monday morning before school begins, two children make a gruesome discovery. Hanging from the roof of the school gymnasium are the bodies of five naked and heavily disfigured men. Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen and his team from the Murder Squad in Copenhagen are called in to investigate this horrific case – the men hanging in a geometric pattern; the scene so closely resembling a public execution. When the identities of the five victims and the disturbing link between them is leaked to the press, the sinister motivation behind the killings quickly becomes apparent to the police. Up against a building internet campaign and even members of his own team, Simonsen finds that he must battle public opinion and vigilante groups in his mission to catch the killers. A nerve-wrenching look at justice and retribution, The Hanging is a spectacular crime tale straight from the heart of Scandinavia…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverOscar Wilde and the murders at Reading Gaol / Gyles Brandreth.
“*Starred Review* On May 25, 1895, while Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest was playing to packed houses in the West End, the author himself was led from the Old Bailey into Newgate Prison and, finally, to Reading Gaol, where he served a two-year sentence for his immoral affair with Lord Alfred Douglas…This sixth installment of Brandreth’s series, in which Wilde and his real-life friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle often team up to solve mysteries, may well be the best of a consistently terrific lot. For one thing, this book has Wilde narrating in the first person; earlier, the series’ conceit was that Wilde’s biographer, Robert Sherard, wrote these stories to be published after his own death. This last is as dictated by Wilde, and Brandreth captures both the witty and the remorseful author without sounding at all false or forced. The subject itself, which focuses on Victorian prison conditions public lashings, hard labor, and solitary confinement…Two murders occur along the way, and Wilde is called upon to help solve them, but they take a backseat to the central story of Wilde’s suffering and redemption in prison. Absolutely captivating and moving…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe deliverance of evil / Roberto Costantini ; translated from the Italian by N.S. Thompson.
“The Deliverance of Evil is a masterful psychological thriller about an edgy policeman’s personal evolution—or devolution—as seen through the lens of a devilish case that consumed him early in his career and continues to haunt him twenty-four years later. In 1982, all of Italy was joyous, having just won the World Cup after a decades-long championship drought, while in Rome hard-drinking Commissario Michele Balistreri was a brash cop investigating the murder of beautiful young Elisa Sordi. Despite the Commissario’s brash style, or perhaps because of his arrogance, the murderer is never found. As the years pass, the file goes cold and Balistreri grows wiser, if perhaps a little more damaged and a little less fearless, consumed by the guilt of having left Sordi’s murder unsolved. In 2006, Italy is once again on the brink of a World Cup victory and Balistreri is losing the battle against his personal demons when Sordi’s mother suddenly commits suicide. Emerging from a haze of antidepressants and self-pity, Balistreri is spurred to action and picks up the case again, sure that Elisa’s killer is still out there, simply awaiting his next opportunity to strike…” (Description from

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