Category: Recent picks

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 Amazon.co.uk)

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 Amazon.co.uk)

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 Amazon.co.uk)

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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.co.uk)

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 Amazon.com)

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 Amazon.co.uk)

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 Amazon.com)

New Mysteries for May

New mysteries for May see the return of John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport & John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy; more Scandi-crime from Håkan Nesser & Liza Marklund; & new cozies from Rhys Bowen & Linda S. Reilly…

Syndetics book coverPilgrim soul / Gordon Ferris.
“It’s 1947 and the worst winter in memory: Glasgow is buried in snow, killers stalk the streets – and Douglas Brodie’s past is engulfing him. It starts small. The Jewish community in Glasgow asks Douglas Brodie, ex-policeman turned journalist, to solve a series of burglaries. The police don’t care and Brodie needs the cash. Brodie solves the crime but the thief is found dead, butchered by the owner of the house he was robbing. When the householder in turn is murdered, the whole community is in uproar – and Brodie’s simple case of theft disintegrates into chaos. Into the mayhem strides Danny McRae – Brodie’s old sparring partner from when they policed Glasgow’s mean streets…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSilken prey / John Sandford.
“*Starred Review*A tight race for a U.S. Senate seat is drawing to a close when Lucas Davenport gets a call. A volunteer aide to the Republican incumbent inadvertently has found a cache of kiddie porn on the candidate’s personal computer. Given the consequences of the discovery, Davenport, the lead investigator for Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is asked by the Democratic governor to handle a quick, discreet inquiry. Though in the opposing party, the governor has known the accused since grade school and is adamant that his friend is innocent. Inevitably, the story leaks and the Democratic candidate begins making up ground in the polls…Sandford’s Davenport novels are always very good, and this is the best one in a long time. It’s suspenseful, witty, and wise in the ways of modern politics. And the conclusion is darkly unforgettable. A superb thriller…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRatlines / Stuart Neville.Ratlines
“At the end of World War II, several denazified Germans found sanctuary in Ireland, among them notorious SS officer Otto Skorzeny. Best known as the commando who rescued deposed dictator Mussolini from his mountain prison in Italy, Skorzeny set up some of the “ratlines” that served as escape routes for Nazis fleeing Allied justice. Drawing on these historical tidbits, Irish author Neville (Stolen Souls) crafts an engaging crime story set in 1963, just weeks before President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. Several murders have upset the Minister of Justice in Dublin, a man known to be friendly with Skorzeny. The victims are all ex-Nazis formerly granted asylum by the government. Intelligence agent Albert Ryan is tasked with solving the crimes before they embarrass the country and sabotage Kennedy’s visit. VERDICT Neville, whose debut, The Ghosts of Belfast, won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, concocts a believable plot with an intriguing protagonist torn between duty to country and his distaste for Nazi criminals…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ophelia cut : a novel / John Lescroart.
“It’s been a while since pragmatic defense attorney Diz Hardy has been center stage in a Lescroart thriller, but he’s finally back, along with his best friend, San Francisco cop Abe Glitsky. Memories of the so-called Dockside Massacre (The First Law, 2002) remain fresh, however, even six years after the fact, and when a reporter starts digging into the circumstances of the unsolved case, Diz, Abe, and, especially, volatile Moses McGuire, Diz’s brother-in-law, get a tad nervous. Moses, the weak link in the information chain, wants to tell all, but the others vote no. Then Moses’ beautiful 23-year-old daughter is raped, the rapist is murdered, and Moses emerges as the prime suspect. Did he do it? Just as troubling is whether, under pressure of prosecution, he’ll tell what happened on the pier that night…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The weeping girl : an Inspector Van Veeteren mystery / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.
“For Ewa Moreno, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren’s protege, this is her most perplexing case yet…Winnie Maas died because she changed her mind…A community is left reeling after a teacher – Arnold Maager – is convicted of murdering his female pupil Winnie Maas. It seems the girl had been pregnant with Maager’s child. Years later, on her eighteenth birthday, Maager’s daughter Mikaela finally learns the terrible truth about her father. Desperate for answers, Mikaela travels to the institution at Lejnice, where Maager has been held since his trial. But soon afterwards she inexplicably vanishes. Detective Inspector Ewa Moreno from the Maardam Police is on holiday in the area when she finds herself drawn into Mikaela’s disappearance. But before she can make any headway in the case, Maager himself disappears – and then a body is found. It will soon become clear to Ewa that only unravelling the events of the past will unlock this dark mystery…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLifetime : a novel / Liza Marklund ; [English language translation by Neil Smith].
“Things aren’t going so well for Annika Bengtzon in Marklund’s superlative seventh novel featuring the tenacious Stockholm crime reporter (after 2012′s Last Will). For starters, Annika’s house burns down, and her husband leaves her for another woman. Meanwhile, she has to investigate the brutal murder of Supt. David Lindholm, “Sweden’s most well-known and respected detective.” David’s traumatized wife, Julia, is the primary suspect in his death and the possible kidnapping of their young son. Annika discovers that David, the model policeman, hid a darker side and may have been involved in illegal activities that led to his murder. Annika’s race against time to uncover the truth and exonerate Julia is intensified by multiple roadblocks, including governmental red tape and the ever-changing infrastructure at her newspaper, the Evening Post. Marklund has created a complex page-turner, complete with gritty realism, a flawed but likable protagonist, and nonstop suspense…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBleed like me / Cath Staincliffe.
“The Journey’s Inn, Lark’s Estate, Manchester. Three bodies have been found, stabbed to death in their beds. A man – apparently the father and husband of two of the victims – has fled. The police are in a race against time to find him – especially when they discover his two young sons are also missing…Manchester Metropolitan police station. Having survived a near-fatal attack, DC Janet Scott is quietly falling apart. And her best friend and colleague DC Rachel Bailey is reeling from a love affair gone bad. DCI Gill Murray is trying to keep the team on track, but her own family problems are threatening tip her over the edge. Finding the desperate man is their top priority. But none of them knows where he is going or what he intends to do next. Or what will they have to do to stop him…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverSome enchanted murder : an Apple Mariani mystery / Linda S. Reilly.
“Paralegal and title searcher Apple Mariani is used to digging for clues in her work, but nothing prepares her for the murder of a local appraiser, or her aunt being named the prime suspect. And when a friend disappears, Apple knows she must dig through the past to ensure that everyone still has a present before the killer strikes again. This series debut will be sure to attract cozy fans…’” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHush now, don’t you cry / Rhys Bowen.Hush Now, Don’t You Cry
“Agatha-winner Bowen’s suspenseful 11th Molly Murphy mystery (after 2011′s Bless the Bride) takes Molly and her new husband, NYPD captain Daniel Sullivan, to Newport, R.I., for their honeymoon in the fall of 1903. Late one night, in the midst of a torrential downpour, the couple arrive at their ocean-front lodgings, a “cottage” offered to them by New York City alderman Brian Hannan, only to discover the gates locked. Just before they decide to seek shelter elsewhere, Molly spots the face of a maniacally laughing child in a window. Hannan apparently never told anyone in his family of his invitation to the Sullivans, which puts them in an awkward position after Hannan turns up dead under circumstances that suggest murder. Since their host isn’t alive to confirm their story, the pair fall under suspicion, and Molly must once again do some sleuthing. An unusually tricky solution makes this one of the better entries in the series… (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for May

New mysteries for May include plenty of Foreign intrigue, with new novels from Donna Leon, Camilla Lackberg, Fred Vargas & Andrea Camilleri; a new series set in Barcelona from Antonio Hill; and debut mysteries from Kate Rhodes & Jamie Mason…

Syndetics book coverThe Swedish girl / Alex Gray.
“Eighteen-year-old Kirsty Wilson can’t believe her luck when she lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by the beautiful Eva Magnusson, a wealthy fellow student from Stockholm. But her initial delight turns to terror when Kirsty finds the Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, attempts to clear his name. Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on his trusted colleague, psychologist and criminal profiler Professor Solly Brightman, to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. Together, they discover some shocking revelations about this seemingly demure young student…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlive! : a Valentino mystery / Loren D. Estleman.
“Actor Craig Hunter’s life was on a downward trajectory that ended with his death from a beating in a San Diego bar. Valentino, among the last of his friends, feels guilty for ignoring Craig’s final pleas for help. The deceased’s ex-wife feels guilty too, but she might have a hidden agenda: it turns out that Craig had unearthed the legendary missing film reels of Bela Lugosi’s horrible audition for Frankenstein. A rare find brings out the worst in collectors, and Valentino has trouble narrowing down which one crossed the ethical line. His formidable suspect list includes a mob boss, an elitist collector, and that ex-wife… Leisurely paced and impressively researched, this is just the ticket for film buffs…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ghost riders of Ordebec / Fred Vargas ; translated from the French by Sian Reynolds.
“More than ten million copies of Fred Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries have been sold worldwide. Now, American readers are getting hooked on the internationally bestselling author’s unsettling blend of crime and the supernatural. As the chief of police in Paris’s seventh arrondissement, Commissaire Adamsberg has no jurisdiction in Ordebec. Yet, he cannot ignore a widow’s plea. Her daughter Lina has seen a vision of the Ghost Riders with four nefarious men. According to the thousand-year-old legend, the vision means that the men will soon die a grisly death. When one of them disappears, Adamsberg races to Ordebec, where he becomes entranced by the gorgeous Lina—and embroiled in the small Normandy town’s ancient feud…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBear is broken : a Leo Maxwell mystery / Lachlan Smith.
“Leo Maxwell just received his bar licence and has been shadowing his older brother Teddy, a well known San Francisco criminal lawyer. The novel opens with Teddy being shot point blank in the head as the two brothers eat lunch in Teddy’s usual restaurant. In the aftermath of the shooting, Leo faces a new reality and tries to sort the truth from the lies regarding Teddy’s- business practices, ethics, and private life; in addition, Leo realizes that if his brother survives, Teddy will never be the same man he once was. Because of Teddy’s success as a criminal defense lawyer, the police don’t seem interested in investigating his shooting, and Leo is determined to find the shooter himself…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrossbones yard / Kate Rhodes.
“British poet Rhodes provides an intriguing backstory for her lead, Alice Quentin, in her fiction debut, about a twisted serial killer. As children, Alice and her brother, Will, witnessed their father beat their mother. This domestic violence affected Will more than Alice. While Alice has become a successful London psychologist, homeless and mentally disturbed Will sleeps in a van he parks outside her apartment building. One morning, Alice is surprised to learn that all her appointments have been canceled so that she can assist the police. Morris Cley, who murdered a prostitute four years earlier, is about to be released from jail, and the authorities want Alice to predict the likelihood that he will kill again. She becomes involved in another criminal matter after she finds a woman’s corpse in Crossbones Yard, the site used until the 19th century as a graveyard for prostitutes. Might Will have committed this recent murder?…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThree graves full / Jamie Mason.
“*Starred Review* First-novelist Mason hooks the reader with her first sentence, There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard. Mild-mannered widower Jason Getty is responsible for burying one body, but he’s shocked when two others are discovered in his yard and found to be the work of the home’s previous owner, Boyd Montgomery, who came upon his wife, Katielynn, in bed with Reid Reynolds three years earlier, just weeks before Reynolds was to marry his childhood sweetheart, Leah Tamblin. Getty, on tenterhooks, is massively relieved when police wrap up the latter two murders, until persistent detective Tim Bayard finds blood traces in Getty’s house that point to a third crime. As Getty prepares a cover-up, Tamblin comes looking for answers and resolution, and what seemed a closed murder case opens up again…Portraying characters so well and so thoroughly, examining and explaining their motives even for murder, requires a level of skill that is rare, marking this as an astonishingly accomplished debut and Mason as a writer to watch very closely…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lost boy / Camilla Lackberg ; translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally.
“No. 1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Lackberg’s new psychological thriller – irresistible for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. Mats Sverin was Fjallbacka’s financial director on a regeneration project worth millions. When he is found murdered, Detective Patrik Hedstrom must find answers. It seems Mats was a man who everybody liked yet nobody really knew – a man with something to hide…Is it just a coincidence that his high school sweetheart, Nathalie, has returned to the area? What does she know about who Mats really was? However, Nathalie has her own secret. Something has made her and her five-year-old son flee to their remote family home on the ‘Ghost Isle’. And that is where she’ll stay and shield her son from the evils of the world…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe summer of dead toys / Antonio Hill.
“A riveting crime thriller set during a sultry Barcelona summer, introducing Inspector Hector Salgado, a transplanted Argentine living in Barcelona. While working on human trafficking case, Salgado’s violent temper got the best of him and he beat a suspect within an inch of his life. Ordered on probation, he fled to Argentina to cool off for a few months. Now he’s back in Barcelona and is eager for another big case. But his boss has other plans. He assigns Salgado to a routine accidental death: a college student fell from a balcony in one of Barcelona’s ritzier neighborhoods. As Salgado begins to piece together the life and world of the victim, he realizes that his death was not all that simple: his teenage friends are either overly paranoid or deceptively calm, and drugs might be involved. Hector begins to follow a trail that will lead him deep into the underbelly of Barcelona’s high society where he’ll come face-to-face with dangerous criminals, long-buried secrets, and, of course, his own past. But Hector thrives on pressure, and he lives for this kind of case—dark, violent, and seemingly unsolvable…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverGone West : a Daisy Dalrymple mystery / Carola Dunn.
“In September 1926, Sybil Sutherby contacts her old school friend Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher. Sybil is widowed and living with her daughter at a remote farmhouse in Derbyshire, where she works as the confidential secretary to reclusive novelist Humphrey Birtwhistle, who writes westerns under a pen name. It seems that Humphrey has been ill, and Sybil has taken over writing the books only to have sales increase, along with advances. When Daisy arrives, she meets a household of quirky relatives and would-be suitors who are taking advantage of Birtwhistle’s hospitality. Sybil is afraid that one of them is slowly poisoning her employer to keep him ill so that she can continue writing his books. When he dies under suspicious circumstances before Daisy can investigate, Sybil’s fears appear confirmed. Daisy’s husband, Scotland Yard detective Alec Fletcher, is unhappy that his wife is once again involved in a murder case…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dance of the seagull / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Camilleri’s agreeable 15th Insp. Salvo Montalbano mystery (after 2012′s Age of Doubt) finds the Sicilian detective sitting on the deck of his home in Vigàta, watching a seagull performing a strange death dance. The image hovers in his mind during the events that follow, the first of which is the disappearance of his right-hand man, Fazio… In addition to searching for the missing Fazio, Montalbano tries to identify a body found in a deserted well. Both investigations are pieces of a larger, satisfying mystery in which Montalbano investigates, among other things, the docks and late-night deliveries from fishing trawlers…(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe golden egg / Donna Leon.
“Commissario Guido Brunetti, out of a sense of guilt and at the urging of his compassionate wife, investigates the suspicious death of a disabled man, Davide Cavanella, in Leon’s intriguing 22nd mystery featuring the crafty Venetian police inspector (after 2012′s Beastly Things). Davide’s mother is unwilling to discuss his death. Worse, there’s no official evidence of Davide’s existence: he apparently was never born and never went to school, saw a doctor, or received a passport. The colorful locals are uncooperative. Brunetti’s understanding of the Venetian bureaucracy, which operates smoothly on bribery and familial connections, allows his subordinates to enlist the help of various aunts and cousins, as is neatly shown in a subplot involving the mayor and his son. Appreciative of feminine charms, the deeply uxorious Brunetti amply displays the keen intelligence and wry humor that has endeared this series to so many…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for March

New mysteries for March include more Scandinavian crime from Ake Edwardson & Yrsa Sigurdardóttir; the new Joe Pickett novel from C.J Box; Thomas Perry’s acclaimed new thriller; the latest in J.D Robb’s Eve Dallas series; & some cosy crime with M.C Beaton & Laura Childs….

Syndetics book coverRoom no. 10 / Ake Edwardson ; translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles.
“Meticulous observation and persistent psychological analysis can find solutions that not even modern forensics can provide, as shown in Edwardson’s intricate seventh novel featuring Chief Insp. Erik Winter (after 2012′s Sail of Stone). When the body of 29-year-old Paula Ney is discovered hanging in Room 10 of Gothenburg’s sleazy Hotel Revy, an obvious murder victim, despite a mystifying suicide note, Winter recalls that 29-year-old Ellen Borge disappeared in a case involving the Hotel Revy 18 years earlier and never seen again. Painstaking police work, including endless interviews with Ney’s oddly unemotional parents, alternate with Winter’s recollections of the earlier case and the beginnings of his working relationship with Det. Insp. Fredrik Halders. The old and new investigations intertwine and merge in a fascinating fashion…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe day is dark / Yrsa Sigurdardottir ; translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton.
“Yrsa Sigurdardóttir is widely regarded around the world as one of the best Nordic crime writers working today. Yrsa’s previous book in the series, Ashes to Dust, also featured lawyer and sometime sleuth Thóra Gudmundsdóttir and received rave reviews internationally. In The Day is Dark, when all contact is lost with two Icelanders working in a harsh and sparsely populated area on the coast of Greenland, Thóra is hired to uncover the fates of the missing people. When she arrives in Greenland, she discovers that these aren’t the first two to go missing. The local townspeople believe that the area is cursed, and no one wants to get involved in the case. Soon, Thora finds herself stranded in the middle of a wilderness, and the case is as frightening and hostile as the landscape itself. Chilling, unsettling, and compulsively readable, The Day is Dark is a must read for readers who are looking for the next big thing in crime fiction coming in from the cold…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBreaking point / C.J. Box.
“Bureaucracy run amok drives Wyoming construction company owner Butch Roberson to the breaking point in Box’s excellent 13th Joe Pickett novel (after 2012′s Force of Nature). When game warden Pickett investigates a cut fence between private land and public land, he comes across Roberson, who says he entered the public land to scout elk. Before leaving, Pickett delivers a friendly warning to Roberson, who resents the laws restricting his access to public land, to repair the fence. Later, Pickett learns that Roberson is the prime suspect in the killing of two armed EPA agents. Vindictive EPA regional director Juan Julio Batista, who quickly arrives on the scene, calls in a lot of manpower, while Pickett leads a team on horseback into the mountains after Roberson….Thrilling wilderness chases, chilling stories of the abuse of power, and Pickett’s indomitable frontier spirit power this explosive novel…” (Adapted from Syndetics review)

Syndetics book coverThe boyfriend / Thomas Perry.
“*Starred Review* Perry is a master at multiple narrators. Here he juggles the narrative reins between PI Jack Till and hitman Joey Moreland. Till takes a case that the LAPD has given up on: the murder of a high-end prostitute whose killer seems to be targeting women of the same physical type lissome strawberry blondes working as female escorts in cities across the country. The parents of the latest victim want to find their daughter’s killer even if the police don’t, and hire Till to help. He quickly determines that the killer is more than just a john; able to ingratiate himself with the various women, he becomes their live-in boyfriend before killing them. But is there more to it than that? Is the killer using the women’s homes as a convenient hiding place while he tends to other business and then, with business concluded, murdering the women to cover his tracks?… The suspense is more intense because the characters, heroes and villains, have worked their way so far under our skin. It’s nothing new to call Perry a master of the genre, but it’s no less true for being widely acknowledged…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCalculated in death / by J.D. Robb.
“In bestseller Robb’s engaging 37th Eve Dallas thriller (after 2012′s Delusion in Death), Dallas and her partner, Delia Peabody, look into the death of Marta Dickenson. Found with a broken neck at the bottom of a stairway in an Upper East Side Manhattan building, which is under renovation by a financial consultant group, Dickenson was employed as an accountant by a firm nearby. And her briefcase, containing files she had been auditing, was stolen. Confident it’s a case of murder, Dallas and her smoothly running team conduct an ever-widening probe of accountants, financial advisers, their spouses, and their lovers. Her husband, Roarke, a former hacker and now owner of his own electronics company, lends his special skills. Robb (the pen name of Nora Roberts) supplies her usual winning blend of keen investigative work, striking characterizations, and enthusiastic sex, all leavened with a fine sense of humor…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath of yesterday : a Hamish Macbeth murder mystery / M.C. Beaton.
“Near the start of Beaton’s delightful 29th Hamish Macbeth mystery (after 2012′s Death of a Kingfisher), art student Morag Merrilea complains to the Scottish police sergeant about the theft of her sketchbook in a pub where she was drinking heavily one night. When Morag disappears and later turns up dead, Macbeth attempts to solve the crime, but blustery Detective Chief Superintendent Blair keeps ordering him to do the most menial tasks. Meanwhile, Macbeth’s love life has more snags than an old wool sweater, as shown by his strained relationships with Priscilla Halburton-Smythe and Elspeth Grant, not to mention his infatuation with Hannah Fleming, the sister of suspect Geordie Fleming. A second victim found by Macbeth ups the pressure and media interest…Cozy fans are in for a treat…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSweet tea revenge / Laura Childs.
“While helping her friend Delaine get ready for her wedding, Theodosia, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, finds the dead body of the would-be groom, Douglas. In between running the shop, she asks questions and chases clues at Delaine’s request. The illegal Cuban cigars sold under the table at Douglas’ cigar shop catch the attention of local police, but Theo is focused on Douglas’ ex-wife, Simone, who is angry and impetuous. Matters are complicated by a team of television ghost hunters who bring Theo and Delaine to the site of Douglas’ death, hoping to connect with his spirit. Childs flavors an intelligent and layered mystery with colorful characters and tea history, along with recipes and resources…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe boy in the snow / M. J. McGrath.
“The two-week 1,150-mile Iditarod dog sled race from near Wasilla to Nome, Alaska, forms the backdrop for McGrath’s outstanding second mystery featuring half-Caucasian, half-Inuit Edie Kiglatuk (after 2011′s White Heat). A native of Ellesmere Island, Edie comes to Alaska to help her ex-husband, Sammy Inukpuk, who’s trying to regain his self-respect by racing. In the forest outside Wasilla, Edie encounters a mysterious bear that leads her to the frozen body of a baby boy lying in the saddle of a snowmobile. Edie, a homesick, guilt-ridden “outsider in her own world,” seeks to untangle the disturbing truth behind the infant’s death, aided by her policeman friend, Derek Palliser, who’s also assisting Sammy in the race…This affecting novel should melt even the most frozen human hearts…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder below Montparnasse / Cara Black.
“A tantalizing clue to the whereabouts of Paris PI Aimee Leduc’s mysterious mother puts a personal spin on Black’s intricate 13th mystery set in contemporary Paris (after 2012′s Murder at the Lantern Rouge). Yuri Volodya, an elderly Russian who wants to hire Aimee to protect a valuable painting, possibly a Modigliani, tells Aimee he knew her mother, Sydney, whom she hasn’t seen since Sydney abandoned her at age eight. When the painting is stolen and Yuri is later tortured and killed, the police investigate. Meanwhile, a bizarre accident sidelines Aimee’s part-time hacker helper, “cash-poor aristocrat” Saj de Rosnay. Leduc must also cope amid threats of violence without trusted computer expert Rene Friant, lured to America by a Silicon Valley firm in a lengthy, well-developed subplot…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for February

New mysteries for February include the latest entry in Alan Bradley’s popular series about 12 year old crime solver Flavia de Luce; the new Alex Delaware novel from Jonathan Kellerman; a continuation of Robert B. Parker’s ‘Spenser’ series by Ace Atkins; David Hewson’s adaptation of the second season of Danish TV crime series ‘The Killing’; & more cozy crime from Leslie Meier & Sharon Fiffer’s…

Syndetics book coverSpeaking from among the bones : a Flavia de Luce novel / Alan Bradley.
“Twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is inordinately interested in death and passionate about poisons. When she’s feeling blue, she thinks about cyanide, since its color reflects her mood. She also has a penchant for finding corpses and an extraordinary ability to ferret out the stories behind their untimely deaths. Here she is the first to espy the body of St. Tancred’s Church organist Crispin Collicutt during the excavation of the eponymous saint’s remains to mark his quincentennial, in 1951. Flavia also must deal with a crisis at home when her widowed father is forced to put the family estate, Buckshaw, up for sale. And while uncovering motives, Flavia also unearths a number of local families’ secrets, including some involving her late mother. Bradley’s Flavia cozies, set in the English countryside, have been a hit from the start, and this fifth in the series continues to charm and entertain…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGuilt : an Alex Delaware novel / Jonathan Kellerman.
“A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale L.A. neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case – and draw out the disturbing truth. Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlex Cross, run / James Patterson.
“Detective Alex Cross arrests renowned plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with teenage girls. Now, his life ruined, Creem is out of jail, and he has made sure that no one will recognize him by giving himself a new face. A young woman is found hanging from a sixth floor window, and Alex is called to the scene. The victim recently gave birth, but the baby is nowhere to be found. Before Alex can begin searching for the missing newborn and killer, he is called to investigate a second crime. All of Washington, D.C. is in a panic, and when a third body is discovered, rumours of three serial killers send the city into an all out frenzy. Alex’s investigations are going nowhere, and he is too focused on the cases to notice that someone has been watching him and will stop at nothing until he is dead…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRobert B. Parker’s Lullaby / Ace Atkins.
“Picked by the Parker estate to continue the late author’s beloved Spenser series, Atkins (White Shadow; Wicked City) must have been well aware that fanatical fans would scrutinize every word to ensure that the new novel would be as good as the original. They won’t be disappointed in certain aspects as Atkins delivers the customary crisp, witty repartee between Spencer and the book’s other colorful characters. An abandoned teenager raising her younger sisters in South Boston’s seedy projects, Mattie Sullivan is convinced the Feds convicted an innocent man for killing her addict mother and coerces Spencer into investigating the cold case. Joined by Hawk, his uncompromising partner, Spenser relentlessly follows clues despite violent threats from Southie thugs. Verdict Atkins avoids the risk of doing anything different with Parker’s characters and maintains the rhythm and cadence of Parker’s pointed prose…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe killing. II / David Hewson ; based on the Bafta award-winning TV series writen by Soren Sveistrup.
“It is two years since the notorious Nanna Birk Larsen case. Two years since Detective Sarah Lund left Copenhagen in disgrace for a remote outpost in northern Denmark. When the body of a female lawyer is found in macabre circumstances in a military graveyard, there are elements of the crime scene that take Head of Homicide, Lennart Brix, back to an occupied wartime Denmark – a time its countrymen would wish to forget. Brix knows that Lund is the one person he can rely on to discover the truth. Reluctantly she returns to Copenhagen and becomes intrigued with the facts surrounding the case. As more bodies are found, Lund comes to see a pattern and she realises that the identity of the killer will be known once the truth behind a more recent wartime mission is finally revealed…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverGun machine / Warren Ellis.
“Detective John Tallow is a classic burnout, sleepwalking on the job until the day his supercop partner (and only friend) is killed by a shotgun-wielding lunatic. The incident was Tallow’s first on-the-job shooting, and he doesn’t disagree with the majority view that he shouldn’t have been the cop left standing. Then, when a shrine of ritualistically displayed firearms is found in the apartment building where his partner died, Tallow finds himself wanting answers. Analysis of the cache connects each weapon to a murder, and Tallow is assigned to work with two wildly eccentric geniuses on the crime-scene unit to try to end the killer’s decades-long killing spree. Gun Machine is built around a trio of intoxicating weirdos who twist the mold of the familiar detective-and-forensic-specialist combo. Strong interplay between historic Manahatta (think Native American) and technology’s future role in policing creates a big-picture backdrop for catch-the-crazy-killer thrills…” (Adapted from Syndetics sumamry)

Syndetics book coverThe Golden Calf / Helene Tursten ; translated by Laura A. Wideburg.
“The murder of Kjell B:son Ceder, the so-called restaurant king of Goteborg, kicks off Tursten’s complex and compelling fifth Det. Insp. Irene Huss investigation to be published in the U.S. (after 2012′s Night Rounds). Someone shot Ceder in the head twice at point-blank range. Suspicion initially focuses on his much younger wife, Sanna, who stands to inherit Ceder’s fortune, but subsequent events force Huss and her colleagues to reconsider. Two other men are found murdered in the exact same way shortly after the first killing, and all three deaths may have a connection with a three-year-old financial scandal. The press had dubbed one of the other victims, Philip Bergman, as “the Golden Calf” for his facility in attracting business investors. Once again, the doggedly effective Huss proves herself a capable and sympathetic lead in the service of yet another clever plot that effortlessly meshes police procedural and whodunit…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEaster bunny murder / Leslie Meier.
“At the start of Meier’s delightful 19th Lucy Stone mystery (after 2012′s Chocolate Covered Murder), the families gathered outside elderly Vivian Van Vorst’s mansion, Pine Point, in rural Tinker’s Cove, Maine, for VV’s annual Easter egg hunt are puzzled to find the gates closed. Then the Easter Bunny emerges from the house, runs clumsily toward the gates, and collapses on the ground. The Easter Bunny-VV’s grandson, Van Vorst Duff-dies on the way to the hospital. VV had always been generous with her wealth, but Lucy, part-time reporter for the local newspaper, learns that she has been reclusive recently and funds may have been tight. Did some envious family member off Duff because he was VV’s heir, or did he die of natural causes? If it’s murder, is money or revenge the motive? Cozy fans will enjoy Lucy’s hunt for the truth…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucky stuff.
“In Fiffer’s charming if lightweight eighth Jane Wheel mystery (after 2011′s Backstage Stuff), antiques picker Jane decides it’s time for a new life, now that her son has gone to boarding school. After putting her Evanston, Ill., house on the market, Jane sends her treasured curios to her friend, Tim Lowry, for safe storage in her hometown, Kankakee, Ill., and heads there for a brief visit. She finds the town has been turned upside down by comedian Lucky Miller, there with a production crew to film a roast for his comeback. Jane’s mom and dad, who run the EZ Way Inn, are in the thick of all the hoopla. Then, Jane learns that Lucky is looking for much more than a comeback, and a death from peanuts casts a pall over the proceedings. Leave it to sleuth Jane to figure out what’s going on by the time of the climactic bowling tournament…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBabylon / Camilla Ceder ; translated by Marlaine Delargy.“Inspector Christian Tell and his team are called to the scene of a double murder. University lecturer Anne-Marie Karpov lies dead in her home, alongside her student and lover, Henrik. The crime appears straightforward: Henrik’s girlfriend Rebecca, a woman in therapy for her violent jealousy, had been spotted outside Karpov’s flat, and her fingerprints are found on the door. But shortly afterwards, when Rebecca’s flat is burgled in a seemingly unconnected attack, Tell begins to wonder whether she might be the victim in a larger game. It emerges that items on the Red List – artefacts raided from Iraqi museums – were found among Henrik’s possessions. As the truth behind Anne-Marie and Henrik’s past begins to emerge, the dead woman’s ex-husband, Danish gangsters and Turkish black marketeers all come into the frame. Tell must unravel a web of hidden motives that spans continents, all while trying to salvage his stormy relationship with Seja…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverLife and limb / Elsebeth Egholm.
“There is no beauty in death, thinks crime journalist Dicte Svendsen. And so it would appear as she arrives at her next murder scene. A young woman has been found in the carpark next to the sports stadium. Dressed in jeans and a pink T-shirt with I love U written on it, in she sits propped up against a car. The words rag doll come to mind as she seems to be held together by skin and hair alone; as if someone had removed the skeleton. Not only that, her eye sockets were empty.This was the work of a very particular killer…” (Sundetics sumamry)

New Mysteries for January

New mysteries for January include the 2nd entry in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series from Norwegian crime’s ‘Godmother’ Anne Holt; the new Charlie Fox thriller from Zoe Sharp; Andrea Camilleri’s latest Inspector Montalbano; and a new historical tem up from husband & wife team Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini.

Syndetics book coverBlessed are those who thirst / Anne Holt ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“*Starred Review* This second U.S. release in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series, (following Blind Goddess, 2012) is a starkly realistic glimpse of Norwegian policing filtered through Hanne’s self-deprecating narration and Holt’s savvy use of environment as catalyst. In 1994, Hanne is a star police investigator slogging through the unbearable combination of heat and crime waves assaulting Oslo. Hanne’s share of the mountainous caseloads includes the brutal rape of a young medical student and the apparent mystery of blood-doused outbuildings throughout the city, which could indicate violence or just vandalism. Fighting powerlessness, the victim and her father strike back with their own parallel investigations that overtake Hanne’s when she becomes distracted by the constant demands of hiding her sexual orientation and stonewalling those who dare to care for her. Before Hanne can regroup, the vandalized sheds are linked to a series of missing female immigrants, and the two cases begin dueling for resolution. Holt pokes at brittle, surprisingly vulnerable Hanne with an unrelenting combination of humidity, impossible cases, and love until she evolves a bit, professionally and personally. ..” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDie easy : a Charlie Fox thriller / Zoë Sharp.
“In Sharp’s white-knuckle 10th Charlie Fox thriller (after 2012′s Fifth Victim), professional bodyguard Charlie takes on an assignment in post-Katrina New Orleans-the first job with her lover and partner, Sean Meyer, since he recovered from being shot in the head, though he’s forgotten much of their relationship. Tasked with protecting wealthy businessman Blake Dyer during the After Katrina Foundation fundraising event, Charlie is grateful for what appears to be a straightforward task. But when a face from her and Sean’s military past reappears and there’s a calculated attack on the party, Charlie realizes that there might be more at stake than just the financial well-being of several powerful men. Sharp convincingly mixes hand-to-hand combat with the ups and downs of Charlie’s attempts to rebuild her old life with Sean, even as that possibility grows dimmer by the day…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe age of doubt / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Near the start of Camilleri’s exquisite 14th mystery featuring Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2011′s The Potter’s Field), the self-deprecating, passionately foul-mouthed Sicilian policeman befriends a young woman, Vanna Digiulio, while both are stranded in a traffic jam during a storm that’s washed out the coast road. Vanna’s claim to have been on her way to Vigata to meet her aunt’s yacht, the Vanna, strikes the inspector as suspicious. When the yacht docks with the disfigured body of a man that the Vanna picked up from a dinghy adrift near the harbor mouth, Montalban informs the boat’s owner, an imperious signora, that she must remain in port while he investigates the man’s murder. His proposal that she stay with her niece elicits the reply, “What niece?” The awkward humanity and everyday sadness of Camilleri’s characters make them instantly sympathetic, while wry commentary on language, food, and local customs lend color…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Bughouse affair / Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini.
“Victorian-era San Francisco-based Pinkerton detectives Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon have their hands full with two parallel cases that soon converge. Her pickpocket case escalates into a murder investigation, as does his home burglary probe. On top of all that, a visitor claiming to be Sherlock Holmes just has to meddle and complicate Quincannon’s life. -VERDICT Of course you’ll order multiples; we’re talking Muller and Pronzini here! The locked-room dilemma is familiar territory for Pronzini, and this series launch is sure to delight his readers in particular. The easy and amusing read flows beautifully. Occasionally, the very symmetrical structure of male and female protagonists, victims, and criminals is a stretch, but the authors’ gift for dialog and good storytelling propels us through any historical posturing…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaboo / Casey Hill.
“Forensic investigator Reilly Steel, Quantico-trained and California-born and bred, imagined Dublin to be a far cry from bustling San Francisco, a sleepy backwater where she can lay past ghosts to rest and start anew. She’s arrived in Ireland to drag the Irish crime lab into the 21st century, plus keep tabs on her Irish-born father who’s increasingly seeking solace in the bottle after a past family tragedy. But a brutal serial killer soon puts paid to that. When a young man and woman are found dead in an apartment, the gunshot wounds on their naked bodies suggest a suicide pact. But Reilly’s instincts are screaming that something’s seriously amiss, and as more bodies are discovered, the team soon realises that a twisted murderer is at work, one who seeks to upset society’s norms in the most sickening way imaginable…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExtra credit / Maggie Barbieri.
“Barbieri’s diverting seventh mystery featuring English professor Alison Bergeron (after 2011′s Physical Education) finds Alison juggling her teaching duties at St. Thomas University in the Bronx with far more dangerous pursuits. Second marriages for both Alison and her new husband, NYPD homicide cop Bobby Crawford, create a spate of complex and delicate family relationships. Alison’s 19-year-old twin stepdaughters bring resentment and some wild romantic entanglements, while Bobby is a little too friendly with ex-wife Christine. But when Christine’s brother, Chick, is found dead in his sleazy apartment with $250,000 tucked into his mattress, events spin out of control. Alison, sarcastic and brash, wins no friends in pursuing the source of the money, as well as losing the trust of her best friend and the seriously annoying Bobby. Quirky characters complement a plot that offers a number of entertaining if sometimes illogical surprises. An irresistible hook at the conclusion will draw readers to the next installment…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFinal sail : a dead-end job mystery / Elaine Viets.
“While PI Helen Hawthorne works the cruise ship circuit, her husband Phil Sagemont contends with problems on land. Both are masters at working undercover in number 11 of this fun series (Pumped for Murder)…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder in the Irish Channel / by Greg Herren.
“It begins as a simple missing persons case–a young MMA fighter’s mother has mysteriously disappeared. But as New Orleans private eye Chanse MacLeod starts digging around, he discovers that she is the leader of a group fighting the powerful Archdiocese of New Orleans over the closing of two churches. As the trail leads from corrupt church officials to powerful real estate developers to the world of cage fighting, Chanse soon realizes there are a lot of powerful people who want to make sure she stays gone–and don’t have a problem with getting rid of a pesky gay private eye…” (Syndetics summary)

New Mystery novels for December

This selection from the new mystery fiction received this month includes the new Colin Bateman, Susan Hill, and Ian Rankin novels – some great holiday reading for mystery fiction enthusiasts.

Syndetics book coverThe prisoner of Brenda / Bateman.
“When notorious gangster ‘Fat Sam’ Mahood is murdered, the chief suspect is arrested nearby. But he seems to have suffered a breakdown. Incarcerated in a mental institution, he’s known only as the Man in the White Suit. The suspect remains an enigma until Nurse Brenda calls on Mystery Man.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover A small hill to die on : a Penny Brannigan mystery / Elizabeth J. Duncan.
“When the pregnant teenage daughter of a wealthy newcomer to Llanelen is found dead in the nearby woods, spa owner Penny Brannigan investigates the family’s suspicious financial dealings while her paramour, Detective Inspector Davies, tracks down the killer.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA death in the small hours / Charles Finch.
“Visiting his uncle’s estate in Somerset for what he hopes will be a quiet working vacation, politician and new father Charles Lenox investigates a series of seemingly small acts of vandalism only to uncover a sinister plot by an adversary who may be targeting someone Lenox loves.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEleven little piggies / Elizabeth Gunn. “Chief of Detectives Jake Hines’ new-parent nightmares about an impending ecological disaster on a Minnesota farm have a deadly real twist. Forced to choose between the land they love and the easy money they’d get if they sold it to sand miners for oil drilling, a hard-working Minnesota farm family resorts to loud family fights. But when the body of the best farmer of the group is found in the trees behind the field where Chief of Detectives Jake Hines is hunting geese on his day off, the discussion becomes deadly serious.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverA question of identity : a Simon Serrailler crime novel / Susan Hill.
“The seventh Simon Serrailler crime novel. Duchess of Cornwall Close: sheltered accommodation, a mix of bungalows and flats, newly built and not quite finished. Despite the bitterly cold weather, elderly residents are moving in. They don’t notice the figure in the shadows, someone who doesn’t mind the cold. Then, one snowy night, an old lady is murdered, dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex. DCS Simon Serrailler and his team are aware of bizarre circumstances surrounding her death, but they keep some of these details secret, while they desperately search for a match. All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverUndercover : a Harpur & Iles mystery / Bill James. “After a gang shooting involving an undercover police officer, Colin Harpur and his boss Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles are called to another Force’s ground to investigate what the Home Office see as spectacular failings. Harpur can imagine the pressure the officer would have been under. If a gang decided to kill, a spy would have to go along with it. But with careers of fellow officers who might be in secret, dangerous alliance with villains at risk, Harpur knows that he and Iles have an exceptionally tough inquiry ahead.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverStanding in another man’s grave / Ian Rankin. “It’s twenty-five years since John Rebus appeared on the scene, and five years since he retired. But 2012 sees his return. Not only is Rebus as stubborn and anarchic as ever, but he finds himself in trouble with Rankin’s latest creation, Malcolm Fox of Edinburgh’s internal affairs unit. Added to which, Rebus may be about to derail the career of his ex-colleague Siobhan Clarke, while himself being permanently derailed by mob boss and old adversary Big Ger Cafferty. But all Rebus wants to do is discover the truth about a series of seemingly unconnected disappearances stretching back to the millennium. The problem being, no one else wants to go there and that includes Rebus’s fellow officers. Not that any of that is going to stop Rebus. Not even when his own life and the careers of those around him are on the line.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe heresy of Dr Dee : being edited from the most private documents of Dr John Dee, astrologer and consultant to Queen Elizabeth / Phil Rickman. “At the end of the sunless summer of 1560, black rumour shrouds the death of the one woman who stands between Lord Robert Dudley and marriage to the young Queen Elizabeth. Did Dudley’s wife, Amy, die from an accidental fall in a deserted house, or was it a calculated murder? Even Dr John Dee, astrologer royal, adviser on the Hidden and one of Dudley’s oldest friends, is uncertain. Then a rash promise to the Queen sends him to his family’s old home on the Welsh Border in pursuit of the Wigmore Shewstone, a crystal credited supernatural properties. With Dee goes Robert Dudley, considered the most hated man in England. They travel with the entourage of a London judge sent to try a sinister Welsh brigand with a legacy dating back to the Battle of Brynglas, in which close to a thousand Englishmen died at the hands of the Welsh. After the battle, many of the bodies were, according to legend, obscenely mutilated. Now, on the same haunted hill, another dead man has been found, similarly slashed.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverMistletoe, merriment, and murder / Sara Rosett. “Super organizer Ellie Avery could really use some Christmas cheer when Gabrielle Matheson, a grinchy professional rival, sets up shop in the same small Georgia town. But before the halls are even halfway decked with holly, someone uses Ellie’s terrifically tasteless white elephant swap gift as a murder weapon. Ellie’s now a suspect. Besides playing Mrs. Santa for her Air Force pilot husband and their two kids, shielding her eyes from the garishly over-decorated house down the street, and helping a client who’s a hardcore hoarder, Ellie also has to solve this ho-ho-homicide and find a killer who wishes her a very deadly Christmas.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBeneath the abbey wall : a novel / A.D. Scott.
“On a dark, damp Sunday evening, a man taking a shortcut home sees a hand reaching out in supplication from a bundle of sacks. In an instant he knows something terrifying has happened. In the Highlands in the late 1950s, much of the local newspaper’s success was due to Mrs. Smart, the no-nonsense office manager who kept everything and everyone in line. Her murder leaves her colleagues in shock and the Highland Gazette office in chaos. Joanne Ross, a budding reporter and shamefully separated mother, assumes Mrs. Smart’s duties, but an intriguing stranger provides a distraction not only from the job and the investigation but from everything Joanne believes in.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for November

New mysteries for November include ‘The Bat’, the latest translation of Jo Nesbo’s work, which was the first of his novels to feature Harry Hole; a newly acclaimed debut, ‘Sacrifice’, from Tim O’Mara; another entry in John Loomis’ witty & well regarded ‘Frank Coffin’ series; Pulitzer-prize winner, Julia Keller’s first crime novel; first Inspector Sejer novel, which launched Karin Fossum’s career as the Norwegian Queen of Crime; and the latest release from David Baldacci…

Syndetics book coverThe forgotten / David Baldacci.
“Army Special Agent John Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida. A picture-perfect town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt’s death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller’s father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be. What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt’s death was no accident and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed…” (Syndetics Sunmamry)

Syndetics book coverThe Bat / Jo Nesbø ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
”As Harry tracks down the murderer of a Norwegian TV star reduced to living in desperate circumstances, he is fully formed as the difficult, vulnerable personality we have come to know. The evocation of Australia itself has the customary Nesbo expertise (Barry Forshaw Independent )…The Bat appeared in Norway in 1997, and it’s a fascinating book, filling in the gaps in Hole’s biography and telling the story of the murder case in Australia that cemented his reputation as a brilliant investigator.It is a stunning opening to the series (Joan Smith Sunday Times )…Scandinavian noir goes Down Under. what’s fascinating is seeing Hole already equipped with all the obsessional attributes that would merge so brilliantly in subsequent novels (Marcel Berlins The Times )… Even with this first book Nesbo’s command of the idiom is completely in place – there is no sense that the writer was finding his feet and aficionados will be very pleased to slide this onto their bookshelves alongside the other Harry Hole novels (Barry Forshaw Daily Express )…” (Review from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverSacrifice fly / Tim O’Mara.
“Raymond Donne wasn’t always a schoolteacher. Not only did he patrol the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as one of New York’s Finest, but being the nephew of the chief of detectives, he was expected to go on to bigger things. At least he was until the accident that all but destroyed his knees. Unable to do the job the way he wanted, he became a teacher in the same neighborhood, and did everything he could to put the force behind him and come to terms with the change. Then Frankie Rivas, a student in Ray’s class and a baseball phenom, stops showing up to school. With Frankie in danger of failing and missing out on a scholarship, Ray goes looking for him only to find Frankie’s father bludgeoned to death in their apartment. Frankie and his younger sister are gone, possibly on the run. But did Frankie really kill his father? Ray can’t believe it. But then who did, and where are Frankie and his sister?”…(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSome kind of peace / Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff ; translated from the Swedish by Paul Norlén.
“Dr. Siri Bergman runs a private psychotherapy practice in central Stockholm with her best friend Aina. Since her husband’s death in a diving accident, Siri has lived alone in an isolated cottage outside the city. Terrified of the dark, she drinks wine to steady her nerves and leaves the lights on when she goes to bed, unable to shake the feeling that someone is watching through her windows. When the lifeless body of Sara Matteus, a young patient with borderline personality disorder and a tragic history, is found floating in the water near Siri’s cottage, she knows that someone has been watching her – and he’s coming for Siri next. But she is not alone. With a young policeman named Markus, she begins her own investigation. As Siri’s past and present start to merge and disintegrate, virtually everyone in her inner circle becomes a potential suspect…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss me when I’m gone / Emily Arsenault.
“Author Gretchen Waters made a name for herself with her bestseller Tammyland—a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for country music icons Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton that was praised as a “honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love.” But her writing career is cut abruptly short when she dies from a fall down a set of stone library steps. It is a tragic accident and no one suspects foul play, certainly not Gretchen’s best friend from college, Jamie, who’s been named the late author’s literary executor. But there’s an unfinished manuscript Gretchen left behind that is much darker than Tammyland: a book ostensibly about male country musicians yet centered on a murder in Gretchen’s family that haunted her childhood. In its pages, Gretchen seems to be speaking to Jamie from beyond the grave—suggesting her death was no accident…and that Jamie must piece together the story someone would kill to keep untold… (Review from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverFire season / Jon Loomis.
“Beleaguered Police Detective Frank Coffin is on the trail of a firebug in Fire Season, the third in this sharply witty mystery series set in Provincetown, Massachusetts Until a replacement can be found, Frank Coffin is pulling double duty as a detective and interim police chief for the Provincetown, Mass. Police. The off-season has just started for this tourist town and the streets should be quiet. But they’re not. When three fires are sparked in quick succession, it looks like there’s a firebug on the loose. A firebug who doesn’t care who he hurts. With a deputy terrified of UFOs, a severed head in a lobster tank, and the fact that Frank’s mother is setting some fires of her own, it’s another busy season in P’town in Fire Season, an excellent addition to Jon Loomis’ acclaimed series…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA killing in the hills / Julia Keller.
“Pulitzer-prize winner, Julia Keller’s first crime novel – the first in a new series featuring prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins – set in the beautiful crime-ridden town of Acker’s Gap. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, visitors see only its stunning natural beauty. But for those living there it’s a different story. The mountain roads harbour secret places, perfect for making the prescription drugs that tempt its desperately poor. Bell Elkins left a broken teenager, savaged by a past she couldn’t forget. But, as prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, Bell is back and determined to help clean up the only home she has ever known. As winter sets in and her daughter is witness to a shocking triple murder, Bell finds her family in danger. Can she uncover the truth before her world is destroyed again?”…(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChampagne : the farewell / Janet Hubbard.
“Max Maguire, a twenty-nine-year-old female detective with the New York Police Department, flies to France to attend the wedding of her friend, Chloe Marceau, at a grand estate east of Paris in the Champagne region. There Max meets an older man, the urbane Olivier Chaumont, and experiences a fairy-tale evening. But when Chloe’s widowed aunt, the beautiful and successful Lea de Saint-Pern, is found murdered, Max and Olivier are snapped back into their professional roles. To Max’s chagrin, she is banned from an official investigative role, while Olivier, a magistrate, is put in charge of the investigation. She insinuates herself into the victim’s family until their long-held secrets begin to surface like bubbles in a glass of champagne. After another family member is found dead on the day of Lea’s funeral however, Max puts her career and her tentative relationship with Olivier in jeopardy as her determination to find the murderer–and prove herself in the process–takes over…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn the darkness / by Karin Fossum ; translated by James Anderson.
”The first ever Inspector Sejer novel, which launched Karin Fossum’s career as the Norwegian Queen of Crime.Eva is walking by the river one afternoon when a 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. The dead man, Egil, has been missing for months, and it doesn’t take long for Inspector Sejer and his team to establish that he was the victim of a very violent killer. But the trail 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 before Egil went missing. While Sejer is trying to piece together the fragments of a seemingly impossible case, Eva gets a phone call late one night. A stranger speaks and then swiftly hangs up. Eva looks out into the darkness and listens. All is quiet. Gripping and thought-provoking, In the Darkness is Karin Fossum’s first novel featuring the iconic Inspector Sejer. The prize-winning series has been published around the world to great acclaim…” (From Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverMimosas, mischief, and murder / Sara Rosett.
’’Rosett’s winning sixth Ellie Avery mystery (after 2010′s Mint Juleps, Mayhem, and Murder) takes amateur sleuth Ellie, husband Mitch, and their two kids to Smarr, Ala., Mitch’s hometown, where they’re first slammed with the news of the sudden death of Mitch’s elderly grandfather, Grandpa Franklin. When someone breaks into the late gentleman’s home, the police are reluctant to confirm a burglary. Even after Grandpa and casket go missing, the authorities insist there’s nothing further to investigate. Complications arise after the stranger who attended Grandpa’s funeral turns out to be the corpse Ellie finds in Grandpa’s guest room. The strange behavior of Uncle Bud and Felicity, the wife of Mitch’s favorite cousin, has Ellie considering adding relatives to her list of suspicious characters. A rumor of hidden money, secret letters from a famous recluse, a fire, a threatening message, and a crazed gunman add to the cozy mischief…” (Review from Amazon.com)

A blind godess, blood, bones and a wolf

Enjoy the latest mysteries that have landed on our shelves this month:

Syndetics book coverThe blind goddess / Anne Holt ; translated [from the Norwegian] by Tom Geddes.“A small-time drug dealer is found battered to death on the outskirts of the Norwegian capital, Oslo. A young Dutchman, walking aimlessly in central Oslo covered in blood, is taken into custody but refuses to talk. When he is informed that the woman who discovered the body, Karen Borg, is a lawyer, he demands her as his defender, although her specialty is civil, not criminal, law. A couple of days later, Hansa Larsen, a lawyer of the shadiest kind, is found shot to death. Soon police officers Håkon Sand and Hanne Wilhelmsen establish a link between the two killings… Their maverick colleague in the drugs squad, Billy T., reports that a recent rumor in the drug underworld involves drug-dealing lawyers. Now the reason why the young Dutchman insisted on having Karen Borg as a defender slowly dawns on them: since she was the one to find and report the body, she is the only Oslo lawyer that cannot be implicated in the crime. As the officers investigate, they uncover a massive network of corruption leading to the highest levels of government…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBlack skies / Arnaldur Indriadason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“A man is making a crude leather mask with slits for eyes and mouth, and an iron spike fixed in the middle of the forehead. It is a ‘death mask’, once used by Icelandic farmers to slaughter calves. He has revenge in mind. Meanwhile, with Detective Erlendur absent, his colleague Sigurdur Oli is in the spotlight. A school reunion has left Sigurdur Oli dissatisfied with life in the police force. Iceland is enjoying an economic boom and young tycoons are busy partying with the international jet set. In contrast, Sigurdur Oli’s relationship is on the rocks and soon even his position in the CID is compromised: when he agrees to visit a couple of blackmailers as a favour to a friend he walks in just as a woman is beaten unconscious. When she dies, Sigurdur Oli has a murder investigation on his hands. The evidence leads to debt collectors, extortionists, wild parties. But when a chance link connects these enquiries to the activities of a group of young bankers, Sigurdur Oli finds himself investigating the very elite he had envied…(From Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverBones are forever / by Kathy Reichs.
“In Reichs’ latest Temperance Brennan novel, the forensic anthropologist discovers the bodies of several babies in a seedy Montreal apartment. The babies appear to have been born to the same woman, an Edmonton prostitute who’s on an RCMP list of missing women (a list compiled as part of an investigation into a man who killed prostitutes). Brennan and Quebec cop Andrew Ryan fly out to Edmonton to try to track down the mother, and Brennan reunites with a local cop with whom she had a previous personal relationship. Although the writing equals Reichs’ customary quality, the novel’s pace is unusually slow; Brennan is normally juggling a couple of primary cases, with others intruding on her time, but here she’s mostly focused on a single investigation, and the story tends to drag on, rather than zipping from scene to scene. It’s not a bad book by any means and definitely should be recommended to fans of the series…(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHour of the wolf : an Inspector Van Veeteren mystery / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.“‘Hakan Nesser, the godfather of Swedish crime … His Van Veeteren novels have a puckishness and sprightliness that too often elude his younger, gloomier pretenders … Nesser has thus far only been a minor player in the British Nordic crime scene: Hour of the Wolf should be the book to change that’ Metro. ‘The Swedish novelist Hakan Nesser is in another league, exhibiting a skill and consistency rare in crime ¬fiction. Hour of the Wolf, translated by Laurie Thompson is one of his finest novels, starting with a road accident and unravelling its terrible consequences. The victim is a 16-year-old boy, struck by a car while walking home late at night, and the accident sets in motion a series of murders. One of the victims is related to Nesser’s detective, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, who has retired to become an antiquarian bookseller. The ex-policeman’s old team rallies to obtain justice for their much-loved former boss in a novel that combines a clever plot with authentic emotion’ Sunday Times…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverWatching the dark / Peter Robinson.
“When Detective Inspector Bill Reid is found murdered in the tranquil grounds of the St Peter’s Police Treatment Centre, and compromising photographs are discovered in his room, DCI Banks is called in to investigate. Because of the possibility of police corruption, he is assigned an officer from Professional Standards, Inspector Joanna Passero, to work closely with him, and he soon finds himself and his methods under scrutiny. It emerges that Reid’s murder may be linked to the disappearance of an English girl called Rachel Hewitt, in Tallinn, Estonia, six years earlier. The deeper Banks looks into the old case, the more he begins to feel that he has to solve the mystery of Rachel’s disappearance before he can solve Reid’s murder, though Inspector Passero has a different agenda…Meanwhile, DI Annie Cabbot, just back at work after a serious injury, is following up leads in Eastvale. Her investigations take her to the heart of a migrant labor scam involving a corrupt staffing agency and a loan shark who preys on the poorest members of society. As the action shifts back and forth between Tallinn and Eastvale, it soon becomes clear that crimes are linked in more ways than Banks imagined, and that solving them may put even more lives in jeopardy…” (From Syndetics sumamry)

Syndetics book coverThe beautiful mystery / Louise Penny.
“*Starred Review* An entire mystery novel centering on Gregorian chants (whose curiously hypnotic allure is called the beautiful mystery )? Yes, indeed, and in the hands of the masterful Penny, the topic proves every bit as able to transfix readers as the chants do their listeners. It begins when the choir director of a monastery in a remote corner of Quebec is murdered, his skull bashed in with a rock. Outsiders are not allowed inside the monastery’s walls, where 24 cloistered monks pray, make chocolate, and sing though a few years earlier, a homemade recording of their chants was released and created a sensation, helped along by the inaccessibility of the artists. Now, with the murder, the doors of the monastery are opened to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, charged with finding a killer among a group of largely silent monks, who, it quickly becomes apparent, are engaged in a civil war over their music, The deepest passions could appear dispassionate, the face a smooth plain while something mammoth roiled away underneath…there is always something mammoth roiling away beneath the surface of Penny’s novels but this time the roiling is set against the serenity of the chanting, producing a melody of uncommon complexity and beauty…’ (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHot blooded / Lisa Jackson.
“New Orleans is beginning to be afraid . . . A prostitute lies strangled in a seedy French Quarter hotel room. Miles away, in a rambling plantation house on the sultry shores of Lake Ponchartrain, popular late-night radio host Dr. Samantha Leeds receives a threatening phone call. All in a day’s work for a celebrity. Who would think to link the two? A second hooker’s corpse turns up. Samantha’s ominous caller persists, along with a mysterious female claiming to be a woman from her past – a woman who’s been dead for years. With Detective Rick Bentz convinced that the serial killer prowling the shadowy streets of New Orleans is somebody close to Samantha, she doesn’t dare trust anyone. Especially not Ty Wheeler, her seductive new neighbour who seems to know more about her than a stranger should. Somebody has discovered Samantha’s darkest secret. Somebody is convinced that lives must be sacrificed to pay for her sins. So far, the victims have been strangers. But as a cunning, cold-blooded killer grows bolder, Samantha wonders in dread if she will be the next to die . . .” (Description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe Abbey / Chris Culver.
“Ash Rashid is a former homicide detective who can’t stand the thought of handling another death investigation. In a year’s time, he’ll be out of the department completely. That’s the plan, at least, until his niece’s body is found in the property of one of the city’s wealthiest citizens. The coroner calls it an overdose, but the case doesn’t add up. Against orders, Ash launches an investigation to find his niece’s murder. But the longer he searches, the darker the case gets – and if he doesn’t solve it fast, his niece won’t be the only family member he has to bury…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFirst Frost : a DS Jack Frost investigation / James Henry.
“Denton, 1981. Britain is in recession, the IRA is becoming increasingly active and the country’s on alert for an outbreak of rabies. Detective Sergeant Jack Frost is working under his mentor and inspiration DI Bert Williams, and coping badly with his increasingly strained marriage. Probably not helped by the fact that he never goes home…” (Syndetics summary)


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