New mysteries this month (so far!) include Icelandic drama from Yrsa Sigurdardottir & Michael Ridpath; the return of series characters Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, Assistant DA Alex Cooper, Stephanie Plum & Walt Longmire; and the debut of a new French detective from Anna Jaquiery….
The silence of the sea / Yrsa Sigurdardottir ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“The most chilling novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardottir, an international bestseller at the height of her powers. ‘Mummy dead.’ The child’s pure treble was uncomfortably clear. It was the last thing Brynjar – and doubtless the others – wanted to hear at that moment. ‘Daddy dead.’ It got worse. ‘Adda dead. Bygga dead.’ The child sighed and clutched her grandmother’s leg. ‘All dead.’ A luxury yacht arrives in Reykjavik harbour with nobody on board. What has happened to the crew, and to the family who were on board when it left Lisbon? Thora Gudmundsdottir is hired by the young father’s parents to investigate, and is soon drawn deeper into the mystery. What should she make of the rumours saying that the vessel was cursed, especially given that when she boards the yacht she thinks she sees one of the missing twins? Where is Karitas, the glamorous young wife of the yacht’s former owner? And whose is the body that has washed up further along the shore?…’ (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)
The bones beneath / Mark Billingham.
“Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is, as usual, put out. Infamous serial killer Stuart Nicklin is once again playing mind games, claiming he will lead police to the corpse of a 15-year-old boy he murdered when they were both in an experimental program for adolescent offenders on remote Bardsey Island, located off the Welsh coast. What’s more, Nicklin will only do so if Thorne accompanies him; Nicklin also requests that fellow prisoner Jeffrey Batchelor, a former college professor incapacitated by depression over his crime and the brutality of prison life, be present to ward off any police brutality, since Nicklin murdered a police officer when he was arrested. Thorne is right to be suspicious. Inhospitable conditions and inclement weather, along with Nicklin’s offensive running commentary, all conspire to make the trip a nightmare. And that’s well before Nicklin’s scheme to exact revenge on Thorne is set into motion. In the twelfth series entry, Billingham makes the most of his bleak, rugged setting while creating an atmosphere of chilling menace as flashbacks reveal the full extent of Nicklin’s sadism and Thorne’s vulnerability…” (‘Booklist’ review from Amazon.com)
Top secret twenty-one / Janet Evanovich.
“Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court–and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. To top things off, Ranger–resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation–has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help. Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins and Stark Street being overrun with a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum…” (From Syndetics summary)
Terminal city : a novel / Linda Fairstein.
“Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace are called to investigate when the naked body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria. Within days, a second body turns up bearing the same bloody symbol train tracks carved into the skin. The focus shifts to Grand Central Terminal, where the president is scheduled to arrive for a UN meeting later in the week and where they suspect the killer is hiding out. Coop and her sidekicks struggle to get a grip on the layout of the vast terminal, from its aqua-colored celestial ceiling to the levels far beneath the ground, which are home to some 600 people, some of whom have carved apartments out of the concrete walls. As always, the crimes are graphic while the banter between the threesome adds some comic relief, but the real star of the series is Manhattan itself. Fairstein describes both the train station and some of Manhattan’s iconic eateries in loving detail, giving readers a glimpse of NYC’s glamour as well as its dark side…” (Abridged from ‘Booklist’ review on Syndetics summary)
Any other name / Craig Johnson.
“A not-quite-cold case preoccupies Walt Longmire in bestseller Johnson’s top-notch 11th mystery featuring the Wyoming sheriff (after 2013′s novella Spirit of Steamboat). Walt reluctantly agrees to help his old boss and mentor, Lucian Connally, investigate the suicide of police detective Gerald Holman in neighboring Campbell County, even though Walt’s official powers stop at the Absaroka County line. Holman apparently shot himself because he had seen too much darkness in his job, but the last cases on Holman’s desk, involving three very different missing women, get Walt thinking. While it looks as if the women just up and left their lives, Walt’s suspicion that the disappearances are connected proves correct. To his peril, he discovers that some people are prepared to go to any lengths to keep the big picture hidden. Meanwhile, Walt awaits the birth of his first grandchild in Philadelphia…”(Abridged from ‘Publisher Weekly’ review from Syndetics summary)
When shadows fall / J.T. Ellison.
“Exceptional character development distinguishes Thriller Award-winner Ellison’s third Samantha Owens novel (after 2012′s Edge of Black), the best yet in the series. When Sam, now head of Georgetown University Medical School’s forensic pathology department in Washington, D.C., receives a letter from a stranger named Timothy Savage asking her to solve his murder, she gets drawn back into her former career in law enforcement. Sam performs an autopsy on Savage, who recently died in Lynchburg, Va., and the examination shows he did not commit suicide, as the police ruled, but was indeed murdered. Meanwhile, Sam and her boyfriend, former Army Ranger Xander Whitfield, become embroiled in a search for a missing child whose disappearance may be related to Savage’s death. The suspense builds as Sam and Xander, aided by D.C. homicide detective Darren Fletcher, chase down a host of surprising leads. The author’s ability to neatly tie together the mysterious clues helps make this a standout in the romantic thriller subgenre…’ (Abridged from ‘Publisher Weekly’ review from Syndetics summary)
Catnapped! : a dead-end job mystery / Elaine Viets.
“No more pussyfooting around! Husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont have barely scratched the surface of the world of show cats when a cornered kitty kidnapper’s claws come out….The one thing celebrity Trish Barrymore and her no-account accountant husband, Mort, can agree on in their bitter divorce is shared cat custody. But when Mort is found brained by a mahogany cat tower, and Justine, their pedigreed Chartreux show cat, goes missing, Trish calls on Helen and Phil. Despite a ransom note from the catnapper, Trish is still the prime murder suspect in the eyes of the police. As they await the post-Mort-em, it’s up to Helen and Phil to find the feline filcher and let the cat out of the bag. Discovering that Mort had some shady dealings within cat show circles, Helen goes undercover as an assistant for a woman who shows prizewinning Persians. But Phil is not buying Trish’s cat-that-swallowed-a-canary act—he thinks she might be staging the whole catnapping. As Helen and Phil get deeper into a high-pressure world of primping, posing, and purring to collar a killer, they get caught up in a cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are literally life and death….” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)
Sea of stone / Michael Ridpath.
Can Magnus prove he is innocent of murder without implicating his brother? And can both men get to the heart of the twisted secrets that blighted their childhoods? Oli and Magnus Jonson have spent years trying to escape from the shadows of their past. Raised by their grandparents in Bjarnarhöfn, a remote farmstead in Iceland, both brothers had to endure brutal violence at the hands of their grandfather. Now, two decades later, the past has returned to haunt them. When Constable Páll Gylfason gets a dispatch call to investigate a suspected homicide in a remote farmstead, he is surprised to find that Detective Jonson is already at the scene. Magnus identifies the dead man as his estranged grandfather. As Páll begins to review the crime scene it becomes apparent that forensic evidence has been tampered with and that Magnus’ version of events doesn’t add up. Before long, Magnus is arrested for the murder of his grandfather. When it emerges that his younger brother, Oli, is in Iceland after two decades in America, Páll begins to think that Magnus may not be the only family member in the frame for murder. What unfolds is a tale of familial ties and bloodthirsty vengeance, of isolated communities scarred by the tragedies of the past—and of a final, painful reckoning…” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)
Strange country / Deborah Coates.
“Serial killings and macabre motives are the order of the day in this solid third adventure (after Wide Open and Deep Down) featuring psychic Hallie Michaels, whose return from the land of the dead has opened her life up to a plethora of supernatural incursions. Someone is assassinating residents of West Prairie City, S.D., and Hallie and her boyfriend, deputy sheriff Boyd Davies, wind up square in the killer’s sights when Boyd uncovers magically powered stones at two crime scenes. His findings also implicate five townspeople-including the first two victims-in a cabalistic confederacy forged 20 years earlier. Meanwhile, Hallie is vexed by a series of mysterious notes and phone calls that she believes are related to her ongoing pas de deux with Death. Coates plots this novel as a conventional murder mystery, with the usual paranormal activity serving as colorful filigree to a well-wrought tale of Midwestern noir. Unresolved subplots suggest that further adventures are in store for Hallie and Boyd…” (‘Publisher Weekly’ review from Syndetics summary)
The lying-down room / Anna Jaquiery.
“Commandant Serge Morel is called to a disturbing crime scene. An elderly woman has been murdered to the soundtrack of Faure’s Requiem, her body then grotesquely displayed. At first this strange case seems to offer few clues; and Morel has problems of his own. His father – always a great force in his life – is beginning to succumb to senility; and he is unsettled by the reappearance of the beautiful Mathilde, the woman he once loved. Only origami can help calm the detective and focus his thoughts on this troubling crime. As the investigation progresses, the key suspects to emerge are a middle-aged man and a mute teenage boy who have been delivering religious pamphlets in the city’s suburbs. But as more elderly ladies are targeted, Morel will find his enquiries leading him back into the past, from the French countryside to Soviet Russia – and to two young boys with the most terrible of stories to tell …An evocative, gripping crime novel with an aching heart: The Lying-Down Room is the stunning first novel in Anna Jaquiery’s Commandant Morel series; perfect for fans of Michael Dibdin and Donna Leon…” (From Syndetics summary)