Category: Recent picks

New Mysteries for October

The latest novels from some very popular writers appear in this month’s new mysteries, including Tana French, Kathy Reichs and J. D. Robb. Highly recommend is the mystery from Norwegian writer Jorn Lier Horst titled Closed for Winter.

Syndetics book coverThe secret place / Tana French.
“The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago. The caption says, ‘I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM’. Detective Stephen Moran hasn’t seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she’s sixteen and she’s shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story. Even in her exclusive boarding school, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighboring boys’ school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, Holly found the card. Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. But to get it solved, he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe monogram murders / Sophie Hannah.
“For the first time ever, the guardians of Agatha Christie’s legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring her most beloved creation. Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered; a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverClosed for winter / Jorn Lier Horst ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“Ove Bakkerud, newly separated and extremely disillusioned, is looking forward to a final quiet weekend at his summer home before closing for winter but, when the tourists leave, less welcome visitors arrive. Bakkerud’s cottage is ransacked by burglars. Next door he discovers the body of a man who has been beaten to death. Police Inspector William Wisting has witnessed grotesque murders before, but the desperation he sees in this latest murder is something new. Wisting’s unease does not diminish when they discover several more corpses on the deserted archipelago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Sandman / Lars Kepler ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“During a cold winter night in Stockholm a young man is found walking alongside a railway bridge. The hospital declares that he is suffering from hypothermia and legionella. They also discover a death certificate stating that the man has been dead for over seven years. The man was a victim of the serial killer Jurek Walter, who was arrested by Detective Inspector Joona Linna. Jurek Walter was convicted to forensic psychiatric care, a sentence served in total isolation. But where has this man been during all these years?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrucifixion Creek / Barry Maitland.
“Homicide detective Harry Belltree wouldn’t usually be looking too hard at an elderly couple’s suicide pact. Especially since his brother-in-law Greg has just been stabbed to death. But it seems Greg and the old couple had ties to the same man, a bent moneylender with friends in high places and low. Harry can’t get officially involved in Greg’s murder, but he suspects a link with two other mysterious deaths: his parents’. And when he goes off-grid to investigate, that’s when things start to get dangerous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn event in autumn / Henning Mankell ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.
“Some cases aren’t as cold as you’d think. Kurt Wallander’s life looks like it has taken a turn for the better when his offer on a new house is accepted, only for him to uncover something unexpected in the garden, the skeleton of a middle-aged woman. As police officers comb the property, Wallander attempts to get his new life back on course by finding the woman’s killer with the aid of his daughter, Linda. But when another discovery is made in the garden, Wallander is forced to delve further back into the area’s past.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverHead of State : a political entertainment / Andrew Marr.
“It’s September 2017, and the United Kingdom is on the verge of a crucial referendum that will determine, once and for all, if the country remains a member of the European Union, or goes its own way. The stakes could not possibly be higher, and the outcome is delicately balanced. But, unsuspected by the electorate, and unknown to all but a handful of members of the Prime Minister’s innermost circle, there is a shocking secret at the very heart of government that, were it to become known, would change everything in an instant.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoisoned ground : a Hakim and Arnold mystery / Barbara Nadel.
“Ex-soldier Lee Arnold and his Muslim assistant Mumtaz Hakim run a detective agency in London’s ethnically diverse, crime-ridden East End. Mumtaz is approached by an Egyptian woman, Salwa, whose husband is in Belmarsh on terrorism charges. Salwa convinces Mumtaz of her husband’s innocence and persuades her to go undercover to prove it. But Salwa is not what she seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBones never lie : a novel / Kathy Reichs.
“Unexpectedly called in to the Charlotte PD’s Cold Case Unit, Dr. Temperance Brennan wonders why she’s been asked to meet with a homicide cop who’s a long way from his own jurisdiction. The shocking answer: Two child murders, separated by thousands of miles, have one thing in common, the killer. Years ago, Anique Pomerleau kidnapped and murdered a string of girls in Canada, then narrowly eluded capture. Now, as if summoned from their nightmares, Pomerleau has resurfaced in the United States. When another child is snatched, the reign of terror promises to continue unless Brennan can rise to the challenge and make good on her second chance to stop a psychopath.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFestive in death / J. D. Robb.
“Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition, if you ignore the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest. Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who’d been loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list, plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash. Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer” (Adapted fron Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for September

This month’s selection from the most recently received new mystery novels has a very international flavour, with mysteries set in South Africa, Holland, New Guinea, America and Australia. Also included is the new mystery from the popular writer Peter Robinson titled Abattoir blues.

Syndetics book coverColdsleep lullaby : a mystery / Andrew Brown.
“Cape Town police detective Eberard Februarie has been reinstated in his job after an emotional meltdown, but he’s reassigned to the picturesque university town of Stellenbosch in the heart of South Africa’s wine region. A doctor will make the final decision about his fitness, but in the meantime, Februarie draws a particularly brutal case: the murder of a young woman about to enter the university. In alternating chapters, Brown offers a second story line: the Dutch East India Company’s often-inhumane, seventeenth-century colonization of South Africa and its development of vineyards in the region that ultimately links to Februarie’s case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverThe root of all evil / Roberto Costantini ; translated from the Italian by N.S. Thompson.
“Rome, 1982. In the wake of a ruinous blunder, a ground-down Commissario Balistreri escapes his regrets through sex, alcohol and gambling. His sole responsibilities are now a stilted investigation into the death of a South American student, and a tiresome obligation, as a gratitude to the man who saved his career,to a rising television starlet needing protection from the pitfalls of fame.As the risks to this girl, Claudia Teodori, begin to rise along with her reputation, the sorrows of Balistreri’s past also start to push back into his present. Both of their fates are inextricably linked and this driven, obsessive young woman must help this damaged detective fight a foe that follows her and refuses to forget him.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverGap / Rebecca Jessen.
“When you’re at the end of the line with nowhere to turn – how far would you go to protect the one you love? A man is found dead in an inner-city suburb, a police officer walks the blurry line between duty and loyalty, and a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks is on the run. Ana soon becomes a suspect in the murder investigation, and as sole carer for her younger sister is desperately trying to stay ahead of the law. In a surprising twist, the detective in charge of the case is no stranger and Ana is forced to face her past and the things she has left behind. Unsure of who she can trust and isolated by her crime, Ana is drawn into a passionate affair that breaks all the rules” ( Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe sun is God / Adrian McKinty.
“Based on an actual 1906 incident on New Guinea’s isolated Kabakon Island. The small German cult known as the Cocovores live naked on Kabakon, where they worship the sun and eat mostly coconuts, a regimen they believe confers immortality. When a member dies and an autopsy is performed on the mainland, murder is indicated. The region’s German government sends former British military police officer Will Prior, still healing from the traumatic carnage he witnessed in the Boer War, to the island. Insect bites, the group’s bizarre drug-laced diet, and their insistence that the death was natural, slow his inquiry” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe killer next door / Alex Marwood.
“At the start Det. Insp. Merri Cheyne from Scotland Yard questions a young woman, Cheryl Farrell, about the grisly find of human fingers in a freezer inside a rundown boarding house located in a London suburb. As Cheryl confirms, the prints from those fingers belong to a fellow lodger, Lisa Dunne, who witnessed a murder and whom the FBI was seeking to interview. Dunne is not the only victim. Body parts from multiple corpses have surfaced in and around the boarding house, which turns out to be a destination for people with dark and embarrassing pasts that they wish to conceal.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCobra / Deon Meyer ; translated from Afrikaans by K. L. Seegers.
“Bennie Greissel the Cape Town homicide detective is called to the South African wine country, where the British citizen Paul Morris has been kidnapped. At the guesthouse where Morris was staying, his two bodyguards lie dead, each of them shot in the head. Near the bodies are shell casings, each etched with the head of a cobra. Back in Cape Town, the amiable cutpurse Tyrone Kleinbooi, who is devoted to putting his sister through medical school, becomes a target of the same cobra killers after picking the wrong pocket.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFear and loathing / Hilary Norman.
“Gary Burton and his Chinese-American wife are entertaining another couple on their Miami Beach patio facing the Intracoastal Waterway when four armed men step off a boat and interrupt the party. The intruders tie up the Burtons and their guests, place them in the garage, and stand by as the victims slowly die of carbon monoxide poisoning. A note left at the scene addressed specifically to Becket, an African-American detective married to a white woman, promises more slayings. Becket and partner Al Martinez dive into the bizarre case with few leads. As the body count increases, so does the threat against Becket-including a separate danger for adopted daughter Cathy, blissfully pursuing her dream job in France. Becket finds himself struggling to keep perspective and protect his loved ones from harm” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverAbattoir blues / Peter Robinson.
“When two boys vanish under mysterious circumstances, the local community is filled with unease. Then a bloodstain is discovered in a disused World War Two hangar nearby, and a caravan belonging to one of the youths is burned to the ground. Things quickly become much more sinister. Assigned to the case, DCI Banks and his team are baffled by the mystery laid out before them. But when a motor accident throws up a gruesome discovery, the investigation spins into a higher gear, in another direction. As Banks and his team struggle desperately to find the missing boy who holds the key to the puzzle, they find themselves in a race against time where it’s their turn to become the prey.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverAn unwilling accomplice/ Charles Todd.
“Bess Crawford, a British battlefield nurse in WWI,is honored to be asked to accompany a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace, where the soldier is supposed to receive an award. But the soldier vanishes, and Bess is accused of dereliction of duty, an accusation that Bess takes very seriously. When the missing man turns up, apparently having murdered someone, it isn’t just her professional reputation Bess must save; it’s her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter the silence / Jake Woodhouse.
“A body is found hanging on a hook above the canals of Amsterdam’s old town, a mobile phone forced into the victim’s mouth.In a remote coastal village, a doll lies in the ashes of a burnt-down house. But the couple who died in the fire had no children of their own. Did a little girl escape the blaze? And, if so, who is she and where is she now? Inspector Jaap Rykel knows that he’s hunting a clever and brutal murderer. Still grieving from the violent death of his last partner, Rykel must work alongside a junior out-of-town detective with her own demons to face, if he has any hope of stopping the killer from striking again. Their investigation reveals two dark truths: everybody in this city harbours secrets and hearing those secrets comes at a terrible price.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

New Mysteries for August

From Texas to New York, London’s West End to the Dark Ages in Ireland and of course Sweden, murder is everywhere. This month’s selection of new Mystery novels includes some old favorites, such as Arne Dahl, Hakan Nesser and Peter Tremayne, plus some a few new ones for your reading enjoyment.

Syndetics book coverThe reckoning / Rennie Airth.
“In 1947, someone shoots Oswald Gibson, a retired bank manager, in the head while he’s fishing in a stream near Lewes, Sussex. Before his death, a visit from a stranger prompted Gibson to compose a letter to Scotland Yard asking about Madden’s whereabouts. Long retired from Scotland Yard, Madden is sure he never met the man. A month earlier, someone shot Dr. Wallace Drummond in his surgery in Ballater, Scotland, “in exactly the same manner.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe corpse bridge / Stephen Booth.
“The old Corpse Bridge is the route taken for centuries by mourners to a burial aground across the River Dove in Derbyshire. But Earl Manby, the landowner, announces plans to deconsecrate the burial ground and turn it into a carpark for his holiday cottages. Once again bodies appear on the road to the Corpse Bridge. Is there a connection with the development? Or is there a serial killer at work?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTo the top of the mountain / Arne Dahl ; translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies.
“After the disastrous end to their last case, the Intercrime team, a specialist unit created to investigate violent, international crime has been disbanded, their leader forced into early retirement. The six officers have been scattered throughout the country. But when a man is blown up in a high-security prison, a major drugs baron comes under attack and a massacre takes place in a dark suburb, the Intercrime team are urgently reconvened. There is something dangerous approaching Sweden, and they are the only people who can do anything to stop it.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverLong way home / Eva Dolan.
“A man is burnt alive in a shed. No witnesses, no fingerprints, only a positive ID of the victim as an immigrant with a long list of enemies. Detectives Zigic and Ferreira are called in from the Hate Crimes Unit to track the killer, and are met with silence in a Fenland community ruled by slum racketeers, people-trafficking gangs and fear. The tension rises as the clock is ticking, but nobody wants to talk.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverNight kills / John Lutz.
“Frank Quinn is sure he is hunting for a madman: someone is shooting young women in the heart, defiling their bodies, leaving only torsos to be found. Quinn, a former NYPD detective, is called into the case by an ambitious chief of police and mobilizes his team of brilliant law-enforcement misfits. But in the concrete canyons of New York, this shocking serial murder case is turning into something very different.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe G file : a Van Veeteren mystery / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.
“1987. Verlangan, a former cop turned private detective is hired by a woman to follow her husband Jaan ‘G’ Hennan. A few days later, his client is found dead at the bottom of an empty swimming pool. Maardam police, led by Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, investigate the case. Van Veeteren has encountered Jaan ‘G’ Hennan before and knows only too well the man’s dark capabilities. As more information emerges about G’s shadowy past, the Chief Inspector becomes more desperate than ever to convict him. But G has a solid alibi- and no one else can be found in relation to the crime. 2002. Fifteen years have passed and the G File remains the one case former Chief Inspector Van Veeteren has never been able to solve. But when Verlangan’s daughter reports the private detective missing, Van Veeteren returns to Maardam CID once more. For all Verlangan left behind was a cryptic note; and a telephone message in which he claimed to have finally discovered the proof of G’s murderous past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe murder bag / Tony Parsons.
“There’s a serial killer on the loose. The social network sites all love him because he cuts the throats of rich and powerful men and he’s good at it. Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. Enter Detective Max Wolfe, single parent, devoted husband of a brutally departed wife.. Newly arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row, Max follows the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the Internet and all the way to the corridors of power.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSupping with the devil : a DCI Paniatowski mystery / Sally Spencer.
“DCI Monika Paniatowski recognises her latest assignment as advisor to the Earl of Ridley’s rock festival for what it really is, an attempt by the chief constable to destroy her career. Yet it soon becomes apparent that matters are not as simple as they appear. Why, for instance, did the Earl choose to employ the notorious Devil’s Disciples motorcycle gang to provide the security for the festival? And to what lengths will his mother, the dowager countess, go to destroy it? But it is when the half-naked body of a tabloid journalist is discovered in the middle of Whitebridge that things really start to hot up.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe devil’s seal / Peter Tremayne.
“An Anglo-Saxon deputation arrives in Cashel to debate the new religious rules from Rome with an Irish delegation. The Abbot of Imleach leads the Irish delegation who are hostile to the new rules, and among the Anglo-Saxon delegation is Brother Eadulf’s own younger brother, Egric. There is also an observer appointed from Rome, the Venerable Favorinus. The debate is bad tempered and acrimonious and local Abbess Dar Óma has to step in as a mediator between the two sides. But that evening her body is discovered, she has been bludgeoned to death.The animosity between the two sides is heightened as the Chief Brehon Aillín accuses young Egric of murder. The Venerable Favorinus counter claims that the murderer is Brother Madagan, who is steward to Abbot of Imleach. Suspicions and tempers run high. With the war of words threatening to spill over into bloodshed, Fidelma is compelled to resolve the mystery as she is sure there is something more sinister behind the murder than religious differences.” (Adpated from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverBlackbird / Tom Wright.
“Blackbird is a detective thriller about a serial killer on the loose in contemporary Texas. Leading the investigations is one Detective Jim Beaudry, formerly known as Biscuit, no stranger to the dark side of life. Wrapping up the case will force Jim into the deepest recesses of his own history, even the parts he’d rather forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for July

New mystery fiction this month from some very popular authors, including Alafair Burke, Andrea Camilleri, Roger Jon Ellory and Karin Slaughter, who will be in conversation at Central Library on Tuesday evening 12th August at 6.00pm. Join us for a great evening.

Syndetics book coverLonely graves / Britta Bolt. “A suicide, a drowned man, or a sudden death. It’s all in a day’s work for Pieter Posthumus. In Amsterdam, the Lonely Funerals team exists to make sure that no one goes to the grave unmourned. Posthumus takes that responsibility seriously.A careful, humane man, he works hard to find out all he can about the anonymous or abandoned dead entrusted to his care. So when a young Moroccan immigrant is found in the Prinsengracht canal in suspicious circumstances, Posthumus cannot let it go. The police may call it accident or suicide; he is sure there’s more to it. He takes up the case, an investigation that leads to him getting caught up in a terror plot and in the way of an elite police unit.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverAll day and a night : a novel of suspense / Alafair Burke.
“The shocking murder of psychotherapist Helen Brunswick complicates an old case, as NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher and attorney Carrie Blank both search for the truth from opposite sides of the law. When similarities between Helen’s murder and those of past serial killer victims come to light and when an anonymous letter with inside information about Helen’s case that might exonerate the convicted killer arrives, the police are forced to reevaluate the previous cases. While Ellie is assigned to the “fresh look” team, Carrie goes to work for a celebrity lawyer specializing in wrongful convictions and representing Anthony Amaro, the man imprisoned for the murders.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAngelica’s smile / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Montalbano, who, perhaps, loves his antipasto more than his detective work, looks into a rash of copycat burglaries in the Sicilian coastal village of Vigata. Victims are carefully chosen for the fact that they have two homes to burglarize. One such victim is Angelica Cosulich, so drop-dead gorgeous that Montalbano can barely breathe, much less speak, in her presence. But the investigation must go on! Midnight stakeouts, threatening anonymous letters and even a puzzling murder ensue, all to the tune of those requisite seaside lunches and Angelica’s alluring smile.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFatal harbor / Brendan DuBois.
“Former Department of Defense analyst Lewis Cole has travelled some dark roads before in his quest for justice. Days after a violent anti-nuclear demonstration puts his best friend, police detective Diane Woods, in a near-fatal coma, Cole abandons his job and his home to find the man who nearly killed his friend. From the rural towns of New Hampshire to the offices of power and influence in Washington, D.C., Cole follows his gut and the flimsiest of clues to track down the cold-blooded attacker who won’t hesitate to kill to keep his identity and background secret.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCarnival of shadows / R.J. Ellory.
“Kansas, 1959. A travelling carnival appears overnight in the small town of Seneca Falls, intriguing the townsfolk with acts of inexplicable magic and illusion. But when a man’s body is discovered beneath the carousel, with no clue as to his identity, FBI Special Agent Michal Travis is sent to investigate. Led by the elusive Edgar Doyle, the carnival folk range from the enigmatic to the bizarre, but none of them will give Travis a straight answer to his questions. With each new turn of the investigation, Doyle and his companions challenge Travis’s once unshakeable faith in solid facts and hard evidence. As the consequences of what has happened become ever more disturbing, Travis struggles to open his mind to a truth that defies comprehension.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath of a scholar / Susanna Gregory. “In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswald Stanmore. Oswald has left the business to his widow, but a spate of burglaries in the town distracts Matthew from supporting Edith in her grief. As well as the theft of irreplaceable items from Michaelhouse, which threatens its very survival, a new foundation, Winwick Hall, is causing consternation amongst Matthew’s colleagues. A perfect storm between the older establishments and the brash newcomers is brewing when the murder of a leading member of the Guild is soon followed by the death of one of Winwick’s senior Fellows. Assisting Brother Michael in investigating these fatalities leads Matthew into a web of suspicion.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverRed light / Graham Masterton. “Somewhere in the city of Cork, a woman’s cry echoes through the rainy streets. On a bloodstained mattress in a grimy flat, a burly man lies dead. A terrified girl kneels over his body. She is half-naked, starving, screaming. She has been trapped here for three days. It doesn’t take DS Katie Maguire long to identify the murder victim. He is someone she has been trying to convict for years, a cruel and powerful pimp who terrorised the girls who worked for him.
It’s Katie’s job to catch the killer. But with men like this dead, the city is safer and so are the scared young women who are trafficked into Cork. When a second pimp is horrifically murdered, Katie must decide. Should she do her job, or follow her conscience? Should she allow the killer to strike again?” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverDante’s poison / Lynne Raimondo.
“Mark Angelotti, a psychologically troubled and newly blinded Chicago psychiatrist, is hired to help with the defense of legal eagle Jane Barrett for the murder of Rory Gallagher, a well-known journalist. It looks like Jane is being framed; Mark’s friend Hallie is Jane’s mentee, and she begs Mark to provide expert testimony. Unfortunately, a vicious attack on Mark and Hallie leaves her in a coma. Mark knows Hallie recognized the attacker, but he, of course, can’t. Concurrently, two troubling suicides by teen patients of one of Mark’s professional colleagues builds a strong secondary plot that might connect with the journalist’s murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCop Town : a novel / Karin Slaughter.
“It’s 1974 Atlanta, and another policeman has been shot by the man they’re calling the Shooter, yet his partner, Jimmy Lawson, is left physically unharmed but devastated. Jimmy’s sister Maggie, also a cop, is convinced that something is off about Jimmy’s version of events, but getting anyone to listen to her suspicions would only prove futile. After all, women weren’t very welcome on the police force in 1974 and they certainly didn’t investigate serious crimes. When she’s partnered with Kate Murphy, whose pampered background couldn’t be more different from Maggie’s solid blue-collar roots, events begin to escalate, and Kate and Maggie must put everything on the line to stop a ferocious killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChildren of war / Martin Walker.
“Bruno, chef de police in the French town of St Denis, is already busy with a case when the body of an undercover French Muslim cop is found in the woods, a man who called Bruno for help only hours before. But Bruno’s sometime boss and rival, the Brigadier, doesn’t see this investigation as a priority, there are bigger issues at stake. Bruno has other ideas. One of Bruno’s old army comrades helps to smuggle Sami, a Muslim youth from Afghanistan back to France, but the FBI aren’t far behind and a n American woman appears in St Denis with a warrant for Sami’s extradition. Bruno must unravel these multiple mysteries, amidst pressure from his bosses, and find his own way to protect his town and its people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries this month – Icelandic drama, Parisian murder, & more

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….

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverTop 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)

Syndetics book coverTerminal 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)

Syndetics book coverAny 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)

Syndetics book coverWhen 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)

Syndetics book coverCatnapped! : 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)

Syndetics book coverSea 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)

Syndetics book coverStrange 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

New Mysteries for May

New mysteries for May include the return of popular series characters with John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy & Abe Glitsky, Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery, Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti, and Katherine V. Forrest’s Kate Delafield. Also hitting the stacks is Ariel S. Winter’s acclaimed Noir triptych and a new translation from France’s Fred Vargas.

Syndetics book coverThe keeper : a novel / by John Lescroart.
“In the latest Dismas Hardy legal thriller, a missing-persons case gets very complicated, very fast. Hal Chase is a guard at the San Francisco County Jail; one night, while he’s out at the airport picking up a relative, his wife, Katie, disappears from their home. Hal is soon picked up by police as the prime suspect. Because Katie was a client of Hardy’s marriage-counselor wife, Hal wants Dismas to take his case. Hardy asks his old pal, former homicide cop Abe Glitsky, to pitch in with the investigative legwork. Glitsky soon uncovers some serious holes in Hal Chase’s story his alibi, for instance, is very shaky and when Katie’s body is found, and her husband is arrested for the murder, Dismas wonders if he could possibly be defending a guilty man, while Glitsky wonders if he’ll come out of this case alive. Lescroart has occupied a chair at the head table of the legal-thriller society for quite awhile, and this smartly plotted, sharply written novel will do nothing to dislodge him from that lofty perch.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe twenty-year death / by Ariel S. Winter.
“This isn’t a first novel so much as a series of three discrete but interrelated first novels, each written (with apologies from the author) in the style of a different iconic thriller writer-Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson, respectively…Set in the fictitious Verargent, France, circa 1931, the first book, Malniveau Prison, revolves around the mysterious death of a prisoner-the father of one Clothilde-ma-Fleur Meprise, Rosenkrantz’s beautiful wife…In the second, The Falling Star, set in 1941, Rosenkrantz is a womanizing L.A. screenwriter on a self-destructive slide. His wife, now working under the name Chloe Rose, is a successful but unstable starlet who suspects she’s being followed. A suitably laconic Chandlerian PI, Dennis Foster, is enlisted to help the troubled star-but is he really being set up for a homicidal fall? In the third, and arguably darkest, tale, Police at the Funeral, it’s 1951 in Calvert, Md., and Rose has been institutionalized, leaving Rosenkrantz-now a remorseful has-been-roiling in the tide of his boozy dissolution. “Yeah, I’d always gotten a raw deal, and I was too pathetic to do anything about it, and I hated myself for that” pretty much sums up the self-inflicted purgatory this antihero wallows in. The stories work wonderfully well individually, but taken together create a tapestry of associations and reflections, sort of like mirrors trained on other mirrors. The whole, as they say, is greater than the sum of its parts.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolf / by Mo Hayder.
“In Hayder’s best Jack Caffery thriller yet, a worn-out Jack is feeling all the years he has put into police service and his never-ending quest to find out what happened to his long-lost brother. The novel opens with a young girl finding a stray dog with a ripped note tucked into its collar that states, “Help us.” A vagrant known as the Walking Man witnesses this and promises the young girl that he will help the dog. Never one to give out information willingly, the Walking Man surprisingly contacts Jack-offering up a trade: find out who needs help and, in return, the Walking Man will give Jack some closure about his brother. This deal with the devil sets off a home invasion novel unlike no other. The Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy family with secrets and issues of their own, are being held hostage in their estate. Will Jack find them in time? And why was this family chosen in the first place? VERDICT Dark and twisty, this gripping crime novel by an Edgar Award winner is an outstanding read, whether Jack is a new character to the reader or an old friend.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDog will have his day / Fred Vargas ; translated by Siân Reynolds.“Keeping watch under the windows of the Paris flat belonging to a politician’s nephew, ex-cop Louis Kehlweiler catches sight of something odd on the pavement. A small white object, surrounded by the excrement of local dogs. A piece of bone. Human bone, in fact. Naturally, when Kehlweiler takes his find to the nearest police station, he faces ridicule. But the tiny fragment obsesses him so much that he stops shadowing people with something to hide in the city and follows the trail to the tiny Breton fishing village of Port-Nicolas. Because someone there owns a pit bull terrier. A dog that would take a bite out of anything. Even the foot of a corpse.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverHigh desert / Katherine V. Forrest.
“It’s been almost a decade since readers have seen LAPD homicide detective Kate Delafield (Hancock Park, 2004) and the years are beginning to take a toll. Kate is newly retired and struggling with leaving the job, controlling her drinking, and the imminent loss of her friend Maggie to cancer. But concern for her old partner, Joe Cameron, breaks her isolation, when she learns that he may be missing. Asked by their former boss to quietly investigate, Kate finds herself learning more about her partner in a few days than in the years they served together. Forrest broke ground in the 1980s with the introduction of her lesbian police detective. While her contemporaries Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton also expanded gender roles in the detective genre, Forrest has allowed Kate to grow old into the 2010s and there is a melancholy, but not unhopeful, tone to her newest work. Verdict A solid mystery underpins a meditation on the passing of friends and Kate’s struggle to make peace with time-and herself-before it is too late.” (From Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBy its cover / Donna Leon.“Donna Leon’s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its characters, and its fearlessness in exploring politics, morality, and contemporary Italian culture. In the pages of Leon’s novels, the beloved conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they never have been before. One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem—the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn’t exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe facts of life and death / Belinda Bauer.
“‘Call your mother.’ ‘What do I say?’ ‘Say goodbye.’ This is how it begins. Lone women terrorised and their helpless families forced to watch – in a sick game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder. Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. Bullies on the school bus, the forest crowding her house into the sea, and the threat of divorce. Helping her Daddy to catch the killer might be the key to keeping him close. As long as the killer doesn’t catch her first.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGallowglass / Gordon Ferris.
“Douglas Brodie is dead. The Glasgow Gazette announced the tragic death on 26 June 1947 of their chief crime reporter. Just three weeks before, life was rosy. After a tumultuous winter chasing war criminals across Glasgow, Douglas Brodie was revelling in the quiet life. His relationship with advocate Samantha Campbell was blossoming and he’d put the reins on his impulsiveness. Hope and promise filled the tranquil summer air. A day later, Brodie was arrested for the kidnap and murder of Scotland’s top banker. The case against Brodie is watertight: caught with a gun in his hand next to a man with a bullet in the head – from Brodie’s own revolver. He has no alibi. No witnesses. Despite Samantha’s best efforts, Brodie faces the gallows. Is this the sordid end for a distinguished ex-copper, decorated soldier and man of parts?” (Publisher’s description from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder in merino : a seaside knitters mystery / Sally Goldenbaum.
“The satisfying ninth Seaside Knitters cozy (after 2013′s Angora Alibi) from Goldenbaum has the knitters of Sea Harbor, Mass., planning a gala and gift for the 40th wedding anniversary of member Nell Endicott and her husband, Don. In the meantime, the Endicotts’ niece, Isabel “Izzy” Chambers Perry, and her husband, Sam, are putting Izzy’s old cottage home on the market. Newcomer Julia “Jules” Ainsley puzzles the community when she reveals her determination to buy the cottage, sight unseen, despite having no previous connection to Sea Harbor. When a murder victim is found in the cottage’s backyard, Jules becomes a suspect. Gradually, the knitters realize the killing has its roots in a long-buried town secret. Fans of previous entries will enjoy spending a few more hours with the Seaside Knitters, and the most dedicated might be inspired to reproduce the group’s special anniversary afghan, or their Friday-evening martini parties.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last kind word / David Housewright.
“Here’s the ninth Rushmore McKenzie novel…Rushmore was a detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, before he resigned from the police department so he could collect a seven-figure reward for busting a major embezzler. Now independently wealthy, he’s a sort of crimesolver-for-hire. Here Rushmore is recruited by the ATF to infiltrate a gang of gunrunners, a plan that seems dicey to start with and positively suicidal once he’s in too deep to extricate himself without somebody noticing. If you took a modern-day noir and mixed it with a light comedy, you’d get something very much like a McKenzie novel: a serious, occasionally dark story told by an entertaining, often bemused narrator. Housewright just throws us into the story, too, filling us in on the background only after we’ve become convinced Rushmore might have lost his way. An excellent but strangely underappreciated series.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for April

New mysteries for April include the return of Loren D Estleman’s Amos Walker & Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce; a ‘prequel’ entry in Harry Dolan’s David Loogan series; new books from Mary Higgins Clark & Nevada Barr; and the last novel from late author Leighton Gage.

Syndetics book coverI’ve got you under my skin / Mary Higgins Clark.
“Fans of MWA Grand Master Clark will find plenty of intrigue and excitement in this contemporary thriller, which opens with the fatal shooting of Dr. Greg Moran in a Manhattan playground by a shadowy figure known only as “Blue Eyes”-the latter’s moniker originating with the chilling shouts of the victim’s three-year-old son, Timmy: “Blue Eyes shot my daddy. Blue Eyes shot my daddy!” Five years after this tragedy, the doctor’s high-powered TV producer widow, Laurie, who’s still haunted not only by her husband’s death but also by his killer’s parting promise to come back to murder her and Timmy, hatches an idea for a new TV series to reenact unsolved criminal cases…She selects the 20-year-old murder of Betsy Powell, the wife of eccentric billionaire Robert Powell, for the pilot episode. Four estranged best friends-one of them Betsy’s own daughter-are reunited at the Powell estate in Westchester County, N.Y., to recall the harrowing evening of the murder. Clark keeps readers guessing and in suspense, with any one of the old companions potentially culpable and Blue Eyes making a number of startling reappearances.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ways of evil men / Leighton Gage.
“When 39 of the 41 members of an Indian tribe living in the Brazilian rainforest die by poisoning, Jade Cameron, a National Indian Foundation worker, rescues the remaining man, Amati, and his young son. Then a white rancher is murdered in the nearby village, and Amati is framed for the death. The villagers lynch him in the hopes of destroying the tribe and opening the reservation to development. CI Mario Silva of the federal police is sent to investigate. As on his home turf in Sao Paulo, Silva finds corrupt officials, political connections, greed, racism-and more murders. The possibility of a major gold strike ups the machinations as well. Verdict?: This is the seventh and final Silva investigation (the author died in July 2013). Gage knew the Brazilian locale intimately. He passionately displays the ecological problems and pervasive corruption at all levels.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere monsters dwell / Jørgen Brekke ; translated by Steven T. Murray.
“Gruesome, nearly identical murders in the U.S. and Norway send detectives on both sides of the Atlantic on the hunt for a killer in Norwegian journalist Brekke’s underwhelming debut. Soon after the curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., is found flayed and beheaded, the archivist of the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim, Norway, is found murdered in a similar fashion. The American and Norwegian sleuths assigned to the killings-respectively, newly minted homicide detective Felicia Stone and Chief Insp. Odd Singsaker, recently returned from an extended sick leave due to a brain tumor-begin working together after it’s revealed that both victims had been researching a rare 16th-century text, the Johannes Book.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder in the afternoon : a Kate Shackleton mystery / Frances Brody.
“One Saturday afternoon, stonemason Ethan Armstrong is murdered. Oddly, his ten-year-old daughter, Harriet, was the only one to see his corpse in his workshop. When the authorities arrive later, the body has disappeared. Harriet’s observations are not taken seriously, except by her mother, Mary Jane, who asks PI Kate Shackleton to investigate. Over the period of a week, Kate gradually untwists a number of village secrets, including some of her own. While Ethan’s political leanings (he was a leftist union organizer) made him many enemies, it may be that other long-held secrets led to his death. Verdict?: This meaty historical set in post-World War I England succeeds as a satisfying traditional mystery and as a fascinating historical novel tackling women’s roles in the early 1920s. Brody’s series, now at three (after A Medal for Murder), merits serious attention.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLion plays rough : a Leo Maxwell mystery / Lachlan Smith.
“At the start of Smith’s tight second Leo Maxwell mystery (after 2013′s Bear Is Broken), the young Oakland, Calif., attorney receives a collect call from Santa Rita Jail. The man on the other end introduces himself as Jamil Robinson and, because he feels it unsafe to talk over the phone, sends his sister, Lavinia Martin, to speak with Leo in person. Lavinia claims that the Oakland police have framed Jamil. Despite his suspicions about the story, Leo goes to the DA with evidence that points to police corruption, only to discover he’s been set up-the real Jamil has not only never heard of Leo but does not have a living sister. As Leo continues to pursue the truth, he puts his life at risk and discovers a trail of crooked police activity that leads disturbingly close to home. This finely paced mystery is full of intelligent plot twists and should appeal to any fan of good writing.” (Description from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDestroyer angel / Nevada Barr.
“When her friend Heath (Hard Truth, 2005), a paraplegic, agrees to road test a wheelchair poised to revolutionize the sports-gear market, park-ranger Anna Pigeon guides Heath; her daughter, Elizabeth; the chair’s designer, Leah; and Leah’s daughter on a trek in Minnesota’s Iron Mountains. It’s all fresh air and fireside chats until four armed men suddenly appear and abduct the hikers. Anna returns from a canoe jaunt to discover her friends held at gunpoint and stays hidden so that she can track them, seizing every opportunity to help her friends. Meanwhile, Heath struggles to survive the off-trail hike and protect the girls. With no cellular reception, Anna’s cunning strikes are the only hope for rescue, and she ferociously, sometimes savagely, harnesses the rules of the wild to even the odds. Anna Pigeon’s eighteenth adventure is equal parts psychological thriller and wilderness-survival tale sure to please series followers.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dead in their vaulted arches / Alan Bradley.
“The irrepressible, nearly 12-year-old Flavia de Luce, amateur detective, faces a particularly personal crisis in this, her sixth outing. Her mother, lost in the Himalayas when Flavia was a baby, is coming home in a coffin, escorted by none other than former British prime minister Winston Churchill. If that isn’t odd enough, the great man, before leaving, approaches Flavia and asks her if she has acquired a taste for pheasant sandwiches. Shortly thereafter, she is approached by another man with an equally cryptic message, after which he is crushed beneath a train…If the somewhat tangled plot requires a bit of patience to negotiate, be assured that Flavia is as fetching as ever.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last dead girl / Harry Dolan.
“When 26-year-old David Malone stops to aid Jana Fletcher at an accident scene, his life changes dramatically. He spends ten days, and nights, with the mysterious young law student, and then she is brutally and ritualistically murdered. Naturally, he is a suspect but not yet charged. Jana had been passionately involved in the Innocence Project, seeking to free a local high school teacher convicted of killing his wife. David decides to pursue this case on her behalf. Through “interlude” chapters we learn about Jana’s earlier harrowing ordeal, the anonymous killer’s mind-set, and more murders. Verdict This is a more sober prequel to Dolan’s humorous and witty Bad Things Happen, also featuring David Loogan ne Malone. With just three books (including Very Bad Men), Dolan is already a seasoned pro, worthy of high acclaim-and so is his protagonist.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Cover imageThe first rule of ten : a Tenzing Norbu mystery / Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay.
“Tenzing Norbu (‘Ten’ for short)–ex-Buddhist monk and soon-to-be ex-cop–takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles. Growing up in a Tibetan monastery, Ten dreamed of becoming a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. So when he was sent to Los Angeles to teach meditation, he joined the LAPD instead. But as the Buddha says, change is inevitable; and ten years later, everything is about to change–big-time–for Ten. One resignations from the police force, two bullet-wounds, three suspicious deaths, and a beautiful woman later, he quickly learns that whenever he breaks his first rule, mayhem follows.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDon’t look for me : an Amos Walker novel / Loren D. Estleman.
“The winner of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America isn’t resting on his laurels. Estleman’s PI sees a familiar enemy (Charlotte Sing) aiming for him in the concluding title in a trilogy (American Detective and Infernal Angels) within the long-running series that began in 1980 with Motor City Blue. The Walker series now stands at number 24.” (Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Mysteries for February

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Mysteries for January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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