Category: Recent picks

New Mysteries for January

The selection of new Mysteries this month feature mysteries set in Medieval Britain to modern day Norway, from Tibet to Detroit, with many different eras and locations in between. Something for all readers of mystery novels and perhaps new readers of this exciting genre will also become avid fans.

Syndetics book coverThe winter king / Alys Clare.
“On All Saints’ Eve, 1211, Lord Benedict de Vitre of Medley Hall, an obese nobleman suspected of lining his pockets with his sovereign’s money, dies suddenly in the midst of a gluttonous feast. Given his poor health and the absence of obvious signs of death, foul play isn’t suspected, despite the number of people wishing him ill, including his wife, Lady Richenza, who has employed healer Sabin de Gifford to thwart her husband’s desire for an heir. Sabin fears that the medications she secretly supplied to make procreation less likely may have contributed to de Vitre’s death. Evidence of murder soon emerges, and de Vitre isn’t the last to die, giving Sabin and her fellow healer, Meggie d’Acquin, several crimes to solve.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou know who killed me: an Amos Walker novel / Loren D. Estleman.
“The hard-bitten Detroit PI is in rehab, after overdosing on alcohol and Vicodin. The doctor treating Walker gives him a break by not reporting his possession of the pain medication without a prescription. Meanwhile, an old friend asks his help with a murder case in nearby Iroquois Heights: Donald Gates, who maintained the computer that operated the city’s traffic lights, was gunned down in his basement. Lt. Ray Henty, who’s in charge of the corrupt Iroquois Heights PD, has a tough job made harder by the placement of huge billboards featuring Gates’s photo and the legend, “You Know Who Killed Me.” The responses to the ads flood the sheriff’s department tip line with dozens of anonymous calls, which Walker is deputized to look into.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lion’s mouth / Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. But was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge? The death shakes the country to its core. The hunt for her killer is complicated, intense and grueling. Hanne Wilhelmsen must contain the scandal before a private tragedy becomes a public outrage, in what will become the most sensitive case of her career.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSins of the father / Graham Hurley.
“A rich old man, Rupert Moncrieff, is beaten to death in the silence of his West Country waterside mansion, his head hooded and his throat cut. His extended family is still living beneath his roof, each with their own room, their own story, their own ghosts, and their own motives for murder. And in this world of darkness and dysfunction are the artefacts and memories of colonial atrocities that are returning to haunt them all. At the heart of the murder investigation is DS Jimmy Suttle who, along with his estranged journalist wife Lizzie, is fighting his own demons after the abduction and death of their young daughter, Grace. But who killed Rupert Moncrieff? And what secrets is the house holding onto that could unravel this whole investigation?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCut out / Fergus McNeill.
“Nigel never meant for it to happen. At first, he just wanted to be Matt’s friend. But when he discovers he can hear what is going on in the flat below him, his fascination with his new neighbour drifts into obsession. Rearranging his furniture to recreate the layout of the rooms downstairs, buying the same clothes, going through his post, his things he starts becoming Matt without him ever knowing. And it would have been all right, if Matt hadn’t brought the girl home. When things spiral out of control, Detective Inspector Harland has to unravel the disturbing truth. But there’s far more to the case than meets the eye.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoul of the fire / Eliot Pattison.
“Shan Tao Yun the former Beijing government investigator goes to Zhongje, a Tibetan community that the Chinese regard as a “showcase for the motherland.” To Shan’s astonishment, he’s been tapped to serve on the People’s International Commission for Peace and Order, “dedicated to eliminating the criminal acts of self-aggression that undermine harmonious coexistence in ethnic geographies.” Shan, who has served time in labor camps, is to fill the designated slot reserved for a reformed criminal, but on his first day on the commission, he witnesses a self-immolation. His police training causes him to doubt that the death was a suicide, and his refusal to ignore the facts puts him at odds with his superiors, who don’t want the truth derailing their political agenda.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlague land / S.D. Sykes.
” After ten years at the monastery 17-year-old Oswald de Lacy is back home and in no way prepared to be Lord of Somershill. The plague responsible for decimating the countryside has also killed Oswald’s father and two older brothers, leaving him with a neglected estate, an overbearing mother, an unmarried sister, and fearful peasants. Then further tragedy strikes in the form of the shocking death of Alison Starvecrow, which the village priest blames on a demonic dog-headed man. Oswald attempts to take charge and discover the truth behind Alison’s death, but all around him lie secrets. Then another body is found.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA fine summer’s day : an Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery / Charles Todd.
“It was a fine summer’s day in 1914 when life changed for so many people: Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge proposed to his longtime companion, Jean Gordon, Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, and the death of a mother sparked a trail of murders, leading Rutledge across the English countryside in search of the killer. As Rutledge closes in on the solution to the case, rumors of war become a reality, and the inspector must not only deal with the aftermath of his investigation but also face the increasing needs of his betrothed, family, Scotland Yard, and Britain itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder at the Brightwell / Ashley Weaver.
“Set in 1930s England, at a popular upper-crust seaside resort, the story’s heroine and reluctant sleuth, Amory Ames, is at best ambivalent about her marriage to flighty playboy Milo. That is part of the reason she agrees so readily to spend a week at the resort with her former fiance, Gil Trent. Gil’s reason for asking Amory is to enlist her help in untangling his sister from an unsuitable engagement, to Rupert, a man who appears to be very much like Amory’s wayward husband! To the surprise of both Amory and Gil, Milo decides to show up at the resort as well, adding to Amory’s problems for Rupert is dead, and Gil is the main suspect. A second murder adds to the mystery, and Amory finds herself battling for time to solve the murder and decide whether she wants to continue in her marriage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mystery novels for December

This selection of the best new recently received Mysteries range in settings from historical Cuba, England and Australia to modern day Japan, Norway and Berlin. There is something to satisfy every fan of this genre.

Syndetics book coverThe dead pass / Bateman. “Hired to find the missing son of retired political activist Moira Doherty, Dan Starkey knows his new case is going to be challenging. Billy ‘the Bear’ Doherty isn’t an easy man to find – a criminal with a nasty drug habit, his mum is convinced he’s been murdered. But when Moira herself is killed, her body found floating in the waters under Londonderry’s Peace Bridge, Dan finds himself in the middle of a deadly game of cat and mouse.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverHavana sleeping / Martin Davies.
“Havana in the 1850s is a city as dangerous as it is exotic. The murder of a humble night watchman at the British Consulate seems to worry neither the Consul nor the police. But one person cared for the old man. The enigmatic courtesan Leonarda will not rest until she understands the mystery of his death. In wintry England, George Backhouse is plucked from obscurity in the Foreign Office and given an unexpected promotion. His task: to travel to Cuba and take a stand against the illegal slave trade still flourishing there. As the great powers of the region conspire against each other with increasing ruthlessness for control of the island, Backhouse comes to see that the most innocent of actions could spark a devastating war. To protect their interests, the powers-that-be in Whitehall are prepared to turn a blind eye to many things. Leonarda will not but what of George Backhouse?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou / Zoran Drvenkar ; translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside.
“Ragnar Desche, is a ruthless career criminal, who is looking to recover drugs valued at about three million euros. He has already killed his brother, Oskar, who was holding the contraband for him in Berlin-his teenage niece, Taja, eventually implicated in the crime. With the help of her “blood sisters, Stink, Nessi, Schnappi, and Ruth, Taja tries to sell the drugs so she can find her mother in Norway. But what they find instead is Ragnar and his crew, on their tails in a violent and disturbing chase.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe murder of Harriet Krohn / Karin Fossum ; translated by James Anderson.The Murder of Harriet Krohn
“Charlo Torp doesn’t mean to kill anyone. A widower desperate to pay off gambling debts, he intends to enter Harriet Krohn’s house under the pretense of a flower delivery and steal the elderly woman’s valuables. But Harriet resists, Charlo panics, and she ends up bludgeoned to death in her kitchen. This novel focuses on the “why” of the crime, examining Charlo’s guilt and how he justifies his actions to himself, especially after the stolen money helps him repair his relationship with an estranged daughter. Still, he constantly looks over his shoulder, and with good reason-the policeman investigating Harriet’s death, Insp. Konrad Sejer, has never failed to solve a murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA murder unmentioned / Sulari Gentill.
“The black sheep of a wealthy 1930s grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMalice / Keigo Higashino ; translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye Alexander.Malice
“Renowned novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found murdered in his locked study, in his locked home. He is discovered by his wife, Rie, and his closest friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. When Tokyo Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga begins to investigate, he is surprised to see Nonoguchi; they had once been colleagues on the faculty of a middle school. Evidence leads Kaga to charge Nonoguchi with murder, and Nonoguchi freely admits to it. But Kaga’s superiors won’t bring the case to trial without knowing why Nonoguchi murdered his friend, and the accused refuses to explain. Kaga must deduce the motive as well as the killer’s identity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSomeone else’s skin / Sarah Hilary.Someone Else’s Skin
“Det. Insp. Marnie Rome and her partner, Det. Sgt. Noah Jake, visit a rundown women’s shelter in North London, where they plan to get testimony from Ayana Mirza, a domestic abuse survivor. Instead, they stumble on another domestic abuse survivor, Hope Proctor, standing over her bleeding husband, Leo, bloody knife in hand. Rome is no stranger to violence, her foster brother murdered her parents, and the case seems an open and shut example of another possessive, violent husband finally pushing his wife too far. Nagging questions remain, such as how Leo got into what was supposed to be a secure facility, the safety of which is further cast into doubt when Hope vanishes and Ayana’s abuser kidnaps her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe soul of discretion : a Simon Serrailler case / Susan Hill.
“A ring of pedophiles who snatch, abuse, film, and even kill young children is operating out of the English town of Lafferton. But evidence has led to the conviction of only one man, the Honorable Will Fernley, son of a lord, who refuses to implicate others. So Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler goes undercover, acting as pedophile Johnno Miles, to befriend Fernley and ferret out information at the therapeutic community prison to which he’s been transferred. At least psychologically, it’s a dangerous mission, undertaken at a time when Serrailler’s relationship with live-in lover Rachel is in question, his sister Cat is short of funds and facing a career change, and his father makes a dreadful mistake that puts his marriage at risk.” (Adapted from Syndetis summary)

Syndetics book coverThe forgers / Bradford Morrow.The Forgers
“In this novel we are introduced to the “visual art form” of high-end literary forgery: skilled con men who adopt the handwriting and artistic styling’s of famous authors, penning letters and book inscriptions that they sell for handsome profits. The mysterious narrator is a semi-reformed forger himself, and his girlfriend’s brother, a rare book collector named Adam Diehl, has just been murdered in a gruesome manner. The reader enters the murky world of book sellers and buyers and into the mind of a forger for whom falsifying the perfect signature is a thrill and eventually discovers why and who killed Adam Diehl.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLamentation / C.J. Sansom.
“Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry’s successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focuses their attack on Henry’s sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake’s old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr. Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen. For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King’s attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen’s private chamber, it has, inexplicably, vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for November/December

Included in this selection of new Mysteries is the new novel from Jessica Stirling, better known for her historical family novels, but in Whatever happened to Molly Bloom? she is introducing readers to a new Detective Inspector, Jim Kinsella who will feature in other planned mysteries. The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier is highly recommended for nail biting, edge of seat reading.

Syndetics book coverThe burning room : a novel / Michael Connelly.
“In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other clues are virtually nonexistent. Even a veteran cop would find this one tough going, but Bosch’s new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, has no homicide experience. A young star in the department, Soto has been assigned to Bosch so that he can pass on to her his hard-won expertise. Bosch and Soto are tasked with solving a murder that turns out to be highly charged and politically sensitive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bone orchard / Paul Doiron.
“In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Mike Bowditch has left the Maine Warden Service and is working as a fishing guide in the North Woods. But when his mentor Sgt. Kathy Frost is forced to kill a troubled war veteran in an apparent case of “suicide by cop,” he begins having second thoughts about his decision. Now Kathy finds herself the target of a government inquiry and outrage from the dead soldier’s platoon mates. Soon she finds herself in the sights of a sniper, as well. When the sergeant is shot outside her farmhouse, Mike joins the hunt to find the mysterious man responsible.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe butcher / Jennifer Hillier.
“A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise. Settling back into his childhood home, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him. Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe iron sickle / Martin Limón.
“Early one rainy morning, the head of the 8th United States Army Claims Office in Seoul, South Korea, is brutally murdered by a Korean man in a trench coat carrying a small iron sickle hidden in his sleeve. The attack was a complete surprise, carefully planned and clinically executed. How did this unidentified Korean civilian get into the tightly controlled US Army base? And why attack the Claims officer, is there an unsettled grudge, a claim of damages that was rejected by the US Army? Against orders, CID agents Sergeant George Sueno and Ernie Bascom start investigating. As George and Ernie continue their search, they begin to suspect that not everyone wants the case solved.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bone seeker / M. J. McGrath.
“Edie Kiglatuk works as a summer school teacher in the Canadian arctic. When one of her female students is found dead in nearby toxic Lake Turngaluk, Edie enlists the help of Sergeant Derek Palliser to pursue the case, promising the girl’s Inuit family that they will uncover the truth. Lawyer Sonia Gutierrez investigates the toxicity of the lake and suspects that there might be a larger conspiracy involved. As the three clamber over rocky terrain under twenty-four-hour daylight they start to unearth secrets long frozen over, risking their own lives in the process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast kiss / Louise Phillips.
“A dark tale of deception and desire. In a quiet suburb, a woman desperately clings to her sanity as a shadowy presence moves objects around her home. In a hotel room across the city, an art dealer with a dubious sexual past is found butchered, his body arranged to mimic the Hangman card from the Tarot deck. But what connects them? When criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Pearson is brought in to help investigate the murder, she finds herself plunged into a web of sexual power and evil which spreads from Dublin to Paris, and then to Rome.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe house on the hill / Kevin Sampson.
“DCI Billy McCartney has gone to ground, disillusioned with his job. When a runaway turns up on his doorstep, her story plunges Mac back to the summer of 1990, and one of his most traumatic cases. McCartney and his partner DS Millie Baker are in Ibiza. Their objective: to infiltrate the Liverpool-based drug gang responsible for a wave of ecstasy-related deaths. They’re close to their big bust when Millie is abducted by the gang, and killed. McCartney never quite recovers from it. The waif who knocks on Mac’s door twenty-four years later has escaped from those same captors. What she tells McCartney blasts his apathy away, and sends him on a mission that goes far beyond law and order. This is his chance for redemption.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhatever happened to Molly Bloom? / Jessica Stirling.
“Detective Inspector Jim Kinsella is called to the scene when the body of Molly Bloom is found, beaten to death with a teapot. Although her husband, Leopold Bloom, is immediately taken into custody without a convincing alibi, Kinsella begins to have his doubts and suspicion falls upon Molly’s fellow singer and alleged lover, Hugh ‘Blazes’ Boylan. Kinsella is determined to ensure the wrong man doesn’t end up behind bars and, in seeking the truth, stumbles upon more than he bargained for.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOnly the dead / Vidar Sundstøl ; translated by Tiina Nunnally.
“A Norwegian tourist has been found murdered on the shore of Lake Superior exactly where an Ojibwe man may have been killed more than one hundred years earlier. Four months later, the official investigation is supposedly over but still not resolved, and U.S. Forest Service officer Lance Hansen, drawn into the mystery by his grisly discovery of the body, is uncovering clues disturbingly close to home. Hansen finds himself equally haunted by the complex mysteries that continue to unravel around him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesert rage : a Lena Jones Mystery / Betty Webb.
“Ferociously ambitious U.S. Senatorial candidate Juliana Thorsson has a secret. The horrific slaughter of a prominent doctor, his wife, and their ten-year-old son brings Thorsson to Private Investigator Lena Jones. The slain family’s 14-year-old, Alison, and her boyfriend, Kyle, have confessed to the murders. Thorsson wants to hire Lena to discover if Alison is telling the truth, but Lena demands to know why a rising political star wants to involve herself with the fate of a girl she’s never met. Desperate for Lena’s help, Thorsson reveals her explosive secret, that Alison is the candidate’s biological daughter, a fact she’s kept hidden for years. But that’s not all. Thorsson then confides something even more unusual, something that could ruin her political plans forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Mysteries for April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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