Archives for: March 2012
Free public lecture - Gail Bowen: “A Sense of Place – Joanne Kilbourn’s Regina”
Gail Bowen will be giving a free public lecture
"A Sense of Place - Joanne Kilbourn's Regina"
This is the Dr. Barbara Powell lecture, presented by the Humanities Institute.
Date: Wednesday April 4, 2012
Place: Riffel Auditorium at Campion College, University of Regina
Free admission and free parking in lot 3M.
Reception and book signing to follow.
Gail Bowen is the author of a popular mystery series with Regina-based political science professor Joanne Kilbourne.
The 13th book in the series, Kaleidoscope, will published in April, 2012.
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
Poison, Your Grace
by Peg Herring
Historical, set in London, England in 1552
Book # 2 with the young Princess Elizabeth and her friend Simon, a commoner who is now an apothecary's apprentice
Here's what Library Journal has to say: Apothecary apprentice Simon Maldon returns in this dynamic sequel to Her Highness' First Murder when a nobleman is poisoned within London's Whitehall Palace. Elizabeth Tudor contacts Simon because she's afraid her brother, the ill King Edward, might have been the target. Soon, Hannah, Simon's fiancée, is working undercover in the palace, and she and the princess devise how to coordinate their sleuthing with Simon while he works with other trusted officials to ferret out the truth. Further poisonings and "accidents" increase the urgency as Elizabeth realizes she is being set up to take the fall. Can these three figure out who stands to gain the most in this closed-room drama?
VERDICT Herring weaves a nifty tale of cunning and danger. Think of this series as a must-read prequel to other excellent mysteries featuring Queen Elizabeth I, such as those by Karen Harper. Featuring detailed settings, ample wit, and a fast pace, this historical shines.
First book: Her Highness' First Murder: a Simon & Elizabeth mystery
Mystery Memo # 111
Until I get more caught up with publishing my Mystery Memos on the MBTB blog, I'll be giving you some highlights from each one (down below) and making the entire Mystery Memo available to Download here
This Mystery Memo has 4 Perfect Reads:
Giles Blunt: Crime Machine (2010)
Emma Donoghue: Room (2010)
Sara Paretsky: Body Work (2010)
Karin Slaughter: Beyond Reach (2007)
* * *
Giles Blunt: Crime Machine (2010) **** ½
Canadian police procedural
Book # 5 with John Cardinal, in the fictional northern Ontario town of Algonquin Bay.
The case: the horrific murder of two visitors in town for the annual fur auction. John finds an link from this case to a 30-year-old cold case – a family that disappeared from their cottage.
First book: Forty Words for Sorrow
* * *
Vicki Delany: Negative Image (2010) ****
Canadian police procedural.
Book # 4 with Molly Smith, a young constable, and John Winters, a senior detective, in fictional Trafalar B.C.
A fashion photographer is found shot to death in a hotel room. There is evidence that John Winter’s wife was one of the last people to see him.
A good mix of the personal and the police procedural.
First book: In the Shadow of the Glacier MBTB review
## Related post:
MBTB review of Among the Departed # 5
* * *
Emma Donoghue: Room (2010) *****
This isn’t strictly a mystery, but an “inside the crime” novel. It is narrated by five-year-old Jack, who has been born to a woman kidnapped and held in captivity for years. The young woman, “Ma”, does her best to keep them in good health and plans constantly to escape. The first half of the book takes place while they are still in captivity, but the second half, after Jack helps them escape, is even more riveting as they cope with the “real” world.
* * *
Sara Paretsky: Body Work (2010) **** ½
Book # 15 with V.I. Warshawski, former lawyer, now private investigator in Chicago.
The family of a troubled Iraq war vet hires V.I. to help prove he didn’t kill a woman, although he was found unconscious with the murder weapon in his hand.
This series always impresses me, wonderfully complex.
First book: Indemnity Only
## Related post: MBTB review of Hardball # 14
* * *
Karin Slaughter: Beyond Reach (2007) **** ½
Police procedural / forensics.
Book # 6 in the Grant County series with Sara Linton, pediatrician and medical examiner, and her husband Jeffrey, the police chief of a small town in Georgia.
Beyond Reach circles around troubled police officer Lena Adams, who has returned to her hometown to check up on her Uncle Hank. Lena ends up in deep trouble, under arrest for murder. Sara and Jeffrey go to help her out and get caught up in the mess. This series fulfills my requirement for fast-paced, highly readable writing, a nicely complex plot, with enough personal detail from book to book to keep me wanting more.
First book: Blindsighted
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Invisible Ones
by Stef Penney
British private investigator
Booklist review: Private investigator Ray Lovell wakes up in the hospital after an accident, and he slowly remembers the events that brought him there. Lovell, who is half Romany, is hired by Leon Wood to find his daughter, Rose, whom he hasn’t heard from since her arranged marriage to Ivo Janko seven years ago. The story is seamlessly told by Ray in the hospital, Ray before his accident, and teen JJ Janko. The Janko family insists Rose ran away with a gorjio (non-Romany) after her son was born afflicted with the family illness, but Ray begins to doubt that Rose is still alive. If she is dead, which of the extended Janko family killed her? Ray solves the crime while he slowly recovers, comes to terms with the break-up of his marriage, and begins a new relationship with a member of the Janko family. The interesting life of gypsies in 1980s England frames a story with plot twists and interesting characters, but the resolution is rather a letdown.
Chelsea Cain: The Night Season (2011) ***
The Night Season
By Chelsea Cain
Here's what the Publisher's Weekly review had to say:
When a body turns up at an amusement park, Archie thinks it's just another drowning, until the coroner finds a puncture wound. The case becomes a murder investigation when similar marks are found on other recent victims thought to have succumbed to the Willamette's rising waters. Meanwhile, reporter Susan Ward is writing a piece on a skeleton uncovered at the site of what was once Vanport, a town destroyed by a flood in 1948. She tags along with Archie's team as they try to pinpoint not only the killer's motive but also his bizarre toxin. (Abridged review taken from Publisher’s Weekly)
MBTB review: This fourth installment of the Archie Sheridan files comes to us without the infamous killer, Gretchen Lowell who he spent the past three books chasing. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure how I would react to this book without her diabolical means thwarting and tormenting Archie at every turn. She was a villain like no other and her effect on Archie made the first three books stand out from the plethora of other thrillers on the market. But Cain did not completely disappoint.
Although The Night Season can be downgraded from a truly creepy psychological thriller to a mere police procedural, it was very atmospheric and entertaining nonetheless. The horror and gore was significantly pared down, while the investigation methods and procedures took the limelight as the killer used an unusual weapon to carry out his dastardly mission. I commend Cain for the length and pacing of the novel and the moments of dire peril she puts some of the regular characters through.
That being said, my biggest complaint (and the main reason why I did not give this a higher star rating) was because the killer was so abysmally underdeveloped. After being extensively treated into the mind and motivations of Gretchen, the reader was not even privy as to why this killer even bothered to kidnap the little boy let alone use his particular murder weapon. The motive was weak and not explained very well at all.
If this was my first Chelsea Cain book, it would have been rated much higher, but after the first two books in this series, I know what she is capable of writing and this wasn’t it. All in all, not as enjoyable as the first three but still worth the read.
For more chills and thrills by Cain, start at the beginning of the series...
Heartsick (2007) MBTB review
Sweetheart (2008) MBTB review
Evil at Heart (2009) MBTB review
The Night Season (2011)
Posted by Shiela
2012 Edgar Nominees
The Edgar Awards will be presented by the Mystery Writers of America on April 26, 2012.
Check out the website TheEdgars.com for the complete list of nominees in all categories (e.g. best nonfiction crime, best young adult).
Winners are indicated by *
Here are the nominees for
The Ranger by Ace Atkins
# 1 with Quinn Colson, an army ranger returning home from Afghanistan, in rural northeast Mississippi
* Gone by Mo Hayder
# 5 with Jack Caffery, a troubled police detective, and police diver Sergeant Flea Marley in the West Country, England
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
A clever mathematics teacher orchestrates a cover-up after a confrontation between a violent man and his terror-stricken ex-wife results in the man's accidental death.
1222 by Anne Holt
# 8 with Hanne Wilhelmsen, a lesbian police officer in Oslo, Norway. In this book, she is in a wheelchair, having been wounded in the line of duty. She is no longer a police officer.
## Related post: MBTB mini-review of 1222
Field Gray by Philip Kerr
# 7 with Bernie Gunther, a German private eye who hates the Nazis, in Berlin, Germany, 1936-1947, and later in Argentina, Cuba, and elsewhere
* * *
Best First Novel
Red on Red by Edward Conlon
Follows an unlikely partnership between two NYPD detectives, including one who is drawn to cases of rough urban combat and another who is compelled by suicide, missing persons, and supernatural cases.
Last to Fold by David Duffy
# 1 with Turbo Vlost, an ex-KGB operative, now a private investigator in New York City
All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen
# 1 with Henri Poincaré, a veteran Interpol agent
* Bent Road by Lori Roy
Celia Scott and her family move back to her husband's hometown in Kansas, where his sister died under mysterious circumstances twenty years before, and where Celia and two of her children struggle to adjust--especially when a local girl disappears.
Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder
# 1 with Conway Sax, a no-nonsense auto mechanic with a knack for solving difficult problems, around Framingham, Massachusetts
Best Paperback Original
* The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett
After eleven union men are found dead in a trolley car in 1919, a man named Hayes must discover the truth behind the murders--and behind the McNaughton Corporation and the Evesden, the company town it built--before he meets a grim end.
The Faces of Angels by Lucretia Grindle
A sweltering day in Florence, and newly-wed Mary Warren breaks away from her tour group in the Boboli Gardens to wander into a shady tunnel of trees. But the tranquil setting conceals a complex maze and a masked killer: within minutes Mary is severely attacked and her husband brutally murdered. A year later, and the murderer is still at large.
The Dog Sox by Russell Hill
Follows the adventures of Ray Adams and his girlfriend Ava after Ray buys her a semi-professional baseball team in Knights Landing, California, for her birthday and renames it the Dog Sox.
Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley
# 3 with David Bengu, a large assistant police superintendent known as “Kubu” (hippopotamus), in Botswana
Vienna Twilight by Frank Tallis
# 5 with Max Liebermann, a psychoanalytic detective in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna, Austria
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Fifth Victim
by Zoë Sharp
Book # 9 with Charlotte “Charlie” Fox, a self-defense expert
Description: Charlie Fox is hired as a bodyguard for the daughter of a rich businesswoman whose circle of friends are increasingly the target of kidnappings while also seeking vengeance against the man who put her partner in a coma.
First book: Killer Instinct
My International Women's Day selection: 1222 by Anne Holt
1222 : a Hanne Wilhelmsen novel by Anne Holt
Finalist 2012 Edgar Award for Best Mystery
Book # 8 with Hanne Wilhelmsen, a lesbian police officer in Oslo, Norway
Here's what the Booklist review had to say:
/* Starred Review */ Since a shooting left her paralyzed, Hanne Wilhelmsen has lived a quiet life. She enjoys the solitude and rarely misses her former career as a police inspector, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost the skills that made her one of the best detectives on the force.
Scandinavian author Holt kicks off a new series with a skillful riff on Christie's And Then There Were None that begins with a train wreck in the midst of a ferocious blizzard. Stuck near the top of a pass, at 1222 meters, the stranded passengers gather in a nearby lodge and rejoice over their timely rescue. But the mood darkens after the first body is found. With wheelchair access limited in the old-fashioned lodge, Hanne — one of the passengers — spends her time in the lobby, observing fellow passengers and only reluctantly becoming involved in speculation about a killer. Soon she’s hooked, though, and in her own cantankerous way, she directs the staff and the few passengers she considers trustworthy to hunt down a culprit before anyone else falls victim to either the storm or the killer.
Holt creatively combines the classic detective story and the Scandinavian thriller in a compelling way that should immediately pull in fans of both genres and keep them turning pages even as they shiver from the atmospheric descriptions of wind, cold, and snow. A must for all mystery fans.
MBTB mini-review: I'm still in the middle of this, but I'm enjoying it a lot. The previous books are not widely available, but I'm having no trouble reading 1222 as a "first", as it's being promoted in North America.
UPDATE: Watch for Blind Goddess, # 1 in series, coming in June 2012
## Related post for International Women's Day: Mysteries By and About Women
posted by Sharon
PW’s Top 10 Mysteries and Thrillers 2011
The Killer is Dying
In this novel of suspense set in Phoenix, Arizona, Sallis explores the thoughts and motives of three very difference characters, including a dying gun for hire.
Spero Lucas, a 29 year old Iraq war vet, does special investigations for a Washington, D.C defense attorney in this remarkable first in a new crime series.
A violent storm strans PI Cork O’Connor and his grown daughter, Jenny, on a remote island in Minnesota’s Northwest Angle, where they discover the dead body of a teenage girl and her barely alive infant son.
The inadvertent discovery of a bundle of frozen body parts leads FBI agent Scott Houston to Agency 32/1, a nonprofit missing person identification resource center, in Koff’s forensic thriller debut.
Irish author, Colfer, best known for his middle-grade Artemis Fowl series, makes his much anticipated crime novel debut with this pitch-perfect comic noir.
The House of Silk
Authorized by the Conan Doyle estate, this new Sherlock Holmes novel captures the authentic Watsonian voice. Contains some disturbing content.
When Lemmer, a freelance South African bodyguard, agrees to help a wealthy farmer smuggle two rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe, he soon finds himself in big trouble.
Tom Rob Smith
Set in 1965, Smith’s third novel takes Leo Demidov, a former Soviet secret police agent, to the United States to investigate a crime against a member of his family.
The crash of a German airplane on a glacier in Iceland in the waning days of WWII has series present day repercussions in this thriller, a departure for crime author Indridson.
The Boy in the Suitcase
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis
After Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, discovers a three-year old boy inside a suitcase, she begins a dangerous quest to find out who his is and to whom he belongs.
Posted by Shiela
This list is from Publisher's Weekly online article: Fall 2011 Announcements
Also check PW Top Mysteries for 2011