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05/13/13

Booklist's Best Crime Fiction Debuts

I find some of my best new mysteries from these lists: The Booklist Year's Best Crime Fiction Debuts

This annual list includes crime fiction reviewed in Booklist since last Year's Best Crime Novels list (essentially from May 2012).

Booklist's Top 10 Crime Fiction Debuts 2013
The mini-reviews are from Booklist

The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg 2013
Suspense. Sophie Brinkman trilogy # 1

Swedish author Soderberg claims the coveted Booklist Mystery Showcase daily double by placing on both our crime fiction top 10 lists. FYI: Stieg Larsson didn’t do that.
Here is the Booklist mini-review:
Superficial similarities to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008) aside, this gripping Scandinavian crime novel, the first in a trilogy, deserves to stand entirely on its own. Sophie Brinkman seems an unassuming nurse and single mother, but after she finds herself in the middle of a Swedish gang war, she steps up and shows her Lisbeth Salander mettle. A fast-paced thriller whose multi-stranded plot holds together as exquisitely as finely wound silk.
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* * *

The Beggar’s Opera by Peggy Blair 2013

Blair’s exciting debut stars Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, the troubled head of Havana’s Major Crimes Unit, who has a hot potato of a case on his hands involving a Canadian policeman suspected of murder. Blair interweaves the stories of cop and suspect beautifully, but she also invests Havana geography (with its decaying buildings and rusted American cars) with new vigor.
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* * *

Black Fridays by Michael Sears 2012

A sad-sack investment broker goes to prison for fiddling the books, then loses his wife, and now finds himself trying to raise his autistic son on his own. Then a job comes along: investigate someone else fiddling books. The writing is fresh and vivid, and the portrait of pension-stealing Wall Street greedheads is harrowing.
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* * *

East of Denver by Gregory Hill 2012

Stacey “Shakespeare” Williams returns to the family farm in eastern Colorado to bury his cat and winds up planning a bank robbery with “a paralyzed asshole, an anorexic fatso, and my prematurely senile father.” A little country noir and a lot of black comedy equal a terrific opening salvo from a very talented writer.
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* * *

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs 2013

Like Alexander Soderberg, Hobbs pulls off the daily double, landing on our overall top 10 and our top 10 crime debuts. Nicely done for the twenty-something Hobbs, who sold his novel to an agent on the day he graduated from college.
Here's the Booklist mini-review:
Jack White is the Ghostman, a pseudonymous loner living far off the grid who specializes in disappearing. After high-level heists, he makes sure that all traces of the capers vanish. Except one time it didn’t work, and the organizer of that job wants Jack dead. First-novelist Hobbs possesses that rare ability for first unleashing and then shrewdly directing a tornado of a plot, but he also evokes Elmore Leonard in the subtle interplay of his characters.

* * *

A Good Death by Christopher R. Cox 2013

PI Sebastian Damon travels to Bangkok to investigate the death of a Laotian refugee who ultimately became vice president of a Boston bank. So begins a story that channels Conrad, Kipling, and Francis Ford Coppola. An insightful, transcendent adventure.
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* * *

The Old Turk’s Load by Gregory Gibson 2013

It’s 1967, and a shipment of the world’s finest heroin goes missing en route to Angelo DiNoto, New Jersey’s top crime boss. Gibson’s elliptical, ever-evolving plot combines Raymond Chandler complexity and Donald E. Westlake comic haplessness into a thoroughly original whole.
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* * *

Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason 2013

Mason hooks the reader with her first sentence, “There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.” Even less when the bodies keep piling up, but their provenance remains murky. An astonishingly accomplished debut.
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* * *

The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair 2012

At first glance, this slim Victorian thriller seems no more than an exposé of British imperialism wrapped in a Kill Bill plot. Soon, though, the reader is drawn into a deeply thought-provoking literary suspense novel that evokes Collins and Dickens.
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* * *

The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter 2012

Former bookseller Winter tells an epic tale in the form of three novels written in the style of three different crime-fiction legends: Simenon, Chandler, and Jim Thompson. What might seem at first like an amusing exercise for mystery buffs becomes by the end immersive, exhilarating, and revelatory.
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## Related MBTB post: Booklist: The Year's Best Crime Novels
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posted by Sharon


WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Coroner
by M.R. Hall

Book # 1 with Jenny Cooper, a small-town lawyer newly appointed as Severn Vale District Coroner, in Gloucestershire, England

Description: When lawyer Jenny Cooper is appointed Severn Vale District Coroner, she's hoping for a quiet life and space to recover from a traumatic divorce, but the office she inherits from the recently deceased Harry Marshall contains neglected files hiding dark secrets and a trail of buried evidence. Could the tragic death in custody of a young boy be linked to the apparent suicide of a teenage prostitute and the fate of Marshall himself? Jenny embarks on a lonely and dangerous one-woman crusade for justice which threatens not only her career but also her sanity.


05/01/13

Booklist: The Year's Best Crime Novels

This is one of my favourite lists: The Booklist Year's Best Crime Novels

This annual list includes crime fiction reviewed in Booklist since last Year's Best Crime Novels list (essentially from May 2012).

Booklist's Top 10 Crime Novels 2013
The mini-reviews are from Booklist

The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg 2013
Suspense. Sophie Brinkman trilogy # 1

Superficial similarities to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008) aside, this gripping Scandinavian crime novel, the first in a trilogy, deserves to stand entirely on its own. Sophie Brinkman seems an unassuming nurse and single mother, but after she finds herself in the middle of a Swedish gang war, she steps up and shows her Lisbeth Salander mettle. A fast-paced thriller whose multi-stranded plot holds together as exquisitely as finely wound silk.

* * *
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The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny 2012
Canadian police procedural. # 8 with Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, in the village of Three Pines, in southern Quebec

Penny’s latest begins when the choir director of a monastery in a remote corner of Quebec is murdered. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir are charged with finding a killer among a group of largely silent monks, whose recording of Gregorian chants has made them famous. Roiling human passion set against the sublime serenity of the chants produces a melody of uncommon complexity and beauty.

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Dare Me by Megan Abbott 2012

Cheerleading noir? In Abbott’s bloodstained hands, why not? When a new coach upends the power structure behind a high-school cheer team, the ousted captain lashes back with stunning ferocity. This is cheerleading as blood sport, Bring It On meets Fight Club — just try putting it down.

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Ghostman by Roger Hobbs 2013

Jack White is the Ghostman, a pseudonymous loner living far off the grid who specializes in disappearing. After high-level heists, he makes sure that all traces of the capers vanish. Except one time it didn’t work, and the organizer of that job wants Jack dead. First-novelist Hobbs possesses that rare ability for first unleashing and then shrewdly directing a tornado of a plot, but he also evokes Elmore Leonard in the subtle interplay of his characters.

* * *

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 2012

When Nick Dunne’s beautiful and clever wife, Amy, goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, the media descend on the Dunnes’ Missouri McMansion with all the fury of a Dateline episode. In the year’s biggest crossover best-seller, Flynn combines a corkscrew of a plot with her own twisted sense of humor. A compelling thriller and a searing portrait of a marriage.

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Live by Night by Dennis Lehane 2012

Lehane’s latest historical thriller continues the author’s propulsive narrative train ride across twentieth-century American history. This time the train stops during Prohibition, and the individual focus is on Joe Coughlin, a Boston cop’s son by birth but a gangster by choice. A magnetic re-imagining of the great themes of popular fiction—crime, family, passion, betrayal—set against an exquisitely rendered historical backdrop.

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The Rage by Gene Kerrigan 2013

If you like hard-boiled Irish thrillers in the Ken Bruen mold, and you don’t know about Kerrigan, you’re at least two Guinnesses behind. This tense, thoughtful thriller about an armored-car robbery gets into the heads of both the robber and the Dublin copper who tracks him. Start the word-of-mouth going: Kerrigan is the real deal.

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Shatter the Bones by Stuart MacBride 2012
British police procedural. Book # 7 with Logan McRae, a detective sergeant in Aberdeen, Scotland

MacBride’s seventh Logan McRae novel, starring the Aberdeen, Scotland, police detective, may be the most harrowing yet—and that’s saying something. The crimes (two kidnappings) are breathtakingly awful, the pacing is breakneck, and the stakes are higher than ever. There’s little comfort in the bleak ending, but still: Brilliant. Bloody. Brilliant.

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Suspect by Robert Crais 2012

Two PTSD sufferers — Scott, an LAPD cop, and Maggie, a German shepherd veteran of the Iraq War—bond during tryouts for the department’s K-9 unit and soon join forces to solve a murder. Who would have thought that the most multifaceted and appealing new protagonist in crime fiction this year would be a hard-boiled dog?

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What Comes Next by John Katzenbach 2012

An abducted teenager. A perverted villain (or villains). A chase to save the victim. These are not unfamiliar ingredients in crime fiction, but Katzenbach reinvents the formula several times over in this absolutely gripping novel. Combining the intricacy of psychological fiction with the pulse-pounding narrative of plot-driven suspense, this is certainly among the most original thrillers of the year.

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Watch for upcoming post Booklist Top Crime Fiction Debuts, coming soon.

posted by Sharon


WHAT I'M READING NOW:
Scratch Deeper
by Chris Simms

British police procedural

Book # 1 with Iona Khan, a feisty detective constable in the Counter Terrorism Unit, in Manchester, England

Description: Detective Constable Iona Khan investigates when a Sri Lankan student begins asking suspicious questions about Manchester's tunnel system prior to the start of the Labour Party conference.


04/28/13

Arthur Ellis finalists announced: Best Crime Novel Nominees

The Arthur Ellis Awards celebrate excellence in Canadian crime writing.
These awards are organized by the Crime Writers of Canada

The Nominees for the Best Crime Novel:


Giles Blunt: Until the Night WINNER
Book # 6 with John Cardinal, a police detective near Algonquin Bay, Ontario
Summary: Detectives John Cardinal and Lise Delorme investigate the murders of a man found in a hotel parking lot and a senator's wife found frozen in the ruins of a hotel in the woods.


Linwood Barclay: Trust Your Eyes
Summary: A schizophrenic, map-obsessed, shut-in who tours the world using a computer program witnesses what he believes to be a murder in downtown New York City and enlists his caretaker brother in an effort to investigate.


Sean Chercover: The Trinity Game
Summary: Vatican investigator Daniel Byrne is sent to America to look into the predictions of Reverend Tim Trinity, a sleazy televangelist and admitted con man who has suddenly been gifted with the real ability to see the future. His newfound ability has drawn a lot of attention--the mob wants him dead, the Vatican wants him discredited, and people worldwide want to know if he's for real--and Byrne must work quickly to uncover his secrets if he hopes to save his life.


Stephen Miller: The Messenger
Summary: Daria is recruited from a refugee camp and sent by terrorists to New York on a mission to infect as many people as possible with smallpox.
Seeking redemption after being falsely accused and disgraced in the anthrax inquiries after 9/11, Dr. Sam Watterman is recruited by the FBI to locate this bio-terrorist threat.


Carsten Stroud: Niceville
Summary: When a young boy literally disappears before security cameras while walking home from school, an ensuing search is conducted by ex-Special Forces veteran Nick Kavanaugh, who with his lawyer wife encounters an ancient malevolent power linked to a deep crater.

The winner was announced May 30.

Watch for an upcoming post: Arthur Ellis Best First Crime Novel nominees

posted by Sharon


WHAT I'M READING NOW:
Cold Grave
by Kathryn Fox

Forensics/Investigator

Book # 6 with Dr. Anya Crichton, a forensic pathologist in Sydney, Australia

Summary: A family-friendly, floating palace. But, as Anya Crichton soon discovers, cruise ships aren't all that they seem...
So when a teenage girl is discovered, dead on the deck of the ship that she is holidaying on, Anya feels compelled to get involved. There's no apparent cause of death, but Anya's forensics expertise uncovers more than the ship's doctors can... or want to.


04/19/13

Jason Webster: Or the Bull Kills You (2011) ***

Or the Bull Kills You
By Jason Webster

"Either you kill the bull, or the bull kills you." Chief Inspector Max Cámara thinks in proverbs,and he hates one thing above all: bullfighting. One hot afternoon in Valencia, however, he has to stand in for his boss, judging a festival corrida starring Spain’s most famous young matador. That night, he is back in the bullring, and what he finds on the blood-stained sand shocks the city of Valencia to its core. Cámara is roped into investigating a grisly murder while dealing with violent shadows from his own past, as well as confronting the suspiciousness of the bullfighting community and the stonewalling of local politicians in full electoral campaign. To top it all, Fallas, the loudest fiesta in the country, has just got underway. For Cámara, it seems his problems have only just begun... (Book Description)

I really enjoy reading mysteries set abroad because the author tends to bring so much of the local flair and culture, both the good and the bad. I have never been to Spain and all I knew about bullfighting was what I learned from cartoons as a child (i.e.: angry snorting bull, red flag), so Mr. Webster had a big task ahead of him when I picked up this book. He did a fantastic job at explaining the history of bullfighting and the significance it has to the local culture. But the thing I really appreciated was that Webster showed both sides of the issue, the benefits bullfighting for the local economy and spirit (the aficionados), the political aspects of the historical event (both the corrupt and the not-so corrupt), and the environmentalists who are staunchly against the killing of innocent animals. I learned a lot.

That being said, the actual mystery aspect of the book was just so-so, the strength of this novel really was in the rich history and culture of bullfighting. The second book in the series A Death in Valencia is coming out soon.

Posted by Shiela


04/09/13

Mystery Memo # 116 featuring amateur sleuths

The Mystery Memo is a log of all of my mystery reading, with brief comments and a star rating for each book read. It is published every 4 to 6 weeks.

This Mystery Memo has one perfect read: Sara J. Henry's Learning to Swim, described below.

The following selections from my Mystery Memo # 116 features crime solvers who are not paid investigators like private eyes or police officers of any kind. They include journalists (Jan Burke's Irene Kelly, Julie Kramer's Riley Spartz), workers in forensics (Kathryn Fox's pathologist Dr. Anya Crichton, Ellie Griffith's forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway) and just plain amateur sleuths (Charles Todd's new series with World War I nurse, Bess Crawford and Sara Henry's young protagonist Troy Chance who sees a child fall off a ferry)

Click here to download the entire Mystery Memo # 116 and see all 16 mysteries.


Jan Burke: Disturbance (2011) ****
Journalist/investigator
Book # 11 with reporter Irene Kelly in southern California
The serial killer in Bones (# 7 in series) has recovered from a serious injury and escapes from prison, determined to take vengeance against Irene. Half way through the book, he kidnaps her with the help of several of his sons. This was a fine action/adventure mystery, but it would be best to read at least Bones before this one.
First book: Goodnight, Irene
*

Kathryn Fox: Death Mask (2011) *** ½
Forensics.
Book # 4 with freelance pathologist and forensic physician Dr. Anya Crichton.

Anya has been invited to give workshops to professional football players about sexual behaviour. After several young football players with a connection to the same high school end up dead, she helps investigate. A complex plot but with less forensics than the others in the series.
First book: Malicious Intent

*

Elly Griffiths: The House at Sea’s End (2011) ****
Amateur detective/British police procedural.
Book # 3 with Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist.

Several bodies found in a seaside cave turn out to be German soldiers from WW2. A German researcher comes to town claiming he knows who they are but then he is murdered. Someone is determined to keep the secret of who killed these men, but Ruth and her sometime lover DCI Nelson are on the trail. This series is strongly character-driven with good archaeology content.
First book: The Crossing Places
*

Sara J. Henry: Learning to Swim (2011) *****
Amateur sleuth
Book # 1 with Troy Chance, a young woman who works in Lake Placid, NY.

While on a ferry trip across the lake, Troy thinks she sees a child fall from a passing ferry. Without thinking, she jumps in and yes, a 6-year-old boy has been tied into a sweatshirt and is underwater. She rescues him and heroically swims to shore. The pace hardly slows down after she traces the boy’s father to Ottawa and accompanies the child back home. Troy is determined to get to the bottom of who threw the child in the water. Enthralling writing style, a good balanced character in Troy and an interesting narrative voice. A great read.
*

Julie Kramer: Silencing Sam (2010) *** ½
Journalist.
Book # 3 with television journalist Riley Spartz

Riley is the main suspect in the murder of a local gossip columnist. While trying to prove her innocence, she also tackles stories at a wind farm troubled by bombs. I find Riley’s point of view interesting.
First book: Stalking Susan
*
*

Charles Todd: An Impartial Witness (2010) *** ½
Historical/Amateur sleuth.
Book # 2 with war nurse Bess Crawford, set in England during WW1.

After Bess travels to England with a seriously injured pilot who constantly carries a photograph of his beloved wife, she sees the woman from the photo having an emotional scene with another man at the train station. When the woman is soon found murdered, Bess comes forward to the police with her information and gets involved looking into the woman’s life.
First book: A Duty to the Dead

posted by Sharon


WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Devil's Dust
by C.B. Forrest

Canadian police procedural/investigator

Book # 3 with Charlie McKelvey, a 30-year veteran Toronto police detective, newly retired.

Description: Retired Toronto detective Charlie McKelvey runs from a cancer diagnosis and the violent memories of the big city and retreats to his hometown. A small declining mining centre in northern Ontario, Ste. Bernadette offers McKelvey a chance to resolve old family issues, including his fathers involvement in a deadly wildcat strike in the late 1950s.
When the local police force enlists his help in tracing an upswing in youth violence and vandalism, McKelvey stumbles into the hornets nest of a crystal meth industry....
First book: The Weight of Stones


04/03/13

Sam Thomas: The Midwife's Tale ****


Sam Thomas: The Midwife’s Tale (2012) ****

MBTB mini-review: I love an unusual point of view. Following midwife Bridget Hodgson through the dangerous streets of 1644 York brings that time period alive.

Here's what Booklist had to say: It is 1644, and civil war has erupted in York, England. The Parliament’s armies have revolted against the king and laid siege to the city, but midwife Bridget Hodgson still has babies to deliver. She soon finds an even bigger problem. Her friend Esther Cooper has been convicted of murdering her husband. She will burn at the stake if the real killer is not found. Bridget and her servant, Martha Hawkins, set out to save Esther. Martha has street smarts and excellent knife skills. The two women begin investigating while keeping clear of the rebel artillery and confronting an evil figure from Martha’s past. They find that Esther’s husband, an ostentatious Puritan, had a very sinister secret life. Moving from the dank alleys of the poor neighborhoods to the mansions of the rich, Bridget and Esther capture a brutal killer and find that traitors are often tyrants. The author is a historian, and his period detail creates a vivid atmosphere. The strong female characters and action-packed plot will please historical-mystery readers.

This is suggested for fans of Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death series and C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series

## Related posts:
MBTB profile of Ariana Franklin
MBTB review of C.J. Sansom's Sovereign # 3
posted by Sharon


WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Sound of Broken Glass
by Deborah Crombie

British police procedural

Book # 15 with Duncan Kincaid, a Scotland Yard superintendent, and Gemma James, a sergeant, in London, England

Summary: While investigating the murder of a well-respected barrister who was found dead at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace, Detective Inspector Gemma James and her partner, Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot, begin to question everything they think they know about their world and those they trust most.


03/25/13

Diamond Dagger Award for Lee Child

Lee Child recently received the the Diamond Dagger Achievement Award. See the article in The Guardian.

This award is given by the Crime Writers' Association for a Lifetime's Achievement.

Here's the series listed in order on Stop, You're Killing Me! with Jack Reacher, ex-military policeman in the USA:
First book: Killing Floor

The most recent: A Wanted Man # 17
Book description: Nebraska - and Jack Reacher, huge, hulking and with a freshly busted nose, is still trying to hitch a ride east to Virginia. He's picked up by three strangers - two men and a woman.
Immediately he knows they're all lying about something - and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway. But they get through. Because the three are innocent? Or because the three are now four?
Is Reacher a decoy?

## Related posts:
MBTB review of Bad Luck and Trouble # 11

MBTB review of 61 Hours # 14


03/12/13

An Irish mystery: The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty *****


With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching, it was just coincidence that I picked up Adrian McKinty's The Cold Cold Ground, a 5-star read for me.

This is Book # 1 with Sean Duffy, a detective sergeant in 1980s Northern Ireland, in the Troubles Trilogy.

MBTB mini-review: I enjoyed the young protagonist’s wry sense of humour in a terrible violent time. The case: the discovery of a murdered man with his hand cut off and a different man’s hand left with the body is the beginning of a complex murder investigation. McKinty's description of the time (1981) and the place (Belfast and area) was excellent.

Here's what the Guardian review had to say:
There's food for thought in McKinty's writing, but he is careful not to lose the force of his narrative in introspection. The Cold Cold Ground is a crime novel, fast-paced, intricate and genre to the core. The violence is extreme and the sex is gritty. Duffy's three murder cases are isolated on the surface, but in the dark world of dirty wars, the dead are seldom unconnected, and rarely innocent as they beckon to us from the cold, cold earth...... Read the entire Guardian review here.

Other series set in Ireland that I have liked:
Ken Bruen's series with Jack Taylor, dismissed from the Garda Síochána (Irish police) for drinking, now finding things for people in Galway, Ireland, since “private eye” sounds too much like “informer” to the Irish.
First book: The Guards


Tana French's loosely connected series with police detectives on the murder squad in Dublin, Ireland.
First book: In the Woods

## Related posts:
MBTB mini-review of The Likeness # 2 in the Dublin Murder squad series

MBTB mini-review of Broken Harbor # 4 in the Dublin Murder squad series

Want more? Here's a list in the library online catalogue generated using the key words "mystery stories Ireland"

posted by Sharon


WHAT I'M READING NOW:
Whispering Death
by Garry Disher

British police procedural

Book # 6 with Hal Challis, a Detective Inspector on the Peninsula south-east of Melbourne, Australia

Summary: Hal Challis is in trouble at home and abroad: dressed down by the boss for speaking out about police budget cuts; missing his lover, Ellen Destry, who is overseas on a study tour. But there's plenty to keep his mind off his problems. A rapist in a police uniform stalks Challis's Peninsula beat, there is a serial armed robber headed in his direction and a home invasion that's a little too close to home. Not to mention a very clever, very mysterious female cat burglar who may or may not be planning something on Challis's patch.


03/06/13

Jefferson Bass: The Inquisitor’s Key ****


The Inquisitor’s Key
By Jefferson Bass
****

# 7 with Dr. Bill Brockton, a forensic anthropologist in Tennessee, in the Body Farm series

MBTB review:
Bill Brockton and Miranda Lovelady are called to Avignon, France to identify a set of mysterious bones found in a hidden chamber in the Palace of the Popes. Although the stone inscription hints that the bones might be those of Jesus, the two anthropologists remain skeptical while they attempt to identify the remains. When an attempt on their own lives is made, the pair realize things are not quite as they seem and the pressure is on to uncover the mystery of the two thousand year old bones.

This installation is completely different from the rest of the series and would fall more comfortably in the “archaeological thriller/mystery” category. Bass flips back and forth between the mystery of today’s discovery of the bones, and a medieval account of what happened. The forensic detail that we are so accustomed to is paired down and the history, archaeology and politics of the time are brought into limelight which was a nice change for me. As usual, Bass’ plot was action packed and we delved into Brockton’s love life a bit more than usual. Overall, a real page turner.

First book: Carved in Bone

## Related posts:

Spotlight on Jefferson Bass and the Body Farm novels posted in November 2009

MBTB full review of The Bone Thief # 5

MBTB full review of The Bone Yard # 6

posted by Shiela


02/28/13

Homicide in Hawaii

Aloha fellow readers, I'm off to sunny Hawaii and I thought I would share some of the titles I will be taking with me on vacation.

Primitive Secrets (2002)
By Deborah Turrell Atkinson

Book # 1 in the Storm Kayama series

An exciting new voice richly and suspensefully evokes modern and ancient Hawaii...

When Storm Kayama walks into her lucrative Honolulu law firm one morning, she's shocked--and grieved--to find her adopted uncle at his desk, stiff and cold. Years before, Miles Hamasaki had fulfilled a promise to Storm's father and brought her to be raised with his own family. But, as questions surround Miles' death and her adopted family begins to close ranks, Storm suspects that he has been murdered.
Heading to the Big Island for a weekend escape from escalating pressures, she narrowly escapes a terrible accident. Storm takes refuge in the home of her Aunt Maile, a traditional Hawaiian healer, and Uncle Keone, a paniolo on the huge Parker Ranch. There she encounters a legend from her youth and a family totem, or 'aumakua, which Aunt Maile promises will protect her. As Storm struggles to heal her own childhood wounds and bring justice to Hamasaki's killer, she also comes to grip with the rifts in her own life and culture. (Book Description)

The Green Room (2005)
by Deborah Turrell Atkinson


Book # 2 in the Strom Kayama series

Storm Kayama needs to build her clientele, so when surf promoter Marty Barstow's wife Stephanie walks into her new law office, Storm agrees to represent her, despite her distaste for a bitter divorce situation.
When Stephanie's son Ben, a promising surfer, invites her to O'ahu's North Shore for a contest, Storm jumps at the chance. Not only will it be a thrill to observe the meet, but Storm will also have the opportunity to watch a distant cousin compete. Nahoa Pi'ilani has grown from a mischievous kid to a surfer of international renown, and he seems to have put the trouble that once brewed between their families behind him.
Then a child delivers a package to Nahoa containing an ancient Hawaiian weapona wooden club encircled with shark's teeth. Storm recognizes the lei o mano. It's a threat, a call to battle.
Events soon suck her into a vortex of escalating peril. As if she were in the green roomthe underwater space where tons of churning water can imprison a surferStorm is buffeted and disoriented by local legend, greed, and cutthroat competition and must confront not only a vicious killer but a haunting incident from her past. (Book Description)

Hula Done It? (2005)
By Maddy Hunter

Book # 4 in the Passport to Peril series

For travel escort Emily Andrew and her fellow Iowans, aloha means "hello" to all the sun, surf, and scrumptious cuisine their Hawaiian cruise has to offer. But for Professor Dorian Smoker, a renowned expert on the legendary Captain Cook, aloha also means "good-bye" -- as in "man overboard."

Sure, it could have been an accident. But Emily wonders if some guest with a grudge might have knocked off the opinionated professor. Or maybe it had something to do with that missing journal Nana's friend lent him -- the one with the mysterious treasure map. Emily figures the map is probably a fake. But when another copy turns up, she and her friends take off, rafting down rivers and plunging through jungles to find the treasure themselves. Unfortunately, Professor Smoker's killer just might have the same idea. And this tropical heat wave could quickly turn into a crime wave... (Book Description)

The Flaming Luau of Death (2005)
By Jerrilyn Farmer

Book # 7 in the Madeline Bean Culinary Mystery series

When Holly Nichols sets her wedding date, trendy L.A. party-planner Madeline Bean decides to throw her top assistant the hippest and most lavish bridal shower on the planet. The guests embark on a “destination” party to a fabulous and exclusive spa/resort in Hawaii. The salt-rubs! The paraffin pedicures! The dead body in the mud bath! Ew. It doesn’t help matters when Holly confesses to Maddie that she can’t really go through with the upcoming wedding after all. In her effort to smooth the matrimonial path for her dear friend, Madeline must track down the mystery man Holly may have married ten years earlier and never actually got around to divorcing. How hard can that be? Well, with the elusive gentleman in question running from a gang of rare vegetable smugglers, the bridal shower guests imbibing in one “Bridesmaid Mojito” too many, the current fiancé developing an allergy to scandal, and a murderer on the loose, it looks like anything but clear sailing down the aisle for one of Mad Bean’s best employees. (Book Description)

Right from the Gecko (2007)
By Cynthia Baxter

Book # 5 in the Reigning Cats and Dogs series

Surf’s up . . . and so are the stakes when veterinarian and amateur sleuth Jessica Popper escapes to the land of hula, hibiscus, and geckos for a professional conference. The last time she and boyfriend Nick Burby touched down on the island of Hawaii, Nick caused a volcanic eruption when he unexpectedly popped The Question to commitment-phobic Jess. But this trip proves just as dangerous when Jess befriends an ambitious young reporter whose body later washes up on the sand . . . and someone thinks Jess holds the clue to the killer’s motive.

There’s no end of suspects among the exotic flora and fauna, from the victim’s journalistic rivals and a mystery boyfriend to an eccentric beachcomber and a governor’s aide with ties to a controversial biotech firm bringing progress to paradise. One of them is a killer with the chameleon-like ability to stay hidden—and if Jessica doesn’t uncover hula-dunnit in time, she’ll be saying aloha . . . permanently. (Book Description)

## Related post: Hawaii Mysteries (posted in 2010 - includes MBTB mini-reviews)

Happy Reading!!


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