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  • Jeff Somers 4:50 pm on 2018/12/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , louise penny, , , mystery gift guide, ,   

    12 Must-Have Titles for the Mystery Fan on Your Shopping List 


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    Giving books as gifts can be tricky; you want to ensure you get the bibliophiles on your list books they’ll appreciate and love, while avoiding books they’ve already read. The good news is there are so many strong mysteries out right now you have a lot of choice. We’ve taken the liberty of pointing you at some of the best mysteries out there right now; any one (or two! or three!) of these titles would make a perfect gift for the mystery fan in your life—and books make great gifts for Secret Santas and office gift exchanges, too, because who doesn’t love a good mystery?

    Look Alive at Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich
    Gift-giving can be stressful, so do yourself a favor and concentrate on the crowd-pleasing sure things like this. Twenty-five books in and Stephanie Plum is going strong as ever, still tackling gritty mysteries with humor, smarts, and competence to spare. This time around Plum’s attention is drawn to the Red River Deli in Trenton, famous for its pastrami and its cole slaw. More recently, it’s become famous because of its disappearing managers—three in the last month, each leaving behind a single shoe. Lula tries to convince Stephanie it’s aliens abducting humans for experiments, but Stephanie figures on something a little less exotic—and takes over running the business herself in order to get to the bottom of things. It’s certainly not the first time Plum has put herself in danger for the sake of a case—and she can only hope it won’t be her last.

    Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
    Penny’s 14th book featuring Chief Inspector Gamache begins with the retired chief of the Sûreté du Québec receiving the surprising news that he’s one of three executors of the estate of an elderly woman he’s never met. With his suspension and the events that led to it still under excruciatingly slow investigation, Gamache agrees to participate, even thought the terms of the will are outlandish, leading him and his fellow executors to wonder if the old woman was mentally sound. When a dead body turns up, however, it prompts Gamache to reconsider—because the terms of the will suddenly seem much less strange, and much more ominous. Meanwhile the drugs he allowed to remain on the streets as part of his plan to destroy the drug cartels are still out there—and if he doesn’t find them, and soon, there will be devastation throughout the city. For once, Chief Inspector Gamache is something wholly unexpected: desperate.

    Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith
    By now everyone knows that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling, and the fourth Cormorant Strike novel finds her at the top of her adult fiction game. Strike, now a famous private investigator, has to deal with people showing up at his offices as well as the difficulty in investigating things when you’re instantly recognizable to everyone. When a young man comes to his office asking for help looking into a murder he thinks he witnessed—and thus has been haunted by—as a kid, Strike senses just enough sincere detail to take on the case. As his investigation leads him into the secret corridors of British power, his personal life in the form of his relationship with former assistant-turned-full partner Robin reaches new levels of complexity.

    Leverage in Death, by J.D. Robb
    Robb delivers the 47th entry in this bestselling series with appropriate fireworks, as Paul Rogan, a successful executive, arrives at a routine meeting concerning a merger and promptly detonates the suicide vest he’s wearing. Eve Dallas is called in as the investigating detective and first has to figure out whether this was purposeful terrorism or simple desperate suicide with collateral damage. Every detail Dallas and her team discover serves only to muddy the waters and spin up the tension, especially after they discover that Rogan had been told by mysterious men that his family would be killed if he didn’t do as they asked. As Dallas puzzles over the convoluted manner of what seems like a murder attempt, more explosions deliver more bodies—and more clues.

    The Witch Elm, by Tana French
    French turns in her first novel not part of the Dublin Murder Squad, telling the story of affably low-key Dubliner Toby. Toby’s low-stakes life involves working as a social media guru for an art gallery and contemplating someday maybe marrying his girlfriend Melissa. When two robbers break into his apartment and beat him brutally, however, his lingering mental and physical injuries prevent him from living a normal life, and he and Melissa move in with his dying Uncle Hugo. When a skeleton found in a tree on Hugo’s property turns out to be an old classmate of Toby’s, the damaged young man is haunted by the possibility that his lost memories hold the key.

    Depth of Winter, by Craig Johnson
    After thirteen books, it’s understandable that Walt Longmire has made a lot of enemies. Professional assassin and enforcer for drug cartels Tomás Bidarte knows this, and so he kidnaps Walt’s daughter, Cady, and holds her captive in a remote cabin in the Chihuahua desert in northern Mexico, intending to auction her off to whichever of Walt’s enemies hates him the most. Walt heads off to rescue his girl, but Bidarte has an army of bad guys protecting his investment, and Longmire isn’t the sort of man who can blend in. Longmire’s faced bad odds before, but never quite this bad—and never with so much on the line. In a foreign country, with no help from his own government and disinterest from the locals, it’s tempting to count Longmire out—but fans know better.

    The Colors of All the Cattle, by Alexander McCall Smith
    The nineteenth novel featuring Mwa Ramotswe and her fellow investigators and residents of the town of Gaborone is as delightful and insightful as ever. Ramotswe is persuaded to run for a seat on the city council when it’s revealed that the arch-enemy of her agency partner Grace, Vera Sephotho, is in the race. Vera supports a terrible initiative to build a luxury hotel next to the town’s cemetery, which gives Mwa Ramotswe the moral edge in the race, but her compulsively honest answers to questions might complicate her campaign. Meanwhile, the agency deals with the investigation of a hit-and-run case even as their assistant Charlie, finally growing up, engages in his first true romance.

    Feared, by Lisa Scottoline
    Scottoline is as close to a safe bet when it comes to buying books for mystery fans, and her series about lawyers Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato is probably on your mystery superfan’s shopping list already, so giving it as a stocking stuffer will be genius. When Rosato & DiNunzio is hit with a sex discrimination lawsuit from three men who claim they weren’t hired because of their gender, Mary and Bennie smell a rat. When their only male employee, John Foxman, resigns because he agrees, they’re floored—and then they find out who’s behind the lawsuit—Mary’s nemesis, Nick Machiavelli. Nick is determined to have his revenge, and when Foxman turns up murdered suspicion settles on the firm’s partners and things look bleak. Mary—seven months pregnant—and Bennie must somehow fight off a lawsuit that could ruin them and solve a murder that could incarcerate the partners. That’s a recipe for the perfect mystery to give as a gift.

    November Road, by Lou Berney
    Berney spins a karmic tale about a mob fixer named Frank Guidry working in New Orleans in 1963. Guidry snips loose ends for his boss Carlos Marcello, violently if necessary. He gets the job of leaving a car in a Dallas parking lot, and after President Kennedy is assassinated he realizes he provided a getaway vehicle for the real shooter—and worse, now he’s a loose end. Trailed by Marcello’s top hitman, Guidry flees and meets up with Charlotte Roy, an unhappy but steel-tipped housewife escaping an abusive husband. As the tension rises, the two find themselves making a surprisingly effective team as they seek to survive in different ways.

    Field of Bones, by J.A. Jance
    For long-time fans of Jance’s Joanna Brady series, book number eighteen will be a welcome addition to their gift haul—and it’s not a bad idea for any fan of great mysteries with a realistic protagonist and a lot of heart. Brady, pregnant and on maternity leave, responds to acting sheriff Tom Hadlock’s call for all hands on deck when a teenager finds a skull in the desert, revealing what appears to be a body disposal area for a very active—and very terrifying serial killer. Alternating points of view between the killer and the police’s efforts to identify him is a master class in ratcheting up the tension and keeping the reader guessing, as the birth of Brady’s daughter underscores the desperation to save the killer’s remaining prisoners.

    Bright Young Dead, by Jessica Fellowes
    Fans of Downton Abbey and other Edwardian-era historical fiction are closer to the mystery genre than they realize, and Fellowes’ Mitford Murders series is the perfect way to convince them. Set in 1925, when London is roiled by the criminal activities of an all-female gang known as the Forty Thieves, London police Guy Sullivan and Mary Moon find themselves in the company of aristocrats upstairs and their servants downstairs as they try to tackle the gang—and find themselves embroiled in a distasteful murder before it’s all over. Think of Fellowes’ work as Abbey with murder and they’ll be sold—and you’ll be getting some very enthusiastic Thank You cards.

    One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
    The holiday season is the ideal time to give someone more than just a single book, but rather the gift of one of the best characters to ever grace the mystery shelves, Stephanie Plum. For twenty-five books, Evanovich has been delighting mystery fans with Plum’s adventures as a bounty hunter and detective, and the first book remains the ideal introduction. Plum, down on her luck in Trenton, New Jersey, convinces her cousin to give her a shot at apprehending criminal Joe Morelli—coincidentally the man who seduced Plum out of her virginity at age sixteen—and gets a crash course in the rough and tumble world of being an apprehension agent as she explores some long-dormant feelings for Joe. The lucky person getting this book from you will thank you twenty-four more times, trust us.

    There’s no mystery why people love getting books as gifts (see what we did there?)—it’s an opportunity to lose yourself and get away from holiday stress (the travel! the cooking! the travel!) by escaping into a thrilling story that also challenges your little gray cells. Which books are on your gift list this year?

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    The post 12 Must-Have Titles for the Mystery Fan on Your Shopping List appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:12 pm on 2018/11/07 Permalink
    Tags: , allen eskens, , , , , , , louise penny, mike lupica, , ,   

    November’s Best Mysteries 


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    November officially kicks off the holiday season, which means you’re putting together shopping lists and trying to pick out the perfect gifts for everybody. You have to practice self-care, though, which means that aside from choosing the best mysteries to give to your loved ones as gifts, you have to pick out a few for yourself. This week’s best mysteries include new adventures from the best in the business, including the very real Janet Evanovich and Louise Penny and the very fictional Jessica Fletcher.

    Look Alive Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich
    Twenty-five books in and Stephanie Plum is going strong as ever, still tackling gritty mysteries with humor, smarts, and competence to spare. This time around Plum’s attention is drawn to the Red River Deli in Trenton, famous for its pastrami and its cole slaw. More recently, it’s become famous because of its disappearing managers—three in the last month, each leaving behind a single shoe. Lula tries to convince Stephanie it’s aliens abducting humans for experiments, but Stephanie figures on something a little less exotic—and takes over running the business herself in order to get to the bottom of things. It’s certainly not the first time Plum has put herself in danger for the sake of a case—and she can only hope it won’t be her last.

    Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
    Penny’s 14th book featuring Chief Inspector Gamache begins with the retired chief of the Sûreté du Québec receiving the surprising news that he’s one of three executors of the estate of an elderly woman he’s never met. With his suspension and the events that led to it still under excruciatingly slow investigation, Gamache agrees to participate, even thought the terms of the will are outlandish, leading him and his fellow executors to wonder if the old woman was mentally sound. When a dead body turns up, however, it prompts Gamache to reconsider—because the terms of the will suddenly seem much less strange, and much more ominous. Meanwhile the drugs he allowed to remain on the streets as part of his plan to destroy the drug cartels are still out there—and if he doesn’t find them, and soon, there will be devastation throughout the city. For once, Chief Inspector Gamache is something wholly unexpected: desperate.

    Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud, by Mike Lupica
    In response to a request from Robert B. Parker’s fans, veteran sportswriter-turned-novelist Lupica brings the late Parker’s only female private eye, Sunny Randall, back in this exciting, fast-paced seventh novel. Sunny—hypercompetent as a private detective—is struggling with her emotional state as she deals with being divorced but still drawn to her ex-husband, Richie Burke. Richie, the son of local mobster Desmond Burke, gets shot in the back one night—but the shooter makes it clear that he was left alive on purpose, and that it’s part of a grudge against the Burkes in general. A few nights later, his bookie uncle Peter is shot dead. The Burkes want to handle this on their own, but Sunny can’t stay out of it, even when her investigation beings her repeatedly up against old foe Albert Antonioni, supposedly retired after trying to bump Sunny off. Lupica does Parker proud with this energized, smart story, and Sunny’s fans old and new will be very happy with the way everything turns out.

    The Colors of All the Cattle, by Alexander McCall Smith
    The nineteenth novel featuring Mwa Ramotswe and her fellow investigators and residents of the town of Gaborone is as delightful and insightful as ever. Ramotswe is persuaded to run for a seat on the city council when it’s revealed that the arch-enemy of her agency partner Grace, Vera Sephotho, is in the race. Vera supports a terrible initiative to build a luxury hotel next to the town’s cemetery, which gives Mwa Ramotswe the moral edge in the race, but her compulsively honest answers to questions might complicate her campaign. Meanwhile, the agency deals with the investigation of a hit-and-run case even as their assistant Charlie, finally growing up, engages in his first true romance.

    A Christmas Revelation, by Anne Perry
    Perry’s tradition of offering a Christmas-themed Victorian mystery continues, this time telling the story of nine-year old Worm, an orphan living in mid-19th century London. Worm has found an ersatz family at Hester Monk’s clinic, located at the site of a former brothel, and especially in the sweet Claudine Burroughs and the sour Squeaky Robinson, who once worked at the brothel and now serves as the clinic’s bookkeeper. One day Worm sees a woman on the street who immediately infatuates him with her gentle visage—only to be apparently attacked and kidnapped. Distressed, Worm enlists the reluctant but experienced Squeaky to help him track down the lady and ride to her rescue—but of course, twists and turns abound as they walk the cobble stone streets in search of clues.

    Murder, She Wrote: Manuscript for Murder, by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
    Fans of the classic TV show and fans of great mysteries alike will be thrilled with Land’s second outing with writer and detective Jessica Fletcher. In New York for a meeting with her publisher, Fletcher is approached by a fellow writer named Thomas Rudd who tells her he thinks their publisher, Lane Barfield, is skimming money form their royalties—and later turns up dead in a suspicious gas explosion. When she meets with Barfield, however, he can only talk about a new novel he’s acquired from an unknown writer named Benjamin Tally, and he gives Fletcher a copy of it for her opinion. Then the bodies begin to pile up: Barfield turns up dead, an apparent if unlikely suicide, and two other authors who saw the manuscript are dead as well. When Fletcher herself is attacked and left for dead before she can finish the book, she seeks out allies and digs in like only Jessica Fletcher can.

    The Shadows We Hide, by Allen Eskens
    Report Joe Talbert, Jr. reads about a man named Joe ‛Toke’ Talbert, recently murdered in a small Minnesota town. Joe never knew his father, and he wonders if this man might turn out to be his namesake. He begins looking into the man’s life and murder, and finds no shortage of suspects who might have wanted Toke dead, as he was by all reports a terrible human being and worse father. Toke’s wife died shortly before under suspicious circumstances, leaving Toke with a large inheritance, making the solution to his murder an even more complex puzzle—especially since, if Toke is in fact Joe’s father, the money would legally be his. Part personal journey, part grim mystery, Joe learns as much about himself as he does about the man who might be his father as the mystery takes a few delirious twists before the surprising, satisfying ending.

    The Whispered Word, by Ellery Adams
    Nora Pennington and the Secret, Book, and Scone Society return to run Miracle Books and feed the soul with the perfect choice of novel. A new business opens in town, Virtual Genie, offering cash for unwanted goods that it then sells on the Internet. Everyone thinks owner Griffin Kingsley is a perfect gentleman, but Nora isn’t sold. And when an obviously terrified young girl named Abilene wearing a hospital bracelet and some bruises turns up hiding in the store, followed by a pair of suspicious deaths, Nora begins to suspect that Abilene is the next target—and that Griffin Kingsley’s arrival at the same time may not be as much of a coincidence as it first appears.

    Whether it’s holiday stress, plane ride downtime, or the simple pleasures in life, nothing beats a good supply of mysteries to feed the soul while the cold weather moves in. Grab a bunch from this list and thank us later!

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  • Jeff Somers 4:24 pm on 2018/10/03 Permalink
    Tags: , andy carpenter, , , Deck the Hounds, , , louise penny, , , otto penzler, , , The Big Book of Female Detectives,   

    October’s Best New Mysteries 


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    October is a month for scares and thrills—but there are scares and thrills in the world that have nothing to do with ghosts and goblins. This month’s best mysteries are here to get those goose-pimples popping and those neck hairs rising without a single witch, vampire bat, or werewolf necessary.

    November Road, by Lou Berney
    Berney spins a karmic tale about a mob fixer named Frank Guidry working in New Orleans in 1963. Guidry snips loose ends for his boss Carlos Marcello, violently if necessary. He gets the job of leaving a car in a Dallas parking lot, and after President Kennedy is assassinated he realizes he provided a getaway vehicle for the real shooter—and worse, now he’s a loose end. Trailed by Marcello’s top hitman, Guidry flees and meets up with Charlotte Roy, an unhappy but steel-tipped housewife escaping an abusive husband. As the tension rises, the two find themselves making a surprisingly effective team as they seek to survive in different ways.

    Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales, by P.D. James
    This cunning assortment of previously uncollected stories from the indomitable author of Death Comes to Pemberley is filled with tales of crimes committed long ago, complete with the chilling rationalizations that so often accompany them. Take a deep dive into the heart of a killer, and explore the push-pull in the minds of murderers, witnesses, orchestrators of the perfect crime, and unwitting victims. James’s formidable talent shines even more brightly in her shorter works.

    Deck the Hounds (Andy Carpenter Series #18), by David Rosenfelt
    Rosenfelt’s 18th Andy Carpenter novel brings Christmas to Paterson, New Jersey. Andy tries to help out a homeless man named Don Carrigan, offering the veteran and his dog the Carpenter garage apartment during the cold weather. But when Don is arrested for murder, Andy finds himself taking on a new legal client. There’s a sniper working in the area, and Andy quickly finds himself dealing with a blood-curdling series of crimes that put both Don and Andy’s lives in danger. Rosenfelt’s characters are as warm and bighearted as ever, and the holiday setting makes this a great gift for the person who has everything, especially the previous 17 Andy Carpenter books.

    The Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny
    Anyone looking to skim the cream of mystery fiction need look no further—between them, guest editor Penny and series editor Otto Penzler offer up twenty of the absolute best from the famous and the soon-to-be. Penny’s thoughtful selections feature fantastic short fiction from Michael Connelly, Martin Limón, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Andrew Klaven, Paul D. Mark, Joyce Carol Oates, Andrew Bourelle, and twelve others. The choices run the gamut from surprising reinventions of the genre to masterful exercises in the genre’s traditional beats and pleasures.

    The Big Book of Female Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler
    The legendary Otto Penzler continues his popular ‛Big Book’ series with a deep dive into detective fiction with a decidedly female-first focus; considering the current climate, the timing for such a book couldn’t be better. With authors including Agatha Christie (who offers up a delightful Tommy and Tuppence mystery), Marcia Muller (who contributes a Sharon McCone adventure), Phyllis Bentley, Charlotte Armstrong, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Mignon G. Eberhart, this anthology once again demonstrates why Penzler is the most reliable editor working in the mystery genre today.

    October isn’t just a month of tricks and treats—it’s also a month for gumshoes and gimlet-eyed private detectives. Which mysteries will you be reading this month?

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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2017/07/31 Permalink
    Tags: crime scene, glass houses, i know a secret, , , , louise penny, , on her majesty's frightfully secret service, , rhys bowen, sleeping int he ground: an inspector banks novel, , , , tess garritsen, the good daughter, the paris spy, the room of white fire, y is for yesterday   

    August’s Best Mysteries 


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    Soaring temps make many of us turn to fast-paced, high-stakes mysteries and thrillers where the pages turn so quickly that they create a refreshing light breeze on your face. Summer may be on the wane, but some of our biggest mystery series are just heating up. Don’t miss these brilliant new books by heavy hitters like Sue Grafton, Louise Penny, and powerhouse father and son duo Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman.

    Y is For Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone Series #25), by Sue Grafton
    Grafton’s famous Kinsey Millhone series is reaching the end of the alphabet, to the despair of legions of fans. Y is For Yesterday travels back to 1979, when four private school boys brutally assaulted a classmate—and the attack was filmed. The ensuing investigation resulted in the conviction of two of the perpetrators, although the main instigator behind the attack disappeared. Nearly twenty years later, one of the attackers is released from prison. Fritz McCabe is in pretty terrible shape, and he’s now being held a virtual prisoner by his parents. When he receives a copy of the video of the attack along with a demand for ransom, McCabe’s parents swing into action and consult with Kinsey Millhone, who is soon drawn into their convoluted family drama. In the meantime she’s also got a sociopath with a deep grudge to contend with. Fans know it’s just another day in the life of one of the best investigators in the genre.

    Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #13), by Louise Penny
    A mysterious figure has appeared in the idyllic village of Three Pines, standing alone and stock still in the freezing November sleet. As the villagers, including Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache, grow increasingly perturbed and even frightened, the figure remains. Soon after it finally disappears, a body turns up, which is very probably not a coincidence, and it falls to Gamache to discover whether the killing is in fact a terrible retribution. Later that summer, the accused stands trial, but Gamache is forced to face the consequences of the actions he took during those fateful days in November. The 13th novel in Penny’s incomparable series ratchets up the tension to an almost unbearable degree.

    Crime Scene, by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman
    Clay Edison was a star athlete in his day, but he’s turned to a life of crim…inal investigation. Determining the cause of death of psychology professor Walter Rennert, found at the bottom of the stairs, seems like an open and shut affair at first. But when Rennert’s daughter, Tatiana, convinces him to take a closer look at the case, he begins to have serious doubts. It turns out that Walter Rennert had a checkered past, one involving a dead coed, and his days might have been numbered. Add to the mix a suspiciously similar death suffered by a colleague of Rennert’s, and you have a recipe for Something is Not Quite Right Here. When he and Tatiana begin to grow closer, Clay’s determination to track down he murderer increases. But he’s going to find himself venturing into some very dark places to do so.

    Exposed (Rosato & DiNunzio Series #5), by Lisa Scottoline
    The twists and turns come fast and furious in this gripping legal drama. What seems at first like an open and shut case—a man fired from a company when his daughter’s medical expenses shoot through the roof—soon pits partner against partner in a game of cat and mouse that turns bare-knuckle and threatens to tear the firm apart. And when murder becomes part of the equation, things spiral even further out of control.

    The Good Daugher, by Karin Slaughter
    If you haven’t read Karin Slaughter yet, The Good Daughter is the perfect novel to jump onboard with…and if you’re a fan of fast-paced, gripping, and impossible to forget thrillers (see: the incredible Coptown), you should definitely be reading Karin Slaughter. In her latest standalone novel, Charlotte Quinn fought back against a harrowing childhood trauma by following in her father’s footsteps and becoming an attorney. But when another attack occurs nearly three decades later, Charlie is powerless to stop a flood of terrible memories from that tragic incident, which destroyed her happy family and left her mother dead. You won’t know where this one is going, but one thing is for sure: you’ll follow this author anywhere.

    I Know a Secret (Rizzoli & Isles Series #12), by Tess Garritsen
    What do a collection of gruesomely murdered saints, an unrepentant serial killer (who is also Maura Isles’ mother) with a dark secret, and a pair of victims who suffered similarly grisly fates all have in common? They’re just some of the details that make the twelfth novel in the compulsively readable Rizzoli & Isles series the kind of book you won’t want to put down, even if you desperately need a sweet tea refill. Medical examiner Maura Isles and detective Jane Rizzoli of the Boston PD are the kind of tough investigators who can handle an alarming body count (of bodies that are in hair-raising condition), but with a killer on the loose who might be using a horror film as inspiration, this time they may have met their match.

    The Paris Spy (Maggie Hope Series #7), by Susan Elia MacNeal
    History buffs who also love nail-biting mysteries—especially those fascinated by the WWII era—your perfect late-summer read is here! The seventh novel in the Maggie Hope Series finds the legendary code-breaker and spy navigating the treacherous waters of Nazi-occupied France, where she is tasked with trying to discover a traitor among ranks of the terrifyingly powerful, deep in enemy territory. After a narrow escape from a concentration camp, Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared, and Maggie is desperate to find her—but not certain she even wants to be found. On top of everything, the Allied invasion of France is in the works, but a crucial agent has been captured, and Churchill is relying on Maggie’s abilities to help plan D-Day. This historically rich spy thriller is a real nail-biter.

    The Room of White Fire, by T. Jefferson Parker
    Former cop, former marine, current private investigator and fairly damaged individual Roland Ford has been assigned to track down one Clay Hickman, an escaped mental patient who is also a veteran of the Air Force. His tough military past and the recent loss of his wife give Roland some insight into how best to locate Clay, but things are complicated by the very different accounts he’s receiving of what Clay is really like, and what he’s actually capable of. And when his interests in Clay’s doctor, the inscrutable Paige Hulet, become a little more than professional, the search grows more personal and the stakes become dangerously high.

    On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service (Royal Spyness Series #11), by Rhys Bowen
    The delightful adventures of Lady Georgiana Rannoch continue as she finds herself in the thick of several worrisome situations. For one thing, Darcy is off on a secret mission, so she is left to travel alone to Italy to assist her friend Belinda, who is getting ready to give birth. And her cousin the queen has called upon her to spy at a house party in Italy at which the Prince of Wales is expected, along with the horrible Mrs. Simpson. Of course, Lady Georgiana’s Italian holiday is all but ruined when one of the guests is murdered—and above it all, a Nazi threat looms and the country teeters on the brink of war. A frothy, ebullient comedy of manners that never fails to entertain, the Royal Spyness Series is filled with twists and turns, unforgettable characters, and highly amusing (and often hazardous) situations.

    Sleeping in the Ground: An Inspector Banks Novel, by Peter Robinson
    A horrific attack shatters a peaceful wedding, but when the culprit is apprehended, everyone assumes that the terrible tragedy has been put to rest. Everyone except for Alan Banks, that is. He’s convinced that something about the whole thing is not quite right, and the case is not completely closed. And although he’s not thrilled to be assigned to work with Jenny Fuller, a forensic psychologist with whom he has a complicated relationship, he’s glad for the opportunity to dig deeper into this case. But the deeper he digs, the more horrors he unearths. Peter Robinson writes the kinds of thrillers that will keep you turning pages late into the night.

    What mysteries are keeping you up late this month?

    The post August’s Best Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 8:00 pm on 2016/08/25 Permalink
    Tags: a great reckoning, , inspector gamache, louise penny, ,   

    Chief Inspector Gamache Faces A Great Reckoning 


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    Louise Penny is back with A Great Reckoning, the twelfth novel in her Chief Inspector Gamache series. A whodunit full of suspense, it stars a map that leads to nowhere, two corrupt policemen, four cadets-in-training with skeletons in their closets, and one Commander seemingly beyond reproach—but possibly capable of murder.

    Commander Armand Gamache is an honorable, stalwart vehicle of justice. He has long been portrayed as a silent, keen observer of corruption, tasked with rooting it out without much fanfare, but he has seen his fair share of bloodshed—from the early loss of his parents in a gruesome accident, to his time as an officer of the Sûreté, the elite Canadian police force. But throughout his adventures, Gamache has managed to keep his own hands clean.

    Until now. The application of a mysterious cadet to the Sûreté Academy propels Gamache out of his cozy retirement in Three Pines and into the trenches of educating cadets at the academy—cadets he fears have already been corrupted by the illicit dealings of the former man in charge, Serge Leduc. During his time at the Academy, the lines between justice and vengeance blur to the point that Gamache is soon implicated in a terrible crime: the murder of Professor Leduc, by a bullet wound straight to the head.

    The mystery of Leduc’s murder is further complicated by multiple narrators and points of view, many of which we learn straight away are unreliable. There are those loyal to Leduc among his inner circle of elite students, who do not trust Gamache, and then there’s Amelia Choquet, the goth cadet with a past—and the girl whose application compelled Gamache out of retirement.

    While Armand investigates Leduc’s murder, four cadets are implicated because of a map found in the man’s possession at the time of death—a map that belonged to Gamache, but found its way into the hands of the students by way of a unique training exercise. The mystery of the map coincides with the mystery of the murder inasmuch as they are parallel trains racing toward the same point—but the murder is the most fascinating track to follow, as everyone Gamache interacts with—from the students, to his second-in-command and son-in-law Jean-Guy, to Inspector Lacoste—believe him one moment to be completely above reproach, and in the next find him possibly capable of murdering a man who was his rival for power.

    A Great Reckoning is structured like an intricate game of Jenga: it stacks up questions into a tower and over the course of the story, removes them one by one in search of an elusive truth. Who is Amelia Choquet? What is her connection to Armand Gamache? Did Armand murder Leduc? After so many years spent rooting out corruption, was he corrupt himself? What is the importance of the map? Penny reveals the answers to these questions with impeccable pacing, but even more impressive is her rich development of her characters over the course of the story. The moral seems to be that the ghosts of the past come to roost too late for souls to be saved, but justice is still worth fighting for—because every once in a while, something good does come of it.

     
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