Tagged: louise penny Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • BN Editors 11:00 am on 2019/11/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , it takes one to know one, , louise penny, master selections, , rush ware, steph cha, , the nanny, , your house will pay   

    Masters of the Genre: Four Renowned Mystery and Thriller Authors Share Their Book Recommendations 

    Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Louise Penny, and Ruth Ware: These mystery and thriller authors are household names whose bestselling books have captivated readers across the globe. And now, to help readers discover even more riveting, edge-of-your-seat mysteries and thrillers, Barnes & Noble has asked each of these masters of the genre to recommend a 2019 release from an emerging mystery or thriller writer they love.

    If you’re a thriller enthusiast hoping to diversify, or if you’re searching for a holiday gift for a mystery fan who might like to expand their tastes with new, off-the-beaten path novels with impeccable bona fides, you’ve come to the right place. It’s hard to go wrong with books that represent the best, as chosen by the best. Here are four new books to have on your radar.

    Michael Connelly, the bestselling author of over thirty novels and creator of the famous Harry Bosch series, chose:

    Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha
    The author of the Juniper Song crime trilogy’s latest novel, Your House Will Pay, is a taut and suspenseful read about racial tensions in Los Angeles that follows two families grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime.

    John Grisham, the master of the modern-day legal thriller who has penned a new novel every year since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, chose:

    Heaven, My Home, by Attica Locke
    Heaven, My Home is a captivating crime novel following Texas Ranger Darren Mathews as he hunts for a missing boy—but in truth has a different target in mind: the boy’s white supremacist family. Attica Locke is the author of Bluebird, Bluebird, which won the Edgard Award for best novel in 2018 as chosen by the Mystery Writers of America.

    Louise Penny, author of the internationally bestselling Chief Inspector Gamache series, chose:

    The Long Call, by Ann Cleeves
    From the bestselling author of the Vera Stanhope and Shetland Island series, The Long Call is the first of a new, gripping series that sees Detective Matthew Venn drawn back to his past by a mysterious death.

    Ruth Ware, whose In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 launched her to international fame as one of the world’s premier thriller writers, chose:

    The Nanny, by Gilly Macmillan
    Gilly Macmillan, the bestselling author of What She Knew, returns with a dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets that explores the lengths people will go to hurt one another.

    Customers can find the Masters’ Selection titles in their local Barnes & Noble, alongside the latest books by the Masters themselves, or at BN.com.

    The post Masters of the Genre: Four Renowned Mystery and Thriller Authors Share Their Book Recommendations appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2019/09/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , exclusive, exclusive interview, , inspector gamache series, Interview, louise penny   

    An Exclusive Interview with Author Louise Penny, Plus a Behind-the-Scenes Look at A Better Man 

    Deftly plotted, witty, and atmospheric, filled with memorable characters, and unafraid to confront uncomfortable truths about humanity, Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series is a true gift to mystery lovers. Penny was kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions, and to give us a fascinating glimpse of her thoughts during the writing of her latest novel, A Better Man

    The 15th novel in the series finds Gamache taking up the reins in his new position as head of homicide, after his recent demotion from head of the whole force. To make matters even touchier, he’s now working alongside his former subordinate, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, on a new case, that of a woman who has gone missing. Gamache finds himself sympathizing with her agonized father, asking himself what he would do, were he in the man’s shoes; when a body turns up, the question becomes even more urgent, and the answer more unsettling.

    Louise Penny, on A Better Man

    I wanted to give you all a little behind-the-scenes look at what I was thinking when I was writing A Better Man, by showing you a few lines and exactly what was going through my mind. Here are five of my favorite lines from the book, along with my personal annotations.  

    Ruth made a noise that could have been a laugh.  Or indigestion.  

    ‘I’ll tell you what is funny.  You crash and burn trying to do something different, while Armand destroys his career by agreeing to go back and do the same old thing.’ 

    I so enjoy writing Ruth, though it takes a, perversely, delicate touch. She needs to be honest and cranky, often insulting, while not descending into caricature or outright nastiness. Here that ambivalence is illustrated, I hoped, through their inability to know if the noise is amusement or indigestion. Though, once again, she uncomfortably states what most are thinking. 

    ‘Consequences,’ said Gamache. ‘We must always consider the consequences of our actions. Or inaction.” 

    This is an ongoing theme within the books, and with Gamache. Considering the consequences, knowing the consequences, weighing the outcomes….and still deciding to act. It’s one thing to act on instinct, and there’s often rare courage in that—but Armand tries to impress on his people that there’s even more courage in looking without blinking at what their actions might mean. Good and bad. Intended and unintended. He goes on to say that, in his opinion, that’s part of their contract with the Quebec population. That those with a badge and a gun, will have the maturity to think before they act.  

    He left the woods late that afternoon, shattered.  

    And now he was back.  

    A better man?  A bitter man?  

    They were about to find out.   

    The homicide team is about to see Armand Gamache, back at work as their Chief Inspector, for the first time since his suspension and demotion from Chief Superintendent. I loved writing this scene…of his return, and their reaction.  And my reaction, to having him back as head of homicide. Where the whole Three Pines series began. Older. More bruised. Both him, and me. And you too, I suspect. Have the years, the events, the vicissitudes made him, us, bitter or better?   

    ‘I see.’  Gamache lowered his voice, though all could still hear the words.  ‘When I was Chief Superintendent I had a poster framed in my office.  On it were the last words of a favorite poet, Seamus Heaney. Noli Timere.  It’s Latin.  Do you know what it means?’ 

    He looked around the room. 

    ‘Neither did I,’ he admitted, when no one spoke.  ‘I had to look it up. It means, Be Not Afraid.’   

    Not completely coincidentally, I have the same poster in my living room, where I see it every day as I write. I’m looking at it now. Fear is such a thief. If I only did what I was comfortable with, there’d be no books, no marriage, fewer close relationships. Less travel, far fewer, or no, risks. And my life would shrink to nothing. Armand knows that the bravest person in any room is the one who can admit he’s scared sh**less. But does it anyway. Here he’s encouraging a young agent to speak his mind, even though he’s afraid.  

    She also happened to be the chief of the volunteer fire department.  Not because she was a natural leader, but because most villagers would rather run into a burning building or a river in full flood than face Ruth Zardo’s sharp tongue.   

    Ha—I’ve used similar descriptions of Ruth, and once again I hoped to illustrate the contradiction that is Ruth…indeed, that is most of us. The elderly poet could stay home, ignoring whatever natural disaster has cropped up. Instead, she takes on a leadership role, whether her neighbors like it or not. Yet she’s strangely effective, partly because the very thing that makes her almost as terrifying as the catastrophe, makes her uniquely effective. Ruth Zardo never shies away from the truth. From a fight. In this book we see her doing just that, with some great success, and with some terrible result. 

    For more behind-the-scenes insight into some of my favorite lines from all of the books and the stories behind them, check out gamacheseries.com 

    Further conversation with author Louise Penny:

    What was the beginning of your fascination with mysteries?  

    Agatha Christie, of course. It was the first ‘adult’ book my mother and I shared. I will always remember her standing on the landing upstairs, a book in her hand. She looked at it, then at me, and gave it to me saying she’d just finished it, and thought I’d like it too. It was a Christie. A Miss Marple, I think, but can’t remember the exact title. It was thrilling, to share a book with my mother. To have that in common. Something that we shared the rest of her life. When things went bad between us, as they sometimes do between mothers and daughters, our truce sign was asking, “What are you reading?” 

    I went on to discover the Simenon books about Maigret. And the fabulous Josephine Tey, which are more crime novels than murder mysteries.  My favorite is The Franchise Affair.  Her books are gems, crystalline, every word, every phrase has a purpose. 

    How do you sit down and start a new novel? What’s the spark? 

    In The Long Way Home, I quote Robert Frost and a letter he wrote to a friend where he describes his creative process as a poet. And he says that for him, a poem begins as a lump in the throat. For me, each book of mine begins as a lump in the throat. Some emotion that I need to explore. My books are about many things, including, but far from exclusively, a crime. Murder is an act, and a dreadful one.  But I spend a year on each book and it must be about more than a crime. And so each book is inspired by an emotion, a theme, a piece of human nature that puzzles and fascinates.  A question that I do not really know the answer to. Most of my books are inspired by a poem, or even a few lines from a poem. I find a bit of poetry, I write it out on a Post-it, and I stick it on my laptop. So when I inevitably get all lost and confused, I can go back to it and say, ‘That’s what the book’s about.’ 

    What kind of entertainment interests you aside from reading? 

    I love music, and listen to it a lot, when not actually writing.  All sorts of music.  In fact, each book has its own playlist, made up of current favorites.  The one I’m listening to right now has Rag ‘n Bone Man, Bizet, Bach, X Ambassadors, some Gregorian Chants, Crash Test DummiesFlatt&Scruggs, Dire Straits, Leonard Cohen, Cosmo Sheldrake. And more. I also relax in front of the TV.  Mostly HGTV.  Trying to work out which home I’d buy.   

    How much of what you write is influenced by current events, by real people, by real places? And how much is completely invented? 

    People might read the books and think I’m creative, and the fact is I’m not. I just write what I see. And I write what I feel every day.  

    The books are definitely drawn from a whole bunch of things. Absolutely from the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The books are many things, probably least among them crime novels. They are definitely crime fiction, but they are love letters to the place I choose to live. I have never been made to feel a stranger in Knowlton. Michael and I were welcomed and embraced. It feels like there was always a place at the table just waiting for us. Much of my life I wandered, geographically and emotionally. Searching for home. I found it in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. I found it with Michael. I found it buried deep inside myself. And that’s what I write about. The yearning to belong.  The search for home.   

    What’s your daily routine? Can you describe for us a typical day at home?  

    Well, not to be too boring, but I write every day, except when I’m between books. I used to be a night person, as a teen (I guess most of us were). But my first real job was hosting a morning show for CBC Radio in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I had to get up at 4am. A few years of that, and voila. A morning person was created. I no longer get up at 4am, but I am up sometime around 6am.   

    I make coffee, and get to work right away, while fresh. I re-read what I wrote the day before, noodling with it a bit, then press ahead with the new writing.  I set a goal of 1,000 words a day. I’m very disciplined, mostly because I need to be.  All I really want to do is lie on the sofa eating gummy bears and watching HGTV.   

    Though it’s no secret why no reality show follows a writer around. At least not this writer. I essentially go from the dining room table, where I work, to the coffee machine. And back. And I stare into space. A lot. I often think it’s unfair that the creative process and doing nothing look exactly alike.   

    In the afternoons, after I finish writing, I often walk into the village for lunch with a friend. I am, by nature, a bit of a recluse, so I need to work at getting out. Though I love my friends and enjoy time with them.   

    Then I answer emails and do any other work that needs to be done, like interviews etc. Not, perhaps, a hugely exciting life. But it’s perfect for me. And I know how lucky I am. 

    How did you come up with the idea for the village of Three Pines? Is it based on a real place?  

    Three Pines has long been both a setting and a main character in my books. It’s fictional, for sure, but inspired by all sorts of villages. Some in Quebec, some elsewhere in Canada. Some Vermont towns have inspired the books, as well as English villages. Three Pines is an intentionally hyper-ideal village. Beautiful and peaceful. At least on the outside.  It plays into another theme throughout the series, one of duality.  The difference between perception and reality.  Between what we say and what we’re really thinking.  Between the public face and the inner turmoil.   

    I consider the books allegories and Three Pines a state-of-mind. A place we find only when we’re lost.  When we need it.  And not home to everyone.   

    I’ve been lost in my life, and tired of sarcasm and dark cynicism. I’d had too much of that. It drained me. Left me hollow and callow. I needed belonging, and kindness. I needed friendship. A warm hearth on a cold night. That’s Three Pines. But, like Gamache, while it’s good, it isn’t perfect. There’s always a serpent, even in Paradise. A shadow to the light. And that’s what makes Three Pines what it is, and the people who they are 

    What do you think it is about your books that makes them so successful? 

    I think the setting helps. As I said earlier, the books aren’t about murder, they aren’t even about death, they’re about duality and belonging, community and love. I think people are also fascinated with Quebec. They’re interested in the French/English culture and the history. I wanted to bring alive the life, culture, music and cuisine of Quebec. To make the books sensuous, engaging all the senses, so that anyone reading them doesn’t feel like a voyeur, but walks into the pages. Stands beside Gamache. Sits in the bistro with Clara and Gabri. Hopes Ruth doesn’t turn her rheumy eye on them.   

    Do you have a favorite character in your books? Do you find them easier to write now that they have been in so many books, or is that actually harder?   

    Trick question! Well, of course, Gamache. Ruth is fun to write. I love that she, like all the characters, I guess like all of us, has a saving grace. She genuinely is embittered, she’s drunk most of the time, she has a potty mouth, she says what she thinks and what she thinks is often not very kind, but she’s clever with it. It’s like she keeps all of her kindness deep down inside.  

    To be honest, I’m finding the characters increasingly interesting as the series goes along. As I get to know them. Like intimate friends, who never bore us.   

    There are, of course, challenges to writing a series with essentially the same characters and setting.  Not falling into a formula, becoming predictable, is a major one. But I get around that, I hope, by changing structure, theme, tone, and pace. By exploring new ideas, ones that make me think, and often make me uncomfortable. And so, also make the characters uncomfortable. And perhaps the reader.   

    I’m very aware that readers are spending precious time, and money, on the books, and I need to make it worthwhile.   

    I also have a duty to the characters who have given me a life beyond anything I could have dare dreamed.   

    A Better Man is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post An Exclusive Interview with Author Louise Penny, Plus a Behind-the-Scenes Look at <i>A Better Man</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2019/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , louise penny, love and death among the cheetas, , new mysteries, , terns of endearment, the bitterroots, the last widow,   

    The Best New Mysteries of August 2019 

    Summer is heating up, gumshoes! Time to shrug off your sticky trench coat, put down your magnifying glass (which is now a fire hazard), and lounge on the beach with one of the scorching reads below!

    A Better Man (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #15), by Louise Penny
    Things are in an awkward place for Chief Inspector Gamache in the 15th novel in Louise Penny’s unsurpassed series. Gamache is taking up the reins in his new position as head of homicide, after his recent demotion from head of the whole force. To make matters even touchier, he’s now working alongside his former subordinate, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Although he’s being viciously attacked on social media, Gamache focuses on the task at hand: Finding woman, Vivienne Godin, who has gone missing. The further he goes in his search, the more he finds himself sympathizing with Vivienne’s agonized father. The father of a daughter himself, Gamache finds it difficult not to put himself in the father’s shoes, and ask himself what he would do. When a body turns up, the question becomes even more urgent, and the answer more unsettling.

    The Bitterroots, by C. J. Box
    Cassie Dewell is done being a sheriff’s investigator and is striking out on her own with a private practice. The last few years have been tough on her, and she relishes finally being her own boss. But things get complicated when an old pal asks Cassie to help prove the innocence of a man, part of a prominent Montana family, the Kleinsassers, who has been accused of assault. Although up on first glance this seems like an open and shut case, before long Cassie begins to realize that the accused is the black sheep of the family, and many of its members seem dead-set on his conviction. The deeper she digs into the past to find the truth, the darker and more malevolent this family’s roots grow.

    The Last Widow, by Karin Slaughter
    Will Trent and Sara Linton are back for the first time in three years in this pulse-pounding, set-aside-two-days-to-read-this-one-cover-to-cover thriller by Karin Slaughter. A month after a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is kidnapped, a bustling neighborhood in Atlanta is decimated by a series of bombs. Two hospitals, a university, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC are impacted by the destruction. Sara and Will rush to the scene, and find themselves entangled in a dangerous web that leads to Sara’s abduction. Will must go undercover to save her—and prevent the loss of many more lives. If you’ve read Karin Slaughter before, you know you won’t be able to put this one down before you reach the last page.

    Love and Death Among the Cheetahs, by Rhys Bowen
    Georgiana is finally Mrs. Darcy O’Mara, and the two are honeymooning Kenya’s Happy Valley (which Darcy soon admits is in large part because he was sent there to track down a London jewel thief, and the place is a vacation spot for the aristocracy). There they meet the terrible Lord Cheriton, who makes a pass at Georgie, who is scandalized (it is her honeymoon, after all!). Though she’s not a fan of Lord Cheriton, she’s still nonplussed when his body is discovered by the side of the road, looking as though it’s been mauled by wildlife. Lions, everyone suspects…until it begins to look as though the most obvious answer isn’t actually the right one, and there’s a devious killer in their midst.

    Terns of Endearment (Meg Langslow Series #25), by Donna Andrews
    Assorted members of the Langslow family have been invited to join Meg’s grandfather aboard a cruise where he’s been booked to give lectures on birds and the environment. But what initially appears to be a lighthearted vacation turns grave when the passengers learn that the ship has broken down in the Bermuda Triangle. Worse still, it is announced that a passenger has jumped overboard, leaving behind her shoes, and a note. It turns out she is the nemesis of a group of writers, who booked the cruise as a retreat, and some members of the group are suspicious of her death, believing that suicide doesn’t seem like her style. The ship’s captain isn’t interested in investigating the murder, feeling that it can be sorted out once they reach their destination. But Meg’s father is convinced they should investigate while the suspect is still on board. As if all this weren’t enough, grandfather’s assistant, Trevor, is nowhere to be found. The hilarious Meg Langslow mystery series is as funny and charming as it is clever—this summer is the perfect time to get on board!

    The post The Best New Mysteries of August 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • 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 

    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?

    Shop all mystery & crime >

    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: , , , , , , , , louise penny, mike lupica, , ,   

    November’s Best Mysteries 

    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!

    Shop all mystery & crime >

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

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel