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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2018/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: , donald bain, jessica fletcher, , julia heaberlin, krista davis, murder on union square, murder she wrote: a date with murder, Mysteries, , , paper ghosts, probable claws: a mrs. murphy mystery, , robert b. parker's old black magic, the diva cooks up a storm,   

    The Best New Mysteries of May 2018 

    There are some fiendishly clever mysteries coming your way this month! Pack one of these exciting new novels in your carryon and you’ll be rejoicing at the prospect of an extra long layover…

    Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic, by Ace Atkins
    Decades ago, precious paintings were stolen from a venerable Boston art museum—and the crime has remained unsolved, the case long gone cold…until now. Letters containing paint chips from one of the priceless works of art cross the desk of a Boston journalist, and the museum asks PI Spenser to search for answers. When the museum’s wealthy but irritating benefactor pledges five million dollars to whomever can recover the stolen goods, Spenser and his friends Hawk and Vinnie Morris must wade into a flotsam of crooked black market art dealers, dangerous Mafia bosses, and garden-variety murderers to find the truth and secure the prize.

    Probable Claws: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery, by Rita Mae Brown
    Snow has blanketed the community of Crozet, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen is in the process of building a new work shed, which her architect friend Gary Gardner was kind enough to design for her. But then Gary is shot by a masked motorcyclist, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper. Shocked by this brutal act, Harry begins to research her friend’s past in an effort to track down the killer, and is dismayed by what she finds. Just as she’s beginning to put the pieces together, there’s another murder, and Harry finds herself heedlessly pursuing a ruthless murderer and exposing bone-deep corruption that puts her (and her steadfast furry companions Mrs. Murphy and Pewter the crime-solving cats, and Tee Tucker the Corgi) into imminent danger.

    Murder, She Wrote: A Date with Murder, by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, and Jon Land
    When Jessica Fletcher’s good friend Babs loses her husband Hal to an apparent heart attack during a party, Jessica suspects that his death was no accident. She believes it may have had something to do with a shady online dating site he was on when he and Babs were going through a rough patch—a site that may have also cheated him out of a fortune. Enlisting the help of a young hacker, Jessica finds herself coming ever closer to discovering Hal’s killer—and the closer she comes, the more her life is at stake. Fans will be delighted to discover that author Jon Land carries the torch remarkably well for late author Donald Bain (who penned every previous book in this sharp, clever series).

    The Diva Cooks Up a Storm (Domestic Diva Series #11), by Krista Davis
    The 11th novel in the delightful Domestic Diva series finds hostess with the mostess Sophie Winston delighted when her best friend Nina Reid Norwood clues her in to the hottest new craze in the world of epicureans: a pop-up gourmet dinner party. But Sophie’s enthusiasm for the enjoyable event, with its celebrity chef and fancy guest list, is dimmed when Hollis Haberman brings his brand new trophy wife to the soiree (at which his son and ex-wife are also guests). When Hollis unexpectedly bites the dust, Sophie must keep this trendy meal from becoming anyone else’s last supper.

    Murder on Union Square, by Victoria Thompson
    Newlyweds Frank and Sarah Molloy are excited to add to their family by adopting Catherine, a child Sarah rescued and has since been raising as her own. But Catherine’s legal father, an actor named Parnell Vaughan, has a claim on her, and is standing in the way of their happiness—his fiancé has urged him to make Frank and Sarah pay him a financial settlement before he will give up his parental rights. Although they agree to this shady extortion, when Frank brings the payment to Vaughan, he discovers that he has been murdered, and Frank becomes an obvious suspect. When he and Sarah begin to investigate Vaughan’s past, however, what they discover leads them down a hazardous rabbit hole they were ill prepared for.

    Paper Ghosts, by Julia Heaberlin
    12 years ago, the sister of the unnamed female narrator of Paper Ghosts disappeared, and she has single-mindedly devoted all her energy since then to discovering what happened. Her investigations eventually led her to a 61 year old documentary photographer named Carl Louis Feldman, whom she believes is the kidnapper and killer (of her sister and many others). But Feldman suffers from dementia, and insists that he does not remember his past. This does not stop her from taking him on a road trip across Texas to visit the sites of murders she believes he committed, in an effort to jog his memory and to satisfy her insatiable desire to learn the truth. A twisted, unforgettable thrill ride, this thrilling novel will leave you breathless.

    What mysteries are you staying up late to finish this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of May 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 6:30 pm on 2018/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , kinsey millhone, kinsey scale, Mysteries,   

    The 10 Most Essential Sue Grafton Mysteries 

    In the realm of fictional private investigators, Kinsey Millhone stands apart for a number of reasons. She’s a woman, first of all, though that was a lot more unusual in 1982, when Sue Grafton launched her bestselling series of alphabetically ordered mystery novels. She’s also iconoclastic and minimalist, preferring her tiny apartment and a steady diet of junk food to the lavish jet-set lifestyle of some protagonists we could name. And Grafton aged her deliberately over the course of 25 books, planning to have Millhone celebrate her 40th birthday in book 26.

    Sadly, Grafton passed away before the final book could be written (today, in fact, would’ve been her 78th birthday). But that still leaves 25 books in the “Alphabet” series, covering letters A through X. If you’re just coming to the series now, that number might be a bit intimidating, but you needn’t let that deter you—the series is remarkably consistent in terms of quality, so reading all 25 is no chore, but despite Grafton’s decision to allow Millhone to move forward in time, the books aren’t really dependent on one another. You could read the 10 best—presented below in series order—and come away with a good grasp of the character (and, we’ll bet, a desire to go back and fill in the gaps).

    A is for Alibi
    It really is best to start at the beginning. Grafton’s first novel wasn’t an instant hit, and the plot isn’t as airtight as later installments. But the character of Kinsey Millhone leaps off the page fully-formed, a spirited woman who thinks for herself and cares more about justice than about earning a paycheck. Most of her foibles and tics are on display here, from her love of snacks to her disdain for grooming (she cuts her own hair and doesn’t do a great job), and Grafton’s first moment of true genius comes at the ending, which sees Millhone solving the main murder while also discovering she’s gotten a lot of other things entirely wrong—a rare case of a reader having a cake (the case is solved) and eating it too (there’s one more shocking twist in store).

    B is for Burglar
    Grafton perfected her concept in the second book, which has a much stronger plot. Millhone is hired to find a missing person, but when she goes to Florida to check out the woman’s vacation home she finds a man living there, claiming to be a tenant—a tenant no one knew about. Grafton establishes Millhone’s intelligence and grit as she enters a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a killer, showing us everything that makes the character unforgettable but avoiding making her into a collection of quirks. She’s a butt-kicking, mystery-solving machine in a story that never slows down.

    D is for Deadbeat
    Any time a private detective is handed cash, people are going to crawl out of the woodwork, and Millhone is no exception. Asked by a drunk to give $25,000 to the survivor of a car crash he caused while driving while intoxicated, Millhone is determined to honor his wishes even after he turns up dead—but finds herself beset by ex-wives, children, and the drug dealers the money was stolen from in the first place. Although Grafton sometimes loses track of her own plot, she manages to pull it all back together for another story that serves to strengthen the fundamentals of Kinsey’s character and outline the rules of the seedy universe she operates in. Plus, the book’s just a lot of fun.

    H is for Homicide
    This book represents the point at which Grafton really got into a groove with her character, universe, and plotting. In a story that involves insurance fraud, the murder of someone close to our protagonist, and Kinsey going undercover to crack the case, Grafton finds plenty of opportunities to have a little fun, and she makes hay with all of them, introducing a cast of side characters that are fascinating but believable, all of whom contribute to a strong plot filled with great twists and turns. Grafton found an ideal balance between quirk and humor on the one hand and a seriously tense mystery on the other.

    J is for Judgment
    Hands down, this is one of the best cases Kinsey Millhone ever gets involved with. A wealthy banker disappears in an apparent suicide after his not-exactly-legitimate financial empire begins to collapse. Five years later, he’s officially declared dead, and his wife gets a huge insurance payout. When the banker is then spotted in Mexico, Kinsey’s hired to look into the mess. One of the strengths of this one is how focused it is on that central case; while the forays into Kinsey’s neighbors, landlord, and family that crop up in other books are entertaining and sometimes illuminating for the character, the clarity of purpose in this novel is energizing.

    K is for Killer
    Probably the darkest of the Millhone novels, and one of the best. Kinsey is suffering from insomnia, an affliction that starts off as a minor and somewhat humorous problem but develops into a debilitating weakness as sleep deprivation makes her start to doubt her own memory and perceptions. The case involves a dead body that lay undiscovered for so long a cause of death cannot be determined. Kinsey quickly figures out the dead woman was an under-the-radar prostitute, opening up a wide list of possible murder scenarios—and a long list of potential killers. With Kinsey’s confidence at an unusual low ebb, it’s the first time the reader can’t be 100 percent certain she will prevail at the end.

    M is for Malice
    A wealthy man, a junkie son who’s the black sheep of the family, a last will and testament that cuts the son out of the inheritance in favor of his three brothers—so far, so straightforward. But everything goes hinky when the father dies and the will goes missing. Kinsey is hired to locate the son, long banished due to his drug habit. When she digs him up, he’s clean and sober and seems to honestly regret his past behavior—and Kinsey finds his siblings to be unpleasant. What should be a clear-cut resolution to a simple problem quickly goes sideways, and Kinsey slowly unravels a dense mystery on her way to figuring who she can believe—if anyone. This one would rightly be a bestseller even without the charm of Kinsey Millhone.

    N is for Noose
    This novel features Kinsey’s off-center charm in spades. Hired by a police detective’s widow to pick up the cold case he’d spent his life trying to solve, Kinsey discovers that the small town he lived in is more or less united in the opinion that the matter should remain a mystery, and that his widow is nothing but a muckraker. Kinsey initially agrees, seeing nothing to justify the detective’s obsession—until she’s brutally assaulted in what seems a clear attempt to run her off. Anyone who’s ever read a detective novel knows the best way to keep a PI on a case is to try to threaten them, and Kinsey dives into the case with renewed passion. The small town characters are expertly sketched, and making Kinsey the fish-out-of-water sheds new light on her character and reminds even long-time fans why she’s one of the best fictional sleuths ever imagined.

    O is for Outlaw
    While it’s not necessary for readers to know all the details of Kinsey’s past and family in order to enjoy the books, it’s great fun every time we make a new discovery. This book is a great way to catch up on most of those details, because the case Kinsey takes on is more or less her own life. She stumbles onto evidence that proves she was 100 percent wrong about one of the reasons she used to justify leaving her husband. The revelation forces Kinsey to reexamine her decisions and dig back into her past. Along the way, we learn an awful lot about Kinsey Millhone’s journey into her late 30s.

    The really sad part about Sue Grafton’s passing is that even at the tail end of the alphabet, she was still doing some of her best work. X is a complex book that slowly twists together three narrative arcs: the main mystery, in which Kinsey is hired by a woman to search for a recently released convict who might be her long-lost son; Kinsey’s kindhearted efforts to help a peer’s widow organize his case files, leading her into surprising danger; and the matter of a frightening man who might be a serial murderer—and who is definitely obsessed with Kinsey. It’s a tightly-written thriller that delivers on all three plot threads, and ends with a few details unresolved, leading us directly into Y is for Yesterday, the unintended final book (a book also worth reading—it’s not only Kinsey’s swan song, but a pretty great installment).

    Kinsey Millhone will never see her 40th birthday, and the world will never get another Sue Grafton book. Both facts are tragedies—but at least we have 25 novels with which to celebrate both of their lives.

    The post The 10 Most Essential Sue Grafton Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2018/03/30 Permalink
    Tags: after anna, , , , , cave of bones, , , , , , Mysteries, new and mysterious, richard jury series, the good pilot peter woodhouse, the knowledge, the sixth day, , twenty-one days   

    The Best New Mysteries of March 2018 

    Greetings, gumshoes! March may have gone out like a lamb, but April’s new crop of mysteries is roaring in. From a gritty retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the peerless Jo Nesbø, to the story of a long-lost daughter whose sudden reappearance brings nothing but trouble, this month’s crop of whodunits is ready to surprise you with twists and turns you didn’t see coming.

    After Anna, by Lisa Scottoline
    In this tense family drama, Noah Alderman, a widower with a young son, gets a second chance at love when he marries Maggie Ippolitti, who is wonderful with his child and gives him the happy family he has longed for. When Maggie’s teenage daughter Anna, whom she hasn’t seen since she was an infant, reappears in her life, Maggie is also overjoyed that she gets a second chance at being the parent to Anna that she has always longed to be. But Anna’s reappearance upsets all of their lives, as she manipulates Noah and Maggie and pits them against each other, destabilizing their happy marriage. When Anna is murdered, Noah stands accused of the crime. Maggie doesn’t want to believe it, but the evidence against him is overwhelming…until she begins to dig deeper into Anna’s past, and uncovers darker secrets than she could have imagined.

    The Sixth Day (A Brit in the FBI Series #5), by Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison
    Things are heating up in the A Brit in the FBI Series—the fifth installment opens with a number of deaths of well-known politicians, which authorities are trying to claim are merely coincidental—until a drone is spotted near the steps of 10 Downing street when the German Vice-Chancellor is murdered. It’s clear there’s a hidden agenda behind these killings, and special agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine must track down a descendant of Vlad the Impaler, whom they believe is hell-bent on attacking London.

    The Knowledge (Richard Jury Series #24), by Martha Grimes
    When Richard Jury learns that a gambler-slash-astrophysics professor at Columbia he’s become friendly with was murdered in front of a casino-slash-gallery called the Artemis Club, he’s furious. When he learns that the murderer jumped into a cab directly after committing the crime, Jury follows that lead and finds himself in an investigation that leads from Tanzanian gem mines to a cabbies-only pub so secretive that not even the police can get the location out of anyone. Grimes’s funny, offbeat Richard Jury series crackles with wit and is packed with bizarro characters.

    The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse, by Alexander McCall Smith
    A moving story of love and friendship set against the tumultuous backdrop of World War II, this standalone novel is by the bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, and features his charming, deftly-drawn characters and intricate plotting. A young woman named Val is working on an English farm when she crosses paths with a U. S. Air Force pilot named Mike. When Val rescues a dog from an abusive owner, she finds him a home on Mike’s air force base, and she and Mike fall in love. The dog, Peter Woodhouse, becomes a fixture on the air force base, but disaster strikes as the war drags on, and when Mike and Peter Woodhouse draw a German corporal into their lives, it sets off a series of events that challenges their notions of friendship, loyalty, and love.

    Macbeth, by Jo Nesbø
    Brilliant thriller writer Jo Nesbø (author of the Harry Hole series) has written a fascinating entry in the inventive Hogarth Shakespeare series, in which modern authors update classic Shakespeare plays. Nesbo sets Macbeth in a dilapidated town in Scotland in the 1970s that is plagued by drugs and corruption. Duncan, the chief of police, is working to stem the tide of both and is assisted by SWAT team head Macbeth. But vicious local drug lord Hecate has his own agenda, and uses pressure and manipulation to push Macbeth, already unstable and paranoid, into serving his own terrible ends.

    Cave of Bones (Leaphorn, Chee and Manualito Series #4), by Anne Hillerman
    When a young participant in a character-building program returns from an outdoor trek shaken and upset, Tribal Police Officer Bernadette Manualito, who happens to be visiting the program, questions her and discovers that she came across a body in the rugged wilderness of New Mexico. Even more disturbing is the possibility that the body may belong to a missing program instructor. When Bernie investigates further, she discovers that this missing persons case may be connected to a very old one in which Joe Leaphorn was involved. In the meantime, her husband Jim Chee is dealing with a nightmare scenario of his own: a violent man he sent to prison on domestic violence charges is out—and he’s taken up with Bernie’s sister, Darleen. Navigating this extremely tricky emotional territory is going to push Jim to his limits.

    Twenty-One Days (Daniel Pitt Series #1), by Anne Perry
    It’s 1910, and young lawyer Daniel Pitt has some rather large shoes to fill, as the son of the esteemed Thomas and Charlotte Pitt (stars of Perry’s long-running series by the same name). Hungry to make a name for himself, junior barrister Daniel takes on the case of one Russell Graves, a biographer who has been found guilty of his wife’s murder. Unless Daniel can find the real killer, Graves will hang in only three weeks. But as Daniel digs deeper into the case, his investigations bring him closer to a colleague of his father’s, and his loyalty to the law is soon pitted against his duty to his own family—and to an innocent man whose life is on the line.

    What mysteries are you excited to read in April?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of March 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2018/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: charles finch, death of an honest man, down the river unto the sea, force of nature, jane harper, joanne fluke, , joseph knox, laura lippman, , Mysteries, , night moves, raspberry danish murder, sirens, sunburn, the woman in the water, ,   

    The Best New Mysteries of February 2018 

    As the bleak winter months drag on, it becomes even more important to take time to do the things you enjoy. For armchair detectives, this means stocking up on some of February’s best new mysteries. From twisty tales of murder and mayhem, to cozy cloak-and-daggers, our latest bumper crop of whodunits has got you covered.

    Night Moves (Alex Delaware Series #33), by Jonathan Kellerman
    When a wealthy family returns home after an evening dinner, they discover a mutilated corpse sitting in their den. Detective Alex Delaware and his friend on the LAPD, Milo Sturgis, are having trouble finding any leads save the suggestion, from one of the family, that their cartoonist neighbor is “weird”, which is a long-shot of a lead, but it’ll have to do. Longtime fans of Kellerman’s long-running Alex Delaware Series will love the gruesome 33rd installment, which is conveniently also a good place for new readers to start from.

    Raspberry Danish Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #22), by Joanne Fluke
    Newlywed Hannah Swensen Barton has barely had time to savor her newfound wedded bliss when her husband Ross vanishes without a trace. Unable to piece together his disappearance, she throws herself into a baking frenzy to help fill holiday orders at The Cookie Jar, including a raspberry Danish tasty enough to help anyone forget about their troubles at home. But before P.K., Ross’s assistant at KCOW-TV, gets the chance to try the delectable pastry, he is murdered. P.K. had been sitting at Ross’s desk at work and driving his car—was he the murderer’s target, or was it Ross? Dig into the delicious 22nd mystery in this toothsome series.

    Force of Nature, by Jane Harper
    There’s nothing quite as awful as a corporate retreat, is there? Especially when it involves a trek into the great outdoors. Five colleagues are compelled to put on hiking boots and trek off into the mud…but only four make it back. And their stories don’t add up. As Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk begins investigating the disappearance, he finds himself stumbling down a rabbit hole of betrayal, inter-office intrigue, and long-buried secrets. Harper’s dazzling debut is not to be missed.

    Down the River Unto the Sea, by Walter Mosley
    A new standalone novel by the author of the Easy Rawlins series introduces Joe King Oliver, who has had what you might call a very difficult time of things. A former cop who found himself framed for assault by fellow NYPD officers, he was sent to Rikers Island, where he endured (and meted out) his fair share of abuse and brutality, and finally ended up in solitary. Now free, Joe’s post-prison life is a quiet one, revolving around his work as a private detective with the aid of his teenage daughter. Until he receives a mysterious note in the mail from a woman claiming to be the person who was paid to frame him. Joe realizes that he cannot rest until he gets to the bottom of his own case, but discovering the truth means aligning himself with a sociopath and wading into a fray of dirty cops and crooked lawyers.

    Death of an Honest Man, by M. C. Beaton
    Honesty is the best policy, but when newcomer Paul English moves to the town of Cnothan and begins attending church in Lochdubh, his policy of brutal truth-telling gets him in trouble, fast. English likes to call things as he sees them, and this essentially involves insulting every townsperson he comes across (he even has the nerve to tell everyone’s favorite laconic police sergeant, Hamish Macbeth, that it’s obvious he dyes his red hair). Before long, nearly everyone English has met would cheerfully kill him—and then someone does. It’s up to Hamish to solve this crime, but when basically everyone is a suspect, it’s far from an open and shut case. The entertaining 33rd installment in the Hamish Macbeth Series will delight longtime fans and win new ones.

    Sunburn, by Laura Lippman
    No one is quite who they seem in Lippman’s riveting noir masterpiece. Polly and Adam first encounter each other in a small town in Delaware. Adam is drawn to Polly’s air of mystery, but she’s not the only one with secrets. Even as they begin a passionate affair that is sure to end in disaster, each continues to hold back, engaging in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. As Polly and Adam’s lives become more tightly entwined, the stakes grow ever higher, until a suspicious death threatens to destroy them both. Be warned: you’ll want to finish this one in a single sitting.

    Sirens, by Joseph Knox
    Disgraced undercover officer Aidan Waits has been given the perfect assignment—perfect because it involves infiltrating the inner circles of dangerous drug lord Zain Carver, so it’s basically a suicide mission, and Aidan’s superiors are not particularly concerned about his health and safety. But Aidan will not be underestimated. He’s been assigned to save young Isabelle Rossiter from Zain’s dangerous influence, and he’s going to do it, even if it costs him everything. Which in fact it may, especially because his interest in her has gone beyond purely professional…

    The Woman in the Water, by Charles Finch
    The eleventh book in the Charles Lenox series is a prequel, taking readers back to the illustrious detective’s early days, when he was fresh, inexperienced, and eager to prove himself. When the discovery of a woman’s body in a naval trunk just off a small island in the middle of the Thames is linked to an anonymous letter sent to the paper suggesting that the killer will strike again, and soon—Lenox sees the opportunity to advance his career he’s been looking for. But his efforts to solve the case attract the killer’s attention, putting Lenox’s inner circle in danger. With a frightening murderer and a desperate young detective, The Woman in the Water will delight longtime fans of the series, while providing the perfect entry point for new readers.

    Claws for Concern, by Miranda James
    Delighted new grandfather Charlie Harris is keeping busy in the 9th novel in James’ endearing series. Through volunteering at the local library, he’s befriended an elderly man who is doing genealogical research that ends up being shockingly close to home. At the same time, true-crime author Jack Pemberton has become obsessively focused on making Charlie the subject of his next book. Fortunately, Charlie’s Maine Coon cat Diesel is up for the challenge of helping him get to the bottom of an unsolved murder. Heaped with Southern Charm and with a puzzling mystery at its heart, Claws for Concern is the perfect story to curl up with on a cold February night.

    The Gate Keeper (Ian Rutledge Series #20), by Charles Todd
    Ian Rutledge is driving around aimlessly after his sister’s wedding when he encounters a startling scene: a woman standing over a bloodied body in the middle of the road. The shaken woman insists that she is not the murderer; that the man was killed by a passerby, and Ian persuades Scotland Yard to give him the case despite the fact that he is a witness after the fact. The victim’s name was Stephen Wentworth, and he appears to have been generally well-liked, except by his own family, who refers to him as a murderer. As Ian digs deeper into the case, a second death makes it clear that the killer is not finished, and in fact may just be getting started.

    What mysteries are you sleuthing on this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of February 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 9:00 pm on 2017/12/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , dark in death, gregg hurwitz, hellbent, into the black nowhere, , , jessica fellowes, karen ellis, louisa luna, map of the dark, meg gardiner, mitford murders, Mysteries, , pope of palm beach, robicheaux, the grave's a fine & private place, tim dorsey, two girls down, wife   

    The Best New Mysteries of January 2018 

    January’s mysteries are as dark, bleak, and beautiful as the month itself. Stories of betrayal, shifting loyalties, and perfect-from-the-outside marriages abound. The days are still short, but once you’ve finished this roundup, trust us, your TBR pile will be longer than ever. Without further ado, we present our favorite mystery picks for the first month of 2018!

    Dark in Death (In Death Series #46), by J. D. Robb
    A young woman is quietly murdered with an icepick during a screening of Hitchcock’s Psycho (and yes, during that scene) in the 46th novel in Robb’s masterful In Death series. Before long, Detective Eve Dallas is tipped off that there may be a link between this murder and a recent strangulation—both echo scenes written by an author of procedural thrillers. Dallas and her wealthy husband Roarke begin a frantic quest to figure out which mystery novel this terrifying killer is going to crib from next. And although they’re enjoying delving into mystery novels, time is of the essence if they want to stop another fictional copycat’s crime.

    Robicheaux: A Novel, by James Lee Burke
    Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux has found himself in a dark place. He’s battling demons including alcoholism, regret, and anger at the loss of his adored wife, Molly. Knee-deep in an investigation into the murder of the man who accidentally killed her, Robicheaux begins to suspect that he himself may have actually committed the murder he is trying to solve. As he and his friend Clete Purcell dig deeper into the mystery, they encounter a colorful cast of characters—a brutal mob boss, an eccentric author, and a pretty-boy with a dark side and deep political aspirations. Burke’s sharply beautiful prose and his timely investigation into themes of corruption, racism, America’s past and its future coalesce into an unforgettable new novel.

    The Mitford Murders, by Jessica Fellowes
    Impoverished but plucky Louisa Cannon is overjoyed when she lands a plum position as a nursemaid to the wealthy Mitford family, becoming particularly close to their clever sixteen-year-old daughter, Nancy. But the two are drawn into the orbit of a dangerous killer when a famous nurse (and descendent of Florence Nightingale) is brazenly murdered on a train in plain sight. This homage to the classic murder mystery is based on a fascinating real-life murder (and a real family!).

    The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place: A Flavia de Luce Novel, by Alan Bradley
    As talented as she is precocious, young Flavia de Luce has already endured her share of tragedies (and solved more than her share of mysteries) by the tender age of twelve. While on a boating trip intended to lift her spirits, traveling with her two older sisters and faithful family servant Dogger, Flavia dangles her fingers in the water and encounters a floating object that turns out to be a human head—still attached to a human body. Of course, this discovery does lift Flavia’s spirits—because she is Flavia, and she now has a brand new murder to solve. This delightfully addictive and award-winning series about a brilliant young sleuth will enchant you.

    Hellbent (Evan Smoak Series #3), by Gregg Hurwitz
    Hellbent is the nail-biting third installment in the Orphan X series featuring trained covert government assassin-turned-friend-of-the-desperate Evan Smoak. This time Smoak, known to the grateful people he assists as Nowhere Man, is called upon to help the only father figure he’s ever had, Jack Johns, on what turns out to be an exceptionally personal mission: Protect Jack’s final protégé from harm, and find new recruits for the Orphan Program. Unfortunately he’s up against both clandestine government forces, who are trying to obliterate all traces of the program, and the new head of the program itself, Van Sciver. Surviving this mission is going to take everything Nowhere Man has.

    The Pope of Palm Beach: A Novel, by Tim Dorsey
    Author Tim Dorsey is a genius at mining the Sunshine State’s rich vein of wackadoodle characters, and he does so with admirable aplomb (and irreverence) in this novel starring the indomitable, dedicated Florida fan Serge A. Storms. A compelling mystery leads Serge to return to his home turf to investigate the myths behind a man named Darby, a.k.a. the Legend of Riviera Beach, a universally beloved surfer with a heart of gold from Serge’s childhood. As Serge and his quirky sidekick Coleman begin to investigate, the body count grows, and the mystery only deepens.

    Two Girls Down, by Louisa Luna
    The tension never lets up in this harrowing thriller. Single mother Jamie Brandt leaves her eight and ten year old daughters in the car for just a few minutes while she buys a birthday present, and when she returns, they’re gone. Her sister enlists tough-as-nails bounty hunter Alice Vega to find the girls, and when the police force resists her help, Alice teams up with a disgraced former cop named Max Caplan. Don’t miss this beautifully written, character-driven, and relentlessly suspenseful story by and up and coming master of the genre.

    Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel, by Meg Gardiner
    A charming yet psychopathic serial killer in this disturbing, Ted Bundy-inspired thriller is targeting young women in southern Texas; a different one is murdered every Saturday night. FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix is a rookie who’s just started in the Behavioral Analysis unit, and she’s charged with working against the clock to get inside the depraved mind of a ruthless killer who just might be hiding in plain sight. Her focus narrows to a well-liked, successful professional, but he’s linked to the crimes only by circumstantial evidence, which may not be enough to save this weekend’s next murder victim.

    The Wife, by Alafair Burke
    Having escaped her tragic past, Angela is enjoying a quiet life in relative obscurity with her son when she meets Jason, who sweeps her off her feet. They marry, and several years later Jason’s writing career takes off and Angela finds herself and her son closer to the spotlight than she would like. When several women make troubling accusations against her husband, Angela is forced to confront the fact that she may not know Jason as well as she thinks, and to decide whether or not she can defend him, if it means losing everything. A twisty psychological thriller about trust, loyalty, and long-buried secrets.

    A Map of the Dark, by Karen Ellis
    When a teenaged girl named Ruby disappears under mysterious circumstances, FBI agent Elsa Myers takes the case even though she’s already got a lot on her plate—her father is dying in the hospital, and she’s keeping a lot of emotions related to several deeply dysfunctional family relationships and a difficult past at bay by compartmentalizing it all in order to keep herself sane. But as Ruby’s case unfolds it shakes free some long-buried secrets, and Elsa’s painful history begins to rear its ugly head, threatening to derail her investigation—and ruin the life she has built for herself in the process. At the heart of this harrowing race-against-time story is an exploration of the way our family legacies shape us—and the way they can destroy us.

    Which mysteries are you excited to pick up this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of January 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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