New Releases in MysteryPeople: August 13th 2013

Bad Blood by Arne Dahl

In Arne Dahl’s riveting follow-up to Misterioso, the Intercrime team is assigned the task of tracking down an American serial killer on the loose in Sweden—quietly, and as quickly as possible. When a Swedish literary critic is found tortured to death in a janitor’s closet at Newark International Airport, the police realize that the murderer made off with the victim’s ticket and boarded a flight to Stockholm. Swedish authorities are placed on high alert, but the killer manages to slip through the customs dragnet and vanishes into the night.

With no clear motive in sight, Detectives Paul Hjelm and Kerstin Holm of Intercrime’s A-Unit take over the investigation. They learn that the method of torture used was not only a highly specialized means of extracting information secretly developed during the Vietnam War—allowing the victim to whisper, but not to scream—but also that it was the modus operandi of an allegedly deceased homicidal maniac known only as the Kentucky Killer. As additional victims are discovered on the outskirts of Stockholm and the terror grows, the team finds itself coming up empty-handed. Hjelm and Holm fly to New York, hoping to discover both the killer’s identity and the source of his interest in Sweden. What they quickly learn, searching through the past, is that bad blood always comes back around.

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cook

Bestselling author Carolyn Jess-Cooke has written a brilliant novel of suspense that delves into the recesses of the human mind and soul—perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Lisa Unger. The Boy Who Could See Demons follows a child psychologist who comes up against a career-defining case—one that threatens to unravel her own painful past and jeopardizes the life of a boy who can see the impossible.

Dr. Anya Molokova, a child psychiatrist, is called in to work at MacNeice House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. There she is told to observe and assess Alex Connolly, a keenly intelligent, sensitive ten-year-old coping with his mother’s latest suicide attempt. Alex is in need of serious counseling: He has been harming himself and others, often during blackouts. At the root of his destructive behavior, Alex claims, is his imaginary “friend” Ruen, a cunning demon who urges Alex to bend to his often violent will.

But Anya has seen this kind of behavior before—with her own daughter, Poppy, who suffered from early-onset schizophrenia. Determined to help Alex out of his darkness, Anya begins to treat the child. But soon strange and alarming coincidences compel Anya to wonder: Is Alex’s condition a cruel trick of the mind? Or is Ruen not so make-believe after all? The reality, it turns out, is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.

A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Boy Who Could See Demons sets out to challenge the imagination and capture the way life takes unexpected turns. In the best storytelling tradition, it leaves the reader changed.

Recent Releases We Know You’ll Love:

Mapuche by Caryl Ferey

Twenty-eight-year-old Jana is a Mapuche, one of those “people of the earth” who roamed the most fertile tracts of the south American pampas for over two thousand years before being dispossessed in 1910 by the Argentinean constitution and transformed overnight into outlaws. Long black hair, big almond-shaped eyes, ravishing features, tall…but with small breasts, breasts that stopped growing after a violent attack by the Argentinean police when she was a girl. Jana is sculptor of a rare and undiscovered talent who prostitutes herself down at the docks to make ends meet. She is connected, as if by a blood bond, to her best friend, Miguel, a.k.a. Paula, a transvestite who also works the docks. When the body of a transvestite is found emasculated at the Port de la Boca, Jana turns for help and protection to private investigator Ruben Calderon. Calderon is a grizzled investigator who served time following the coup d’état of March 24, 1976. Since then he has been working tirelessly for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, searching for any trace of los desaparecidos and their odious tormentors. Together, Jana and Ruben will plunge into the corrupt beating heart of the Argentinean political system on a hunt for a vicious murderer.

The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm

The Collector Book Three

Who Collects the Collectors?

Sam Thornton has had many run-ins with his celestial masters, but he’s always been sure of his own actions. However, when he’s tasked with dispatching the mythical Brethren – a group of former Collectors who have cast off their ties to Hell – is he still working on the side of right?


New Releases in MysteryPeople: August 6th 2013

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

Seven days

One girl

No second chances

Madeline Hart is a rising star in Britain’s governing party: beautiful, intelligent, driven by an impoverished childhood to succeed. But she is also a woman with a dark secret: she is the lover of Prime Minister Jonathan Lancaster. Somehow, her kidnappers have learned of the affair, and they intend to make the British leader pay dearly for his sins. Fearful of a scandal that will destroy his career, Lancaster decides to handle the matter privately rather than involve the British police. It is a risky gambit, not only for the prime minister but also for the operative who will conduct the search.

You have seven days, or the girl dies.

Enter Gabriel Allon–master assassin, art restorer and spy–who is no stranger to dangerous assignments or political intrigue. With the clock ticking, Gabriel embarks on a desperate attempt to bring Madeline home safely. His mission takes him from the criminal underworld of Marseilles to an isolated valley in the mountains of Provence to the stately if faded corridors of power in London–and, finally, to a pulse-pounding climax in Moscow, a city of violence and spies where there is a long list of men who wish Gabriel dead.

From the novel’s opening pages until the shocking ending when the true motives behind Madeline’s disappearance are revealed, The English Girl will hold readers spellbound. It is a timely reminder that, in today’s world, money often matters more than ideology. And it proves once again why Daniel Silva has been called his generation’s finest writer of suspense and foreign intrigue.

Death’s Door by James R. Benn

Lieutenant Billy Boyle could have used a rest after his last case, but when his girlfriend, Diana Seaton, a British spy, goes missing in the Vatican, where she was working undercover, he insists on being assigned to a murder investigation there so he can try to help her.

An American monsignor is found murdered at the foot of Death’s Door, one of the five entrances to Saint Peter’s Basilica. Wild Bill Donovan, head of the OSS, wants the killing investigated. The fact that the Vatican is neutral territory in German-occupied Rome is only one of the obstacles Billy must overcome. First is a harrowing journey, smuggled into Rome while avoiding the Gestapo and Allied bombs. Then he must navigate Vatican politics and personalities—some are pro-Allied, others pro-Nazi, and the rest steadfastly neutral—to learn the truth about the murdered monsignor. But that’s not his only concern; just a short walk from the Vatican border is the infamous Regina Coeli prison, where Diana is being held. Can he dare a rescue, or will a failed attempt alert the Germans to his mission and risk an open violation of Vatican neutrality?

Mistress by James Patterson and David Ellis

James Patterson’s scariest, sexiest stand-alone thriller since The Quickie.
Ben isn’t like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts, he’s a man consumed by his obsessions: movies, motorcycles, presidential trivia-and Diana Hotchkiss, a beautiful woman Ben knows he can never have.

When Diana is found dead outside her apartment, Ben’s infatuation drives him on a hunt to find out what happened to the love of his life.

Ben soon discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a shocking double life. And now someone is out to stop Ben from uncovering the truth about Diana’s illicit affairs.

In his most heart-pumping thriller yet, James Patterson plunges us into the depths of a mind tortured by paranoia and obsession, on an action-packed chase through a world of danger and deceit.

Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

A gripping novel full of suspense and pathos that Dennis Lehane calls an “electrifying, tomahawk missile of a thriller.”

Patrick Cusimano’s life can’t get much worse. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother’s girlfriend, Caro, has pushed their friendship to an uncomfortable new level.  On top of all that, he can’t shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn’t understand, and doesn’t fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing Patrick to his breaking point.

Meanwhile, Layla’s little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school.  She’s become a prime target for her cruel classmates, and not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents. Layla’s bad-girl rep casts a shadow too heavy for Verna to bear alone, so she falls in with her sister’s tribe of outcasts. But their world is far darker than she ever imagined…

Unless Patrick, Layla, Caro, and Verna can forge their own twisted paths to peace—with themselves, with each other—then they’re stuck on a dangerous collision course where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Kelly Braffet has written a novel of unnerving powerdarkly compelling, compulsively addictive, and shockingly honest

New Releases in MysteryPeople: July 30th 2013

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

Stunningly dark, hugely intelligent and thoroughly addictive, Ghostman announces the arrival of an exciting and highly distinctive novelist.

When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favor from someone who’s occasionally called Jack. While it’s doubtful that anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity, or even if he’s still alive, he’s in his mid-thirties and lives completely off the grid, a criminal’s criminal who does entirely as he pleases and is almost impossible to get in touch with. But within hours a private jet is flying this exceptionally experienced fixer and cleaner-upper from Seattle to New Jersey and right into a spectacular mess: one heister dead in the parking lot, another winged but on the run, the shooter a complete mystery, the $1.2 million in freshly printed bills god knows where and the FBI already waiting for Jack at the airport, to be joined shortly by other extremely interested and elusive parties. He has only forty-eight hours until the twice-stolen cash literally explodes, taking with it the wider, byzantine ambitions behind the theft. To contend with all this will require every gram of his skill, ingenuity and self-protective instincts, especially when offense and defense soon become meaningless terms. And as he maneuvers these exceedingly slippery slopes, he relives the botched bank robbery in Kuala Lumpur five years earlier that has now landed him this unwanted new assignment.

From its riveting opening pages, Ghostman effortlessly pulls the reader into Jack’s refined and peculiar world—and the sophisticated shadowboxing grows ever more intense as he moves, hour by hour, toward a  constantly reimprovised solution. With a quicksilver plot, gripping prose and masterly expertise, Roger Hobbs has given us a novel that will immediately place him in the company of our most esteemed crime writers.

The Highway by C.J. Box

When two sisters set out across a remote stretch of Montana road to visit their friend, little do they know it will be the last time anyone might ever hear from them again. The girls—and their car—simply vanish.  Former police investigator Cody Hoyt has just lost his job and has fallen off the wagon after a long stretch of sobriety.  Convinced by his son and his former rookie partner, Cassie Dewell, he begins the drive south to the girls’ last known location.  As Cody makes his way to the lonely stretch of Montana highway where they went missing, Cassie discovers that Gracie and Danielle Sullivan aren’t the first girls who have disappeared in this area.  This majestic landscape is the hunting ground for a killer whose viciousness is outmatched only by his intelligence.  And he might not be working alone.  Time is running out for Gracie and Danielle…Can Cassie overcome her doubts and lack of experience and use her innate skill?  Can Cody Hoyt battle his own demons and find this killer before another victim vanishes on the highway?

Death Angel by Linda Fairstein

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Central Park, the clock begins ticking for Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to find the killer who has breached this haven in the middle of New York City. Is the body found in the lake, under the unseeing gaze of the Bethesda angel, the first victim of a deranged psychopath, or is the case connected to other missing girls and women in years past whose remains have never been found? Just as the trio gets their first lead, the investigation is almost derailed when Mike and Alex become embroiled in a scandal.

As Alex attempts to fight the accusations leveled against her and Mike, she follows clues that range from the park’s most buried — literally — secrets all the way to the majestic Dakota, which has experienced its own share of tragedies. When another young woman is attacked in the park, a new question arises: is this enormous urban park a sanctuary—as it seems to the thousands of New Yorkers and tourists who fill it every day—or is it a hunting ground for a killer with a twisted mind?

Once again, Linda Fairstein will thrill both longtime fans and new readers with an explosive page-turner filled with a shocking realism that only she can deliver.

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd

London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.

On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.

To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.

But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.

Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: It plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.

Chris’ Top 5 Books of 2013 (so far)

2013 has been a great year for crime fiction, and the year isn’t over yet. Below are my 5 favorite books of the year thus far.

The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo

The 6th novel in the stellar Harry Hole series may have taken its sweet time getting to American bookstores, but it was well worth the wait. Falling in line between The Devil’s Star and The Snowman, The Redeemer is a story about a hitman (know only as The Little Redeemer) who accidentally takes out the wrong target. Dedicated to completing his mission, he suffers the pains of being a stranger in a strange land while Harry and the Oslo PD are hot on his trail.

The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson

Boo and Junior are not your average private investigators, as a matter of fact they’re not private investigators at all, but when a girl goes missing they are her only hope of rescue. Todd Robinson knocks it out of the park and into the stratosphere with his mixture of hard boiled action, wit, humor, and just a dash of tenderness. The Hard Bounce is required reading.

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis is best know for his critically acclaimed comic book work, but he is also a ridiculously talented novelist. In Gun Machine, his second novel, Ellis takes the tried-and-true police procedural formula and turns it upside down. When a shootout in an apartment building leaves Detective John Tallow without a partner he doesn’t think his day can get any worse, but then the police stumble upon an apartment literally filled with guns. Now it’s up to Tallow to find a killer who’s been stalking the streets of New York City for over two decades.

The Eye of God by James Rollins

James Rollins writes badass adventure novels in the vein of Doc Savage and Indiana Jones, and his Sigma Force series has quickly become the go-to for many fans of the genre, myself included. Imagine if Ian Flemming wrote an Indiana Jones story and get the idea. Rollins stories are a rollercoaster ride filled with exotic locations, Bond-style villains, and more action then you think you can handle. Pick up The Eye of God and see what all the fuss is about.

Skinner by Charlie Huston

Charlie Huston’s clever prose, interesting characters, and Tarantino-esque dialogue have made him a rising star in the world of crime fiction. In his latest novel we meet Skinner, a CIA operative with a history of brutal efficiency, who will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of his assets. One part Le Carre style spy thriller with a dose of William Gibson’s cyber-philosophy, Skinner is an exciting and terrifying look into the potential future of our world.

Crime Fiction Friday: TIM BRYANT

Tim Bryant is an author who came to our attention through Texas writer Joe R.  Lansdale. Like Joe, he has a unique voice that fits with his characters, especially when it comes to postwar Fort Worth P.I. Dutch Curridge. Tim was kind enough to write an original Dutch story for our Crime Fiction Friday.


Bullet and Bell

by Tim Bryant

I always said my three favorite sounds in the whole world were Lester Young’s saxophone, Lefty Frizzell’s singing and Ruthie Nell Porter saying anything but goodbye. So when Harold “Money” Johnson was playing with Cozy Cole at the Rose Room and took a stray bullet to the bell of his trumpet, mid solo, I took it personal. If word got out that the Rose Room had become a health hazard, Lester wouldn’t book the place again. I couldn’t have that.

The bullet that brought Money’s solo to an abrupt end was, in fact, the third to fly, and it’s a wonder none of them left a body on the dance floor. It seemed, at first, that the culprit managed to miss anything and everything, not counting the poster-covered clapboard wall behind the bandstand and Money’s horn. However, after the crowd moved out into the parking lot and started to disperse, my partner Slant Face Sanders discovered a smeared pool of blood, almost black against the oak floor.

“Look at this, Dutch,” he said.

The night manager, a guy named Hank Porter, came over and pushed the tip of his umbrella around in it, an umbrella he’d already used to usher a few slow moving patrons out into the cool October air.

“Don’t tell me someone was hit.”

I bent down and looked. The blood was fresh. There was a footprint through it, but that might have been anyone. Looked like a worker’s boot.

“Maybe not enough to kill anybody, Hank,” I said, “but I doubt it’s a dancing injury.”

Money Johnson was sitting in a metal chair just inside the kitchen area. Cozy Cole was standing over him, holding the damaged horn under the light.

“Will you looky here?”

Money didn’t even make a motion to look, but a couple of the other guys gathered around, and I followed. Cole was pointing at a half-inch crack in the bell.

“Didn’t punch through, Mon,” he said. “You got yourself a genuine Liberty Bell.”

“Yeah, ain’t hardly playable now,” said one of the other guys, I think the alto sax.

Something caught my eye, and I asked to take a look at it. Cole looked at Hank and Hank nodded, so he handed it to me with both hands outstretched, like he was expecting me to try to play it. It was lighter than I expected. I held the horn down in front of me and carefully turned it. I pointed at a place just inside the bell.

“Small caliber bullet,” I said. “Hit right here and deflected.”

“Mon, you lucky you didn’t suck the damn thing up,” Cole said.

Money shook his head and took a drink from a glass of scotch that had just been sat in front of him by the barkeep.

“Look at this,” I said, and held the trumpet, bell up, toward him. “Not your blood, is it?”

There was an almost unnoticeable stain under the bell. You had to be looking for it to see it.

“I don’t think so,” Money said, and looked at his hands. There was a cut on the small finger of his left hand where the horn had been ripped out of his hand, but it seemed highly remote that his finger had time or opportunity to make any contact with the inside of the horn.

“I’d say your bullet passed through somebody before it hit your trumpet,” I said. “Slowed it down just enough to not do any major damage.”

Money shook his head.

“I’m sorry, sir, but it did plenty of damage. Horn ain’t worth shit like this.”

I handed it back to him.

“I’m talking about damage to you.”

The bullet had passed clean through somebody on the dance floor, which explained the blood, and then had crossed over the stage, right past Cozy Cole, taking out the trumpet and, no doubt, lodging in the interior wall to the right side of the stage. I sent the barkeep to hunt it down.

I walked out to check the parking lot and surrounding streets. Any car left after the show that didn’t belong to the band or staff very possibly belonged to the injured party. I knew it was likely he wouldn’t feel up to driving. Of course, if he had friends who helped him leave the scene, it was also possible that he’d given the keys to one of them. Still, it was something to go on.

It was the first time I’d had a chance to talk with Slant.

“We’ve gotta keep this under control,” I said.

He didn’t have to ask why. Or how.

“You better solve it before it hits the papers then,” he said.

That way, they get the beginning and end of the story at the same time. Case closed. Story over.

“If we can get the story to Ruthie Nell, we can get her to downplay it,” I said.

Ruthie Nell Porter was our connection at the Fort Worth Press. On most nights, she would have also been my partner at the Rose Room, but she was working on deadlines for the Sunday edition. The Press was the little kid on the block, always fighting to grab headlines from the big boys over at the Star-Telegram. Ruthie was also the girl after my own heart, even if she didn’t know it.

The only cars on the street that we couldn’t account for was a cream-colored milk truck pulling away from a house on Commerce and a black ’51 Mercury Monterey parked in front of Ward’s Drugs. Neither held my interest. I wrote down the tags on the Monterey, just in case I needed to run them later, and we headed back to the club feeling less than hopeful.

As we crossed Houston and headed toward Ninth Street, I kicked at a rock and thought I saw a blood spill on the sidewalk. Paint. I booted the rock out into the street and watched a city bus drive over it.

“He could’ve taken a bus,” Slant said.

“The victim could’ve been a she,” I said. “There were just as many women out on the floor.”

Had somebody shown up and found his girl dancing with somebody else? Three shots, the first two going into the wall and the third hitting a target suggested that maybe the killer had shot wildly, finally found his target and then made a hasty exit.

“Or the gunman could’ve been a girl,” I said. “Gunwoman.”

“We could check the hospitals,” Slant said.

There were two Negro hospitals serving Fort Worth, and there was little chance that either one would release information to two white guys showing up in the middle of the night, no matter how many badges I flashed. Only white people they were used to seeing were men sneaking in for treatment of syphilis. I didn’t syphilis, and I didn’t have my badge, on account of it being out of date.

I wasn’t sure what else we could do.

“News like this gets out, Prez’ll never book Fort Worth again,” I said.

I found another rock in my path, kicked it extra hard and listened to it ricochet off a metal storefront sign and echo down the empty street.


Hank Porter was standing in the Rose Room parking lot, swinging a flashlight like he was bringing an airplane down Houston Street. Back on the southeast end of the lot, following away from the loading doors until it disappeared ten feet away, was a trail of congealed blood.

“They either disappeared into thin air right about here or somebody picked them up,” he said, pointing to where the blood ended.

“They left by the loading exit,” Slant said.

“Means they probably got out ahead of the crowd,” I said.

I looked around. Most of the spaces around us were still occupied.

“These all employees?”

Hank looked around and nodded.

“They all still here?”

I could see him counting with his eyes. He nodded again.

“You guys are off the clock,” he said. “That means you can go the hell home.”

He looked around at the handful of workers trying their best not to look like they were listening.

“Who’s missing?” I said.

I was looking at the barkeep. He seemed surprised. He wiped his forehead with his towel and glanced around.

“Nobody I guess.”

“Claudia’s missing.”

I turned and saw one of the waitresses standing in the exit.

“Claudia?” I said.

“Claudia Franklin,” Hank said. “I don’t think there’s any way Claudia could be the guilty party, Dutch.”

I didn’t disagree.

“She married?” I said.

“No, but she’s courting somebody,” the waitress said.

“There’s your guilty party, Hank,” I said.

I wasn’t always so sure of myself, but I had a strong hunch.

“Aron is seeing Claudia.”

One of the club bouncers stepped up to me and grimaced. He was a good foot taller than me and outweighed me by eighty pounds. Looked like a wrestler.

“Who would Aron be?” I said.

Hank stepped between us like a referee in a boxing ring.

“Dutch, this is Raymond,” he said. “Aron is his big brother.”

Slant Face tried to suppress a laugh.

“She got an old beau?” I said. “Someone who might be sore that she’s taken up with the big brother?”

Someone who knew a gun would be his only decent shot, if he could manage to get a decent shot off.

“Darrell Ray Fletcher,” said the waitress. “He’s caused trouble before.”

We find Darrell Ray Fletcher, I figured we found the finger that pulled the trigger. With Slant Face along for support, I didn’t foresee any problem shaking a confession out of him. No one knew exactly where he was from, but the waitress was pretty sure he lived on Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania’s trouble, Dutch,” Porter said. “You want, I can send Raymond with you.”

I said Pennsylvania Avenue was nothing of the sort. Any high-falutin resident along that area of town— called the Gold Coast for its collection of nice homes, even if there was no coast within three hundred miles— would be even less enthusiastic about appearing in the crime section of the Press than the bums down on Ninth Street. Raymond the bouncer would have come in handy, but I didn’t think I needed him. Slant and I had walked halfway back to my car, a green 1932 Austin Chummy, when I had a sudden thought.

“Go on ahead,” I told him. “Meet you at the Chummy. I forgot one thing.”

I walked back across the empty lot and up to the exit door, which was now pulled to, with just a beam of light falling out across the dark, landing inches from the place where the last bit of blood had been spilled. I stuck my head back into the club and found the waitress pulling her overcoat on and grabbing her purse.

“One more question, ma’am,” I said. “This Fletcher fella. He wouldn’t happen to work for Meadow Gold, would he?”

She cocked her head and smiled.

“You’re pretty good, Mr. Curridge. His father’s the dairy manager there.”

My three favorite sounds might have been Lester Young’s sax, Lefty Frizzell’s singing, and Ruthie Nell’s laugh, but right behind those was the sweet sound of success. I didn’t get paid a dime for solving the shooting at The Rose Room in October of 1952, but remembering that the Meadow Gold milk truck didn’t run at night was good for a free front row table when The Lester Young Trio played the Rose Room in early December of that year. That was worth everything plus tax.

As Lester leaned into his sax and began chasing notes around and around “Almost Like Being in Love,” a little waitress I’d never seen before came by and left a Jack Daniels and Dr Pepper and a gin sour on the table.

“Mr. Porter says it’s on the house.”

Jack and Dr Pepper. My drink of choice. I thanked her.

“So you’re a cop,” she said.

“I don’t work for nobody but myself,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. “The newspaper said you was the law.”

“Course, I’m the law,” I said. Sheriff, private eye, bouncer at The Rose Room. We’re all cops if you’re trying to get away with something.

Ruthie Nell picked up her glass, stirred and clinked it against mine. She looked incredible that evening, and the band was absolutely breath-taking. Or maybe it was the other way around. I took a long draw on my drink and let it all go to my head.

New Releases in MysteryPeople: July 23rd 2013

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay (paperback release)

Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic so affected that he rarely leaves the self-imposed bastion of his bedroom. But with a computer program called, he travels the world while never so much as stepping out the door. He pores over and memorizes the streets of the world. He examines every address, as well as the people who are frozen in time on his computer screen. Then he sees something that anyone else might have stumbled upon–but has not–in a street view of downtown New York City: an image in a window. An image that looks like a woman being murdered.

Thomas’s brother, Ray, takes care of him, cooking for him, dealing with the outside world on his behalf, and listening to his intricate and increasingly paranoid theories. When Thomas tells Ray what he has seen, Ray humors him with a half-hearted investigation. But Ray soon realizes he and his brother have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy. And now they are in the cross hairs.

Fallout by Garry Disher

Australian jewel thief Wyatt has a bounty of stolen jewels and a yacht, but nothing can stop him from returning to his life of crime. He drugs his lover, police officer Liz Redding, and escapes into the night only to discover the gems he lifted are fakes. With his luck and his resources rapidly running out, Wyatt begrudgingly joins forces with Raymond, his estranged nephew and an established criminal himself, to lift some expensive artwork.

It should be an easy job—the gallery is under construction and Wyatt has performed similar heists before. But it isn’t long before things go south, leaving Wyatt with some tough choices. Will the young and eager Raymond prove to be a worthy pupil or is he nothing but dead weight? For Wyatt, putting faith in other people has never been as tempting… or as dangerous.

The Homecoming by Carsten Stroud

From its explosive opening to its eerie climax, The Homecoming is a page-turning, labyrinthine thrill ride that returns to Niceville . . . where evil lives far longer than men do.

When two plane crashes set off a spellbinding chain reaction of murder, inadvertent kidnapping, corporate corruption, and financial double-dealing, it’s not enough that Niceville detective Nick Kavanaugh (ex–Special Forces) has to investigate. He and his wife, family lawyer Kate, have also just taken in brutally orphaned Rainey Teague. Something bothers Nick about Rainey—and it isn’t just that the woman in charge of attendance at Rainey’s prep school has disappeared. In fact, people have long been disappearing from seemingly placid Niceville, including, most disturbingly, Kate’s father. Using his files, Kate and Nick start to unearth Niceville’s blood stained history, but something (or is it Nothing?) stands in their way.

Once again, Carsten Stroud gives us unforgettable characters, including Coker, the steely, amoral police sniper, and Harvill Endicott, an urbanely manipulative psychopath, not to mention Warren Smoles, the most conniving lawyer you will ever meet. Stroud’s unique storytelling gifts bring us into a world where protecting your family from the unknown becomes almost impossible but essential for survival.

Anything is possible in The Homecoming. 

Countdown City by Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original–along with plenty of glowing reviews.

Now Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank’s days of solving crimes are over…until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees.

Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse–and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond “whodunit.” What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

MP Review: The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo

If you’ve ever engaged me in a conversation about crime fiction, you know my feelings about Jo Nesbo and his Harry Hole novels. I am an unabashed champion of this series, and for good reason. My high praise for this series has a lot to do with Nesbo’s writing style and attention to detail. Often times crime fiction is plagued by the stereotype of being low-brow or kitschy, but those stereotypes ignore the deeply rooted themes carried by crime fiction. Themes like love, loss, the fear of death, and the stark realities of the world we live in are ones every reader can relate to, and authors like Jo Nesbo tackle them with grace and poise.

First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room; it’s been more than a little frustrating to be a Nesbo fan in America. The seemingly random publishing schedule for the Harry Hole novels have forced readers to experience the series out of chronological order; some of us like to read a series in order! The Redeemer is the sixth Harry Hole novel, falling in line between The Devil’s Star and The Snowman, which means fans of the series will need to wrack their brains trying to remember what took place way back when. Honestly, it’s not that hard to recall the past exploits of ne’er-do-well detective Harry Hole and Nesbo (as always) does a great job of reminding his readers without going into full on review mode. Okay, now that we’ve talked about how annoying reading series books out of order is, we can move on to the task at hand.

In The Redeemer we are taken back to the early days of Harry Hole; before the effects of age and substance abuse really started to catch up with him. The story begins with Harry having the unfortunate task of informing a family that their son, a heroin addict, has committed suicide. In typical Nesbo style, the books beginning functions as a launchpad for the events to come. The main plot line is about an assassin who has traveled to Oslo to complete a contract. Things go badly when the assassin, codenamed The Little Redeemer, discovers that the target he has eliminated is actually the brother of the intended target.

If you’ve read the other books in this series and think The Redeemer is worth skipping, you are dead wrong. This novel fills in a lot of the gaps left after The Devil’s Star and Nemesis, and is a must read if just for the sake of continuity. If the gap-filling aspect of The Redeemer isn’t enough to entice you then maybe the fact that this is also a fantastic mystery will do the trick. It has all the hallmarks of a great thriller; atmosphere, intriguing characters, plot twists aplenty, and Harry Hole’s reckless detective style.

The Redeemer also contains a lot of my favorite aspect of Nesbo’s books; a lot of time is devoted to the perspective of the antagonist. As the novels comes to a close you truly understand the motivations of each and every character, and that’s something that many crime writers choose not to do. If there’s one thing Nesbo does well it’s giving readers a holistic view of the story. All the pieces fall into place, and all of your questions are given a satisfying answer.

If you’re already a fan of this series, picking up The Redeemer should be a no-brainer. If you’ve never read a Jo Nesbo book, it’s probably not a great idea to start with The Redeemer, but luckily Vintage Books has just published the first Harry Hole novel, The Bat, as a paperback original. So run, don’t walk, to your local bookstore and get cracking on what is arguably the best detective series currently available.