In May the private eyes take over the month. From the iconic to the new, differing in age, race, and sexual preference, all three of these detectives prove the vitality of the genre.
Robert B Parker’s Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins
Spenser is hired by a prestigious museum to solve a twenty year old art theft. With help of his mob-connected ally Vinnie Morris, our Boston PI has to delve into a history of gangsters, art dealers, and double crosses that has resurfaced in the present with deadly consequences. Atkins delivers Parker’s iconic hero into one of the more intricate plots he or Robert B. Parker came up with.
What You Want To See by Kristen Lepionka
When a possible cheating fiance Roxanne Weary tails end up murdered, her client becomes the main suspect. In an attempt to clear his name, she comes up against a real estate scam that literally strikes close to home. This follow up to Lepionka’s brilliant debut, The Last Place You Look, and proves she and Roxanne have what it takes for the long haul.
Blackout by Alex Segura
Pete Fernandez returns to his Miami home to locate a politician’s missing son who resembles someone who disappeared after he was seen with Pete’s high school crush before she was murdered. To unravel the mystery, Pete has to deal with the mob, a political assassination, and old wounds. The book is a great balance of action and emotion. Alex Segura will be at BookPeople May 16th.
Bottom Feeders by John Shepphird
The cast and crew on location in a small, low budget cable movie gets picked off one by one with arrows. It could be anyone from an angry local to the mobsters who invested. Shepphird, a man who has directed his share of low budget enterprises, captures the microcosm of filming while giving us an engaging whodunnit. You can meet him and Billy Bush (The Oaxcan Kid) on May 5th, 2PM, at BookPeople.
High White Sun by J Todd Scott
Scott continues his South Texas crime saga, following The Big Empty. Chris Cherry, now the sheriff after killing the corrupt former one, investigates the murder of a river guide putting him and his deputies against the Aryan Brotherhood. A gritty, often grim novel that mines lone star life and legend for some strong story telling. J. Todd Scott should be an author on the rise.
Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr
Bernie Gunther returns, although under a different name, working as a Munich insurance adjuster in 1958. A claim takes him to Athens, where there is still no love for Germans, and he becomes involved in plot involving war criminals, stolen gold, and a few murders. Kerr continues Bernie’s saga with historical insight, and tragic fallout of Hitler’s plan, tempered by noir humor. Kerr, of course, passed away last week, and we are saddened by that news.
Alison Gaylin is known for her well-conceived, incredibly intricate and deeply-plotted thrillers. She is not afraid to steer toward the taboo, and has written everything from books involving incest to pedophilia and rape. She is one of the rising stars of the mystery genre, a woman whose talents cannot be measured easily or gauged casually. She is incredibly talented, with praise from Laura Lippman and Megan Abbott to top everything off. Her novel What Remains of Me remains a favorite at MysteryPeople and was also an Edgar-nominee for Best Novel of the Year. Her upcoming novel If I Die Tonight is a thriller to be reckoned with, with multiple leading characters and infinite threads that combine in an utter explosion. Check out below for some suggestions for reads you might enjoy if you enjoy Gaylin’s work.
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman: Girls on Fire is a thrilling mystery debut that deals with two girls whose friendship may be too close to comfort. Like Gaylin, Wasserman is not afraid to steer toward the taboo and her brilliant use of language and thrilling back and forth between characters leads to a surprisingly and ultimately incredibly dark conclusion. This is a book not to be missed.
Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran: Claire Dewitt is a character reminiscent of Gaylin’s series character Brenda Spector. Equal parts humor and serious, thought-provoking mystery, Gran is a great writer who ropes in the reader and keeps them hooked from beginning to end. This mystery revolves around the death of a white, wealthy man in New Orleans soon after Hurricane Katrina. Issues of race and sexuality are prevalent in this narrative that will leave you begging for more (and luckily there is a second book in the series!).
Good as Gone by Amy Gentry: A favorite of MysteryPeople, not to mention a fellow Texan, Gentry is a writer well beyond her years. Her debut novel is a riddle filled with more riddles—there’s the issue of a kidnapped daughter returned home, only is she really the daughter her parents have been looking for, or an imposter—someone else entirely? This is a book that any mystery lover will enjoy (even though, quick trivia note here, the novel was not intended to be a mystery, so what a wonderful surprise for us all!).
This month we have the return of two unconventional series heroes and a return of a crime novel that will hopefully get more attention now that it is back in print.
Murder In The Manuscript Room by Con Lehane
This follow up to Murder At The 42nd Street Library has crime fiction curator Raymond Ambler and his comrades involved in two murders that may be connected one of new coworker and the other of a labor boss that a childhood friend of Ray’s has been serving time for. Ross delivers a streamlined plot and sense of melancholy that echoes Ross MacDonald.
Never Say No To A Killer by Clifton Adams
Stark House reprints this crime paperback masterpiece of a con who breaks out of prison with the help of a benefactor to do a job. When the only person to meet him is his patron’s wife trouble naturally awaits. Adams packs all the twists, sudden violence, sultry women, and cynicism you’d expect in a moody fifties noir and then some.
Fool’s River by Timothy Hallinan
The latest Poke Rafferty novel has the trouble prone travel writer looking for the missing father of his daughter’s boyfriend. Knowing the man enjoyed Thailand’s sex trade, Poke fears the man was taken for his money and has little time before his life follows. Hallinan gives us another provocative look at the city balanced with a very human feel for family.
Ex-cops, Texas Rangers, and hired killers – all in a day’s reading this October.
- Selected by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
A washed up ex-cop job as a consultant for a Denver news program takes him to his less than idyllic childhood home of Cheyenne to look into the separate deaths of three policemen connected to two murders they were all investigating. A strong intricate plot, full of colorful characters, navigated by an engaging under dog hero. Wendelboe’s latest comes out Tuesday, October 10th – Pre-order now!
Collins takes his hired killer, Quarry, back to when he had to protect a Larry Flynt style publisher while flushing out the one ordering the hit in seventies Memphis. Great hard boiled action with the right amount of sleaze. Collins’ latest from Hard Case Crime comes out Tuesday, October 10th – Pre-order now!
A Texas Ranger teams up with a just-returned Vietnam vet who’s discovered his father dead from a gunshot wound; the local police ruled it as a suicide, but his brother’s gone missing from an asylum, and the vet and ranger are ready to do some digging. A moody Texas thriller with one twist of an ending. You can find Gulvin’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
- Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
This month features three series heroes that never disappoint – in serving justice or in providing an entertaining read.
Sheriff Walt Longmire has to deal with a why-dunnit in the present connected to a who-dunnit he was involved with in 1972 as a young deputy at a Wyoming sheriff’s conference held on a train moving across the state. Johnson tips his hat to Murder On the Orient Express, with a unique mystery that gives the classic a run for its money. Craig Johnson will be at BookPeople September 12th to sign and discuss The Western Star. The Western Star comes out today! You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Craig Johnson joins us to speak and sign his latest on Tuesday, September 12th, at 7 PM.
Hunter D, New York’s security man for hip-hop stars, goes to La La Land to find his grandfather’s killer. It is all tied to the Rodney King riots, gangs, and a reclusive funk star from the Seventies. Nelson gives us another tight, tough hard-boiled detective story that also looks at black culture and the politics of art. To Funk and Die in LA comes out today! You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Jesse Stone’s drinking problem raises its ugly head as he mourns for his murdered love while working a series of crimes connected to a once famous singer and the legend of a lost recording that even involved a Boston PI named Spenser. Coleman takes a look at loss and the human recovery from it while giving us a highly entertaining mystery. Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet comes out next Tuesday – pre-order now!