3 Picks for July

Some Die Nameless Cover ImageSome Die Nameless by Wallace Stroby

An investigative reporter teams up with a former mercenary who is marked for death to figure out why the dark mission he was on decades ago has someone wiping out all who have knowledge of it. Stroby takes a the political thriller and keeps it real and gritty by putting at street level.

 

 

 

Potter's Field (Ash McKenna #5) Cover ImagePotter’s Field by Rob Hart

Ash Mckenna returns to New York to get his life on track and become a licensed investigator. As soon as he steps foot in the city, he is taken to his former drag queen gangster boss who needs to find his missing crew member. The search puts Ash in the middle of a turf war in the hard hitting, emotional finale to one fine series.

 

 

 

The Sinners (Quinn Colson Novel #8) Cover Image

The Sinners by Ace Atkins

Tibbehah County Sheriff Quinn Colson takes on a shady trucking outfit, an outlaw family, and getting married in this fun new adventure full of action, great dialogue, and explorations of southern culture like the proper sausage biscuit. Ace Atkins will be here July 24th with Megan Abbott to discuss and sign the novel.

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3 Picks for June

For June, we have two different kind of men dueling it out with Mexican drug cartels in nature in the present and a big city newspaper man finding the truth in a flashy New York of the past.  All have struck a great balance between character and pace.Damon Runyon's Boys Cover Image

Damon Runyon’s Boys by Michael Scott Cain

In postwar New York, a reporter looks into the murder of a dance troupe leader and uncovers a plot that puts the mob on him. Cain’s vivid recreation of the glitzy Big Apple in its Broadway heyday and appearances by Walter Winchell, an young Truman Capote, and others make this a fun historical hard boiled that pops.

Bearskin: A Novel Cover ImageBearskin by James A McLaughlin

Hiding from a drug cartel, Rice Moore serves as the caretaker of a remote game preserve in Appalachia. When a poaching ring starts butchering bears, he makes new enemies while getting attention of the old ones. A crime thriller that understands the humanity of its characters and the violence they create.

 

Hawke's War (Sonny Hawke Thriller #2) Cover ImageHawke’s War by Reavis Z. Wortham

Texas Sonny Hawke finds himself lured into a trap in Big Bend National Park, where he has to fend of terrorists and a drug cartel out for revenge. Halfway through this book, you may feel sorry for the bad guys in this fun shoot-em’-up with vivid supporting characters, villains who you can’t wait to get their comeuppance, and a killer pace. Reavis Z. Wortham will be at BookPeople July 8th along with Ben Redher and Billy Kring.

3 picks for May

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 (Spenser #47) Cover ImageRobert 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: A Roxane Weary Novel Cover ImageWhat 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: A Pete Fernandez Mystery Cover ImageBlackout 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.

 

3 Picks for April

Bottom Feeders Cover ImageBottom 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 Cover ImageHigh 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 (Bernie Gunther Novel #13) Cover ImageGreeks 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.

3 Picks for February

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd

Inspector Rutledge is driving aimlessly when he comes across a crime scene. A man has been shot and the only witness is a woman who claims that her companion stopped for a man in the road who walked up to him, asked him a question, and then shot him through the heart. Rutledge returns in the morning to find a beautifully carved wolf at the scene. Another richly atmospheric and moving work by Charles Todd that provides enough clues to keep the most diligent reader of mysteries enraptured. This book is about deep family secrets and the  way that we cannot really know what goes on in another person’s mind. A fine chapter in one of my favorite mystery series.

Help I Am Being Held Prisoner by Donald Westlake

Compulsive practical joker Harold Kunt’s latest stunt causes a ten car pile up and embarrassment for a couple of politicians caught with their mistresses, resulting in a prison stint. However, he isn’t completely incarcerated. The prison has a tunnel system a few select prisoners use to visit the nearby town to drink at the bar, pick up women, or commit a crime or two since no one would suspect them. The only catch is that Harry has to help these prisoners rob two banks at the same time or else. Thanks to Hard Case Crime, this novel by Donald Westlake at his funniest and most inventive is back in print. It has been stuck in my memory for over three decades.

Cut You Down by Sam Wiebe

Vancouver private detective Dave Wakeland is hired by a professor and possible lover of a student who disappeared and may have taken half a million dollars worth of school funds. The trail leads to a suburban mob, a crooked cop from another case, and a trip south of the border to Washington state for a violent showdown. Wiebe delivers a fresh spin on the tough yet emotionally vulnerable private eye and populates the Canadian underworld he travels navigates with indelible characters.

If You Like Alison Gaylin…

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!).

3 Picks for November

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.