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.

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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.

Three Picks for October

Ex-cops, Texas Rangers, and hired killers – all in a day’s reading this October.

  • Selected by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780738753201

Hunting The Five Point Killer by C.M. Wendelboe

 

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!

9781785651809Quarry’s Climax by Max Allan Collins

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! 

9780571337743The Long Count by J.M. Gulvin

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. 

 

Three Picks for September

  • 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.

9780525426950The Western Star by Craig Johnson

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

9781617755859To Funk And Die In L.A. by Nelson George

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. 

9780399171444Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet by Reed Farrel Coleman

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!

Three Picks for August

  • Selected by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780735212459Nothing Stays Buried by PJ Tracy

The Monkeewrench Gang goes to rural Minnesota to assist with a missing persons case only to be drawn into the plot of a serial killer and drug cartels. The fine plotting and stand out ensemble of characters make Monkeewrench a stand out in is series thrillers. Co-author Traci Lambrecht will joining Mark Pryor and James Ziskin for our Scene Of The Crime discussion on Saturday, August 26th at 6 PM. You can find copies of Nothing Stays Buried on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

9780374253370Safe by Ryan Gattis

A former gang banger turned DEA safe cracker thinks he’s found a way to redemption by stealing a huge sum of drug money, placing him between both sides of the law. A tight yet haunting crime novel where Gattis uses his knowledge of L.A.’s toughest streets to dive into the humanity of his characters. You can find copies of Nothing Stays Buried on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

97800625673831Every Day Above Ground by Glen Eric Hamilton

Former soldier and former thief Van Shaw goes back to his criminal ways, for one last time he tells himself, for a fortune in gold, only to find himself, for fortune of gold. The job puts them in the sights of some highly trained killers. One of the most intriguing series characters in modern crime fiction. You can find copies of Every Day Above Ground on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

Three Picks for July

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

July will see new books from from some of this decade’s best series.

The Devil’s Muse by Bill Loehfelm9780374279776

The latest featuring New Orleans patrolwoman Maureen Coughlin has her trying to solve a shooting during the Mardi Gras parade. Loehfelm brings immediacy through use of procedure, place, and character. Bill will be here July 26th for our New Voices In Noir panel with Jordan Harper and Rob Hart. The Devil’s Muse comes out July 11 – pre-order now!

The Woman From Prague by Rob Hart9781943818471

Ash McKenna’s fourth outing has him in the Czech city blackmailed by a shadowy figure who works for the government to intercept a package before it is handed off from the lady in the title to another woman. Spoiler alert, things go wrong and violent. A well crafted thriller that skimps on neither action or character. Rob will be here July 26th for our New Voices In Noir panel with Jordan Harper and Bill Loehfelm. The Woman From Prague comes out July 11 pre-order now!

9780062567383Every Day Above Ground by Glen Erik Hamilton

Former crook and army ranger Van Shaw is back on the streets pulled back into a life of crime, ripping a dead drug dealers gold. Things are not what they appear when he finds himself set up. Few balance hard boiled crime and humanism as well as Glen Erik Hamilton. Every Day Above Ground comes out July 26 – pre-order now!