Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The sun sets on 2013: May 2014 bring you many great mysteries.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reading right now:
A Calamitous Chinese Killing            “”A Calamitous Chinese Killing” by Shamini Flint. This sixth book in the Inspector Singh Investigates series catapults Singh into the murky waters of Chinese politics. When asked to solve the murder at the Singapore Embassy in Beijing, Singh finds his way complicated by illegal organ harvesting, poverty, corruption, and much more. The first book in this series was “A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder” which came out in 2009.

On hold right now:
            “The Midas Murders” by Pieter Aspe. Belgium author Pieter Aspe embarks on his second Inspector Van In novel. “The Square of Revenge” began the series and this new book shows Inspector Van In trying to thwart a series of terrorist plots.

Other Mysterious Things Available:
“White Fire” by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. This is a great series which centers around FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast whom I’ve always felt owed a lot to the great Sherlock Holmes. In this the 13th installment of the series, Child and Preston pay tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde in a remarkably fun and thrilling way. I loved this book and thought it was one of the best in the series. Pendergast is an odd and intriguing character whose exploits often roam into Stephen King territory. The first book in this series was “The Relic” which was made into a movie. Preston’s nonfiction work “The Monster of Florence” is being made into a movie with George Clooney playing Preston.
“The Gods of Guilt” by Michael Connelly. The 5th Mickey Haller (Lincoln Lawyer) book is available and really good. Like many others, I love Michael Connelly’s books. He started out in Florida as a reporter specializing in the crime beat. When he wrote a magazine story which was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, he landed a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Only three years later, he started writing his first novel featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. I’ve heard that a pilot called “Bosch” is in the works with Amazon and hopefully streaming in March 2014. If you watch the TV show Castle, Connelly can sometimes be seen as one of Castle’s poker playing buddies.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reading right now:

            “Murder, She Barked” by Krista Davis. This is the first in a new series by Davis who is an award winning author of the “Domestic Diva” mystery series. Davis calls her new series “paws and claws” since it takes place in the idyllic dog and cat paradise of Wagtail, Virginia at a pet friendly hotel owned by our hero Holly Miller’s grandmother. Nothing like a good mystery with dogs and cats.

On hold right now:

            “Chilled to the Bone” by Quentin Bates. The third book in the Gunnhilder Mystery series with the fourth coming out in April 2014. Gunnhildur is an Icelandic female police sergeant who in “Chilled to the Bone” stumbles cross a bondage society whose members are being blackmailed and much more.

Other Mysterious Things Available:

            Other books that come out in December and are worth mentioning include:

            “Dark Omens” by Rosemary Rowe. Her 14th book in the Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain series. This historical mystery series takes place in the 2nd century AD. Libertus is a Celtic freedman and mosaic-layer with a talent for solving crimes.

            “Secondhand Stiff” by Sue Ann Jaffarian. The 8th book in the Adelia Grey series. Jaffarian writes one of my favorite mystery series: the Ghost of Granny Apples (the fourth book in that series comes out in April, 2014). The Adelia Grey series is also fun and revolves around plus-sized, middle aged Adelia Grey, a woman who pulls no punches while trying to figure out why she’s always put in the position of solving a major crime.

            “Buttoned Up” by Kylie Logan. Fourth book in the Button Box mystery series with Josie Giancola as our hero. Josie’s button shop in Chicago draws customers and her reputation as an expert on buttons draws trouble.

            “Shoot the Woman First” by Wallace Stroby. Third book in the Crissa Stone series. Crissa is a professional thief who mostly finds trouble.

A List to Treasure:
            Read a Christmas mystery this season! Lots of mystery authors have, usually as part of their series, mystery novels that take place around Christmas. Anne Perry has a whole mystery series of what she calls Christmas novellas (the first is “A Christmas Journey”). Craig Johnson’s “Christmas in Absarden County” is a collection of four short stories featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire which take place around Christmas. M C Beaton features Christmas in two of her Agatha Raisin series which are “Kissing Christmas Goodbye” and “Agatha Raisin and the Christmas Crumble.” Leslie Meier’s terrific Lucy Stone series includes three Christmas mysteries: “Christmas Carol Murder,” “Christmas Cookie Murder,” and “Mistletoe Murder.” Rhys Bowen’s “The Twelve Clues of Christmas” is part of the Royal Spyness series. Isis Crawford’s Mystery with Recipes series includes two Christmas books: “A Catered Christmas” and “A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange.” 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reading right now:

“Compound Fractures” by Stephen White. This is supposed to be the final book in White’s Dr. Alan Gregory series. Gregory is a Psychologist whose work seems to take him into constant danger. “Compound Fractures” takes off where the last book “Line of Fire” ended. If you have never read any of these books, it would be good to start at the beginning with “Privileged Information” (1991) and make your way to number 20 which is “Compound Fractures.”
On hold right now:

“The Avalon Chanter” by Lillian Stewart Carl. Crime Reporter Jean Fairbairn and retired police detective Alasdair Cameron team up again in the seventh book in this series. Archeologist Maggie Lauder believes that Farnaby Island off the Northumberland coast is the Avalon of Arthurian legend, but when she tries to prove it what she discovers is a skeletal body that could be her father. She enlists Fairbairn and Cameron to try to solve the mystery.

Other Mysterious Things Available:

IMDb published a list of top TV mysteries (according to their survey which can be found by searching for “Highest Rated Mystery TV series with at Least 1,000 Votes”). They rated “Sherlock” as number one. This is the BBC series which started in 2000, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. “Dexter” came in second.  Fourteen was the 1984 series “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” The BBC series “Luther” was number 19. Take a look at the list and see how many you have watched and which you might have missed. Luckily for us most are available on DVD or on Netflix or even at your local library.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Mysteries:

Fall into a great book
“Turkey Day Murder” by Leslie Meier. Lucy Stone is an amateur detective in a small town in Maine where she is busy with her family and helping solve crimes. This is a great series of 20 books and lots revolve around holidays.
“Death of a Turkey” by Kate Borden. This is the third book in the Peggy Jean Turner series. Ms. Turner is the Mayor of Cobb’s Landing, a small town in New England that is in need of tourist dollars to keep it going. When tourists arrive for an authentic Colonial-style Thanksgiving, Turner has the added pressure of trying to find her neighbor’s killer.

“A Catered Thanksgiving” by Isis Crawford. In the seventh book in the Mystery with Recipes series, Sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons cater a Thanksgiving dinner where the turkey blows up killing the head of a large fireworks manufacturing firm.            

On hold right now:

“Lending a Paw” by Laurie Cass. This is a new author and the first of a new series (called the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series). This series should be perfect: librarian hero who drives a bookmobile in Chilson, Michigan, with a cat. Love it already.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Reading right now:

Duck the Halls (Meg Langslow Series #16)            “Duck the Halls” by Donna Andrews. A little fluff, a little fun, a little murder, a few crazy animals running around where they shouldn’t be, with Meg Langslow there to save the day. Donna Andrews’ books are great fun and this one is a wonderful read to start the holiday season.          
On hold right now:

“King and Maxwell” by David Baldacci. Once a lawyer, now a great mystery author, Baldacci’s new book brings back Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. Ex-Secret Service agents King and Maxwell are back in the sixth book of this great series. I can’t wait until this comes out Nov. 19, 2013.

Other Mysterious things available soon:

Here are some big November releases to grab (or put a hold on) right away:

Cover art“Takedown Twenty” (the 20th Stephanie Plum mystery) by Janet Evanovich

“Cross My Heart” (the 21st Alex Cross book) by James Patterson

“White Fire” by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston

“Dust” by Patricia Cornwell (the 21st Kay Scarpetta novel)

“Hostage” by Kay Hooper (the 2nd Bishop: Special Crimes Unit book)

“Tatiana” by Martin Cruz Smith (8th book in the Arkady Renko series)

A List to Treasure:

            There seem to be a great many legal mystery/thriller authors (many writing a whole series and others just stand-alone novels). When I started putting together a list, I was shocked to find the following (and I'm planning a second list):

Vince Aiello

Jeffrey Ashford

Sydney Bauer

James Scott Bell

William Bernhardt

Dudley W. Buffa

Alafair Burke

Teresa Burrell

Gordon Campbell

Diane Capri

Michael Connelly

Rose Connors

Natasha Cooper

John F. Dobbyn

David Ellis

Linda A. Fairstein

Rebecca Forster

Frances Fyfield

Mark Gimenez

Marti Green

James Grippando

John Grisham

John Hart

Ellen Horan

Stephen Horn

David Hosp

Greg Iles

Jonnie Jacobs

Sue Ann Jaffarian

Todd M Johnson

William Landay

William Lashner

John T Lescroart

Paul Levine

Phillip Margolin

Margaret Maron

Steve Martini

Brad Meltzer

Melissa F Miller

Adam Mitzner (new)

John Mortimer (classic)

Perri O’Shaughnessy

Richard North Patterson

Jeanine Pirro (new)

Scott Pratt

Charles Rosenberg (new)

David Rosenfelt

Lisa Scottoline

James Sheehan (new)

Sheldon Siegel

Randy Singer

Lachlan Smith (new)

Mary Stanton

Robert Tanenbaum

William G Tapply

J D Trafford

Scott Turow

Walter Walker

Lis Wiehl

William P Wood

Stuart Woods

Friday, November 8, 2013

Read to me!
Reading right now:

            Jeri Westerson’s “Shadow of the Alchemist.” This is the sixth Crispin Guest novel. (If you haven’t read any of them yet, start with “Veil of Lies.”) The latest in this suspenseful, historical series finds Guest and his young apprentice helping alchemist Nicholas Flamel who seems to have lost his wife and his own apprentice. Nicholas Flamel plays a part in the Harry Potter series as does his Philosopher’s Stone. It seems likely that someone evil might just be after the Stone and that Guest will have to save the day. I love this series and can’t wait to dig into the latest.

On hold right now:

“The Good Boy” by Theresa Schwegel. This latest from Edgar Award winning Schwegel is a standalone novel centering on an 11-year old-boy who runs away with his dad’s police dog after witnessing a shooting.

Other Mysterious things available soon:

The third in Wallace Stroby’s unusual series is coming out in December. “Shoot the Woman First” centers around career criminal Crissa Stone. Award winning journalist and author, Stroby lives in New Jersey.

“A Killing Winter” by Wayne Arthurson. This is the second in his Leo Desroches series (with “Fall From Grace” being the first). There are many mystery writers coming out of Canada and Wayne Arthurson is one of those writers. Leo Desroches is the Aboriginal issues reporter for the Edmonton newspaper. While he likes to gamble and drink way too much, he still gets himself into lots of trouble when he delves a little too deeply into the stories he covers.

“Chinese Beverly Hills” by John Shannon. This is the 14th novel in Shannon’s Jack Liffey mystery series. Liffey’s special gift is finding missing children which he does with gusto throughout the series.

Great Books into Movies:

There are certain books that everyone should just read and “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card is one of them. It’s a great book, not just a great Science Fiction book. A second great book coming out as a movie right now is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. It’s fine to see the movies and I’m sure they are probably both good, but read the books first.

Asa Butterfield: New 'Ender's Game' Poster!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reading right now:

            Marisha Pessl’s latest is “Night Film.” You may have read her first fantastic novel, “Special Topics in Calamity Physics.” This new book centers on Ashley Cordova’s suicide which journalist Scott McGrath believes is murder. McGrath’s investigation takes him into the dark and mysterious world of Ashley’s father, cult-horror film director Stanislas Cordova.

               Regarding Pessl’s “Night Film” the Austin Chronicle writes, “If spiders and mayonnaise aren’t enough to strike fear in your heart this Halloween, pick up a copy of Marisha Pessl’s new interactive thriller novel, Night Film.”        

On hold right now:

Charlotte Hinger’s “Hidden Heritage” comes out in November. This is the third in the Lottie Albright series. Western Kansas historian and Undersheriff Lottie Albright’s latest investigation revolves around a gruesome killing at the Carlton County, Kansas, livestock feedyard.

Other Mysterious things:

Kirk Russell’s latest is out November 1. “Die-Off” is the fifth in his John Marquez series. Marquez works for the California Fish & Game’s Special Operations Unit trying to shut down animal traffickers.

Father Brennan Burke and public defender Monty Collins team up again for the seventh book in Anne Emery’s mystery series. “Blood on a Saint” comes out in November.

S. J. Gazan’s “The Dinosaur Feather” will be available in the U.S. in November. This is the first novel by Scandinavian writer Gazan.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Read a Paranormal Mystery for Halloween:

            Hannah Jayne’s Underworld Detective Agency Chronicles starts with “Under Wraps” and continues through five novels to the latest “Under a Spell.” The books center around Sophie Lawson who is employed by the Underworld Detective Agency because she is immune to magic which allows her to handle many problems that others are overwhelmed by. “Under Wraps” finds Sophie dealing with a rash of gruesome murders and a handsome human detective.

            Victoria Laurie’s Ghost Hunter series starts with “What’s a Ghoul to Do?” There are currently seven books in this series and number eight is coming out in 2014. M.J. Holliday and her partner Gilly get rid of problem ghosts and demons around the world.

            Soon to come out with her sixth book in the Charley Davidson series, Darynda Jones writes award winning books in which Charley is the grim reaper. Unfortunately, she’s found that it isn’t always easy to get people to go into the light some of them have issues that need to be resolved first.

            Casey Daniels has nine fantastic Pepper Martin mysteries ready for your reading pleasure. In the first novel, “Don of the Dead,” Pepper finds that she can see a dead Mafia don who is demanding that she hunt down his killer. This is the start of Pepper’s new job of being a P.I. to the dead.

Ghost a la Mode (A Ghost of...
A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside, #11)            Other authors to take a look at is the terrific Jim Butcher with his Harry Dresden series, Shirley Damsgaard’s Ophelia & Abby mysteries, Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Ghost of Granny Apples mysteries, Madelyn Alt’s Bewitching mysteries, and on it goes. Read one and get hooked! You may find they are really fun to read.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reading right now:

            Jeff Lindsay’s “Dexter’s Final Cut.” This is the seventh book in the Dexter series. If you watched the TV series finale, you might already miss Dexter and want to hit the books. I haven’t always agreed with the direction that the books have gone, but the character is original and interesting. In the latest book, Dexter is tempted by fame in Hollywood.      

On hold right now:

            The Lincoln Lawyer is back in “The Gods of Guilt.” This is Michael Connelly’s fifth book in the Mickey Haller series and I can’t wait. While you’re waiting for this to come out in December, you should watch the movie again!

Other Mysterious things:

A new season of “Homeland” started. It is so great—don’t miss it.

2013 SHAMUS AWARDS: For works published in 2012: The winner was announced at the Private Eye Writers of America banquet in Albany, New York, in late September.



  • Black Fridays by Michael Sears (Jason Stafford) (winner in this category)
  • Hush Money by Chuck Greaves (Jack MacTaggart)
  • Murder Unscripted by Clive Rosengren (Eddie Collins)
  • Racing the Devil by Jaden Terrell (Jared McKean)
  • The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter (Dennis Foster)



  • White Heat by Paul Marks (Duke Rogers) (winner in this category)
  • Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw (Sloane Monroe)
  • Enamored by O'Neil De Noux (Lucien Caye)
  • One-Eyed Jack by Christopher J. Lynch (John Sharp)
  • Devil May Care by James Mullaney (Crag Banyon)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reading right now:

            “Death Angel” by Linda Fairstein. This is Fairstein’s 15th mystery featuring Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper. In Manhattan, Fairstein has run the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney’s Office for two decades which gives her stories a unique realism, not only regarding the law, but the setting as well. In this new novel, Alex Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman track a serial killer through Central Park.

On hold right now:

            “Storm Front” by John Sandford. In this seventh Virgil Flowers mystery, Virgil gets his “Da Vinci Code” moment when an Israeli cop shows up in Minnesota on the trail of the man who stole and smuggled in an important King Solomon relic.

Other Mysterious things:

Here’s three authors presenting their first mysteries:

“Just What Kind of Mother Are You” is Paula Daly’s first novel which revolves around one of my worst nightmares: the disappearance of your best friend’s child under your watch.

“Hiding Gladys” is the first novel in Lee Mims’ new series centering on geologist Cleo Cooper. After discovering a huge granite deposit which could make many people wealthy, Cleo’s project is plagued with murder and accidents.

“Jump the Gun” by Zoe Burke introduces smart and sexy Annabelle Starkey. In this first in a planned series, Annabelle’s hook up with Mickey Paxton sends them both on the run from police and criminals who seem to think she knows more than she does.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reading right now:

            “Never Go Back” by Lee Child. Reacher is back: back in Virginia, back in the army, and back into big trouble. When Reacher returns to Virginia looking for Major Susan Turner, not only doesn’t he find her, but he finds himself accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide.

In October, “Inherit the Dead” is due out. It is a collaborative novel with 20 writers each writing one chapter. Lee Child is one of those authors. Royalties will be donated to Safe Horizon (an organization that provides services to victims of violence and abuse).

On hold right now:

            “Countdown City” by Ben H. Winters. This second book in the Last Policeman series continues the countdown to the end of the world. As asteroid 2011L47J gets closer to earth, some people are concentrating on enjoying what little time they have left, while others are praying for salvation, but New Hampshire homicide detective Hank Palace stays on the job. Winters’ first novel in this series, “The Last Policeman” was nominated for a 2013 Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel.

Other Mysterious things:

The 2013 Macavity Awards for Best Mystery Novel included:

·        Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl

·        Peter May: The Black House

·        Louise Penny: The Beautiful Mystery

·        Hank Philippi Ryan: The Other Woman

·        B.A. Shapiro: The Art Forger

·        Ariel S. Winter: The Twenty Year Death

·        Ben H. Winters: The Last Policeman

And nominations for Best First Mystery Novel are:

·        Susan M. Boyer: Low Country Boil

·        Daniel Friedman: Don't Ever Get Old

·        Susan Elia MacNeal: Mr. Churchill's Secretary

·        Chris Pavone: The Expats  

The Macavity Awards are presented by the Mystery Readers International members. The awards are named for T. S. Eliot’s mystery cat in his book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,

There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.

He always has an alibi, or one or two to spare:

And whatever time the deed took place--MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!

And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known

(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)

Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time

Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!