Saturday, July 25, 2015
Reading right now:
“The Wounded Thorn” by Fay Sampson. This is the first in a new series by prolific author Sampson. Here she introduces two new characters, Hilary and Veronica. In this introductory novel, the two go on vacation to try to get away from the stress of their lives which includes the recent death of Veronica’s husband and the fact that Hilary’s husband is volunteering in war-torn Gaza. While visiting the Chalice Wall, Hilary discovers a bomb in an abandoned bag which starts their involvement in the investigation.
“Murder at Barclay Meadow” by Wendy Sand Eckel. This is a first book in a new cozy series. Rebuilding her life after her husband’s infidelity, Rosalie Hart moves to Maryland to renovate her late aunt’s property only to discover a dead body floating in her marsh. When the Sheriff determines the death to be an accident, Hart‘s doubts about the cause of death lead her to investigate with the help of her creative writing class.
Other mysterious things:
New authors are always arriving on the scene and sometimes author we’re familiar with come up with a new series which they hope we’ll get hooked on. The latest British police procedural by M. J. Arlidge starts with “Eeny Meeny” (which was just released in the U.S.) and stars Detective Inspector Helen Grace. The book is very much like the movie “Saw” with a serial killer that kidnaps people and forces them to kill. The book is a well-written, exciting thriller, but suffers from a story we’ve all read before. Hopefully the next book will continue to incorporate fine characters, and good writing with a more original plot.
Anne Flett-Giordano’s new mystery “Marry, Kiss, Kill” is a laugh out loud police procedural starring two Santa Barbara detectives Nola MacIntire and Tony Angeloti. In this debut novel, the film festival is in town when three deaths take place that seem unrelated. Anne Flett-Giordano has won five Emmys and has written for such shows as Frasier, Becker, and Desperate Housewives.
Betsy Thornton’s “Empty Houses” is the first in the new Kate Waters series set in Dudley, Arizona. Fleeing from her abusive boyfriend, Kate runs to an isolated desert town where two tourists Carrie and Wes Cooper are shot dead. She’s convinced that the wrong person is suspected of the murder and decides to work with Phoenix cop Malcolm MacGregor who is in town recovering from the death of his wife. Other debut authors with new books coming out include Robin Kirman’s “Bradstreet Gate,” Harry MacLean’s “The Joy of Killing,” Brian Panowich’s “Bull Mountain.” Glenis Wilson’s “Dead Certainty” isn’t his first novel, but it is the beginning of a new series.
Friday, July 17, 2015
“No Place to Die” by Clare Donoghue. This is the second in Donoghue’s terrific new series with Senior Detective Jane Bennett and Detective Inspector Mike Lockyer. In this second in the series, the wife of a retired London cop reports her husband missing and a girl’s body is found under a park. It seems she was buried alive. As the investigations proceed, clues point to the two cases being connected.
“Badlands” by C. J. Box. This stand-along novel centers around a small North Dakota town where a new female deputy sheriff, Cassie Dewell, finds herself facing a boom in crime which seems to be sparked by an influx of oil money which brings a demand for drugs pushed by gangs. To make things worse, someone is taunting her by leaving body parts around the city.
Other mysterious things:
Women have always played a large role in cozy mysteries, but more and more they are taking over as cops, private investigators, lawyers, forensic investigators, FBI agents, and other professional roles in all mainstream mysteries. There are many books with female FBI agents such as Alex Kava's books. J. T. Ellison’s character is an FBI consultant. Linda Castillo’s main character is Police Chief Kate Burkholder. Some of the most famous female professionals appear in books written by Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Gardner, and Jacqueline Winspear. Even TV shows and movies are picking up on the trend with “Prime Suspect” being one of the best TV has had to offer.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Reading right now:
“The Fraud” by Brad Parks. This sixth book in the Carter Ross series is sparkling with the same wit and intelligence that have made this series stand out. Journalist Ross is his usual feisty and humorous self, but with a difference. His girlfriend is about to have a baby which is forcing Ross to grow up. In the meantime, the current story he is investigating on a series of carjacking that ended in murder puts his unborn baby in danger and makes him realize what is really important.
“Green Hell” by Ken Bruen. Irish author Bruen adds the 11th novel to his Jack Taylor series. This series started in 2001 with “The Guards.” Taylor is a disgraced ex-cop in Galway whose life continues to go downhill in his latest novel. One of Taylor’s best friends is dead, another isn’t speaking to him and he has pretty much given in to his alcohol addiction. When he rescues an American student, he becomes involved in destroying a respected, but violent professor who has friends in high places. Don’t forget to watch the TV show based on these books.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Rose Pressey, “All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt.” With this second book in the Haunted Vintage mystery series, vintage clothing expert, ghost whisperer, and amateur sleuth Cookie Chanel provides vintage clothing for a film being shot on an historic plantation locally. When Cookie finds the leading lady drowned in a pond, she is driven to find the killer.
Juliet Blackwell, “Spellcasting in Silk.” In this seventh book in the Witchcraft mystery series,vintage clothing store owner Lily Ivory is pulled into investigating the death of a woman who jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge under suspicious circumstances. “Secondhand Spirits” was the first book in this series with witchy Lily who owns Aunt Cora’s Closet and has the ability to sense clues to the past from clothing and jewelry.
Other mysterious things:
Cozies are a mystery subgenre in which violence and sex are downplayed. Cozies usually take place in a small town or village in which the residents play an important part in the story. The heroine is usually an amateur who either works with local law enforcement or is considered a busybody by them. The amateur detective is usually a bright, strong, observant woman who is successful in her area of expertise. Most cozies are part of a series and within that series there is an important theme that runs through the books such as herbs, gardens, cooking, florists, witches, psychics, hotels, yarn, sewing, bookstores, museums, knitting, firemen, dogs, cats, and so on. Agatha Christie counts as one of the most famous cozy mystery authors. Some great cozies come out in July include: “Magic and Macaroons” by Bailey Cates (fifth in the Magical Bakery series), “Peaches and Scream” by Susan Furlong (a new series called Georgia Peach series), Victoria Hamilton’s “Death of an English Muffin” is the third in the Merry Muffin series, “A Charming Fatality” by Tonya Kappes (the seventh in the Magical Cures series), “Sense of Deception” is Victoria Laurie’s thirteenth book in the Psychic Eye series, and finally the eighth book in the Renaissance Faire series comes out (“Fatal Fairies by Joyce and Jim Lavene”).