Scandanavian Summer: Indridason, Sigurdardottir, Brekke Wednesday, Jul 29 2015 

Here are some of the best Scandanavian thrillers for your summer reading pleasure:
Reykjavik Nights
After the surprising ending of last year’s Strange Shores, Arnaldur Indirdason is back with Reykjavik Nights, a prequel to the series that explains to readers how Insepctor Erlendur became interested in detecting.

Opening with the young policeman walking a beat on Reykjavik streets, he and his colleagues face the kind of crime you’d expect: drugs, domestic violence, traffic accidents, and a death Erlandur can’t seem to leave alone.

It should be a simple matter: a tramp he knew from his rounds has been found drowned in a ditch, yet the young cop find himself drawn to the case. Talks he’s had with the man in the past haunt him, and he soon finds himself connecting this death to that of a missing woman.

With dogged persistence, Erlandur will trace things to solving the case, and ignite his own future. An interesting way to see how this character became interested in detecting.
SomeoneWatch

Yrsa Sigurdardottir has been called the Queen of Crime with good reason. In Someone to Watch Over Me, she brings lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottire her most interesting case yet.

Jakob has Down’s Syndrome and has been convicted of burning down his assisted living centre, killing five people in the process. He resides now in a secure psychiatric unit, where one of his fellow inmates has hired Thora to clear the boy of the charges and prove his innocence. Her reluctance to take the case is fueled by her distaste for Josteinn Karlsson, child abuser and sociopath, who has inherited funds from his mother to pay her.

Yet she’s strangely drawn to Jakob and as she starts a routine investigation, things don’t add up. It soon becomes clear to Thora that to prove Jakob’s innocence, she must track down the real murderer.

The case of a young hit-and-run victim will become tied to the case, as does the financial collapse of Iceland and it’s affect on Thora’s family life. Readers will become as caught up as Thora as she unravels what really happened on that fateful night.

Monsters Dwell
Jorgen Brekke’s first book introducing Norwegian police detective Odd Singsaker is now in paperback. Where Monsters Dwell connects a US case with one in Norway when there are similar murders in Trondheim and Richmond, Virgina.

US homicide investigator Felicia Stone is soon seconded to Singsaker once the connection is known. Recovering from a divorce and a brain tumor finds Singsaker trying hard to keep up with his team and the American detective. Along the way he becomes friends with an interesting character, a young library researcher, Siri, who will be a continuing character.

Soon the two detectives find they must delve deeply into history, to a sixteenth-century book called The Book of John which has been bound in human skin. The book is thought to be the work a Middle Ages serial killer who stalked Europe.

As they race to find the new killer replicating these centuries-old murders, Felicia and Odd find themselves drawn to each other, which helps to alleviate their grisly investigation. A stunning debut with interesting and creative characters. Read this one first to follow the relationships of the two detectives.

Brekke followed his debut up with this year’s Dreamless:Dreamless
Chief Inspector Odd Singsaker is on the case once again, married now to Felicia Stone. His newest case starts with the killing of a young singer found murdered with an antique music box resting on her body, playing a lullaby that has a familiar ring.

With ties to a letter and events of of late 18th century, the music and the lullaby with have far-reaching consequences for Singsaker and turn out to be the clues Singsaker needs as another young girl is found murdered under similar circumstances. With a third young woman kidnapped, time is running out.

And then his team will be affected just as Felicia disappears. This installment solves the mystery but will leave the reader yearning for more of Singsaker’s story.

Mandy Morton: The No 2 Feline Detective Agency Sunday, Jul 26 2015 

9780749019051 no2 feline detective agency

Welcome to the world of Hettie Bagshot and her best friend, Tilly, named for the author’s cats, in The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency.
And what a world it is! Not one for inserting a cat as a companion to a human, Morton has these cats inhabit their own world, complete with sly references and ripe with innuendo. In the true spirit of the books, sales will help feed, shelter and find loving homes for less fortunate cats.

Hettie Bagshot and Tilly live in the Butter Sisters Bakery back room, a perfect spot for warming ovens and replete with staff luncheon vouchers to hold hunger at bay as the dynamic duo await their very first case. (The idea for becoming a private detective occurred to Hettie when she was watching the long-running play A Mouse Trapped.) When that case turns out to be a search for missing dead cats, the reader knows the hijinks can’t be far behind.

Marcia Woolcoat, the matron of the Furcross Home for slightly older cats, promises a Dignicat burial when each cat’s time has come. Unfortunately for her, three recently deceased cats have been dug up and their corpses stolen, reminding Hettie of the infamous grave robbers Bert and Hair.

The fun keeps piling on as Hettie knows the Furcross cook from her touring days with her band, echoing Morton’s earlier professional days as a songwriter-musician. Marley Toke specializes in Jamaican food for the cats and grows her own catnip in the garden. With financial transactions providing rent and food for Hettie and Tilly, the fact that they have no idea what they’re doing seems besides the point.

Readers will meet Hettie’s plumber friend Poppy Phene, who drives the cats around in his van, while they chorus to Tabby Wynette’s version of “Stand By Your Van.” It’s not like Hettie is the FBI–the Feline Bureau of Investigation–so she has to use her wits to keep her retainer with Marcia going. The guests at Furcross range from the gardner, Digger Patch, to the dashing Marilyn Repel, late of The Prince and the Showcat, with star Larry O’Liver. Marilyn’s daughter, Cocoa is a fashion designer, working in concert with nail specialist Oralia Claw. And there’s the nurse, Alma Mogadon, who is keeping dark secrets of her own.

If Hettie has the brains, Tilly keeps the duo going on a daily basis with her housekeeping and secretarial chores. And don’t forget Tilly’s favorite author, mystery writer Polly Hodge, an homage to the cat of P D James, friend and mentor to Morton. Tilly’s reading Hodge’s newest: An Unsuitable Job for a Cat, along with others by Nicola Uptide and Alexander McPaw Spit.

Auntie M quite enjoyed the twisted plot–yes, there IS a plot–and a mystery to be solved in Hettie’s inimitable fashion, assisted by Tilly. There is genuine love between the two cats, and anyone how who isn’t enamored with the series needs to run right out and adopt a cat–or two.

Their world without humans is quite entrancing, from the details of the food eaten to the clothes worn, and Morton has a real winner for cat lovers everywhere. This delightful series is witty and smart. So enter the world of Hettie Bagshot and her best mate, Tilly, and be prepared to be besotted.

Look for Book Two, Cat Among the Pumpkins, later this year.

Elly Griffiths: The Ghost Fields, Ruth Galloway #7 Wednesday, Jul 22 2015 

Ghost Fields

Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway is one of Auntie M’s favorite characters. Griffiths has created an original, smart woman who is very recognizable to readers as very, very human. In this seventh outing, THE GHOST FIELDS, Ruth is enjoying a summer dig with her archeology students when DCI Nelson asks her to view a crime scene. Seconded to North Norfolk’s Serious Crimes Unit as a forensic archeologist has had a profound effect on Ruth’s personal life in more ways than one.

Nelson explains that a builder, Edward Spens, had equipment digging for a new development in the fields and has found a plane, probably WWII, buried in a field–with a pilot is still inside. The plane is American, probably from the nearby Lockwell Heath airbase, but Ruth feels the dirt around the plane has been more recently disturbed and that the dead man has been posed in the cockpit.

Then Ruth announces that this was not an incident of a downed plane during the war: the pilot sports a bullet hole through the middle of his forehead.

The pilot and the land tie in to the Blackstock family, a disparate group with several generations living in the nearby manor house, others emigrated to the US, and a grandson running a pig farm, which comes into play in a particularly grisly manner.

Complicating Ruth and Nelson’s investigation is the appearance of American documentarian Frank Barker, the academic who Ruth met when filming the program Women Who Kill. Despite an attraction at the time, it’s been over a year since Ruth has heard from Frank, yet here he comes across the pond to head up an American film company and star in a documentary about Norfolk’s deserted airfields, those Ghost Fields as they’re known, and to muddle up Ruth’s investigation and her life.

It will take all of Ruth and Nelson’s smarts and his team’s efforts to unravel the complicated situation that is at the bottom of this mess once it becomes apparent there’s a murderer still on the loose in the Ghost Fields.

Griffiths adds to our interest with a nice interweaving of the lives of repeat characters besides those of Ruth and Nelson. They enhance rather than detract from the business at hand, a meeting of old friends as it were, and add a texture to the very human dramas that play out against the investigation. These atmospheric novels are strong, wonderful reads for any mystery lover. Highly recommended.

Cathy Ace: The Case of the Dotty Dowager Sunday, Jul 19 2015 

Please welcome Cathy Ace, VP of the Crime Writers of Canada:

the case of the dot#14A450C(1)

Thanks for inviting me to visit, Auntie M – I’m so happy to have the chance to drop by to introduce you to my new characters.

With five Cait Morgan Mysteries in print (#6, THE CORPSE WITH THE DIAMOND HAND, comes out in October 2015) and having just won the Bony Blithe Award for the best Canadian Light Mystery for #4, THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR, I have to admit I have been worrying about how the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries would be accepted, but I’m pleased to say quite a lot of folks are already enjoying spending time with them.

I’ve always relished Downton Abbey, but when I decided to set a group of four female private eyes to work on a case at a stately home I made two big decisions: I realized I wanted a modern-day setting, and to be able to use technology as it’s available now to help solve their puzzling (and quintessentially British) cases; I also made the decision to go back to my home country of Wales for the setting…though I am told the series is perfect for Anglophiles (maybe there’s a word to coin here – Welshophiles?).

THE CASE OF THE DOTTY DOWAGER is the first novel-length outing for the four women of the WISE Enquiries Agency: one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English (hence the acronym) but, whilst they work well together and effectively use their complementary skill-set, what I’m enjoying is that they are all so different: Carol Hill is a Welsh computer whiz in her mid-thirties, happily married and delightedly pregnant; The Hon. Christine Wilson-Smythe is the brilliant and beautiful daughter of an Irish viscount, who’s fearless in the way only someone who is single and in their twenties can be; Mavis MacDonald is a retired army nurse, a widow in her mid-sixties, she has two grown sons, grandchildren, and an ailing mother in a nursing home close to her family in Scotland; then there’s Annie Parker, born to St. Lucian parents within the sound of Bow Bell–she’s a cockney through and through – her abrasive nature a shield against a world that’s not been too kind to her, and weathering her very sweaty mid- fifties.

Throw in Althea Twyst, the dowager duchess of Chellingworth who, at almost eighty, is just as active as her Jack Russell, McFli, but who might be losing her marbles (according to her son, Henry, the eighteenth duke) and you’ve got four women enquiring into the life of a fifth – who might not take kindly to their interest.

So why not grab yourself a cuppa, and indulge in a delightful romp through the Welsh countryside with these women? Book two in the series, THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER, will be published in the UK in October 2015, and in the US and Canada in February 2016, so, if you enjoy meeting these women, you won’t have to wait long before you can tackle another case with them.

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Cathy Ace is the BC Bestselling author of the Bony Blithe Award-winning Cait Morgan Mysteries and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. You can find out more about Cathy and her work at her website: http://cathyace.com/ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Ace- Author/318388861616661?ref=hl or on Twitter: @AceCathy

Nicola Upson: London Rain Wednesday, Jul 15 2015 

London Rain
Nicola Upson’s series featuring Josephine Tey has long been a favorite of Auntie M’s, earning her carefully chosen “highly recommended” rating in each previous novel. In London Rain, Upson brings Tey to London during the glorious Coronation ceremonies of George VI after the agony of the abdication of Edward VIII, yet all of the glitter and pageantry becomes secondary to the murder of one of the BBC’s best-known broadcasters.

Josephine is in London for a BBC radio program of her play Queen of Scots, but she’s not immune to the atmosphere at Broadcasting House, the modern bastion that houses the BBC’s offices and studios. The cool, austere building reflects the icy demeanor inside, ripe with petty jealousies, adultery and enough emotion to make itself known to the sensitive Tey.

Some of the gossip makes Josephine acutely aware of her own personal situation and she resolves to define her relationship better with her partner, Marta, a sensitive topic at the best of times. She’s aware that the atmosphere is controlled by Julian Terry, fellow detective novelist and now the BBC’s director of her play. His brother, John, has a lead role in Tey’s play, yet it’s Lydia Beaumont, who Josephine originally wrote the play for, who has been demoted in the radio play to a minor role, a situation that will add to the strain of the women’s relationship with Marta.

Josepine meets Vivienne Bereford, too, acting editor of the popular publication Radio Times; her husband Anthony Beresford is one of the BBC’s top radio broadcasters. Viv’s sister, Olivia Hanlon, was the owner of a sketchy Soho club, and her drowning death ten years ago is still talked about in some circles with suspicion. But that is the old news; the newer is that Anthony Beresford is having an affair with the actress Millicent Grey, who is playing the Queen in Josephine’s play.

Bereford’s murder is no surprise to readers. When Tey’s friend DCI Archie Penrose is called in to head the case, he finds the politics of the place get in his way. With the Coronation as the backdrop, there will be heightened security, the heady trappings of the event, and the major influx of people into London–all of which frustrate Archie’s investigation.

Josephine and even Marta will become involved in helping him sort out the secrets that have led to this murder, leaving Josephine to wonder about her recklessness in the situation and the guilt it leave her with when there’s an unexpected ending twist–and even more of a twist for Archie.

This is Upson’s sixth Tey novel, and it won’t disappoint, both in its characterizations and in the plotting of a terrific mystery. The period details are perfectly done and provide a lovely backdrop to a literate and well-written story. Highly recommended.

Nina Romano: The Secret Language of Women Sunday, Jul 12 2015 

Please welcome author Nina Romano, whose novel THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF WOMEN is available for pre-order on Amazon right now. This is the first in her Wayfarer Trilogy and Book One is set in China during the Boxer Rebellion.

SecretLanguage

Horoscope Helped Me Develop a Realistic Character by Nina Romano

In The Secret Language of Women, the first book of my Wayfarer Trilogy, I decided my main character Lian’s horoscope would be the Year of the Dog. Knowing her horoscope facilitated my understanding the protagonist for this novel. Since the book is set in China, I used Lian’s Chinese Zodiac sign to learn about her qualities and personality traits intimately so that she appeared genuine yet flawed.

She is straightforward, a warm and caring being, courageous and intelligent. When a person born under this sign falls in love, they do not ever change. Lian fell in love with an Italian sailor, and remained faithful to that love, despite the fact that she was forced into a loveless marriage.

Moreover, having visited China, a unique experience that enabled me to see in person Hong Kong, Beijing and its fabulous Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, I was able to envision Lian’s travels and travails in war-torn China, an era suffused in superstition, intrigue, culture and history.

I incorporated the themes and things I care about, such as: love, family, food and recipes, art, dragons and horses. Why? Simply because it’s straightforward to write what I know and have feelings for, and all of these ideas translated well even to a novel set in China during the Boxer Rebellion.

My own horoscope is the Year of the Horse, which was last year, so I made sure I had an important role for a horse in this novel, and I’m positive that my horoscope had incredible influence on my stars being aligned because I signed a contract for a three-book deal for my Wayfarer Trilogy with Turner Publishing.

While writing, I pictured Chinese New Year, the cleaning of the house, the distributing of red envelopes, and Lian cooking on a wok, serving rice to her beloved. This story takes place in China where live fish, most especially carp, are good Fengshui, which according to Wikipedia is a “philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment.” For this reason, I put carp into a pool in the Summer Palace in Chapter 1, where Lian meets the love of her life.

Do I believe in the influence of horoscopes and how they can help round out a character? Of that there is little doubt. Here’s an excerpt from The Secret Language of Women:

The things that test you and are vanquished bring everlasting joy. The differences between traditional written Chinese and Nüshu, the secret language of women, made it difficult for me to learn it. My mother and grandmother could not write Chinese and learned Nüshu when they were young and wanted me to grasp it too. I cannot say they harped on me or were tyrannical, but I will say they were insistent, and for this I am eternally indebted. My mother said it challenged me because I wrote like a man and didn’t have to rely solely on Nüshu, the way they did to communicate with other women. The ideograms of Chinese correspond to a word or part of one, whereas each of the seven hundred characters of Nüshu represent a syllable— women’s language is phonetic, in Chéngguān dialect 城关土话, adaptable and pliant for singing, poetry and writing with such delicate strokes they appear as lines of feathers. Though learning was problematical, I mastered it, like I do all things I set my mind to conquer. At the time, I resented the study of it, yet I knew innately one day I would be grateful to possess the knowledge and skill of this secret language, which would offer me strength and solace for a lifetime. And although I was writing in Nüshu, for some reason, I signed with a flourish in Chinese: Wǒ Lián. I am Lian. 我连

nina
Nina Romano earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU. She’s a world traveler and lover of history. She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, four poetry collections, and two chapbooks. A fifth collection is forthcoming from LLC Red Dashboard. Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her Wayfarer Trilogy is forthcoming from Turner Publishing. The first historical novel of the saga: The Secret Language of Women will be published in September 2015. Learn more about the author at: http://www.ninaromano.com

Kate Flora: And Grant You Peace Friday, Jul 10 2015 

And Grant You Peace
Auntie M owes author Kate Flora an apology: She read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Flora’s Joe Burgess mystery, And Grant You Peace last fall. Then her copy of the book fell behind a stack of many stacked books waiting to be reviewed and was just unearthed. Mea culpa.

Don’t let Auntie M’s tardiness keep you away from this great installment in Flora’s series, that starts out with a fast-paced heart-rending scene and doesn’t let up.

Sitting in his car, waiting for his shift to end, Burgess is ready to go home when a local kid he knows come running up to his door. Jason tells Burgess the nearby mosque is on fire and he can hear screaming from inside. Burgess leaps out of his car, calling the fire department, on the run inside the burning building.

A stranger steps up to help him and the two men tear down a locked door to find a woman and her baby inside the burning closet. His instincts tell Burgess the fire was not accidental, and when he learns the infant has died, Burgess knows the investigation will ratchet up now with the arson unit, fire department investigators and the state fire marshal all digging in along with violent crimes detectives.

But his thoughts turn to the scared young mother, a teenager, who has just lost her child, and gone mute. Who would have locked her and her baby in a closet inside a mosque scrawled with anti-Muslim graffiti and set fire to it? Burgess will work hard to earn her trust and learn her story.

It’s a case that will have Burgess working long hours, despite the chaos of his home situation, where his partner Chris is working and trying to hold down the fort on their newly-created family. Series regulars on Joe’s team Stan Perry, Terry Kyle will aid Burgess along with Remy Aucoin and CID head Vince Melia, as their investigation takes them to the Iman who owned the Somali mosque.

When they try to question one of the Iman’s sons, a car passes, shooting into their faces. And that’s just the start of the trouble Burgess and his team will face as they unravel the story of this young mother and her dead child.

Compellingly told, atmospheric, this proves a great addition to the series.

What Doesn’t Kill her: Carla Norton Wednesday, Jul 8 2015 

What Doesn't Kill Her
Carla Norton caught readers’ attention with last year’s debut The Edge of Normal, which introduced her most unusual protagonist, Reeve LeClaire.

Norton’s back with its sequel, What Doesn’t Kill Her, and Auntie M is happy to report it’s every bit as well done as her first.

Reeve has put some semblance of normalcy back into her life after her years as Darryl Flint’s kidnap victim. She still has some locked memories of her time as his captive, but now she has roommates and is attending college, while Flint languishes in the psychiatric hospital where he’s been held since the car accident that freed Reeve and gave Flint his head injury.

He spends his days in apparently harmless rituals of his own making, until the day he puts his long-held plan into action: Flint manages to escape, killing on his first day out, and bringing Reeve to Washington State to aid in his capture.

Staying with former FBI agent Milo Bender and his family, Reeve and Bender will try their best to figure out Flint’s next move before he can kill again, but not before he manages to damage those close to Reeve.

With some chapters told from Flint’s point of view, the reader possess more information that Reeve or Bender, which ratchets up the suspense. And Norton has done her homework on psychopathic subcategories, educating readers on the scent of fear.

The pacing picks up as the manhunt does and Flint seems destined to elude authorities, with a blocked memory Reeve has holding the key to his capture.

Skillfully done, you’ll be rooting for Reeve and be as surprised as Auntie M at the final ending twist.

Jan McCanless: Who Killed the Weatherman? Sunday, Jul 5 2015 

Please welcome author Jan McCanless, whose quirky citizens of Beryl Cove, NC, delight mystery readers with her wild sense of humor. Jan’s talking today about her Royal DNA … British with a Southern flair!

Weatherman

My Royal DNA

by Jan McCanless

I come from a predominately smart family; oh, we have our usual quirky oddball (at least that’s the name they have given me),but otherwise, we have some spectacular DNA coursing through our collective veins.

Well, for instance, there I was,sitting at a church breakfast one Easter morning, and as usual, I was bragging about our famous kin, General AP Hill, of confederate fame. You see, the man next to me was a Civil War buff, he even has his own museum, so we were sharing stories of our ancestors. Proud of old Ambrose Powell Hill, I am, and just happened to mention his esteem among his troops and the entire region. David leaned over to me and said, “You know, of course, the man died of syphilis.” I was crestfallen to say the least. He could’ve at least waited on me to finish my meal !!!

Then, there is Colonel David Gregg, kin on my mother’s side, with a big statue of him in Gettysburg cemetery. I don’t know any scandal about him, except, well, um – — he fought for the other side. We don’t speak too much of him naturally, and I won’t tell if you don’t.

AP and Colonel Gregg are not my only outstanding relatives; there is that Indian woman, Pocahontas. You see, Pocahontas married that English chap, Sir Ralph whatshisname, and, they lived happily ever after in England. Why, they even have a statue of her over there, so revered is she. Anyway, Sir Ralph was a distant cousin of the Queen’s, Victoria, if I’m not mistaken, but, it could have been an earlier monarch, not sure at this point, I’m still getting over the fact that cousin Ambrose died of a social disease. I mean a thing like that can rattle ones cage! Back to Poca baby. She married this English chap, cousin of the Queen’s, and had children by him, and those children eventually led to myself and my brother.

Now, bear in mind, my brother isn’t exactly the sort of fellow one would present to the Queen, but, the DNA is there, and should we take up residence in Buckingham palace, (Buck house to those of us in the family) I could always coach him on protocol. He might, just might, look fetching in knee breeches and morning coat.

The thing is, we are kin, Elizabeth and us, and I think it only right that we be included in all this royal folderol that occurs quite frequently over there. Ascot, the coronations, etc. I have even practiced my Royal wave, it’s sorta like screwing in a light bulb. One has to plaster that fixed half-smile on one’s face when waving to the peons. Don’t get me wrong, I love the British Royal family, kin and all. Elizabeth and Phillip share the same wedding anniversary as the spouse and I — November 20th. Every year I invite Liz and Phil (familiarity amongst family members, you know) to come across the pond and join us in celebration, but so far, they have not accepted. Probably don’t know we are kin yet, but I plan on remedying that forthwith. See, I even talk like British Royalty. I’ve known all my life about our Royal connection, but just haven’t gotten around to taking advantage of it, but this is the year!!!

I’ve been led to believe that there are over 200 rooms at Buck house, so I can’t help but think they would not miss a dozen or so of them, so brother and I and our assorted kinfolk can take up residence there. I mean, it’s rightfully ours, too, doncha know.

Hm, wonder how brother is going to look in those knee breeches, maybe we should start smaller, a portion of the civil list perhaps?

Jan McCanless writes the Beryl’s Cove Mysteries. Her newest, Who Killed the Weatherman? is available at Amazon.com. Amateur sleuths Steve and Suzanne Thomas find themselves assisting local police chief, Nathan Sowinski with an automobile accident that turns out to be murder. His car careens out of control right in downtown Beryl’s Cove, and our beach bunch sets out to solve the crime. Their paths soon cross with drug runners, a smarmy lifeguard and an unsympathetic TV station executive. Meanwhile, the residents of the Cove carry on in the midst of personal crises, not the least of which is Steve’s broken leg. One of the more stable Cove marriages appears headed for the rocks, and police chief Sowinski gets news that really rocks his world, turning it upside down. Suddenly, the moon is full, and nothing or nobody is acting quite right.

Jan’s a well-known author throughout North Carolina. Her list of publications and awards she has received would fill a good-sized volume by themselves. In addition to the Beryl’s Cove Mystery series and other books, she is a freelance columnist for The Salisbury Post, and a regular contributor to Senior Savvy; The Saturday Evening Post; Sophie Woman’s Magazine; and a multitude of other periodicals.

M. P. Cooley: Flame Out Sunday, Jun 28 2015 

FlameOut
An upstate New York native, M. P. Cooley knows the area well and showed that in her debut Ice Shear, introducing police officer June Lyons. She’s back with its sequel, FLAME OUT and it’s every bit as good a story, set in the rustbelt area of Hopewell Falls, along the Mohawk River.

Auntie M must confess to a bit of added interest unknown to her until she read this book: one of her three sons is Director of the Cohoes Library, and so she knows the area and can attest that Cooley gets it the depressed neighborhoods just right.

The action sets in quickly, when June is out on patrol and she picks up the scent of gasoline as she rides near an abandoned factory. Knowing arson to be prevalent in the area, she calls the fire in and heads into the factory, over a gas slick, fire extinguisher in hand.

She follows the trail into the building and finds a running van door open, and as the flames reach the van, a woman screams and rises from the mattress stuffed in the back, her clothes on fire. June manages to rescue the woman, but her burns keep the victim in a coma and she’s not identified. Until she is …

That’s the beginning of a twisted and complex plot that will have fingers tracing back into Juen’s own family’s past and that of her partner, Dave Batko, and his family. June’s father is a retired cop who is helping her raise her daughter, yet this case brings back the history of his arrest of the factory’s owner, Bernie Mede, for killing his wife and child, despite their bodies never being found. Then while dismantling the burned factory, the body of a woman is found inside a sealed barrel, walled up inside the factory.

The assumption is that this is Mede’s missing wife, but the identity turns out to have more ramifications for June’s partner, Dave, one that will see him sidelined, with June working alongside FBI Special Agent Hale Bascom to solve the murder and arson–and to unravel the past.

A gripping tale with the setting playing an important role, this rural procedural starts out as a small-town police case and soon grows into a tale of corruption and coverup.

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