James Oswald: Nothing to Hide Friday, Sep 20 2019 

James Oswald returns with his second DC Constance Fairchild novel in Nothing to Hide, as strong and compelling an entry as his first in this new series, No Time to Cry. Fans of Oswald’s Inspector acClean series will recognize Oswald’s touch with creative characters and bringing his settings to life, with an added touch of something ‘other.’

On paid leave after her last case ended with several high-profile arrests within the police system, and including one of Britain’s wealthy power men, Con finds herself at loose ends trying to keep a low profile until a big trial, when she returns from time in the Highlands to her London flat, and comes across a mutilated young man who’s barely alive.

This is the first of a string of such mutilations which leave most of its victims dead, and Con is determined to find out who is responsible for these horrific acts, even as she receives the cold shoulder at work from some colleagues and strict instructions from her higher-ups to leave the investigation alone, especially when the National Crime Agency becomes involved.

Worse still, she’s hounded at home by the tabloid press and often can’t sleep in her own bed when her privileged upbringing comes back to haunt her. Oswald brings readers strong women to surround Con, from her neighbor who makes great coffee, Mrs. Feltham, to her Aunt Felicity; from a PC assigned to her, Karen Eve, who just might be a friend, to the fabulous Madame Rose.

But staying out of trouble and not investigating is not Con’s way, and soon she’s embroiled in a case that will take her to the most unlikely places, including Scotland, and even worse, back to her own home, with her title of Lady Constance.

While the evil is there for all to see, taking down the responsible parties is complicated. Con’s mother is involved; her brother is trying to keep the press away from his wedding; and then a friend in Scotland offers her an unlikely refuge to keep her face out of the papers and helps her go undercover.

Oswald doesn’t shirk from today’s issues plaguing young people, but balances them with Con’s sly humor. The Daily Mail calls this “A cracking story beautifully told,” and Auntie M heartily agrees. Highly recommended.

Karin Slaughter: The Last Widow Saturday, Sep 14 2019 

After an absence of three years, Karin Slaughter brings back reader favorites Will Trent and Sara Linton in The Last Widow, both with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

A young mother who works at the CDC is kidnapped at a shopping mall. A month later, there’s no sign of Michelle Spivey, leaving her wife and young child bewildered and grieving.

Sara, a medical examiner and pediatrician, is getting ready to have lunch with Will, a Georgia agent, at the home of her aunt when emergency sirens fill the air and explosions are heard coming from Emory University.

Running toward the emergency, they come across a horrific car accident with disastrous consequences for them both. Will watches helplessly as Sara is taken away but recognizes that Michelle Spivey was in one of the cars.

The events force Will to go undercover to find the mountain lair of the Invisible Patriot Army, whose leader, Dash, has a diabolical scheme planned. Readers who expect awful things to happen will still be shocked at what does happen.

While Sara fights to treat the children on the compound, Will tries to insinuate himself into the IPA. Neither can imagine just how badly things will go awry. Racing to stop the plan that will affect the nation, the horrific ending is still shocking in its intensity.

A timely and scary plot make this a what Publishers Weekly calls a “…visceral, gratifying entry.”

Elizabeth Duncan: Remembering the Dead Tuesday, Sep 10 2019 

Elizabeth Duncan’s tenth Penny Brannigan mystery, Remembering the Dead, takes readers to north Wales and the lovely rural area where Penny runs a spa with her friend, Victoria the town of Llanelan.

By now everyone in the area is aware of Penny’s propensity for uncovering details that are helpful to police in an investigation, so the amateur sleuth has the ear of the local detective when a tragedy occurs.

Her good friend Emyr is delighted to have custody for a few nights of a special chair given posthumously to the great WWI Welsh poet, Held Wyn, who was awarded the bard’s chair during the 1917 National Eisteddfod. After restoration, the chair is making its way to Wyn’s hometown and his museum with a reception by the Prince of Wales. But this stopover for a few nights means a special dinner party thrown at Emyr’s manor house. The unveiling of the carved chair after the meal is to be the highlight of the evening, but goes at once awry when the black cloth covering it is removed to display one of Emyr’s library chairs.

Penny’s been asked to coordinate the dinner party and is on the premises all evening when tragedy strikes twice. Besides the missing chair, she stumbles in the mist over the rain-soaked body of dying young man outside the scullery, who succumbs to his injuries. He’s the nephew of the spa’s receptionist, which gives Penny even more of a vested interest in uncovering what’s happened.

To unravel the threads, Penny will need to carefully explore a young witness and speak to her friend Jimmy, a former thief now residing at the local nursing home.
This will include bringing Penny on a brief trip to Ireland, with a surprising subplot.

Readers will be fairly certain they know who the culprits are from the outset, but it’s the masterminds behind the events of the evening that need to be outed.
With her books steeped in Welsh history and her lovely descriptions of the countryside, Duncan shows once again that Penny is a force to be reckoned with as she pulls together the disparate pieces that form the whole story.

A charming cozy for a series that continues to delight.

Gilly Macmillan: The Nanny Sunday, Sep 8 2019 

Gilly Macmillan takes the usual ideas related to British mystery and turns them on their unlucky heads in The Nanny.

Alternating between several main points of view while going back and forth between the events of the late 1970s and the current time, we are introduced to Jo, a grieving widow, who has just moved with her young daughter, Ruby, from their California home to Jo’s English home, Lake Hall.

Ruby is immediately smitten with her Granny, Virginia, and wants to learn all things British. Jo is worried about their closeness. She has brought Ruby here only due to the financial hardship she finds herself thrust into, not through any sense of love for her mother.

While the child Jo was fond of her father, she remembers her mother as not being able to stand the sight of her,an absent parent while her parents partied and turned her care over to her nanny, Hannah, This sets up an uncomfortable dynamic as both try to placate Ruby, who is adjusting to a new home and a new school while missing her dead father.

It doesn’t help that Jo never understood why Hannah suddenly disappeared one day when she was seven. Sent to boarding school after that, Jo became distant from the parents she already had a fraught relationship with; her current situation makes her depression deepen and she and Virginia are frequently at odds.

Then human remains are found on the small island in the middle of the lake when Jo takes Ruby kayaking. This leads to suspicions from everyone in their small town, and only increases Jo’s determination to find a job and take Ruby away from the claustrophobic atmosphere and the clutches of her mother.

But Jo’s family have grown adept at keeping secrets, and some of them revolve around the circumstances under which Hannah left. Until——suddenly——she’s back. Jo sees Hannah’s return as a rescue, bringing her the support she craves. But it sets up a struggle between Virginia and Hannah that soon has Jo questioning everything she’s believed about her mother.

It doesn’t help that the detective looking into the identity of the human remains believes the family at Lake Hall belong to a faded aristocracy he loathes.

There will be memories that resurface as the secrets become revealed, but the twists and turns keep coming in this wholly satisfying psychological thriller with an unforgettable ending.

Fred Vargas: This Poison Will Remain Thursday, Sep 5 2019 

Translated from the French, Fred Vargas’s This Poison Will Remain beings Commissaire Adamsberg his most devilish and complicated mystery yet.

The four-time winner of CWA’s International Dagger, Vargas has a creative bent with an imagination that makes the books as whimsical as her protagonist while at the same time detailing a complex plot and storyline.

Adamsberg is called back from a trip to Iceland for a hit-and-run investigation, but his imagination is caught by the deaths of three men killed by brown recluse spider bites.

With the first case ingeniously and quickly solved, the detective must fight some members of his own team while pursuing what some feel is a ridiculous investigation as he follows his hunch.

Yet his own research has assured him that these spiders haven’t mutated or suddenly been transformed. To die the way these men have died would have been a Herculean task of collecting their venom.

Adamsberg is convinced these are murders. He has his team set out to find what the possible link there could be between these three men, and finds more than he expected. Is it possible these are revenge murders for incidents that took place decades ago? And the murders continue.

The members of Adamsberg’s team are an unlikely bunch, from a narcoleptic to a strong female lieutenant, from a childhood friend of Adamsberg’s to a naturalist who’s eel stinks up their offices.

There’s no question that Adamsberg’s thought processes range from quirky to odd, but his brilliance in making connections makes this an imaginative read that Auntie M found captivating.

Ann Cleeves: The Long Call Tuesday, Sep 3 2019 

Ann Cleeves, the celebrated author of the Vera and Shetlands series, creates a new series that take readers to the area of North Devon where she grew up in The Long Call.

Introducing DI Matthew Venn, we see his own complicated family history in the area. Leaving an evangelical family made Matthew an outcast to his family, and so he’s on the periphery at his own father’s funeral. The book’s title refers to the call of a herring gull that has always sounded to him like someone in pain, a window onto his brooding nature.

Matthew barely has time to examine his grief when he’s called away to the site of a murder on the beach. A man has been stabbed to death and Matthew heads the case with his new team.

Living in a cottage with his husband, Jon, Matt is chagrined when this case becomes tied to The Woodyard, an arts and crafts centre Jon runs that contains a day center for disabled adults where the murdered man was a volunteer.

The dead man, Simon Walden, had been rooming with two young women while hiding secrets of his own. A recovering alcoholic with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck to remind him of prior guilt he carries, Simon is a cipher that Matt must learn.

With his more formal dress hiding an introspective bent, Matt is a different kind of detective, still feeling his way around his unit and having pangs of insecurity he hides from his team. But it’s his strong mind and ability to line up clues that make him stand out and ultimately figure out who would have wanted to kill Simon Walden.

As the investigation advances and people connected tangentially to both The Woodyard and to Simon are interviewed, Matthew starts to form his impression of what has happened while getting used to his new team. His DS in particular, Jen Rafferty, is a strong character in this atmospheric story that deals well with Down’s Syndrome adults. And when one of these adults goes missing, the tension ramps up.

A complicated plot adds to this character-driven procedural that brings an enticing new detective to follow. Highly recommended.

Robert Pobi: City of Windows Sunday, Sep 1 2019 

City of Windows is Robert Pobi’s thriller set mostly in New York City that will have readers on edge with its relentless pace during the worst blizzard NY has seen.

The whiteout conditions and slippery roads mean it’s doubly difficult to track a sniper when an FBI agent in a moving car is killed. It’s not just a tough shot–between the the winds, low visibility, and moving vehicle, it’s almost impossible. Almost.

Only one man can figure out where the shot came from, former FBI agent and astrophysicist Lucas Page. His ability to see trajectories means he’s the person who can give them an edge to finding this killer. But Page has already given an eye, one arm, and a leg to the FBI, and now teaches at Columbia.

So when the agent who heads up Manhattan, Brett Kehoe, tries to get Page onboard, it’s not surprising he at first resists. Married, with a slew of adopted and foster kids, he’s ready to settle in for a few weeks at home during the Christmas holidays.

Then Page finds out the murdered man was his former partner, and he agrees to help pinpoint the site on just that one case. But more deaths of law enforcement officers occur, all in impossible situations. Soon Page finds himself being ferried around the city but his own FBI agent and dealing with Bureau political hacks, with a surprising lack of crucial evidence to assist him.

And then his family becomes the target.

A well-crafted and fast-paced plot make this a thriller that’s tough to put down. Auntie M started it one morning and the rest of her day became consumed by the read. Lucas Page and his unusual family add a nice counterpoint to the stark plot, and this reader is hoping to see them all in print again. Highly recommended.

Kate Rhodes Day: Fatal Harmony and Ruin Beach Thursday, Aug 29 2019 

Auntie M is a huge fan of UK author Kate Rhodes, with her longer-running Alice Quentin series and now her second, set on the Isles of Scilly. Here are one in each for your reading pleasure to seek out, with great reading ahead of you~each of these is rated Highly Recommended.


The sixth suspense thriller featuring forensic psychologist Alice Quentin, Fatal Harmony has a premise that strikes too close to home for Alice.

Adrian Stone is a psychotic narcissist who’s been in Rampton’s high security unit for nine years. A child prodigy in music, piano his specialty, Adrian’s goal was to be the world’s most famous and adulated pianist that London’s Royal College of Music had seen. But the rearing of his tendencies coupled with misgivings of several of the faculty found his parents sending him to school. His response was to murder both parents and his older sister, resulting in his incarcertion.

But Adrian has escaped, and the ruthless killer has two concrete goals. He must follow his musical path, but he also wants to kill those who took part in taking him out of the music college. A master of changing his appearance, when the bodies begin to pile up, Alice is brought in to consult on the case.

But Alice knows Adrian from early on, and soon realizes her name is on his list. Now the case not only becomes one of stopping Adrian from killing more, but of protecting her own life. And as he’s on the run but compelled to perform, Adrian has picked up a young, naive girl to aid him in his cover.

Alice’s boyfriend, DI Don Burns, is on the case, and with their relationship running alongside the tense investigation, there will be a twist there readers won’t see coming.

This is filled with the history of music that London contains, from Mozart and Handel to the Royal College for Music, from Queen Victoria to the Albert Hall, only one of the many edifices the grieving queen created in her husband’s memory. Rhodes takes readers inside them all while hunting a mad genius.

Ruin Beach is the second mystery featuring the Scilly Isles’ Deputy Police Chief, Ben Kitto, a native from the area who’s returned home. Introduced in Hell Bay, Kitto’s youth spent on the isolated islands make them a vastly different area to police from his days in London’s murder squad.

Rhodes thoughtfully provides a map of each island featured in the stories, more helpful than she might realize, that helps readers follow Ben’s investigation when an experienced diver, Jude Trellon, is found on the rocks of a cave on the island of Tresco.

Once it’s established this wasn’t an accident, Ben has the difficult task of questioning her family. Her partner has isolated himself with their little girl, but whether out of grief or because he’s hiding something remains to be seen. Jude’s brother and parents are also struggling with her loss, yet each has secrets they are keeping.

Small, enclosed communities like those on these islands often close off when questioned, as Ben finds to his chagrin. Stories are half told; details are kept from him. It’s frustrating as he means to find out the truth about who would have wanted Jude dead, and why.

But his knowledge of the islands also gives him an edge that he will use to figure out why Jude Trellon needed to die.

A compelling series that’s very different from the Alice Quentin’s, yet just as intriguing. What the two have in common is a strong sense of setting, though each of those is vastly different, coupled with compelling and vivid characters. Toss in great storylines and you have a recipe for great reading.

Louise Penny: A Better Man Tuesday, Aug 27 2019 

It’s no secret Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series is a favorite of Auntie M’s with good reason: she manages to write a different complex mystery with every novel while entertwining the strengths and weaknesses of the human spirit.

With A Better Man, she brings Gamache back to where he began, as head of the homicide department. For a short time, until he moves to start his new job, he will share this job with his son-in-law Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his daughter Annie’s husband.

It could be an awkward time, with the boss taking orders from his former right-hand man, but Gamache is determined to make it work, even as flood waters rise in the province of Quebec and threaten dams, bridges, lives.

Adding to the tension are social media slights that thrust Gamache into the limelight and gossip he loathes, and threaten his ability to do his job, any job.

Then a father begs Gamache to find his daughter. Married to an abusive husband, Vivienne Godin was to meet with her father and never showed up. Knowing he should leave her search until after the flood waters recede, Gamache understands and feels the need of this father to find his daughter.

But at what cost? And how will Gamache handle the cruel things being said about him?

With her usual strong plotting, the characters we’ve grown to love of Three Pines buttress this fine addition to the series. Penny is a master of balancing the dark and the light, and always manages to move this reader–multiple times. Highly recommended.

Julia Keller: The Cold Way Home Thursday, Aug 22 2019 

Keller’s returns with Bell Elkins in The Cold Way Home, and proves that the stories of Bell and her compatriots are still compelling even though their individual situations have vastly changed over the arc of the series.

Family is at the heart of this one, pride in one, what makes up one, and what we will do for ours. One of the strengths of this series is the realistic characters of rural West Virginia and Acker’s Gap, Bell’s hometown.

The former prosecutor is now a private investigator, helped by two other friends and compatriots: Nick Fogelsong and Jake Oakes, former sheriff and deputy respectively. There’s a missing girl they need to find, but there’s also a murder, with the body found on the burned-out grounds of a former psychiatric hospital.

Wellwood had a notoriety even before it burned to the ground, which is where the body of Darla Gilley, sister of Nick’s best friend, Joe, is found. These woods are where Bell and her sister Shirley played as children, and she knows them well, down to the nickname for a twisted tree.

Trying to find the root of the murder of Darla means going through all of her connections in town. It also means looking into the death of her grandmother, a former employee of Wellwood when it was functioning. Is it too much to believe there’s no coincidence between both murdered bodies being found at Wellwood?

While just a burned out shell now, the ghosts or Wellwood hang over the story and inhabit the investigation. And help will come to Bell from an unlikely source.

One of the best in a strong series, this could easily be read as a stand-alone if you aren’t already a fan of Bell Elkins and her crew.

Next Page »

Pamela J Castrucci

Navigating self-publishing without a net.

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

Book promotion & authors BLOG

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

Pamela J Castrucci

Navigating self-publishing without a net.

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

Book promotion & authors BLOG

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama