Val McDermid: Insidious Intent Wednesday, Nov 15 2017 

Val McDermid’s Carol Jordan/Tony Hill series is one of Auntie M’s all-time continuing favorites. It seemed a while since there was a new one and reader’s wait will be rewarded with the unbelieveable Insidious Intent.

As the readers turns the last haunting page, there is a message from McDermid, asking readers not to spoil the ending for others. So there will be no spoiler alerts here, but suffice it to say that this one will leave readers speechless.

It starts with a burned body found in a car on a lonely country road and turns suspicious when it’s deemed the person was already dead when the fire was started. No suicide or mechanical issues here.

DCI Carol Jordan is tasked with the case as her first as the head of the newly-formed regional major incident team–reMIT, a way to forge policing ahead by taking on the most violent cases from all of the forces.

Jordan is still reeling from a screwup in the last book, Splinter the Silence, where what turned into an act of corruption, although noble, is dogging her heels.

There’s no choice but for her and her team to make a success of this case, but as the bodies start to mount up, one thing becomes clear: this killer has studied forensics in a way that stymies their every move and continues to elude justice.

Tony Hill has been staying with Carol at the barn that her brother and sister owned. After renovating it till there is no memory of their murders left, he’s concerned for Carol and hopes his presence will keep her from drinking. His profile on the case is skewed by this killer, until he figures out that the man is killing woman in a prelude to the one woman he really wants to kill.

Scenes from the killer’s point of view illustrate his cunning, and his invincible attitude. He feels he’s untouchable, and he may just be right.

Woven into this is the compelling story of Carol’s DS, Paula McIntyre, her partner, Dr. Elinor Blessing, and the teen they have staying with them after the death of his mother. Torin turns out to have more than his own issue to deal with, a timely one that could affect any youngster in today’s age.

But there’s a long road ahead as the team investigates and Carol relies on their varying areas of expertise, all the while she’s stalked by the investigative reporter intent on bringing her down, all leading to the ending that will leave you gobsmacked. I promise.

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Chloe Mayer: The Boy Made of Snow Sunday, Nov 12 2017 


Please welcome author Chloe Mayer, who will introduce her new UK release, THE BOY MADE OF SNOW:

How to write a chilling winter’s tale when you’re living in Los Angeles

Writers write anywhere.

They write whenever and wherever they can eke out a few moments of time to get down the words. Stephen King had the idea for Carrie while working as a janitor cleaning a girls’ locker room, TS Elliot wrote poetry while working as a bank clerk, and Fiona Mozley – whose novel Elmet was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize recently – wrote much of her book on her cell phone as she commuted to her intern job.

The wonderful thing about writing is that not only can you do it anywhere; it’s that by writing you can make wherever you actually are, become anywhere you like.

Although I’m British – I was born and raised in London – I wrote most of my first novel while I was living and working in LA. Most of the time, I loved the glorious Californian climate – with one exception.

For a Brit, Christmas in the sunshine, under hot blue skies and palm trees, doesn’t really work.

I became more and more homesick as the festive season approached; I missed soggy autumns, I missed cold winters, and I missed the snow. I began to fantasize about it.

It was around this time that I finally decided to do what I’d always promised myself: I’d try to write a novel.

I’d already decided my story would be about a little boy who told his mother a terrible lie that would lead to tragedy and murder. And I also knew that those characters would both be obsessed with fairy tales, which would affect the way they saw the world and have terrible consequences.

The Snow Queen was always my favourite fairy tale. But now snow had suddenly become my most longed-for weather. As I wrote my story, the cold seeped into the pages. The snow itself almost became a character, and – just as in the fairy tale – my novel saw a child battling with the snow in order to survive.

After four years in LA – and four sunny Christmases – I returned home to east London.

And now, just before a wintry Christmas this year, my book will be published. It’s called The Boy Made of Snow. But the truth is, the girl who wrote it was just trying to bring the snow to LA.

Chloë Mayer is a British journalist whose work has been shortlisted for several awards, including newcomer of the year and reporter of the year. She has lived and worked in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and decided to try her hand at fiction in the US, where the first short story she ever wrote beat more than 8,000 others to win a prize and publication in an anthology. She was so surprised and delighted that she immediately began work on her first novel, The Boy Made of Snow. After spending much of her twenties living abroad, Chloë returned home to the UK and now lives in east London, not far from where she grew up. She recently gained a creative writing diploma from the University of East Anglia, and combines freelance journalism with writing her second novel.

The Boy Made of Snow is not yet out in the US. But readers should be able to buy the book from the following UK websites:

Amazon

Waterstones

Foyles

Sarah Ward: A Patient Fury Thursday, Nov 9 2017 

Sarah Ward’s third DC Childs Mystery, A Patient Fury,returns with a strong entry in the series. Just returned from six months’ sick leave after the events of A Deadly Thaw, DI Sadler wakes her with the news of a crime scene to attend with them.

There’s been a house fire at Cross Farm Lane, outside Bampton, and a family of three died inside: older father, younger mother and young son, the result of likely arson. But one thing sets this far apart. Dangling from the stairwell window is a hanging body.

A double murder-suicide is the likely assumption. But as Connie and Sadler investigate, aided by the rest of their team, they will have differing opinions on who set the fire and who was the murderer.

Peter Winson had married the much-younger Italian Francesca after meeting at work. His grown children from his marriage, Julia and George, quickly come under scrutiny. Was their jealousy involved that could have led to murder of all three?

As Connie and Sadler soon find out, the older siblings couldn’t be farther apart in personality. And that’s not all that makes this an unusual case: Elizabeth Winson, Peter’s frist wife, disappeared in 1980 and was never seen again. In fact, even without a body, she’s been declared dead.

This adds a dimension to the case that finds the team searching for the fourth body that was never found.

Ward does a good job of mixing the differing styles of detecting with the personal issues of the team, but she and Sadler are the focus. The setting rings true, but the ending will leave readers surprised with that one final twist they probably didn’t see coming. A solid procedural and a fine entry in the series.

Jay Kristoff: Godsgrave Sunday, Nov 5 2017 

Jay Kristoff returns with assassin Mia Corvere in her quest for revenge in Godsgrave in a series that has made his name among teen readers.

This fantasy series uses a mix of ancient and horrific to mesmerize readers, often brutal, sometimes sensual.

Mia is with the Red Church ministry, going about her brutal business, but she still yearns to avenge her family and murder her enemies.

One of the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, she finds her nemeses, Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be at the conclusion of the games in Godsgrave. She will sell herself to a for the chance to end them.

But she will find amongst new friends and rival that there are conspiracies she never expected. As the body’s mount, Mia will discover a secret that changes everything.

This is Book Two of Kristoff’s Nevernight Chronicle, a spine-chilling series with touches of magic interwoven with the fantastic elements that make it an epic tale.

Todd Merer: The Extraditionist Wednesday, Nov 1 2017 

Lawyer Todd Merer spent the bulk of his career defending drug crime bosses and brings that experience to his thriller The Extraditionist. It’s a strong debut with that insider’s knowledge, one that Auntie M bets will soon be on the Big Screen due the violent and yet seductive world it describes.

Lawyer Benn Bluestone has a name for getting results, and then basking in the glory as he represents cartel bosses and feeds their secrets to the Justice Department in return for reduced sentences for his grateful clients.

He’s a man who flirts with danger and walks on the edge, and decides to walk away after three final cases that will represent his biggest challenges and biggest thrill. Could one of his clients in reality be a Colombian drug king? That case could fund a very nice retirement for Benn. Only he doesn’t contemplate the cost.

It will be a race for Benn to escape with his life as he juggles the cases, beautiful women, hit men and corrupt cops and how they merge and threaten his own life. There will be shootouts, hidden videos, and druggings as things spiral out of control. And all along, Benn feels he’s being played.

Brief snippets from the head villain that the reader knows but Benn doesn’t intersect the action and add to the tension, with the villain counting on Benn’s greed to get him what he wants, while Benn’s life hangs in the balance. This world of drugs, DEA agents, unscrupulous women and drug-war funding will make the reader’s head spin trying to figure out who is clean and who isn’t.

A startling and dark debut.

Jon Rankin: Running From the Sunrise Friday, Oct 27 2017 

Lawyer-turned-author Jon Rankin debuts a hard-boiled detective thriller whose cover screams ‘noir’ in Running From the Sunrise.

Lloyd is a most unusual killer who is having a ‘systems failure.’ The book opens with a gut-wrenching scene as Lloyd, spurred on by a Sears ad for a tricylce, seeks out a young child riding a similar bike.

In almost slow motion, Rankin gives out details of the setting, the unhurried pace adding to the rising tension as the reader knows that Lloyd is about to blow this child away. “A perverse respectfulness compelled the demon within to acknowledge at the very last possible moment that it was about to take a human life.”

Marty Randolph is the PI who awakens after a pub crawl to find he’s slept with beautiful blonde whose name escapes him at that moment.
The same eloquence that charmed Jewely into Marty’s bed is Rankin’s own as the book, and this relationship, progresses.

When the paths of these two disparate men cross during a background check, Marty will turn to Jewely as his sounding board, and find she makes a darn good partner and may just be the life of his live.

But can she handle the nature of his dangerous business when it hits close to home? Can Marty?

A startling debut that readers will hope is the beginning of a series featuring the enigmatic, earthy detective.

Michelle Birkby: The House at Baker Street Wednesday, Oct 25 2017 

Former library assistant Michelle Birkby has long been a fan of the Conan Doyle stories and especially of his female characters, so it’s no surprise her debut, The House at Baker Street, concentrates on the giving those women their own stories to tell.

Shortlisted for Best Historical Crime Novel by the CWA, her story takes two beloved women, Mary Watson and Mrs. Hudson, and given them full-depth characterizations. Her fresh take on Mrs. Hudson, always so much more than just his housekeeper, pushed the action. After working with Sherlock Holmes and observing him at work, when he turns down a case, she and Mary Watson decide they will take it on themselves.

Laura Shirley is a society woman who is being blackmailed, but the two sleuths quickly discover she’s just one of a long list of women trying to preserve their reputations when women’s rights meant something entirely different that that phrase conjurs up now, and when a whiff of any impropriety, justified or not, could ruin a woman. Despite not demanding money, the blackmailer is ruining lives, and Mrs. Hudson, who’s voice is grand in this, determines she cannot abide the practice and sets out to stop him. When the women realize the depth of the tragic ends some of the women come to, their resolve deepens.

This feminist take on the classic detective investigation will see the two women using the Baker Street irregulars and even Irene Adler to follow clues to bring the perpretrator to justice. There are appearances by Holmes and Watson, and references to the Canon, but the story belongs to the women.

Original and entertaining, with a second book already set for next year.

New in Paperback: Grippando and Chance Sunday, Oct 22 2017 

Two NEW in Paperback:

James Grippando brings his Miami criminal defense lawyer his toughest case yet in Most Dangerous Place, when a woman stands trial for murdering the man who sexually assaulted her a decade ago. It’s a sad truth that one in four female college students will be sexually assaulted during her college years.

The master of legal thrillers blends a wild story with legal issues, when Jack’s high school friend, Keith Ingraham begs him to help Keeth’s wife Isabelle, arrested for conspiracy to murder her college rapist.

Jack readily agrees to represent his friend’s wife, known as Isa, but the tension rises when he starts to doubt his own client. Is Isa who she seems to be? With surprises hitting Jack as he tries to craft his case, readers will be shocked at the ending.

Inspired by a true case, Grippando wrote the book to bring awareness to the difficult road rape victims still travel.

Set during Prohibition New York, the investigating duo of former socialite Lola Woodby and her Swedish cook, Berta, have set up shop in Lola’s dead husband’s bolthole–or would secret love nest be more accurate?

But setting up a new business in these dicey times isn’t easy, and they take what cases they can. The Discreet Retrieval Agency promises no job is too trivial, so when Sophronia Whiddle appears at their door, requesting what seems an easy job, one look at their bank account has the two heading to the health farm where Grace Whiddle is staying.

Their goal is to retrieve Grace’s dairy so any compromising information would not come to light as she is to be married shortly to a senator’s son. The promise of their $500 fee once the diary is delivered is a healthy inducement, despite Lola’s misgivings.

There are several catches: this health farm is run by Lola’s brother-in-law, for a start; Lola doesn’t want her mother to know of her work. Things quickly go from bad to worse when Grace leaves, along with her diary, after her future mother-in-law is found murdered on the grounds. Soon the ladies have a new client and new case: to find the murderer. There will be more death, a tie in with history, and the breakup of the agency before it’s all sorted.

Chance’s love of all things vintage shines through, with a nice dollop of humor.

M. C. Beaton: The Witches’ Tree Saturday, Oct 14 2017 

Beaton celebrates the 25th anniversary of her popular Agatha Raisin series with The Witches’ Tree, where Agatha gets to sink her teeth into a new case.

This one smacks of more than lost cats when the new vicar and his wife, driving home from a dinner party in Sumpton Harcourt when their headlights pick out the dangling body of a murdered woman, hanging from a tree.

Who murdered Margaret Darby, and what could the elderly spinster possibly have done to warrant such an action?

Readers will be treated to the delightful banter between Agatha and Sir Charles, hints of romances, and more dark offerings to follow as a witches’ coven is involved–and don’t forget the pair of trust-fund siblings Agatha comes across.

The absurb lives alongside the rational as usual. Fans will eat it up. The series has been made for British Television and some PBS channels as well as Acors TV will carry it here.

Jeffrey B Burton: The Eulogist Wednesday, Oct 11 2017 

FBI Special Agent Drew Cady is in Minneapolis in a boriing but safe job for him in The Eulogist. Sent to Washington DC to testify on more boring stuff, he is seconded to the investigation into the stabbing death of Senator Taylor Brockman.

He will be assisted by Special Agent Elizabeth Preston, whose black belt and smarts make Liz an able partner.

They quickly establish a link between this murder and a similar stabbing death, that of a privileged youth-turned-drug trafficker whom Brockman pardoned when serving as Governor of Virginia.

Burton has added a most unusual premise: what happens when a murderer leaves eulogies with each body? These two deaths are just the beginning of the killings of a man known as The Canadian. Scenes in Toronto and Minneapolis add to the frenetic pacing.

There will be hackers and those eulogy notes from what turns out to be a hired assasin before Cady and Preston unravel the complex plot. With difficulty obtaining evidence from the families, it soon appears the Eulogist’s notes may offer the best clues they have.

A thriller with action scenes, Cady is a hero with old-fashioned sensibiities thrust into a thoroughly modern world. An exciting read.

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