Auntie M is reading a ton of great series and wants to suggest you check out these continued winners.

dead man's time by peter james Peter James’ Roy Grace novels have captivated readers in the millions and he continues his powerful series with Dead Man’s Time. Set in Brighton, these police thrillers follow the Detective Superintendent and his relationship. The newest has the unusual premise of a prologue from 1922, when five-year-old Gavin Daly and his sister board a ship for Dublin after the death of their parents.

At the dock in New York, a messenger carries two things that will haunt Gavin for the rest of his life: his father’s pocket watch, and a paper with four names and eleven numbers written on it. Gavin pledges to find out the meaning of these things and spends a lifetime searching.

Fast forward to current time, and Grace is getting used to being a new father and the lack of sleep that brings. A string of burglaries have captured the attention of Brighton’s residents.

When an old woman is murdered and a huge cache of antiques she kept stolen, he is surprised when her family are only interested in one item: a vintage pocket watch. The victim’s brother is none other than an aged Gavin Daly, still on the hunt having amassed incredible wealth as the years have passed.

What Grace will find as he probes is a mixed bag of old revenge and new hatreds. He will become mired in the machinations of several trails, leading to the antiques world of Brighton, to Marbella and its crime world, and back in time to the crime families of New York.

And all the time he seeks to unravel this twisted scheme, a madman plots against his beloved Cleo and their infant son. A wonderful addition to the series, meticulously researched and intricately plotted.

Auntie M had the pleasure of meeting with Peter James this summer and found him warm and likeable, with a wicked sense of humor not unlike his protagonist.

 

Peter Mays’ Lewis trilogy captures the remoteness of the Outer Hebrides area and its stark beauty in his award-winning series that serves up the complexity of human relationships.

After the success of The Blackhouse, Mays second offering, lewisman300The Lewis Man, finds his protagonist, former DI Fin Macleod, bound by his past to help the family of islanders he is linked to by history and familial ties.

The father of his lover, Marsaili, has always maintained he was an only child, and enters a care home suffering from dementia when Marsaili’s mother has her fill of taking care of him.

Then a corpse is found in a peat bog, and far from being the historic body it is first thought, it is quickly ascertained that this body is far more recent–and is a DNA match to Tormod Macdonald, Marsaili’s father.

This winning novel shows the plot through Fin’s eyes and through the remembrances and clouded memory of Tormod, an interesting device that allows the story of Tormod’s upbringing to unfold, while explaining why he felt it necessary to claim he had no family at all. The climax will keep you reading well past lights out time to seek the improbable resolution to this complicated novel.

43627_TheLewisMan_TPB-Red.indd The Chessmen completes the trilogy. With his divorce final, Fin Macleod has moved back to Lewis and is working as a private investigator.

He is putting his life in Edinburgh and his police skills behind him. Or so he thinks.

He takes an assignment as head of security to track down poachers working a huge island estate, and finds himself reunited with old friends including Whistler Macaskill. Their history and that of their friends form the basis for the action that follows when a body is found in a crashed plane at the bottom of a loch.

May’s uses the device again of showing the past in episodes, this time through Fin’s remembrances. The 1919 tragedy of the Iolaire is recounted and haunts the action.

That loch discovery will change the very foundation upon which Macleod’s memories are built, for a secret being kept for decades by people Macleod thought he knew. At stake will be lives, his and others, and a girl who needs to be saved.

This gritty series has given readers surprising plot twists and brilliant characterizations throughout.

Readers can only hope May will take a page from Ann Cleeves, whose Shetland trilogy so thoroughly engaged readers that she decided to bring out a fourth volume.

 

Dead Water continues the story of Shetland Island detective inspector Jimmy Perez. Blue Lightning Spoiler alert: In a shocking twist in the third volume, Perez’s fiancee was murdered, Dead_Water_HB_fc_and the detective is still struggling with that loss as he shares custody of her daughter with the girl’s biological father.

Jerry Markham is a journalist from Shetland whose family run a pricey hotel and restaurant in the area. The young man had left the island for London and work on a bigger and more important paper.

He left in his wake a scandal involving a young woman he made pregnant, who has gone on to make a life for herself on the island and whose impending marriage to an older seaman nears.

Then Markham’s body is found in a boat right outside the home of the Procurator Fiscal, Rhona Laing, a contained woman with a tidy, bleak house, who outlet in a crew team marks an otherwise lonely existence, one she prefers on her road to political advancement.

With Perez on leave, a young DI from the Hebrides is called in to conduct the investigation. Willow Reeves represents an unusual character and she’s able to bring Perez into the case by using his local knowledge. She also gets him to start to look past his grief, as his detecting skills are brought into play.

The case seems to revolve around Sullum Voe, where Shetland’s oil and gas industry are centered, and the big story Markham was following that brought him home.

Then a second death occurs, muddying the waters, and Perez and Reeves will team up to unmask a killer. Readers will hope Cleeves, who also writes the wonderful Vera Stanhope series, will keep Perez afloat.

 

a-killing-of-angels-by-kate-rhodesKate Rhodes knocked our socks off with her first Alice Quentin novel, Crossbones Yard, a complex mystery whose shocking ending resounded with readers.

In this second installment, A Killing of Angels, the behavioral psychologist is back with a new case that finds her assisting the police again, despite her reservations after the nightmare of the first book.

Fiercely independent Alice is training for a marathon, despite London’s hottest summer on record. Her specialty in personality disorders makes her an expert at character analysis and an enormous help to the police.

The body in question was a suspected suicide, until a picture of an angel and a few white feathers are found stuffed into the victim’s pocket.

The killings continue and it’s obvious that the Square Mile and the banking world is the locus for the crimes. As Alice tries to help detective Don Burns with the case, she finds herself dragged deeper into the intrigue and the lives of the people involved.

Complicating matters are the journalists who keep the murders high profile, suggesting the killings are retribution for the banking world and its self-absorption.

Readers can’t help but be engaged with Alice and her complicated history, with Rhodes’ intricate plotting, and with her facility for choosing prose that matters, echoing her poetry background. This is a thumping good read.

 

Simon Toyne’s Ruin trilogy has captivated readers with the world he created in his series of a haunting conspiracy thrillers. Tower-2 p0_v2_s260x420Nonstop action and breakneck twists continue in The Tower.

Santus introduced readers to Liv Adamson and the prophecy that caused her brother’s death and changed her life.

The Key left Liv trapped in the Syrian Desert, with her erstwhile savior, ex-special forces Gabriel Mann, suffering from the deadly virus that originated in the Citadel, an ancient monastery at the center of the conspiracy.

Enter new FBI agent Joe Shepherd, at first glance an unlikely choice to work the case after a cyber-attack at the Goddard Space Center that disables the Hubbard telescope and the subsequent disappearance of the prize-winning scientist in charge, who has left behind a cryptic and chilling message.

But Shepherd’s background with degrees in astrophysics and computer science make him the perfect choice. Despite the secrets he is hiding, Shepherd’s investigation leads him to connect these new incidents with the explosion months ago at the Citadel and the viral outbreak that ensued.

Readers will be engrossed in Shepherd’s journey with the added pressure of the device ofa  countdown clock dogging his heels. Then unusual things start to happen around the globe, and it remains to be seen if humanity can be saved.

Things will come full circle, but what is that meaning of that phrase? It it the ending of everything known before, or an entire new beginning?

For the woman at the heart of it all, Liv and her destiny will change the way the world survives–if it can. This third novel successfully answers all the questions raised in the other two, while providing a meaning and reason for the episodes of the others.

Auntie M met with Simon Toyne this summer and his outrageous good looks and charm belie the complicated mind needed to create this new world and the roller-coaster ride his readers will find.

 

Hearts Sandp0_v2_s114x166 Jane Haddam’s Gregor Demarkain novels continue to entertain. In this 28th installment, Hearts of Sand takes the investigator to the old-monied town of Alwych, Connecticut.

Although Chapin Waring disappeared thirty years ago, the quarter of a million dollars she had with her from a series of bank robberies was never recovered. There have been no sightings of the woman and she’s rumored to be dead.

Then new rumors fill the town: that Chapin has been seen on the beach or in a store, and these prove true when her body is found in the family’s vacant home, a knife sticking out of her back.

As a retired profiler, Demarkian excels at reading people and this kind of situation is right up his alley. With the local police stumped, he’s asked to help them narrow their field of suspects, and there are far too many of them.

Research into Chapin’s life shows her to have been a manipulative girl within an inner circle, whose attraction to danger led to the bank robberies and a car crash that killed her accomplice. The remaining people of her inner circle are just as delectable suspects as are the victim’s own sisters. Haddam gets small town snobbery just right.

 

We’re back across the pond with Mark Billingham’s wonderful DI Tom Thorne series. Number eleven doesn’t disappoint: it’s vintage Thorne  The Dying Hoursat his crankiest and most recalcitrant in The Dying Hours.

Busted back to uniform after the horrific events in Good as Dead  and losing the title ‘detective’ while remaining an inspector hasn’t changed the way Thorne’s analytical mind works. Despite his demotion, and putting his budding relationship in jeopardy, Thorne’s instincts run true when he’s called to the scene of a suicide that doesn’t feel right to him.

Unable at first to pinpoint his unease, it soon becomes apparent, at least to Thorne, that a series of suicides of elderly people don’t ring true. One thing they all have in common is a lack of depression or sadness other suicides exhibit.

Try convincing the Murder Squad of that, though. The new head of the very team he once ran refuses to accept these might be the killings of a sick mind.

But any Thorne reader knows he will not take dismissal well, and he plunges into his own parallel investigation, calling on his former colleagues and few remaining friends to help out, despite that they must put their own careers on the line, and jeopardizing any sliver of career he might have left of his own.

This is vintage Thorne, from his predilection for country music to his doggedness once he becomes convinced he’s right.

Adding to the texture is Billingham’s ability to get inside the mind of the creepy villain, bent on revenge and justifying his horrific actions. By adding in the point of the view of the perpetrator, Billingham creates a wily adversary and gives readers a chilling glimpse inside the mind of a murderer.

 

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