Val McDermid: How the Dead Speak Wednesday, Oct 30 2019 

Just in time for Hallowe’en, a tale about bodies in a hidden graves . . .

Fans of Val McDermid’s Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series have been waiting to read the next installment after the shocking ending of Insidious Intent. How the Dead Speak brings all of those threads into the present while it illustrates McDermid’s ability to plot like no one else.

An old convent has been sold, and when the developers start to dig, human remains are found on the grounds–lots of human remains in unmarked graves, despite the graveyard with some of the former nuns on the other side of the building.

But that’s not the only surprise those grounds will turn up. When more bodies are found of a more recent vintage, a serial killer is suspected as using the grounds as his private hiding place.

Meanwhile both Tony and Carol are adjusting to new roles outside the police force with surprising results for both of them. It’s to McDermid’s credit that she doesn’t take the easy way out and gives them both challenges to fight for. It’s also difficult to discuss the plot without spoilers; suffice it to say readers need to find out for themselves that the duo are up to.

The crew of the ReMIT team have changed in a few respects, not the least their leader, whom DI Paula McIntyre struggles to connect with, while the team has a political conflict with another team that doesn’t bode well for a rating deemed plays well with others. It all adds to the tension of trying to track down nuns who are dispersed and either poor witnesses or taking a vow of silence.

Another winner that will have readers gobbling up the pages that proves that McDermid is the Queen of Crime, this one is highly recommended.

Jim Hart: A Tom Collins to Go Sunday, Oct 27 2019 

Times change but when it comes to certain genres of literature; sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

There are still legions of loyal readers who long for the days of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane. With A Tom Collins To Go (Winner of the Poison Cup Award from Crime Masters of America and Finalist for the Golden Book Award), Jim Hart proves he knows this by successfully incorporating the deadpan style with the film noir humor and drama of these authors into his private eye, Harry Parker.

Hart has created a powerful rendering of the true golden age hardboiled, hard drinking detective with a story that incorporates a keen eye for detail capturing the ambiance of the time.

The novel brings the reader back to the darker side of 1947 Brooklyn, New York. Hart includes all the best elements of the detective genre; mystery, action, sharp dialogue, wisecracks and a cast of well flushed-out-multilayered secondary characters.

On the surface this is a story about the kidnapping of a Wall Street millionaire, but it isn’t long before we realize that it is much deeper, and we are drawn into a fast-paced, gripping plot and character-driven story of greed, corruption and murder by the first person narration of the Sam Spade-like Harry Parker. Harry drinks too much, laments his failed marriage, longs for his ex, and his ‘don’t give a damn’ demeanor are what makes him so loveable.

With A Tom Collins To Go, Hart has created a powerful rendering of the golden era of the private eye story. If you are a fan of noir, the skillful combination of all of these elements makes the book a first rate read that is tough to put down. It’s like walking through a noir movie.

Jim Hart was raised in Brooklyn where he still resides with his wife. He began his working life as a drummer in rock and blues bands before beginning a thirty-year career in the New York City Sanitation Department, during which time he worked his way through the ranks to serve in such positions as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Director of Correspondence for the Sanitation Police.

Hart has published two noir detective novels in the Harry Parker Mystery Series A Tom Collins To Go, and The Aviation Cocktail. Both are set in 1947 Brooklyn, NY. A Tom Collins to Go was the winner of The Poison Cup Award from Crime Masters of America and a Finalist of the Golden Book Award. Both novels received favorable comparisons to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. He is currently working on the third installment tentatively titled Bloody Mary.

Hart has also published two Poetry Collections: Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man, and A Handful Of Smoke, as well as being the co-writer of two songs on The Peter Stevens Band CD Change My World.

Abigail Keam: Death by Stalking Wednesday, Oct 23 2019 

Please welcome Abigail Keam, who writes two mystery series:

Hi. I’m Abigail Keam and I write the Josiah Reynolds Mystery series about a woman who makes her living as a beekeeper and is an amateur sleuth in the lush Bluegrass horse country—a world of Thoroughbreds, oak-cured bourbon, and antebellum mansions.

The Josiah Reynolds Mysteries are a little different from the usual cozy. While there is very little violence, sex, or swearing in the storylines, they are a tad darker than most cozies. Josiah is not your typical sweet heroine. She has a bite to her and does not suffer fools gladly.

I try to make these stories as much fun as possible and have given Josiah some quirky friends that can only be found in the South. There is Josiah’s ancient next door neighbor, Lady Elsmere, who married an English lord and came back to live in the Bluegrass. Josiah’s daughter, Asa, claims she is an art insurance investigator, but everyone knows she works for the CIA. There is also Baby, Josiah’s 200 pound English Mastiff, and Glory, an American Paint horse who has a penchant for throwing Josiah off.

As I am a beekeeper, I love weaving beekeeping facts into my mysteries as well as historical facts about Kentucky, which has a fascinating past.

My twelfth JR Mystery—Death By Stalking—recently received a Readers’ Favorite award in the category of Murder Mystery. I was thrilled to receive the award alongside such other talented authors.

I currently released a new series—The Mona Moon Mysteries are a historical rags-to-riches series taking place during the Great Depression. Mona Moon is a cartographer, counting pennies when she learns that she has inherited her uncle’s vast wealth and a horse farm. She thinks her worries are over until someone tries to kill her. Oh, dear!


Award-winning author Abigail Keam has just released her new mystery series—the Mona Moon Mysteries—a rags-to-riches1930s mystery series which includes real people and events into the storyline. The new series is about a cartographer who is broke and counting her pennies when there is a knock at her door. A lawyer, representing her deceased uncle, announces Mona has inherited her uncle’s fortune and a horse farm in the Bluegrass. Mona can’t believe it. She is now one of the richest women in the country and in the middle of the Great Depression!

Abigail Keam is an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author who writes the Josiah Reynolds Mystery Series about a Southern beekeeper turned amateur female sleuth. The Last Chance For Love Series tells of strangers who come from all walks of life to the magical Last Chance Motel in Key Largo and get a second chance at rebuilding their lives, and The Princess Maura Fantasy Series.

One thing Miss Abigail loves to do as an author is to write real people and events into her storylines. “I am a student of history and love to insert historical information into my mysteries. My goal is to entertain my readers, but if they learn a little something along the way—well, then we are both happy. I certainly learn a lot from my research, and I hope my readers come away with a new appreciation of beekeeping from my Josiah Reynolds Mysteries.”

AWARDS

2010 Gold Medal Award from Readers’ Favorite for Death By A HoneyBee
2011 Gold Medal Award from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Drowning
2011 USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011 as a Finalist for Death By Drowning
2011 USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011 as a Finalist for Death By A HoneyBee
2017 Finalist from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Design
2019 Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Stalking

PASSIONS

Besides loving history, Kentucky bourbon and chocolate, Abigail loves honeybees and for many years made her living by selling honey at a farmers’ market. She is an award-winning beekeeper who has won 16 honey awards at the Kentucky State Fair including the Barbara Horn Award, which is given to beekeepers who rate a perfect 100 in a honey competition.

A strong supporter of farmers’ markets and local food economy, Miss Abigail has taken her knowledge of beekeeping to create a fictional beekeeping protagonist, Josiah Reynolds, who solves mysteries in the Bluegrass. While Miss Abigail’s novels are for enjoyment, she discusses the importance of a local sustainable food economy and land management for honeybees and other creatures.

She currently lives on the Kentucky River in a metal house with her husband and various critters. She still has honeybees.
http://www.abigailkeam.com
abigailshoney@windstream.net
https://www.facebook.com/AbigailKeam

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCThdrO8pCPN6JfTM9c857JA

Kate Atkinson: Big Sky Sunday, Oct 20 2019 


Kate Atkinson has been off writing fantastic standalone so readers haven’t seen Jackson Brodie in a decade. She brings him back in Big Sky, and it’s a pleasure to be in his company again, self-deprecation thoughts and all.

Now working as a private investigator after relocating to the east coast of Yorkshire, near Whitby, Jackson is trying to make headway with a summer spent with his teenaged son, Nathan, while the boy’s mother, actress Julia, films her television show nearby.

On the PI front, he’s proving a husband’s infidelity, which seems vastly easy to do. But it’s the sly humor and the imagined voices that Brodie hears that has always set this series apart and Auntie M was happy to see that intact, despite the dark plot revolving around sex trafficking and child abuse.

That plot emerges when Brodie is hired by Crystal Holroyd, a trophy wife who feels she’s being followed. With her own young daughter and a teenaged stepson in tow, Crystal is a unique and engaging character, despite her surgical enhancements. She’s also the victim of a pedophile ring from the past she’s keep running away from.

That cold case is being investigated by a pair of female officers, one of whom saved Brodie’s life in an earlier novel. Their investigations start to cross lines, bringing home Brodie’s adage that “if you get enough coincidences, they add up to a probability.” And there are plenty of coincidences, coupled with characters from previous novels, and a sense that Brodie is having this happen to him while poking at the tenets and conventions of detective novels.

Jackson still has that depressive thread that runs through him due to the absurdity of life in general, he thinks, balanced by his fondness for quoting country music lyrics just when he needs them. There are plenty of pages where the character’s and their mundane lives take center stage, filled with little details that breed familiarity; and bigger scenes where the evil men make is justified in unbelievable ways.

It all adds up to a book that is unconventional yet satisfying, and that’s just the way we like our Brodie’s to be.

Sherry Thomas: The Art of Theft Wednesday, Oct 16 2019 

Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock Series returns with the fourth, The Art of Theft, another in the feminist series that has Sherlock as Charlotte, who solves crimes with Mrs. Watson.

With a complicated family situation and lots of tendrils of involved relationships that Thomas explains, the case comes down to the theft of a painting that has secrets hidden behind the canvas.

Those secret letters are need to be recovered for an old and close friend of Mrs. Watson, and Charlotte agrees to help. Enlisting the aid of her aristocratic team brings them to a gaudy Parisian costume ball during the holiday season at a French chateau where the painting in question is hidden, waiting to be auctioned off.

There will be an elaborate scheme that starts with the architectural drawings of the chateau and advances to include the dreaded Moriarty and his own team. Soon dessert-loving Charlotte is disguised in such an ingenious way even her own mother wouldn’t know her.

A wealth of historical details show the depth of Thomas’s research. She weaves this tale with social mores of the times and shows the difficult position of women yearning to be acknowledged for their brains as well as their beauty.

A strong thread of romance and wit add to prose that reflects the era in this historical re-imagining with Charlotte’s formidable and accomplished brain at the forefront.

Donna Andrews: Owl Be Home for Christmas Tuesday, Oct 15 2019 

Donna Andrews bring Christmas to Caerphilly Inn in Owl Be Home for Christmas.

Just before the holiday, Meg’s grandfather hosts a conference on owls at the inn, bringing together the extended family to help out, and in a rare nod to peace on earth, includes Meg’s grandmother, Cordelia, mostly for her expertise on rehabbing large birds.

Owl Fest even manages to find temporary homes for the visiting ornithologists’ owls at the Caerphilly Zoo. As conference organizer for her grandfather, Meg’s to-do list boggles the mind and her three-ring binder as snow closes them all in and she has to listen to the hoots from the ornithologists, not the owls.

At least Meg has her husband and twin sons in tow to keep her sane, with the rest of her family running around. With the power lines down, Meg has the generator running and enough food to satisfy everyone snowed in——and there are black widow spiders and potential frostbite to contend with. There’s even a Secret Santa and dancing owls.

And then one of the esteemed attendees dies during dinner. With all the suspects closeted at the Inn, and Chief Burke in touch but not able to get there, Meg takes his orders to heart and investigates the death of a not-well liked ornithologist.

Along the way, Andrews’ grand research will teach you about barred and spotted owls, too. Who knew a group of owls is called a parliament? Makes one think …

With her trademark humor backed up by a cozy mystery plot, Owl Be Home for Christmas is just what Santa ordered to put readers in the holiday mood.

Laura McHugh: The Wolf Wants In Saturday, Oct 12 2019 

Laura McHugh’s previous novels (The Weight of Blood, Arrowood) have won or bee nominated for awards, bringing the Midwest to life in each stunning portrayal. In The Wolf Wants In, she uses her strengths of language and pathos to what is essentially a mystery, while at the same time balancing that with effective and complex characters.

Told in two points of view months apart that eventually overlap, the device gains momentum at the weeks converge to a stunning climax.

Sadie Keller is a social worker who can’t let the sudden death of her brother, Shane, fade lightly. Determined that there’s more to investigate, she isn’t able to get the local detective to take her seriously. With her daughter off at her ex-husband’s house during the week for a better school option, she has the time to talk to people and sniff around, using her older sister as a sounding board.

When a child’s skull is found in the woods, that death overshadows any help Sadie might have received. But Sadie makes it her mission to keep looking, all while working full time, taking care of her brother’s ill dog, and caring for her daughter at weekends.

Henley Pettit knows her family are talked about in town. With relatives selling drugs as their side business, an addicted mother in and out of jail or rehab, she’s had to bring herself up in rural Kansas. There are loyalties to some, but more to herself, as she tries to save from her cleaning job for the trip that will take her to the cool mountains of Colorado where she yearns to reinvent herself, away from her history and the influence of others.

There are few good choices but many good people living in rural areas, with the struggle of opioid addiction affecting far too many families, its tendrils snaking into poverty, robbery, murder and more. McHugh shows how this impacts these families in heartbreaking and sad ways of betrayal.

Yet there is an element of hope and light in this story that makes the resolution even more bittersweet. An insightful journey of these two women who will know each other only tangentially, but whose impact on each other will be felt for decades. Highly recommended.

Nicola Upson: Sorry for the Dead Tuesday, Oct 8 2019 

After the tremendous success of the stand-alone Stanley and Elsie, Nicola Upson’s tour de force of the artist Stanley Spencer’s complicated marriage and art from the view of his housekeeper, Elsie Munday, the author gives us the the eighth in her series the Sunday Times calls “historical fiction at its very best” featuring Josephine Tey as its main character in Sorry for the Dead.

Upson takes readers in part to Tey’s younger years, alternating with the time period associated with the majority of the previous novels in the 1930s, with a few brief forays a decade later. It is to Upson’s credit that the details for each period ring true and cement each era without confusing the reader. Indeed, the reader becomes immersed in each time frame, in its details and its mores within history.

These periods are needed to tell the story that starts in 1915, when a young Josephine is present as a teacher at Charleston Farmhouse on the Sussex Downs when a young girl dies under suspicious circumstances.

Decades later when Josephine returns to the same house, the memories of those days already brought to the forefront of her mind by recent events, she remembers the two women who ran the farm and taught horticulture to young women during the Great War.

Georgina Hartford-Wroe and Harriet Barker had a difficult time with the neighboring farmers, with whispers about their personal relationship they might have overcome, if not for the tragic death of the girl in their care. That death will turn out to haunt both women for the rest of their lives.

Deftly weaving the storylines between young Josephine’s life and choices then to the path she has chosen as an adult, readers are given privy to her backstory and the events surrounding the death; and later as an adult as she determines she must follow up on the death of that young woman.

In each period, Upson’s language captures the essence of any scene, such as when Josephine as an adult peers into the former site of the girl’s death: “Everything was covered by a silver labyrinth of spiders’ webs, miraculously strong enough to hold the past in place,” presenting a wonderful foreshadowing of the secrets from that long-ago day.

In the earlier time frame, she illustrates the pathos of a WWI train station:

“The platform had filled up quickly, with no one willing to board the train before the last possible moment. She scanned the faces of those who had come to see their loved ones off: wives who talked too much to hide their fear; fathers standing strict and silent; children for whom a uniform hadn’t lost its glamour … As for the men themselves, their faces were set and impassive, and she noticed how few of them dared to look for long at the people they loved.”

This sense of loss, the effects of war, the horrors it brought to those who fought and to those left behind, are indicated in such a subtle but discerning way that it is impossible to forget the aura of the day in the earlier chapters, and in those of 1938, the lead up to the brink of new horrors.

The ending brings with it not so much a sense of justice as that of survival and ultimately, unending love. This is an accomplished novel, as moving as it is complex, with the mystery of a young woman’s death at its heart. Highly recommended.

Nicci French: The Lying Room Sunday, Oct 6 2019 

Auntie M was not the only disappointed reader when the duo of Nicci French decided to end their Frieda Klein series, but they’ve made up for that with a brilliant stand-alone, The Lying Room.

Neve Connolly is the gal everyone admires: a working mom of three who cooks and keeps it all together, and remembers to feed the guinea pig, she’s a great friend, too. So when her small print design company is bought out by a larger one, she decides to drop to 3 1/2 days a week to give herself some breathing room.

That her breathing room for herself means seeing one of the new bosses in an exciting fling has her feeling guilty but exhilarated——until the morning she receives a text to meet her lover at his tiny town flat and finds him dead, brutally attacked with hammer.

Unable to process any other thought but self-preservation, Neve sets out to eradicate any trace of herself and their relationship from the apartment, literally scrubbing herself away, all the while feeling she’s forgotten something.

The detective investigating Saul Stevenson’s murder seems to keep turning up at Neve’s door with questions, while her usually hectic household erupts into even more chaos with visiting friends from uni outstaying their welcome and her best friend’s marriage disintegrating at the same time.

Worried over her oldest child, Mabel, a young woman off to uni with her own ghosts she battles, Neve is consumed with worry and anxiety.

And all the time she exhausts herself to find a way out of the morass, while the detective intent on digging to the bottom of the case keeps turning up with more questions for Neve in a way that soon feels like the two of them are playing a strategic game.

But there’s another person out there watching as all the pieces fall into place, and that’s the real killer. As Neve tries to figure out who the killer must be, several on her list are those she loves, and she can’t begin to imagine how her life can continue if it is one of them.

The complicated plot adds to the very real feel of these characters, finely drawn with problems and issues all families and marriages entertain and their secrets emerge. As Neve’s attempts at misdirection rise, so does the tension, inexorably, toward a stunning climax that isn’t as much of an ending as a new beginning for some.

Eminently readable, this unsettling thriller is justly deemed highly recommended.

Vanessa Lilllie: Little Voices Thursday, Oct 3 2019 

Little Voices starts off with a scene that packs a wallop and glues readers to the pages of Vanessa Lillie’s debut thriller.

Told in the first person by Devon Burges, a former prosecutor out on maternity leave, her emergency delivery and tough recuperation are rocked by the murder of a young nanny who has become her friend.

Despite hearing mocking voices in her head, Devon grabs onto the investigation of the nanny’s death. Her intentions intensify when her college friend, the employer of the nanny, becomes the prime suspect in Belina’s murder.

As the voices increase, so does the tension, with the backstory to those voices a counterpoint to the murder investigation. Drawing on her “outside the box” skills, Devon is soon embroiled in the events that led up to this death.

The ramifications have fingers that reach to the businessmen and politicians of Providence, Rhode Island, as long-held secrets are revealed that affect far too many people in Devon’s circle.

A climax that has a surprise twist will leave readers stunned in this complex story, one that will have readers racing the get to the finish of a suspenseful tale Daniel Ford calls a ” . . . serpentine whodunit.”

Next Page »

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

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Wicked Good Mysteries

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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

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

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