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.

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.

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.

Donna Andrews: Terns of Endearment Sunday, Aug 18 2019 


Donna Andrews bring Meg Langlsow back in the 25th of the popular series with Terns of Endearment.

Filled with charming characters and brisk wit, Meg’s grandfather has a new gig: the naturalist been booked to give lectures on a cruise to Bermuda, and he’s grandly invited his family to join him. Only anything that could go wrong does, in short order.

When the cruise ship breaks down of course it’s in the Bermuda Triangle, but Meg and her fammily rise bravely to provide entertainment and keep the passengers occupied. That’s where the tern comes in, being cared for on the boat.

But when a woman jumps overboard, the note she leaves behind raises more questions than it answers. A former member of a writing group there on retreat after one of their members was driven to suicide, Desiree St. Christophe was not a favored person. She jumped leaving not only the note and her shawl, but a pair of pricey Christian Louboutin shoes.

Soon there’s dissention in the ranks of those who knew Desiree, divided on whether she would commit suicide. And when Grandfather’s assistant, Trevor, also goes missing, answers need to be found before the ship is repaired and they return to shore, losing all of their prime suspects.

Meg is the family’s glue and sometimes the voice of reason, too. The boat’s staff are unfazed and underwhelmed. And then a body is found.

A nicely twisted plot to herald the new setting on this 25th in a strong series.

Elizabeth J. Duncan: The Marmalade Murders Sunday, Aug 11 2019 


Elizabeth Duncan’s Penny Brannigan series, set in Wales, brings the amateur sleuth and spa owner a new mystery in The Marmalade Murders.

It’s time for the annual agricultures how in Llanelen, and while there are plenty of animals, there are also the goodies on display to be judged, from veggies, fruits and flowers, to the talents of baked good, jame and jellies, and even chutneys.

Falling under the “domestic arts” banner, the homemade goodies need to be logged in and assigned a number for judging, which is where Penny comes in. Asked to help sign in the entries the night before the big event, she’s also a judge for the children’s pet competition the next day.

But when the family of the president of the local woman’s group isn’t there to cheer her granddaughter on, her body turns up under the cake table. And Penny soon finds herself involved in finding the killer.

Penny follows the clues she’s given and digs out more herself as she figures things out, leaping from idea to idea. She refuses to believe a transgender woman new to town is the culprit, even when a second body turns up. Several secondary subplots add to the complexity and confuse the murder issue for Penny and readers alike.

Duncan mixes twists and intrigue with small town people, recognizable the world over, and throws in interest with her character-driven plot. There are plenty of local details in the idyllic setting, which makes Auntie M want to get to Wales soon, too. This award-winning author keeps her readers satisfied with a clever mystery and its solution in a delightful setting.

Joseph Terrell: Deadly Dreams of Summer Wednesday, Aug 7 2019 

Please welcome NC author Joseph Terrell, to talk about his Harrison Weaver series:

You know how it is during the fading days of summer. One day tends to meld into the next, and you can’t recall whether the rain was yesterday or three days ago. It’s not that there’s nothing to distinguish one day from the next, but you do get used to an evolving slower pace as the summer winds down…even here on the Outer Banks…
So one day begins to shuffle into the next like cards from a well-thumbed deck, a tad wilted from the summer’s humidity.
But then suddenly one day slips out of that deck of cards.
And you realize, maybe not that day but soon, that nothing will ever be the same.
Your view of the human condition has changed.
Forever.

That’s the beginning of my seventh in the mystery series featuring crime writer Harrison Weaver. The story—DEADLY DREAMS OF SUMMER—deals with human trafficking. Yes, and here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More of that vile crime goes on that we may realize. And of course a beach area in the summer is ripe for it.

Now that that book is out this summer, I’ve started work on number eight in the series. As in all of them, the primary setting is the Outer Banks. The readers here, and the thousands of tourists who come here—plus the local booksellers—want and expect the Outer Banks setting. As for many of us, the setting becomes an integral part of the story.

But on this next one—tentatively titled CALLING CARDS OF DEATH—a big chunk of it is set in Paris, with a return for the final scenes back at the Outer Banks. I look forward to the Paris section. That’ll be fun.

I’ll be back in Paris for the month of October (and a few days into November). I love Paris and have been spending some time once or twice a year for 11 years now. Ah, the haunts of the heroes of my youth—Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the others. The apartment we rent is right there on the Left Bank, only a block and a half from Shakespeare and Company.

When in Paris, and when working, I aim for 1,000 words a day. Hope for the first 20,000 words on the new book in October.

Wish me luck and please come and visit the Outer Banks, and get to meet Harrison Weaver and his friends.


Joseph in Paris!

Joseph L S.Terrell is the published author of thirteen books. He has an award-winning publishing history that spans more than forty years.

A graduate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was awarded a full scholarship to the famed University of Iowa Writers Workshop, but the Korean War interrupted his studies. After service as a Special Agent in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps, Joseph returned to UNC to pursue graduate studies in journalism. He began his career as a staff writer for United Press International, then went on to The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau covering the Pentagon. Most of his career has been spent in Washington, but he has also worked for publications in North Carolina and Virginia.

Today Joseph makes his home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, with periodic writing trips to his beloved Paris. You can find his books through his publisher, Bella Rosa Books, or ask for them wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Kindle and Nook. Joseph can be contacted at jlsterrell@aol.com or at his website http://www.JosephTerrellWriter.com.

Ellison Cooper: Buried Friday, Jul 26 2019 


Ellison Cooper introduced FBI Senior Special Agent Sayer Altair in Caged, and returns with an equally compelling and twisted tale of serial killers in Buried.

Off-duty FBI agent Max Cho and his human-cadaver dog, Kona, start to enjoy a day off in the Shenandoah National Park when his dog alerts. Knowing her skills, he notifies the local park ranger and sets Kona to find her quarry. A sinkhole brings him in close contact with what appear to be the bones of several skeletons.

Figuring out who was the serial killer working inside the FBI saw Sayer take a bullet to her shoulder in the first book. After physical therapy, she’s healed and ready to head back to work shortly. But a call from her Assistant Director soon finds her meeting with Cho and a rag-tag team assembled to figure out who the bones belong to.

During the bones recovery, with a patholgist Sayer knows and respects, two more recent bodies are found near the bones. Now the hunt for the killer of the older bones and the killer of the new ones takes off. With limited resources, the group still puts everything they have into figuring out who the fresh corpses belong to.

One ghastly clue on a body proves a tie to a newly kidnapped woman and her young child. The hunt intensifies as Sayer’s boss, one of the few she trusts, comes under the scrutiny and political microscope of Congressional hearings looking for a scapegoat for the serial killer who had been in their midst in Caged.

And then the killer starts to try to pick off members of Sayers small team. In a race against time with the lives of two young children and their mothers at risk, the strident pace ratchets up even higher. Working without sleep, the team cracks on, each member bringing his or her expertise to the forefront.

There will be politicking, a highly placed psychopath in DCs elite who wants Sayers’ work to continue, and the bizarre ideas of a psychopath who wants to prove that any person can become a murderer.

Cooper mixes neuroscience with mythology to create a fascinating tale of how inhumane humans can be to each other. Nonstop action, a strong but compassionate protagonist with tons of smarts, and a fascinating team make this a step above the typical serial killer thriller.

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