Auntie M receives many new books and decided to group these with most unusual settings or premises together to bring you something new and different.
Philip DePoy is best known for his plays and mysteries, several which feature Fever Devilin, so it’s no surprise that his new historical series features a most unusual protagonist: Christopher Marlowe, in The English Agent.
It’s 1583 and young Christopher is morose after a new play, held in a downtrodden Cambridge pub, is a dismal flop. When he’s attacked in the streets he decides he’s had enough, and gladly accepts when Francis Walsingham, spymaster to the Queen,sends him on assignment to Holland. His goal is to stop the Spanish assassination plot directed toward William the Silent.
Marlowe proves a witty and capable spy, as he navigates his way to unmask the Spaniards behind the scheme. He neatly sidesteps disaster and becomes almost an action hero in the process. Coupled with DePoy’s meticulous research, the action is balanced with humor that serves the fictional story, set alongside really historical figures. Thoroughly engrossing and engaging.
Off to Tokyo, with Nicolas Oregon’s original debut, Blue Light in Yokohama. Inspector Iwata is trying to overcome a painful case, and reinstated to the Homicide Division, must prove himself when he’s assigned to a multiple murder investigation. His reluctant partner, Noriko Saki, is less than thrilled to be his partner.
And it’s a disturbing case, the brutal slaughter of an entire family with no motive or suspects on the horizon. Indeed, the former detective assigned to case has committed suicide.
The case has all the hallmarks of a serial killer, with ritualistic details including incense and a large black sun symbol, which earn the killer his sobriquet: The Black Sun Killer.
This moody, complex mystery sustains a level of suspense with an intricate plot that has a real depth of characters. The dark setting adds to the feeling of jeopardy that pumps up this original detective into someone who will soon have an army of followers.
Mark Greaney already had the successful Gray Man series when he was tapped as Tom Clancy’s co-writer. Now juggling the Jack Ryan and Gray Man novels, Greaney’s newest Gray Man offering is Gunmetal Gray.
Greaney’s novels are known for their realistic details, the outcome of his exhaustive research and travels. He brings the Gray Man, Court Gentry, to Hong Kong where he almost loses his life to Chinese agents. With his friend Donald Fitzroy being held captive by the Chinese, Gentry swings into action to find the man who’s intel is wanted by the Chinese. Add a assassin squad led by a sexy agent, action readers will be thrilled to take this new adventure.
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 Kieth’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.
Think of a most unusual premise and you’ll reach for Christina Baker Kline’s A Piece of the World, which is the fictional tale inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting, “Christina’s World.”
In real life, Christina Olson was the muse of Wyeth portrayed in the painting, which features the mysterious Christine in the pink dress sitting in the grass and gazing at a weathered house in the distance. The original hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Kline brings Christina to life, and we learn of her birth in the remote Maine farmhouse of the painting. Incapacitated by a generative muscular illness, she has difficulties ambulating and would probably have remained a hermit, until the young painter finds her and she becomes his focus.
A most unusual and highly entertaining tale.
Auntie M saved the most unusual for last, with the illustrated book of Mike Mignola and Thomas E Sniegoski: Grim Death and Bill, the Electrocuted Criminal.
Moody illustrations accompany the dark fantasy tale, perfectly capturing this mix of steampunk-horror-mystery in an adventure tale that feels like an action adventure thrown into the middle of a 1930s pulp novel, where organized crime is rampant on the streets in war between good and evil.
Bentley Hawthorne, accompanied by his manservant, Pym, must punish murderers. Taking on the persona of Grim Death, he hunts down those pointed out to him by graveyard voices who deserve to be punished. Bill is William Tuttle, on death row for a crime he didn’t commit and soon to become part of a dynamic duo with Grim Death.
The two join forces, and of course, there’s a beautiful woman involved, in a creative and compelling story that’s unlike anything you’ve read. This will delight fans of illustrated novels, anyone who enjoys creative crime novels, and teen YA readers as well. Good creepy fun.
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