Hot summer reads: A multitude of goodness. Sunday, Jul 28 2013 

Auntie M has read so many good books lately, she wants you to look for a few of these to take on vacation. Or read at the beach. Or just to veg out with at home.

guilty Lisa Ballantyne’s debut, The Guilty One, is a sophisticated and disturbing novel that revolves around London solicitor Daniel Hunter, who’s been hired to defend an eleven-year-old boy, Sebastian, accused of murdering an eight-year-old friend.

Sebastian’s home life is troubled, a factor that comes into play as Daniel struggles to get at the truth of the case and explores just what forgiveness means.

For Daniel, whose own childhood was fraught with turbulence and upheaval, the case brings back his history in foster homes until he settled with the one woman who saved him and allowed him to flourish as an adult. But memories of Minnie Flynn bring their own ghosts and Daniel finds himself disturbed at trial and in his home time.

Told in alternating chapters between the present case with Sebastian, and Daniel’s life with Minnie on a remote Cumbrian farm, Ballantyne ties the subplots together in a resounding ending that manages to be suspenseful and unsettling, yet gives a whiff of hope.

This is an author whose next book Auntie M is anticipating.

 

Emily Winslow takes readers to the world of Cambridge in the complex plot of The Start of Everything.the_start_of_everything

When the decomposed body of a teenager washes up on the flooded fens, the case falls to DI Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Morris Keene. Establishing the victim’s identity is their first order of business and they investigate even tiny clues that might lead them from the hallowed squares of Cambridge to the name of the dead girl.

This search leads them to Deeping House, where several families reside and were snowed in together over Christmas. Three families include two nannies, and a young writer who were all housebound together.

Chloe becomes swept up in the long-buried secrets of old crimes and their more recent counterparts as she seeks the truth. There will be misaddressed letters and hints of affairs buried alongside murder.

Along this road, her loyalty to her partner is severely tested as the tales of the separate lives are examined through their eyes.

As Chloe looks deeply inside the minds of her involved suspects and the story hurtles toward its tangled conclusion, readers will be caught up  in this deft and unusual mystery.

 

More great summer reading:

Steve Hamilton: Die A Stranger and North of Nowhere: Lee Child calls award-winner Hamilton “a proven master of suspense.” North of Nowhere is fourth in his Alex McKnight series, and a superb entry to the series for readers who may have missed the ex-cop turned private detective and his solitary northern world of Paradise, Michigan. When a poker game turns into a robbery, Alex’s search for answers proves much more than a simple robbery. Die A Stranger gives readers a huge window into Alex’s reclusive world and his friendship with Ojibwa Vinnie Leblanc. When a plane is found with five dead bodies aboard, Vinnie’s subsequent disappearance sends Alex into a search across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for his friend, despite the danger to himself.

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva: Art restorer and once-again spy Gabriel Allon returns in an international thriller that starts within the walls of the Vatican, when the body of beautiful antiquities curator is found beneath the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. He’ll face sabotage, looting, and vengeance as he travels Europe to find the culprits, all rendered with Silva’s trademark blend of history and strong settings.

Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French: The second Frieda Klein mystery continues the series with the psychotherapist once again working a case with DCI Karlsson when a mentally disturbed woman is found in her flat with an unknown decomposed body–and she can’t tell them the body’s identity.

The Reviver by Seth Patrick: Reviver Joan Miller works in the forensics department whose talented members revive corpses to find justice. When a terrifying presence enters his mind during a revival, Jonah becomes convinced there is a sinister force at work that may affect all of mankind. Edgy and different, with the addition of the paranormal into the police in a blurring of genre lines. First of a trilogy already optioned for the big screen, it reads big with a large cast and many subplots that intertwine.

Ready to Die by Lisa Jackson: Bringing back detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez, Jackson’s thriller follows their search for a murderer who is killing law enforcement officers in Grizzly Falls, Montana. A twisted ending will involve Pescoli’s son and blow away what she thought was the resolution to a murder’s hit list.

True Colours by Stephen Leather: Spider Shephard returns with an unusual assignment from MI-5–track down the assassin of some of the world’s richest men, including Russian oligarchs. With international settings and Leather’s flare for action, Spider will deal with political and personal intrigue, as well as a Taliban sniper from his past, in this fast-paced thriller.

Heroes and Lovers by Wayne Zurl: This Sam Jenkins mystery with a hint of romance follows the ex-NY detective in his current job as Chief of Prospect, TN Police. When TV reporter Rachel Williamson’s exclusive story on Jenkin’s fraud investigation leads to her kidnapping. Feeling responsible and a whole lot more, Jenkins will need all of his friends, including those from the FBI, to help him track Rachel down.

My Name is Hardly by Martin Crosbie: Following the success of My Temporary Life, Crosbie returned with his second in a planned trilogy featuring his protagonist, the Scottish soldier Hardly whose Irish lost postings are taking their toll as much as the Provo’s he fights. Filled with action and insights into the realities of aa soldier’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Daheim and James Runcie: Polar Opposites Sunday, Jul 29 2012 

This week Auntie M brings you a repeat performer AND she introduces a new series from across the pond.

Seattle native Mary Daheim’s newest in hardcover from William Morrow is The Wurst is Yet to Come. It continues her hallmark bed-and-breakfast mystery series filled with word play and humor.

This time Judith and her cousin Renie travel by train over the mountains to man a booth featuring B&B’s at Oktoberfest in Little Bavaria.

Every German association you can think of has been put into the town for the event, from lederhosen and oompah bands to sauerbraten and wursts. There’s even a life-szied dancing bear running around the streets.

Judith is stinging from criticism from the state B&B association, threatening to pull her license due to the number of bodies that have piled up at her B&B, Hillside Manor. When she enlists Renie and heads off to Little Bavaria, she’s hoping to avoid murder and mayhem and bring new business to her inn.

But things kick off decidedly differently from her plans. In the middle of the opening celebration, which includes a band of German dancers, the town’s beloved patron, Dietrick Wessler is murdered.

Despite her best efforts to avoid being involved, Judith finds her reputation has preceded her. When the local police chief, a man with a huge appetite and dubious investigating skills, begs her to help solve the murder, Judith knows she can’t refuse.

Then she finds herself also investigating a death from the previous summer, and amidst a bewildering number of locals thrown in with the various people showing up for Oktoberfest, she agrees to help out, but with one twist:  Renie will pose as the sleuth to keep her reputation from becoming even more tarnished.

She’ll meet more of Wessler’s extended family than she wants to, and come to know the menu of the local pancake house inside and out as she tries to juggle her hours at the association booth while using her investigative prowess without calling attention to herself.

Whether this works out or not is half the fun for fans of the series in this 27th offering, who will enjoy the goofy turns of events and pure brain candy as a murderer is unmasked.

Next we have The Grantchester Mysteries from the artistic director of the Bath Literature Festival, James Runcie, author of four other novels, and with a resume that includes stints as a theater director, award-winning filmmaker, and scripts for several BBC television films. Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death takes a leap to Cambridge and a trip back to 1953, where Runcie introduces his unlikely sleuth: the Canon Sidney Chambers, vicar of Grantchester, an unusual detective at first glance, whose guilty pleasure is an affection for jazz and warm beer.

The 32 year-old bachelor, an unconventional clergyman at best, also has an unconventional friend: Inspector Geordie Keating, whom he meets every Thursday night at the pub for an evening of mutual relaxation–until the night Keating convinces Sidney to help him investigate the suicide of  Cambridge solicitor Stephen Staunton.

Sidney can go where Keating cannot, and that includes talking at length with the dead man’s wife, partner and secretary. He also finds the company of the new widow, the German Hildegard Staunton, an accomplished pianist, to be surprisingly soothing. Sidney’s own gentle manner and unassuming ways soon lead him to unearth the truth behind Staunton’s tragic death, but this is only the first of a string of crimes where he will find his tact and position called into play to use in an investigation.

Sidney’s detecting skills will try the patience of his housekeeper and his own conscience, as he continues his church duties and takes tutorials at his old college, Corpus Christi, while defining what a vicar should be for himself and for his parish family.

A jewelry theft will occur right under his nose at a New Year’s Eve dinner party; the murder of the daughter of a former mob boss at a jazz club will find him closely involved; a death which may be a mercy killing will find him questioning ethics; a case of art forgery will bring involve him and bring danger to his friend, Amanda, whom Keating thinks Sidney should marry; and a murder in the middle of an amateur production of Julius Ceasar becomes a matter of reputation.

Runcie has done a lovely job with the period details, down to the music and behaviors that match the time. In Sidney Chambers, we have a vicar who quotes poetry and muses on the meaning of love: ” … It was the most unpredictable and chameleon of emotions, sometimes sudden and unstable, able to flare up and die down; at other times loyal and constant, the pilot flame of a life.”

These consecutive stories were a pleasure be immersed in, transported back to a time when the world was regaining its footing after World War II. It is to be hoped that Runcie will continue the Canon’s adventures for our reading pleasure, brain candy of a very different sort, but just as satisfying.

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

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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

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