James Hayman: The Girl in the Glass Saturday, Jun 4 2016 

Auntie M is late to James Hayman’s McCabe and Savage series, but she’ll be back for more after reading The Girl in the Glass, its fourth installment.

The action fluctuates between Whitby Island, Maine, in a case from 1904 and the tragic death of the lovely Aimee Whitby, a French artist, whose murder remains filled with speculation but unsolved. This is contrasted against the June 2012 murder of her descendant, Veronica Aimee Whitby, and closely resembles the hallmarks of the first, with the action split between Portland and Whitby Island.

Veronica is the valedictorian of her school, a manipulative young woman killed on the night of her graduation party. Enter McCabe and Savage, determined to find the killer as quickly as possible. Despite the revelations that perhaps Veronica wasn’t the nicest young woman, she was still only eighteen and at the cusp of her life when she is murdered.

But their investigation is thwarted by the different personalities at hand. There’s the dead girl’s father, wealthy to the point of absurdity, her stepmother, and her half sister. There are petty and real jealousies, sibling rivalry, and the kind of complex family situation that you know you wouldn’t want to be at their Thanksgiving dinners.

Hayman gives McCabe and Savage their own relationship issue to struggle with as the case pushes forward, under the eye of a a strident media, dogging their heels. One of the highlights of this is seeing the duo at work, balancing their case and their emotions, trying to make sense out of the various strands. The past come into play in surprising ways as the case races to its finale. Fast paced and reminded Auntie M of the quick read in one gulp action of a John Sanford novel.

Kate Flora: And Grant You Peace Friday, Jul 10 2015 

And Grant You Peace
Auntie M owes author Kate Flora an apology: She read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Flora’s Joe Burgess mystery, And Grant You Peace last fall. Then her copy of the book fell behind a stack of many stacked books waiting to be reviewed and was just unearthed. Mea culpa.

Don’t let Auntie M’s tardiness keep you away from this great installment in Flora’s series, that starts out with a fast-paced heart-rending scene and doesn’t let up.

Sitting in his car, waiting for his shift to end, Burgess is ready to go home when a local kid he knows come running up to his door. Jason tells Burgess the nearby mosque is on fire and he can hear screaming from inside. Burgess leaps out of his car, calling the fire department, on the run inside the burning building.

A stranger steps up to help him and the two men tear down a locked door to find a woman and her baby inside the burning closet. His instincts tell Burgess the fire was not accidental, and when he learns the infant has died, Burgess knows the investigation will ratchet up now with the arson unit, fire department investigators and the state fire marshal all digging in along with violent crimes detectives.

But his thoughts turn to the scared young mother, a teenager, who has just lost her child, and gone mute. Who would have locked her and her baby in a closet inside a mosque scrawled with anti-Muslim graffiti and set fire to it? Burgess will work hard to earn her trust and learn her story.

It’s a case that will have Burgess working long hours, despite the chaos of his home situation, where his partner Chris is working and trying to hold down the fort on their newly-created family. Series regulars on Joe’s team Stan Perry, Terry Kyle will aid Burgess along with Remy Aucoin and CID head Vince Melia, as their investigation takes them to the Iman who owned the Somali mosque.

When they try to question one of the Iman’s sons, a car passes, shooting into their faces. And that’s just the start of the trouble Burgess and his team will face as they unravel the story of this young mother and her dead child.

Compellingly told, atmospheric, this proves a great addition to the series.