January 2014 Archives

New Mystery Novels

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It's cold out. You might as well stay home and read some mysteries. Here are a few to get you started.


Click for availability and more information Dead To Me, by Cath Staincliffe
 
Detective Constable Janet Scott is subtle and reliable, a diplomatic thinker with a wry sense of humor. She's put in the time and seen it all, but has no desire for the boss's job--she loves her own too much. Rachel Bailey couldn't be more different--she's energetic, impulsive, and ambitious, and has just been transferred to the Manchester murder squad. Their commander thinks Rachel's intuition could make her a great cop, but has reservations about her shoot-first-think-later approach, so she partners her with Janet. At first, the match seems to have been made somewhere considerably lower than heaven, but when a teenage girl is found brutally murdered, stabbed to death in her squalid flat on a North Manchester housing estate, both detectives realize they must work together to stop a vicious killer. But the case quickly becomes more complicated than it seems, fraught with dangers neither woman could see coming. Eager to make her mark, Rachel's reckless pursuit of the truth could threaten her future on the squad. And an unexpected turn in the investigation forces Janet to face personal demons. No matter the cost, both must race to stop a vicious killer before it's too late. For fans of Tess Gerritsen and Deborah Crombie. 


Click for availability and more information Death of a Nightingale: a Nina Borg mystery , by Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis
 
Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman who has been convicted of the attempted murder of her Danish fiancé, escapes police custody on her way to an interrogation in Copenhagen's police headquarters. That night, the frozen, tortured body of Michael, the ex-fiancé, is found in a car, and the manhunt for Natasha escalates. It isn't the first time the young Ukrainian woman has lost a partner to violent ends: her first husband was also murdered, three years earlier in Kiev, and in the same manner: tortured to death in a car. Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg has been following Natasha's case for several years now, since Natasha first took refuge at a crisis center where Nina works. Nina, who had tried to help Natasha leave her abusive fiancé more than once, just can't see the young Ukrainian mother as a vicious killer. But in her effort to protect Natasha's daughter and discover the truth, Nina realizes there is much she didn't know about this woman and her past. The mystery has long and bloody roots, going back to a terrible famine that devastated Stalinist Ukraine in 1934, when a ten-year-old girl with the voice of a nightingale sang her family into shallow graves.

NPR book critic John Powers has compared the book's main character, Nina Borg, to similar "run amok" heroines like Homeland's Carrie Mathison and Lisbeth Salander, the star of Stieg Larsson's popular Millennium Trilogy series. Borg was first introduced to reader's via the author's bestselling book The Boy in the Suitcase. 


Click for availability and more information The Dinosaur Feather, by S.J. Gazan
 
Selected by NPR's Maureen Corrigan as her favorite mystery of 2013 and one of the top ten mysteries of the year by The Wall Street Journal's Tom Nolan, S.J. Gazan's debut novel  is a classic of Scandinavian noir. With keenly observed and deeply flawed characters, this thriller uniquely employs one of the most controversial and fascinating areas of contemporary dinosaur and avian research in its diabolical twists. It has been published in more than a dozen countries and won the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade Award.

Biology postgraduate, PhD hopeful, and single mom Anna Bella Nor is just two weeks away from defending her thesis on the saurian origin of birds when her academic supervisor, the highly respected yet widely despised Dr. Lars Helland, is found dead in his office chair at the University of Copenhagen. The police discover a copy of Anna's thesis in the dead man's bloody lap. When the autopsy suggests that Helland was murdered in a fiendishly ingenious way, brilliant but tormented young Police Superintendent Søren Marhauge begins the daunting task of unraveling the knotted skeins of interpersonal and intellectual intrigue among the scientists at the university. Everyone involved with the investigation-- from Anna Bella Nor to Helland's numerous rivals to Marhauge's own ex-wife, who is pregnant with her current husband's child-- has something to hide, complicating the investigation and presenting the detective with the greatest professional and personal challenge of his career. 


Click for availability and more information The Ghost Runner: a Makana mystery , by Parker Bilal
 
It is 2002 and as tanks roll into the West Bank and the reverberations of 9/11 echo across the globe, tensions are running high on Cairo's streets. Private Investigator Makana, in exile from his native Sudan and increasingly haunted by memories of his wife and daughter, is shaken out of his despondency when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl. In a country where honor killings are commonplace and the authorities seem all too eager to turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator. He finds unexpected assistance in the shape of Azza, a woman who seems to share Makana's hunger for justice. 


Click for availability and more information Lost Girls of Rome, by Donato Carrisi
 
Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sanda is convinced it was anything but. Launching her own inquiries, Sanda finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband's murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows. 


Click for availability and more information The Man Who Loved Dogs, by Leonardo Padura
 
This book brings a noir sensibility to the assassination of Leon Trotsky by Ramón Mercader. The story revolves around Iván Cárdenas Maturell, who in his youth was the great hope of modern Cuban literature--until he dared to write a story that was deemed counterrevolutionary. When we meet him years later in Havana, Iván is a loser: a humbled and defeated man with a quiet, unremarkable life who earns his modest living as a proofreader at a veterinary magazine. One afternoon, he meets a mysterious foreigner in the company of two Russian wolfhounds. This is "the man who loved dogs," and as the pair grow closer, Iván begins to understand that his new friend is hiding a terrible secret. Moving between Iván's life in Cuba, Ramón's early years in Spain and France, and Trotsky's long years of exile, this is a story about political ideals tested and characters broken, a multilayered epic that weaves together three different plot threads-- Trotsky in exile, Ramón in pursuit, Iván in frustrated stasis--to bring emotional truth to historical fact. Blogger Yoani Sanchez, writing in The Huffington Post, calls Padura "the great Cuban novelist of today." 


Click for availability and more information Resurrection: an Detective Brenner mystery, by Wolf Haas
 
When Inspector Simon Brenner leaves the police force, he's looking forward to some peace and quiet, and the lovely Alpine village of Zell seems like just the place. That is, until the corpses of an American couple are found frozen on a ski lift, and Brenner, doing some part time work for an insurance company, is called in to investigate the matter. It turns out that the victims have relatives in the area, and the crime--if it is a crime--seems like it could be a family affair. Except the prime suspect has a solid alibi and no one in picture-perfect Zell is talking. Brenner draws out all the village's characters--the longtime residents, the resort staff and guests--and uncovers the dirty doings that lurk underneath the pristine snow...and family secrets long buried. This first book sets up the totally unique, quirky narrative voice that runs throughout the series and introduces the reluctant, yet brilliant, Detective Brenner,in a plot with as many twists and turns as a Double Black Diamond. This is the first of a series that was first published in Germany and is finally making it to the U.S. in a translated version.


Click for availability and more information Who Thinks Evil : Professor Moriarty mystery, by Michael Kurland
 
In this fifth book of the series, a well-guarded young nobleman goes missing under distressing circumstances. The nobleman, one Baron Renfrew, is actually Prince Albert Victor, eldest grandson of Queen Victoria. He disappeared while he was visiting a house of ill repute, with bodyguards both inside and outside the building--with his inside bodyguard rendered unconscious and the trussed-up corpse of a brutally murdered young woman left behind. Hoping to find the missing Prince and to clear him of the murder, the royal family is looking for a brilliant--and, more importantly, discreet--investigator. Sherlock Holmes, alas, is out of the country so, at the suggestion of his brother Mycroft, they turn to the only man who just might be more brilliant--Dr. James Moriarty. Moriarty, at the time, is up on charges of murder, awaiting retrial after his first jury was hung. In exchange for


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