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Newsletter- August 2014

Summertime- and the reading choices are amazing! Some of your favorite authors have books that have finally made it to paperback and others are releasing their latest hardcovers. There are fascinating books by newer authors and of course, there are tales from faraway places and times gone by to get you through those hot August nights.


Care for a little history mixed with your mystery?

The Shogun’s Daughter ($15.99) by Laura Joh Rowland: This is the 17th in the Sano Ichiro series, set in Japan in the 1600s. Throughout the series, Ichiro, a samurai who is also an investigator for the shogun, struggles with balancing the demands of his position and his strict code of honor. His latest case involves the death of a member of the shogun’s family and finds the samurai investigator embroiled in a power struggle that threatens not only his own life, but the future of shogun’s regime. If you’d like to read this exotic series from the beginning, start with Shinju (1993).

Kate Parker introduced readers to Georgia Fenchurch, in The Vanishing Thief (2013). A bookseller in Victorian London, Georgia is also a member of the Archivist Society, a secret association of private investigators. In The Counterfeit Lady ($15.00), the intrepid Georgia poses as a member of the aristocracy in order to trap a murderer who is also a spy.

David Todd Watjen and Carolyn L.T. Watjen- a mother and son writing team- are best known as Charles Todd. The author of the Ian Rutledge series set in England soon after the end of WWI, Todd also writes a series featuring Bess Crawford, a British Army nurse serving in WWI. An Unwilling Accomplice ($25.99) finds Nurse Crawford home on leave and responsible for the care of an injured war hero. When the young man disappears, she is held accountable. Soon after he vanishes, witnesses swear that he committed murder and Bess follows the trail of the disgraced hero across England. First seen in A Duty to the Dead (2009), Bess Crawford “…takes a brave stand on behalf of the mentally wounded, their suffering worsened by the isolation imposed on them through the fear and ignorance of the people who once loved them. In the process, she becomes the champion of all those lost and forgotten in war.” (New York Times Book Review)

Kelli Stanley sets her Miranda Corbie series in 1940s San Francisco. Miranda, a former escort turned private investigator, is tough talking, hard drinking and fiercely independent. Readers first met her in City of Dragons (2010) when she investigated the stabbing of young man in Chinatown. Now in City of Ghosts ($26.99) Miranda is hot on the trail of a chemistry professor the State Department suspects is a Nazi spy. Her journey takes her from the back streets of San Francisco to the bright lights of Reno, as secrets from her past complicate the investigation. Kelli Stanley offers this description of her historically detailed series “The Miranda Corbie series is about a world on the brink of cataclysmic changes. About a San Francisco and a California and a 1940 America that the textbooks and movies don’t show you.”


A Blind Goddess ($15.95) by James Benn continues the adventures of Billy Boyle during WW II. It’s 1944 and newly promoted Captain Boyle, who serves as a special investigator for General Eisenhower, is ready for a little R& R, but instead he finds himself looking into two crimes. Billy is approached by an old pal from his Boston neighborhood who is serving as a member of an African American battalion. One of the man’s fellow soldiers has been accused of murder and Billy’s friend worries that the man is being railroaded. At the same time, Billy is asked to quietly investigate the death of a British accountant that has piqued the interest of MI5. Billy scrambles to discretely investigate the accountant’s possible murder, all the while trying to help the wrongly accused soldier as racial tensions rise. A Blind Goddess received a starred review from Publishers Weekly which praised “The superior plot and thoughtful presentation of institutional racism directed against American soldiers about to risk their lives for their country make this one of Benn's best.” Be sure to start by reading Billy Boyle (2006), the first in the series.
How about something from a NW author?
Dana Haynes is one busy fellow! By day, he works as Communications Director for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, and in his spare time he writes award winning thrillers. We first met Daria Gibron as part of a team that investigates airline disasters in Crashers (2010). The former Israeli intelligence officer, who worked for the FBI, DEA and ATF (among others), took center stage in Ice Cold Kill (2013). Now in Gun Metal Heart ($25.99) Daria is laying low in Italy, trying to recover from injuries suffered in her last case.  However, spies (retired or not) never seem to catch up on their sleep or get a chance to fully mend before their next case comes knocking at the door. Daria’s “knock” is delivered by her old colleague Diego, who needs her help locating an inventor who was kidnapped by a Serbian paramilitary group while under his protection. The group hates loose ends and Diego has become their next target. Throw in a handful of disgraced ex- CIA agents who are pursuing the woman they hold responsible for their dismissal from the agency, and Daria once again finds herself on the run. Both Crashers and Ice Cold Kill are available in paperback.

Portland area fans can meet Dana at these local events:

*Tuesday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m.

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills

(3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.)

*Thursday, August 21st at 7:00 p.m.

Annie Bloom’s Books

(7834 SW Capitol Hwy.

Chelsea Cain is best known for her chilling Portland- based series featuring Detective Archie Sheridan and his nemesis Gretchen Lowell (AKA “The Beauty Killer). Readers have followed the duo’s torturous path through six books, and will have to wait a bit for the next in the series. In One Kick ($25.99), we meet Kick Lannigan, who works tracking down missing children. Kick brings a special skill set to her job; she was kidnapped at age six and held for 5 years before being rescued. Her captor taught her a variety of tricks an ordinary child wouldn’t know; lock picking, sharp shooting, and bomb making among them. After her release, Kick was determined to never become a victim again, adding martial arts and boxing to her arsenal. When two children go missing, Kick is asked to join the search. Drawing on her own experience as a kidnapped child, Kick knows she can’t give up until the children are safely returned. When recently asked in an interview why One Kick has less gore than the Archie and Gretchen series Cain responded “I wanted to write a book for all the people who come up to me and say, ‘I wish I could read one of your books, but I’m too scared.’ Every year I give my dad an advance copy of my latest book. He reads it over the next several nights and says something incredibly supportive. Then he clears his throat nervously and changes the subject. I wanted to write a book that I could give my dad without cringing.” (Publishers Weekly)

Local fans can attend the

 launch party for

 One Kick

Monday, August 18th at 7:30 p.m.

Powell’s City of Books

(1005 W. Burnside)

Martin Limon has been writing about US military police officers George Sueno and Ernie Bascom since 1992’s Jade Lady Burning. Stationed in Seoul, South Korea, the men have investigated more than their share of murders, robberies and kidnappings while serving in Korea during the 1970s.In The Iron Sickle ($26.95) the 9th book in the series, the pair goes against orders to investigate the murder of the head of US Army’s Claims Office. The man was killed on the US base by a Korean, who had a small iron sickle hidden under his coat. Sueno and Bascom’s investigation is hindered by officials who seem to have little or no interest in solving the case. Known for creating a detailed sense of place in his works, Limon earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly for this latest book.


Visit Canada without crossing the border!

Louise Penny’s latest hardcover The Long Way Home ($26.99) comes out on August 26th and I can hardly wait. I started recommending Louise Penny back in 2005 after I read Still Life, the first in her series set in Three Pines, Canada. The small village is full of characters with stories to tell, and learning about their lives is part of the enjoyment of reading one of Penny’s books. Armand Gamache, Three Pines’ newest resident, is relishing village life when an old friend asks for his help. Clara Morrow, whose career as an artist has recently taken off, is worried that her husband Peter didn’t show up on the one year anniversary of their separation as promised. Peter’s resentment of Clara’s success was one reason for the couple’s rift and as Gamache searches for the man, he wonders just how far afield Peter’s jealousy has led him. Be sure to read the award- winning How the Light Gets In ($15.99), the previous book in the series, which is due out in paperback this month.

Some hot new paperbacks to tuck in your suitcase before you head out the door.

Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone returns in W Is for Wasted ($9.99) and is continuing to investigate crimes in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California. Kinsey’s latest case finds her  looking into two seemingly unrelated events: the murder of a PI and the death of a homeless man found with her name and number in his pocket.  We’ve followed the detective since 1982’s A is for Alibi and plan to be with her as she tackles “Z is for ________.”

Stephen White introduced us to Boulder psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory in Privileged Information in 1992. Now, with Compound Fractures ($9.99) he wraps up his long running series with a tale that takes Dr. Gregory back to his days as a young psychologist and a troubling ethical dilemma he faced. Booklist praised the series finale saying “This is no neat wrap-up of the psychologist/sleuth’s story: at the book’s end we feel that Alan’s life is simply veering off in a new direction, to a place where we will not be permitted to eavesdrop.”

Carol O’Connell’s It Happens in the Dark ($9.99) is the 11th in the series featuring NYPD Detective Kathy Mallory. First introduced in Mallory’s Oracle in 1994, Mallory remains a deeply flawed, intensely driven detective in the Special Crimes Unit. A death in the front row on opening night wouldn’t seem to be great publicity for a new play but when reviewers call it “a play to die for” and the playwright is murdered in the theatre, ticket sales soar. Mallory must avoid stepping on too may toes as she investigates a crime with a whole cast of suspects.

A word of advice, if you are planning on taking Just One Evil Act ($17.00) by Elizabeth George along on your trip, you might need to leave some other items at home. At 736 pages, this latest in the Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers series delivers a suspenseful story, where the lives and actions of the characters are just as important as the mystery that must be solved. This time out, Sergeant Havers takes center stage as she investigates the disappearance of her friend’s daughter. Fans have been eagerly following this series since A Great Deliverance came out in 1988.

      Murder by the Book’s

 Book Group

Our group, led by local author Lori L. Lake, meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Barbara Tom, one of the former owners of MBTB, chooses the book to be discussed.


August’s meeting will be held on Tuesday August 26th and we will discuss


by William McIlvanney

**Change of location**

August’s meeting will be held at the Hollywood Branch Library

4040 NE Tillamook



The Friends of Mystery

 Book Group

meets at the Belmont Library

 (1038 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd.)

 on the third Wednesday of the month. Wednesday August 20th, 

they will meet at 4:30 p.m. and discuss

Booked to Die by John Dunning.



Happy reading,