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Newsletter- March 2015

Who knows if March plans to come in like a lion or a lamb this year? Whatever the weather brings, you’ll have a variety of reading this month!

I’ve been a big fan of
Dennis Lehane since reading A Drink before the War (1994), featuring Boston’s Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. The long-time friends are private investigators, and their complicated personal relationship on occasion spills over into their professional lives. Carolyn Lane, one of the former owners of MBTB, described the series this way: “Lehane’s portraits of Dorchester, his utterly believable hometown bad guys and his subtle demonstration of the lines that connect past and present- those are all exquisite.” In addition to his Kenzie/Gennero series, Lehane also set his superb Mystic River in Boston. In 2008, Lehane published The Given Day, the first in a trilogy featuring Joe Coughlin, the son of a police captain, who starts out as a beat cop in 1920s Boston before his life and career veer off in an unexpected direction. In Live by Night (2012), Coughlin has firmly established himself as a criminal king-pin, a rum-runner during Prohibition. World Gone By ($27.99), the final book in the trilogy, is set during World War II. Much has changed for Joe Coughlin, his family has been killed, his business destroyed and he has become a member of an influential crime syndicate. Set in Florida and Cuba, this tale of betrayal and revenge is a masterful blend of historical and crime fiction. Enjoy!

Back in 2010 when
Bruce DeSilva’s Rogue Island came out, MBTB gave it a hearty recommendation and it received the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery as well. In Providence Rag ($15.99), the third book in the series, reporter Liam Mulligan continues to work for a struggling newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island. Mulligan becomes involved in a complex situation when Mason, his friend and fellow reporter, uncovers a story involving a man convicted of killing five of his neighbors when he was still a teenager.  Although at the time he was convicted the law required that all juvenile offenders be released on their 21st birthday, the man is still in jail, serving time on false charges. The trumped -up charges are an open secret and perversion of the justice system, even for a good cause, does not sit well with Mason. While Mulligan pushes to find legal methods to keep the killer behind bars, Mason pursues his own investigation. Providence Rag was inspired by a series of murders in Rhode Island in the 1980s.

Julia Dahl
’s debut Invisible City ($15.99) is nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American author. In a close-knit Hassidic community in Brooklyn, rookie journalist Rebekah Roberts stumbles across a murder while on assignment. The body of Jewish woman is found in a scrap yard owned by the woman’s wealthy (and powerful) husband. Rebekah is shocked when the police seem willing to look the other way as the Hassidic community downplays the death and closes ranks. Rebekah’s interest in the case and in
the traditional Jewish culture is personal, her mother, an Orthodox Jew, left her family soon after Rebekah was born. As Rebekah continues to investigate, the lines blur between her professional and her personal interests. I’m looking forward to the second in the series, Run You Down ($25.99), due in June.

John Lescroart
introduced readers to Dismas Hardy in Dead Irish (1989). Since then Hardy’s career path has led from cop to bartender to Assistant District Attorney to defense attorney. In The Keeper ($15.00), Hardy finds his latest case has a personal connection; a client of Hardy’s wife (who works as a marriage counselor), goes missing and her husband is the prime suspect.When the woman turns up dead, the man hires Hardy to defend him. As the case unfolds, Hardy relies  on the investigative skills of his old friend, former homicide detective Abe Glitsky, but soon begins to question his client’s innocence. Booklist says:  “Lescroart has occupied a chair at the head table of the legal-thriller society for quite awhile, and this smartly plotted, sharply written novel will do nothing to dislodge him from that lofty perch.”Look for the next book in the series, The Fall ($26.95) due in June.

Ali Reynolds returns for her 10th outing in J.A. Jance’s Cold Betrayal ($25.95). First seen in Edge of Evil (2006) Ali is a former TV journalist turned investigator in Arizona. This time out, Ali is asked by her daughter-in-law to investigate the anonymous threats her grandmother is receiving. The police have not been much help; they simply dismiss the concerns as those of a fussy, elderly woman. Meanwhile, Ali’s old friend Sister Anselm, becomes tangled up with a polygamous group nicknamed “The Family” when she comes to the aid of a pregnant young woman seeking to leave the group. Readers can look forward to Dance of the Bones ($26.99) the latest in Jance’s J.P. Beaumont series, due out in June.

When Maisie Dobbs was published in 2003, readers fell in love with the main character. Maisie was a WW I nurse who turned to sleuthing once the war ended. In Jacqueline Winspear’s  A Dangerous Place ($26.99), Maisie finds herself returning to England after a four year absence; her father is gravely ill and she has been summoned to his bedside. On her journey home, she makes an unexpected stop in Gilbralter. The city is overflowing with those desperate to escape the mounting tensions in Spain and Maisie is soon swept up into a murder investigation which has drawn the attention of the British Secret Service. Portland fans can meet Jacqueline Winspear on March 23rd at Broadway Books.

Olen Steinhauer
has written two well-regarded series, both set in Eastern Europe. The first features Emil Brod, first seen in Bridge of Sighs (2003). Steinhauer’s second series features Milo Weaver, a clandestine CIA agent introduced in The Tourist (2009).His latest, All the Old Knives ($23.99), is a stand-alone. Steinhauer tells the tale of two ex- spies (and ex-lovers) who reunite to discuss a disastrous event in their past. Henry Pelham stayed on with the CIA after a failed rescue of hostages in Vienna. His partner, Celia Harrison, left the agency and retired to raise a family in California. When Harry arranges a meeting with Celia to discuss the case, the pair soon discovers that their memories of the mission and their part in it differ significantly. Steinhauer lets Henry and Celia’s story unfold over the course of their reunion dinner, just a meeting of old colleagues, reminiscing about the past.

Joseph Kanon
’s Leaving Berlin ($27.00) takes place in 1948, while the divided city struggles with the lasting effects of the war. Alex Meir, a German writer who fled to America, has been forced to return to his homeland as a spy for the American government. Meir is welcomed by the communists in East Germany and begins to infiltrate the inner circles of power. When an East German agent is killed and Meir becomes the main suspect, he is left to fend for himself in a country that he no longer calls his own. According to Publishers Weekly: “Leaving Berlin is Kanon at his historical best, capturing, as he has in his previous books, the haunting complexity of life in Europe after World War II…”

The Stranger You Know
($15.00) by Jane Casey is the fourth in the series featuring London DC Maeve Kerrigan. First seen in The Burning (2010), Kerrigan
is young, a little rough around the edges and decidedly modern in her approach to her career and her life. Her current investigation finds her on the trail of a killer that women seemingly welcome into their homes; there is never a sign of a forced entry. When accusation are leveled against her partner DCI Josh Derwent, Kerrigan disregards orders to stay away from the case and strikes out on her own to investigate the murders.

Sharon (S.J.) Bolton
’s A Dark and Twisted Tide ($16.99) finds DC Lacey Flint living on a houseboat on the River Thames and assigned to the marine policing unit. While swimming in the river one morning, Lacey discovers a woman’s body wrapped in a linen shroud. Not surprisingly, even though she is no longer working on the homicide unit, Lacey is drawn into the investigation all the while concerned that someone is tracking her every move. Readers first met Lacey Flint in Now You See Me (2011). Bolton is also the author of  the following non-series mysteries which are sure to please those looking for dark, psychological suspense: Sacrifice (2008), Awakening (2009) and Blood Harvest (2010).

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 each month.
We meet at the Belmont Branch Library 1038 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd. March’s meeting will be held on Tuesday March 24th to discuss North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo.

The Friends of Mystery Book Group
Meets at the Belmont Library on the third Wednesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. On Wednesday, March 18th they will be discussing Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton.

Happy reading,