Newsletter- February 2015

 

With only 28 days, February is a very short month. That doesn’t mean you won’t have lots of books to choose from, just that you will have to read a little more every day to keep up!

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction, and non-fiction. The winners will be announced on April 29, 2015.

Selected Edgar nominees:

Best Novel:

This Dark Road to Mercy ($14.99) by Wiley Cash. I recommend this Southern tale of a troubled family trying to outrun their past.

Wolf ($26.00) by Mo Hayder. “Bone-chilling” doesn’t begin to describe this story of a family held hostage. Not for the faint of heart.

Mr. Mercedes ($16.00) by Stephen King. The author best known for his tales of horror writes a gripping crime novel.

The Final Silence ($26.95) by Stuart Neville.  Already the winner of a MBTB star, this story set in Belfast combines history and a modern-day criminal investigation.

Saints of the Shadow Bible ($16.00) by Ian Rankin features Jon Rebus and Malcolm Fox once again at odds in Edinburgh. Highly recommended!

Coptown ($9.99) by Karin Slaughter. A gritty police procedural set in 1970s Atlanta.

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
 

Dry Bones in the Valley ($24.95) by Tom Bouman. A cop in a small, rural town in Pennsylvania contends with his first murder investigation.

Invisible City ($24.99) by Julia Dahl. I recommend this story of a reporter covering the death of a Hasidic woman in Brooklyn.

The Life We Bury ($15.95) by Allen Eskens. A college student gets in over his head when he interviews an elderly man who served time for murder.

Bad Country ($24.99) by C.B. McKenzie. The winner of the Hillerman Prize for fiction, this southwestern mystery features a former rodeo star turned PI.

Shovel Ready ($14.00) by Adam Sternbergh. A futuristic, hard-boiled story with a garbage man /hit-man as the main character.

Murder at the Brightwell ($24.99) by Ashley Weaver. A traditional mystery set in the 1930s with a pair of engaging sleuths.

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

The Secret History of Las Vegas ($16.00) by Chris Abani, No glitzy casinos here, rather the final case of a burned-out detective investigating a series of possible hate crimes.

Stay With Me ($5.99) by Alison Gaylin features Brenna Spector, an investigator with a memory that just won’t quit. Brenna possesses perfect recall, an ability that can actually hamper her work.

The Barkeep ($14.95) by William Lashner.  A laid-back bartender has tried to put the murder of his mother behind him but readers know that never works.

The Day She Died ( $14.99) by Catriona McPherson is a psychological tale of suspense set in Scotland.

The Gone Dead Train ($14.99) by Lisa Turner combines murder, betrayal and even a bit of voodoo in this mystery set in Memphis.

World of Trouble ($14.95) by Ben H. Winters. The third in the apocalyptic trilogy finds Detective Hank Palace facing the end of the world. This quirky series is well worth a read (and an award!)

Big news in the world of Scandinavian crime fiction! It has been announced that Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz will release the fourth instalment in Steigg Larsson's series featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. What Doesn’t Kill You will be released in August, 10 years after the publication of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

In the meantime, enjoy one of these Scandinavian mysteries.

The Forgotten Girls ($26.00) by Sara Blaedel features DI Louise Rick, working in Copenhagen. In her latest case she works to identify the body of a woman found dead in a wooded area. Identification proves difficult, even though the woman’s face bore a distinctive scar. When a description of the victim is released in the newspapers, a woman identifies her as a girl she cared for years ago in a mental institution. The girl had been abandoned by her family and branded as a “forgotten girl.” The mystery deepens when the police discover that the victim had a twin sister at the same institution and that both girls had been issued death certificates many years before. With the help of her friend journalist Camilla Lind, DI Rick discovers a trail of crimes involving more “forgotten girls.” Not all of her novels have been translated; you can start with Call Me Princess, which was published in the U.S.in 2011.

 

Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Marco Effect 
($16.00) is the 5th in his  Department Q series. The department mostly tasked with investigating cold cases, works out of the basement in Copenhagen’s police headquarters and is run by Detective Carl Morck. Aided by his assistants Assad and Rose, Mork grudgingly investigates a missing person’s case and searches for a teenager on the run from his criminal family. Library Journal praised the author saying “Adler-Olsen's cast might seem like stock crime-fiction characters at first glance — the curmudgeonly detective, the flighty secretary, the suspiciously resourceful assistant — but in his hands they are unpredictable and entertaining. This series has enough twists to captivate contemporary mystery readers and enough substance and background to entertain readers with historical and literary tastes." Readers may want to start with The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first in the series. Look for The Alphabet House ($27.95) due out later this month.

 

Leaving Denmark and heading to Sweden we find The Beige Man ($26.95) by Helene Tursten. This is the 7th book in the series featuring DI Irene Huss, first seen in The Detective Inspector Huss (2002) Huss, a detective inspector in the Violent Crimes Unit in Goteborg, Sweden tackles two seemingly unrelated cases; a deadly hit-and-run and the discovery of a corpse in a cellar. With her team of detectives, she discovers a connection between the crimes and an expanding ring of human traffickers. This is a chilling tale, set in the midst of winter in Sweden, better bundle up!

 

For a change of pace, try one of these mysteries.

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death ($16.00) by James Runcie is the first in the series that is the inspiration for Grantchester, currently being shown on PBS. Sidney is the inquisitive young Vicar of Grantcheseter, whose profession puts him in a unique position to aid the police. He makes discreet inquires and shares his observations with his friend Inspector Geordie Keating. He soon discovers that being a detective, just like being a Vicar, means you are always on duty. The TV series is charming, and stars James Norton as Sidney and Robson Green as Inspector Keating.

 

Elizabeth Haynes introduces readers to DCI Louisa Smith in Under a Silent Moon ($15.99). Investigating the deaths of two women, one an apparent suicide and one a murder, keeps DCI Smith and her team scrambling for leads. The author, a police intelligence analyst, began writing Under a Silent Moon as part of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge back in 2006. Participants set a goal of writing 50,000 words in a month, and Haynes wrote more than 60,000. As she continued writing she realized “..more than anything else, I wanted to write a novel that included some realistic source documents alongside the narrative…the book has witness statements, emails, forensic reports and analysis documents and charts, the idea being that the reader has access to everything they need to solve the crime alongside the investigators.”

It may be February 2015 here, but in Murder in Pigalle ($15.95) by Cara Black, it is June 1998 in Paris. In her 14th outing, Parisian detective Aimee Leduc is trying to cut back on her hectic work schedule, only taking on cases involving computer security. Her plan to slow down and shift the focus of her investigations changes when a series of vicious crimes takes in the Pigalle neighborhood of Paris. Murder in Pigalle was inspired by a series of crimes that took place in Paris in 1998.  Readers can explore the Paris that tourists never see by reading Murder in the Marais, the first in the Aimee Leduc series and look for Murder on the Champs de Mars ($27.95) due in March.

 

Nevada Barr has been writing about Park Ranger Anna Pigeon since the award-winning Track of the Cat was published in 1993. We have followed the adventurous Anna all over the country, from the depths of Carlsbad Caverns (Blind Descent) to the peaks of Yosemite (High Country). Throughout the series of 18 books, the author has allowed readers to experience the beauty and the dangers of America’s National Parks right alongside Anna. In Destroyer Angel ($9.99), Anna is due for a vacation and heads to the Iron Range in Minnesota for a canoe trip. Anna’s leisurely trip with friends soon turns deadly when her friends are kidnapped. Anna’s survival skills are put to the test as she races to free her friends.

 
Jonathan Kellerman’s
When the Bough Breaks, was published in 1985 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. In it we meet Dr. Alex Delaware, a psychologist who maintains a private practice while acting as  a police consultant. In Motive ($28.00) the 30th (!) book in the series, the good doctor works with his long time friend lieutenant Milo Sturgis on the case of a woman found murdered in her home. The crimes and their solutions are always interesting but it is the interplay between the two friends that has kept me reading this series from the very beginning.

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.
February’s meeting will be held on Tuesday February 24th to discuss

The Riddle of the Sands (1903)   by Erskine Childers.

 
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, February 18th they will be discussing Claire DeWitt and the City of Dead by Sara Gran.
 
 
 
 
Happy reading,
 
Jean

 

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