Friday, August 22, 2014

Terminated -- What a Thrill Ride!

I got my copy of Ray Daniel's Terminated late in the day and thought that I'd read a couple of chapters before going to sleep. Big mistake! I was still reading at 2 AM and if it hadn't been a work night, I probably would have kept reading til dawn. The story hooks you at the first line and keeps reeling you in!

Terminated is Ray Daniel's debut novel and the start of a very promising new series. The protagonist, Tucker, is a brilliant computer programmer who lost both his great loves on the same day. Six months before the story opens, Tucker is fired for no obvious reason from his dream job, then he returns home to find his wife, Carol, murdered. Now, unemployed and unfocused, he's at a loss about what to do with his life.

Then Tucker's old college roommate, now in the FBI's cybercrimes division, claims to have a new lead in Carol's murder. That's when Tucker's life really goes to hell. In the course of five days, murder and mayhem dog his footsteps and we find that, for a really smart guy, he can certainly be obtuse at times. But if anything, Tucker is determined to find out why his wife was killed and who is trying to take him out as well.

Boston-based Daniel has created a savvy, smart character who, even when he's spouting geek-speak, doesn't let the technology interfere with the action. And there certainly is plenty of action!

Terminated is a great read and I look forward to discovering what trouble Tucker will get into next.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gothic Mysteries from Sharon Bolton

GUEST BLOG FROM LIBRARIAN MELISSA
It's always a pleasure to introduce a new author to an avid reader. While I started out with Sharon (S.J.) Bolton's most recent Lacey Flint series, Melissa chose to start at the beginning. If you're looking for a riveting read during the waning days of summer, you can't go wrong with Bolton's novels. They're real grabbers!

Louise (Aunt Agatha, from the Death in the Stacks blog) recently turned me on to the books of mystery writer S. J. Bolton. But Louise started with the latest two of her books, whereas I decided (being a little OCD about my reading) to go back to the beginning and read Bolton's books from her debut, which is called Sacrifice. Now I have read three, and definitely plan to keep going.


Her protagonists in the first two are women in unusual professions and offbeat settings, and the books cross that line from mystery to thriller, almost to full-on gothic. They reminded me a bit of Elly Griffiths' books, with her strong, independent, loner (Ruth Galloway) taking things into her own hands because she's never become used to doing anything else.

Sacrifice is set on the Shetland islands. Its protagonist, Tora Hamilton, is an ob/gyn doctor, and the surrounding tale arises from the very nature of the islands, with their in-turned culture that excludes the outsider and keeps its secrets. There's one secret that's about to be found out...it's murder. But not your garden variety murder (although the body is found in the garden)--it's weird, ritualistic, and the tip of a very big iceberg.

The second book, Awakening, stars a wildlife veterinarian with major personal issues who lives in a small town in Dorset, and who gets the chance to act as resident herpetologist when a plague of snakes starts taking down the villagers. There is a perverse tale from the past that eventually explains everything, and the twists and turns taken to get to that explanation are as mesmerizing as the snakes.
Number three is Blood Harvest, and wow! Very Children of the Corn. Super creepy, great characters, and I especially loved the children's participation in the story. This one has a couple of protagonists/points of view, one being the new (young, handsome) vicar in an old parish, the other a psychologist treating one of his parishioners. I did speculate about who the "bad guy" had to be rather early in the story, simply because of a suspicious lack of explanation about certain people, but Bolton did enough with red herrings to make me doubt myself later on, so it was still thoroughly enjoyable.

This one has a nice start on a romance as part of the plot, but the end of it is a little odd--I'm waiting to see if she takes up these characters again in a future book in another town.

And...all of the rest of her books were tragically checked out at Central when I went looking on Friday for another, so I'm interrupting this reading streak to go explore teen fiction for a while. But I'll be back to Bolton!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's new on the Mystery Shelves?

There's a great selection of new books to choose from this month, whether you're in the mood for a nail-biting thriller, a cozy mystery, or a historical whodunit. Enjoy!
  • Visions [Cainsville] by Kelley Armstrong
  • Strange Shores [Erlendur Sveinsson] by Arnaldur Indridason
  • The Reckoning [John Madden] by Rennie Airth
  • No Safe House by Linwood Barclay
  • Death of a Dog Whisperer [Melanie Travis] by Laurien Berenson
  • Queen of Hearts [Royal Spyness] by Rhys Bowen
  • Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
  • Crime Always Pays [Karen & Ray] by Declan Burke
  • One Kick [Kick Lannigan] by Chelsea Cain
  • The Black Road [Brennan & Esposito] by Tania Carver
  • Payoff [Simon Fisk] by Douglas Corleone
  • Half in Love with Artful Death [Dan Rhodes] by Bill Crider
  • A Colder War [Thomas Kell] by Charles Cumming
  • Clam Wake [Bed-and-Breakfast] by Mary Daheim
  • Tabula Rasa [Roman Empire] by Ruth Downie
  • Dead Line by Chris Ewan
  • Unmanned  by Dan Fesperman
  • I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum
  • Top Secret [Clandestine Operations] by W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV
  • The Spirit in the Skull  by J.M. Hayes
  • Gun Metal Heart [Daria Gibron] by Dana Haynes
  • Don’t Look Back  by Gregg Hurwitz
  • Evil in Return  by Weyman Jones
  • Avoidable Contact [Kate Reilly] by Tammy Kaehler
  • Summer of the Dead [Bell Elkins] by Julia Keller
  • Really the Blues  by Joseph Koenig
  • The Minotaur’s Head [Eberhard Mock] by Marek Krajewski
  • Windigo Island [Cork O’Connor] by William Kent Krueger
  • The Good Know Nothing [California Century] by Ken Kuhlken
  • The Iron Sickle [Sueño & Bascom] by Martin Limón
  • Assassin’s Game [David Slaton] by Ward Larsen
  • The Second Deadly Sin [Rebecka Martinsson] by Åsa Larsson
  • The Drop by Dennis Lehane
  • Designated Daughters [Deborah Knott] by Margaret Maron
  • Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook: Thirteen Tales from the Railway Detective [Robert Colbeck] by Edward Marston
  • A Little Night Murder [Blackbird Sisters] by Nancy Martin
  • The Devil’s Chair [Martha Gunn] by Priscilla Masters
  • Mothers of the Disappeared [J. McNee] by Russel D. McLean
  • The Last Witness by Glenn Meade
  • A Distance to Death [Tink Elledge] by Holly Menino
  • High Stakes [Jack Doyle] by John McEvoy
  • Deadout [Doyle Carrick & Nola Watkins] by Jon McGoran
  • Hollow Mountain [Spike Sanguinetti] by Thomas Mogford
  • Getting Mama Out of Hell by Laurie Moore
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
  • Low Profile [Henry Christie] by Nick Oldham
  • Eden in Winter [Martha’s Vineyard] by Richard North Patterson
  • The Long Way Home [Armand Gamache] by Louise Penny
  • The Lost Island [Gideon Crew] by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
  • Paw and Order [Chet & Bernie] by Spencer Quinn
  • Bones Never Lie [Temperance Brennan] by Kathy Reichs
  • Close Call [Liz Carlyle] by Stella Rimington
  • Her Last Whisper [Charlotte Stone] by Karen Robards
  • The Scent of Death [Sukey Reynolds] by Betty Rowlands
  • Shroud of Evil [Andy Horton] by Pauline Rowson
  • City of Ghosts [Miranda Corbie] by Kelli Stanley
  • An Unwilling Accomplice [Bess Crawford] by Charles Todd
  • Traitor’s Storm [Kit Marlowe] by M.J. Trow
  • Peter Pan Must Die [Dave Gurney] by John Verdon
  • Haunted [Hannah Smith] by Randy Wayne White
  • Guilty Parties [SS] edited by Martin Edwards
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Now You See Me

While I am a fan of Amazon and online buying for ease and accessibility, there is still nothing quite like the joy of browsing the brick and mortar book store. Not knowing what I wanted to read next, I set off for the bookstore last weekend. Checking out the mystery aisle in my local Barnes & Noble, I happened upon Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton, a British crime writer. I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Ms. Bolton before, but the cover of the book was quite intriguing (yes, I do sometimes judge a book by its cover!).

Lacey Flint, a young police officer, is returning from a call on a witness in a London apartment complex. When she reaches her car, she stumbles upon a woman brutally stabbed only moments before. The victim dies in Lacey's arms. Within twenty-four hours, a young reporter receives an anonymous letter pointing out similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper's first kill. Most alarming of all, the letter calls out Lacey by name.

Ah-ha, you think. A modern retelling of the Ripper cases. That seems to be the direction the author is heading towards, but then the plot twists away unexpectedly. This multi-layered psychological thriller will keep you glued to the page.

Now You See Me is author Sharon Bolton's fourth book. Also known as S.J. Bolton, she writes gothic mysteries such as the stand-alones Sacrifice and Awakening. Now You See Me is the first in the Lacey Flint series, followed by Dead Scared and Lost. A Dark and Twisted Tide, the latest in the series was just released last month.

In A Dark and Twisted Tide, Lacey Flint, Sharon Bolton’s enigmatic protagonist, has been living in a houseboat on the River Thames, and she’s becoming a part of London’s weird and wonderful riverboat community. Against her friends’ better judgment, she’s taken up swimming in the Thames, and she feels closer than ever to Detective Mark Joesbury, despite his involvement in a complicated undercover case. For the first time in her life, as she recovers from the trauma of the last few months, Lacey begins to feel almost happy.

Then, at dawn one hot summer morning while swimming down the river, Lacey finds the body of a shrouded young woman in the water. She assumes it was chance—after all, she's recently joined the marine policing unit, and she knows how many dead bodies are pulled out of the river every year, most the result of tragic accidents. But further investigation leads her policing team to suspect the woman’s body was deliberately left for Lacey to find. Lacey’s no longer a homicide detective, but as she begins to notice someone keeping a strangely close eye on her, she’s inexorably drawn into the investigation.

If you enjoy the books of Tana French, Ellie Griffiths and Mo Hayder, be sure to check out award-winning author Sharon Bolton. Her tightly plotted and completely unpredictable thrillers revolve around one of the most interesting and compelling characters in crime fiction. I highly recommend the Lacey Flint series.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sherlock Returns for a 4th Season

BBC One reported last week that the dynamic duo will be returning in 2015 for a special, followed later inSherlock special will begin in January. Considering the big screen duties of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, it has be tricky coordinating schedules.
the year with three new episodes. Shooting on the

While it may seem like a long wait for your next Sherlock fix, fans can be a patient lot. When January's Season 3 kicked off on BBC One and PBS after a two year hiatus, it was the series’ most-watched episode on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read more on Deadline Hollywood.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Releases for Summer Reading

There's a little something for everyone on this list of new mysteries. I don't know about you, but I seem to read in spurts. Sometimes I go on a cozy binge, then when that gets to be too much, I look for a real thriller to get the pulse pounding again. So what's your fancy?

Enjoy!
  • The Inside Man [Sam Capra] by Jeff Abbott 
  • Last To Know by Elizabeth Adler 
  • The Case of the Black Pearl [Patrick de Courvoisier] by Lin Anderson 
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Emus [Meg Langslow] by Donna Andrews 
  • The Forsaken [Quinn Colson] by Ace Atkins 
  • Book Clubbed [Booktown] by Lorna Barrett 
  • Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country [SS] by C.J. Box 
  • Wayfaring Stranger [Holland Family — Weldon] by James Lee Burke 
  • The Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra 
  • The Dead Will Tell [Kate Burkholder] by Linda Castillo 
  • The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives [Dixie Hemingway] by John Clement 
  • Power Play [FBI thriller] by Catherine Coulter 
  • Clam Wake [Bed-and-Breakfast] by Mary Daheim 
  • Enemies at Home [Flavia Albia] by Lindsey Davis 
  • Candle Flame [Brother Athelstan] by Paul Doherty 
  • The Bone Orchard [Mike Bowditch] by Paul Doiron 
  • Fast Track by Julie Garwood 
  • After the Exhibition [Jack Haldean] by Dolores Gordon-Smith 
  • Rest Assured [John Lambert & Bert Hook] by J.M. Gregson 
  • Herbie’s Game [Junior Bender] by Timothy Hallinan 
  • Verdict of the Court [Burren] by Cora Harrison 
  • Snatched by Bill James 
  • Remains of Innocence [Joanna Brady] by J.A. Jance 
  • A Matter of Breeding [Karl Werthen] by J. Sydney Jones 
  • The City by Dean Koontz 
  • Fatal Fortune [Psychic Eye] by Victoria Laurie 
  • Ghost Month by Ed Lin 
  • Sorrow Bound [Aector McAvoy] by David Mark 
  • A Ticket to Oblivion [Robert Colbeck] by Edward Marston 
  • The Bone Seeker [Edie Kiglatuk] by M.J. McGrath 
  • The Deadliest Sin by The Medieval Murderers 
  • A Possibility of Violence [Avraham Avraham] by D.A. Mishani
  • The Night Searchers [Sharon McCone] by Marcia Muller 
  • The Death of Pie [Pennsylvania Dutch] by Tamar Myers 
  • Strangers [Nameless] by Bill Pronzini 
  • Hounded [Andy Carpenter] by David Rosenfelt 
  • Uncaged [YA] [Singular Menace] by John Sandford & Michele Cook 
  • The Heist [Gabriel Allon] by Daniel Silva 
  • Rollover [Dan Mahoney] by Susan Slater 
  • The Catch [Vanessa Michael Munroe] by Taylor Stevens 
  • The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup 
  • Helsinki Dead [Inspector Vaara] by James Thompson 
  • Atonement of Blood [Sister Fidelma] by Peter Tremayne 
  • Never Coming Back [David Raker] by Tim Weaver  
  • Don’t Talk to Strangers [Keye Street] by Amanda Kyle Williams 
  • Cut and Thrust [Stone Barrington] by Stuart Woods 
  • Vengeance Is Mine [Red River] by Reavis Z. Wortham

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Looking for Some Heart-pounding Suspense?

If you've been wondering whatever happened to Aunt Agatha...well, I've been catching up on my reading.
When my co-worker told me that thriller writer Linwood Barclay was her new "favorite" author, I had to give him a try -- and I've been devouring his books ever since!

What if you woke up one morning and your entire family had vanished -- no bodies, no suspects, and no clues? That’s the chilling premise of Linwood Barclay’s 2007 stand-alone thriller No Time for Goodbye.

When Cynthia Archer was fourteen, her parents and brother disappeared, leaving her alone in her house. Now twenty-five years later, married with a child of her own, Cynthia’s personal mystery begins to unravel with frightening results.

No Safe House, Barclay’s long-awaited follow-up to No Time for Goodbye, will be released on August 5th. The Canadian-based author delivers an electrifying novel of suspense in which a family’s troubled past is about to return in more ways than one. And this time, they may not be able to escape.…

Linwood Barclay, a former columnist for the Toronto Star, has produced a number of critically acclaimed thrillers and is a #1 international bestselling author. His novels have been translated into 40 languages and published in 30 countries. Several of his books have been optioned for television and film.

Words like “gripping” and “compelling” have been used to describe his novels. Idyllic small town life is the setting for his books and his characters are ordinary people who are suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Barclay’s signature style of humor and mounting suspense will keep you turning the pages long past your bedtime.

If you are a fan of Linwood Barclay, watch for the release of No Safe House. But if you are like Aunt Agatha and this thrilling author somehow flew under your radar, start reading his books today! Mr. Barclay will be on a book tour in August and one place where you can meet him is at the Burbank Public Library on Saturday, August 9th. Books will be available for purchase and signing.