Friday, November 23, 2012

The Dark Hour

It's always great to discover a new author to read!  Although Robin Burcell has been writing thrillers for a while now, I just had the opportunity to read the pre-pub copy of her latest book, The Dark Hour, fourth entry in her Sydney Fitzgerald series.  If you enjoy a good pulse-pounding adventure, The Dark Hour is a must-read.  It has all the elements I look for in spy thrillers -- shadowy government agencies, webs of conspiracies, agents racing against the clock to foil dastardly plots.

FBI agent and forensic artist Sydney Fitzgerald heads to Amsterdam when a high-profile murder seems to implicate covert agent Zachary Griffin. Her drawing from the witness' description, though, only muddies the water.  It reveals the face of a CIA agent -- a woman believed to be dead --  and the wife of Zachary Griffin. 

Meanwhile back in Washington, DC, the political world is rocked by the assassination of a prominent U.S. Senator.  Both the FBI and the CIA are on the case.  The threads of the investigation seem to lead to a disturbed young man as the assassin, but some things just don't add up. 

Author Robin Burcell is a FBI-trained forensic artist.  She's worked in law enforcement as police officer, detective, and hostage negotiator.  In addition to her Sydney Fitzgerald series, Burcell is author of the Kate Gillespie mysteries.

The Dark Hour will be released on November 27th.  If you haven't read any of Burcell's books before, don't let that stop you from picking up her latest.  You know the characters have a history, but that doesn't detract fro the thrill of the chase.  Fans of Catherine Coulter's FBI series or Kay Hooper's books will certainly enjoy Robin Burcell.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wartime Mysteries for Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. The holiday has evolved over the years.  Originating in 1919, it was known as Armistice Day and commemorated the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France, for the end of hostilities on the Western Front.  The armistice took effect at the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" in 1918.  By 1938 it had become a legal federal holiday.
War leaves its mark on all who experience it, whether on the battlefield or the homefront. As we celebrate Veterans Day, try some of these mysteries set during the first half of the twentieth century.  A number of the detectives were veterans of war, scarred emotionally by their time fighting for democracy.
  • River of Darkness (John Madden mysteries) by Rennie Airth (post-WWI)
  • The Blood Dimmed Tide (John Madden mysteries) by Rennie Airth (pre-WWII)
  • The Dead of Winter (John Madden mysteries) by Rennie Airth (WWII)
  • Hemingway Cutthroat by Michael Atkinson (pre-WWII)
  • Death's Door (Billy boyle series) by James R. Benn (WWII)
  • City of Broken Glass (Hannah Vogel series) by Rebecca Cantrell (pre-WWII)
  • Zoo Station (John Russell thrillers) by David Downing  (WWII and postwar)
  • Two O'clock Eastern Wartime by John Dunning   (WWII)
  • Broken Music by Marjorie Eccles (post-WWI)
  • Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (pre-WWII)
  • When Winter Returns (Rosie Winter mysteries) by Kathryn Miller Haines (WWII)
  • Flight from Berlin by David John (pre-WWII)
  • Black Out (Inspector Troy series) by John Lawton (WWII and postwar)
  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope series) by Susan Elia MacNeal (WWII)
  • The Somme Stations (Jim Stringer Steam Detective) by Andrew Martin (WWI)
  • Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews (pre-WWII)
  • A Presumption of Death (based on Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey) by Jill Paton Walsh (WWII)
  • This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppettone (WWII)
  • Louise's War by Sarah R. Shaber (WWII)
  • A False Mirror (Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge) by Charles Todd (post WWI)
  • An Unmarked Grave (Nurse Bess Crawford) by Charles Todd (WWI)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs) by Jacqueline Winspear (post-WWI -- pre-WWII)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

RT Reviewers' Choice Awards

The nominees for the 2012 RT Reviewers' Choice Awards were just announced.  Listed below are the nominees in the mystery/suspense categories. Winners will be announces next Spring.  I see a number of my favorites listed.  How many have you read?

Amateur Sleuth Nominee:

Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs

Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron

Gem of a Ghost by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Blood Bath & Beyond by Michelle Rowen

Contemporary Mystery Nominee:

Dead Scared by S. J. Bolton

The Sleeping and the Dead by Jeff Crook

Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand

The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

Cop To Corpse by Peter Lovesey

First Mystery Nominee:

Hush Money by Chuck Greaves

Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Viral by James Lilliefors

Deep Zone by James M. Tabor

Historical Mystery Nominee:

A Dark Anatomy by Robin Blake

The Yard by Alex Grecian

When Maidens Mourn by C. S. Harris

A Sunless Sea by Anne Perry

The Incense Game by Laura Joh Rowland

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd

Suspense / Thriller Nominee:

A Deeper Darkness by J. T. Ellison

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

And She Was by Alison Gaylin

The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane

The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Monday, November 5, 2012

Arctic Fire

There is a fine line between doing what is right and doing what is expedient.  Do the ends truly justify the means?  What happens when the good guys descend to the level of the evil they swore to defeat?  These are some of the quandries Stephen Frey looks at in his latest spy thriller, Arctic Fire.

Troy Jensen is the ultimate adventurer.  He's climbed the highest mountains and sailed solo around the world -- twice.  He's cheated death more times than he can count.  So when his family gets word that Troy was swept off a crab fishing boat and perished in the Bering Sea, they're shocked.

But Troy's brother, Jack,  isn't buying the story.  Some things just don't add up.  So he quits his Wall Street investment job and tells the family he's heading to Alaska to discover what happened to Troy. Jack plunges into the black underworld of covert operatives, a super-secret intelligence group whose leader is a man totally committed to destroying America in order to protect it.  A truly frightening scenario.

Arctic Fire is the perfect heart-pumping read for a rainy afternoon.  The fast-paced action will keep you glued to the pages and make the hours fly by.  For more about Stephen Frey, check out his website.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New for November

We've got a nice crop of new books being released for November.  A lot of old friends are back in new adventures, like Harry Bosch, Stephanie Plum, Joe Grey, Sharon McCone, and more.  Of course there are also plenty of opportunities to meet new friends! 
  • Silver Cross by B. Kent Anderson
  • Margaret Truman’s Experiment in Murder: A Capital Crimes Novel  by Donald Bain
  • The Forgotten [John Puller] by David Baldacci
  • The Twelve Clues of Christmas [Royal Spyness] by Rhys Bowen
  • The Ice Maiden Cometh Not [Gil Yates] by Alistair Boyle
  • Fox Tracks [Sister Jane Arnold] by Rita Mae Brown
  • Hot Stuff [James Lessor & Skip Moore] by Don Bruns
  • Wrong Hill To Die On [Alafair Tucker] by Donis Casey
  • A Drop of Chinese Blood by James Church
  • The Song of the Nightingale by Alys Clare
  • Target Lancer [Nate Heller] by Max Allan Collins
  • The Black Box [Harry Bosch] by Michael Connelly
  • Dead Weight [E.J. Pugh] by Susan Rogers Cooper
  • Lethal Investments by K.O. Dahl
  • Swift Run [Charlie Swift] by Laura DiSilverio
  • The Thieves of Legend [Michael St. Pierre]by Richard Doetsch
  • After Clare by Marjorie Eccles
  • Notorious Nineteen [Stephanie Plum] by Janet Evanovich
  • A Death in the Small Hours [Charles Lenox] by Charles Finch
  • Murder by Vegetable: The Baby Quilt [Tony & Theo Abernathy] by Barbara Graham
  • Hard Twisted  by C. Joseph Greaves
  • More Than Meets the Eye [Lambert & Hook] by J.M. Gregson
  • Weapon of Choice [Laura Nelson] by Patricia Gussin
  • The Right Hand by Derek Haas
  • Crashed by Timothy Hallinan
  • If Hooks Could Kill [Crochet] by Betty Hechtman
  • A Question of Identity [Simon Serrailler] by Susan Hill
  • Make Believe [Edna Ferber] by Ed Ifkovic
  • Not Dead Yet [Roy Grace] by Peter James
  • Placebo by Steven James
  • Young Philby by Robert Littell
  • Death on the Pont Noir [Lucas Rocco] by Adrian Magson
  • The Buzzard Table [Deborah Knott] by Margaret Maron
  • Smoke Alarm [Martha Gunn] by Priscilla Masters
  • The Marseille Caper [Sam Levitt] by Peter Mayle
  • The Prodigal Son [Carmine Delmonico] by Colleen McCullough
  • Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  • The Boy in the Snow [Edie Kiglatuk] by M.J. McGrath
  • Hand for a Hand [Andy Gilchrist] by T. Frank Muir
  • Looking for Yesterday [Sharon McCone] by Marcia Muller
  • Angel Among Us [Dead Detective] by Katy Munger
  • Murder in Geneva [Third-Culture Kid] by D-L Nelson
  • Birds of Winter [Harry Brock] by Kinley Roby
  • Cat Bearing Gifts [Joe Grey] by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • Merry Christmas, Alex Cross [Alex Cross] by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
  • Mandarin Gate [Shan Tao Yun] by Eliot Pattison
  • It Was a Very Bad Year [Rat Pack] by Robert J. Randisi
  • Death Lies Beneath [Andy Horton] by Pauline Rowson
  • Swann Dives In [Henry Swann] by Charles Salzberg
  • The Labyrinth of Osiris [Yusuf Khalifa] by Paul Sussman