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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Publisher's Weekly Best Mysteries of 2013

Well, to follow up PW's Best 10 Books of 2013 - I will give you some of their Best Mysteries of 2013. I don't know if I agree with them but take a look and see what you think.

First, Hour of the Red God by Richard Crompton. Crompton was a BBC journalist. He had written a book about a Nairobi police detective investigating the death of a fellow Maasai tribe member. Nairobi does not have the facilities and technology that Britain and the United States do, so Detective Mollel uses the old fashioned way - physically tracking down clues. The title comes from the Maasai belief of two gods - Enkai Narok, the benign Black God and Enkai Nanyokie, the Red God of anger, vengeance, and death. His work is being compared to Ian Rankin and there is the possibility that this is the beginning of a series.

A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife is next. Harrison is a Canadian and this work was compared to Gone Girl as it is the story of a faltering marriage. The reviewers unanimously agreed that it wasn't at all like Gone Girl but most seemed to think it could stand on it's own. Todd is a perennial cheater and Jodi is in perennial denial. How far will Jodi go to keep what is hers? A true psychological thriller.

Next, David Morrell's Murder as a Fine Art. Thomas De Quincy was a real English essayist and the author of both On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts and the controversial Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. Morrell's work supposes De Quincy was a major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier. The killings seem to exactly match De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives. Morrell's truth in fiction with a Gothic mystery feel has been reviewed very strongly.

Of course, Louise Penny MUST have her work included. Really Penny's work is more than just a mystery - it is literature. How the Light Gets In is the ninth in her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. Gamache begins investigating a murder of a once-famous celebrity who also was a friend of the bookstore owner in Three Pines. While he uncovers clue after clue, he also deals with enemies in his own Sûreté du Québec police department who are trying to destroy his career. He faces the wrenching realization that he may not be able to help his former colleague, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, defeat his personal demons. This one is said to be even better than her last award winning series entry.

Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, the authors of The Boy in the Suitcase, gives us the third in the Danish Nurse Nina Borg series, Death of a Nightingale. Borg bonds with a Ukrainian refugee accused of murder. The refugee is pursued by a powerful Ukraine as well as the police and Borg rushes to find the real killer. This series has social justice and morality at it's core.

The last entry I am going to cover is Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. Matthews spent 33 years as a CIA agent before writing this, his debut novel. It is a contemporary thriller, set in Putin's Russia but could just as easily taken place in cold war Russia. State Intelligence Officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow. Definitely expect more from this author.

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