Best Sellers

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Remaining Edgar Nominees

As promised, I am going to give you the nominees for Best First Novel and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. I just have time and space to give a really brief sentence on plot so you can decide if you want to investigate further.

Best First Novel Nominees:

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman. Kind of rough and noir. A loner detective in rural PA would rather be hunting or fishing but instead - he has to investigate a murder. Change is coming with drugs and oil drilling.

Invisible City by Julia Dahl. This work appears to be the first in a series. It takes place inside the Hasidic Jewish community in New York. A woman's body is found in a dump yard. Investigating this for the newspaper is a young female whose Hasidic mother abandoned her with her Christian father in Florida.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens. Many things going on in this one however, reviewers all loved it. A 21 year old college student is writing a biographical piece on an elderly individual for a writing class. The person he chooses is a Vietnam vet/convicted rapist and murderer who is dying of pancreatic cancer. He becomes a sleuth while trying to take care of an autistic brother.

Bad Country by C. B. McKenzie. One reviewer called it 'desert noir'. A former rodeo cowboy turned private investigator has a body turn up in his backyard. Deep and twisty and dark.

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh. A genre blending rough and quirky ride. An NYC garbageman becomes a paid assassin after a dirty bomb goes off in NYC. He is faced with a moral dilemma when an Evangelist wants his daughter killed because of secrets.

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver. Perhaps the start of another series in Britain during the 1930's. Amory Ames has been married for 5 years to a playboy. Her ex fiancee asks her to accompany him on vacation to attempt to stop his sister from marrying a playboy. That playboy is murdered and her ex-fiancee is a suspect. Ames must investigate.

The Mary Higgins Clark Award - for books written in her genre

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton. This is the 4th in the Lacey Flint series. Lacey changed from being a Detective to being in the Marine Police thinking it would be a quieter job. Unfortunately, someone is leaving her presents and one of them is a dead body.

The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey. This is the 4th in the Maeve Kerrigan series. Maeve is a 28 year old London Detective Constable. In the series, you see her trying to survive in a male-dominated police department. In this title, Maeve is asked to investigate what appears to be some serial murders. The clues start to point to her partner, DCI Josh Derwent who is sexist and disagreeable. Maeve thinks he is obnoxious but can't believe he is a murderer.

Invisible City by Julia Dahl. Described above as a Best First Novel nominee.

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller. This is the 3rd in the Bell Elkins series. This series has a very strong sense of place and the place is the rundown community of Acker's Gap, West Virginia. Bell is struggling with her sister's return after 30 years in prison for killing their abusive father and then an elderly man is murdered in his driveway. I have read this one and it made me go back and read the first 2 but then, the Appalachian area has always interested me.

The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day. Amelia Enmet is a sociology professor had been shot by one of her students for some unknown reason and then, he killed himself. Now, a year has passed and she is back to work. Psychologically she is having trouble dealing with stares and whispers. Then, Nath Barber, her Teaching Assistant tells her he wants to do his dissertation on her attack. Together, they try to understand the dark and challenging past.

There you go. The two groups of nominees. There are some good stories here and all are at the library.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Edgar Nominees!

It is my favorite thing  to blog about is getting to be award nomination season again. I love to see who was nominated and read the ones I haven't read yet. This past week, the 2015 Edgar Nominees were announced. I have listed the ones up for Best Novel below with snippets on the plot in alphabetical order. Just as a reminder, Edgar Awards are given by the Mystery Writers of America at the end of April you have time to read them all!!

Wiley Cash's This Dark Road To Mercy is told from the point of view of 3 different people, 12 year old Easter; her father, Wade and Bobby Pruitt, and enforcer who is out for Wade. Easter and her 6 year old sister Ruby are put into the foster care system in Gastonia, NC when their mother dies. Their father had abandoned them years earlier. Brady Weller is a court appointed guardian who is looking out for their welfare. Wade, a use to be minor league ballplayer, reappears and steals the girls away. He is on the run, being chased by Pruitt who is a danger to everyone. Brady gets in on the chase to try to find the girls before Pruitt does. Cash has a great sensitivity in his writing for the voice of children and his portrayal of Easter is one of his best.

Mo Hayder's Wolf is the seventh in the Jack Caffery series and the fifth to include the mysterious Walking Man - a vagrant. The Walking Man finds a dog wandering alone and he has the words "HELP US" written on his collar. He convinces Detective Inspector Jack Caffery to investigate. He has no idea who or what he is searching for but he is running out of time. An affluent family is being held captive by 2 individuals. The terror they are experiencing is palpable. On critic says, "Hayder takes your worst nightmares, translates them into words and sets them down on a page."

Perennial favorite, Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes is the first of a planned trilogy featuring Bill Hodges. This is a straight suspense book from the king of horror and it has many of his original fans upset. However, it has lots of critics applauding his venture into this genre. A madman driving a Mercedes plows into a crowd lined up for a job fair. Eight were killed and many more were injured. One year later, a retired detective, Bill Hodges, receives a letter from the killer threatening many more deaths. Can Hodges find the killer before he kills again? One critic says "Stephen King doesn't have to write horror to write a great book and this book proves that, once again."

Stuart Neville's The Final Silence is the fourth in the Jack Lennon series. This is an Irish mystery and there are those that love them and those that don't. They tend to be dark and complex...that is certainly true with this title. The series lead is dark, has been forced off the police force and is now addicted to pain killers and alcohol. A young woman, Rea inherits a house and while cleaning it out makes the discovery of a book entailing a list of murders. Rea's father, a prominent politician, talks her out of going to the police so she goes to Jack Lennon, a former lover. He is not in the mood to listen but when Rea turns up dead, he is intent on making amends. Lennon won't stop till he finds the murderer.

Ian Rankin's Saints of the Shadow Bible is the nineteenth in the Inspector Rebus series. Well, let's see - North Carolina; England; the Mid West;  Ireland.....might as well throw in Rankin's Scottish detective. Rebus is back on the force from retirement forced to take a demotion to Detective Sergeant. He is investigating a car crash when he finds out that a case his team investigated 30 years ago is being reopened by internal affairs. They are suspected of helping a murderer escape justice. Malcolm Fox is tasked with finding out the truth. Fox has been high on Rebus' enemy list for a while but here, they seem to join together to solve the case.

Lastly, a Georgia favorite, Karin Slaughter's Cop Town is a stand alone. Kate Murphy is a new recruit to the Atlanta Police Department in 1974. Slaughter pictures the attitude of 1970 police to having women on the force and the problems faced about all types of prejudice very accurately. Kate is not sure the job is for her. She is assigned Maggie Lawson as a partner. Pairing two females was meant to isolate them from the action but nothing like that was going to happen. A killer is on the street and he is taking aim at police officers. Really highly reviewed and perhaps a down home favorite for us for the win.

Hope you find something to read among these standouts. I will do a quick listing of the best first novels and the Mary Higgins Clark nominees next time.

Friday, January 16, 2015

February Titles

Lots of tempting books are coming out this month besides the ones mentioned in the LibraryReads list. Publishing houses are back after their winter vacation and working full steam ahead. The biggest names are listed below.

Alex Berenson has Twelve Days coming out on February 10. For those not familiar with Berenson, he writes fast-paced thriller that incorporate current day politics. John Wells is his main character and this is the ninth featuring him. Wells with his former CIA bosses uncover a plot to convince the President to attack Iran but no one will listen. It is a race against time to try to come up with the evidence. If you are missing Vince Flynn, Berenson might be a replacement for you.

Jamie Freveletti has Robert Ludlum's The Geneva Strategy coming out on February 3. This is the eleventh in the Covert-One series and it is being issued as a trade paperback as were the first few titles in the series. Freveletti has written one of the first 10 so is familiar with Jon Smith, the series man character. One evening, several high ranking members of the government were kidnapped. The most striking one was Nick Rendel who was the computer specialist in charge of the drone project. Smith along with his Covert One team were able to rescue some of the others but Rendel remained missing and the fear was that enemies could program drones to strike within the US. High suspense and fast moving.

Lisa Gardner has Crash & Burn coming out on February 3. Gardner, for those who haven't read her, is similar to Catherine Coulter (with a little less romance) and Harlan Coben (with a little more romance). This is the 3rd in her Tessa Leoni series with a quick snapshot of Boston Detective D.D. Warren. Nicky Frank had a horrific car crash and shouldn't have survived. She remembers a missing little girl named Vero. Police can find no evidence of the missing child until Nicky's husband arrives and tells them she had sustained a brain injury before the accident and can not be believed. So should Nicky trust him? Is she crazy? Is her husband her caretaker or her enemy? Read it and find out.

Jonathan Kellerman has Motive coming out on February 10. This is the 30th in the Alex Delaware series. Delaware has been trying to help his homicide detective friend, Milo Sturgis with one murder when another murder is reminiscent about the other. Both bodies are found with untouched romantic dinners for two set. Since the main individuals have alibis, who could be doing this? If you read Kellerman, you probably already have this one on your list.

J.D. Robb has Obsession in Death coming out on February 10. This is another author who really needs no introduction. This is the 40th in her ' Death' series. Eve Dallas has an admirer. This admirer is killing people for her. He seems to think he is proving their special relationship. She knows he will eventually turn against her.

OK - that gives you some of the goodies that are coming out in February. Hope one of them catches your eye.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Back and Ready for February LibraryReads

I hope everyone had a good holiday season. It was restful but now the work has piled up and time has passed and I am running behind. The LibraryReads list came out this week - the list of the top 10 books that librarians have picked that come out in February so.....on with the list.

Number one is a title by one of my favorite authors - Anne Tyler. A Spool of Blue Thread comes out on February 10th. Tyler has said this will be her last book which makes me very sad but this is also the 50th year of her writing career so I guess I can understand. Tyler's tales are always filled with quirky characters whom you grow to love. Many of hers are the ones where you hate for it to end. This is the story of a three generations of a family, their secrets and their memories. It ought to be a good one.

The rest in no particular order:
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott comes out on February 17th. This novel takes place during the making of Gone With the Wind and follows an aspiring screenwriter who becomes Carole Lombard's assistant. Julie Crawford observes both the on screen romance between Rhett and Scarlet and the real life romance between Clark Gable and Lombard. Based on historical facts with fictional encounters, it is said to be a very entertaining read.

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh comes out on February 10th. This is a coming of age tale which centers around Lindy, a 15 year old free spirt, track star and normal teen who is raped coming home from track practice. The rapist is not caught. The story is told from the viewpoint of a teen boy who was and is obsessed with Lindy. The story focuses on each person who may have committed the crime and why. An unreliable narrator, a violent crime and a small 'ideal' neighborhood. Quite a debut for Walsh.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn is out on January 27th - which is almost February. This is number four of the Smythe-Smith Quartet . This title focuses on Iris. As you could probably tell from the title, this is a historical romance. Sir Richard has to be married almost immediately and set his eyes on Iris when he went to the Smythe-Smith musicale. Iris is suspicious and the plot is Kenworthy trying to win her over while having a'dark' secret. A fun romance.

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie comes out on February 17th. This is the second in the Shattered Sea series, following Half a King.  If you have read the first one, this one will be almost required reading. Many characters return from the first title. Yarvi must cross the shatter sea to stop the High King from invading Gettland. He enlists some misfits for the voyage. Among them is Thorn, the young girl who would be a woman warrior. Danger and adventure awaits them in this high fantasy.

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon comes out on February 24th. This title is psychological suspense in the vein of Reconstructing Amelia or Defending Jacob. Simon Connolly is a stay at home dad. The children are now teens but he is still anxious. Then, a shooting is reported at the school. He goes to the rendezvous point but Jake is the only one who doesn't come out. What has happened? What went wrong?

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab comes out on February 24th. This is the beginning of a fantasy series by a popular fantasy author. London is the link between parallel universes and the magician Kell is one of two Travelers who can move between them. Grey London is dirty and boring and ruled by mad King George; Red London is where life and magic are revered; White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne; and once there was a Black London. Kell flees into Grey London having been caught smuggling people between worlds and gets in trouble. His only ally is a thief.

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders on February 24th. This is a funny debut mystery novel with an original heroine. Samantha, a British book editor, has a best selling author who goes missing after writing a tell - all book. Someone doesn't want this book to be published. Reviewers found this a great, entertaining read.

The Siege Winter by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman comes out on February 24th. Sadly, Franklin died while writing this tour-de-force mystery. Luckily her daughter help finish it. Franklin is probably best know for her Mistress of the Art of Death series. This one is a historical mystery that takes place in the 1100's. during England's devastating civil war between King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda. A young 11 year old red headed girl, Emma, is attacked by a depraved monk and left for dead. She is found by an archer, Gwyl, who heals her and dresses her as a boy. This tale of adventure and the battle for the crown, is told by two courageous young women. I will have to read this book as I loved Franklin.

Lastly, Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King comes on  February 17th. This is in her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. It is 1925 and Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes arrive home to find a stone which they last saw in the Tokyo garden of the future emperor of Japan. It is their first indication that perhaps the investigation that they did for him was not complete. More Sherlockian fun for all

Seems to me that there is almost something for everyone in this month's list. I hope you find something you would like to read.