Juniper Song,the aimless 20-something heroine of Follow Her Home, has loved noir fiction since she was a young girl. So when she is asked by her best friend to investigate his father’s suspicious behavior, she imagines herself following in the footsteps of her literary hero, Philip Marlowe. What Song doesn’t imagine is how deeply she will get pulled into the seedy dealings of a neo-noir Los Angeles, nor how her investigation will dredge up a family secret of her own that has haunted her for years.
Following the trail of evidence from her friends home in posh Beverly Hills to a questionable club in Koreatown, she is confounded with the thread of betrayals and deceits that she uncovers among her inner circle of friends and family. With a stubbornness of a seasoned detective, Song refuses to give up, even when very bad things begin happening to those she loves most. She is alternately knocked out, held at gunpoint, and kidnapped, yet she remains undeterred from finding out the truth about her friend’s father.
Like the noir authors that inspired this novel, Cha, a debut author, uses a stylized but direct way of writing. All the usual noir characters and plots are in place in Follow Her Home, from the femme fatale to the mysterious stranger that tails her every move. However, Cha writes with a refreshing take on the usual noir conventions. Song is eagle-eyed and cynical, but she is also compassionate when you least expect it. Without giving away the major plot points, I’ll at least say that Cha does not give the reader a happy ending to the story. What she does give us, though, is an ending that suggests that Song is an aspiring detective to watch for in the future.
Murder, conspiracies, infidelity and scandals start this 6-part mini-series off to a fast-pace. Superbly acted with an intelligent story line filled with suspense and an unpredictable plot, this BBC production of State of Play is television at it’s best. Stephen Collins is a Member of Parliament whose researcher for his energy committee is killed on her way to her job. A young man is shot at around the same time, dismissed as a drug killing by the police. Are these events connected? Soon it becomes public that the MP was having an affair, and reporters Cal McCaffrey and Della Smith begin an investigation, which reveals that Sonia’s death was not an accident. A web of lies unfolds and it remains the job of the investigative reporters to uncover the truth. Twists and turns in the plot will keep you guessing until the end and the ensemble of excellent British actors make the story lines believable–a must-see thriller!
by Sarah Addison Allen
Something just didn’t add up as I read this story, I knew there was a mystery lurking in the background, but I wasn’t sure what it was or why. Secrets were behind every turn. Willa Jackson had just moved back to Walls of Water, North Carolina. Her grandmother, Georgie Jackson, was in the nursing home there and seemed to be worried about peaches.
Paxton Osgood, now lived in The Blueridge Madam mansion, which at one time had belonged to the Jackson family. Paxton’s grandmother, Agatha Osgood, was Georgie’s best friend. Paxton decided to have a grand party to celebrate the social woman’s group that Agatha and Georgie had started years ago. Willa wasn’t interested in the event to honor both grandmothers, but when the peach tree was taken out and a skeleton was found, the secrets come out. Then we find out about the traveling salesman, Tucker Devlin, who had worked his charms on the town when Agatha and Georgie were young women. By the end of the book, both Willa and Paxton fall in love, secrets are unraveled, and everyone lives happily ever after.
C. J. Box’s complex and likeable character Joe Pickett returns in this latest novel by Box, Breaking Point. Pickett is a Wyoming Game warden, responsible for a huge area in the state, a job which regularly takes him away from his family and places him in danger often, but is a job that he loves as well. In this latest addition to the series, Pickett becomes involved in a dispute between a landowner and the EPA, which escalates into a manhunt, wild fire and government interference in local responsibilities. Box has written another fast-paced thriller, with perfect character development and a sense of place and community in and around the small town of Saddlestring, Wyoming. Joe Pickett is a character we come to care about in this series–an honest family man trying to do a responsible and fair job for his family, for his community and as a game warden and often finding himself in the middle of situations that he neither wants to be involved in or that he has created. Start this award-winning mystery series at the beginning with Open Season.
Chris Honeysett, artist and private investigator from Bath, is tired of the cold, snowy weather of England. When offered the opportunity to investigate a missing woman in the sunny, Greek island of Corfu he borrows an old motorhome and starts driving south. Chris stays with an old friend from the past who lives on a remote part of Corfu where she struggles to make a living boarding tourists and giving painting lessons. Her warm welcome doesn’t compensate for the barren, austere, backward living arrangements. Soon Chris is feeling the hostility of the locals as he snoops around for the missing business woman. Strange things begin happening such as snakes appearing in bedrooms and turtles turned into walking incindiaries with lit candles on their backs. As Peter continues to investigate the danger increases and he wonders if he has taken on something he will regret. An Inch of Time is Peter Helton’s fourth Chris Honeycutt novel.
Delightful, charming and unique, 12-year old detective Flavia de Luce makes her fifth appearance in Speaking from Among the Bones, the latest novel by Alan Bradley. Flavia uses her intelligence to solve crimes as an amateur detective as well as in her chemistry lab, creating potions and poisons. On the 500th anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, her small village of Bishop’s Lacey is preparing to open the tomb of the saint, leaving Flavia excited to take a look into the crypt. Rather than finding the remains of the saint, Flavia discovers the corpse of the church organist. She naturally inserts herself into the investigation of the murder and along with the help of her trusty bicycle Gladys, she follows clues from the murder. At the same time, Flavia must adjust to changes in her family situation and in her home. We learn more about the her sisters, her father and Dogger, Flavia’s trusted friend at Buckshaw.The books in this series are filled with quirky, interesting characters and with lots of witty dialog. This outstanding series begins with the title The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. If you are not acquainted with Flavia de Luce and her world, start at the beginning and read the series in order–you will be charmed and delighted by this amazing young detective!
After undergoing plastic surgery to correct some severe facial defects, Lauren was looking forward to starting afresh. She is almost run down by a car outside her new print and frame shop, but figures it was just an accident. Arriving at her new rural farm home, she is attacked by a wild dog in the yard. Understandably uneasy, she checks the house and is sure some things have been moved around. Lauren is on alert when handsome Matt Kruger shows up at her shop, claiming to have been a close friend of her brother (who has been dead for over a year)…Is Matt involved in the strange happenings around her? Threats and Promises, a Delinsky classic, was first published as a Harlequin Intrigue in 1986.
Malcolm Bannister is a lawyer that got caught-up in an unfortunate money laundering scheme. Never intending to help a client hide ill-gained money he now is in a federal prison camp in Maryland. As a lawyer and the camp librarian, Malcolm meets and helps many of the inmates challenging the system and hoping to find a loophole to get out. Now Malcolm is working the system as he applies the ‘rule of 35′. Rule 35 allows for the reduction of a sentence if a defendant provides “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.”. Malcolm is put in a witness protection program after identifying the killer of a federal judge. Now known as Max, and with a new face courtesy of plastic surgery, we are lead on a wild storyline with unusual schemes never knowing if this is trickery or truth.
This thriller by Italian author Carrisi was a bestseller throughout Europe before being translated into English and released in the US. The Whisperer is a gripping murder mystery about a serial killer that preys on children, but also watches the investigation and places roadblocks and questions in the path of the investigating team of police, seemingly taunting the team. Goran Gavila is a criminologist heading the team, and Mila Vasquez is a profiler brought in to assist the team in locating the missing children. These as well as the other characters in this novel are well-drawn with distinct points of view. The police procedural aspect of investigating the crimes is detailed and fascinating. The Whisperer is a fast-paced complex mystery, filled with twists and turns, that revolves around the theme of good vs. evil and what is the true nature of evil. This is a page-turner, a psychological thriller that will keep you up at night until the final page is read.
by Guy Gavriel Kay
Ysabel is a mixing of two worlds, the now of Ned Marriner and the forever of Ysabel, Phelan, and Cadell. Ned is spending time in Provence, France with his father, who is a well known photographer on assignment. When Ned senses the powers of a mysterious being, he is entranced with becoming involved. That desire brings about fights with wolves, dogs, and druids which leads to the disappearance of Melanie, one of his father’s assistants, who is eventually taken over by Ysabel. Ned must win the hunt to find Ysabel before Phelan or Cadell, so that they can get Melanie back. The existence of these beings is disturbing to Ned, his father, and those working with them. Never knowing what they will do, or to what extent they will go to win the race to be the first to find Ysabel. Ned experiences severe nausia at one point in the journey, later finding out that the place was the site of a bloody sacrifice over 2,000 years ago. Those findings do not bring any comfort to the group, nor do the strange powers that Ned seems to have acquired. It’s a mixed-up time for Ned’s family and friends, but it also brings healing to otherwise broken relationships.
Little Bertie is showing signs of brillance as a four year old. He already is able to divide twelve by three. Isabel and Jamie must decide what is important to teach Charlie and at what age. Everyone hates a push parent! But this time the pushy babysitter is the problem. Will they let Grace continue coaching Bertie in math?
Another question Isabel must ponder is why do people keep asking her to help them work out their problems. Her reputation for solving problems is getting around. This time a very valuable painting hanging in the home of a wealthy country gentleman has disappeared. Duncan Munrowe has inherited a number of valuable paintings including a Nicholas Poussin which he intended to donate to the Scottish Nathional Gallery. The theft of this favorite painting has left him heartsick so he calls on Isabel to help him recover it. Now she must deal with an unsavory women lawyer representing the thief and ransom payments.
This philosopher is always having to apologize for not paying attention to others speaking as her mind wanders off on rabbit trails that we accompany her on. All through this delightful book are thoughtful observations regarding human nature. McCall-Smith is excellent at pointing out the way we misunderstand each other by leaping to conclusions when simply stepping into another’s shoes will prevent so much of our unfortunate interactions.
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds is number 9 in the Isabel Dalhousie novels.
If you are looking for a great legal thriller try Randy Singer’s books. I found that The Last Plea Bargain rivaled any John Grisham book for intriguing plot and interesting characters. High profile courtroom drama is just a part of the excitement of this book. Written by a veteran trial attorney, who is also a part time pastor, Singer brings elements of faith into the story but is not preachy. Jamie Brock has never recovered from the heartache of losing her mother to a murderer 12 years ago. She is waiting anxiously for Antoine Marshall to pay the penalty for this heinous crime. As an assistant DA, Jamie is also deeply involved in prosecuting a powerful attorney whom she believes murdered his wife. As this jailed attorney is waiting for bail many of the other jailed criminals are sabotaging the legal system by not accepting plea bargains and the legal system is becoming overwhelmed with criminals. Who is behind this and why? The Last Plea Bargain won’t disappoint.
Sandra Brown has created another fast-paced, convincing suspense novel with her latest title Low Pressure. Bellamy Price was 12 years old when, during a picnic, a tornado struck and after the storm cleared, the body of her murdered older sister was discovered. Haunted to her adulthood by her flawed memories of the event , Bellamy has written a novel based on the circumstances around her sister’s murder, in the hopes of finding closure for the incident. Denton Carter was her sister’s boyfriend at the time of the murder and was a suspect at the time. Years later, he is a pilot, and he and Bellamy are brought together and work together to find the truth about the murder and who is the real killer.The story is filled with lots of twists and turns,and Bellamy and Denton must race to find answers before the killer stalking them can catch up. Filled with romance, great characters and lots of suspense, the plot will keep you guessing about the killer until the very end–an exciting suspense novel !!
Jason Stafford is a rich, high-powered Wall Street trader with a trophy wife and a young, autistic son whose his illegal trades land him in prison for 2 years. Upon his release, he finds that his wife has taken their son out-of-state and he must retrieve the boy from an abusive situation, bringing him back to New York and learning to live with the oddities of life with an autistic child. Stafford is asked by an investment firm to use his criminal expertise to look into the files of a trader who died in an accident–there are rumors of an SEC investigation into the company and corporate heads are hoping to discover irregularities before formal charges are filed. While meticulously searching through records, Stafford uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy, putting his and his son’s lives in danger. Stafford is a complex, likeable character with overwhelming love and a desire to be the best parent he can be to his autistic son, and they develop a touching relationship.
Black Fridays is a fast-paced, timely, intelligent thriller. The author, a former Wall Street trader, provides insight as to how financial corruption can spread and influence people and economies well beyond the boundaries of Wall Street. This is the first in a planned series featuring the character Jason Stafford and his son, and Michael Sears is off to a great start with this debut mystery.
In the third book in his series featuring the character Mike Bowden, author Paul Doiron has created another fast-paced mystery which follows the exploits of the Maine game warden. Bad Little Falls takes place in the desolate area of far northeastern Maine, where Bowden has been exiled by his bosses for actions he took in the previous book The Trespasser. Washington County is along the Canadian border and is plagued with poverty as well as drug and alcohol abuse. During the height of a blizzard, Bowditch is called out to assist with a rescue, which quickly turns into a murder investigation. He is threatened by local game hunters, encounters a strange, troubled boy, is attracted to the boy’s mother and must decide whether to put his job on the line and become involved in the investigation of the murder. Doiron’s characters are well developed, plots are tightly woven with twists and turns and his ability to portray the scenery and atmosphere of the cold northern Maine landscape pulls the reader into the story. If you are a fan of C.J. Box, this series should appeal to you.