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.
Others may dread the chill of winter, but he relishes it. The way the frigid water preserves his victims, the feel of their icy skin beneath his fingers…And soon the world will see his victims’ beauty and behold his vengeance.
The town of Grizzly Falls is on edge in the wake of a serial killer, and Detective Selena Alvarez is no exception. A new nightmare is about to unfold. Two victims so far bodies found frozen solid and naked bodies publicly displayed. Both are women she knows and each wears a piece of Selena’s jewelry.
Selena’s partner, Detective Regan Pescoli, the entire department and PI Dylan O’Keefe are on the case. This killer knows too much about Selena’s secret terror, her flaws and the past she has hidden. Soon, he’ll show her she has every reason to be Afraid to Die.
Sheriff Joanna Brady’s daughter, Jenny, stumbles across the body of her high school principal, Debra Highsmith, in the Arizona desert near their home. The Cochise County Sheriff’s personal and professional worlds collide, forcing her to tread the difficult middle ground between being an officer of the law and a mother. The search for justice leads straight to her own door and forces her to face the possibility that her beloved daughter may be less perfect than she hoped–especially when a photo from the crime scene ends up on Facebook–a photo that only one person could have taken. The gruesome picture is just the tip of the iceberg. The details build, from a hushed-up student suspension, to a group of teenagers with a grudge against the late Ms. Highsmith, to a hateful video call for the principal’s death. Judgment Call is the fifteenth entry in Jance’s Joanna Brady series. The series begins in Desert Heat when Joanna’s Sheriff husband is killed in the line of duty and Joanna takes over the job.
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.
Flying to America from London for a holiday, Stephanie Harker watches helplessly as her young charge, Jimmy, is kidnapped from the airport security checkpoint. But this is no ordinary abduction–Jimmy is the son of Scarlett, a reality TV star in London. Scarlett, dying of cancer, and estranged from her unreliable family, entrusts her son to her best friend and ghost writer of her biography, Stephanie. Assisting the FBI to recover the missing boy, Stephanie reaches into the past. Has Jimmy been taken by one of his own relatives? Is Stephanie’s obsessive ex-lover trying to teach her a lesson? Has one of Scarlett’s stalkers come back to haunt them? In Vanishing Point, McDermid draws readers into a country where afternoon tea and biscuits may differ from American fare, but her riveting read reaches across cultures.
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.
Have you ever wished you could reach into a book and pull out one of the objects described? How about Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak? Excalibur? The Hope Diamond? The possibilities are nigh endless. Isaac Vainio is a libriomancer, basically a wizard who can reach into books and create the objects found within. He is also a member of Die Zwelf Portenaere (the Porters), a group who keep magic in check and train people with magical abilities. After an incident where Isaac’s magic got dangerously out of control, Isaac is now a cataloger working at a small library in Michigan and not allowed to use his magic, except in order to defend himself.
When three Sanguinarius Meyerii (Twilight-style vampires) show up at his library and try to kill him, Isaac is drawn back into the world of magic and a conflict between the Porters and the vampires.
The creator of libriomancy, Gutenberg, is missing. And the vampires believe he is behind the attacks that have been perpetrated against their kind. If Gutenberg isn’t found and the attacks stopped, it means all-out war between the vampires and the Porters and the possibility that the mundane world will find out about magic. The Porters are doing their best to contain the conflict with the vampires, but they don’t have anyone left to send after Gutenberg. Isaac, his fire spider, and a dryad named Lena Greenwood are the only ones left who can find Gutenberg and prevent a war.
This is a great book for any bibliophile, particularly ones who enjoy science fiction and fantasy.
Izzy Spellman never really had a chance for a normal life. Raised by private investigators, she joined the family business at 12, establishing a pattern of snooping and distrust that doesn’t bode well for healthy relationships. Her parents routinely run background checks on her boyfriends. Her uncle Ray regularly disappears on binges of his assorted addictions. Her brother David, the supposedly normal one, has been hiding something. Even her baby sister is mastering the art of extortion within the family. Meanwhile Izzy tries to solve an unsolvable case and maintain a fairly normal (if completely dishonest) relationship with the dentist of her dreams.
I was told to read The Spellman Files because I like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Both series are hilarious mysteries with entertaining young female characters who can’t quite get it together, but Spellman is less slapstick and more clever. This tale of mystery, suspense, and family dysfunction will keep you laughing all the way through.
by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
Each year from September 15 to October 15 we recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month “by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.” What better time of year to explore mysteries written by Hispanic or Latino authors of many nationalities?
Mexican-American writer, Rudolfo Anaya, for example, features New Mexico private investigator Sonny Baca in a seasonal quartet whose titles include Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Shaman Winter, and Jemez Spring. Sonny Baca is not your average private investigator. A divorced former high school teacher, he’s the grandson of a legendary lawman, whose backup includes an extra-large sociopath, coyotes, and a curandera (folk healer). Sonny routinely deals with drug dealers and medical experiments, as well as the mysticism and magic of Chicano culture.
Marcos McPeek Villatoro brings El Salvadoran policewoman Romilia Chacon to life in a series of novels that take her from the Nashville Police Department to the FBI in Los Angeles, as the Latina detective hunts for her sister’s killer. Titles in the series include Home Killing, Minos, A Venom Beneath the Skin, and Blood Daughters.
Inspector Espinosa is the protagonist in a series by Brazilian writer Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. Lush in setting, these mysteries take place in steamy, exotic Rio de Janiero. Titles in this Rio-noir series include Silence of the Rain, December Heat and Pursuit. Inspector Espinosa is an everyman character, a public servant, a solitary individual, who does not consider himself a hero. Garcia-Roza has created an ethical policeman often out of his depth in the seedy world he serves.
Cuban-born writer Leonardo Padura is the author of a colorful series featuring Police Lieutenant Mario Conde. Havana Gold, Havana Red, Havana Blue, and Havana Black blend dark police procedurals with vivid images of contemporary Havana. Lieutenant Conde is a cop who would rather be a writer, feeling himself drawn to other writers, crazy people, and drunks.
For thrillers with a mystery twist, Spanish author Juan Gomez-Jurado offers several titles written with both energy and a sense of the cinematic. The Traitor’s Emblem involves a daring rescue at sea, a mysterious gold emblem, Nazis, Masons, and a son’s search for the truth behind his father’s death. Other titles by Gomez-Jurado in English include God’s Spy and The Moses Expedition.
Michele Martinez is a Puerto Rican-American attorney and former federal prosecutor in New York who shares many characteristics with her protagonist, Melanie Vargas. Martinez features Vargas and FBI agent Dan O’Reilly in several novels. In Most Wanted, the first book in the series, Melanie Vargas takes the case of a prominent New Yorker found tortured and murdered in his posh townhouse. Other titles in the series include The Finishing School, Cover-Up, and Notorious.
Cayetano Brule is the private investigator in a series of mysteries by Chilean author Roberto Ampuero. In The Neruda Case Cayetano meets the poet Pablo Neruda at a party in Chile in the 1970s. The dying Neruda recruits Cayetano to help him solve the last great mystery of his life. The novel is set against the dangerous political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro’s Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin.
Cuban expatriate Jose Latour delivers a suspenseful, atmospheric novel of intrigue set in contemporary Havana and Miami in Comrades in Miami. As Colonel Victoria Valiente, the Havana-based spymaster of greater Miami, her husband, and $2.7 million in stolen money set sail for Key West, little do they know that the FBI is on their trail. This novel gives an insider’s view of the Cuban regime’s darker corners.
Learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month at hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.
September is also “Library Card Signup Month.” Visit the library to sign up for your card today, or click the Library Card button on our web page to register online. Your library card will open up a world of adventure, information, and knowledge, not to mention mysteries by Hispanic authors.
It is the quietest time of year in Manhattan. Most of the summer activities have come to an end and we still have some time before the energy of returning students and school starting up. The recent heat has caused us all to be a bit wilted. A good laugh can help you through the end-of-summer doldrums so you can be cheerful when all our new residents come pouring in.
You might have heard of Lisa Scottoline’s suspense novels. What is less well known is that she partners with her daughter to write nonfiction that will crack you up. Her latest, Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: the Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter talks about the close and challenging relationships in families, while making sure to see the humor in life. Another nonfiction favorite is Bill Bryson, known best for his travel memoirs. Whether he’s on a trip across the pond in Notes from a Small Island or traveling back in time with The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bryson’s work is known for causing annoyance to those near readers because of the constant chuckling and the repeated phrase “You’ve got to hear this.”
Romance is a genre ripe with scenarios of people making idiots of themselves for our reading enjoyment. In Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro, Jamie Newman escapes New York for the beach in an attempt to regroup after a failed relationship, only to face a run-down shack, an ever-present family, and a difficult (but of course attractive) neighbor/landlord. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig takes us back to the French Revolution with the story of Amy Balcourt. Amy heads out to France with hopes to become a spy with the league of the Purple Gentian. Secrets, misunderstandings, and clumsy spying attempts don’t bode well for her career, but the Purple Gentian finds that he wants her close by anyway.
If you like your romance heavy on the humor but light on spice, you might like these Christian authors. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist tells the story of Washington settler Joe Denton who needs a wife to keep his land and Ana Ivey who unknowingly signs off as a bride when she just hopes to escape to the west to find a job cooking. Full of witty dialogue and likeable characters, Gist’s books are a treat. In Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake, Lady Syndey Hathwell escapes to her long lost uncle’s ranch disguised as a man. Ranch manager Tim Creighton is disgusted by his new ranch hand’s hardworking but inept and weak attempts to live up to his expectations.
For humor with a more mysterious turn, you might try The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, takes up the case when characters suddenly begin to disappear from great works of literature. A mix of fantasy and mystery is delightfully witty. Alan Bradley takes you into the world of the engaging Flavia de Luce, eleven year old chemist in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. When she discovers a dying man in the garden, she revels in the joy of investigation.
Some of us like our humor to be a little otherworldly. In A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, neurotic hypochondriac and recent widower, Charlie Asher, is faced with the challenges of a new baby and a new and unwanted job as a merchant of death. Scott Rockwell has adapted Terry Pratchett’s Discworld into Graphic Novel format, maintaining the bizarrely humorous feel from the original novels about a parallel world that rests on the backs of four elephants balanced on a giant turtle hurtling through space.
When the hot, slow days start to get you down, just remember the words of MarkTwain, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”