Teresa L. Jacobsen

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Bitter Crossing: A Peyton Cote Novel

This debut procedural includes a dizzying number of side stories, making for a high-drama read from the get-go. Keeley's torrid pace seems improbably laden with dysfunctional characters, but the pages just fly by. A solid bet for Nevada Barr and Tricia Fields fans. Keeley is a pseudonym for mystery writer John Corrigan.

The Black Hour

With disconcerting timeliness (in the wake of recent shootings), Rader-Day captures the more sinister aspects of campus life. While the author captivates from page one with her psychologically attuned debut, it is the sociological frames that work so well: class, power, and violence. This reviewer was bowled over by the novel's alternating points of view, superb storytelling, and pitch-perfect take on academia. [A July LibraryReads pick, see p. 119.

A Matter of Breeding: A Viennese Mystery

While the protagonists of Jones's historical forensic series, set in 1901 Vienna, are likable, his intricate plot is Sherlockian in its posturing, minute clues, and use of heavy dialog, barely escaping becoming ponderous at times.

Cat on a Cold Tin Roof: An Eli Paxton Mystery

Cincinnati's sarcastic PI is back in his third engrossing animal-related case (after The Trojan Colt)...

The Kennedy Connection: A Gil Malloy Novel

Belsky's (Playing Dead) quick read has unexpectedly clever twists, perfect for the conspiracy-oriented reader. The first-person narrative keeps the tone personal.

Tailing a Tabby: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery

Cass's heartfelt second series entry (after Lending a Paw) demonstrates real flair and features an earnest yet professional protagonist with an extremely likable and intuitive cat. Partner with Miranda James, of course, and also consider Clea Simon.

After the Exhibition: A Jack Haldean Mystery

Set in the 1920s and written in traditional British style, Gordon-Smith's eighth series entry (after Blood from a Stone) delights with its deftly juggled subplots and smashing conclusion. Think Dorothy Sayers when recommending to readers.

Traitor's Storm: A Tudor Mystery Featuring Christopher Marlowe

Trow successfully combines adventure, wit, and history (and, yes, a mystery) in this winning historical series featuring the real-life playwright in his undercover role as an intelligencer for Queen Elizabeth I. The dashing spy makes it all look so easy. This entry (number six after Crimson Rose) is particularly engaging and would be no problem for readers new to the series.

Ill-Gotten Panes: A Stained-Glass Mystery

McAndrews's sweet debut is long on cute with the de rigueur adorable kitten and a spunky, redheaded protagonist. This cozy will snag those intrigued by the stained-glass side of the story and a gorgeous cover (can't go wrong with Tiffany).

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