Fiction from George, Lansdale, London, Moyes, and Stanley | Xpress Reviews

Beloved series characters and an engrossing plot make for a blockbuster combination; fans will eagerly follow Hap and Leonard through their latest, politically timely hullabaloo; London’s beautiful love story is for all romance collections; this book does justice to funny, witty Louisa; fans of noir and historical fiction will be engaged

Week ending February 23, 2018


starred review starGeorge, Elizabeth. The Punishment She Deserves. Viking. Mar. 2018. 704p. ISBN 9780525954347. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698411654. MYS

The plot of the latest Havers and Lynley novel takes place directly after the events of A Banquet of Consequences. DS Barbara Havers is fighting to hold on to her current position within London’s Metropolitan Police and her partner Thomas Lynley is doing his best to assist her. While Havers is keeping her nose clean with the boss and taking tap dance lessons, a delicate internal probe has been sent to their department. She and the department’s commander Isabelle Ardery are sent to investigate an apparent suicide of a suspect in custody in Shropshire. The local police have staffing issues, which may have contributed to this suspicious death. But Havers finds that the evidence does not support this theory and wants to dig further. Ardery disagrees, threatening Havers to keep her in line. When new details emerge, Havers returns to Shropshire with Lynley to find the truth.

Verdict The continuing story of beloved series characters and an engrossing plot make for a blockbuster combination that will reward longtime George fans and readers who appreciate serious mysteries. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.]—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX


Lansdale, Joe R. Jackrabbit Smile: A Hap and Leonard Novel. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Mar. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780316311588. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316311595. MYS

Private detective Hap marries his longtime girlfriend Brett in the opening of Lansdale’s latest in the “Hap and Leonard” series. The newlyweds are celebrating with a low-key backyard cookout when the party is interrupted by a lead on a new case. Judith Mulhaney calls on Hap and his partner Leonard to help her find her missing daughter, nicknamed “Jackrabbit.” Though Judith’s racist son gives Hap and Leonard misgivings about taking on the case, money talks. The initial leads on Jackrabbit’s disappearance pull the pair into the center of a local police department’s big case involving white supremacists. Before all is said and done, the bodies pile up, and Hap and Leonard are alternately held in jail and deputized.

Verdict Hap and Leonard’s macho and crass banter is certain to delight or offend readers. Though the plot meanders, fans of the books and Sundance TV series will eagerly follow the men through their latest, politically timely hullabaloo.—Emily Hamstra, Seattle


London, Julia. Devil in Tartan. HQN: Harlequin. (Highland Grooms, Bk. 4). Feb. 2018. 374p. ISBN 9781335629401. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488078989. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Capt. Aulay Mackenzie is never more at home than when he is aboard ship—and never more at sea than when he is on land. He’s hoping this voyage to deliver goods to Amsterdam will be enough to salvage his family’s fortunes. But a ship on fire and a smaller vessel listing beside it draw his attention from his agenda. Lottie Livingstone has too many decisions to make for one only three and twenty. She isn’t actually stealing the Mackenzies’ ship (she’ll henceforth refer to it as borrowing) nor does she mean to knock its captain unconscious and shackle him in his cabin. Still, her father has been wounded, and she needs to sell her clan’s illegal whisky in Denmark in order to save them from ruin on their tiny Scottish island. Lottie’s white-haired beauty got her aboard Aulay’s ship, but will her wits bring this disaster aright? Can Aulay find forgiveness toward Lottie, or is there something else brewing besides unlawful spirits?

Verdict Lottie is stronger and cleverer than most men she encounters, and Aulay bears the weight of parental disappointment while this siren captures more than his vessel. London’s (Hard-Hearted Highlander) beautiful love story is for all romance collections.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal


Moyes, Jojo. Still Me. Pamela Dorman: Viking. Feb. 2018. 416p. ISBN 9780399562457. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399562471. F

Louisa Clark is back. Leaving behind in England her new love, Sam, she takes a position as a personal assistant to a wealthy New York socialite. In some ways, catering to Agnes is like caring for her late love, Will. Agnes requires Louisa to be with her constantly for mental support, to run errands, and generally be a loyal companion. But Louisa quickly finds that while working for the upper crust of New York’s elite has its perks, keeping Agnes’s secrets is the real job. Naïvely, Louisa misjudges the motives of her employers and finds herself betrayed, unemployed, and homeless in her adopted city. Now, pushed completely outside her somewhat widened comfort zones, she must truly embrace life and discover who she wants to be when she follows her own star. Moyes (Me Before You; The Girl You Left Behind) has a gift for creating characters that pop from the pages. Louisa comes into her own in this third connected book. She stumbles, she falls, but her emotions, anxieties, and loves feel real. New readers to the series may be confused without reading the previous titles.

Verdict Expect demand from readers who loved Me Before You and those who were entranced with the movie. After the mixed reviews for After You, this book does justice to funny, witty Louisa.—Jennifer Beach, Longwood Univ. Lib., Farmville, VA


Stanley, Kelli. City of Sharks: A Miranda Corbie Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781250006752. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466893108. MYS

The tough-talking woman with a past, private detective Miranda Corbie returns for her fourth adventure (after City of Ghosts), this time moving into the publishing world when Louise Crowley asks for help. Secretary to the head of Alexander Publishing, a small house with big pretensions, Louise, who has her own secrets, has been terrified by a string of threatening letters and recent near accidents. As Miranda investigates, we meet famous 1940s San Franciscans, including the famous chronicler of city life Herb Caen, and visit city landmarks like Gump’s, Playland-at-the-Beach, and the Cliffhouse Apartments. As the deaths of those associated with Alexander Publishing begin to accumulate, Miranda has too many clues and too many memories of the city she loves to see the puzzle clearly until she finally figures out who is threatening both her and her client.

Verdict Some readers will enjoy this novel for the engaging characters, others for the mystery, still others for the rich evocation of 1940s San Francisco. Fans of noir and historical fiction will be engaged.—Cheryl Bryan, Orleans, MA

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