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Podcast Probes | Mystery, July 2019

The Last Widow

Another strong novel by Slaughter, with complex characters to root for and an antagonist you hope gets what he deserves. With a well-written, intriguing plot and an edge-of-the-seat ending, this is sure to keep readers up late into the night. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]

The Wolf Wants In

McHugh, whose debut, The Weight of Blood, won an International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, delivers a disturbing story of an entire dysfunctional community affected by opioids. Fans of Julia Keller’s “Bell Elkins” books will appreciate this sobering, hard-hitting mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]
PREMIUM

Knife

Dark, gritty, and clever, this is quintessential Nesbø, a powerhouse of a storyteller. Familiarity with the characters is beneficial, but not required, to appreciate this well-plotted mystery. Series fans will either love or hate this, but either way it’s a must-read. [See Prepub Alert, 1/14/19.]
PREMIUM

Stolen Things

With the current social climate as backdrop, this novel touches on race, homosexuality, police brutality, teenage love, rape, and murder, all within an intense read. Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter or Lisa Scottoline. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]
PREMIUM

Bark of Night

Fans of the series will enjoy this latest installment, and newcomers won’t be put off since not too much prior information is required to jump in. One shortcoming of the book is that Truman, the catalyst for the whole plot, is whisked offstage to the Tara Foundation, Carpenters’ dog-rescue center, until his happy ending. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]
PREMIUM

The Man Who Wouldn’t Die

Jewell is the pseudonym for a Pulitzer Prize–winning technology reporter who throws all his knowledge into a funny if sometimes confusing detective novel. Fitch fits the mold of every hard-bitten, world-weary detective who happens to be gay, with a loving six-foot-two husband at home.
PREMIUM

Lady in the Lake

While short of the adrenaline-fueled suspense of other Lippman stand-alones (Sunburn), this work captures a time and place as it mixes fact with its fiction, plus a protagonist who challenges norms. With its well-drawn characters and lucid prose, this newspaper novel shines. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]
PREMIUM

Smokescreen

A thriller with underlying political themes, this novel is sure to appeal to Eve Duncan enthusiasts as well as new readers of the series. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]
PREMIUM

Twisted at the Root

Hart crafts a satisfying conclusion in her sequel to A Whisper of Bones; it’s obvious why Mystery Writers of America named her a Grand Master. Fans of unreliable narrator mysteries may want to try this one, which has an entire cast of dodgy suspects. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]
PREMIUM

Speaking of Summer

Readers looking for contemporary suspense with a social justice twist will appreciate the storytelling.
PREMIUM

A Night’s Tail

From the opening scene in this follow-up to The Cats Come Back, there are too many characters to keep straight. This cozy has the requisite number of likable characters, but the large cast means that it’s really directed at fans of librarian Kathleen and her magical cats that disappear and walk through walls.
PREMIUM

Black Sun

Fans of Jason Matthews’s “Red Sparrow” series and Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 will relish this incendiary take on nuclear weapons and the people who made them.
PREMIUM

Heaven, My Home

Edgar Award winner Locke is definitely worth following, here presenting a well-crafted mystery that evokes a steamy east Texas and the racial tensions inherent in small Southern towns.
PREMIUM

Careful What You Wish For

With smooth dialog and a title that is a good representation of the story line, Ephron offers a great “murder swap” mystery reminiscent of the 1951 Hitchcock classic Strangers on a Train. Recommended for those who love puzzling, unpredictable mysteries with a little lesson in professional organizing on the side. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]
PREMIUM

The Whisperer

Those who like Scandinavian mysteries and the subtle buildup of psychological thrillers will enjoy this book. An essential purchase, even if Fossum’s previous works are not in the collection. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]
PREMIUM

A Conspiracy of Wolves

Robb easily conveys the intricacies of court politics and intrigue, allowing narrative space for relationships and humorous exchanges between characters to develop. It is not necessary to have read previous books in the series to appreciate this entry, as ample historical and character background are provided. Recommended for fans of other historical writers such as C.J. Sandsome, Ellis Peters, and Sharon Kay Penman.
PREMIUM

The Last Good Guy

Three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times best-selling Parker delivers another exceptional noir with the third installment of the series (The Room of White Fire, Swift Vengeance). Readers of C.J. Box will enjoy the strong character development, fans of James Patterson will delight in the twists and turns, while T.C. Boyle fans will appreciate the atmospheric California setting. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]

Never Have I Ever

Best-selling Jackson (The Almost Sisters) successfully trades her usual quirky Southern lit for darker psychological suspense in this latest highly recommended novel. Her prowess at writing affecting, character-driven fiction is on full display, and readers will devour the twisty, consuming story. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

Kopp Sisters on the March

A thrilling mix of history and feminism, this new “Kopp” story contains the same captivating storytelling as the first one, with plenty of nuggets for series fans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]

The Long Call

Fans of Cleeves lamenting the end of the “Shetland” series will find much to love in her new characters and setting. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]
PREMIUM

City of Windows

A fast-paced, topical thriller that checks the boxes in the genre, perhaps a little automatically. Will appeal to fans of John Sandford, Lee Child, and Brian Freeman. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]

PREMIUM

Bite Club

Fans of the series will enjoy this outing, and newcomers will find a satisfying mystery and plenty of canine content, including behind-the-scenes secrets of dog shows, which will make them seek further volumes about Melanie and her pack of poodles.

Lock Every Door

Likable characters, great writing, just enough twists, and a Rosemary’s Baby vibe will make this a summer hit. Purchase for Stephen King and Gillian Flynn fans. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]
PREMIUM

Betrayal in Time

Despite some awkward use of 21st-century jargon, this is an entertaining mystery with considerable period detail and a touch of romance. Fans of historical mysteries with strong female characters, such as Rhys Bowen’s “Molly Murphy” series or Laurie King’s “Mary Russell” books will enjoy.
PREMIUM

On a Quiet Street

Every suspect, along with Antelope and Dr. Pepper, takes a turn telling a version of the story. The accounts and short chapters break up the narrative, making it choppy and sometimes hard to follow. Overall, this might be too disjointed a read for most.
PREMIUM

Death in a Desert Land

As in the beloved Agatha Christie novels, a large cast of characters and many red herrings keep readers guessing. A strong sense of place and a thoughtful protagonist add interest. For readers of classic mysteries and, of course, Christie’s legions of fans.
PREMIUM

One Little Secret

Holahan’s latest stand-alone (after Lies She Told) is a great beach read for those with a penchant for scandalous secrets and gossipy, suspenseful mysteries.
PREMIUM

Girls Like Us

This fast-paced psychological thriller by Alger (The Banker’s Wife) will intrigue mystery readers as they shadow Nell’s precarious quest for the truth at all costs, despite the consequences. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

The Warehouse

Highly recommended for dystopian fiction fans. The film rights have Ron Howard associated, which will pique more interest.
PREMIUM

Murder in Bel-Air

Readers will enjoy the exciting trip through Paris and the colorful characters who turn up along the way in this latest page-turner from Black that will make readers want to hop the next flight to the City of Light. [See Prepub Alert, 12/17/18.]

Award-Winning, Best-Selling, LJ-Starred Chills | Mystery Previews, Dec. 2019, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Stringer's Pick of the Month, McLean's Breakout Debut, Carlisle, Disher, Lepionka, Vilhauer, Ware, & More | Mystery & Suspense, June 2019

PREMIUM

Beijing Payback

This late-coming-of-age thriller, in which Victor learns just what he is capable of doing, grabs readers early and doesn’t readily let go. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]
PREMIUM

The Body in the Castle Well

This will satisfy fans of the series, and also those who enjoy intricate mysteries in unique settings with plenty of local details.
PREMIUM

The Stories You Tell

Building to a chilling and surprising conclusion, the third book in Lepionka’s Shamus Award–winning series (The Last Place You Look) is both intricately plotted and character-driven, with a complicated protagonist. Suggest for fans of detective novels with unconventional sleuths. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]
PREMIUM

Moonscape

This mystery should flourish in collections where the author’s other novels did well. Fans of Western or historical mysteries may also want to give this series a try.
PREMIUM

Paper Son

Rozan’s detective stories have won every prize in the book, so expect mystery lovers to flock to this one.
PREMIUM

Killer in the Carriage House

The mystery might appeal to those interested in historical renovations of towns, but is mostly suggested only for fans of the author or the previous book
PREMIUM

Rag and Bone

Jay is an obsessed, flawed character in the latest grim book by the Anthony Award–nominated author of Give Up the Dead. The bleak outlook, for the story and for Jay, will appeal to fans of noir fiction.
PREMIUM

Shamed

Castillo’s latest, following A Gathering of Secrets, is another violent, fascinating story. Readers who are unfamiliar with the gritty series may be surprised that this is not an Amish cozy, but fans of Castillo’s “Kate Burkholder” series will be satisfied with this recent installment. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]
PREMIUM

The Whisper Man

Fans of Thomas Harris or Kevin O’Brien will enjoy this dive with a new voice in suspense. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]
PREMIUM

Those People

While no character can be described as likable, readers will be able to identify with their struggle and increasing desperation. As in her previous title, Our House, Candlish adds some last-minute twists to produce a solid domestic thriller.
PREMIUM

Stone Cold Heart

Highly recommended for fans of police procedurals with compelling detectives. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]
PREMIUM

The Mask Collectors

Although some suspension of belief is required on occasion, debut novelist Vilhauer has written an unsettling and visionary novel of suspense. [See “Unmasking Motives,” LJ 5/19.]
PREMIUM

The Bird Boys

Reminiscent of classic mysteries by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, with more character development and a strong, capable female lead, this will appeal to fans of Lou Berney, Walter Mosley, and Kent Anderson.

Fake Like Me

The creative process confronts reality in this compelling literary thriller centering on art, identity, and deception, as told in Bourland’s (I’ll Eat When I’m Dead) sharp prose. A must for those with an artistic bent, a sheer reading pleasure for all.
PREMIUM

Dead Big Dawg

Houston’s latest, following Dead Firefly, may appeal to Sean McCafferty’s readers, fans of fly-fishing, and wilderness mysteries. At the same time, readers who appreciate Steven F. Havill’s tales of close-knit communities may also want to try.
PREMIUM

Arches Enemy

Fans of Nevada Barr’s “Anna Pigeon” series or readers of environmental mysteries may appreciate this lush tale, but those who read for character may dislike the sometimes sarcastic, sometimes unlikable protagonist.

The Turn of the Key

Ware hits another one out of the park. Fans of hers or anyone with a taste for the disturbing will stay up late devouring this.

Under the Cold Bright Lights

In any novel by old pro Disher (Port Vila Blues), the characters have substance, the plots are strong, the action is credible and swift. This outstanding work will appeal to all detective-o-philes.

The Book Supremacy

Fans of the “Bibliophile” series will enjoy catching up with the courageous couple in this 13th installment (after Buried in Books). Readers of Carolyn Hart’s “Death on Demand” series will also appreciate.
PREMIUM

A Bloody Business

Scholars and hard-core fans of American mafia history will sift through these stories to find the occasional gem; however, the work isn't compelling or satisfying enough for leisure readers who can find a better account of the period elsewhere.
PREMIUM

Big Sky

This long-anticipated reappearance of fan-favorite Brodie (following 2011's Started Early, Took My Dog) is ultimately disappointing. Brodie takes a backseat throughout and the first half is a jumble of the various characters and their nefarious activities. The minimal action occurs toward the end, and the denouement feels contrived. Brodie has seen better days. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]
PREMIUM

Theme Music

There's a character in this engaging but somewhat repetitive debut who talks about a "blood bucket," the amount of violence one can take before it tips over. For fans of A.J. Finn's The Woman in the Window with sufficiently large buckets, this twist-filled story will be mostly eagerly welcomed.
PREMIUM

Big Sky

This long-anticipated reappearance of fan-favorite Brodie (following 2011’s Started Early, Took My Dog) is ultimately disappointing. Brodie takes a backseat throughout and the first half is a jumble of the various characters and their nefarious activities. The minimal action occurs toward the end, and the denouement feels contrived. Brodie has seen better days. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]
PREMIUM

Theme Music

There’s a character in this engaging but somewhat repetitive debut who talks about a “blood bucket,” the amount of violence one can take before it tips over. For fans of A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window with sufficiently large buckets, this twist-filled story will be mostly eagerly welcomed.
PREMIUM

A Bloody Business

Scholars and hard-core fans of American mafia history will sift through these stories to find the occasional gem; however, the work isn’t compelling or satisfying enough for leisure readers who can find a better account of the period elsewhere.
PREMIUM

Pretty Revenge

Aficionados of the TV show Revenge or those who enjoy contemporary psychological suspense set in an affluent society will want to consider.
PREMIUM

Dusk Along the Niobrara

The frontier mystery fits the Western trope of the stranger who rides into town, cleans it up by defeating the bad guys, and moves on. This atmospheric tale can be shared with fans of Westerns and the movie Shane.
PREMIUM

Antiques Ravin'

Fans of J.C. Eaton's "Sophie Kimball" books may want to try this series with another hapless daughter seeking to control her mother's eccentricities.
PREMIUM

Breaking the Dance

While the first in the series was fast paced and charming, this second entry drags. The two amateur spies are lovable, but only readers determined to keep up with Finn and Hollis will finish this long-winded book.
PREMIUM

The Never Game

This is a sure bet for fans of suspense and will find a home with those who like their protagonists to be a central part of the mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]
PREMIUM

If She Wakes

Fans of Koryta's previous works, especially Those Who Wish Me Dead, will greatly enjoy this exciting story. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]
PREMIUM

Into the Jungle

With so much fierce realism, it comes as a distraction when Ferencik (The River Night) incorporates elements of magical realism. However, readers who accept Lily's telepathic link with the village's shaman will be turning pages eagerly to see what exhilarating adventure awaits her next.
PREMIUM

The Scholar

The competition rife in academia is a major theme of this delightful and unexpected tale, making it one to suggest to fans of M.D. Lake and Susan Holzer.
PREMIUM

Sconed to Death

The most intriguing aspect of this story is the writers' retreat itself. Although the writers themselves are not suspect, they add freshness and new relationships to the series. Fans of Lucy Arlington's "Novel Idea" mysteries may want to enter the writing world from another angle.
PREMIUM

At Home in the Dark

While the selection of authors is appealing, readers and libraries may balk at the price. Because the quality varies, and there are only 17 stories, the Akashic "Noir" collections may be preferable.
PREMIUM

The Body Lies

Longbourn author Baker's foray into suspense contains some beautifully written passages, but it is mostly told from the perspective of the protagonist, and at times it's hard to grasp the young woman's motivations or emotions. Regardless, this book is recommended for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers that focus on women protagonists such as Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, or Paula Hawkins's Girl on the Train. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]
PREMIUM

Almost Midnight

Though newcomers will be better served by starting at the beginning of the series, fans will be satisfied hearing of Mike's latest exploits.
PREMIUM

All the Lost Things

This relatively short novel will keep readers hooked from the first sentence to the last. Sacks's use of Dolly's voice as narrator allows events to unfold from a child's perspective and encourages readers to try to piece together the secret behind the "big adventure," which is ultimately unexpected for readers and life-changing for Dolly.
PREMIUM

Sunshine State

This attractive PI thriller should appeal to lovers of detective fiction.
PREMIUM

The Stone Circle

Fans of the series will be delighted to catch up with Ruth and Nelson as the mysteries wind their way to satisfying solutions. [See Prepub Alert, 11/5/18.]
PREMIUM

The Summer of Ellen

Friis, coauthor with Lene Kaaberbøl of the "Nina Borg" mysteries, excels in her second solo novel (after What My Body Remembers). Readers of Nordic noir literature will appreciate the setting, social critique, and the classic whodunit story. Fans of Henning Mankell's "Wallander" series will enjoy the excellent character development with twists and turns throughout. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]
PREMIUM

Have Your Ticket Punched by Frank James

St. Louis comes to life in this sequel to Mayhem at Buffalo Bill's Wild West. However, Jemmy is too young, makes too many mistake s as an amateur sleuth, and isn't even sure she wants to be a reporter. Readers looking for historical mysteries featuring young women striving to make it in the newspaper world may want to try Alyssa Maxwell's "Emma Cross" stories set in the same time period.
PREMIUM

A Golden Grave

If Amy Stewart's adventures featuring Miss Kopp married an episode of TV's Murdoch Mysteries, it would become this book's balanced blend of mysticism and mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 2/25/19.]

The Body in the Wake

Traditional yet timely, this mystery also confronts the opioid crisis head-on in a dramatic, disturbing way. [See Prepub Alert, 11/5/18.]

Gone Too Long

This compelling, issue-oriented story by Edgar Award-winning author Roy (Bent Road) is a creepy, eerie account of a young girl and a community held hostage by the Klan. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]

Night Watch

Fans of James R. Benn's "Billy Boyle" novels will appreciate this fast-paced, intense story by the Edgar Award-nominated author of Night Life and Night Work. The action-packed account of investigations into the controversial CIA experiments is suspenseful and frightening.

The Last Time I Saw You

Sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine, under the pseudonym Liv Constantine (The Last Mrs. Parrish), have crafted another clever whodunit jam-packed with enough twists, turns, and secrets to keep avid thriller readers second-guessing until the bitter end. [See Prepub Alert, 11/5/18.]

One Small Sacrifice

Fans of Karin Slaughter, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner will devour this new police procedural, which boasts a strong female detective and an intriguing antagonist. Sheryn will draw in readers, and Davidson's (Blood Always Tells) complex storytelling will keep them wanting more.

The Shallows

The wry, witty private investigator is back in this sequel to Broken Ice. Fans of classic hard-boiled crime novels of the 1930s and 1940s will appreciate Nils's intelligence and likable coworkers, who star in a novel that is timely, not old-fashioned, and featuring a riveting story.
PREMIUM

Crime (Fiction) Wave | Mystery Genre Spotlight

Q&A: Ruvanee Pietersz Vilhauer | Mystery Genre Spotlight

From Atkins to Thompson: Mystery Previews, Nov. 2019, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

White's Pick of the Month, Berry's Breakout Debut, plus Burke, Carter, Dow, Dugoni, & Many More | Mystery & Suspense, April 2019

Fredericks's Pick of the Month, Perkins's Debut, plus Berry, McMahon, Pavone, Winspear, Raybourn, & More | Mystery & Suspense Reviews, March 2019

Death of a New American

This follow-up to A Death of No Importance (a 2018 LJ Best Crime Fiction pick) is slow to develop, but with an astute amateur sleuth whose evaluation of the roles and positions of women is a crucial element, and a topical story line that emphasizes the immigrant experience and women's lives, this title comes highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/8/18.]
PREMIUM

Stick Together

Quirky and engaging characters elevate a somewhat predictable mystery in this humorous novel that is sure to please fans of Jussi Adler-Olsen's "Department Q" stories.
PREMIUM

The Mother-in-Law

Lucy is hoping for when she overhears her future husband ask his mother, Diana, what she thinks of Lucy. Motherless herself, Lucy had been hoping for a warm relationship with Diana; her hopes are worse than dashed when she instead gains a mother-in-law who is cold and controlling. Known only to the reader is that Diana underwent a trauma that left her emotionally unable to function with others except in the most cautious way and frightened to help her children financially, even though she's rich, lest they become as vulnerable as she was. When Diana is found dead—perhaps by suicide but police mount a murder investigation anyway—the drama ramps up as family members and other characters take their turns under the microscope. Infertility issues play a large role in this Australian story and add to the tiptoeing around and agonizing that Hepworth (The Family Next Door) illustrates so well; the conversations among characters are another high point in the writing. VERDICT This absorbing, cleverly written tale is ideal for fans of Emily Elgar's If You Knew Her. [See Prepub Alert, 10/29/18.]

Murder Once Removed

The winner of Minotaur's Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel competition, this debut features an intelligent genealogist detective, a strong supporting cast, some romantic tension, and information about Texas history that should appeal to readers of Rett MacPherson's genealogy mysteries as well as cozy lovers who prefer a dash of history in their mysteries. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/18.]

Scot & Soda

McPherson stands apart in her ability to tell a hilarious tale while balancing the ramifications of crime. The author follows up Scot Free with another riveting cozy starring Lexy and her quirky yet fiercely loyal friends. This time, however, the deadpan humor is countered by a somber resolution and a story about consequences.

The American Agent

This is a fantastic read for historical mystery fans who enjoy complex and flawed characters. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
PREMIUM

A Dangerous Collaboration

As there's little substance to the mystery, readers can concentrate on the slowly developing relationship between the fiercely independent Veronica and Stoker, who is still reeling from his wife's betrayal. Those new to the series should read the books in order. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/18.]
PREMIUM

Poplar Falls: The Death of Charlie Baker

The author of Dark Tales for Dark Nights claims he wrote this book for those who don't like scary stories. But readers who expect a police procedural will be surprised to find a town filled with sex addicts and scandalous behavior. Only for mystery fans with a sense of humor and a penchant for extensive sexual content.
PREMIUM

A Stranger Here Below

With an atmospheric setting and strong sense of place, this leisurely paced historical mystery introduces a religious, reflective protagonist with a strong sense of duty and will be appreciated by readers who enjoy stories about the early development of the United States. The rich details of the experience and treatment of outsiders recalls Eleanor Kuhns's "Will Rees" stories.

The Malta Exchange

Thrillers abound, but Berry has the lock on making history zing with breathless suspense and galloping action. Malta and the Vatican are superb settings for this ecclesiastical extravaganza. [See Prepub Alert, 9/17/18.]
PREMIUM

Cookin' the Books

This amusing series debut from Meade (Straighten Up and Die Right) contains a number of literary puns and eccentric supporting characters who steal the show. Additional development is needed for Tish, however, who's a little insecure as the lead. Recommend to readers of Tamar Myers's entertaining titles.
PREMIUM

The Invited

The latest from McMahon (Burntown) is like a nesting doll—a thriller inside a murder mystery inside a ghost story—and will chill readers with every sideways glimpse of a passing shadow.

Something Read, Something

This follow-up to The Spook in the Stacks once again casts Lucy and her close-knit, supportive group of friends in an engaging mystery. Readers who enjoyed Miranda James's "Cat in the Stacks" mysteries will discover this series similarly entertaining, complete with a library, a cat, and a captivating location and sleuth.
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