Jo Ann Vicarel

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Running on Empty

The author of the Maggie Thorsen mysteries (From the Grounds Up) introduces an appealing new amateur sleuth who is calm, good-natured, and nosey for someone else's own good. For readers of G.A. McKevett and Joan Hess.

Death at Pullman

In McNamara's capable hands, the sense of impending union-management violence keeps the reader engrossed. However, Emily's self-righteousness almost ruins the story. Still, historical fans may enjoy this take on early U.S. labor history.

The American Café

Great characters and an authentic Native American setting (Oklahoma's Cherokee country) make this second series title a good pick for Tony Hillerman fans.

Antiques Knock-Off

This fifth cozy series entry (after Antiques Bizarre) displays the versatility of husband and wife Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins (coauthors, Regeneration; Bombshell). Scenes of Midwestern small-town life, informative tidbits about the antiques business, and clever dialog make this essential for those who like unusual amateur sleuths.

Dogs Don't Lie

Simon, author of the Theda Krakow (Probable Claws) and Dulcie Schwartz series (Grey Matters), launches a delightful new pet series that will appeal to fans of Shirley Rousseau Murphy and Rita Mae Brown.

Lethal Lineage

The complex threads of the investigation and the viciously mean-spirited actions of the Deal family add to the electrically charged atmosphere and create drama in this unusual and well-written sequel to Deadly Descent.

Echoes of the Dead

Spencer's third series title (after The Dead Hand of History and The Ring of Death) reflects the author's empathy and understanding of human nature as her characters display a gamut of emotions and behaviors. The result is a near-perfect mix of procedural and top-notch mystery.

Among the Departed

By using western Canada as her setting, Delany gives us a breathtaking vista, in which she places her deceptively minimalist plots. Her exceptional ability to create characters, both realistic and sometimes creepy, makes this another terrific addition to her outstanding body of work.

Body Line

Although the carefully detailed plot effectively creates an oppressive atmosphere, the motive behind the crime is a trifle obvious. Still, that should not stop fans of complex British procedurals from enjoying this title.

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