welcome to february! Many people look on this month as nothing but saccharine hearts and flowers. Yet love has its place in mystery as well, even when the bodies are falling and clues are coming out of the woodwork. After all, opposites attract. In Michael Guillebeau’s Josh Whoever, sparks fly between a veteran-turned-scam artist and a failed news editor as they pursue a lost Russian mob princess. Even wonder what would happen if your crush were a totally different species? A witch finds an injured, but attractive, werewolf at her door in Jennifer Harlow’s What’s a Witch to Do?
The love between married couples can be a strong bond. Sam Beckett and his wife Grace work in different fields, but in Hilary Norman’s Eclipse, their cases connect inexplicably. Sometimes a marriage holds deep secrets, as Nora Abbot discovers after her husband’s death in Shannon Baker’s Tainted Mountain. A parent’s love can be fierce, especially if a child is at risk, as in Triss Stein’s Brooklyn Bones.
Love may also be twisted into something dark and difficult to recognize. The family dynamics of ancient Egyptian royalty, as revealed in Kerry Greenwood’s Out of the Black Land, would be fodder for Jerry Springer. The twisted triangle of Det. Tommy Veasey, his partner, and their chief just intensifies the drama in Heywood Gould’s Green Light for Murder.
Norman, Hilary. Eclipse. Severn House. Feb. 2013. 230p. ISBN 9780727882240. $28.95. M
Det. Sam Beckett has his work cut out for him in Miami Beach. A serial killer dubbed “Black Hole”—known for shooting his victims’ eyes out with a pistol—has surfaced nearby. Across the ocean, his wife Grace is at a conference, not realizing that a sinister gaze is trained on her. As the bodies begin to stack up, the search for Black Hole narrows and someone from Beckett’s personal life is affected. Will he bring the killer into his sights before another life is lost? VERDICT The sixth entry in Norman’s series (after Hell) grabs readers from the first page and doesn’t let go. Featuring multiple storylines tied together by one dark theme, this dark psychological thriller is packed with plenty of action and enough twists to keep even dedicated fans guessing. Highly recommended.
Pope, Barbara Corrado. The Missing Italian Girl. Pegasus Crime. Feb. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781605984087. $25. M
Pope’s third series historical (after Cezanne’s Quarry and The Blood of Lorraine) opens at night with three people hauling a man’s corpse through deserted streets: Marcel Barbereau was dead as a doornail in 1897 Paris. Moments after swinging the body into a remote canal, the murderer, a Russian anarchist named Pyotr, and two Italian sisters, Angela and Maura, are confronted by a fellow anarchist. After a short, friendly chat, the three split up to avoid detection, but they are far from safe. Someone has decided to take “justice” into his or her own hands. Magistrate Bernard Martin’s wife, Claire, yields to the girls’ mother’s pleas to help her daughters, but she might not be able to save herself from this killer. VERDICT Pope’s absorbing, detailed mystery provides an eye-opening look at the class struggles of the working poor in fin de siécle France. Historical mystery buffs, especially fans of Elizabeth Peters and Anne Perry, will enjoy Bernard and Claire’s adventures.—Susan Moritz, Silver Spring, MD
Williams, Timothy. Another Sun. Soho Crime. Apr. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781616951566. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781616951573. M
The CWA award-winning author of the Italy-set Commissario Piero Trotti mysteries (Persona Non Grata) returns with a new series set on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1980. Algerian-born judge Anne Marie Laveaud has recently relocated to the island with her husband and seven-year-old son. She is assigned to investigate the murder of a wealthy landowner in which the chief suspect is an elderly convicted felon. Though there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence against him, Anne Marie believes the man when he tells her he is innocent. She is aided in the case by her clerk, Trousseau, who helps her navigate the complicated social and political structure of Guadeloupe. VERDICT Williams, who lives on Guadeloupe, captures its climate and atmosphere in a very convincing way and leaves his sleuth facing challenges in her personal and professional life. Fans of Williams’s other books and readers who enjoy their crime fiction set in exotic locations will welcome Anne Marie with open arms. [Prepub Alert, 11/4/12.]—Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY
For all the latest reviews in this subject area and more, check out our new Book Verdict site! Book Verdict is fully accessible to all users, though certain content and functionality are only available to subscribers.To log in to your account, click here. To view the new subscription options, Get Started With Book Verdict ProToday.Don’t know if you have an account with us? It’s easy to check and verify your email, or create a new account.
The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
CHECK THESE OUT
Baker, Shannon. Tainted Mountain. Midnight Ink. Mar. 2013. 360p. ISBN 9780738734224. pap. $14.99. M
Davidson, Hilary. Evil in All Its Disguises. Forge: Tor. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780765333520. $$25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466802292. M
Gould, Heywood. Green Light for Murder. Tyrus. Mar. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781440561238. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781440561245. M
Greenwood, Kerry. Out of the Black Land. Poisoned Pen. Feb. 2013. 478p. ISBN 9781464200380. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200403. $14.95. M
Hallinan, Timothy. Little Elvises. Soho Crime. Feb. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781616952778. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781616952785. M
Harlow, Jennifer. What’s a Witch To Do:A Midnight Magic Mystery. Midnight Ink. Mar. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780738735146. pap. $14.95. M
Mulford, Carolyn. Show Me the Murder. Five Star: Gale Cengage. Feb. 2013. 328p. ISBN 9781432826888. $25.95. M
Prescott, E.K. 9 Squares. Five Star Publications. (The Ivy League Chronicles.) Mar. 2013. 254p. ISBN 9781589852549. pap. $12.95. M
Stein, Triss. Brooklyn Bones. Poisoned Pen. Feb. 2013. 270p. ISBN 9781464201202. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464201226. $14.95. M
Beck, Jessica. Illegally Iced: A Donut Shop Mystery. St. Martin’s. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781250001078. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466818736. M
Canadeo, Anne. The Silence of the Llamas: A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery. Gallery: S. & S. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781451644791. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781451644814. M
James, Miranda. Out of Circulation: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery. Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780425257272. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101619117. M