Week ending November 8, 2013
Connelly, Michael. The Gods of Guilt. Little, Brown. Dec. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780316069519. $28; eISBN 9780316069502. F
After a police procedural outing with The Black Box, featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch, best-selling Connelly returns to his courtroom series starring defense attorney Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer). Here, Haller is contacted by a suspect in the murder of a prostitute Haller previously aided and thought had left the profession.The accused is a computer expert who worked with the victim in an online business. After deciding to take the case, Haller and his staff investigate and quickly discover a possible alternative motive for the prostitute’s death. As a result, Haller is forced to revisit past cases to find a way to defend his client.
Verdict Connelly writes with a clear narrative that readers new to the series will be able to follow. Aficionados of legal thrillers and series fans will enjoy Connelly’s latest outing. [See Prepub Alert, 6/3/13.]—Joel Tscherne, Birmingham, AL
McCafferty, Keith. Dead Man’s Fancy: A Sean Stranahan Mystery. Viking. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780670014699. $26.95. MYS
Sean Stranahan, self-described Renaissance man, fly fisherman, and part-time investigator, helps Sheriff Martha Ettinger solve a murder and a missing person case that appear to be connected. The duo discover that appearances can be deceiving as they search for the missing Nanika Martinelli, a beautiful fishing guide with a mysterious past, and stumble upon the body of a man impaled on the antler tine of a dead elk. And what do these cases have to do with an animal rights group called the Clan of the Three-Clawed Wolf?
Verdict Set in Montana’s Madison River valley and Yellowstone National Park, McCafferty’s third series entry (after The Royal Wulff Murders and The Gray Ghost Murders) lassos up a range of topics—wolf reintroduction, wilderness living and survival, animal rights—that are uncovered thorough his protagonists’ meticulous sleuthing. Holding clues to the puzzle are numerous colorful, quirky characters who traverse long geographical distances. Plenty of fly-fishing details and outdoor adventure will satisfy readers who also enjoy the Western mysteries of C.J. Box and Craig Johnson.—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel
Wood, Tom. The Game. Signet. Nov. 2013. 512p. ISBN 9780451417541. pap. $9.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101604878. F
Hit man Victor lands the job of his life when he’s asked by the CIA to impersonate the man he had just murdered. The victim was also an assassin, and Victor’s boss hopes he will take on the role long enough to stop an impending threat in Europe. Victor reluctantly agrees and soon finds himself deeply entrenched with a group of mercenaries who are all in the dark about their employer and their upcoming mission. Can Victor maintain the façade while also learning the mission’s true objective?
Verdict Wood’s third novel to feature this fascinating antihero (after The Killer and The Enemy) demonstrates once again the author’s keen talent for balancing great character development with fast-paced action. It’s difficult to root for someone who does not personify the typical hero, but Wood makes the reader care about a cold-blooded and ruthless killer. Definitely give this thriller a shot.—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.