Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, Pt. 6: Crime/Adventure/Mystery/Thriller Titles for the Early Fall

Brandman, Michael. Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do. Putnam. Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780399159503. $26.95. CRIME
An award-winning producer who collaborated with Robert B. Parker on the television movie adaptations of Parker’s Spenser titles (for A&E) and Jesse Stone titles (for CBS), three of which featured his original screenplays, Brandman seems like the right man to pick up Parker’s series after his death. In his third Jesse Stone title, Jesse discovers the body of an unidentified woman in a rundown hotel on the beach and is soon caught in a nasty battle between two pimps.

Coulter, Catherine with J.T. Ellison. The Final Cut. Putnam. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780399164736. $26.95. THRILLER
Two firsts for Coulter, purveyor of so many New York Times FBI thrillers: she’s launching a new series, starring American born, British-raised Nicholas Drummond, and she’s working with a coauthor, Ellison, who won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original. Things end badly for Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Elaine York, who has been guarding the Koh-i-Noor diamond at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan; she’s found dead somewhere along the East River, and the diamond is missing. Wanting to investigate, Nicholas, her colleague and lover, begs for a reassignment to New York, where FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich are also headed. They’re intent on picking up a cold case that Savich’s agent father was working on when he died.

Cussler, Clive & Thomas Perry. The Mayan Secrets. Putnam. Sept. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780399162497. $27.95. ADVENTURE
In Mexico, husband-and-wife team Sam and Remi Fargo have made an astonishing discovery: a skeleton gripping a pot whose contents include a book offering a wealth of information on Mayan culture—and, indeed, the fate of humankind. Alas, folks with bloodthirsty tendencies really, really want that book. Celebrating four decades in the business, Cussler keeps up his collaboration with Edgar Award winner Perry, who has worked with him on other Fargo adventures.

Davidson, Diane Mott. The Whole Enchilada: A Novel of Suspense. Morrow. Sept. 2013. ISBN 9780061348174. $26.99. lrg. prnt. CD: Harper Audio. MYSTERY
It’s bad enough for Goldy Schulz when a good friend drops dead after leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. It gets worse when the coroner discovers that the victim’s food was doctored and Goldy gets attacked outside her home. Davidson’s latest hardcover, Crunch Time, resided on the New York Times best sellers list for seven weeks, and her newest gets a one-day laydown on August 27, a 150,000-copy first printing, and a brand-new packaging.

Faye, Lyndsay. Seven for a Secret. Amy Einhorn Books: Putnam. Sept. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9780399158384. $26.95. CRIME/HISTORICAL
In this second in a series starring Timothy Wilde as one of New York City’s first policemen (foot patrol started in 1845), a beautiful black woman named Lucy demands that Timothy find her sister and nephew, evidently victims of catchers who snatch free blacks from the city streets and sell them as slaves in the South. His job is made harder by crooked judges and equally crooked colleagues. Faye launched this series with the rousing Edgar-nominated The Gods of Gotham, which bodes well for this work.

Francis, Felix. Dick Francis’s Refusal. Putnam. Sept. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780399160813. $26.95.THRILLER
Investigator Sid Halley first appeared in 1965 in Dick Francis’s Odds Against (1965), which netted Francis his first Edgar nomination; he last appeared in 2006’s Under Orders. Felix Francis, who helped research many of his father’s novels and served as coauthor on several before his father’s death, here revives Sid. Declaring that he’s out of the business, Sid refuses when Sir Richard Stewart, chair of the racing authority, asks him to look into some suspect races. Then Sir Richard is killed, Sid threatened, and his daughter kidnapped, and Sid must act.

Grafton, Sue. W Is for… Putnam. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780399158988. $28.95. MYSTERY/THRILLER
Though witness has been bruited about as a candidate, it’s still a mystery what the W will stand for in the latest in Grafton’s “Alphabet” Series starring tough-as-nails private investigator Kinsey Milhone. Maybe writer, as in multiple-award-winning writer, named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America? Here, as Kinsey investigates the murder of an unidentified man, she encounters not just danger but out-and-out fraud.

Lawton, John. Then We Take Berlin. Atlantic Monthly. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780802121967. $26. THRILLER
Lawton leaves behind Inspector Troy to launch a new series featuring Joe Wilderness, whose backstory is as complex as it gets. Having lost his family during World War II, Joe survives as a cat burglar until being drafted in 1946, then avoids military prison by agreeing to work in occupied Berlin for M16. There, he joins with a U.S. Army captain named Frank to run a black-market scam involving coffee. He’s also sweet on a morally upright German girl named (appropriately) Nell Breakheart. Flash forward 15 years, and Joe is still small time. But Frank, who now presides over Madison Avenue, needs him for one last Berlin operation, which involves smuggling people. Oh, and Nell now works on the staff of West Berlin mayor Willy Brandt. Sounds juicy good.

Lustbader, Eric Van. Beloved Enemy: A Jack McClure Novel. Forge: Tor. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780765337054. $25.99. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Is Jack McClure another Jason Bourne, star of Lustbader’s New York Times best-selling series? We’ll have to consider, starting with this follow-up to Father Night. Here, Jack is framed for the murder of Dennis Paull, his friend and secretary of Homeland Security. He’s on the run, trying to determine who in the intelligence community is a traitor and thence heading straight for a nasty terrorist called the Syrian—whose lover is Annika Dementieva, a woman who once meant a lot to Jack.

Quinn, Spencer. The Sound and the Furry. Atria: S. & S. Sept. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781476703220. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781476703268. MYSTERY
All the mysteries featuring Bernie and canine buddy Chet have been New York Times best sellers, so you won’t want to miss this next one. Here, Bernie heads for the bayous, having agreed to find the missing brother of an old friend—the criminal Frenchie Boutette, whom he and Chet managed to put behind bars. It looks as if Ralph’s disappearance springs from a long-standing feud with the low-down Robideaus, but then Chet (literally) digs up a clue that points to much bigger troubles involving the oil industry. A ten-city tour, 75,000-copy first printing, and book club and library outreach; great fun even for cat lovers.

Ryan, Hank Phillippi. The Wrong Girl. Forge: Tor. Sept. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780765332585. $24.99. SUSPENSE
An investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate who has won 28 Emmys and ten Edward R. Murrow awards, Ryan knows what she’s talking about when she has Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland investigate a high-profile adoption agency that appears to be reuniting birth parents with the wrong children. Meanwhile, Det. Jake Brogan must contend with a young woman’s murder, which sends two toddlers into foster care—except what about that empty cradle? Naturally, these cases cross. Look for a national author tour for this Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity award winner.

Todd, Charles. A Question of Honor: A Bess Crawford Mystery. Sept. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780062237156. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062237170. Downloadable: HarperAudio. MYSTERY
An Unmarked Grave, Todd’s last Bess Crawford story, was a finalist for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel, so pay attention to her next, morally complex outing. In 1908, when Bess’s father was a colonel serving in India, his regiment discovered that there was a murderer within its ranks who was never brought to trial. Later, as a nurse during World War I, Bess learns that the presumed killer, Lieutenant Wade, was serving at the front. Investigating, she finds mixed evidence regarding Wade’s guilt—and, finally, a terrible secret that even that famous writer Rudyard Kipling was compelled to suppress.

White, Randy Wayne. Deceived. Putnam. Sept. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780399162077. $26.95. MYSTERY/THRILLER
The author of 20 Doc Ford books, among other titles, and winner of both the Conch Republic Award for literature and the John D. MacDonald Award for Literary Excellence, White is a true Florida original who captained a charter fishing boat in Florida’s Tarpon Bay before becoming a professional writer. In this second Hannah Smith title, Hannah’s friends have happily contributed to the creation of a local history museum that Hannah discovers to be a scam. What’s worse, it’s a front for a real estate deal that could destroy the entire community.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.