Kellerman, Mina, & 23 More Thriller/Mystery Writers | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 3

Beaton, M.C. Death of a Policeman. Grand Central. Feb. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781455504732. $24. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. MYSTERY
When Detective Chief Inspector Blair sends eager rookie Cyril Sessions to monitor series stalwart Sgt. Hamish Macbeth, whom Blair would so love to can, Sessions ends up murdered and Macbeth ends up a suspect. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Berenson, Alex. The Counterfeit Agent. Putnam. Feb. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780399159732. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
A station chief dies shortly after the CIA receives a warning from a disillusioned Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, so the next warning—about a radioactive package en route from Dubai to the United States—is taken seriously. Still, high-ups are having doubts, so John Wells is sent on a private mission to scope out the claim. The eighth in the best-selling John Wells series from Berenson, whose credentials as a former reporter for the New York Times come in handy.

Bingham, Harry. Love Story, with Murders. Delacorte. Feb. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780345533760. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345533777. THRILLER
Bingham launched his career last year with Talking to the Dead, featuring Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, a Welsh detective fondly compared to Lisbeth Salander. Here, Fiona’s investigation of a series of gruesome murders starts with the discovery of a human leg, abandoned in a freezer and still bearing a high-heeled pink suede shoe. The victim is identified as a long-missing exotic dancer, which brings up a painful connection for Fiona. Her father owns a Cardiff strip club.

Blair, Peggy. The Poisoned Pawn. Pintail: Putnam. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780143189763. pap. $16. MYSTERY
In Blair’s The Beggar’s Opera, shortlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association’s Debut Dagger Award, Det. Mike Ellis was cleared of murdering a young beggar while on vacation in Old Havana. Now he’s home in Canada, accused of murdering his estranged wife, even as Inspector Ramirez of the Havana Major Crimes Unit arrives to take custody of a Cuban priest. Blair must be good, as she had neither agent nor publisher when she submitted The Beggar’s Opera for the CWA award; through Ian Rankin, whom she met at the ceremony, she got both.

Brockman, Suzanne. Do or Die. Ballantine. Feb. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9780345543790. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345543806. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Two-time RITA award winner Brockman launches a new series, “Reluctant Heroes,” spun off from her “Troubleshooters” series and promising action, romance, and a bunch of sexy, bonded guys. We start out with Navy SEAL Ian Dunn, who’s been asked to rescue two children held in a South American embassy and is relying on help from Phoebe Kruger, a new lawyer at the firm where he’s long been a client and the sort of warm, witty presence Ian really needs. Very hunky cover.

Clark, Mary Jane. That Old Black Magic. Morrow. Feb. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780062135476. $25.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY
What better place for popular Clark heroine Piper Donovan to perfect her cake-decorating skills than Boulangerie Bertrand in the famed French Quarter of New Orleans? Alas, after a particularly awful murder upsets the city, she finds herself chasing down the “Hoodoo Killer.” With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Dorsey, Tim. Tiger Shrimp Tango. Morrow. Feb. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780062092816. $25.99. lrg. prnt. THRILLER
Another wacky crime caper from Dorsey, whose protagonist, Florida booster and serial killer Serge Storms, is outraged when a particularly noxious scam leads to several deaths and the disappearance of a young woman. To save her, Serge joins forces with perpetually deranged sidekick Coleman and new buddy Mahoney for one unique road trip. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Gailey, Samuel W. Deep Winter. Blue Rider. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780399165962. $25.95. THRILLER
Award-winning screenwriter Gailey writes a first novel that’s billed as rural noir. When big, sweet, mentally limited Danny is found with the dead body of Mindy, his only friend in their small Pennsylvania town, the townsfolk think he has finally turned as dangerous as they had always feared. But his arrest disturbs everyone, and soon outside authorities are called in to investigate. The portrait of a distinctive character (think Lennie in Of Mice and Men) and of a town hiding nasty secrets.

Holmberg, John-Henri, ed. A Darker Shade of Sweden. Mysterious: Grove Atlantic. Feb. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780802122438. $25. THRILLER/SHORT STORIES
Since readers can never get enough of Sweden’s dark and edgy crime writing, here’s an anthology with stories contributed by the best writers, among them Henning Mankell and Åsa Larsson. There’s even a never-before-published story by Stieg Larsson. Swedish crime-fiction reviewer Holmberg, who speaks English fluently, translated all but one story himself.

Kellerman, Jonathan. Killer. Ballantine. Feb. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780345505750. $ 28; ebk. ISBN 9780345548412. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. THRILLER
Psychologist Alex Delaware pooh-poohs a death threat uttered by Beverly Hills physician Constance Sykes, whose efforts to obtain legal custody of her baby niece were blocked by Alex’s testimony in court. But according to LAPD buddy Milo Sturgis, word on the street says that a hit has been taken out on Alex. Then Sykes is found slain, and both her niece and her sister have vanished. Top-selling stuff.

Lee, Patrick. Runner. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781250030733. $24.99; ebk ISBN 9781250030757. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Author of the New York Times best seller The Breach, Lee offers the story of former Special Forces operative Sam Dryden, whose off-the-books black ops experience comes in handy when he encounters a frantic 11-year-old being chased by armed men clearly intent on killing her. Little Rachel remembers almost nothing about her imprisonment by government forces, but evidently she has both special skills and dark secrets that put her and now Sam in grave danger. Recommended especially by the big movie deal and intensive, early promotion (start looking now).

McMahon, Jennifer. The Winter People. Doubleday. Feb. 2014.  336p. ISBN 9780385538497. $25.95. THRILLER
A century after Sara Harrison Shea was found dead behind her Vermont house following the tragic loss of her daughter, Ruthie lives in the same house with her sister and their mother, Alice. When Alice disappears, Ruthie finds Sara’s crumbling diary under the floorboards and starts seeing eerie parallels. McMahon again aims at twisty psychological suspense following the New York Times best seller Promise Not To Tell.

Mina, Denise. The Red Road. Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780316188517. $26. CD: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Complications for Mina’s popular police detective, Alex Morrow: she’s testifying at the trial of truly nasty gun dealer Mark Lynch following an investigation that also hints at the assassination of a money-laundering Scottish lawyer and spying by a woman already in jail. Note that the Stieg Larsson estate has chosen Mina to adapt the “Millennium Trilogy” for a six-part DC Comics graphic novel series and that Mina’s The End of the Wasp Season was shortlisted for the 2011 CWA Gold Dagger Award, all of which makes the 25,000-copy first printing seem a bit cautious.

Murphy, Shirley Rousseau & Pat J. J. Murphy. The Cat, the Devil, and Lee Fontana. Morrow. Feb. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780062268785. $19.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY
Author of the popular Joe Grey mystery series and winner of the Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion for ten years running, Murphy launches a new series, written with her husband, that has a touch of the supernatural. Satan is tempting imprisoned thief Lee Fontana with the promise of another big robbery after he’s paroled, but the prison cat, actually a phantom, intervenes. Categorized as juvenile, cataloged as adult, and likely a charming crossover read.

Parsons, Kelly. Doing Harm. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9781250033475. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250033468. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
There’s intense buzz, intense expectation, and intense publicity behind this debut thriller from board-certified urologist Parsons, whose protagonist is about to get his dream job at a Boston hospital when he botches a surgery and then loses a patient. He soon realizes that the patient’s mysterious death was caused by a sociopath he even knows, but who will believe him now?

Patterson, James & Mark Sullivan. Private L.A. Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780316211123. $28; library ebk. ISBN 9780316256049; ebk. ISBN 9780316211116. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Not surprisingly, when private investigator Jack Morgan looks into the disappearance of Hollywood golden couple Thom and Jennifer Harlow, renowned for their acting, their philanthropy, and their adorable children, he finds dark secrets at odds with the Harlows’ picture-perfect reputation. Patterson’s latest series; with a 750,000-copy first printing.

Perry, Karen. The Innocent Sleep. Holt. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780805098723. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780805098730. THRILLER
In Tangiers, Harry has stepped out to retrieve his wife’s birthday gift, leaving young son Dillon asleep upstairs, when an earthquake hits, leveling the house and presumably burying Dillon forever. Five years later, Harry and Robin are back in Dublin, just recovering, when Harry swears he sees Dillon on a busy street. Fevered imagination or proof that Dillon has been alive all these years? Karen Perry is the pen name of award-winning Dublin-based authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece; in-house enthusiasm.

Robb, J.D. Concealed in Death. Putnam. Feb. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399164439. $27.95. THRILLER
Here’s Lt. Eve Dallas, still holding forth in mid-2000s New York City and mightily discomfited by some demolition her husband has done in a long-abandoned building that once housed a center for troubled teens. He’s uncovered two skeletons wrapped in plastic, which leads to Eve’s investigating 12 murders. Looks like no. 38 in the blockbuster series, barring novellas and short stories.

Rosenfelt, David. Without Warning. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250024794. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250024787. THRILLER
The Edgar and Shamus Award–nominated author is well known for his Andy Carpenter series, but he’s done several standalones like this one. After 13 years, Kate Callahan is finally over her husband’s suicide following his arrest for the murder of Police Chief Sean Blaylock’s wife. But then the town opens a time capsule after 50 years and finds a prediction of the murder, along with other tragedies that have come to pass. Who’s responsible?

Shaw, William. She’s Leaving Home. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780316246842. $26; library ebk. ISBN 9780316256100; ebk. ISBN 9780316246835. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
When a teenage girl is found dead in London 1968 near the Abbey Road recording studio of Beatles fame, Det. Sergeant Cathal Breen sees a chance to prove himself after an unaccustomed failure of nerve in a previous case. He’s helped by brash young policewoman Helen Tozer. Noteworthy pop culture journalist Shaw will continue celebrating the Swinging Sixties while bringing back both characters in his next work, featuring Mick Jagger. With a 25,000-copy first printing.

Smith, Lachlan. Lion Plays Rough. Mysterious: Grove Atlantic. Feb. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780802122162. $24. THRILLER
Leo Maxwell, a struggling Oakland criminal defense attorney, thinks he’s found the case that will put him on top when a woman nearly runs him down, then asks him to defend her brother on a murder charge. He subsequently discovers that his new client is actually being defended by a notorious mob lawyer and doesn’t even have a sister. Smith did nicely with last year’s Bear Is Broken; promotion includes marketing at ALA Midwinter.

Suarez, Daniel. Influx. Dutton. Feb. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780525953180. $26.95. THRILLER
The author of the New York Times best seller Daemon pictures a world where technological advances are hidden from the masses to avert social disruption. Particle physicist Jon Grady’s lab is even closed when he invents a device that can reflect gravity. Jon’s refusal to join the Bureau of Technology Control, which carefully diverts new technologies to its own purposes, lands him in high-tech prison. The suggestion here that we should ponder not why technology has wrought so much change but so little since the promise of the 1960s makes for a thriller that could spark book-club debate.

Thomas, Rob & Jennifer Graham. Veronica Mars: The First Book in an Original Mystery Series. Vintage. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780804170703. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780804170710. MYSTERY
Thomas created the celebrated television show Veronica Mars, helped launch a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to fund production of a feature film, and is reportedly directing the film. In this first Veronica Mars book, set directly after the events of the movie, Veronica prepares to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with a little help from her friends. Coordinated publicity with  Warner Bros, which is producing the film, will help. Note: title to be revealed.

Walker, Martin. The Resistance Man. Knopf. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780385349543. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385349550. MYSTERY
Walker’s mysteries starring provincial French police chief Bruno Courrèges have been gaining in popularity, with the last one—The Crowded Grave—selling nearly 90,000 copies across all formats. Here Bruno wrestles with a stack of disparate cases—revelations that a recently deceased hero of the Resistance was implicated in an infamous train robbery, burglaries at the homes of a British spymaster and an academic, and the murder of an antiques dealer—that ultimately connect. Your chance to visit the glorious Dordogne, where hotels hand out guides to key Bruno Courrèges sites.

Williams, Amanda Kyle. Don’t Talk to Strangers. Bantam. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780553808094. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345539649. Downloadable: Random Audio. THRILLER
This second in the Keye Street series follows Stranger in the Room, a Shamus Award nominee that got top-ten honors nationwide. Here, former FBI profiler Keye Street, a recovering addict who now works freelance, is asked to investigate the murders of several young women in the woods 90 miles from Atlanta. Lots of foreign rights sales.

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.