Fanning’s Pick of the Month, A Sophomore Effort from Robinson, Willis’s Award-Winning Debut, Plus New Mystery Blogs | Mystery Reviews

Fall brings a mixed bag of crime fiction—traditional, historical, and some action-packed thrill rides. If your patrons have been watching WGN’s series Manhattan about World War II’s Manhattan Project, then they will enjoy Diane Fanning’s new series launch, Scandal in the Secret City, which focuses on the race to build part of the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, TN. Fans of Tony Hillerman’s “Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee” novels and Craig Johnson’s “Walt Longmire” mysteries will rejoice in the revival of atmospheric mysteries set in the Southwest, as evidenced by CB McKenzie’s Bad Country and Lynn Chandler Willis’s Wink of an Eye, award-winning debuts.

redstarRobinson, Thatcher. Black Karma: A White Ginger Novel. Seventh Street: Prometheus. Nov. 2014. 275p. ISBN 9781616140038. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616140069. M

blackkarma100214Bai Jiang, a souxun or people finder, works out of a renovated building in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Her latest case, sparked by SFPD Inspector Kelly, involves Daniel Chen, who apparently was present at a drug bust gone bad. What was a Berkeley professor doing at a drug bust? And why does his life on the Internet only go back three years? What is Chen hiding? Bai persists in investigating despite being warned off the case by Mexican drug thugs and objections from her prospective husband, as well as her former lover, the father of her 13-year-old daughter. When Bai’s partner is shot and left for dead, she is caught between her Buddhist beliefs and her desire to destroy the culprit. VERDICT Fast-moving and enticing, this is a wonderful sophomore effort from ­Robinson (after the acclaimed White Ginger). Bai is a strong, memorable protagonist with an intriguing backstory and lots of potential to grow. Highly recommended for fans of S.J. Rozan’s “Lydia Chin” series or Sara ­Paretsky’s “V.I. Warshawski” mysteries.

redstarWillis, Lynn Chandler. Wink of an Eye. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250053190. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466855519. M

winkofaneye100214The tiny town of Wink, TX, is a far cry from Las ­Vegas, but private investigator Michael Moran (known as Gypsy) has to hightail it out of Vegas when a case he was working on goes south. Gypsy shows up at his sister Rhonda’s house and is immediately drawn into the suspicious suicide of Ryce McCallen, a former Wink police deputy. Tatum, Ryce’s 12-year-old son, is convinced his dad would not have killed himself. As Gypsy investigates, he learns that years earlier Tatum’s policeman grandfather, Beck, was shot and disabled while on patrol. Meanwhile several teenage girls, all of them undocumented immigrants, have gone missing from Wink. Uncovering the connections between the three crimes, Gypsy learns that life in a small Texas town is just as corrupt as that in any big city. The police chief has his own problems and the department is being run by two inveterate bullies. And to top it off, Gypsy is sucked back into a relationship with a high school sweetheart, whom he has learned can’t be trusted. ­VERDICT Winner of Minotaur’s PWA Best First Private Eye novel competition, this engrossing debut is told with a great eye for the gritty details of life in west Texas. The setting is extremely well done, and the twisty, compelling plot will keep readers hooked. Gypsy is a likable hero, but his sexual exploits will be his downfall. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick’s “Pushing Boundaries” mystery feature, LJ 4/15/14.]

Blog Roll Call

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Kevin’s Corner

Kevin Tipple has been reviewing books for years and always has some exciting titles to share with his readers. I appreciate his support of libraries.

Book Shelves of Doom

Focusing mostly on YA titles, this fun and humorous site includes reviews of crime fiction titles.

The Good, the Bad, the Unread

Lots of emphasis on romance here, but the site also reviews romantic suspense. Light and engaging to read; however, some content may be not safe for work (NSFW).

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Check These Out

De Castrique, Mark. A Risky Undertaking: A Buryin’ Barry Mystery. Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2014. 258p. ISBN 9781464203060. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464203084. $14.95. M

Ernst, Kathleen. Tradition of Deceit: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery. Midnight Ink. Nov. 2014. 360p. ISBN 9780738740782. pap. $14.99. M

McKnight, Carroll. Dial M for Matrimony. Pulpwood. Oct. 2014. 246p. ISBN 9781888146448. $26.99. M

Wishart, David. Finished Business. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. (Marcus Corvinus, Bk. 16). Nov. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9781780290638. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781780105758. M

cozy corner

Hart, Carolyn. Ghost Wanted: A Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel. Berkley Prime Crime. Oct. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780425266151. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101615454. M

McPherson, Catriona. A Deadly Measure of Brimstone: A Dandy Gilver Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250053978. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466856790. M

Malliet, G.M. A Demon Summer: A Max Tudor Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781250021410. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250021427. M

crime, western style

McKenzie, CB. Bad Country. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781250053541. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466856004. M

Mass-Market paperbacks of note

Carlisle, Kate. A High-End Finish: A Fixer-Upper Mystery. Obsidian: NAL. Nov. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780451469199. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780698153899. M

Kelly, Sofie. A Midwinter’s Tail: A Magical Cats Mystery. Obsidian: NAL. Oct. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780451414717. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780698158658. M

Lavene, Joyce & Jim. Spell Booked: A Retired Witches Mystery. Obsidian: NAL. Dec. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780425268254. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101625262. M

MacRae, Molly. Plagued by Quilt: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery. Obsidian: NAL. Nov. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780451471307. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780698168213. M

Vallere, Diane. Suede To Rest: A Material Witness Mystery. Berkley Prime Crime. Nov. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780425270578. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780698136083. M

Series lineup

Mulford, Carolyn. Show Me the Gold. Five Star: Gale Cengage. (Show Me Mystery, Bk. 3). Dec. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781432829902. $25.95. M

Sefton, Maggie. Bloody Politics. Midnight Ink. (Molly Malone, Bk. 3). Nov. 2014. 264p. ISBN 9780738731308. pap. $14.99. M

Whittle, Tina. Deeper Than the Grave: A Tai Randolph Mystery. Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781464202629. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464202643. $14.95. M

Additional Mysteries

The Best American Mystery Stories of the 19th Century. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2014. 624p. ed. by Otto Penzler. ISBN 9780544302228. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780544302310. M

Viccy Kemp is the Technical Services Manager for the Flower Mound Public Library, TX, where she buys the books and deals with library technology. Reading mysteries is her passion because it’s only between the pages of a book that justice can really be done

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