Mystery from Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Peter Robinson, & More | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2015, Pt. 2

Cha, Steph. Dead Soon Enough: A Juniper Song Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781250065315. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466872066. MYSTERY
Finally flaunting a bona fide detective license, Juniper Song gets a twisty case that has her chasteptracking a young Armenian American woman named Lusig, hired as a surrogate by older cousin Rubina because Rubina herself cannot get pregnant. Rubina’s worried that Lusig is obsessing over a missing friend caught up in a battle to build a monument to the Armenian genocide (if nothing else, it’s bad for the baby), and soon Juniper is hunting for the friend as well. Things get dangerous fast. Third in an L.A. noir series that opened with Follow Her Home and Beware Beware.

Grafton, Sue. X Is for…. Marian Wood: Putnam. Aug. 2015. NAp. ISBN 9780399163845. $28.95. MYSTERY
We’re nearing the end of Grafton’s alphabet mystery series starring beloved private investigator Kinsey Millhone. No word yet on the plot (or what that X will stand for), but with Grafton’s credentials (a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, she has won the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, three Shamus Awards, and more), plus her status as a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, are you really going to hesitate to buy?

Keller, Julia. Last Ragged Breath. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9781250044747. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466843196. MYSTERY
More good reading for those who liked A Killing in the Hills and Bitter River, the first two books kellerjuilin Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Keller’s much-starred series featuring West Virginia prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins. In this third installment, a development company is buying up property around Acker’s Gap, WV, to build a flashy resort. Ballard McCoy alone refuses to sell land inherited from his father, who died with Ballard’s mother and 117 others in a tragic 1972 dam burst. To get him to sell, the company’s president says she’ll go public with news that Ballard’s father actually abandoned his family during the flood. And then she’s found murdered. Big publicity, including a national author tour.

Maron, Margaret. Long Upon the Land. Grand Central. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781455545322. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455545308. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455579648. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. MYSTERY
Going strong since Bootlegger’s Daughter appeared in 1993, all the way up to last year’s Designated Daughters, Judge Deborah Knott is back on the case. No word on plot yet, but note that Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Maron has won the Edgar, Agatha, Macavity, and Anthony awards. Note, too, the 40,000-copy first printing.

Paretsky, Sara. Brush Back. Putnam. Aug. 2015. 480p. ISBN 9780399160578. $27.95. MYSTERY
A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, Paretsky gives V.I. Warshawski another case (after 2013’s Critical Mass)—and this one is personal. V.I. is helping out old high school flame Frank Guzzo, whose mother is seeking exoneration after serving a 25-year prison term for bludgeoning Frank’s little sister to death. Alas, her meddling leads V.I. into the messiness of Illinois politics and a bludgeoning of her own. Baseball fans, note that the action is set partly at Wrigley Field.

Robinson, Peter. In the Dark Places: An Inspector Banks Novel. Morrow. Aug. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780062240545. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062240583. MYSTERY
A fire-gutted van. An odd bloodstain in an abandoned airport hangar. Those are the only clues robinsonpeterDetective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has when two young men disappear in separate cases. Then a truck slides off the road in icy weather and a long-dead corpse is found along with the freshly killed driver, leading the inspector in a whole new direction. Next from the U.K.- and Canadian-based author to be released here (after Children of the Revolution), this work continues a New York Times best-selling series that’s won Times Notable Book, PW Best Book, and People Page Turner of the Week plaudits, plus multiple awards. So the 75,000-copy first printing makes sense.

Syken, Bill. Hangman’s Game: A Nick Gallow Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781250067159. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466875111. MYSTERY
If you’re tracking first mysteries, here’s one to consider. Syken spent eight years as a staff reporter and editor at Sports Illustrated and continues to work there for its books division, so it’s no surprise that this work features a football player. A star college quarterback until he suffered a shoulder injury, Nick Gallow is now a punter with the Philadelphia Sentinels. Witnessing the murder of the new all-star draft pick just as the team’s summer minicamp starts up gives him a new job to do—especially after a second attack occurs.

Walker, Martin. The Patriarch: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780385354172. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354189. MYSTERY
Bruno, chief of police in France’s fabled Dordogne, is on another case (after The Children Return) in a series that’s been building nicely since it first appeared in 2008. Bruno is attending the birthday bash of famed World War II pilot Marco “The Patriarch” Desaix when family friend Gilbert is murdered. The Patriarch’s rivalrous son, his politically ambitious wife, a granddaughter who will inherit, and the Patriarch himself, whose postwar Soviet ties may have hit up against Gilbert’s intelligence career—all are suspect. Sort of a French cozy; apparently, Walker, editor in chief emeritus and international affairs columnist at United Press International, is a terrific speaker.



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.


  1. Pam Matthews says:

    The actual ISBN for X is for…. is 9780399163845