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US Books Received- 01/2010  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette / Editor c/o Gumshoe 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

Abingdon Press

The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Psalm 23 Mysteries by Debbie Viguie (Abingdon Press 31 January 2010 / $13.99) - Product Description: Cindy's church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah's Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

(see review)

Ballantine Books

Sleepless: A Novel by Charlie Huston (Ballantine Books 12 January 2010 / $25.00) - Product Description: From bestselling author Charlie Huston comes a novel about the fears that find us all during dark times and the courage and sacrifice that can save us in the face of unimaginable odds. Gripping, unnerving, exhilarating, and haunting, Sleepless is well worth staying up for.

What former philosophy student Parker Hass wanted was a better world. A world both just and safe for his wife and infant daughter. So he joined the LAPD and tried to make it that way. But the world changed. Struck by waves of chaos carried in on a tide of insomnia. A plague of sleeplessness.

Park can sleep, but he is wide awake. And as much as he wishes he was dreaming, his eyes are open. He has no choice but to see it all. That's his job. Working undercover as a drug dealer in a Los Angeles ruled in equal parts by martial law and insurgency, he's tasked with cutting off illegal trade in Dreamer, the only drug that can give the infected what they most crave: sleep.

After a year of lost leads and false trails, Park stumbles into the perilous shadows cast by the pharmaceuticals giant behind Dreamer. Somewhere in those shadows, at the nexus of disease and drugs and money, a secret is hiding. Drawn into the inner circle of a tech guru with a warped agenda and a special use for the sleepless themselves, Park thinks he knows what that secret might be.

To know for certain, he will have to go deeper into the restless world. His wife has become sleepless, and their daughter may soon share the same fate. For them, he will risk what they need most from him: his belief that justice must be served. Unknown to him, his choice ties all of their futures to the singularly deadly nature of an aging mercenary who stalks Park.

The deeper Park stumbles through the dark, the more he is convinced that it is obscuring the real world. Bring enough light and the shadows will retreat. Bring enough light and everyone will see themselves again. Bring enough light and he will find his way to the safe corner, the harbor he's promised his family. Whatever the cost to himself.

Berkley

A Bolt from the Blue (A Leonardo da Vinci Mystery) by Diane A. S. Stuckart (Berkley 05 January 2010 / $14.00) - Product Description: As court engineer to the Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci turns his superior mind to many pursuits- from outlandish contraptions to the odd murder...

With war looming ever closer, the iron-fisted Duke of Milan calls upon Master da Vinci to invent the deadliest weapon ever-a flying machine. So da Vinci calls in a craftsman who happens to be father to his star apprentice, Dino.

But da Vinci does not know that Dino is actually the craftsman's daughter, Delfina, who keeps her gender a secret to serve as apprentice. But as Delfina worries that her father will prove her undoing, someone murders another apprentice. Now, as her master works his brilliance, Delfina can only pray that no other apprentice- including herself-will fall victim. (see review)

Eggsecutive Orders (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy (Berkley 05 January 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: Chef Olivia Paras has too many eggs in one basket-and is feeling like a basket-case...

When NSA big shot Carl Minkus dies right after eating the dinner Olivia Paras's staff had prepared, all forks point to them. Now the Secret Service is picking apart the kitchen-and scrutinizing the staff's every move. The timing couldn't be worse with the White House Lawn Easter Egg Roll to prep for without access to a kitchen. Olivia must find the real culprit-before she cracks under pressure.

(Source: Berkley)

Ghost Sudoku (A Sudoku Mystery) by Kaye Morgan (Berkley 05 January 2010 / $6.99) - Product Description: The next installment in the exciting Sudoku mystery series featuring puzzle master Liza Kelly... Original Sudoku puzzles included

After spending her vacation hiding from the media, Liza returns to find that the town has put her in the running for mayor. She has a feeling that the neighboring county and its dirty political machine are involved. When she turns to an old classmate to find out, she discovers that he's been murdered. A closeted Sudoku fan, he's left behind puzzles that may have hidden clues to what finished him off and who is trying to run Liza into the ground. (Source: Berkley)

How to Wash a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale (Berkley 05 January 2010 / $6.99) - Product Description: Two cats are better than one... A deceased uncle and a surprising inheritance propel a woman and her two very curious cats into the mystery surrounding his death.

An investigation that starts amid the curios and novelties of a San Francisco antiques shop follows a twisted trail of dangerous deception that leads all the way back to the days of the Gold Rush itself. (see review)

Murder Has No Class (A Bellehaven House Mystery) by Rebecca Kent (Berkley 05 January 2010 / $6.99) - Product Description: Lord Stalham has claimed innocence in the murder of his father, even after they've hanged him. Now Stalham's ghost is haunting Meredith Llewellyn. The headmistress needs her sleep, so she sets out for the truth-and discovers a high-society scandal. (3rd book in the series) (Source: Berkley)

Who Killed the Pinup Queen? (A Where Are They Now? Mystery) by Toni L. P. Kelner (Berkley 05 January 2010 / $6.99) - Product Description: Freelance reporter Tilda Harper is working on two articles simultaneously-one about a former pinup model and one about an old Western show.

But when she discovers the pinup queen brutally murdered, she finds that the two stories may have some disturbing connections. (see review)

Forge Books

A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel) by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge Books 19 January 2010 / $14.99) - Product Description: Even though hardened crime reporter Hannah Vogel knows all too well how tough it is to survive in 1931 Berlin, she is devastated when she sees a photograph of her brother's body posted in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. Ernst, a cross-dressing lounge singer at a seedy nightclub, had many secrets, a never-ending list of lovers, and plenty of opportunities to get into trouble.

Hannah delves into the city's dark underbelly to flush out his murderer, but the late night arrival of a five-year-old orphan on her doorstep complicates matters. The endearing Anton claims that Hannah is his mother… and that her dead brother Ernst is his father.

As her investigations into Ernst's murder and Anton's parentage uncover political intrigue and sex scandals in the top ranks of the rising Nazi party, Hannah fears not only for her own life, but for that of a small boy who has come to call her "mother." (Source: Forge Books)

A Whisper to the Living (Inspector Rostnikov) by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Forge Books 05 January 2010 / $23.99) - Product Description: A Whisper to the Living continues the adventures (some would say trials and tribulations) of Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov, an honest policeman in a very dishonest post-Soviet Union. Rostnikov is one of the most engaging and relevant characters in crime fiction, a sharp and caring policeman as well as the perfect tour guide to a changing Russia.

Rostnikov and his team are searching for a serial killer who has claimed at least 40 victims. And then there is the problem of protecting a visiting British journalist who is working on a story about a Moscow prostitution ring…and in doing so Rostnikov and his team uncover a chain of murders that lead to a source too high to be held accountable if the police want to keep their jobs. Or their lives. (see review)

Harper

Bones of Betrayal: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Harper 01 January 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description:

Forged in the crucible of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was a top-secret military installation—the linchpin of the Manhattan Project. Brilliant careers were born and dark secrets buried in the desperate race to build the Bomb. Those secrets begin to emerge when the body of a renowned physicist is discovered . . .
Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton, founder of the Body Farm, is shocked when an autopsy reveals the cause of Dr. Leonard Novak's death: a deadly radioactive pellet inside the elderly scientist's body. Who would commit such a horrific crime? Is it related to Novak's role in creating America's deadliest weapon? The answers may lie with the victim's aging ex-wife, Beatrice, a captivating, yet utterly unreliable storyteller. Careening between history and fantasy, dementia and lucidity, Beatrice draws Brockton into a maze of memories, leading him to darker truths than he could have imagined.

Bones of Betrayal by Jefferson Bass was reviewed in our January 2009 issue. (Source: Harper)

The Bone Chamber (Sydney Fitzpatrick Mysteries) by Robin Burcell (Harper 01 January 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: Mysteriously summoned to Quantico to help re-create the face of a murdered, mutilated young woman, FBI forensic artist Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick knows immediately this is no ordinary crime. The hit-and-run death of the forensic anthropologist assisting her—a close friend—and Sydney's abrupt dismissal from the case by covert government investigators only strengthen her need for answers. Now her hunt for a killer is carrying her from Washington to Rome to the hidden chamber of a legendary tomb—on the trail of a fabled treasure of the Knights Templar . . . and a curse.

For buried deep in the mysteries of the Freemasons and the Vatican's Holy See is a secret that could rock the world. Suddenly an ancient map is pointing Sydney toward something the Templars wished to hide away forever—something that could unleash an unstoppable tide of blood and devastation.

(see review)

Minotaur Books

Baja Florida (Zack Chasteen Series) by Bob Morris (Minotaur Books 19 January 2010 / $24.99) - Chasteen is quite satisfied with his life. He's living in Florida in a remote area in the middle of a wilderness preservation area selling Sebago palms with his wife and beautiful daughter Shula, and he can go to the dock and have a beer and net shrimp for dinner every night if he likes. He's got money in the bank – so what if it's in the Caymans – just don't ask how it got there. That is, until his old friend Mickey Ryser shows up with a request. Had it been anyone else, Zack might have had second thoughts. But Mickey had been the one to teach him how to surf. How to hit on girls. How not to become a dopehead, or end up in jail for the rest of his life. Mickey was dying, and he wanted Zack to find his daughter.

(see review)

Death by the Book (A Jack Susko Mystery) by Lenny Bartulin (Minotaur Books 19 January 2010 / $24.99) - From publicity material: Jack Susko is enjoying a quiet life as the owner of a second-hand bookstore, preferably in the company of his cat rather than actual paying customers. But when Hammond Kasprowicz, a crabby but wealthy businessman, offers Jack some easy money, of course Jack doesn't turn down the offer. After all, what problem could there possibly be with locating as many copies as possible of the works of an obscure poet? And who cares what Hammond wants to do with them? For all that Jack cares, he could burn them. Which, in fact, is exactly what Kasprowicz does. But very soon, books aren't the only things that die. And suddenly, Jack is in serious trouble. (see review)

Gone 'til November by Wallace Stroby (Minotaur Books 19 January 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: It's late at night when Florida sheriff's deputy Sara Cross arrives at the scene of a roadside shooting along a deserted highway. Another deputy, Billy Flynn, her former partner, who also happens to be her former lover, has fatally shot a twenty-two-year-old man during what started out as a routine traffic stop, and she's the first to arrive on the scene. He claims that the man pulled a gun, and that when he didn't respond to Billy's commands to drop it, Billy shot him. Billy is clearly upset, shaken up; Sarah sees the gun in the dead man's hand and the bag of illegal weapons in the trunk of his car and believes Billy's actions were justified.

Up north in New Jersey, Mikey-Mike runs a major drug operation and is tightening his hold on the competition, making a deal with a new supplier. Morgan, a middle-aged enforcer for Mikey who's been in the life too long, would like to make one last score, walk away, and retire for good. Mike asks Morgan to head to Florida to find out what's holding up his new deal, and Morgan sees the job as a possibility for his last big payday.

As more details of the roadside shooting emerge with Sara's investigation, and as Morgan follows the trail Mikey lays out for him, the two storylines begin to merge into a much darker, more menacing scenario than either Morgan or Sara imagined. Sara, in order to protect herself and her son, must follow the truth no matter where it leads. (see review)

Paganini's Ghost: A Mystery by Paul Adam (Minotaur Books 05 January 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: Paganini – showman, womanizer, dazzling virtuoso – is one of the most charismatic characters in the history of classical music. His violin, il Cannone (the Cannon), is now kept in Genoa, Italy, where it is played only once every two years in a sold-out concert by the winner of an international competition.

This year, though, a Parisian art dealer is found dead in his hotel room the day after the concert. In his wallet is a scrap of sheet music, torn from a page that belongs to the competition's winner. But how did the dead man get hold of it? And why?

Detective Antonio Guastafeste asks violin maker Gianni Castiglione to help him navigate the curious world of classical musicians, their priceless instruments, and the unsavory dealers who prey upon them. Together, Antonio and Gianni must unravel another mystery that has gone unanswered for over a century, one that may hold the answer to the modern-day murder.

Filled with remarkable history and musical lore, Paganini's Ghost plays at a breathtaking tempo that will keep you reading until the very last page. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Short Squeeze by Chris Knopf (Minotaur Books 19 January 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: The outside world thinks living in the Hamptons requires a Bentley, a face-lift, and a shingle-style home the size of Buckingham Palace. The truth is a lot more complicated than that. Dig a little deeper and you're as likely to find a saint--or a Mensa genius--as you are a deviant or certified nut job lurking right below the surface. I know this because these are my beloved clients.

Meet Jackie Swaitowski, a smart-aleck attorney whose legal turf is supposed to be the buzzing Hamptons real-estate market. But when a new client turns up dead, things take a sudden and decidedly dangerous turn. In a client's pocket is an envelope that contains a shocking piece of evidence that suggests that the death was anything but an accident. Jackie has bigger fish to fry--like her old flame Harry's surprise return to town--until a late-night car chase changes her priorities. Now she has every reason to believe that the next name on the killer's list is her own. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Silencer (Thorn Mysteries) by James W. Hall (Minotaur Books 19 January 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: Earl Hammond, the wealthy patriarch of a family of ranchers, lies dead, shot just as he was to donate his Coquina Ranch to the state to preserve it from developers. Spearheading the plan to save this environmental treasure was Thorn, a reluctant heir to a secret family fortune, who now finds himself in terrible danger as well. A pair of deviant brothers, both contract killers, kidnaps him and drags him to a game preserve, surrounded by herds of exotic and very dangerous animals. He is entrapped in a sinkhole—a geological dungeon from which there is no escape. (Source: Minotaur Books)

The Lock Artist: A Novel by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur Books 05 January 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: "I was the Miracle Boy, once upon a time. Later on, the Milford Mute. The Golden Boy. The Young Ghost. The Kid. The Boxman. The Lock Artist. That was all me. But you can call me Mike."

Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it's a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight-hundred pound safe ... he can open them all. It's an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever close to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long. (see review)

The Parisian Prodigal: A Fools' Guild Mystery by Alan Gordon (Minotaur Books 19 January 2010 / $25.99) - Product Description: In 1205, Theophilos—a fool by trade, a family man by choice, and a spy by design—belongs, along with his family, to the Fools' Guild, a group that secretly maintains the fragile order of society. In Toulouse, that order is threatened when, unexpectedly, a man claiming to be a full brother of the ruling count is found one morning in a local bordello next to a dead whore, killed with his own sword. Now, Theophilos and his family must uncover the truth. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Orbit

Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit 15 January 2010 / $19.99) - Product Description: It is the time of the Great Depression. Thousands have left their homes looking for a better life, a new life. But Marcus Connelly is not one of them. He searches for one thing, and one thing only. Revenge.

Because out there, riding the rails, stalking the camps, is the scarred vagrant who murdered Connelly's daughter. No one knows him, but everyone knows his name: Mr. Shivers. (see review)

Signet

Dead Air (Talk Radio) by Mary Kennedy (Signet 05 January 2010 / $6.99) - From publicity material: Maggie left her clinical practice in Manhattan and moved to sunny Cypress Grove, Florida, where she became the host of WYME's "On the Couch with Maggie Walsh." From co-dependent wives to fetish fiends, all the local crazies love her show, but Maggie is not fond of all of its occupational hazards.

Then threats start pouring in against one of the station's special guests—self-styled new age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii. When one of the threats becomes a deadly reality, Maggie's new roommate, Lark, is surprisingly the prime suspect. Now, Maggie has to prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy... (see review)

Psych: The Call of the Mild by William Rabkin (Signet 05 January 2010 / $6.99) - Product Description: Shawn Spencer has always hated the wilderness-by which he means anything outside the delivery radius of his favorite pizza place. But Psych has been hired to solve a baffling case of industrial espionage, and the only way to catch the spy is to join their client's bonding retreat-a grueling seven day backpacking mountain trek.

But when one of the campers turns up with a bullet in the head, Shawn and Gus soon realize that sheer cliffs, rampaging bears, and freeze- dried pineapple aren't the greatest threats they face. (Source: Signet)

Soho Crime

Buried Strangers: A Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime 01 January 2010 / $13.00) - Product Description: In the jungle on the outskirts of São Paulo, Mario Silva and his team find hundreds of unknown corpses, often buried in family groups, and they learn that many would-be travelers to North America who used a local tourist agency have never reached their destinations. The motive for these murders is completely contemporary and completely appalling.

[Editor's Note: Read our review of Buried Strangers from our July 2009 issue.] (Source: Soho Crime)

Dying Gasp: A Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime 01 January 2010 / $24.00) - Product Description: The granddaughter of a prominent politician is missing. Silva and his team find her in Manaus, a jungle hellhole on the Amazon where an evil female doctor is making gory snuff films. Silva must overcome his own department's indifference and the corrupt local cops before he can obtain a semblance of justice for the victims.

Leighton Gage has spent many years in Brazil, where he maintains a home. He also lives in Miami and spends part of the year in the Netherlands. His previous books in the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series, Blood of the Wicked and Buried Strangers, are also available.

(Source: Soho Crime)

Subterranean Press

Mister Slaughter by Robert McCammon (Subterranean Press 31 January 2010 / $24.95) - Product Description: The world of Colonial America comes vibrantly to life in this masterful new historical thriller by Robert McCammon. The latest entry in the popular Matthew Corbett series, which began with Speaks the Nightbird and continued in The Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter opens in the emerging metropolis of New York City in 1702, and proceeds to take both Matthew and the reader on an unforgettable journey of horror, violence, and personal discovery.

The journey begins when Matthew, now an apprentice problem solver for the London-based Herrald Agency, accepts an unusual and hazardous commission. Together with his colleague, Hudson Greathouse, he agrees to escort the notorious mass murderer Tyranthus Slaughter from an asylum outside Philadelphia to the docks of New York. Along the way, Slaughter makes his captors a surprising--and extremely tempting--offer. Their response to this offer will alter the course of the novel, setting in motion a series of astonishing, ultimately catastrophic events.

Mister Slaughter is at once a classic portrait of an archetypal serial killer and an exquisitely detailed account of a fledgling nation still in the process of inventing itself. Suspenseful, illuminating, never less than compulsively readable, it is, by any measure, an extraordinary achievement, the largest accomplishment to date from one of our most gifted--and necessary--writers. (see review)

Thomas Dunne Books

Lullaby by Claire Seeber (Thomas Dunne Books 19 January 2010 / $26.99) - Product Description: It's every mother's nightmare...One minute Jess Finnegan is strolling through the Tate Museum with her new husband Mickey and their 8-month old son. The next she is frantically searching for them—both have completely disappeared. As the police launch a massive manhunt, Jess discovers that the people closest to you are not always what they seem. (Source: Thomas Dunne Books)

William Morrow

Gutshot Straight: A Novel by Lou Berney (William Morrow 01 January 2010 / $24.99) - From book flap: A crime caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, this fast and funny debut is the story of "Shake" Bouchon, fresh out of prison and ready for life on the staight and narrow--well, maybe after one last job... (see review)

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