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US Books Received- 05/2011  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

Akashic Books

San Diego Noir by (Akashic Books 17 May 2011 / $15.95) - Product Description: Brand-new stories by: T. Jefferson Parker, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Martha Lawrence, Diane Clark & Astrid Bear, Debra Ginsberg, Morgan Hunt, Ken Kuhlken, Taffy Cannon, Don Winslow, Cameron Pierce Hughes, Lisa Brackmann, Gabriel R. Barillas, Gar Anthony Haywood, and Maria Lima.

Launched with the summer '04 award-winning best seller Brooklyn Noir, Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

San Diego is home to miles of beaches, Balboa Park, a world-famous zoo, and some of the country's most expensive home and resort real estate. Yet the city also houses a few items that aren't actively promoted by the visitor's bureau: a number of the country's most corrupt politicians, border-related crimes, terrorists, and the occasional earthquakes. A noir feast!

In the 50-plus years since Raymond Chandler set Playback in Esmeralda, his name for La Jolla, the population has grown by more than a million, and crime has proliferated as well. San Diego of the past and the present offers the book's contributors a rich selection of settings, from the cross on Mount Soledad to the piers of Ocean Beach, and perpetrators and victims from the residents of its wealthiest enclaves to the inhabitants of its segregated barrios.

Anchor

Damaged (Maggie O'Dell) by Alex Kava (Anchor 24 May 2011 / $7.99) - Product Description: While the Coast Guard is preparing Pensacola Beach for a severe hurricane, they find an oversized fishing cooler filled with body parts tightly wrapped in plastic floating offshore. Special Agent Maggie O'Dell is sent to investigate, despite the fact that she is putting herself in the projected path of the hurricane. She's able to trace the torso in the cooler back to a man who mysteriously disappeared weeks earlier after a hurricane hit the Atlantic coast of Florida. How did his body end up six hundred miles away in the Gulf of Mexico?  Using her signature keen instincts and fearless investigating, O'Dell discovers Florida's seedy underworld and the shady characters who inhabit it. Damaged is Alex Kava's most terrifying thriller yet. (see review)

Avon

Loco Motive: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery by Mary Daheim (Avon 01 May 2011 / $7.99) - Product Description: This fall, Judith McMonigle Flynn can barely cope with her gaggle of guests at Hillside Manor B&B. And when diminutive daredevil and martial-arts movie icon Wee Willie Weevil insists on performing his dangerous stunts from Judith's roof—and ends up leaving the B&B via ambulance—the harried hostess decides it's high time to escape the domestic mayhem, joining irrepressible cousin Renie on a cross-country train trip with first-class accommodations to Boston on the Empire Builder.

Unfortunately, a wheelchair-bound Wee Willie and his entourage are also on board, effectively derailing their vacation. And when the train collides with a truckload of sugar beets, stranding the cousins in Middle-of -Nowhere, Montana, they soon have two murders on their hands. A fellow traveler and a crew member have reached their final destinations prematurely—and unless Judith and Renie can blow the whistle on a killer, they themselves may end up being railroaded to the boneyard!

(Source: Avon)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Devil She Knows: A Novel by Bill Loehfelm (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 24 May 2011 / $26.00) - Product Description: Maureen Coughlin is in a rut. At twenty-nine, the strong Staten Island native fears she may become a "lifer" at the Narrows, the faux-swank bar where she waits tables five nights a week. Nursing a strained relationship with her mother, she tries to find ambition in the little things—a gym membership, a plan to return to school, a dash of cocaine before work—but there's no denying that she's stuck.

Then, leaving work one night, Maureen walks in on a tryst between her coworker Dennis and Frank Sebastian, a silver-haired aspiring politician. Fearing repercussions, Sebastian forces her into silence, and Maureen is more than happy to forget what she's seen—until Dennis turns up dead on the train tracks the next morning. In her search for answers, Maureen finds new meaning in her life. But before she can track down Sebastian, he tracks down her mother. Soon Maureen is bouncing from one corner of Staten Island to the other, trying to protect her mother while staying one step ahead of Sebastian.

(Source: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Five Star

Fallen Angels by Alice Duncan (Five Star 18 May 2011 / $25.95) - From author's website: Transplanted Boston Brahmin, Mercy Allcutt, has had some very exciting times as secretary to private investigator, Ernie Templeton. While it’s true she’s been in what she considers a wee bit of trouble (and Ernie considers out-and-out danger) a time or two, she’s determined to continue learning the ways of the “real” world.

However, when she sets out to find her wandering boss, Ernie, one hot September afternoon, she not only discovers a corpse, but she also finds Ernie, bound and gagged. Worse, when the police arrive to investigate the crime, they peg Ernie as the killer.

Well, Mercy isn’t about to let them get away with that, no matter how many times Ernie tells her to butt out of the police inquiry. The only question is whether she’ll survive her investigatorial efforts once again, or if she’ll become one more “Fallen Angel.”

(see review)

Hunter's World by Fred Lichtenberg (Five Star 18 May 2011 / $25.95) - From back of book: The village of Eastpoint, a close-knit Long Island community, has never been tested with a serious crime. At least, not until syndicated romance columnist John Hunter is found dead in his home, and apparent suicide. Even then, the townspeople accept the auslander's demise in stride. But when Police Chief Hank Reed discovers a secret room filled with lewd paintings of Hunter and local married women, he wonders whether the collection was someone's sick imagination or part of a duplicitous life.

It isn't until the medical examiner's official report declares that Hunter was murdered, followed by a leak of Hunter's shocking exploits, that panic engulfs Eastpoint's residents. (see review)

The Truth Sleuth by Jacqueline Seewald (Five Star 18 May 2011 / $25.95) - From back of book: Kim Reynolds, an academic librarian, is in for major shocks when her normally sedate life takes some surprising twists and turns. Kim finds the body of murdered high school student Sammy Granger while visiting a motorcycle raceway with her friends, African American female police detective Bert St. Croix, and April Nevins. Cutbacks and layoffs at the university have left Kim unemployed for the coming semester. Police Lieutenant Mike Gardner, Kim's fiancé, arranges for her to get a job teaching at the local high school. Unfortunately, Kim has some very difficult students in her English classes. To make matters worse, Kim soon finds out that Mike is not legally divorced. (see review)

Where Danger Hides by Terry Odell (Five Star 18 May 2011 / $25.95) - From back of book: Where do you turn when Uncle Sam can't help you? To Blackthorne, Inc. of course. Behind the public facade of a high-end private investigation company lies a band of elite covert operatives.

Dalton (just Dalton--nobody dares call him by his given name), is one of Blackthorne's elite. A charming Texan, he prides himself on blending in, and there's no one he can't scam. But his obsession with putting a Colombian drug lord out of the picture threatens to endanger his life and the lives of his team. When Dalton nearly blows a simple undercover assignment at a fundraising gala, his boss tethers him with an assignment that will keep him stateside.

Street-smart Miri Chambers wants nothing more than to help everyone at the Galloway House shelter find a new and productive life. Dalton's supposed to be helping her find residents who have disappeared without a trace, but he doesn't take her seriously. Can she trust him to do the job? When things escalate into a genuine combat zone, can she trust him with her life? And her heart? (see review)

Forge Books

Blood Trust by Eric Van Lustbader (Forge Books 10 May 2011 / $25.99) - Product Description: It was once said that you must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible . . .

Alli Carson has been through her own personal hell. With her father, the President of the United States, recently dead and her mother in a coma from a terrible accident, she has poured herself into her training to become one of the best FBI agents at the Fearington Institute. Her inspiration and solace comes from the one man with whom she has ever felt a kinship, National Security Adviser, Jack McClure. But when Alli becomes the prime suspect in a murder at Fearington, a wide ranging investigation is triggered, involving local homicide detectives, the secret service, the FBI itself, and Alli's own uncle, the billionaire lobbyist Henry Carson.  And yet nothing is what it seems.

What follows is a treacherous journey that leads Jack and Alli into a complex web of lies and deceit. Using Jack's unique gifts to see the through the labyrinth of manipulation, their investigation leads them into the dark heart of the international slave trade, tied to a powerful Albanian crime lord whose ability and influence in global terrorism grows with each day.

The two find themselves in the crosshairs of vast global enterprise, one that lurks in the shadows of power and has infiltrated Washington and their lives in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. And hidden deep among it all sits a terrifying criminal mastermind, someone fueled by a hatred that can never be quenched, and a mind that knows neither feeling nor mercy.

(Source: Forge Books)

The Fund by H.T. Narea (Forge Books 10 May 2011 / $24.99) - Product Description: U.S. defense intelligence operative Kate Molares is investigating a suspicious international money trail. Her instincts place her at the center of a plot involving a terrifying new kind of terrorism—financial terrorism— perpetrated by a suave, handsome Middle Eastern hedge fund mogul. His goal is to wreck the West by bringing the global economy to its knees.

Kate's mission takes her from the defense intelligence command center on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. to the oil-fueled economy of Caracas, Venezuela; from the Beaux-Arts buildings of Old Havana in Cuba to a hedge fund king's magnificent back-country estate in Greenwich, Connecticut; from the United Nations to the site of a deadly Islamic conspiracy in the Iberian Peninsula.

Kate is in a race against time to fit together the pieces of this global puzzle…or risk the catastrophic destruction of the world's financial markets.

(Source: Forge Books)

Harper

A River in the Sky: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense by Elizabeth Peters (Harper 01 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: August 1910. Banned from the Valley of the Kings, Amelia Peabody and husband Emerson are persuaded to follow would-be archaeologist Major George Morley on an expedition to Palestine. Somewhere in this province of the corrupt, crumbling Ottoman Empire—the Holy Land of three religions—Morley is determined to unearth the legendary Ark of the Covenant.

At the request of British Intelligence, Emerson will be keeping an eye on the seemingly inept Morley, believed to be an agent of the Kaiser sent to stir up trouble in this politically volatile land. Amelia hopes to prevent a catastrophically unprofessional excavation from destroying priceless historical finds and sparking an armed protest by infuriated Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Meanwhile, Amelia's headstrong son, Ramses, working on a dig at Samaria, encounters an unusual party of travelers and makes a startling discovery—information that he must pass along to his parents in Jerusalem . . . if he can get there alive.

(Source: Harper)

Act of Revenge (Butch Karp/Marlene Ciampi) by Robert K. Tanenbaum (Harper 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: To Butch Karp—a chief assistant district attorney with a formidable reputation as a brilliant and fearless prosecutor—the brutal assassination of Bollano family capo Ed Catalano appears to be a continuation of old-style wars between Mob families. But Willie Lie, leader of a Chinese gang called the White Dragons, insists that he and his cohorts were involved. The case is further complicated by an unscrupulous and ambitious U.S. attorney looking to use the Mob murder to advance his political career. And when Karp's twelve-year-old daughter witnesses a Chinatown gang slaying, she suddenly becomes a target herself.

But his child isn't the only loved one threatened. Karp's wife, Marlene—a private security consultant specializing in protecting stalked and abused women—is delving perilously into the decades-old death of a notorious Mob lawyer. And as their two investigations intertwine, Karp and Marlene must race to find answers before two of New York's most dangerous criminal organizations turn an unsuspecting city into a bloody battleground.

(Source: Harper)

Blindsighted (Dr. Sara Linton) by Karin Slaughter (Harper 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: The mutilation murder of a young college professor paralyzes a tiny Georgian community. This hideous crime is the worst thing small-town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton has ever seen—but only when the autopsy is complete is the intricate, terrible genius of a profoundly twisted psychopath truly revealed. As Sara's ex-husband—Heartsdale police chief Jeffrey Tolliver—pursues an elusive fiend, Lena Adams—the victim's sister and the county's only female detective—swears she'll have her personal vengeance. But their worst fears are realized by the macabre crucifixion of a second local woman: there is a serial slayer in their midst, one whose identity is hidden somewhere in Sara Linton's secret past. And this killer has no intention of stopping . . . and will not be stopped.

(Source: Harper)

Devil's Plaything by Matt Richtel (Harper 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: We all keep secrets, but what if someone wasn't just stealing our secrets but changing them...and our brains?

Journalist Nat Idle is nearly gunned down in Golden Gate Park. He quickly learns it was no random attack. Suddenly, in pursuit of the truth, he's running for his life through the shadows of Silicon Valley, a human lab animal caught in a deadly maze of neurotechnology and institutional paranoia. And his survival rests entirely in the hands of his eighty-five-year-old grandmother, Lane, who's suffering from dementia and can't remember the secret at the heart of the world-changing conspiracy.

(Source: Harper)

Faint Cold Fear (Dr. Sara Linton) by Karin Slaughter (Harper 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent "suicides" suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia—a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton's loved ones. A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer's motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard—a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her. Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and has paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend upon her...when she can barely protect herself.

(Source: Harper)

Hangman: A Decker/Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman (Harper 01 May 2011 / $7.99) - Product Description: Fifteen years ago, high school senior Chris Whitman went to jail for murdering his girlfriend, Cheryl Diggs. Propelled by a misguided sense of chivalry, he confessed, determined to save another classmate, the beautiful and vulnerable Terry McLaughlin, from having to testify at his trial. When the truth came out, Chris was released from prison, married Terry--pregnant with his child--and changed his last name to Donatti. He also became a professional killer.

Peter Decker was the detective on the case, and over the years, he and Terry kept in touch. Now his friend is in L.A. and asking for a favor. Though Decker knows full well that getting involved will bring Terry's sociopathic husband back into his life, the obsessive and duty-bound LAPD lieutenant reluctantly agrees. The favor soon becomes complicated when Terry goes missing and Donatti disappears, leaving their fourteen-year-old son, Gabe, with no one to turn to except Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus.

But Peter's search for Terry must share center stage with a gruesome murder. Adrianna Blanc, a neonatal nurse at St. Timothy's Hospital, had signed off her night shift at eight a.m. Six hours later, a foreman supervising the construction of a house in a nearby suburb discovered her body swinging from the rafters, a cable wire around her neck. Her car was found where she had parked it the night before, with no signs of foul play.

(Source: Harper)

Indelible (Dr. Sara Linton) by Karin Slaughter (Harper 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: Two armed men enter the police station in tiny Heartsdale, Georgia, and open fire. When the shooting stops, an officer is dead, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver is seriously wounded, and the survivors—including a class of grade-school children and medical examiner Sara Linton—are held hostage. In a tense standoff that could erupt at any moment into more bloodletting—with her ex-husband on the threshold of death—Sara must search for answers and an escape in the memories of a time at the start of their relationship when another brutal, shocking crime shattered their small-town world. Because the sins of the past have caught up with Sara and Jeffrey . . . with a vengeance.

(Source: Harper)

Kisscut (Dr. Sara Linton) by Karin Slaughter (Harper 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: Sara Linton, pediatrician and medical examiner in Heartsdale, Georgia, knows only too well the horrors that can hide behind closed doors in a small community. But when a Saturday night argument between teenagers at the local skating rink leads to death—and a subsequent autopsy reveals evidence of ritualistic self-mutilation and long-term abuse—she realizes that true evil is closer than she imagined. Aided by her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, and Detective Lena Adams, still traumatized by her brush with a maniac, Sara's investigation is frustrated at every turn by the cold silence of the family and friends of the slain girl. But the truth cannot be hidden forever, as Sara inexorably peels back the many layers of an inhuman outrage that goes far beyond mere murder. For an ominous cloud has settled over the young daughters and sons of Heartsdale--and those who would protect them must act quickly before all innocence here is devoured.

(Source: Harper)

The Rule of Nine: A Paul Madriani Novel by Steve Martini (Harper 01 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: Still reeling from the trauma of a near nuclear explosion at the naval base in Coronado, San Diego defense attorney Paul Madriani now finds he's been linked to the murder of a Washington, D.C., political staffer. Authorities believe the bloodthirsty assassin Liquida Muerte--aka "the Mexicutioner"--may be responsible, and that Madriani is the ultimate target of the killer's twisted vengeance.

But the danger pales before an even more terrible unfolding scenario. Evidence is mounting that the elusive maniac and a domestic terrorist who calls himself the Old Weatherman have joined forces, intending to strike at the very seat of the United States government, pulling the capital city—and the country—into a vortex of terror . . . unless Paul Madriani and weapons control expert Joselyn Cole can somehow unravel the enigma of . . . The Rule of Nine.

Read our review of The Rule of Nine from our December 2010 issue. (Source: Harper)

Minotaur Books

Felicity's Gate: A Rounder Brothers Mystery by Julian Cole (Minotaur Books 10 May 2011 / $25.99) - Product Description: When Jane's body is found, the chief suspect is her friend and lover, Moses Mundy. Chief Inspector Sam Rounder soon discovers that there is more to this murder than meets the eye. To make matters worse, his own brother, Rick, a private eye, has been hired to prove Moses' innocence. (see review)

Purgatory Chasm: A Mystery by Steve Ulfelder (Minotaur Books 10 May 2011 / $23.99) - Product Description: The job seems simple. Conway Sax, a no-nonsense auto mechanic with a knack for solving difficult problems, has never liked obnoxious blowhard Tander Phigg. But a promise is a promise. Tander's a Barnburner, a member of the unique Alcoholics Anonymous group that rescued Conway, and when a Barnburner has a problem, Conway takes care of it.  Besides, all Tander wants is to get back his baby, a vintage Mercedes that's been in a shady auto shop far too long.

But Conway soon discovers there's much more to the problem than Tander first let on – especially when Tander turns up dead. Conway was the last person seen with the victim, and on top of that, he has a record, making him the cops' top suspect. He must catch the killer to clear himself, but beyond that, he's a man who honors his promises, even when the guy he made them to is dead.

In the tradition of Robert B. Parker and Dennis Lehane, Steve Ulfelder's crackling debut mystery features a gritty, razor-sharp new voice in crime fiction. Conway Sax isn't a hired gun or a wise-cracking urbanite. He's just a mechanic trying to make his way, a blue-collar guy whose ideas about family and loyalty are as deeply held as they are strong. He'll break your heart if you're not careful.

(see review)

Plume

Missing Persons: A Kate Conway Mystery by Clare O'Donohue (Plume 31 May 2011 / $15.00) - From back of book: Kate Conway's husband-- strike that-- soon-to-be ex-husband is dead. And the cops think she did it. The divorce might have been killing her, but it certainly didn't make her kill Frank. To make matters worse--and weirder-- Frank's new girlfriend suddenly wants to be friends.

So when she's offered a new work assignment on a series called Missing Persons it's a welcome distraction. Kate eagerly throws herself into the story of Theresa Moretti, a seemingly angelic young woman who disappeared a year earlier. All Kate wants is a clichéd story and twenty-two minutes of footage to take her mind of her own messy life, but when the two cases appear to overlap, Kate needs to work fast before another body turns up -- her own. (Source: Plume)

Pocket

Silencing Sam: A Novel (Riley Spartz) by Julie Kramer (Pocket 31 May 2011 / $7.99) - Product Description: When a widely despised gossip columnist is found shot to death, Riley Spartz must secretly investigate a case in which she becomes the prime suspect. In the wake of the brutal murder, our heroine discovers that news and gossip have more in common than she ever imagined. Trouble begins when Riley publicly clashes with newspaper gossip writer Sam Pierce, throwing a drink in his face after he implies in his popular column that she cheated on her husband. When clues to the homicide lead to her, Riley is charged with the crime. The police seem unwilling to look any further for perpetrators, although numerous local news- makers have reason for revenge—even a motive for killing.

Meanwhile, competition in the Channel 3 newsroom is just as murderous. While Riley struggles to interest her boss in a story about rural wind farm bombings and dead bats, a new reporter spikes the station ratings with exclusive stories about the headless homicide of an unknown woman whose decapitated body is found in a city park. Maybe murder isn't such a bad idea after all? Riley must fight to stay out of jail, ahead in the ratings, and even alive in a killer showdown not fit for television audiences. (Source: Pocket)

Poisoned Pen Press

Devil's Plaything: A Mystery for Idle Minds by Matt Richtel (Poisoned Pen Press 03 May 2011 / $24.95) - Product Description: Medical journalist Nate Idle has stumbled onto an extraordinary conspiracy and the ultimate mind game. Suddenly, in pursuit of the truth, he's running for his life through the shadows of Silicon Valley, a human lab animal caught in a deadly maze of neurotechnology and institutional paranoia. And his survival rests entirely in the hands of his eighty-five-year old grandmother, Lane, who's suffering from dementia, and can't remember the secret at the heart of the world-changing conspiracy. (see review)

Scholastic

Hauntings And Heists (The Mysterious Four) by Dan Poblocki (Scholastic 01 May 2011 / $5.99) - Product Description: Can you crack the case with six clues or less?

Welcome to Moon Hollow, where mystery lurks around every corner--and four kids have come together to solve crimes and puzzles big and small.

Whether they're debunking sea monsters, thwarting bullies, or revealing who threw out mom's asparagus, Viola, Sylvester, Rosie, and Woodrow will figure out the truth in six clues or less. And readers are invited to guess alongside them each step of the way.

Each book comes with an exclusive code so that readers can download a FREE copy of the e-book . . . which includes an extra mystery unavailable anywhere else! (Source: Scholastic)

Soho Constable

Why Didn't You Come for Me? by Diane Janes (Soho Constable 17 May 2011 / $25.00) - Product Description: Sometimes Jo still wakes up suddenly, thinking she can hear Lauren's cry. Although twelve years have passed since her baby daughter was abducted, photos of the child continue to arrive by post with the words I still have her scrawled on the back. The police think it's a hoax, but Jo has always believed them to be genuine—and until there is some hard evidence to the contrary, she will always hold on to the belief that Lauren is still alive. Bit if the pictures really do come from the kidnapper, it means they have been keeping track of Jo's movements all these years. Recently Jo has begun to feel as if she is being watched—and that whoever has her daughter is getting closer. Is Jo's husband right to dismiss her fears as paranoia, or might Jo herself be in danger? As her life begins to unravel, Jo fears that the truth may lie in the half-forgotten distant past, scarred by rumors of insanity and murder. (see review)

Soho Crime

Gunshot Road: An Emily Tempest Mystery by Adrian Hyland (Soho Crime 10 May 2011 / $14.00) - Product Description: Emily Tempest is appointed an aboriginal community police officer for the Moonlight Downs station. Investigating the possible murder of an elderly geologist, she encounters Danny, an emotionally fragile Stonehouse mob teenager who is traumatized by the image of "poison flowing green." The terrain of Australia, a Japanese rock garden painter, a rash of unexplained illnesses, and the implausibility of two elderly friends killing each other present Emily with a unique puzzle.

Read our review of Gunshot Road from our May 2010 issue. (Source: Soho Crime)

The Last Detective: Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond by Peter Lovesey (Soho Crime 31 May 2011 / $9.99) - Product Description: A nude female corpse has been found floating in a large reservoir just south of Bristol. In order to solve the mystery of the "Lady in the Lake," Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond must locate two missing letters attributed to Jane Austen and defy his superiors on the force to save a woman unjustly accused of murder. This is the first of the Peter Diamond series; it won the 1992 Anthony Boucher Award for Best Mystery Novel. (see review)

These Dark Things (Captain Natalia Monte) by Jan Weiss (Soho Crime 10 May 2011 / $24.00) - From back of book: In centuries past, the Jesuits of Naples held ecstatic masses among arrays of skeletons--up to sixty masses a day, after which parishioners with torches would descend to the catacombs and pray over skulls. Today, a few of the faithful still adhere to the old rituals, visiting crypts below the city, washing the bones of loved ones free of corrupted, worldly flesh. When one such woman--a "bone clearer"--discovers amidst stacks of skulls and leg bones the corpse of a beautiful college student, Captain Natalia Monte of the Carabinieri is called in to investigate.

(see review)

Subterranean

The Five by Robert McCammon (Subterranean 31 May 2011 / $26.95) - Product Description: Subterranean Press is proud to present Robert McCammon's first contemporary novel in nearly two decades, a tale of the hunt and unlikely survival, of the life and soul, set against a supernatural backbeat. Robert McCammon, author of the popular Matthew Corbett historical thrillers (Speaks the Nightbird, Mister Slaughter), now gives us something new and completely unexpected: The Five, a contemporary novel as vivid, timely, and compelling as anything he has written to date.

The Five tells the story of an eponymous rock band struggling to survive on the margins of the music business. As they move through the American Southwest on what might be their final tour together, the band members come to the attention of a damaged Iraq war veteran, and their lives are changed forever.

The narrative that follows is a riveting account of violence, terror, and pursuit set against a credible, immensely detailed rock and roll backdrop. It is also a moving meditation on loyalty and friendship, on the nature and importance of families those we are born into and those we create for ourselves and on the redemptive power of the creative spirit. Written with wit, elegance, and passionate conviction, The Five lays claim to new imaginative territory, and reaffirms McCammon's position as one of the finest, most unpredictable storytellers of our time. (see review)

Subterranean Press

Dangerous Ways Selected Mysteries by Jack Vance (Subterranean Press 31 May 2011 / $350/$45) - From publisher's website: As well as being an inspirational, acclaimed and widely adored F&SF Grand Master and world-builder par excellence, Jack Vance has always been a mystery writer at heart. Even while ranging the starways and arcane dimensions under the name we best know him by, taking us to alien worlds, strange climes and fabulous yonders, he also used his given name of John Holbrook Vance (plus a few selected aliases) to turn out novels of intrigue and suspense set on this world, dealing with people almost like you and me.

Whether featuring exotic locales such as Morocco and the Marquesas, forgotten corners of his beloved California, or even more modest, mundane settings like downtown San Francisco and Oakland, these beguiling, often hard-hitting tales explore the same depths of greed, obsession and depravity as mark his highly praised Demon Princes novels, feature the same resourceful, often cool, sometimes fraught protagonists as travel Tschai, Halma or Cadwal, show the same canny insights into the workings of human nature, the familiar trademark wit, the same fabulous gift for language and creating a living, breathing sense of place.

Dangerous Ways serves up three of the master’s richest, most diverse mystery offerings from the fertile middle period of his long and impressive career: the Edgar Award-winning The Man in the Cage, the unforgettable hider-in-the-house thriller Bad Ronald, and the exotic South Seas murderfest The Deadly Isles.

Dangerous Ways presents three of the master’s self-penned works in the other popular genre he has always loved so dearly. (Source: Subterranean Press)

William Morrow

A Time for Patriots by Dale Brown (William Morrow 10 May 2011 / $26.99) - Product Description:

Welcome to Battlefield America

When murderous bands of militiamen begin roaming the western United States and attacking government agencies, it will take a dedicated group of the nation's finest and toughest civilian airmen to put an end to the homegrown insurgency. U.S. Air Force Lieutenant-General Patrick McLanahan vows to take to the skies to join the fight, but when his son, Bradley, also signs up, they find themselves caught in a deadly game against a shadowy opponent.

When the stock markets crash and the U.S. economy falls into a crippling recession, everything changes for newly elected president Kenneth Phoenix. Politically exhausted from a bruising and divisive election, Phoenix must order a series of massive tax cuts and wipe out entire cabinet-level departments to reduce government spending. With reductions in education and transportation, an incapacitated National Guard, and the loss of public safety budgets, entire communities of armed citizens band together for survival and mutual protection. Against this dismal backdrop, a SWAT team is ambushed and radioactive materials are stolen by a group calling themselves the Knights of the True Republic. Is the battle against the government about to be taken to a new and deadlier level?

In this time of crisis, a citizen organization rises to the task of protecting their fellow countrymen: the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the U.S. Air Force auxiliary. The Nevada Wing—led by retired Air Force Lieutenant-General Patrick McLanahan, his son, Bradley, and other volunteers—uses their military skills in the sky and on the ground to hunt down violent terrorists. But how will Patrick respond when extremists launch a catastrophic dirty bomb attack in Reno, spreading radiological fallout for miles? And when Bradley is caught in a deadly double-cross that jeopardizes the CAP, Patrick will have to fight to find out where his friends' loyalties lie: Are they with him and the CAP or with the terrorists?

With A Time for Patriots, the New York Times bestselling master of the modern thriller Dale Brown brings the battle home to explore a terrifying possibility—the collapse of the American Republic.

(see review)

The Body in the Gazebo: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine Hall Page (William Morrow 01 May 2011 / $23.99) - Product Description: From award-winning author Katherine Hall Page comes the next book in the Faith Fairchild mystery series, where the caterer and amateur sleuth must solve a case more than eighty years in the making

The Body in the Gazebo

"I have to tell you something . . . something that happened a long time ago." When Ursula Lyman Rowe speaks these words to Faith Fairchild from her sickbed in Aleford, Massachusetts, Faith has no idea what lies in store for her.

It all starts when Ursula's daughter, Pix Miller, Faith's best friend and neighbor, reluctantly leaves town for her son's wedding preparations. Pix knows that Faith and her husband, the Reverend Thomas Fairchild, will keep an eye on the slowly recovering Ursula. What she and Faith don't know is that the tale Ursula spins over the course of several weeks will reveal an unsolved crime dating back to 1929 and the Great Depression.

Meanwhile, more current mysteries are brewing. The discretionary fund at the church has been pilfered and the Reverend Fairchild is the only person with access to it. As rumors spread through town, Faith must clear her husband's name before it's irreparably damaged. And when Pix meets her in-laws-to-be for the first time, she's in for the surprise of her life. . . .

A moving, suspenseful tale, The Body in the Gazebo is an evocative journey into the past, where truth hangs suspended by the threads of one woman's memory—and the present-day consequences of that truth prove to be devastating.

(Source: William Morrow)

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