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US Books Received- 01/2012  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


Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda. (see review)

Blind Sight by Terri Persons (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $15.00) - Product Description: A deer hunter tracking his wounded prey through Minnesota's Paul Bunyan State Forest makes the grisly discovery of a young girl's body. The condition of the corpse is shocking: She'd been pregnant, but the full-term fetus is missing. She's sixteen-year-old Lydia Dunton, daughter of a high-powered senator who has shut the door on Agent Saint Clare's investigation. Now she has little but dead ends, false leads, and lies to work with-until she discovers a similar crime that occurred in Wisconsin, plunging Bernadette and her boss, Tony, into a circuitous and deadly twist in the case that no one sees coming.

(Source: Berkley)

Breach of Trust by David Ellis (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $9.99) - Product Description: On the night his wife and infant daughter died, attorney Jason Kolarich was awaiting a call from an informant. He blames himself not only for the deaths of his family, but for the informant's murder as well. Kolarich can't bring back his family, but he can find the person who killed the informant. And he discovers that his informant's murder was only the tip of the iceberg-and that exposing the truth will drag him into the fight of his life. (Source: Berkley)

Die Job (Southern Beauty Shop) by Lila Dare (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: After an attempted murder at a supposedly haunted plantation, the ladies of Violetta's beauty salon unravel secrets that link a high school student, a centuries-old crime, and the roots to a very dark mystery. (Source: Berkley)

File M for Murder (Cat in the Stacks) by Miranda James (Berkley 31 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: Athena College's new writer in residence is native son and playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing--and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter Laura is subbing for another Athena professor. Unfortunately her old flame Connor Lawton got her the job.

But before Connor finishes his newest play, he's murdered--and Laura is the prime suspect. Charlie and his faithful cat, Diesel, follow Connor's cluttered trail to find the true killer before his daughter is forever catalogued under M...for murderer.

(Source: Berkley)

If Fried Chicken Could Fly (Country Cooking School Mystery) by Paige Shelton (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: At Gram's Country Cooking School, Betts and Gram are helping students prepare the perfect dishes for the Southern Missouri Show-Down, the cook-off that draws the first of the summer visitors. Everything is going smoothly until they discover the body of local theater owner Everett Morningside in the school's supply closet, and Everett's widow points an accusatory finger at Gram. Now, Betts has to dig deep into Broken Rope's history to find the modern-day killer-before the last piece of chicken is served... (Source: Berkley)

Plan Bee (A Queen Bee Mystery) by Hannah Reed (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: Moraine, Wisconsin's annual Harmony Festival is anything but harmonious for Story Fischer, as a dead body makes an uninvited appearance in the parade-and the person who may be responsible for putting it there starts dating Story's mother... (Source: Berkley)

Wild Wild Death (A Pepper Martin Mystery) by Casey Daniels (Berkley 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: Her job has been cut, she's low on cash, and her detective sometime- boyfriend refuses to even talk about her ability to see the dead and solve their murders. So Pepper is most certainly down for a vacation to get her spirits up. But when her cute scientist friend Dan is kidnapped, Pepper soon stumbles upon another deadly mystery that brings her to New Mexico. And she's after a clever murderer-one whose idea of Boot Hill has nothing to do with Jimmy Choo. (Source: Berkley)

Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Vanishing Acts (Maggie Brooklyn Mystery) by Leslie Margolis (Bloomsbury USA Childrens 17 January 2012 / $15.99) - Product Description: When a movie starring tween heartthrob Seth Ryan starts filming in Park Slope, everyone gets movie mania-including Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair. Though her plans to become a movie extra don't quite work out, Maggie manages to capture Seth's attention and he seeks her out at the Pizza Den to talk. But just when Maggie's life is feeling like a romantic comedy, Seth disappears! Everyone thinks he's been kidnapped, but Maggie knows better. (Source: Bloomsbury USA Childrens)


Start Shooting: A Novel by Charlie Newton (Doubleday 10 January 2012 / $25.95) - Product Description: Officer Bobby Vargas is hard-edged but idealistic, a Chicago cop who stands at the epicenter of a subterranean plot that will have horrific ramifications for both himself and the entire city. Twenty-five years earlier, a gruesome murder rocked the unforgiving streets of Four Corners. Now, sud­denly, a dying Chicago paper is running a serial exposé on new evidence in that old case, threatening to implicate Bobby and his older brother, Ruben--a decorated, high-ranking detective and cop-prince of the streets. The smear campaign stirs up decades-old bad blood, leading the Vargas brothers down an increasingly twisted and terrifying path, where the sins of the past threaten to destroy what remains of the truth.

As readers and critics discovered in his first novel, Calumet City, Charlie Newton's Chicago is a landscape as brutal and poignant as any in modern crime fiction--a multi-faceted, shockingly violent labyrinth of gangland politics, political backstabbing, corporate malfeasance, and, possibly, hope.

(Source: Doubleday)

Felony & Mayhem

Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess by Simon Brett (Felony & Mayhem 16 January 2012 / $14.95) - Product Description:Hurrah for the return of that intrepid duo: Blotto (handsome, honorable, not the sharpest knife in the drawer), and his sister Twinks (just a bit brainier than a girl should be)! As this is the 1920s, they are of course attending a weekend house party, where – how astonishing! – a murder is announced. One of the guests has the gall to accuse Corky, the siblings’ family chauffeur, so Blotto and Twinks have no choice but to find the real murderer and clear Corky’s good name. And also, you know, keep Corky from hanging and so on. Their sleuthing will take them to an opium den, a crumbling Scottish castle, and – most thrillingly – the headquarters of the evil League of the Crimson Hand.

(see review)

Forge Books

Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising: Shock of War by Larry Bond (Forge Books 03 January 2012 / $25.99) - Product Description:

Under secret orders from the President, U.S. Army Major Zeus Murphy sabotages a Chinese invasion fleet on the eve of its assault against Vietnam. But after Murphy and fellow officer Win Christian are trapped behind enemy lines, Christian's erratic behavior gives them away. The pair shoot their way out  of a Chinese airport terminal, hijack a bus, then barely escape two truckloads of soldiers before disappearing into the night. Thus starts Zeus Murphy's personal odyssey in the latest installment of the Red Dragon Rising series.

Back in America, President Chester Greene fails to convince Congress that the Chinese invasion of Vietnam is the first step in a plan to rule Asia—and eventually go to war with the U.S. Not even the Pentagon will support the President; top-ranking officers do everything they can to sabotage his orders.

After Zeus and Christian dodge a Chinese armored division and return to Vietnam, Zeus proposes a plan to blunt the tank attack. His commanding officer orders him to stand down. Zeus disobeys in an effort to help the Vietnamese woman he's fallen in love with. Win Christian goes with him to prove he's not a coward…within hours, both men are alone with a company of Vietnamese soldiers on the border, staring down the barrels of Chinese main battle tanks as they drive on Haiphong, starting a countdown to all-out war with the West.

In Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising: Shock of War, New York Times bestselling authors Larry Bond and Jim DeFelice imagine a horrifying near-future immersed in global war.

(Source: Forge Books)

Operation Sea Ghost by Mack Maloney (Forge Books 31 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description:

In Operation Sea Ghost, from Mack Maloney, a lost weapon of untold destructive power falls into the worst possible hands . . .

Forty years ago, a mysterious weapon disappeared in the jungles of Vietnam. Now a notoriously ruthless band of Somali pirates has found it and is threatening to sell it to Middle-Eastern terrorists.  The CIA, desperate to retrieve the weapon and even more anxious to keep Washington out of it, recruits Team Whiskey, a group of former U.S. military men-turned-pirate hunters, to do their dirty work.

From a secret pirate lair in the Indian Ocean to the most exclusive casino in Monte Carlo, Snake Nolan and his resourceful men have the fight of their lives on their hands as they race against time to reclaim the deadly weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.

Just when they think the stakes can go no higher, they realize that their quarry is headed for New York City, on a suicide mission that will make the 9-11 attacks look like mere prologue to a catastrophe of unprecedented destruction.

(Source: Forge Books)


When Death Intervenes by L.C. Hayden (Harlequin 01 January 2012 / ) - Product Description: Retired Dallas police detective Harry Bronson is touring South Dakota in his motor home. His cop instincts still strong, he spots a troubled woman, Linda Randig, who needs help. She's being stalked by a sadistic killer who masterminded the death of her parents and her husband. Now, he's threatening her son and baby grandson. He's watching her every move and calling every shot. She's been dispatched on a cross-country chase for a purpose unknown. And no police-or else.

Bronson intervenes and the killer quickly steps up his game, leaving dead bodies and taunting notes mocking his efforts. Still, their mysterious madman wants something, and Linda is the key. Harry enlists the help of his old partner to sort through the red herrings and critical clues to pinpoint the killer's next move. A move that seems to involve Harry, Linda-and a very dead end. (see review)


Need You Now by James Grippando (Harper 03 January 2012 / $25.99) - Product Description:

The New York Times bestselling author returns with a gripping, new stand-alone novel ripped from the headlines, in which a young financial advisor and his girlfriend uncover a conspiracy that reaches from Wall Street deep into the halls of government.

Abe Cushman, the evil genius behind a $60 billion Ponzi scheme, has killed himself and taken his secrets to the grave.

For Patrick Lloyd, a young Wall Street advisor at the world's largest Swiss bank, Cushman's fall has unexpected—and deadly—repercussions. Lloyd's girlfriend, Lilly, is directly tied to billions of dollars in losses suffered by Cushman's most dangerous victims, a group of powerful investors whose identities and dirty finances are well hidden. What Lilly knows can get her and Patrick killed, and now the pair are in a run for their lives that leads to the heart of a clandestine operation, and to a cabal of powerful officials determined to keep their agenda hidden from the public.

With nowhere to turn and no one to trust, Patrick and Lilly must uncover the truth before they become collateral damage in a "financial war" in which casualties are no longer measured in dollars and cents.

(see review)

Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn (Harper 31 January 2012 / $9.99) - Product Description: Matthew Dunn spent years as an MI6 field operative working on some of the West’s most clandestine missions. He recruited and ran agents, planned and participated in special operations, and operated deep undercover throughout the world. In Spycatcher he draws on this fascinating experience to breathe urgent, dynamic new life into the contemporary spy novel.

Featuring deft and daring superspy Will Cochrane, Dunn paints a nerve-jangling, bracingly authentic picture of today’s secret world. It is a place where trust is precious and betrayal is cheap—and where violent death is the reward for being outplayed by your enemy.

Will Cochrane, the CIA’s and MI6’s most prized asset and deadliest weapon, has known little outside this world since childhood. And he’s never been outplayed. So far…

Will’s controllers task him with finding and neutralizing one of today’s most wanted terrorist masterminds, a man believed to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general. Intending to use someone from the man’s past to flush him out of the shadows, Will believes he has the perfect plan, but he soon discovers, in a frantic chase from the capitals of Europe to New York City, that his adversary has more surprises in store and is much more treacherous than anyone he has ever faced—and survived—up to now. (Source: Harper)

L&L Dreamspell

Damned if You Don't by Anita Page (L&L Dreamspell 06 January 2012 / $14.95) - Product Description: Hannah Fox gains dangerous enemies when she becomes involved in a murder investigation. Raised in the sixties on picket lines and peace marches, Hannah can't turn her back when a friend's land is targeted by a fraudulent eminent domain scheme that threatens her Catskill Mountain town. When the developer behind the scheme is murdered and her young friend becomes a suspect, Hannah probes the dead man's shameful past. She faces hard choices, convinced the murder was a heroic act even when it's clear she may be the killer's next victim. (see review)

Minotaur Books

$10,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles: A Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall (Minotaur Books 31 January 2012 / $24.99) - Product Description: When young attorney Becky Baldwin hires Cora Felton to make a blackmail payment drop, it couldn't go worse: she stumbles over a corpse and a puzzle, and someone steals the money. Becky won't tell her who the client is, but the most likely suspect is Cora's least favorite ex-husband, Melvin, who claims he's being framed by a psychopath with a grudge. Soon Cora finds herself in a no-win situation. Solving the murder will either put Melvin's neck in the noose, or incur the wrath of a cunning, cold-blooded killer who delights in playing deadly mind games and may be targeting her niece Sherry and Sherry's new baby girl.

This next in the entertaining series features new puzzles by Will Shortz that help readers solve the mystery! (see review)

A Gentleman of Fortune: Or, the Suspicions of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean (Minotaur Books 03 January 2012 / $14.99) - Product Description: The second installment in Anna Dean's charming mystery series finds Miss Dido Kent vacationing at her cousin Flora's.  When Flora's neighbor passes away, Dido can't help but sense something is amiss. While she is ideally placed to observe the reaction of the community, her suitor, Mr. William Lomax, feels otherwise.  Dido won't be stopped, however, and as she learns more about the dirty dealings among the upper classes of Surrey, she brings more to light than even she could have imagined. Anna Dean has crafted a delightful historical series; the next best thing to reading Jane Austen. (Source: Minotaur Books)

A Parliament of Spies: A Mystery by Cassandra Clark (Minotaur Books 31 January 2012 / $25.99) - Product Description:

All the danger and intrigue of 14th-century England spring to life in this "compelling" (Publishers Weekly) series about the brave, incorruptible Abbess of Meaux.

Abbess Hildegard may consider herself  "just a nun with no useful skills or connections," yet her loyalty and intelligence have brought her to the attention of King Richard II himself—not the safest place to be, when the king has enemies on all sides. As Hildegard wrestles with her role as a spy in the parliament that is hastily gathering at Westminster, Cassandra Clark shows us the human side of history, giving readers new reason to follow Publishers Weekly's rallying cry: "Medievalists rejoice!"


(Source: Minotaur Books)

The Cat Sitter's Pajamas: A Dixie Hemingway Mystery by Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books 03 January 2012 / $24.99) - Product Description: Author Blaize Clement has thrilled readers everywhere with the first six books in her pet-sitting mystery series. Now Blaize's beloved heroine Dixie Hemingway is back for another adventure, and she has her hands full when the worlds of celebrity hijinks, counterfeit fashion, and naughty cats collide.

Dixie Hemingway, no relation to you-know-who, accepts a job taking care of famous linebacker Cupcake Trillin's cats, Elvis and Lucy, while he's away. But what seems like an easy job turns scary when Dixie finds a celebrity fashion model in Cupcake's house. The woman refuses to leave AND she also claims to be Cupcake's wife. But Dixie has met Cupcake's wife, and this woman certainly isn't her.

Soon, Dixie is spun into the world of counterfeit high fashion. When a valuable list of fake merchandise sellers goes missing, the criminals go after Dixie. Once again, what started as a simple cat-sitting job has turned into a mess that only Dixie can solve. (Source: Minotaur Books)

The Judgment of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Steven Saylor (Minotaur Books 03 January 2012 / $14.99) - Product Description: Gordianus the Finder and his ailing wife Bethesda travel to Egypt - Bethesda's homeland - seeking a cure for her enduring, mysterious illness. They arrive as the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey is reaching its conclusion on its shores. Captured by Pompey, but rescued by Ptolemy's men who kill Pompey for Caesar, Gordianus is caught in the middle of the struggle between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra, Caesar's seduction by Cleopatra, and the dying days of the Roman Republic. When his wife disappears into the Nile, never to resurface, Gordianus must uncover the truth behind a series of mysterious occurrences if he is to find out what has happened to his wife, now presumed dead. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Those Who Love Night by Wessel Ebersohn (Minotaur Books 31 January 2012 / $24.99) - Product Description: When Abigail Bukula, a young lawyer in the South African Justice Department, learns that the secret son of her aunt, who died in a massacre years ago, has been arrested by the Zimbabwean government, she races to his aid. She's as determined as ever but perhaps a bit naive as well. Accused of being a part of the so-called Harare Seven, her cousin is being held as a political prisoner in the country's most brutal prison.

With only an eager young lawyer as an ally and a director of the country's intelligence agency either helping her or setting her up, Bukula will not leave without winning her cousin's freedom and learning what really happened to her aunt so many years ago. By cunning, by bribery, by sheer audacity—and with the help of her friend prison psychologist Yudel Gordon—Abigail is determined to prevail in Those Who Love Night. (see review)


Bloodland by Alan Glynn (Picador 31 January 2012 / $16.00) - Product Description: A private security contractor loses it in the Congo, with deadly consequences, while in Ireland the ex-prime minister struggles to write his memoir. A tabloid star is killed in a helicopter crash and three years later a young journalist is warned off the story. As a news story breaks in Paris, a US senator prepares his campaign to run for office.What links these things and who controls what we know?With echoes of John Le Carré, 24 and James Ellroy, Alan Glynn has written another crime novel of and for our times – a ferocious thriller that moves from Dublin to New York via West Africa, and thrillingly explores the legacy of corruption in big business, the West's fear of China, the fate of ex-military, the role of back room political players, and the quick fix of online news. (see review)

The Second Son: A Novel by Jonathan Rabb (Picador 03 January 2012 / $16.00) - Product Description: On the eve of Hitler's Olympics, Chief Inspector Nikolai Hoffner, a half-Jew, has been forced out of the Kriminalpolizei. Yet his career is the least of his worries. His son Georg is missing, swept up in the sudden outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Hoffner has already lost his elder son to the Nazis. But Georg is not what he appears to be, and Hoffner is determined to save the one son he can. In the spirit of Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst, Jonathan Rabb has delivered another darkly compelling and atmospheric work. (Source: Picador)


The Death Instinct: A Novel by Jed Rubenfeld (Riverhead 03 January 2012 / $16.00) - Product Description: From a true and shocking event-the bombing of lower Manhattan in September 1920-Jed Rubenfeld weaves a twisting and thrilling work of fiction as a physician, a female radiochemist, and a police official come to believe that the inexplicable attack is only part of a larger plan. It's a conspiracy that takes them from Paris to Prague, from the Vienna home of Sigmund Freud to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., and ultimately to the depths of our most savage human instincts where there lies the shocking truth behind that fateful day.

(Source: Riverhead)


An Appetite For Murder (Key West Food Critic) by Lucy Burdette (Signet 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: Hayley Snow's life always revolved around food. But when she applies to be a food critic for a Key West style magazine, she discovers that her new boss would be Kristen Faulkner-the woman Hayley caught in bed with her boyfriend! Hayley thinks things are as bad as they can get-until the police pull her in as a suspect in Kristen's murder. Kristen was killed by a poisoned key lime pie. Now Hayley must find out who used meringue to murder before she takes all the blame. (Source: Signet)

It Takes a Witch: A Wishcraft Mystery by Heather Blake (Signet 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: Darcy Merriweather has just discovered she hails from a long line of Wishcrafters-witches with the power to cast spells by making a wish. She's come to Enchanted Village to learn her trade but finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation... (Source: Signet)

Royal Pains: Sick Rich by D.P. Lyle (Signet 03 January 2012 / $7.99) - Product Description: The Fourth of July weekend is fast approaching, and Dr. Hank Lawson and his friends have been invited to the only party that matters. But when local kids start exhibit strange symptoms, Hank fears that the fireworks aren't the only things that are about to burn out... (see review)

Soho Constable

Four Below: A Detective Inspector Liam McLusky Investigation by Peter Helton (Soho Constable 24 January 2012 / $25.00) - Product Description: Heavy snow, and it’s still only November. DI McLusky has settled into his new job in Bristol but the severe weather shows an unfamiliar side to the city. After the conviction of a drug baron earlier in the year a new kingpin secures the hub of drug crime in Bristol. But how secure does he feel? A series of seemingly unconnected murders, accidents and dying drug users, investigated by McLusky and his team, slowly reveal the web of violence that spreads across the city. Narrow strips of a cut-up photograph arriving piecemeal at the Bristol Herald’s office may hold vital clues, but will the completed puzzle reach McLusky in time to prevent more deaths?

The private lives of both McLusky and his rival, DI Kat Fairfield, take unexpected turns too, making the atmosphere at Albany Road station, already considerably cooled by the failed heating, icier still. (see review)

Soho Crime

Cold Comfort: An Officer Gunnhildur Mystery by Quentin Bates (Soho Crime 17 January 2012 / $25.00) - Product Description: Sergeant Gunnhildur, recently promoted from her post in rural Iceland to Reykjavík’s Serious Crime Unit, is tasked with hunting down escaped convict Long Ommi, who has embarked on a spree of violent score-settling in and around the city. Meanwhile, she’s also investigating the murder of a fitness guru in her own city-center apartment. As Gunna delves into the cases, she unearths some unwelcome secrets and influential friends shared by both guru and convict. Set in an Iceland plagued by an ongoing financial crisis, Gunna has to take stock of the whirlwind changes that have swept through the country--and the fact that at the highest levels of power, the system’s endemic corruption still leads, inevitably, to murder. (see review)

Detective Inspector Huss by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime 24 January 2012 / $9.99) - Product Description: Inspector Irene Huss, stationed in Göteborg, is called through the rain-drenched wintry streets to the scene of an apparent suicide. The dead man landed on the sidewalk in front of his luxurious duplex apartment. He was a wealthy financier connected, through an old-boys’ network, with the first families of Sweden. But the "Society Suicide" turns out to have been a carefully plotted murder. As more murders ensue, she tangles with street gang members, skinheads, immigrants and neo-Nazis--a cross-section of Sweden’s disaffected—in order to catch the killer. (Source: Soho Crime)

Frozen Assets: An Officer Gunnhildur Mystery by Quentin Bates (Soho Crime 10 January 2012 / $14.00) - Product Description: A body is found floating in the harbor of a rural Icelandic fishing village. Was it an accident, or something more sinister? It's up to Officer Gunnhildur, a sardonic female cop, to find out. Her investigation uncovers a web of corruption connected to Iceland's business and banking communities. Meanwhile, a rookie crime journalist latches onto her, looking for a scoop, and an anonymous blogger is stirring up trouble. The complications increase, as do the stakes, when a second murder is committed. Frozen Assets is a piercing look at the endemic corruption that led to the global financial crisis that bankrupted Iceland's major banks and sent the country into an economic tailspin from which it has yet to recover.

Read our review of Frozen Assets from our January 2011 issue. (Source: Soho Crime)

Potsdam Station: A John Russell WWII Thriller by David Downing (Soho Crime 10 January 2012 / $14.00) - Product Description: In April 1945, Hitler’s Reich is on the verge of extinction. Assaulted by Allied bombs and Soviet shells, ruled by Nazis with nothing to lose, Berlin has become the most dangerous place on earth.

John Russell's son Paul is stationed on the Eastern Front with the German Army, awaiting the Soviets’ final onslaught. In Berlin, Russell's girlfriend Effi has been living in disguise, helping fugitives to escape from Germany. With a Jewish orphan to care for, she’s trying to outlast the Nazis.

Russell hasn't heard from either of them since fleeing Germany in 1941. He is desperate to find out if they're alive and to protect them from the advancing Red Army. He flies to Moscow, seeking permission to enter Berlin with the Red Army as a journalist, but when the Soviet's arrest him as a spy, things look bleak—until they find a use for him that has him parachuting into Berlin behind German lines.

Read our review of Potsdam Station from our April 2011 issue. (Source: Soho Crime)

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