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US Books Received- 01/2013  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

Berkley

Out of Circulation (Cat in the Stacks) by Miranda James (Berkley 29 January 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He's returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but when a feud erupts between the town's richest ladies, the writing on the wall spells murder.

The Ducote sisters are in a tiff with Vera Cassity over the location of this year's library fundraising gala, and Charlie would rather curl up in a corner than get into the fray. It seems everyone--even his housekeeper Azalea--has it in for Vera. And at the gala, she gives them good reason, with a public display of rancor aimed at anyone who gets in her way.

But those bitter words wind up being her last. When Charlie discovers Azalea standing over Vera's dead body, it's up to him--with a little help from Diesel--to clear Azalea's name, and catch a killer before his last chapter is finished. (Source: Berkley)

Creme de la Crime

Nightrise (Return of Philip Dryden) by Jim Kelly (Creme de la Crime 01 January 2013 / $28.95) - Product Description: Journalist Philip Dryden is shocked to be informed by police that his father has been killed in a car accident – he drowned during the fenland floods of 1977, 35 years before. At the same time, two unrelated cases are demanding Dryden's professional attention: a body riddled with bullets found hanging in the middle of a lettuce field, and a couple protesting that the local council has buried their baby daughter in a pauper's grave without permission. As Dryden pieces the clues together, he realizes that the three cases may be related after all. (see review)

Delacorte Press

Speaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press 29 January 2013 / $24.00) - Product Description: Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they're found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters' diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of St. Tancred's death, the English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint's tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked. Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there's never such thing as an open-and-shut case. (see review)

Five Star

Back to the Garden by Erica Obey (Five Star 16 January 2013 / $25.95) - Book Description: When she heads to Woodstock to ghost-write a memoir for Bliss Falco, a name-dropping psychic who claims to have slept with everyone from Casanova to Hubert Humphrey in her past lives, failed romance writer Laura Converse never expects to be mistaken for a long-vanished singer. But she quickly finds herself trying to convince everyone in this New Age Mecca that she has not been sent by supernatural forces in order to solve a twenty-five-year-old murder. Making matters worse, the story immediately proves irresistible to her ex-husband, Rimes, a tabloid reporter--especially if Laura will grant him an exclusive. But tabloid fantasy turns quickly to Woodstock reality when a sleepwalking record producer discovers the singer's remains and turns to Bliss to help him recover his memories about the long ago night the singer vanished. When murder results, perhaps by supernatural means, Laura is forced to join forces with her ex-husband to investigate--a task considerably complicated by a distractingly attractive gardener, who just might be a warlock... or a muderer... or the love of Laura's life. (Source: Five Star)

Cold Feet: A Stella Lavender Mystery by Karen Pullen (Five Star 16 January 2013 / $25.95) - Book Description: Special Agent Stella Lavender has a stressful, adrenaline-fueled job: buying drugs undercover from paranoid drug dealers. One afternoon she’s grateful to be relaxing at an elegant outdoor wedding. But as the guests wait, then grow restive, the satin-clad bride is dying most horribly. Who would kill a bride—an “angel” according to the groom—just minutes before her nuptials? Joining the investigation, Stella discovers the bride’s surprising history and that jealousy, depression, and grief colored her relationships. In Cold Feet, Karen Pullen draws the reader into a riveting story that alternates between Stella’s life as a drug agent and her determination to untangle a complex knot of secrets, harmful emotions, and questions of identity in order to find Justine’s killer. (Source: Five Star)

Monkey Love and Murder by Edith McClintock (Five Star 16 January 2013 / $25.95) - Book Description: Emma Parks joins a monkey research project deep in the South American rainforest on a whim. She refuses to admit it might have something to do with a close friend's death from which she has not recovered, but it's certainly not because she knows anything about spider monkeys, least of all what they look like. She's barely arrived when International Wildlife Conservation's renowned director drowns during a party celebrating the group's controversial takeover of the park. Tension mounts following the machete murder of a researcher, threatening Emma's budding primatology career, her secret romance with an Australian zoologist, and more importantly--her life. (see review)

Phony Tinsel by Robert S. Levinson (Five Star 16 January 2013 / $25.95) - Book Description: It starts when internationally adored film star Sarah Darling, more femme fatale in real than in reel life, digs her claws into Charlie Dickens. No, not that Dickens.

This Dickens is young and naive, a quick-tempered screenwriter desperate for success. He's easily seduced into Sarah's cockeyed scheme to murder her husband, Max Moonglow, an autocratic, skirt-chasing producer-director forced to film Charlie's disaster of a screenplay or risk a scandal that could destroy his career.

There's romance, too, as Charlie juggles his emotions between conniving ingenue Polly WIlde and damsel in distress Robin Moon, a missing migrant worker Charlie's vowed to rescue from the harsh realities of life beyond the Hooverville homesteaders, Bible-thumping fanatics, club-wielding railroad bulls and assorted others he encounters.

Sarah, maeanwhile, plays hostess to a stable of lovers, some returned from her dark, sex-driven past and others from her ego-driven present, keys to a future she finds worth the price of a murder of two. One story twist leads to another and to a final, jaw-dropping surprise. (see review)

Forge Books

Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising: Blood of War by Larry Bond and Jim DeFelice (Forge Books 15 January 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: As depression and drought wrack China, the country's new premier has launched a deadly war with Vietnam. The assault has left the world on the precipice of disaster.

U.S. Army Major Zeus Murphy disobeys his commander and plunges headlong into the conflict, leading the Vietnamese in a covert attack against the Chinese army massing on the border. If the gambit fails, China will roll over Vietnam—and Zeus will lose the only woman he has ever loved, kept prisoner in a secret base north of Hanoi.

In the South China Sea, the USS McLane becomes a deadly pawn in a game of international chicken between the U.S. and China. If the American ship won't leave, the Chinese are prepared to sink it.

Vietnam prepares a doomsday weapon that will not only extract revenge but render much of Southeast Asia uninhabitable for decades. Hoping to prevent this, the U.S. President sends SEAL Lieutenant Ric Kerfer to destroy the weapon.

Operating on land and sea, American heroes are caught in a desperate struggle to prevent the unthinkable from becoming reality. But are they enough to turn back the might of the rising Red Dragon? (Source: Forge Books)

The Bughouse Affair (Carpenter and Quincannon) by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (Forge Books 08 January 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: In The Bughouse Affair, this first of a new series of lighthearted historical mysteries set in 1890s San Francisco, former Pinkerton operative Sabina Carpenter and her detective partner, ex-Secret Service agent John Quincannon, undertake what initially appear to be two unrelated investigations.

Sabina's case involves the hunt for a ruthless lady "dip" who uses fiendish means to relieve her victims of their valuables at Chutes Amusement Park and other crowded places. Quincannon, meanwhile, is after a slippery housebreaker who targets the homes of wealthy residents, following a trail that leads him from the infamous Barbary Coast to an oyster pirate's lair to a Tenderloin parlor house known as the Fiddle Dee Dee.

The two cases eventually connect in surprising fashion, but not before two murders and assorted other felonies complicate matters even further. And not before the two sleuths are hindered, assisted, and exasperated by the bughouse Sherlock Holmes.

(Source: Forge Books)

The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi (Forge Books 22 January 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: Some say Demiel ben Yusef is the world's most dangerous terrorist, personally responsible for bombings and riots that have claimed the lives of thousands. Others insist he is a man of peace, a miracle worker, and possibly even the Son of God. His trial in New York City for crimes against humanity attracts scores of protestors, as well as media and religious leaders from around the world. 

Cynical reporter Alessandra Russo heads to the UN hoping for a piece of the action, but soon becomes entangled in controversy and suspicion when ben Yusef singles her out for attention among all other reporters. As Alessandra begins digging into ben Yusef's past, she is already in more danger than she knows—and when she is falsely accused of murder during her investigation, she is forced to flee New York.

On the run from unknown enemies, Alessandra finds herself on the trail of a global conspiracy and a story that could shake the world to its foundations. Is Demiel ben Yusef the Second Coming or the Antichrist? The truth may lie in the secret history of the Holy Family, a group of Templars who defied the church, and a mysterious relic stained with the sacred blood of Christ Himself. (see review)

Harper

Blood Money (Jack Swyteck Novel) by James Grippando (Harper 08 January 2013 / $26.99) - Product Description:

New York Times bestselling author James Grippando delivers a powerful, nonstop thrill ride ripped from the headlines. Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck is back in his most frightening case yet, and this time the price of victory is measured in blood.

It is the most sensational murder trial since O. J. Simpson's. The nation is obsessed with Sydney Bennett, a sexy nightclub waitress and good-time girl accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter for cramping her party life. When he had agreed to defend Sydney, Jack Swyteck knew he'd be taking on the toughest and most controversial case of his career.

Millions of "TV jurors" have convicted Sydney in the court of public opinion.

When the shocking verdict of not guilty is announced, citizens across the country are outraged, and Jack is bombarded by the fallout: angry, profanity-laced phone calls and even outright threats. Media-fed rumors of "blood money"—purported seven-figure book and movie deals—ratchet up the hysteria, putting Jack's client and everyone around her at risk.

On the night of Sydney's release, an angry mob outside the jail has gathered to serve its own justice. In the frenzy, an innocent young woman bearing a striking resemblance to the reviled Sydney Bennett ends up in a coma. While the media blame Jack and his defense team, the victim's parents reach out to him, requesting his help. They don't believe the attack was the tragic result of random mob violence.

Searching for the truth about what happened that night, Jack makes a frightening discovery. Larger and much more powerful forces are working in the shadows, and what happened outside the jail is a symptom of an evil that infected the show-stopping trial and media-spun phenomenon of Sydney Bennett.

(see review)

Into the Dark by Alison Gaylin (Harper 29 January 2013 / $5.99) - Book Description: Can a stranger share your memories?

That's the question that haunts Brenna Spector when she first sees footage of missing webcam performer Lula Belle. Naked but hidden in shadow, the "performance artist" shares her deepest, darkest secrets with her unseen male audience ... secrets that, to Brenna, are chillingly familiar.

Brenna has perfect memory, able to recall in astonishing detail every moment of every day of her adult life. But her childhood—those carefree years before the traumatic disappearance of her sister, Clea--is frustratingly vague. When Brenna listens to the stories Lula Belle tells her audience, stories only Brenna and Clea could know, those years come to life again in vivid detail. Convinced the missing internet performer has ties to her sister, Brenna takes the case—and in her quest for Lula Belle unravels a web of obsession, sex, guilt, and murder that could regain her family ... or cost her life. (see review)

Minotaur Books

Aloha, Lady Blue: A Mystery by Charley Memminger (Minotaur Books 22 January 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: This riveting new mystery series pays loving homage to legendary author John D. MacDonald. Stryker McBride is a former crime reporter who lives on a hugely expensive houseboat, the Travis McGee. When Stryker receives an unexpected SOS call from a sultry beauty queen, he agrees to look into the suspicious death of the woman's grandfather. As Stryker investigates, he encounters a cast of characters as diverse as Hawaii itself, including Auntie Kealoha, a charming entertainer turned mobster, and her 400 pound right-hand man, a Chinese-Hawaiian named Tiny Maunakea. Soon, Stryker discovers a deadly secret buried deep in the heart of Hawaii that has consequences much larger than one old man's death. (see review)

Arsenic and Old Puzzles: A Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall (Minotaur Books 22 January 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: The Puzzle Lady embarks on another adventure involving one classic movie and featuring new puzzles by Will Shortz.

When an elderly boarder at a Bakerhaven bed-and-breakfast drops dead during afternoon tea, there's nothing particularly suspicious about it—except for the Sudoku in his jacket pocket. But when a second body turns up in the window seat and an autopsy shows both men were poisoned with elderberry wine, the Puzzle Lady suspects she's dealing with a cold-blooded killer who for some reason is copying the Cary Grant movie Arsenic and Old Lace, in which two old ladies who run a boarding house poison elderly widowers and bury them in the basement. More murders, more puzzles, and a grave dug in the cellar seem to cement the theory.

Ordinarily, Cora would eat a case like this for breakfast, but for once she can't figure it out. And she's not sure if the clues don't add up, or if the much-married Puzzle Lady is just distracted by being involved in her first romantic entanglement in years. (see review)

December's Thorn: A Fever Devilin Novel by Phillip DePoy (Minotaur Books 22 January 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: Fever Devilin is an academic with a complicated past and an unusual view of the world. A folklorist by training, he's returned to his family home in Blue Mountain, a small town in the heart of Georgia's Appalachian Mountains, where nothing is ever quite what it seems, and the past is always complicated. Still recovering from a near-death experience, Fever is visited by a woman who claims to be his wife. And she's there to deliver some shocking news: Fever has a son.

His friends don't really believe the woman exists--they think she's another hallucination of a mind still slowly recovering from a long-term coma. Fever's fiancée is torn between being outraged and concerned for his mental health. None of this is helped by the fact that Fever, even in the best of times, has a tendency to see things that others don't and that may not, strictly speaking, exist. But when someone starts shooting very real bullets from a very real rifle in Fever's direction, the one thing that everyone can agree upon is that there's something very deadly going on. All Fever has to do is sort out who is trying to kill him—and why—before they succeed. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Dying in the Wool (Kate Shackleton) by Frances Brody (Minotaur Books 22 January 2013 / $14.99) - Product Description: Take one quiet Yorkshire village -- Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart.  Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens.

Add a measure of mystery -- Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again.

A sprinkling of scandal -- Now Joshua's daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers?

And Kate Shackleton--amateur sleuth extraordinaire! Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who better to get to the bottom of Joshua's mysterious disappearance in this charming traditional mystery by Frances Brody? But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closed. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Gone West: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery by Carola Dunn (Minotaur Books 22 January 2013 / $14.99) - Product Description: In September 1926, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher visits Sybil Sutherby, a school friend now living in Derbyshire as the confidential secretary to a novelist. Suspecting that something is seriously amiss, Sybil has asked Daisy to discretely investigate. Upon arrival, Daisy finds a household of relatives and would-be suitors living off the hospitality of Humphrey Birtwhistle, who had been supporting them through his thrice-yearly, pseudonymous Westerns. When he took ill, though, Sybil took over writing them while he recovered, only to see the sales increase.

Now, she fears that someone in the household is poisoning Birtwhistle to keep him ill and Sybil writing the better-paying versions. But before Daisy can even get decently underway, Humphrey Birtwhistle dies under suspicious circumstances and Daisy now faces a death to untangle, a house full of suspects and a Scotland Yard detective husband who is less than pleased at this turn of events. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Miss Dimple Suspects by Mignon F. Ballard (Minotaur Books 22 January 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description:

With the country in the midst of World War II, you can be sure the small town of Elderberry, Georgia, will pull together to find a missing child. And you can be equally certain that first-grade teacher, Miss Dimple Kilpatrick, will be in the search party—especially since Peggy Ashcroft is one of her students.  Miss Dimple carves out a search path all her own and once again, the sharp-as-a-tack teacher is right on point. But she finds Peggy too sick to walk and it's too dark for Miss Dimple to find her way back.

Luckily, she comes upon the home of an elderly artist, Mae Martha, and her young companion, Suzy, who helps ensure that Peggy returns home safe and sound. A few days later, however, Miss Dimple receives a frantic call from Suzy: Mae Martha has been murdered and Suzy is seen as the most likely suspect, because her family is Japanese. Miss Dimple and her fellow teachers Annie and Charlie don't buy it; and set out to prove Suzy's innocence, only to discover danger where they least expect it. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Operation Napoleon (Reykjavik Thriller) by Arnaldur Indridason (Minotaur Books 29 January 2013 / $9.99) - Product Description: In 1945, a German bomber crash-lands in Iceland during a blizzard. Puzzlingly, there are both German and American officers on board. One of the senior German officers claims that their best chance of survival is to try to walk to the nearest farm. He sets off, a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, only to disappear into the white vastness…

Flash forward to the present. The U.S. Army is clandestinely trying to remove the wreck of an airplane from an Icelandic glacier. A young Icelander, Elías, inadvertently stumbles upon the excavation and then promptly disappears. But before he vanishes, he manages to contact his sister, Kristín. She embarks on a thrilling and perilous adventure, determined to discover the truth of her brother's fate—and solve the riddle of Operation Napolean.

Read our review of Operation Napoleon in our June 2012 issue. (Source: Minotaur Books)

The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas (Minotaur Books 08 January 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: In the tradition of Arianna Franklin and C.J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomas's remarkable debut, The Midwife's Tale. It is 1644, and Parliament's armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels' hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget's friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who's far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha's past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city's most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther's murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand. (see review)

Other Press

Reunion at Red Paint Bay by George Harrar (Other Press 29 January 2013 / $14.95) - Product Description: Red Paint calls itself "the friendliest town in Maine", a place where everyone knows one another and nothing too disturbing ever happens. Native son Simon Howe is a sturdy family man--a good father and husband--and owner-editor of the town's newspaper. Because there's rarely any real news, he runs stories about Virgin Mary sightings, high school reunions, and petty criminals.

One day Simon's predictable and peaceful life is disrupted by the arrival of an anonymous postcard, the first in a series of increasingly menacing messages. He tries to ignore them, but the implied danger becomes more real, threatening to engulf his wife and son as well. The Howe family becomes engaged in a full-scale psychological battle with their unidentified stalker--without even knowing it. Secrets from Simon's past are uncovered, escalating toward a tense and unexpected climax. (see review)

Picador

The Disciple of Las Vegas (Ava Lee Novel) by Ian Hamilton (Picador 29 January 2013 / $15.00) - Product Description: Fifty million dollars has disappeared into thin air from the accounts of one of the richest men in the Philippines, Tommy Ordonez. His one hope is Ava Lee--sleek, capable forensic accountant and sleuth. With the help of her Triad-connected partner, Uncle, Ava follows the money trail from San Francisco to Costa Rica to the casinos and illegal gambling dens of Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a vengeful adversary from Ava's past has put out a contract on her life, and the shadowy hit man is close at her heels every step of the way. Will Ava recover the stolen cash without stepping into the crosshairs of a growing list of enemies?  (Source: Picador)

The Nightmare (Detective Inspector Joona Linna) by Lars Kepler (Picador 29 January 2013 / $16.00) - Product Description: A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago--strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment--but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. From the internationally bestselling author of The Hypnotist comes The Nightmare, another spellbinding tale of Nordic crime.

(Source: Picador)

Seventh Street Books

Dante's Wood: A Mark Angelotti Novel by Lynne Raimondo (Seventh Street Books 15 January 2013 / $15.95) - Product Description: Psychiatrist Mark Angelotti knows that genes don't lie. Or do they?

Back at work after a devastating illness, Mark believes he has put his past behind him when he is asked to examine Charlie Dickerson, a mentally handicapped teenager whose wealthy mother insists he is a victim of sexual abuse. Mark diagnoses a different reason for Charlie's ills, but his prescription turns deadly when a teacher is murdered and Charlie confesses to the police.

Volunteering to testify on Charlie's behalf, Mark's worst fears are realized when paternity tests show the victim was pregnant with Charlie's child. Now it's up to Mark to prove Charlie's innocence in a case where nothing is as first meets the eye. Not even genes—Mark's or Charlie's--can be trusted to shine a light on the truth. (Source: Seventh Street Books)

Fear of Beauty by Susan Froetschel (Seventh Street Books 15 January 2013 / $15.95) - Product Description: An Afghan woman defies her husband and societal pressures to investigate the death of her son.

The battered body of an Afghan boy is found at the base of a cliff outside a remote village in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Did he fall as most of the villagers think? Or is this the work of American soldiers, as others want to believe? Not far from the village, the US Army has set up a training outpost. Sofi, the boy's illiterate young mother, is desperate to find the truth about her son's death. But extremists move in and offer to roust the "infidels" from the region, adding new pressures and restrictions for the small village and its women.

We hear two sides of this story. One is Sofi's. The other is that of US Army Special Ranger Joey Pearson, who is in this faraway place to escape a rough childhood and rigidly fundamentalist parents.

In time, and defying all odds, Sofi secretly learns to read--with the help of Mita Samuelson, an American aid worker. Through reading, the Afghan woman develops her own interpretation of how to live the good life while discovering the identity of her son's murderer and the extremists' real purpose in her village.

As they search for answers, Sofi, Joey, and Mita come to the same realization: in each of their separate cultures the urge to preserve a way of life can lead to a fundamentalism that destroys a society's basic values. (see review)

Soho Crime

Little Elvises (Junior Bender #2) by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime 29 January 2013 / $25.00) - Product Description: LA burglar Junior Bender has (unfortunately) developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him, either his suspect or his employer.

Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he'd threatened to kill a couple times. It doesn't help that the dead journalist's widow is one pretty lady, and she's trying to get Junior to mix pleasure with business. Just as the investigation is spiraling out of control, Junior's hard-drinking landlady begs him to solve the disappearance of her daughter, who got involved with a very questionable character. And, worst news of all, both Junior's ex-wife and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Rina, seem to have new boyfriends. What a mess. (see review)

Little Elvises (Junior Bender #2) by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime 29 January 2013 / $25.00) - Product Description: LA burglar Junior Bender has (unfortunately) developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him, either his suspect or his employer.

Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he'd threatened to kill a couple times. It doesn't help that the dead journalist's widow is one pretty lady, and she's trying to get Junior to mix pleasure with business. Just as the investigation is spiraling out of control, Junior's hard-drinking landlady begs him to solve the disappearance of her daughter, who got involved with a very questionable character. And, worst news of all, both Junior's ex-wife and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Rina, seem to have new boyfriends. What a mess. (see review)

Ratlines by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime 01 January 2013 / $26.95) - Product Description: Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II.

A note from the killers is found on the dead German's corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: "We are coming for you."

As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators, all presided over by Skorzeny from his country estate outside Dublin. When Ryan closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? Ryan learns that Skorzeny might be a dangerous ally, but he is a deadly enemy. (see review)

Subterranean Press

Dead Aim by Joe R. Lansdale (Subterranean Press 01 January 2013 / $25.00) - Book Description: Dead Aim marks the always welcome return of Joe R. Lansdale’s most enduring fictional creations: Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. The result is a spare, beautifully crafted novella in which Lansdale's unique voice and inimitable narrative gifts are on full—and generous—display.

The story begins simply enough when the two agree to provide protection for a woman harassed by her violent, soon-to-be-ex husband. But, as readers of this series will already know, events in the lives of Hap and Leonard rarely stay simple for long. When a protracted stakeout ends in a lethal shooting and a pair of moldering corpses turn up in an otherwise deserted trailer, the nature of this “routine” assignment changes dramatically. The ensuing investigation unearths a complex web of lies, duplicity, and hidden agendas that leads from an upscale Texas law firm to the world of organized crime, culminating in the kind of explosive, anything-can-happen confrontation that only Joe Lansdale could create. Violent, profane, and often raucously funny, Dead Aim is a tautly written, hugely entertaining thriller and a triumph of the storyteller’s art.

Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition
Limited: 400 signed numbered copies, bound in leather, with a different cover design than the trade hardcover (Source: Subterranean Press)

William Morrow

The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (William Morrow 08 January 2013 / $27.99) - Product Description: An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators--Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist--are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.

But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is like not other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.

From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity. (Source: William Morrow)

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