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US Books Received- 08/2013  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

Cloche and Dagger (A Hat Shop Mystery) by Jenn McKinlay (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: Not only is Scarlett Parker's love life in the loo--as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say--it's also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims's Whims, a ladies' hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.

But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she is met at the airport not by Viv, but by her handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Second, Viv--who has some whims of her own--seems to be missing. No one is too concerned about the unpredictable Viv until one of her posh clients is found dead wearing the cloche hat Viv made for her--and nothing else. Is Scarlett's cousin in trouble? Or is she in hiding?

(see review)

Cover Story (An Ashton Corners Mystery) by Erika Chase (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: Murder is nothing novel for the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society--but this time the police want to throw the book at one of their own.

It's time to celebrate when club member Molly Mathews's childhood friend, Teensy Coldicutt, moves back to town--complete with a published book. But as the club plans Teensy's book launch, Molly is attacked and Teensy's books are stolen. Who would be so desperate for 150 copies of a sexy novel written by an elderly widow? Then Ashton Corners is hit with another shock when Teensy's publisher turns up dead--and fellow club member and former police chief Bob Miller is taken into custody.

Convinced that Teensy's missing books hold the key to the murder, Lizzie Turner and her band of readers are determined to hunt them down. But the plot thickens when their search leads them straight into a counterfeiting ring. Now they must unravel this surprise twist before the killer gets the chance to write someone else off. (Source: Berkley)

Death Al Dente (Food Lovers' Village) by Leslie Ann Budewitz (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: The town of Jewel Bay, Montana--known as a Food Lovers' Village--is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family's century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin's freshly booming business might go rotten when a former employee turns up dead.

Murphy's Mercantile, known as the Merc, has been a staple in Jewel Bay for over a hundred years. To celebrate their recent makeover as a gourmet food market, Erin has organized a town festival, Festa di Pasta, featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay's finest--including her mother Fresca's delicious Italian specialties.

But Erin's sweet success is soured when the shop's former manager, Claudette, is found dead behind the Merc on the Festa's opening night. With rival chef James Angelo stirring up rumors that Fresca's sauce recipes were stolen from Claudette, Erin's mother is under close scrutiny. Now Erin will have to hunt down some new suspects, or both her family and her store might wind up in hot water.

First in a new series. Book includes recipes. (Source: Berkley)

Heirs and Graces (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $24.95) - Product Description: As thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch may not be the most sophisticated young woman, but she knows her table manners. It's forks on the left, knives on the right--not in His Majesty's back....

Here I am thinking the education I received at my posh Swiss finishing school would never come in handy. And while it hasn't landed me a job, or a husband, it has convinced Her Majesty the Queen and the Dowager Duchess to enlist my help. I have been entrusted with grooming Jack Altringham--the Duke's newly discovered heir fresh from the Outback of Australia--for high society.

The upside is I am to live in luxury at one of England's most gorgeous stately homes. But upon arrival at Kingsdowne Place, my dearest Darcy has been sent to fetch Jack, leaving me stuck in a manor full of miscreants...none of whom are too pleased with the discovery of my new ward.

And no sooner has the lad been retrieved than the Duke announces he wants to choose his own heir. With the house in a hubbub over the news, Jack's hunting knife somehow finds its way into the Duke's back. Eyes fall, backs turn, and fingers point to the young heir. As if the rascal wasn't enough of a handful, now he's suspected of murder. Jack may be wild, but I'd bet the crown jewels it wasn't he who killed the Duke. (see review)

If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion (Berkley Prime Crime) by Paige Shelton (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: At Gram's Country Cooking School, Isabelle "Betts" Winston and her grandmother share their home-style culinary secrets. But what they keep to themselves are the secrets of Broken Rope, a quiet little Missouri town, that isn't nearly as quiet as it seems....

A fresh school year begins as Gram and Betts anxiously await the arrival of their new crop of students. But their enthusiasm is thwarted when a stranger named Freddie O'Bannon arrives and claims to have proof that he was accepted to the school despite what is in their files. And when the ghost of Cylas Gent, a young man who might have a romantic past with Gram, also appears, there are suddenly two mysteries demanding their attention.

But just as Gram and Betts start sifting through the past, one of their new students is murdered. Does the seemingly sweet Freddie O'Bannon have something sinister to hide, or are Gram's ghosts trying to teach her a lesson? Either way, it's up to the country cooks to catch a killer before another living soul gets burned. (Includes delicious recipes!) (Source: Berkley)

Pall in the Family (Family Fortune Mystery) by Dawn Eastman (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: The aptly named Crystal Springs is the destination for tourists seeking psychics, séances, and the promise of contacting the spirit world. In this small western Michigan town, everyone knows the Fortune family. Rose is gifted with tarot card readings. Her sister, Vi, is a self-proclaimed pet psychic. And Rose's daughter Clyde is...a cop. A cop on leave from Ann Arbor, more specifically, who's come home to kooky Crystal Springs to reevaluate her life. Mom and Aunt Vi can't wait for Clyde to finally embrace her own psychic gifts and join the family business. Clyde would prefer the low-stress lifestyle of a dog walker and the low-key company of her nephew, Seth.

But when a local psychic is killed, leaving behind a traumatized Shih Tzu, it seems to be in the cards for Clyde to get involved. With her old flame Mac leading the investigation, that may prove awkward. Whether she uses her skills as a cop or her long-denied psychic abilities, it's up to Clyde to divine a killer's identity before someone else suffers more misfortune. (Source: Berkley)

Remnants of Murder (Southern Sewing Circle) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (Berkley 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: When a cantankerous Sweet Briar resident ends up six feet under, the ladies of the sewing circle have to deal with a town full of suspects.

With the library's budget dwindling, Tori Sinclair is forced to let go of her predecessor, and fellow sewing circle member, Dixie Dunn. After losing her job a second time, Dixie decides to volunteer for Home Fare, delivering meals to the homebound.

Less than a week after Dixie starts, her client Clyde Montgomery is found dead. The police think he died of old age, but with most of the town badgering Clyde to sell his picturesque land, his passing seems a little too convenient.

Determined to prove that Clyde was murdered, Dixie asks Tori for some sleuthing assistance. But with so many Sweet Briar residents in possession of a compelling motive, the sewing circle ladies will have to needle out the truth to find the killer. (Source: Berkley)

Bitter Lemon Press

A Crack in the Wall by Claudia Pineiro (Bitter Lemon Press 06 August 2013 / $14.95) - Product Description: Pablo Simó's life is a mess. His career as an architect is at a deadend; reduced to designing soulless office buildings desecrating the heart of Buenos Aires. His marriage seems to be one endless argument with his wife over the theatrics of their rebellious teenage daughter. To complicate matters, Pablo has long been attracted to sexy office secretary Marta Horvat, who is probably having an affair with his boss. Everything changes with the unexpected appearance of Leonor, a beautiful young woman who brings to light a crime that happened years before, a crime that everyone in the office wants forgotten, at all costs. (Source: Bitter Lemon Press)

Cozy Cat Press

Don't Cry Over Killed Milk: A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery by Stephen Kaminski (Cozy Cat Press 28 August 2013 / $14.95) - Product Description: Jeremiah Milk lived a life filled with emotional extremes. Amniotic band syndrome--a congenital condition--left his fingers and toes malformed. Ridiculed as a child, he became an adolescent hermit. As an adult, Jeremiah's wounds healed when he landed a position as a park ranger and married a woman who loved him despite his physical appearance. But fate ripped his life to shreds when his wife and infant son died on the same night in separate calamities. Shortly thereafter, the tides turned once more as an act of Jeremiah's ostensible benevolence translates into a financial boon. The book on Jeremiah's life closes without mercy when he's found murdered at Tripping Falls State Park. Damon Lassard--Hollydale's loveable civic leader, amateur sleuth, and Jeremiah's neighbor—springs into action. He's obstructed by a prickly lieutenant, but wriggles information unknown to the police from a colorful bevy of suspects. Aided by his best friend Rebecca and his reluctant ally Detective Gerry Sloman, Damon engineers a deep dive into Jeremiah's past to solve the crime. Along the way, Damon strengthens his relationship with the breathtaking Bethany Krims, cracks a local horticultural mystery, and tries in vain to tame his wickedly sarcastic mother. Join Damon Lassard in his latest adventure, Don't Cry Over Killed Milk. (Source: Cozy Cat Press)

Exhibit A

Clean Burn: Detective Janelle Watkins by Karen Sandler (Exhibit A 27 August 2013 / $14.99) - Product Description: Private investigator Janelle Watkins swore off investigating child abductions four years ago, when she left the San Francisco PD.

But when two clients beg for her help, one to find her missing 11-year-old son and the other to find a toddler who's vanished, Janelle can't say no. Even though it means returning to the scene of her nightmares – her hometown of Greenville.

Janelle enlists the aid of her ex-partner and ex-lover, Greenville County Sheriff Ken Heinz – but in the midst of their investigation, two other children are discovered missing and connected to Greenville.

Then Ken's niece disappears on her way to school.

Janelle and Ken find themselves in a race against the clock. Will they find the missing children in time, or will history repeat itself? (Source: Exhibit A)

Forge Books

Cat in an Alien X-Ray (Midnight Louie) by Carole Nelson Douglas (Forge Books 06 August 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: Cat in an Alien X-Ray takes the Las Vegas gang on a science-fictional roller-coaster ride, as Midnight Louie, feline PI, and company encounter UFO enthusiasts, conspiracy nuts who are too bizarre even for tin foil hat therapy. An Area 51 attraction on the Strip threatens to bring more than starry-eyed enthusiasts to town. Once again it is up to that furballed PI Midnight Louie to keep his crew in line and save them from the attack of the creatures from the beyond…or common criminals that prey on the innocent.
Also available as an ebook. (see review)

Strong Rain Falling (Caitlin Strong) by Jon Land (Forge Books 13 August 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: Jon Land's bestselling series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong continues in Strong Rain Falling.

Mexico, 1919: The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.

The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover Cort Wesley Masters both survive terrifying gun battles.  But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters' teenage sons.

That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance.  Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin's own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.

At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance. Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.'s technological heart.

This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well.  Her only chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets.  Because there's a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it's too late. (see review)

Henry Holt and Co.

Holy Orders: A Quirke Novel by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Co. 20 August 2013 / $26.00) - Product Description: When the body of his daughter's friend is brought to his autopsy table, Quirke is plunged into a world of corruption that takes him to the darkest corners of the Irish Church and State.

"At first they thought it was the body of a child. Later, when they got it out of the water and saw the pubic hair and the nicotine stains on the fingers, they realized their mistake."

So begins Holy Orders, the latest Quirke case set in Dublin at a moment when newspapers are censored, social conventions are strictly defined, and appalling crimes are hushed up. Why? Because in 1950s Ireland the Catholic Church controls the lives of nearly everyone. But when Quirke's daughter Phoebe loses her close friend Jimmy Minor to murder, Quirke can no longer play by the Church's rules. Along with Inspector Hackett, his sometime partner, Quirke investigates Jimmy's death and learns just how far the Church and its supporters will go to protect their own interests.

(Source: Henry Holt and Co.)

McClelland & Stewart

The Gifted: A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery by Gail Bowen (McClelland & Stewart 13 August 2013 / $27.95) - Product Description: Joanne Kilbourn is as feisty as ever in the 14th book of the series that bears her name. This time, Jo and Zack's young daughter Taylor's precocious talent as a painter has drawn the attention of people who may not be at all what they seem.

Jo and Zack are both proud and a little concerned when their youngest daughter Taylor -- whose birth mother was a brilliant but notoriously promiscuous artist -- has two paintings chosen for a high-level fund-raising auction. One they've seen; the other, a portrait of a young male artist's model, Taylor has carefully guarded in her studio. Their concern grows when it becomes clear (and quite public) that the young man is the lover of the older socialite who organized the fund-raiser -- and whose husband is Zack's old friend.

Soon, an ugly web of infidelity, addiction, and manipulation seems to be weaving itself around the Kilbourn-Shreve family. Jo and Zack are doing their best to keep everyone safe, but when one of the principal players in the drama is found murdered, events begin to spiral, Taylor seems to be drifting further away, and their very darkest fears seem about to be realized. (Source: McClelland & Stewart)

Minotaur Books

Dark Waters (Cragg & Fidelis) by Robin Blake (Minotaur Books 20 August 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: Blake's A Dark Anatomy has been called "impressive" (Publishers Weekly) and "a solid winner" (Booklist) and Dark Waters, the second book in the Cragg & Fidelis series, will leave readers hungry for more.

Preston, 1741. The drowning of drunken publican Antony Egan is no surprise--even if it comes as an unpleasant shock to coroner Titus Cragg, whose wife was the old man's niece. But he does his duty to the letter, and the inquest's verdict is accidental death. Meanwhile the town is agog with rumour and faction, as the General Election is only a week away and the two local seats are to be contested by four rival candidates. But Cragg's close friend, Dr. Luke Fidelis, finds evidence to cast doubt on the events leading to Egan's demise.

Soon suspicions are further roused when a well-to-do farmer collapses and it appears he was in town on political business. Is there a conspiracy afoot? The Mayor and Council have their own way of imposing order, but Cragg is determined not to be swayed by their pressure. With the help of Fidelis's scientific ingenuity the true criminals are brought to light. (see review)

Devil's Night (Kat Campbell Mysteries) by Todd Ritter (Minotaur Books 20 August 2013 / $26.99) - Product Description: Two things Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell never thought she would do again: Enter a burning building, and lay eyes on Henry Goll, the man who was trapped inside with her the last time she was in one. So Kat's on high alert when, barely a year after the dust settled around the Grim Reaper killings, both happen on the same day.

She's jolted awake at 1 a.m. by a desperate phone call telling her Perry Hollow's one and only museum--home to all the town's historical artifacts--has been set on fire. Arriving at the scene, Kat catches just a glimpse of Henry's face among the crowd before she's rushed into the charred building, only to find the museum curator dead...bludgeoned, not burned. Kat has lived through some tense moments and seen some gruesome crimes, but the next twenty-four hours will be the most dangerous of her life as she and Henry seek out a killer and the motivation behind these terrifying crimes. (see review)

Hollow Bones (Special Agent Caitlyn Tierney) by CJ Lyons (Minotaur Books 27 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: From the ancient mysteries of a Mayan temple to the sinister secrets of modern medicine, FBI agent Caitlyn Tierney uncovers crimes that have been buried far too long and far too deep...

It's the kind of case that chills Caitlyn to the bone. Missing person. College student. Beloved daughter of a world leader in biotechnology. She was last seen on a spring break cruise. No witnesses. No motives. Just one possible lead—reports of a stranger who may have lured the young archeology major off the ship and into the jungles of Guatemala.  When Caitlyn follows her hunch into the jungle—with the FBI's Jake Carver by her side—the trail takes a surprising turn into the very heart of darkness. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Murder, She Rode by Holly Menino (Minotaur Books 13 August 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: A former world-class rider and an adept horse trainer, Tink Elledge is a woman with a mission: to see her prized horse take home the victory at the prestigious Brandywine Three-Day Event. Tink is whip-smart, headstrong, and used to making her own way--so when an accident forces her onto the sidelines and causes her to forfeit the ride on what may be her last horse to a protégé, she struggles with the realization that her peak days as a horsewoman may be behind her. Then, before the event can begin, a truck accident kills a respected horseman and a talented colt. And when a young rider disappears, what began as a seemingly freak accident reveals sinister roots that lead directly to the tightly knit equestrian community and that Tink, in her newfound and uneasy role as a spectator, can't help trying to uncover. During the three-day event, horses will perform with inspiring grace. Their riders will navigate treacherous obstacles. And Tink will unravel a plot that threatens the reputations--and lives--of the very men and women she hopes to defeat on the course.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Rogue (Robin Monarch Thrillers) by Mark Sullivan (Minotaur Books 27 August 2013 / $9.99) - Product Description: Mark Sullivan has created a propulsive, compelling new thriller. Rogue, is one part Bourne Identity and one part Mission: Impossible, but readers will also love the nod to Hitchcock's It Takes a Thief.

Two years ago, Robin Monarch was a top level CIA operative--perhaps the best they had when it came to black bag operations. Then one day, in the middle of an operation, with his team around him in the field, Monarch walked away, leaving his old life and friends behind without a word of explanation.

Now this ex-soldier, ex-operative, and orphan with a murky past is a thief, stealing from the super-rich and has surfaced in St. Tropez. But when a complicated, high profile jewel heist goes wrong, Monarch is led into a carefully woven trap designed to force him to complete the very same mission he walked away from years ago.

It will take all of his skills (as well as those of the team he burned) and all of his cunning, if Monarch is to thwart the violent and deadly goals of the very powerful cabal who will do whatever it takes to bring the very dangerous "Green Fields" technology under their control. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Runaway Man by David Handler (Minotaur Books 20 August 2013 / $24.99) - Product Description: Benji Golden works in his family's struggling mom-and-pop business above a twenty-four-hour diner on Broadway and West 103rd Street. Golden Legal Services, a private detective agency, was started by Benji's hero-cop father. The business is now run by Benji's mother, who used to be the only Jewish pole dancer in New York City, and is staffed by Lovely Rita, an eye-popping computer wizard and a former lap dancer.

Baby-faced Benji—who is exactly one-quarter inch shy of five-foot-six, weighs a buck thirty-seven, and answers to the nickname "Bunny"--specializes in tracking down teen runaways. One day, when a lawyer in fancy shoes arrives from Park Avenue's classiest law firm offering a job and lots of money, Benji and his mother can't say no.

Bruce Weiner is a senior at prestigious Canterbury College. A client of the firm has bestowed a considerable inheritance on Bruce, but Bruce has gone missing, and it's up to Benji to find him. One murder later, Benji finds himself on a dangerous investigation that will take him to the highly secretive core of the most powerful city on earth. (see review)

The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin (Charlie Howard) by Chris Ewan (Minotaur Books 06 August 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: You can't keep a good thief down ... Charlie Howard is back and robbing the city of Berlin blind, until he witnesses a murder being committed right before his eyes

Charlie Howard, part-time writer, part-time thief, has been engaged in a veritable spree of larceny and misappropriation since moving to Berlin, Germany. He's supposed to be working on his next novel. But high rent and a love for thrill-seeking has been hard on his word count.

But Charlie's larcenous binge is interrupted by the call to duty--on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. Four embassy employees are suspected of stealing a sensitive item. Charlie is to break into their homes, find the culprit and recover the stolen property. But there's a catch. The item is so sensitive, Charlie isn't told what he's looking for. Not its size, not its weight, nothing. He's only told that he'll recognize it when he sees it.

Charlie has been a successful thief because he follows his own rules, the first being "Don't get caught." Well, after he enters the first suspect's home, he has to add a new rule: "Don't admire the view." As Charlie stares across the street, he sees something he really wishes he hadn't—a woman being murdered. And that's just for starters. What follows is a wild adventure in the former cauldron of spies. (Source: Minotaur Books)

The Hanging of Samuel Ash (Hook Runyon Mysteries) by Sheldon Russell (Minotaur Books 20 August 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: Railroad bull Hook Runyon and his dog, Mixer, are chasing persistent pickpockets on the Santa Fe line, when Hook is called to investigate a malfunctioning wigwag signal in the middle of nowhere. A young man has been strung up there, hung from the signal, and left strangled to death. Hook finds no identification on the body, other than a bronze hero's medal around the corpse's neck, with the name Samuel Ash engraved on it. Refusing to bury what seems to be a World War II hero in a pauper's grave, Hook vows to find the dead boy's family, as well as his killer.

With the casket in tow, and slowed down by an over-educated sidekick, Junior Monroe, and a stream of new tasks from the head of division, Hook finally finds his way to Carmen, Oklahoma. But no one there has ever heard of anyone named Samuel Ash. There are secrets in Carmen, most of them associated with the local orphanage and its disliked director, and Hook is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of the hanging of Samuel Ash. (Source: Minotaur Books)

NAL

Little Black Book of Murder: A Blackbird Sisters Mystery by Nancy Martin (NAL 06 August 2013 / $23.95) - Product Description: Nora Blackbird may have been to the manor borne, but these days money is so tight, she can't afford to lose her job as a society columnist. So when her new boss at the Philadelphia Intelligencer--Australian tabloid editor Gus Hardwicke--tells her to work the celebrity gossip beat or start checking the want ads, the choice is easy.

Now Nora's writing a profile on billionaire fashion designer Swain Starr, who recently retired to build a high-tech organic farm with his new wife, Zephyr, a former supermodel. But before Nora can get the story, the mogul is murdered. And now Gus wants her to snap up an exclusive on who killed Starr before the cops do.

But solving a celebrity murder isn't easy with a home life as colorful as Nora's. Her sort-of-husband, Mick, a former mobster, is associating once again with unsavory characters. Her sister Libby is on a mission to get her diabolical twins on stage or screen with the help of an unscrupulous former child star. And the youngest Blackbird sister, Emma, just got kicked out of the house by Mick--who refuses to explain why.

If anything can bring the blue-blooded Blackbird sisters together, it's a murder investigation involving high-society events, glamorous people, and the disappearance of a genetically perfect pig that may or may not be basking in the sun at Blackbird Farm. They'll all have to pull together this time, because if Nora can't bring home the bacon, she might have to exchange her bucolic estate for a cramped walk-up. (Source: NAL)

Plume

Bait: A Novel by J. Kent Messum (Plume 27 August 2013 / $15.00) - Product Description: No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this.

Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible--swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights--and their captors' motives finally begin to emerge. (Source: Plume)

Poisoned Pen Press

Downtown Strut: An Edna Ferber Mystery (Edna Ferber Mysteries) by Ed Ifkovic (Poisoned Pen Press 06 August 2013 / $24.95) - Product Description: A wintry Manhattan, 1927, finds Edna Ferber preparing for "the Ferber season on Broadway". The bestselling author has two shows opening back to back. On December 27, the musical adaptation of Show Boat by Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern. December 28: The Royal Family, her comedy of manners written with George Kaufman—Ethel Barrymore has pondered legal action for the play's depiction of theatrical royalty like, say, the Barrymores.

Why does Edna miss both opening nights? She has something else on her mind—murder.

Edna has been mentoring some talented, young black writers and actors who are part of the heady milieu of the Roaring Twenties' Harlem Renaissance--the jazz clubs, the faddish dances, the frenzy--and the lively pulse of Broadway that entices these talented young "Negroes" to push for a downtown strut, for mainstream recognition for Negro voices and talents. Only recently have Negroes been allowed on downtown stages with Whites.

Edna knows poet Langston Hughes, but she's most intrigued by unknowns. Her housekeeper's young son, Waters Turpin. Bella Davenport, a beautiful vamp. Ellie Payne, a jazz singer. Freddy Holder, a rabble-rouser. Lawson Hicks, Bella's handsome boyfriend. Taken by some fiction by the boyishly handsome Roddy Parsons, a charismatic man most recently in the "Negro chorus" of Show Boat, she heads to Harlem to take him to lunch, only to discover he's been stabbed to death in his bed. Who killed this promising young man?

Recognizing her own fatal attraction to brash Jed Harris, the young producer of The Royal Family, a darling of the Broadway set but a notoriously vain and cruel man, Edna includes him in a pool of suspects. Driven by curiosity, anger, and her sense of justice, Edna Ferber sets out to chase down the murderer rather than attend her plays' opening nights. (Source: Poisoned Pen Press)

Seventh Street Books

Brave Hearts by Carolyn Hart (Seventh Street Books 13 August 2013 / ) - Product Description: Romantic suspense amid the chaos of a world at war. Catharine Cavanaugh is caught in a loveless marriage. Married to a British diplomat, she goes through the motions of playing the dutiful American wife in war- time London, while nightly German bombers bring terror and death to the city. Then she meets American war correspondent Jack Maguire and discovers hope and love again in the midst of desolation. But war soon comes between them. When Catharine and her husband are unexpectedly transferred to the Philippines, Jack follows. Shortly after their arrival, the Japanese attack. The trapped civilians, including Catharine and Jack, are forced into a harrowing adventure to escape the marauding Japanese army. This taut page-turner vividly reveals how ordinary people can become heroes when forced to confront heart-rending decisions in almost impossible circumstances. (Source: Seventh Street Books)

Signet

Cross-Stitch Before Dying: An Embroidery Mystery by Amanda Lee (Signet 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: Marcy's mom Beverly is the costume designer for a lavish, Bollywood-style production...and she suggests Tallulah Falls as a great place to shoot part of the film. Everyone at the embroidery shop, and around town, is in a flutter that a glamorous movie production is taking place in their midst. But when the star of the film is found murdered, the police suspect Marcy's mom, who made it no secret she did not care for the diva's attitude regarding her wardrobe.

Marcy might as well issue an open call for suspects, because the star had a long list of enemies. To save her mom's career and keep her from accessorizing with handcuffs, Marcy and her friends will need to stitch together the clues to catch one crafty killer who may have designs on Marcy next. (Source: Signet)

Do Or Diner: A Comfort Food Mystery by Christine Wenger (Signet 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: When Trixie Matkowski agrees to take over her aunt's diner, she pictures lakeside views and delicious comfort food in the small town where she spent summers as a child. But the sweet scene turns sour when someone puts murder on the menu.

Trixie is in need of a fresh start away from her cheating ex-husband, but she may be biting off more than she can chew when she moves to upstate New York to run her family's famed Silver Bullet Diner. Not only is she caught off guard by the small town's resident heartthrob, Deputy Ty Brisco, but her first health inspection turns into a nightmare...when the inspector keels over in his Blue Plate Special.

It seems someone made a deadly addition to an old family recipe, and Trixie is determined to find out whodunit. But between serving up orders and sniffing out clues, she'd better watch her back--or her next meal might be her last.

(see review)

Maggie's Man: A Family Secrets Novel by Lisa Gardner (Signet 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: Three siblings searching for the truth about their family are about to find more than they bargained for.

When shy and reserved Maggie Ferringer was called for jury duty, she never expected to be kidnapped by an escaped convict. But when Cain Cannon, disguised as a prison guard, pulls a gun, she has no choice but to be taken hostage. Cain claims that he's innocent of killing his girlfriend six years ago and now he wants revenge on the people who put him behind bars.

Soon, Maggie becomes more than just a hostage to Cain. As they slowly begin to share the secrets of their respective pasts, Maggie discovers that she wants to fight for Cain's freedom--because he just might be the kind of man she could love. (Source: Signet)

Seed No Evil (Flower Shop) by Kate Collins (Signet 06 August 2013 / $7.99) - Product Description: Abby Knight's wedding is in less than two weeks, and everything is going wrong. The cooler in her flower shop is leaking, her neck has swollen to unnatural proportions, her groom is acting distant, and she still doesn't know where she's actually getting married!

But things go from bad to worse when the director of her favorite charity, Protecting Animal Rights, is murdered, and Abby's mother becomes the main suspect. Abby's wedding worries will have to wait until she--along with her fiancé, Marco, and an adorable mutt named Seedy--can nose out who wanted the animal activist put to sleep. But they'll have to sort through the long list of suspects quickly, or her mom may be tossed in the slammer before Abby tosses the bouquet. (see review)

Soho Crime

A Spider in the Cup (Detective Joe Sandilands) by Barbara Cleverly (Soho Crime 20 August 2013 / $26.95) - Product Description: At dawn one morning in 1933, an amateur dowsing team digging the banks of the Thames for precious metals unearths the body of a young woman with a priceless gold coin in her mouth and a missing toe. The case falls on Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard Joe Sandilands's turf, but he's been given another assignment—and a very high-profile one. London is hosting a historic global economic conference to try to solve the global Depression, and political tensions are running very high, as very influential participants are starting to take positions allied with or staunchly against the rapidly militarizing Germany. Sandilands's job is to protect and keep an eye on the visiting American senator Cornelius Kingstone, right-hand man to President Roosevelt, throughout the conference. When a strange set of coincidences link the river bank body to the senator, Joe realizes his assignment is much bigger than he'd thought, and that Senator Kingstone is caught up in a very dangerous game—one that might cost not just one but thousands of lives. (Source: Soho Crime)

Soho Teen

Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy by Elizabeth Kiem (Soho Teen 13 August 2013 / $17.99) - Product Description: A new breed of spy novel combines classic thrills (The Americans, John Le Carre, and Alan Furst), Bolshoi intrigue, and elements of the paranormal.

Marina is born of privilege. Her mother, Sveta, is the Soviet Union's prima ballerina: an international star handpicked by the regime. But Sveta is afflicted with a mysterious second sight and becomes obsessed with exposing a horrific state secret. Then she disappears.

Fearing for their lives, Marina and her father defect to Brooklyn. Marina struggles to reestablish herself as a dancer at Julliard. But her enigmatic partner, Sergei, makes concentration almost impossible, as does the fact that Marina shares her mother's "gift," and has a vision of her father's murder at the hands of the Russian crooks and con artists she thought they'd left behind.

Now Marina must navigate the web of intrigue surrounding her mother's disappearance, her ability, and exactly whom she can—and can't—trust. (Source: Soho Teen)

The Red Herrings Press

Havana Lost by Libby Fischer Hellmann (The Red Herrings Press 16 August 2013 / ) - Product Description: On the eve of the Cuban Revolution, headstrong 18-year-old Francesca Pacelli flees from her ruthless Mafia-boss father in Havana to the arms of her lover, a rebel fighting with Fidel Castro. Her father, desperate to send her to safety in the US, resorts to torture and blackmail as he searches the island for her.

So begins the first part of a spellbinding saga that spans three generations of the same family. Decades later, the family is lured back to Cuba by the promise of untold riches. But pursuing those riches brings danger as well as opportunity, and ultimately, Francesca's family must confront the lethal consequences of their choices. From the troubled streets of Havana to the mean streets of Chicago, Havana Lost reveals the true cost of chasing power instead of love.

Havana Lost is award-winning author Libby Fischer Hellmann's tenth novel and third thriller that explores how strife and revolution affect the human spirit. The novel is a testament to Hellmann's gift for authentic historical detail as well as her talent for writing compulsively readable thrillers. (Also available in trade paperback.) (Source: The Red Herrings Press)

Two Harbors Press

Means to an End by Elizabeth Romero (Two Harbors Press 15 August 2013 / $16.95) - Product Description: When Marie Broudreaux, the beloved daughter of wealthy and prideful Louisiana Cajuns finds herself disgraced, pregnant with twins and abandoned by her family, she is forced to save the family name by becoming the wife of Garrett Devereaux, who unbeknown to her Father is a cruel and abusive man. Both twins, Ashby and Danny along with their now drug addicted mother struggle to survive in the backwards mountains of North Carolina. Escape to a better life for Ashby seems impossible as long as Garrett is alive... Alone and running from the authorities Ashby assumes a new identity and returns to the New Orleans of her mother's stories in search of her runaway twin. While hiding amongst a group of interesting characters and with the law nipping at her heels Ashby unwittingly catches the attention of a local Judge. Will he still love her when he finds out the truth or will he turn her in? Has that been his plan all along? (Source: Two Harbors Press)

William Morrow

A Question of Honor: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd (William Morrow 27 August 2013 / $25.99) - Product Description: In the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that occurred during her childhood in India, a search for the truth that will transform her and leave her pondering a troubling question: How can facts lie?

Bess Crawford enjoyed a wondrous childhood in India, where her father, a colonel in the British Army, was stationed on the Northwest Frontier. But an unforgettable incident darkened that happy time. In 1908, Colonel Crawford's regiment discovered that it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people in India and England yet was never brought to trial. In the eyes of many of these soldiers, men defined by honor and duty, the crime was a stain on the regiment's reputation and on the good name of Bess's father, the Colonel Sahib, who had trained the killer.

A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battlefields of France during World War I, Bess learns from a dying Indian sergeant that the supposed murderer, Lieutenant Wade, is alive—and serving at the Front. Bess cannot believe the shocking news. According to reliable reports, Wade's body had been seen deep in the Khyber Pass, where he had died trying to reach Afghanistan. Soon, though, her mind is racing. How had he escaped from India? What had driven a good man to murder in cold blood?

Wanting answers, she uses her leave to investigate. In the village where the first three killings took place, she discovers that the locals are certain that the British soldier was innocent. Yet the present owner of the house where the crime was committed believes otherwise, and is convinced that Bess's father helped Wade flee. To settle the matter once and for all, Bess sets out to find Wade and let the courts decide.

But when she stumbles on the horrific truth, something that even the famous writer Rudyard Kipling had kept secret all his life, she is shaken to her very core. The facts will damn Wade even as they reveal a brutal reality, a reality that could have been her own fate.

(Source: William Morrow)

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