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US Books Received- 01/2014  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

A Chorus Lineup (A Glee Club Mystery) by Joelle Charbonneau (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Paige Marshall is back in the spotlight in Joelle Charbonneau's newest Glee Club Mystery. This time the high school show choir coach is fighting to keep her singers in a national competition despite charges of sabotage.

They have the talent. They have the heart. Nothing can stop Prospect Glen's choir from taking home the trophy in the Show Choir National Competition. But below the soaring voices, there are murmurs of suspicion. So-called accidents keep befalling the other choirs. Yet Prospect Glen remains untouched.

With their competitors clamoring for them to be disqualified, the group may soon be singing a different tune. If there's anyone who can restore harmony to the competition, it's Paige. But this time she'll needs to stick her neck out to discover who's behind the sabotage, or she may end up singing her own swan song. (Source: Berkley)

Cursed in the Act (Bram Stoker Mystery) by Raymond Buckland (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $15.00) - Product Description: Bram Stoker, business manager for London's Lyceum Theatre, always expects the supernatural to be lurking around the corner. But investigating the murder of a cast member might be enough to make even him lose his head.

1881. When the star and owner of the Lyceum, Mr. Henry Irving, is poisoned on Hamlet's opening night, it's up to stage manager Harry Rivers to make sure the show goes on. Fortunately for Harry, Mr. Irving is able to pull through and walk the boards as planned. But when his understudy is killed the very next day, Harry's boss, Bram Stoker, becomes convinced that foul play is afoot.

Mr. Irving has a list of enemies longer than a Shakespearean soliloquy, any of whom would have been happy for the curtain never to rise. It soon becomes clear that nefarious, possibly magical, methods are being employed to shut the play down. With more cast and crew members falling victim to the increasingly dangerous accidents on set, it's up to Harry and Stoker to figure out which of Irving's critics has a voodoo vendetta. (see review)

Eggs in a Casket (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: The ladies of the Cackleberry Club are always ready to serve--whether they're cooking up breakfast or sniffing out a bad egg.

While Petra handles the breakfast rush at the Cackleberry Club, the café's other two owners, Suzanne and Toni, head to Memorial Cemetery to help prepare for its 150th anniversary celebration. But as they search the winding paths for the historical society tent, they discover something else out of place: the body of ex-prison warden Lester Drummond lying facedown in someone else's freshly dug grave.

In the small town of Kindred, everyone knows everyone, and Lester was no exception. Suzanne knew him as the creepy guy who made unwanted advances on her friend Missy Langston. But now it appears the man was hiding a few secretsÂ…and at least one of them was worth killing for.

As the case cracks open, there are plenty of suspects to consider--from recent parolees to Missy herself, who Suzanne and Toni saw speeding away just before they found the body. Now, with a cemetery celebration in the offing, and the local authorities in over their heads, it's up to the Cackleberry Club to unscramble the clues and clear their friend's name. (Recipes Included.) (Source: Berkley)

Home of the Braised (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: With the pressure of an upcoming state dinner that could make or break the president's foreign policy, White House executive chef Olivia Paras has precious little time to focus on her wedding plans--or to catch a murderer.

Tensions are running high as the White House staff adjusts to a new chief usher and prepares for a high-stakes state dinner, where everything must be perfect. But as the date for the event approaches, things go disastrously wrong when the secretary of defense is found dead in his home, seemingly killed during a break-in.

At the same time Olivia's fiancé, Gav, is looking into the mysterious murder of an old friend. Is there a connection? Despite an increase in security following the secretary's death, Ollie learns the president is in imminent danger at the dinner and must do everything in her power to get to him--before it's too late. (Includes Recipes for a complete presidential menu!) (see review)

Murder Sends a Postcard (A Haunted Souvenir) by Christy Fifield (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: It's the height of summer tourist season and Glory Martine is busier than ever running her souvenir shop, Southern Treasures. The shop's parrot, Bluebeard, is becoming quite the celebrity among tourists--little do they realize he's the bird-host to a ghost.

Residents of Keyhole Bay, Florida, are dismayed when Bridget McKenna, an auditor in chic attire, arrives to assess the local bank's shady dealings. Curious about the new arrival, Glory brings dinner to Bridget at her temporary residence—the notorious Bayvue Estates, a halted development complex with no view and no estates--just a couple of hastily-completed model homes.

Bridget's assignment is to figure out where all the money went. But someone wants to keep her in the dark permanently. When Glory finds out her new friend won't be leaving town alive, she knows she and Bluebeard will have to catch a killer and unravel a financial scandal before it leads to more murderous mayhem. (Source: Berkley)

Pecan Pies and Homicides (Charmed Pie Shoppe) by Ellery Adams (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Owning the Charmed Pie Shoppe and serving enchanted treats in the magical town of Havenwood, Georgia, seemed like a little slice of heaven for Ella Mae LeFaye. But now her hopes for both a lasting romance with Hugh Dylan and business success are starting to seem like pie in the sky, and Ella's left wondering: Where has the magic gone?

When an enchanted grove is set ablaze, Ella realizes she has more grave problems. With her magic waning, she's going to have to sleuth from scratch to stop an arsonist who has no respect for sacred ground--or human life. (Source: Berkley)

Playing with Fire (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade) by J.J. Cook (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, it's home to the hottest and sweetest peppers in the world--as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets.

Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn--who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes--and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella's parents soon arrive--with her ex-boyfriend--hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she'd better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames. (Source: Berkley)

Teacup Turbulence (A Pet Rescue Mystery) by Linda O. Johnston (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Thanks to a savvy ad campaign featuring teacup pups sporting HotPets Bling--a new line of faux jewelry dog collars--small dog adoptions have skyrocketed across the city. So when Lauren Vancouver discovers a shelter in the Midwest with more toy dogs than it can handle, she arranges a private plane to swoop in and fly the pups back to LA.

But Lauren didn't count on rescue worker Teresa Kantrim coming along for the ride. Teresa has cared for the dogs since they were found and doesn't trust anyone from La-La Land to take over the job. Her biting comments clearly haven't earned Teresa any new friends, but when she turns up murdered, it's time for Lauren to dig into Teresa's past and find out who wanted her put down. (Source: Berkley)

The Silence of the Library (Cat in the Stacks) by Miranda James (Berkley 28 January 2014 / $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 a celebrated author's visit draws an unruly swarm of fanatic mystery buffs...and one devious killer.

It's National Library Week, and the Athena Public Library is planning an exhibit to honor the centenary of famous novelist Electra Barnes Cartwright—creator of the beloved Veronica Thane series.

Charlie has a soft spot for Cartwright's girl detective stories (not to mention an extensive collection of her books!). When the author agrees to make a rare public appearance, the news of her whereabouts goes viral overnight, and series devotees and book collectors converge on Athena.

After all, it's rumored that Cartwright penned Veronica Thane stories that remain under wraps, and one rabid fan will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get hold of the rare books. (Source: Berkley)

Zero-Degree Murder (A Search and Rescue Mystery) by M.L. Rowland (Berkley 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Search and rescue expert Gracie Kinkaid risks her life on a daily basis to save strangers. But going up against a coldhearted murderer is one kind of danger she's not prepared for.

As a volunteer for Timber Creek Search and Rescue, missing out on holiday festivities is nothing new to Gracie. After all, disasters don't stop happening because of a cooked turkey. So when Gracie is called out on Thanksgiving for four hikers missing in the wilderness of Southern California, she packs up her gear and heads out to find them.

The mission quickly goes from routine to deadly. An early season blizzard sets in. The one missing person the team does find, famous actor Rob Christian, remembers being attacked by someone else on the trail, someone trying to kill him. And Gracie's partner leaves to get backup, taking the radio--their only link to the outside world--with him.

Alone in the mountains, Gracie will have to use all her expertise to keep Rob alive. But with an unknown killer lurking somewhere in the dark, even that might not be enough to save them. (Source: Berkley)

Chicken House

Killing Woods, The by Lucy Christopher (Chicken House 07 January 2014 / ) - Product Description: Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest: From the author of the Printz Honor Book STOLEN, the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.

Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd's dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl's broken body. "Gone," he says, then retreats into silence.

What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent -- isn't he? Before he's convicted, she's got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee's charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her -- the kinds of games that can kill? (Source: Chicken House)

Delacorte Press

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press 14 January 2014 / $24.00) - Product Description: On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train's arrival in the English village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces' crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office--and making spectacular use of Harriet's beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit--Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer. (see review)

Exhibit A

The Professor by Robert Bailey (Exhibit A 28 January 2014 / $14.99) - Product Description: "It was the trial they were both meant to lose..." A retired Professor of Law who hasn't tried a real case in forty years teams up with a former student who's yet to trial a case at all, in order to clear both of their names.

The Professor introduces Thomas Jackson McMurtrie, a longtime law professor at the University of Alabama, who, 40 years after giving up a promising career as a trial lawyer to teach law students at the request of his mentor, Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, retires to his farm an angry and bitter man, betrayed by both a Board member he mistook for a friend and his own failing health. Meanwhile, the young family of one of Tom's oldest friends is killed in a tragic collision with an 18-wheeler. Believing his career is over, Tom refers his friend to a brilliant, yet beleaguered, former student, Rick Drake, who begins to uncover that the truth behind the tragedy is buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery and greed. When a key witness is murdered on the eve of trial, the young attorney, in over his head and at the end of his rope, knows he needs help -- and there's only one man who can help him. (Source: Exhibit A)

The View from the Tower by Charles Lambert (Exhibit A 28 January 2014 / ) - Book Description: Helen is in a hotel room with her lover in Rome, when a gunman murders her husband, a high-level politician, less than a mile away.

Helen immediately finds herself both a suspect and suspicious of those around her – including her friends and her husband’s family, and her lover, Giacomo, an ex-terrorist with a new wife and a reinvented life.

As Helen struggles to understand her husband’s death and the extent to which she and the people she knows may have been responsible for it, she is forced to examine her own past and peel back the years of secrets and lies. (Source: Exhibit A)

Five Star

Finders Keepers Losers Weepers by Robert S. Levinson (Five Star 22 January 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: FINDERS, KEEPERS, LOSERS, WEEPERS is richer, darker, and more hard-boiled than any of bestselling author Robert S. Levinson's ten previous novels. Characters come and go in a struggle to find love, success or survival in the music business, where backstabbing is an art limited only by the number of available backs.

Indianapolis. 1989. International rock idol Nat Axelrod is imprisoned on a trumped-up rape charge. Nine years later, believed dead and all but forgotten, he emerges a revenge-driven cripple. Embarked on a hunt for the teenage beauty forced to tell the lies that put Nat behind bars, he is pursued by Laurent Connart, an unscrupulous, conflicted French tabloid journalist, and by his onetime champion, Danny Manings, a failed record-company executive seeking personal and professional redemption. (Source: Five Star)

Limestone Gumption: A Brad Pope And Sisterfriends Mystery by Bryan E. Robinson (Five Star 22 January 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: When Brad Pope returns to his boyhood hometown to confront his long-lost father, the 35-year-old psychologist becomes a prime suspect in the murder of cave diver, Big Jake Nunn. Whitecross, Florida, is known for its natural crystal-clear springs and underwater caverns where townsfolk die of natural causes, not murder. Until now. The psychologist's hopes of settling the debt with his father and reconnecting with his cantankerous Grandma Gigi are hindered by the surprised horror surrounding his father's whereabouts and sinister secrets of the Women's Preservation Club, founded by Grandma Gigi.

With its blend of humor and dark plot, Limestone Gumption witnesses beauty and brutality in a small Southern town. This fast-paced cozy mystery's twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat or make you fall out of it laughing. (Source: Five Star)

Millicent's Tower by Rosalyn Rikel (Five Star 22 January 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: The Gallager family's decision to visit Rochelle's Aunt Millicent is based on good intentions, but soon becomes a mission to solve a mystery as they realize there is danger surrounding them. The old woman lives alone in a mansion on the side of a mountain in Cumberland Plateau, but mainly inhabits the tower where she hoards her money. To ensure their own safety, the family must figure out what secrets she is protecting within the tower. They'd also like to know the real identity of the strange gardener who always peers at them through the shrubs. What do other people who appear in her life know about her peculiar ways? And what are their motives? Will they be able to solve the mystery in time? (see review)

Mitigating Circumstances by Dawn Corrigan (Five Star 08 January 2014 / $25.95) - From publicity material: Gail LaRue returned to her hometown of Gulf Breeze, Florida, after college with an urban planning degree and dreams of planning utopian communities that would fight suburban sprawl and encourage community and individual health. Instead, as the junior member of the Community Development team, she finds herself signing off on fence permits and battling residents about their weedy yards. But when Karen Dunhill, a member of a local grassroots organization Panhandlers for Change, is kidnapped by a zealot with a grudge against the local wetlands mitigation bank, Gail and her friend Emily find themselves digging into the mitigation bank industry.

While the local authorities work to save Karen, Gail and Emily find themselves tangling with land developers, mitigation bank owners, and the Park Service. In the process they uncover a land swap conspiracy involving the nearby Air Force base, incurring the wrath of the local Good Old Boy network as they go. (Source: Five Star)

Show Me the Deadly Deer by Carolyn Mulford (Five Star 08 January 2014 / $25.95) - From author's website: After a bullet shatters Phoenix Smith’s career as a CIA covert operative, she returns to her rural Missouri hometown to recuperate and regroup. She arrives as her lifelong friend, civic leader Annalynn Carr Keyser, buries her husband, the sheriff. Everyone except the widow believes he shot his mistress and himself. Annalynn begs Phoenix to help prove he, too, was murdered. The old friends employ their diverse skills and conflicting attitudes to discover what really happened and to survive. (see review)

Stone Cold Dead (Rock Shop Mystery) by Catherine Dilts (Five Star 08 January 2014 / $25.95) - From author's website: When her brother abandons the family rock shop, recently widowed Morgan Iverson reluctantly becomes the manager. Business is as dead as the fossils cluttering the dusty shelves. While rounding up a runaway donkey, Morgan discovers a body. After a newspaper article hints that Morgan witnessed the Goth teen’s demise, escalating threats make it clear the killer thinks she holds a clue to the teen’s murder. Morgan knows her life won't be worth a pile of fossilized dinosaur dung unless she can dig up the murderer. (Source: Five Star)

The Avalon Chanter (Fairbairn / Cameron) by Lillian Stewart Carl (Five Star 22 January 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: Archaeologist Maggie Lauder has personal reasons for proving Farnaby Island is the Avalon of Arthurian legend. But when she opens a tomb in a medieval chantry chapel, her plans go awry.

The story Jean Fairbairn planned to write is shadowed by a contemporary investigation. Her husband, ex-cop Alasdair Cameron, has a history with the investigating detective, if not as long a history as Maggie does.

They are stranded on Farnaby, caught in the conflicting loyalties of its inhabitants, trusting only each other--until they find themselves on opposite sides of a cold case turned scorching hot.

Northumbria, between England and Scotland, the uncertain shore where this world fades into the next, bagpipers play laments on their chanters, and ghostly plainchant echoes in the fog. (see review)

The Quiet Woman by Terence Faherty (Five Star 29 January 2014 / $29.95) - From publicity material: American romance novelist Danielle Furey dreamed of returning to Ireland--but not like this. Not in the company of her ne'er-do-well brother. Certainly not with her ex-husband in tow. Not even with the charming Irish barman Danny hired as their driver, not after she learned of the vengeful bookmaker on his tail.

A woman of nice resources, Danny has the situation well in hand, until her party meets an Irish tour guide who claims to know the details of a terrible crime committed during the filming of The Quiet Man in 1951. Then Danny finds herself cast in the role of investigator, an investigator with an unusual client: the murder victim herself. (Source: Five Star)

This One Day (Max Tyger Crime Novel) by K.A. Delaney (Five Star 08 January 2014 / $25.95) - From author's website: In This One Day, former police officer Max Tyger--now a Connecticut-based PI who makes ends meet by teaching criminal justice at a community college at night—has recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, a rare form. Max has lost forty pounds and, due to his own failings, the love of his life, all within the past six months. On top of his physical and personal trials, he continues to be haunted by the suicide of a former student. This is when police officer Helen Baxter enters his office and offers a case she won’t touch: Tommy Lewis, a junior at the prestigious Blaise School, is said to be missing by his art teacher. However, the teen’s parents and school officials deny the claim. Max is initially skeptical, but he has failed one teenage boy already. Years earlier, when Hutch Hillsdale ran, Max let him go. Now nothing will bring him back. Redemption can come in many forms. And Max, who is facing his own mortality, sees a chance at it in the search for Tommy Lewis. (Source: Five Star)

Forge Books

Rogue Warrior: Curse of the Infidel by Richard Marcinko (Forge Books 07 January 2014 / $26.99) - Product Description: Hot on the trail of a bank official who is laundering money for an al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist cell, Rogue Warrior Richard Marcinko finds himself in the thick of a covert operation run by the CIA--a.k.a. the Christians in Action. Angry that their operation has been ruined, the CIA demands that Marcinko and his Red Cell International group work for them. He agrees, then gets into a situation so dire only SEAL Team Six can extricate him.

While grateful for help from the unit he helped establish, Marcinko realizes there's a lot more going on than the CIA will admit--and when the investigation leads to a luxury liner loaded with explosives and contraband heading toward the United States, he recruits members from the original SEAL Team Six to help. But will the old-timers and young bucks be enough to prevent disaster in a US port? (Source: Forge Books)

Henery Press

Double Dip by Gretchen Archer (Henery Press 28 January 2014 / $15.95) - Product Description: It's Davis Way's first slot-tournament season. And it may be her last. Things are dicey at work. A personal assistant goes missing, a little old lady goes on a suspicious winning streak, and a Bellissimo executive goes gaga for Davis. She follows a disappearing slot-tournament player trail to the So Help Me God Pentecostal Church in Beehive, Alabama, then jumps headlong into a high stakes holy scandal.

She's on a losing streak at home, too. Her days, nights, and dinners run together, as Davis juggles a revolving door of uninvited guests, namely her rotten ex-ex-husband, Eddie Crawford. And Bradley Cole thinks three's a crowd.

The worst? Davis doesn't feel so hot. Maybe it's the banana pudding, or maybe it's a little bundle of something else.

(Source: Henery Press)

Minotaur Books

NYPD Puzzle (Puzzle Lady Mysteries) by Parnell Hall (Minotaur Books 21 January 2014 / $24.99) - Book Description: When young attorney Becky Balwin hires Cora Felton to accompany her to New York City to meet a new client in his penthouse apartment, the Puzzle Lady jumps at the chance. Cora is just coming off a bad breakup, and finding out that Chief Harper testified at a parole hearing for a killer she helped put away, has her feeling old. But when she and Becky arrive at the apartment, they find the man is dead. There's a puzzle on his chest, and a prowler is searching the bedroom. Cora pulls her gun and gets off a shot as the intruder ducks out the window. The NYPD now think Cora is the murderer. Getting her off should be a breeze for Becky, but when the fatal bullet is too badly damaged to identify, Cora is lucky to get out on bail.

Meanwhile, a diabolical killer is leaving puzzle clues. If only they were just sudoku puzzles--Cora can't solve the crosswords without the help of her niece, Sherry, who's back in Bakerhaven taking care of her toddler. In order to clear her name, Cora must match wits with a gruff NYPD homicide sergeant who is quite attractive, except for the fact that he suspects her of murder.

This is the fifteenth book in the entertaining series and boasts a clever mystery as well as fun puzzles for readers to solve. (see review)

The Harlot's Tale (Midwife's Mystery) by Sam Thomas (Minotaur Books 07 January 2014 / $24.99) - Product Description: It is August, 1645, one year since York fell into Puritan hands. As the city suffers through a brutal summer heat, Bridget Hodgson and Martha Hawkins are drawn into a murder investigation more frightening than their last. In order to appease God's wrath—and end the heat-wave—the city's overlords have launched a brutal campaign to whip the city's sinners into godliness. But for someone in York, this is not enough. First a prostitute and her client are found stabbed to death, then a pair of adulterers are beaten and strangled. York's sinners have been targeted for execution.

Bridget and Martha—assisted once again by Will, Bridget's good-hearted nephew—race to find the killer even as he adds more bodies to his tally. The list of suspects is long: Hezekiah Ward, a fire and brimstone preacher new to York; Ward's son, Praise-God, whose intensity mirrors his father's; John Stubb, one of Ward's fanatic followers, whose taste for blood may not have been sated by his time in Parliament's armies. Or could the killer be closer to home? Will's brother Joseph is no stranger to death, and he shares the Wards' dreams of driving sin from the city.

To find the killer, Bridget, Martha, and Will must uncover the city's most secret sins, and hope against hope that the killer does not turn his attention in their direction, in The Harlot's Tale by Sam Thomas. (see review)

The Pawnbroker (Charlie Henry) by Aimée Thurlo and David Thurlo (Minotaur Books 28 January 2014 / $25.99) - Product Description: Charlie Henry is the proud new owner of the Three Balls pawnshop, having recently returned Stateside from special-ops work in Iraq. The transition back to normal life seems to be going smoothly for him and his Army buddy and co-owner of the shop, Gordon Sweeney--until Gina, Charlie's childhood friend, gets shot in a transaction for information from the previous owner of Three Balls. Gordon rushes to help Gina as she bleeds on the sidewalk, while Charlie roars off on a chase to catch the shooter.

The shooter gets away, and as they dig deeper, they find that the shooting has to do with Howard Baza, the previous owner of the pawnshop, and his rather questionable morals. The Albuquerque Police Department reluctantly lets the two ex-soldiers lend a hand with the investigation. Along the way they get tangled up in gang rivalries and led astray by false identities. They discover that nothing is what it seems, and almost no one is who they appear to be. (see review)

MuseItUp Publishing

Lily Torrence by Fred Andersen (MuseItUp Publishing 23 January 2014 / ) - Product Description: Lyman Wilbur might write about a hard-boiled sleuth, but he is about as far from that in real life as a guy can get. When he's offered a job at Colosseum Studios, helping to put his latest crime novel onto the silver screen, he falls deeper and deeper into a world where lies, blackmail, and murder are part of real life.

And maybe he should know better than to ask too many questions, especially when powerful people are willing to commit murder and extortion to protect their secrets, but a young girl has been killed--and it just seems to Lyman that he's the only one willing to find out the real story.

(Source: MuseItUp Publishing)

NAL

Mr. Monk Gets on Board by Hy Conrad (NAL 07 January 2014 / $23.95) - Product Description: Of all the things that make Adrian Monk uneasy, change ranks high on the list. So when Natalie completes her P.I. license--and technically becomes Monk's boss--it's not easy for him to accept. Nor can he accept Natalie attending a business seminar at sea without him, even if it means spending a week with her on a cruise ship.

Between choppy waters and obnoxious kids, Monk finds himself in a perfect storm of anxiety. Luckily, Mariah, the cruise director, is always able to smooth things over...until someone pulls the man overboard alarm, the ship drops anchor--and the crew fishes Mariah's dead body out of the water.

Finding alcohol in Mariah's system, the ship's doctor declares her death an accident, but Monk isn't convinced. He knows that Mariah and the captain were having an affair. Could someone have pushed her overboard?

When the captain hires Monk and Natalie to look into a mysterious rash of vandalism onboard, Monk steers the investigation toward murder. (Source: NAL)

Seventh Street Books

The Blood Promise (Hugo Marston) by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street Books 14 January 2014 / $15.95) - Product Description: Hugo Marston must figure out what lies hidden inside an old sailor's chest before a 200-year-old blood promise is revealed and claims another life.

In post-Revolution Paris, an old man signs a letter in blood, then hides it in a secret compartment in a sailor's chest. A messenger arrives to transport the chest and its hidden contents, but then the plague strikes and an untimely death changes history.

Two hundred years later, Hugo Marston is safeguarding an unpredictable but popular senator who is in Paris negotiating a France/U.S. dispute. The talks, held at a country chateau, collapse when the senator accuses someone of breaking into his room. Theft becomes the least of Hugo's concerns when someone discovers a sailor's chest and the secrets hidden within, and decides that the power and money they promise are worth killing for.

But when the darkness of history is unleashed, even the most ruthless and cunning are powerless to control it. (Source: Seventh Street Books)

The Last Death of Jack Harbin (Samuel Craddock) by Terry Shames (Seventh Street Books 07 January 2014 / $15.95) - Product Description: The shocking murder of a wounded veteran challenges the investigative skills of ex-chief Samuel Craddock.

Just before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven't spoken since. Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it's up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. Against the backdrop of small-town loyalties and betrayals, Craddock discovers dark secrets of the past and present to solve the mystery of Jack's death. (Source: Seventh Street Books)

Signet

Paws For Murder: A Pet Boutique Mystery by Annie Knox (Signet 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. But at the store's opening, it turns out it's a human who's dressed to kill.

Izzy's own beloved pets are dressed to the nines for the grand opening of Trendy Tails. Feisty feline Jinx is large and in charge, and happy mutt Packer is lapping up the attention. Izzy and her best friend Rena have their hands full meeting Merryville's menagerie and serving tasty pupcakes and kitty canapes from their "barkery". The last thing they need is the town's local activist, Sherry Harper, scaring off customers and getting tongues wagging by picketing the event.

The two manage to stop Sherry's protest in its tracks, but the trouble for Trendy Tails is just beginning. Sherry is found murdered in back of the shop, and Rena is immediately named as the lead suspect. Now Izzy and her furry friends have a new pet project--collaring a killer. (Source: Signet)

Tapestry of Lies: A Weaving Mystery by Carol Ann Martin (Signet 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Della Wright can't believe her luck when celebrity designer Bunny Boyd walks into her weaving studio in small-town Briar's Hollow, North Carolina, with a large custom fabric order. Bunny needs materials for her latest design project: Bernard Whitby's mansion. Bernard is Briar Hollow's resident millionaire, and Della soon discovers that Bunny has designs on the man as well as his house. And he's happy to have a celebrity at his side when he announces his candidacy for governor.

But the buzz surrounding Bernard's announcement is quickly overshadowed by the murder of a local coffee shop owner. When her good friend Jenny becomes one of the suspects, Della decides to unravel the mystery. But she'll have to work fast—before she gets tangled in a killer's clutches.
FEATURES WEAVING TIPS! (Source: Signet)

The Ghoul Next Door: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie (Signet 07 January 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: On a well-deserved hiatus from the ghoulish grind of their TV show, Ghoul Getters, psychic medium M.J. Holliday, her boyfriend, Heath, and her best friend, Gilley, are back home in Boston. But there's no rest for the weary ghost busters. M.J.'s ex comes to her for help--his fiancée's brother Luke seems haunted by a sinister spirit.

The crew sets up surveillance cameras to watch for the possessive poltergeist while Luke is sleeping. But when he goes outside in the middle of the night and returns hours later covered in blood, they are all very concerned--especially when the news reports the murder of a young woman in the neighborhood.

Now M.J., Heath, and Gilley must remain self-possessed as they try to stop a wicked ghost whose behavior is anything but neighborly. (see review)

Soho Crime

The Fire Dance (Irene Huss) by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime 07 January 2014 / $26.95) - Product Description: Detective Inspector Irene Huss hasn't seen Sophie Malmborg for over fifteen years, but she's still haunted by the strange young ballerina's role in the fire that killed her stepfather. Why had she refused to speak to Irene and the other case workers? Could an eleven-year-old—even one as disturbed and aloof as Sophie--truly capable of setting her own house on fire?

Irene's questions resurface fifteen years later, when Sophie disappears, and the charred remains of a dancer are found in an abandoned warehouse. Irene has a startling realization that could shed light on the case that has been lingering in the back of her mind since the beginning of her career. (Source: Soho Crime)

The Ways of Evil Men (Chief Inspector Mario Silva) by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime 21 January 2014 / $26.95) - Product Description: The Awana tribe, who live in the remote Amazon jungle in the Brazilian state of Pará, have dwindled to only 41 members—and now 39 of them have dropped dead of what looks like poison. The neighboring white townsfolk don't seem to be mourning the genocide much—in fact, the only person who seems to care at all is Jade Calmon, the official tribal relations agent assigned to the area. She wants justice for the two survivors, a father and his 8-year-old son. But racism is deeply entrenched and no one is going to help her get to the truth.

Unfortunately, this is far from the first time the Brazilian federal police have had a tribal genocide to investigate. Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his team are sent in from Brasilia to try to solve the increasingly complex case just as a local white man is discovered murdered. Someone has done their best to frame the surviving Awana man, and the town is about to erupt. (see review)

St. Martin's Griffin

A Medal for Murder (Kate Shackleton) by Frances Brody (St. Martin's Griffin 14 January 2014 / $15.99) - Product Description: A pawn-shop robbery: It's no rest for the wicked as Kate Shackleton picks up her second professional sleuthing case. But exposing the culprit of a pawn-shop robbery turns sinister when her investigation takes her to Harrogate in Yorkshire, England--and murder is only one step behind.

A fatal stabbing: A night at the theatre should have been just what the doctor ordered, until Kate stumbles across a body in the doorway. The knife sticking out of its chest definitely suggests a killer in the theatre's midst.

A ransom demand: Kate likes nothing better than a mystery--and nothing better than solving them. So when a ransom note demands £1,000 for the safe return of the play's leading lady, the refined streets of Harrogate play host to Kate's skills in piecing together clues--and luring criminals out of their lairs. (Source: St. Martin's Griffin)

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