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US Books Received- 12/2015  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette / Editor c/o Gumshoe 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

Akashic Books

Beirut Noir by (Akashic Books 01 December 2015 / $15.95) - Product Description: Featuring brand-new stories by: Rawi Hage, Muhammad Abi Samra, Leila Eid, Hala Kawtharani, Marie Tawk, Bana Baydoun, Hyam Yared, Najwa Barakat, Alawiyeh Sobh, Mazen Zahreddine, Abbas Beydoun, Bachir Hilal, Zena El Khalil, Mazen Maarouf, and Tarek Abi Samra.

Most of the writers in this volume are still living in Beirut, so this is an important contribution to Middle East literature--not the outsider's perspective that often characterizes contemporary literature set in the region.

From the introduction by Iman Humaydan (translated by Michelle Hartman):

Beirut is a city of contradiction and paradox. It is an urban and rural city, one of violence and forgiveness, memory and forgetfulness. Beirut is a city of war and peace. This short story collection is a part of a vibrant, living recovery of Beirut. Beirut Noir recovers the city once again through writing, through the literary visions of its authors....

From within this collection of stories, a general attitude toward Beirut emerges: the city is viewed from a position of critique, doubt, disappointment, and despair. The stories here show the vast maze of the city that can't be found in tourist brochures or nostalgic depictions of Beirut that are completely out of touch with reality. Perhaps this goes without saying in a collection of stories titled Beirut Noir. But the noir label here should be viewed from multiple angles, and it takes on many different forms in the stories. No doubt this is because it is imbricated in the distinct moments that Beirut has lived through and how they are depicted in the stories.

(Source: Akashic Books)

Marseille Noir by (Akashic Books 01 December 2015 / $15.95) - Product Description: The Akashic Noir Series first ventured into France with Paris Noir, and now moves one step deeper.

Featuring brand-new stories translated from French by David Ball and Nicole Ball: François Beaune, Philippe Carrese, Patrick Coulomb, Cédric Fabre, René Frégni, Christian Garcin, Salim Hatubou, Rebecca Lighieri, Emmanuel Loi, Marie Neuser, Pia Petersen, Serge Scotto, Minna Sif, and François Thomazeau.

This work, published as part of a program of aid for publication, received support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Service of the French Embassy in the United States.

(Source: Akashic Books)

Berkley

Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $26.95) - Product Description: After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA "dead drop" decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her.

Clare's visit to the nation's capital is off to a graceful start. Her octogenarian employer is bunking with her in a charming Georgetown mansion, and she's invited to work with a respected curator on the Smithsonian's culinary salute to coffee in America.

Unfortunately, Clare's new Village Blend DC is struggling to earn a profit--until its second floor jazz club attracts a high-profile fan, the college-age daughter of the U.S. President. Clare's stock rises as the First Lady befriends her, but she soon learns a stark lesson: Washington can be murder.

First a stylish State Department employee suspiciously collapses in her coffeehouse. Then the President's daughter goes missing. Is she a runaway bride or is something more sinister in play? After another deadly twist, Clare is on the run with her NYPD detective boyfriend. Branded an enemy of the state, she must piece together clues and uncover the truth before her life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness come to a bitter end. (Includes recipes.)

(see review)

Fat Tuesday Fricassee (Biscuit Bowl Food Truck) by J.J. Cook (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: The author of Fry Another Day serves up a third helping in the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery series.

It's Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama, and food truck chef Zoe Chase is driven to distraction attending high-society soirees, feeding the partying masses, and getting the skinny on a Fat Tuesday murder…

Two weeks of carnival celebrations has got Zoe running ragged. By day, she charms hungry tourists with authentic Southern cuisine. At night, she accompanies her father to one masquerade ball after another, hobnobbing with the high rollers of the secret cabal known as the Mistics of Time.

But the fun turns frightening when Zoe stumbles across "Death's" dead body. Journalist Jordan Phillips attended the Mistics' latest bash in a traditional Death costume, and received a fatal bullet wound for the privilege. With more than three hundred masked suspects determined to remain anonymous, and the police covering up the facts behind the murder of the investigative reporter, Zoe realizes the Mistics have some serious secrets to hide.

(Source: Berkley)

Ghost in the Wind (Haunted Guesthouse) by E.J. Copperman (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Guesthouse owner, single mother, and reluctant ghost whisperer Alison Kerby is about to sit down to movie night with her family and friends when she's struck speechless. Floating before her is the ghost of her musical idol, 1960s English rock star Vance McTiernan. He's in desperate need of help from Alison and her resident ghostly gumshoe, Paul Harrison.

Reports claim that four months ago, Vance's daughter died from a drug overdose. Vance, however, thinks she was murdered. While Alison agrees to help, Paul is suspicious of Vance's motives. But after the body of the alleged killer is found in the movie room, Alison and Paul must act quickly before someone else finds a stairway to heaven.

(Source: Berkley)

Guilty as Cinnamon (Spice Shop) by Leslie Budewitz (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Murder heats up Seattle's Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle's Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper's Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she's sure to win over the public. Even better, she's working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper's potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara's new café from opening—before someone else gets burned. (Includes recipes.) (Source: Berkley)

Here Today, Gone Tamale (Taste of Texas) by Rebecca Adler (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Reporter turned Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan is about to go from serving queso to solving cases. After losing her newspaper job in Austin and having her former fiancé unfriend her on Facebook, Josie Callahan scoops up her Chihuahua, Lenny, and slinks back to Broken Boot, Texas. Maybe working as head waitress at Milagro--her aunt and uncle's Tex-Mex restaurant--isn't exactly living the dream, but it is a fresh start.

And business is booming as tourists pour into Broken Boot for its famous Wild West Festival. But when a local jewelry designer is found strangled outside Milagro after a tamale-making party, Josie's reporter instincts kick in. As suspects pile up and alibis crack faster than taco shells, Josie needs to wrap up this case tighter than her tía's tortillas--before another victim calls for the check. (Includes Tex-Mex recipes.)

(Source: Berkley)

Scorched Eggs (Cackleberry Club) by Laura Childs (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Suzanne, Petra, and Toni--co-owners of the Cackleberry Club Café--are equally good at serving up breakfast and serving up justice. This time they turn up the heat on a deadly firebug.

As Suzanne is getting her hair colored at Root 66, she's stunned to witness the County Services office next door suddenly go up in flames. Concerned neighbors throng the streets, and the fire department does their best. Unfortunately, their best isn't enough to save longtime civil service worker--and friend to the Cackleberry Club--Hannah Venable.

Soon enough, it's discovered that an accelerant was used to fan the flames. Someone set the fire on purpose--was Hannah the intended victim? Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to smoke out the culprit.

Unfortunately, the list of suspects is as varied as the Cackleberry Club's menu. When Suzanne finds a possible connection between the fire and the nearby Prairie Star Casino, she comes to realize that the arsonist wanted something very big and bad kept secret. And if the ladies aren't careful, they may be the ones gambling with their lives.

(Source: Berkley)

Suspicion at Seven: A Lois Meade Mystery by Ann Purser (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Lois Meade has done enough buffing and polishing over the years with her cleaning business, New Brooms, to know that all that glitters is not gold. So when a bag of costume jewelery is the main clue in a murder, she has a strong suspicion that appearances may be deceiving.

After a woman is discovered in the Mill House Hotel, strangled with a silver necklace beside a bag filled with faux silver, gold, and pearls, costume jewelry dealer Donald Black seems like the obvious suspect. But Lois knows Donald's wife, who runs a baker's shop near the hotel, and can't believe her husband could be a killer. Plus, Donald has an airtight alibi.

Nevertheless, Donald is no angel. It appears he's running a pyramid scheme, and Lois's mother is getting sucked in. Could the murder have anything to do with his unscrupulous business practices?

As Inspector Cowgill and Lois hope the bling may shine a light on the killer, the discovery of a second body on the old waterwheel in the hotel may be grist for the mill in solving the murder--if they can manage to catch the culprit without getting the runaround.

(Source: Berkley)

The Bone Hunters by Robert J. Mrazek (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $9.99) - Product Description: The author of Valhalla brings back archaeologist Lexy Vaughan and retired Air Force officer Steve Macaulay, as they race to save a priceless discovery from disappearing forever.

One of the greatest archaeological finds of all time, Peking Man, the 780,000-year-old remains of our earliest known human ancestor, disappeared during World War II from a cargo ship bound for America.

Now the Chinese government is fighting to keep a new religion from taking hold—a faith based on the belief that Peking Man is God. And they dispatch ruthless operatives to find and destroy the world's most priceless fossil.

But the U.S. government has its own team on the hunt. From the mountains of Bavaria to the jungles of Central America and across the vast Pacific, Professor Barnaby Finchem, his brilliant protégé, Lexy Vaughan, and pilot Steve Macaulay will brave the wrath of nature and of man to win a race against unbridled tyranny.

(see review)

The Iced Princess (Snow Globe Shop) by Christine Husom (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: It's that time of the year again--the Christmas rush is about to begin, and curio shop owner Camryn Brooks and her BFF, coffee shop owner Alice "Pinky" Nelson, need to hire additional help. Their former high-school classmate, Molly Dalton, is not exactly who they had in mind. Has the rich socialite worked a day in her life? But Molly practically begs for the job.

On her first day, Molly seems to be in her own little world, and Cami worries that her new employee may flake out. The problem turns out to be far worse than that when Cami discovers Molly dead in the back of the shop, after drinking a poisoned cup of coffee. Soon there is an avalanche of suspects as Cami starts shoveling through the clues—including a shattered snow globe of Marilyn Monroe. Now Cami will have to venture out of her safety zone before the pathological poisoner stirs up more trouble. (Includes Snow globe-making projects and tips.)

(Source: Berkley)

To Brew or Not to Brew (Brewing Trouble) by Joyce Tremel (Berkley 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: An all-new mystery series set in a Pittsburgh craft brew pub, featuring a brewmaster with a head for sleuthing.

The Allegheny Brew House is a dream come true for Maxine "Max" O'Hara, who went all the way to Germany for her brewmaster certification, and is now preparing to open her own craft brew pub in a newly revitalized section of Pittsburgh. But before she can start pouring stouts and lagers to thirsty throngs, there's trouble on tap. Suspicious acts of sabotage culminate in Max finding her assistant brewmaster and chef Kurt Schmidt strangled in one of the vats.

Between rescuing a stray gray tabby she names Hops and considering a handsome ex-hockey player as her new chef, Max doesn't have a lot of time to solve a murder. But with a homicide detective for a dad, she comes to criminal investigation naturally. And if someone is desperate enough to kill to stop her from opening, Max needs to act fast—before her brand-new brew biz totally tanks. (Includes recipes.)

(Source: Berkley)

Five Star

Death By Dumpster by Karen Hanson Stuyck (Five Star 16 December 2015 / $25.95) - Book Description: Laid off from her magazine job, Lauren Prescott reluctantly agrees to ghostwrite a memoir for Caroline Marshall, the self-described Queen of Dumpster Diving. Lauren attends a potluck dinner at Caroline's house, where guest bring food they found dumpster diving. By the end of the evening, one guest is dead, poisoned by toxic nuts. Days later another dinner guest dies after trying homemade goodies sent to Caroline by "A Grateful Former Student". Lauren is determined to bring the murderer to justice. But first she has to save herself from a ruthless killer intent on adding her to the list of victims.

(see review)

Show Me The Ashes by Carolyn Mulford (Five Star 16 December 2015 / $25.95) - Book Description: A young barmaid confessed to killing an attacker and setting a fire to conceal that. Months later her dying mother begs ex-spy Phoenix Smith to prove Sheriff Annalynn Keyser's late husband prompted a false confession. Only identifying the real killer will free the daughter to care for her fatherless child.

Phoenix and singer Connie Diamante investigate but don't tell Annalynn, their lifelong friend. The investigation takes the women to the bunt-out bar and intoduces them to families crippled by guilt and bigotry.

Annalynn recruits Phoenix and her dog, Achilles, to help capture a serial burglar. When someone tries to kill Phoenix and Achilles, she doesn't know which case puts her in danger. Phoenix must smoke out the killer to save her own and others' lives.

(Source: Five Star)

Tracking The Beast by Henry Kisor (Five Star 16 December 2015 / $25.95) - Book Description: When the skeleton of a little girl tumbles out of a rusty hopper car in Omaha, Porcupine County Sheriff Steve Martinez has a troublesome case on his hands. The car had squatted for years on a railroad siding deep in the woods of the sheriff’s Upper Michigan bailiwick.

The case gets even more vexing when three more bodies turn up in hopper cars at the siding. Two are young girls, but one is a grown man shot in the back of the head.

After Steve and his comrades sweat the initial spadework, the heavy-footed FBI moves in, as it always does in cases of child abduction and murder.

The Feds focus on a single Unsub they think is both rapist and killer. But when more adult corpses turn up in hopper cars elsewhere, Steve deduces that the killer--or killers--hired someone else to dispose of them. Catching him, Steve thinks, will lead to the truth.

With the help of state troopers, deputies, tribal police, game wardens, the Ontario Provincial Police and even a couple of Detroit mobsters, Steve doggedly goes on the track of what the cops come to call "the Beast"--although the FBI warns him to be careful not to tread on the Feds’ toes.

(see review)

Head of Zeus

Taken For Dead (Katie Maguire) by Graham Masterton (Head of Zeus 01 December 2015 / $13.95) - Product Description: Katie Maguire hunts down a serial killer in county Cork, in her fourth terrifying crime thriller.

It is a sunny Saturday in county Cork, and an Irish wedding is in full swing. Drunk uncles are toasting the bride. The Ceilidh band have played for hours. But the cutting of the cake will bring the wedding to a horrifying end. For there, grinning gruesomely up from the bottom tier, is the severed head of the local baker. Katie Maguire, of the Irish Garda, does not have any leads--until another local businessman goes missing in horrific circumstances. The murders appear to link to The Kings of Erin, a terrifying gang of torturers and extortionists. But these are dangerous men, and they will stop at nothing to throw Katie off the trail.

(Source: Head of Zeus)

Le French Book

Winemaker Detective Mysteries: An Omnibus by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen (Le French Book 05 December 2015 / $19.95) - Product Description: Two amateur sleuths gumshoe around French wine country, where money, deceit, jealousy, inheritance and greed are all the ingredients needed for crime. Master winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his sidekick Virgile Lanssien solve mysteries in vineyards with a dose of Epicurean enjoyment of fine food and beverage. Each story is a homage to wine and winemakers, as well as a mystery. In Treachery in Bordeaux, barrels at the prestigious grand cru Moniales Haut-Brion wine estate in Bordeaux have been contaminated. Is it negligence or sabotage? In Grand Cru Heist, Benjamin Cooker's world gets turned upside down one night in Paris. He retreats to the region around Tours to recover. He and his assistant Virgile turn PI to solve two murders and very particular heist. In Nightmare in Burgundy, a dream wine tasting trip to Burgundy that turns into a troubling nightmare when Cooker and his assistant stumble upon a mystery revolving around messages from another era.

(Source: Le French Book)

Minotaur Books

Cinnamon Toasted (Spice Shop) by Gail Oust (Minotaur Books 15 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Case in point: Piper Prescott's former mother-in-law Melly. Beneath her twin sets and pearls beats the heart of a geek--a geek whose programming changes for the point-of-sale software in Piper's shop have the owners of the program ready to make her an offer she can't refuse. "Trusty" Rusty Tulley and Chip Balboa swing by Brandywine Creek--just in time for the town's annual Oktoberfest, which has cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom flying off Piper's shelves in record numbers. News spreads faster than a text message, and Melly is the toast of the town.

But it isn't long before Melly's status changes to public enemy number one when Chip's body is found at the foot of her basement stairs. Questions start to pile up when handsome police chief Wyatt McBride arrives on the scene and the coroner sets the time of death for the previous evening. McBride wants to know why it took Melly so long to report the incident--especially after she admits to arguing with Chip about the contract he wanted her to sign. Piper knows Melly would never hurt a fly, so she enlists the help of her BFF Reba Mae to clear her name--but can they find the real killer before Melly gets sent away for good? A mouth-watering entry in Gail Oust's delicious Spice Shop series, Cinnamon Toasted is sure to delight cozy fans of all stripes.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Dark Tides by Chris Ewan (Minotaur Books 08 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: When Claire Cooper was eight years old her mother mysteriously vanished during Hop-tu-naa, Halloween on the Isle of Man. At fourteen, Claire is still struggling to come to terms with her disappearance when she's befriended by a group of five teenagers who mark every Halloween by performing dares. But Claire's arrival begins to alter the group's dynamic until one year a prank goes terribly wrong, changing all their futures and tearing the friends apart.

Six years later, one of the friends is killed on Halloween in an apparent accident. But Claire, now a police officer, has her doubts. Is a single footprint found near the body a deliberate taunt? As another Halloween dawns, bringing with it another death and another footprint, Claire becomes convinced that somebody is seeking vengeance. But who? And which of the friends might be next? If she is going to stop a killer and unlock the dark secrets of her past, Claire must confront her deepest fears, before it's too late.

(see review)

Desperate Measures (Gabriel Ash) by Jo Bannister (Minotaur Books 08 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: When Gabriel Ash's wife and kids were kidnapped four years ago by Somali pirates, his life spiraled out of control. He left his job working for the British government and moved to a small town where he descended into near madness. But with the help of his dog, Patience, and his friendship with young police officer Hazel Best, his focus returned. So when he discovers that his wife is still alive, Ash is once again filled with hope and fear. Hope that he has another chance to find her and their two young sons; fear that, in trying, he may bring about their deaths.

Hazel is deeply worried for Ash. But even she is unprepared for what Ash seems willing to do to secure the safety of his wife and children. In fact, nothing is as it seems and loyalty, friendship, and family bonds will be called into question. When Ash learns who was behind the events that wrecked his life and his sanity, even the resourceful Hazel might not be able to keep him from getting hurt. How much is Ash willing to sacrifice in order to bring his family home and bring justice to those responsible?

(see review)

Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur Books 01 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: Harbour Street is the next spellbinding installment in Ann Cleeves' series of crime novels about Vera Stanhope, played in the TV detective drama VERA by Brenda Blethyn.

As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revelers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro.

But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that one lady hasn't left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed.

Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. As she stands on the silent, snow-covered station platform, Vera feels a familiar buzz of anticipation, sensing that this will be a complex and unusual case.

Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what had been troubling Margaret so deeply before she died - before another life is lost. She can feel in her bones that there's a link. Retracing Margaret's final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighborhood, led by clues that keep revolving around one street.

Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak?

(Source: Minotaur Books)

On Thin Icing (Bakeshop) by Ellie Alexander (Minotaur Books 29 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: It's the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists--and fewer customers--for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she's asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up...until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.

Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper--that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules's own ex-husband shows up at the shop--and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow--and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake--Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit...and make sure he gets his just desserts.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Ornaments of Death (Josie Prescott Antiques) by Jane K. Cleland (Minotaur Books 01 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: Christmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, and Prescott's Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott's annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year--Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. Both Ian and Josie are, it seems, descended from Arabella Churchill, a 17th century royal mistress. The party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family--and unexpected dread when he vanishes.

Ian doesn't keep his dinner date with Josie's good friend, Lavinia, or his lunch date with her. Surely, he would have done so--if he could. Ian has given his daughter two priceless 17th century watercolor miniature portraits, one of Arabella and one of her lover, King James II, and they've gone missing, too. Knowing that after her nasty divorce, Lavinia is facing financial ruin, Josie can't help wondering if her friend is behind the theft-and Ian's disappearance.

Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so, she learns the true meaning of Christmas--and the true meaning of family.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus (Minotaur Books 29 December 2015 / $15.99) - Product Description: The body of 92-year-old Jossi Goldberg, Holocaust survivor and American citizen, is found shot to death execution style in his house near Frankfurt. A five-digit number is scrawled in blood at the murder scene. The autopsy reveals an old and unsuccessfully covered tattoo on the corpse's arm―a blood type marker once used by Hitler's SS. Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Bodenstein are faced with a riddle. Was the old man not Jewish after all? Who was he, really? Two more, similar murders happen―one of a wheelchair-bound old lady in a nursing home, and one of a man with a cellar filled with Nazi paraphernalia--and slowly the connections between the victims becomes evident: All of them were lifelong friends with Vera von Kaltensee, baroness, well-respected philanthropist, and head of an old, rich family that she rules with an iron fist. Pia and Oliver follow the trail, which leads them all the way back to the end of World War II and the area of Poland that then belonged to East Prussia. No one is who they claim to be, and things only begin to make sense when the two investigators realize what the bloody number stands for, and uncover an old diary and an eyewitness who is finally willing to come forward.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

The Red Storm by Grant Bywaters (Minotaur Books 01 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: Newly-minted private investigator William Fletcher is having trouble finding clientele. He's not the only man out of work, but his past as a former heavyweight contender with a few shady connections--not to mention the color of his skin in race-obsessed New Orleans--isn't helping lure clients to his door. Stuck without any viable alternative, he takes a case from an old criminal acquaintance, Storm. His only client assures him that the job is simple-locate his missing estranged daughter, Zella, no questions asked.

But when Fletcher starts knocking on doors, he sets off a catastrophic chain of events that turn the city into a bloody battleground between two rival syndicates. Then Storm is murdered and Fletcher finds himself caught between the police and dangerous mobsters. With Zella's safety in the balance, the unlikely private detective finds himself with a lot more than he bargained for.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

The Witch Hunter's Tale (The Midwife's Tale) by Sam Thomas (Minotaur Books 15 December 2015 / $15.99) - Product Description: Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike. Bridget―accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson―finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?

(see review)

Web of Deceit (Ella Marconi) by Katherine Howell (Minotaur Books 15 December 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: When a frantic man refuses to leave the car that witnesses say he deliberately crashed, paramedics Jane and Alex think it's a desperate cry for help. But his paranoid claims that someone is out to get him only confirm official reports that he is delusional.

When he is indeed found dead in what looks like a suicide, Jane is uneasy: she remembers the raw terror in his eyes.

Detective Ella Marconi shares these doubts, which are compounded as the case becomes increasingly tangled. The victim's boss tries to commit suicide, a witness flees, and closer to home, a woman is attacked in front of Jane's house. Then Alex's daughter goes missing.

As Ella tries to add up the clues, the investigation is hampered by her budget-focused boss. Then, just when she thinks she's closing in, a shocking turn of events endangers more people, and Ella just may see the killer slip through her hands.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

NAL

Fifty Mice by Daniel Pyne (NAL 01 December 2015 / $15.00) - Product Description: An electrifying thriller that asks the question: What if a man is taken into the Federal Witness Protection Program against his will? And what if he doesn't even know what he's supposed to know?

Jay Johnson is a thirtysomething guy with a job in telephone sales, a regular pickup basketball game, and a devoted girlfriend he seems ready to marry. Then he's abducted, tranquilized, and interrogated, and his entire life history is obliterated. He is now officially in witness protection. What did he see? What terrible crime--or criminal--is he keeping secret? It must be something awfully big. Unfortunately, Jay has no clue what it is.

Convinced that the government has made a colossal mistake, Jay is involuntarily relocated to a community on Catalina Island, which turns out to be inhabited mainly by other protected witnesses. Isolated in a world of strangers, Jay begins to realize that the only way out is through the twisted maze of lies and unreliable memories swirling through his own mind. If he can locate—or invent--a repressed memory that might satisfy the Feds, maybe he can make it back to the mainland and his wonderful, empty, unexamined life.

  (Source: NAL)

Give Up the Ghost (Haunted Home Renovation) by Juliet Blackwell (NAL 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: San Francisco contractor and ghost whisperer Mel Turner must solve a murder mystery at a haunted mansion in the Pacific Heights.

San Francisco millionaire Andrew Flynt wants to sell his Victorian mansion, but ghostly music, the squeaking of a long-disappeared weathervane, and an angry ghost keep running off potential buyers. After a famous psychic is called in, she informs the Flynts that their multi-million-dollar renovations to "update" the home have left its resident ghost extremely agitated. So contractor Mel Turner is engaged to track down and replace some of the original features of the house.

But when the beautiful psychic is found stabbed, it appears someone had a very human motive for murder. Now Mel must use her ghost whispering gift to uncover the secrets of the haunted house on the hill, and her sleuthing skills to catch a killer.

(Source: NAL)

Murder at Whitehall (Elizabethan Mystery) by Amanda Carmack (NAL 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: The author of Murder in the Queen's Garden returns to Tudor England with amateur sleuth Kate Haywood embroiled in court intrigue and a devastating scandal.

1559. The Twelve Days of Christmas at Whitehall Palace will be celebrated as a grand affair. But there are those who wish to usher in the New Year by ending Queen Elizabeth's reign.

Despite evenings of banquets and dancing, the European delegates attending Her Majesty's holiday festivities are less interested in peace on earth than they are in fostering mistrust. Kate, the queen's personal musician, hopes she can keep the royal guests entertained.

But then Queen Elizabeth receives a most unwanted gift--an anonymous letter that threatens to reveal untoward advances from her beloved Queen Catherine's last husband, Thomas Seymour. Tasked with finding the extortionist, Kate has barely begun investigating when one of Spain's visiting lords is found murdered. With two mysteries to unravel and an unsettling number of suspects to consider, Kate finds herself caught between an unscrupulous blackmailer and a cold-blooded killer. (Source: NAL)

Pouncing on Murder (Bookmobile Cat Mystery) by Laurie Cass (NAL 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Springtime in Chilson, Michigan, means it's librarian Minnie Hamilton's favorite time of year: maple syrup season. But her excitement fades when her favorite syrup provider, Henry Gill, dies in a sugaring accident. It's tough news to swallow...even if the old man wasn't as sweet as his product.

On the bookmobile rounds with her trusty rescue cat Eddie, Minnie meets Adam, the old man's friend, who was with him when he died. Adam is convinced Henry's death wasn't an accident, and fears that his own life is in danger. With the police overworked, it's up to Minnie and Eddie to tap all their resources for clues—before Adam ends up in a sticky situation.

(Source: NAL)

The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio (NAL 01 December 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Agatha Christie is on the book club's reading list in the ilatest from the author of The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco. This time, Amy-Faye and her friends might have to read between the lines to catch a killer.

Amy-Faye Johnson's book club, the Readaholics, is engrossed in Murder on the Orient Express, and Poirot's surprising resolution is stirring up debate. Is the solution remotely realistic? Is justice served by Poirot's decision? Well, the book is fiction after all

Then, just as Amy-Faye is planning the grand opening of her brother Derek's pub, his hot-headed partner is murdered. To keep Derek from being railroaded as a suspect, Amy-Faye and the Readaholics take a page from Poirot and investigate. But as the clues lead to unlikely places, surprising motives, and a multitude of suspects, Amy-Faye and her pals wonder if truth can be just as strange as fiction.

(see review)

Signet

Every Crooked Path: The Bowers Files by Steven James (Signet 01 December 2015 / $9.99) - Product Description: Who is the Piper? Special Agent Patrick Bowers returns in an electrifying prequel to the Bowers Chess series from critically acclaimed, national bestselling novelist Steven James.

A mysterious suicide and a series of abductions draw Patrick into a web of intrigue involving an international conspiracy where no one is who they appear to be and the stakes have never been higher.

Soon, Patrick discovers that the secret to stopping the Piper's current crime spree lies in unlocking answers from an eight-year-old cold case—and the only way to do that is by entering the terrifying world of the conspirators himself.

(Source: Signet)

Smoke & Shadow Books

Haunting Investigation (Chesterton Holte) by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (Smoke & Shadow Books 31 December 2015 / $27.99) - Book Description: Spring 1924. The world has clawed its way back from the ravages of WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic. The 20's are beginning to roar.

Poppy Thornton lives with her Aunt Jo and her excitable cat Maestro in upper-crust Philadelphia. Poppy is determined to make a name for herself as a serious crime reporter, but is stuck reporting on garden parties and ladies' fashion. Then one day her editor assigns her to collect background information on the suicide of a prominent businessman. She soon discovers it was actually a murder...but her surprising source for this information is the ghost of a man killed alongside her father during the Great War. Even if she dared tell anyone, who would believe it?

Together Poppy and her "gentleman haunt" follow the trail of a string of murders. But as their investigation narrows in on an all-too-familiar suspect, Poppy becomes a target herself — and wonders if her ghost of a partner will appear in time to keep her from joining him in the after-life.

(see review)

The Moondust Sonatas: Movement # 1, A Hunters Moon by Alan Osi (Smoke & Shadow Books 31 December 2015 / $19.99) - Product Description: A drug that lets you see God. Imagine the possibilities... Percival, a young Brooklyn DJ, awakens from a night of debauchery with clear instructions on how to produce moondust. He discovers that this mysterious grey powder provides the ultimate high and gives users a glimpse of the divine. After months of quietly selling it to artists, however, Percival attracts deadly attention from a gang of drug dealers. Facing threats from all sides, he decides to go public with its secrets, although to do so he must risk his both his freedom and his life. The danger he faces pales in comparison to that caused by moondust. In a world that's a tinderbox of smoldering conflict, moondust could be the match that ignites a global cataclysm.

An edge-of-your-seat thriller, Movement #1: A Hunter's Moon, the first volume of the The Moondust Sonatas takes readers on a wild ride through the underside of the city, the birth of a remarkable new drug, and an impending drug war while raising provocative questions about spirituality and what we're really craving. (Source: Smoke & Shadow Books)

Soho Crime

His Right Hand (Linda Wallheim) by Mette Ivie Harrison (Soho Crime 01 December 2015 / $26.95) - Product Description: In Draper, Utah, a tight-knit Mormon community is thrown into upheaval when their ward's second counselor--one of the bishop's right-hand men--is found dead in an elaborately staged murder on church property. Carl Ashby was known as a devout Mormon, a pillar of the community, and a loving husband and father. Who would want him dead?

Linda Wallheim, the wife of the ward's bishop, can't rest as long as the ward is suffering. She is particularly worried about Carl's grieving family. But the entire case is turned upside down by the autopsy report, which reveals Carl Ashby was a biological female. In the Mormon church, where gender is considered part of a person's soul, some people regard transgenderism as one of the worst possible transgressions of faith. Church officials seem to be more upset by Carl's gender than by his murder, and more concerned with hushing up the story than solving the crime.

Linda realizes that if the police are to catch the killer, they are going to need an ally on the inside—and she is the only one who can help. Carl was living a life of secrecy for twenty years. What else was he hiding—and can Linda ferret out the key to his death before the rumors tear her community apart?

(Source: Soho Crime)

The Treacherous Net (Irene Huss) by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime 15 December 2015 / $26.95) - Product Description: It's May and the snow has hardly melted in Göteborg, Sweden, but things are heating up quickly for Detective Inspector Irene Huss in the Violent Crimes Unit. The body of a teenage girl is found in the woods, naked and horrifically scarred. Then there's the mummified body that is discovered bricked up in a chimney on a demolition site, not to mention the city's ongoing problem with gang violence. With the sudden influx of cases and one detective out on maternity leave, everyone is stretched thin. To make matters worse, Irene feels more than a little intimidated by the new superintendent, Efva Thylqvist, who uses her sex appeal and smooth talking to bend the predominately male staff to her will.

Then a second young girl is found, wearing what appears to be the other half of the sexy lingerie set recovered near the first body. Fearing the two cases are linked and that the killer may strike again, Irene and her colleagues embark on a desperate hunt that takes them deep into a shadowy world of anonymous online predators and insecure teenage girls on a deadly quest for affirmation. (Source: Soho Crime)

Tyrus Books

A Better Goodbye by John Schulian (Tyrus Books 04 December 2015 / $24.99) - Product Description: Nick Pafko knows he can't be a professional boxer forever. But he never guessed it would end so quickly, and so wrong. Broke and unemployed, Nick has little choice but to call a number given to him by a friend. On the other end? Scott, a washed-up B-movie actor who runs a so-called massage parlor looking for somebody desperate enough to work security.

Jenny Yee doesn't really mind massage, until the day she finds her coworkers robbed and assaulted. Fearing for her safety, she resolves to never work without security again. With mounting expenses, she knows massage is the fastest way to get paid. When an old massage acquaintance calls Jenny to ask her to work for Scott, she agrees--and before long, she's the top earner.

Scott is an arrogant moron, but he's harmless compared to the thug he calls "friend"--Onus Dupree. When DuPree decides to rob Scott's massage joint, it's the perfect opportunity to beat up Nick and take advantage of Jenny. Can Nick stay true to his promise to protect Jenny? Can he protect himself?

(Source: Tyrus Books)

Dig Two Graves by Kim Powers (Tyrus Books 04 December 2015 / $24.99) - Product Description: In his twenties, Ethan Holt won the decathlon at the Olympics and was jokingly nicknamed "Hercules"; now, in his late thirties, he's returned to his ivy-covered alma mater to teach, and to raise his young daughter Skip as a single father. After a hushed-up scandal over his Olympics win and the death of his wife in a car accident five years ago, Ethan wants nothing more than to forget his past. Skip is not only the light of Ethan's life--she is his life. Then, Skip is kidnapped. A series of bizarre ransom demands start coming in that stretch Ethan's athletic prowess to its limits, and he realizes with growing horror that they are modern versions of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, demanded in tricky, rhyming clues by someone who seems to have followed every step of Ethan's career.

(Source: Tyrus Books)

William Morrow

The Bone Labyrinth (Sigma Force) by James Rollins (William Morrow 15 December 2015 / $27.99) - Product Description: In the remote mountains of Croatia, an archaeologist makes a strange discovery: a subterranean Catholic chapel, hidden for centuries, holds the bones of a Neanderthal woman. In the same cavern system, elaborate primitive paintings tell the story of an immense battle between tribes of Neanderthals and monstrous shadowy figures. Who is this mysterious enemy depicted in these ancient drawings and what do the paintings mean?

Before any answers could be made, the investigative team is attacked, while at the same time, a bloody assault is made upon a primate research center outside of Atlanta. How are these events connected? Who is behind these attacks? The search for the truth will take Commander Gray Pierce of Sigma Force 50,000 years into the past. As he and Sigma trace the evolution of human intelligence to its true source, they will be plunged into a cataclysmic battle for the future of humanity that stretches across the globe . . . and beyond.

With the fate of our future at stake, Sigma embarks on its most harrowing odyssey ever—a breathtaking quest that will take them from ancient tunnels in Ecuador that span the breadth of South America to a millennia-old necropolis holding the bones of our ancestors. Along the way, revelations involving the lost continent of Atlantis will reveal true mysteries tied to mankind's first steps on the moon. In the end, Gray Pierce and his team will face to their greatest threat: an ancient evil, resurrected by modern genetic science, strong enough to bring about the end of man's dominance on this planet.

Only this time, Sigma will falter—and the world we know will change forever.

(Source: William Morrow)

The Enemy Inside (Paul Madriani) by Steve Martini (William Morrow 29 December 2015 / $9.99) - Product Description: Defending an innocent young man, defense attorney Paul Madriani uncovers a morass of corruption and greed that leads to the highest levels of political power in this electrifying tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Steve Martini.

One of the most successful lawyers in the country, Olinda Serna is a master at managing money as well as her influential clients. After years of fierce combat in the political trenches, Serna knows all the dirty secrets, where the bodies are buried, and how deeply they are stacked. When she's killed in a roadside crash in the high desert of Southern California, powerful heads in Washington begin to panic, worried that their secrets may not be safe anymore.

Alex Ives, a friend of Paul Madriani's daughter, is accused of vehicular manslaughter in Serna's death. Ives claims he had only one drink on the night of the accident, yet he can't remember anything between the time he left for a party north of San Diego and the moment he woke up in a hospital the next morning. He's still dazed and a little bruised, but also obviously very afraid. After all, a woman is dead, and he's sure he didn't kill her.

To save an innocent young man's life, the brilliant defense attorney must uncover everything he can about Serna and her clients--no matter how unsavory--a search that will lead him into a vortex of corruption, and at its center, a devious killer poised to strike again.

(see review)

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