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US Books Received- 01/2016  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 Second Chance at Murder (Love or Money) by Diana Orgain (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: After Love or Money made them reality TV stars, former cop Georgia Thornton and her new boyfriend Scott were supposed to live happily ever after. Unfortunately as their fifteen minutes of fame came to an end, actual reality kicked in and their prize money quickly evaporated.

So Georgia and Scott agree to appear in a new program, pitting them against other teams in an athletic journey across the countryside of Spain for a chance to win $250,000. But the fierce competition turns frightening when Scott disappears during an overnight camping trip in the Pyrenees Mountains, leaving only his bloody wristwatch behind—and a woman's dead body.

With the Spanish authorities ready to convict Scott, Georgia must find him and prove his innocence in an amazing race against crime.

(Source: Berkley)

A Wee Dose of Death (ScotShop) by Fran Stewart (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: A second dose of Scottish charm from the author of A Wee Murder in My Shop.

While business is booming at the ScotShop in Hamelin, Vermont, proprietor Peggy Winn doesn't have time to toast her good fortune thanks to her hot-tempered, fourteenth-century Scottish companion. Being thrust into the modern world hasn't been easy for Dirk, but Peggy is at her wit's end trying to keep the ghostie galoot in line.

But when the local police chief finds the body of Peggy's friend Karaline's college professor in a deserted mountain cabin, everyone is thrown for a loop. It seems the secretive professor may have been killed over his ecological work, an idea that's only reinforced when Karaline herself is shot. Now Peggy and Dirk must set aside their differences to put the cold-blooded killer under loch and key.

(Source: Berkley)

Copy Cap Murder (Hat Shop) by Jenn McKinlay (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: The author of At the Drop of a Hat returns to her London hat shop with a fresh tale of milliners and murder.

For Scarlett Parker, part of the fun of living in London is celebrating the British holidays, and she's excited to share her first Bonfire Night with her cousin Vivian Tremont. Invited to a posh party by their friend Harrison Wentworth, Scarlett and Viv decide to promote their hat shop, Mim's Whims, by donning a few of their more outrageous creations. The hats prove to be quite the conversation starters as the girls mix and mingle with the guests—never suspecting that one of them is a killer.

It's a cold, clear night, perfect for the British tradition of tossing a straw stuffed effigy of Guy Fawkes, traitor to the crown, onto the bonfire. But instead of a straw man, they realize in the heat of the moment that the would-be Guy Fawkes is actually Harrison's office rival and he's been murdered. Before the smoke has cleared, Harrison is the Metropolitan police's prime suspect, and Scarlett and Vivian must find the real homicidal hothead before their dear friend's life goes up in flames.

(Source: Berkley)

Foreign Éclairs (White House Chef) by Julie Hyzy (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: White House executive chef Ollie Paras has served plenty of meals to foreign dignitaries from around the world. But someone is ready to serve her an ice-cold dish of revenge.

Things are about to really heat up for Ollie. News of a bombing and attempted breakout at a federal prison reveals that the brother of a terrorist she helped defeat is back with a vengeance. And after she gets mugged on her way home from work, the Secret Service won't leave her side, fearing she is now a target.

When a White House staff member is murdered, officials rush to action over a possible security breach. It may be time for Ollie to trade in her apron for a bullet-proof vest as she becomes part of a bold strategy to make sure this terrorist gets his just desserts.

(Source: Berkley)

Kingdom Come (Elizabeth Harris) by Jane Jensen (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $15.00) - Product Description: Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has always been a place of quiet beauty--until a shocking murder shatters the peace, and leaves a troubled detective picking up the pieces.

After her husband is murdered, Detective Elizabeth Harris turns in her NYPD badge and moves back home, hoping that a quiet life in remote Pennsylvania Dutch country will help her overcome the dark memories of her ten years in New York. But when a beautiful, scantily clad "English" girl is found dead in the barn of a prominent Amish family, Elizabeth knows that she's uncovered an evil that could shake the community to its core.

Elizabeth's boss is convinced this was the work of an "English", as outsiders are called in Lancaster County. But Elizabeth isn't so sure. All she's missing is an actual lead--until another body is found: this time, a missing Amish girl. Now Elizabeth must track down a killer with deep ties to a community that always protects its own--no matter how deadly the cost.

(Source: Berkley)

One Foot in the Grove (Olive Oil Grove) by Kelly Lane (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: In the sweet Southern town of Abundance, Georgia, home of the Knox family's olive farm, gossip isn't the only thing that can kill you.

After leaving a man at the altar for the second time in her life, Eva Knox decides to head home to her family's plantation to regroup and soak in some Southern charm. But hiding from her woes is a slipperier proposition than Eva imagined. For one thing, most people in town still haven't forgiven her for leaving local boy Buck Tanner at the altar and hightailing it up north eighteen years ago. For another, a death on her family's farm soon makes her the lead suspect in a murder case--and the sheriff investigating is none other than Eva's old flame Buck.

With the police putting the squeeze on her, it's up to Eva and her sisters, Pep and Daphne, to figure out who could have possibly left a dead body in their olive grove. And they'll have to catch the greasy killer quickly—because it looks like Eva has been picked as the murderer's next victim.

(see review)

Sweet Pepper Hero (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade) by J.J. Cook (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: Old rivalries heat up in the fourth Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery from the author of In Hot Water .

Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she's called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there's more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper.

As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town's elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.

(Source: Berkley)

The Cakes of Monte Cristo (Piece of Cake) by Jacklyn Brady (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: In the fresh new Piece of Cake Mystery from the national bestselling author of Rebel Without a Cake, a pastry chef becomes embroiled in a suspicious death as a mysterious curse casts a pall over an annual New Orleans ball.
 
Rita Lucero, co-owner of New Orleans's Zydeco Cakes, is thrilled to be catering an annual ball held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. Designing the high-end desserts is her priority—until she stumbles upon a mystery long-buried at her shop. It's an ornate ruby necklace, hidden underneath her staircase and rumored to be cursed.
 
After the gem's appraiser suddenly drops dead and Rita herself is targeted by a menacing stranger, she's no longer laughing at local superstition. Now with five cakes on order and an investigation into the necklace's past revealing layers of unsettling clues, Rita has reason to keep looking over her shoulder while she's frosting. Because any way you slice it, the next victim of the legendary curse could be her. (Source: Berkley)

To Helvetica and Back (Dangerous Type) by Paige Shelton (Berkley 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: The New York Times bestselling author of the Farmers' Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries introduces readers to Star City, Utah, and a little shop called the Rescued Word.

Star City is known for its slopes and its powder. But nestled in the valley of this ski resort town is a side street full of shops that specialize in the simple charms of earlier eras. One of those shops is the Rescued Word, where Chester Henry and his adult granddaughter Clare lovingly repair old typewriters and restore old books. Who ever thought their quaint store would hold the key to some modern-day trouble?

When a stranger to town demands they turn over an antique Underwood typewriter they're repairing for a customer, Clare fears she may need to be rescued. A call to the police scares the man off, but later Clare finds his dead body in the back alley. What about a dusty old typewriter could possibly be worth killing for?

(see review)

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

In Hot Water (Triple-D Ranch, Vol. 1) by Terry Odell (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 26 January 2016 / $10.99) - Product Description: He needs a cook, she needs a place to hide. In her new romantic action adventure, Terry Odell spins her popular Blackthorne, Inc. series off into a new world of adventures filled with mystery and suspense. The Triple-D Ranch novels are set against the backdrop of a Colorado cattle ranch, where cowboys find love and danger while they're working the range.

Derek Cooper has left the violent life of an Army Ranger and a covert ops agent for Blackthorne, Inc. in favor of the more peaceful life of a cowboy, running the family cattle ranch in the Colorado mountains. However, when he rescues a stranded motorist, he has no idea this blonde pixie is going to bring violence to his doorstep--or work her way into his heart. Unable to resist helping her discover why she's in danger ends up with him unable to resist her ... period. When they discover a potential bioterrorism plot, they'll have to put their attraction on hold while they search for a way to prevent it.

Sabrina Barton believes in second chances, and she's running a vocational culinary school to prove it. But when her brother dies in a mysterious hit-and-run, and she's beset by an unsettling series of accidents, she can't believe in coincidences. She goes in search of the one man her brother told her to seek if she ever needed help. Trouble is, the letter with that advice was delivered at her brother's funeral, more than ten years after he wrote it. Will cattle rancher Derek Cooper be able to help her? And will she be able to resist this handsome cowboy who seems to be no stranger to violence?

(see review)

Five Star

The Killing Land by Jacqueline Seewald (Five Star 20 January 2016 / $25.95) - Product Description: In this Western suspense thriller set in the Arizona Territory of the early l880s, a courageous settler from the East and an aristocratic cattle baron become involved in a relationship neither wants but neither can resist.Although attracted to each other, Mary and Cal are also distrustful and antagonistic toward one another. Mary suspects that Cal is responsible for trying to drive the homesteaders and sheepherders off their land.When her uncle is murdered, Mary intends to discover who is responsible and why. In so doing, she becomes a person of interest to a vicious outlaw. Cal, whose mother deserted him and who had a bad experience with his former fiancee, is now suspicious of women altogether. When these two finally begin to surmount their personal prejudices, circumstances place dangerous obstacles in their path and put their lives in jeopardy.

(see review)

Forge Books

The Plague of Thieves Affair (Carpenter and Quincannon) by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (Forge Books 26 January 2016 / $25.99) - Product Description: Sabina Carpenter and John Quinncannon are no stranger to mysteries. In the five years since they opened Carpenter and Quinncannon, Professional Detective Services, they have solved dozens, but one has eluded even them: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity, who keeps showing up with a frustrating (though admittedly useful) knack for solving difficult cases.

Roland W. Fairchild, recently arrived from Chicago, claims Holmes is his first cousin, Charles P. Fairchild III. Now, with his father dead, Charles stands to inherit an estate of over three million dollars-if Sabina can find him, and if he can be proved sane. Sabina is uncertain of Roland's motives, but agrees to take the case.

John, meanwhile, has been hired by the owner of the Golden State brewery to investigate the "accidental" death of the head brewmaster, who drowned in a vat of his own beer. When a second murder occurs, and the murderer escapes from under his nose, John finds himself on the trail not just of the criminals, but of his reputation for catching them.

But while John is certain he can catch his quarry, Sabina is less certain she wants to catch hers. Holmes has been frustrating, but useful, even kind. She is quite certain he is mad, and quite uncertain what will happen when he is confronted with the truth. Does every mystery need to be solved?

(see review)

Gallery Books

Angels Burning by Tawni O'Dell (Gallery Books 12 January 2016 / $16.00) - Product Description: From the author of Back Roads comes this fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who's forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.

On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.

When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.

During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove's mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family's trauma and that of the Trulys.

(Source: Gallery Books)

Henry Holt and Co.

Even the Dead (Quirke) by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Co. 12 January 2016 / $27.00) - Product Description: A suspicious death, a pregnant woman suddenly gone missing: Quirke's latest case leads him inexorably toward the dark machinations of an old foe.

Perhaps Quirke has been down among the dead too long. Lately the Irish pathologist has suffered hallucinations and blackouts, and he fears the cause is a brain tumor. A specialist diagnoses an old head injury caused by a savage beating; all that's needed, the doctor declares, is an extended rest. But Quirke, ever intent on finding his place among the living, is not about to retire.

One night during a June heat wave, a car crashes into a tree in central Dublin and bursts into flames. The police assume the driver's death was either an accident or a suicide, but Quirke's examination of the body leads him to believe otherwise. Then his daughter Phoebe gets a mysterious visit from an acquaintance: the woman, who admits to being pregnant, says she fears for her life, though she won't say why. When the woman later disappears, Phoebe asks her father for help, and Quirke in turn seeks the assistance of his old friend Inspector Hackett. Before long the two men find themselves untangling a twisted string of events that takes them deep into a shadowy world where one of the city's most powerful men uses the cover of politics and religion to make obscene profits.

(Source: Henry Holt and Co.)

Knopf

Shaker by Scott Frank (Knopf 26 January 2016 / $26.95) - Product Description: Meet Roy Cooper, stoic, unassuming "errand runner" for various New York criminals. Roy arrives in Los Angeles to shoot a man named Martin Shine a week after a powerful earthquake has knocked out cell service, buckled the freeways, and thrown L.A. into chaos. Roy doesn't know who Shine is or why he has to die, but he does his job and does it well. Except for one thing: after the hit, Roy can't find where he parked his car. Wandering the streets of North Hollywood, he stumbles upon a jogger getting mugged and beaten by four young gangbangers. Despite his attempt to simply put his head down and walk away, Roy winds up in the middle of another killing. Things get more complicated when the murdered jogger turns out to be a controversial mayoral candidate. Roy himself is shot twice, hospitalized in critical condition, and mistaken for a hero when a local resident leaks a video that goes viral. 

Now meet the rest of the cast of characters, including Kelly Maguire, a disgraced LAPD detective with an anger management problem and strange feelings about L.A.'s newest hero; Science, the teenage gangbanger/shooter, who needs to keep Roy quiet about what he's seen; Mayor Miguel Santiago, who finds himself facing accusations that he's just had his opponent whacked; Albert Budin, Roy's onetime mentor and one of the scariest, creepiest characters in recent crime fiction; and myriad criminals, politicians, and cops who all need Roy to disappear—preferably forever.

Finally, meet Scott Frank, who has created not just one of the most entertaining novels of the year but also one of the most surprising. This first novel is fun and funny as well as moving and textured, nuanced and powerful. Shaker is the debut work of fiction by a major new storyteller.

(Source: Knopf)

Midnight Ink

Karma's a Killer (Downward Dog) by Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink 08 January 2016 / $14.99) - Product Description: When Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson agrees to teach doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal shelter, she believes the only damage will be to her reputation. But a few downward-facing dogs are the least of Kate's problems when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning.

The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate's estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma's innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism and organizational politics. As they investigate the dangerous obsessions that drive these groups, Kate and her sleuthing team discover that when it comes to murder, there's no place like hOMe.

(Source: Midnight Ink)

Minotaur Books

A Prisoner in Malta (Christopher Marlowe) by Phillip DePoy (Minotaur Books 26 January 2016 / $26.99) - Product Description: In 1583, the nineteen-year-old Christopher Marlowe--with a reputation as a brawler, a womanizer, a genius, and a social upstart at Cambridge University--is visited by a man representing Marlowe's benefactors. There are rumors of a growing plot against her majesty Queen Elizabeth I, and the Queen's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, has charged young Marlowe with tracking down the truth. The path to that truth seems to run through an enigmatic prisoner held in complete seclusion in a heavily guarded dungeon in Malta. Marlowe must use every bit of his wits, his skills, and his daring to unravel one of the greatest mysteries in history and help uncover and unravel scheme of assassination and invasion, one involving the government of Spain, high ranking English nobles, and even Pope himself.

Christopher Marlowe--Elizabethan playwright, poet, and spy--is one of the most enigmatic figures in Renaissance England. The son of a shoemaker from Canterbury, he attended Cambridge University on scholarship and, while frequently in trouble, was bailed out through the intercession of Queen Elizabeth I's Privy Council. Long rumored to have been an agent on behalf of the Queen's spymaster, Edgar Award winner Phillip DePoy's new series brings Marlowe and his times to life.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Blackout by David Rosenfelt (Minotaur Books 05 January 2016 / $25.99) - Product Description: New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock has been after infamous criminal Nicholas Bennett for years. When Bennett kills someone close to Doug, however, Doug's investigation--and his life--start spiraling out of control. He's placed on indefinite suspension from the police force and breaks things off with his fiancé, but he can't let the case go, and he continues an off-the-books investigation on his own. When Doug's former partner on the force, Nate Alvarez, receives a call from Doug saying he's discovered something big, something terrifying, something they need to call in the FBI to handle, Nate is furious that Doug has still been working the case.

But when the call ends abruptly, and shortly afterward Doug is found in a hotel room, shot and in critical condition, Nate's anger turns to fear. When Doug finally awakens from his coma, however, he has no memory of the case, or even the last several years of his life. But the pull of what he might have discovered is too strong, and he finds himself immersed in a desperate search for truth once again, regardless of the danger.

Once again Rosenfelt has written a propulsive and compelling thriller that will rivet readers from the first page to the last.

(see review)

Downward Facing Death by Michelle Kelly (Minotaur Books 19 January 2016 / $25.99) - Product Description: After ten years away, Keeley Carpenter is excited to be back in Belfrey, the traditional English village hometown she fled as a shy teen, with a plan to reopen her father's neglected butcher shop as a yoga café, where she will sell delicious vegetarian food by day and teach yoga classes at night. However the more traditional residents of Belfrey do not take kindly to this idea-or really anything they deem even remotely "New Age-y." Within an hour of her arrival, Keeley comes face to face with Detective Constable Ben Taylor, who tells her that someone has just tried to burn down her shop. When officers arrived to stop the blaze, a body was found upstairs. Horrified by this news, Keeley is also startled to be reintroduced to Ben as DC Taylor, as he was her high school crush. In spite of her instant attraction to him, Keeley is determined to keep Ben at arm's length.

As she settles back in to Belfrey and makes plans for her opening day, she soon finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation. When Keeley starts being threatened herself, she realizes someone may be out to kill more than her business prospects - but can she and Ben find the culprit before it's too late?

A warm, intriguing cozy debut that includes recipes from Keeley's café, Downward Facing Death is perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Cleo Coyle.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Five: A Novel by Ursula Archer (Minotaur Books 26 January 2016 / $15.99) - Product Description: A woman's corpse is discovered in a meadow. A strange combination of letters and numbers has been tattooed on the soles of her feet. Detective inspector Beatrice Kaspary from the local murder squad quickly identifies the digits as map coordinates. These lead to a series of gruesome discoveries as she and her colleague Florin Wenninger embark on a bloody trail – a modern-day scavenger hunt using GPS navigation devices to locate hidden caches. The "owner" of these unofficial, unpublished geocaches is a highly calculating and elusive fiend who leaves his victims' body-parts sealed in plastic bags, complete with riddles that culminate in a five-stage plot. Kaspary herself becomes an unwilling pawn in the perpetrator's game of cat and mouse as she risks all to uncover the motives behind the murderer's actions. Five is definitely not a book for the faint-hearted, but it delivers great suspense, unexpected plot twists, and multi-dimensional characters.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Once a Crooked Man by David McCallum (Minotaur Books 12 January 2016 / $25.99) - Product Description: Sal, Max, and Enzo Buschetti have proved that crime pays and pays well over a lifetime of nefarious activity that they have kept hidden from law enforcement. Nowhere in any file o on any computer is there a record of anything illegal from which they have profited. But Max has a problem. His body is getting old and his doctor has told him to take it easy. Max has decided that the time has come for the family to retire.

But when actor Harry Murphy overhears the Bruschetti brothers planning changes to their organization, plans that include the murder of a man in London who knows too much, he make the egregious mistake of trying to warn the intended victim, and the Bruschettis' plans begin to unravel.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Presumed Puzzled (Puzzle Lady Mysteries) by Parnell Hall (Minotaur Books 19 January 2016 / $24.99) - Product Description: Presumed Puzzled is the latest mystery from Parnell Hall featuring the delightfully charming fraud Cora Felton. The Puzzle Lady gets more than she bargained for when she's hired to track down Paula Martindale's straying husband. Cora Felton finds him hacked to pieces on his living room rug, while his blood-drenched wife haunts the crime scene clutching a butcher knife.

It's a tough spot for attractive young attorney Becky Baldwin. Paula is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but without Cora's help the outcome is all but decided. Cora leaps in to save the day, but she struggles to uncover clues while managing her own role in the courtroom as a witness for the prosecution. Even worse, every bit of evidence she finds in Paula's favor, from crossword puzzles to alibi witnesses, points to Cora herself as the killer!

(see review)

The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth (Minotaur Books 12 January 2016 / $15.99) - Product Description: Six years ago, Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. Only a chance encounter with a dog walker saved her life. Melody's neighbor and close friend David Alden was found guilty of the crime and imprisoned, and the attack and David's betrayal of her friendship left Melody a different person. She no longer trusts her own judgment, she no longer trusts her friends. In fact, she no longer really has any friends. She's built a life behind walls and gates and security codes; she's cloistered herself away from the world almost entirely.

And then, soon after David is released from prison, Eve Elliot is murdered in an attack almost identical to Melody's. With the start of a new police investigation, Melody is suddenly pulled from her ordered, secluded life and back into the messy world around her. But as she learns more about Eve's murder, Melody starts to wonder if perhaps David hadn't betrayed her after all...if perhaps the killer is someone else entirely, someone who's still out there, preparing to strike again.

(see review)

NAL

A Ghoul's Guide to Love and Murder (Ghost Hunter) by Victoria Laurie (NAL 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: Medium M.J. Holliday battles demons in the tenth Ghost Hunter Mystery from the author of No Ghouls Allowed.

M.J., Heath, and Gilley, are back home in Boston, where their new film is sure to be a monster hit!  To promote the film, the studio is sponsoring a special exhibit of supernatural artifacts at a local museum. Unfortunately, Gilley—whose mind is engaged with wedding plans—gets talked into donating to the exhibit the very dagger that keeps the dangerous ghost Oruç and his pet demon locked down in the lower realms. Before M.J. can recover the bewitched blade, there's a murder and a heist at the museum, and the dagger is stolen.

Now Oruç is coming for M.J. and her crew, and he's bringing with him some fiendish friends from M.J.'s haunted past. She, Gilley, and Heath are certain to be in for a devil of a time. M.J. may even need to recruit a certain skeptical Boston detective to help stop the paranormal party crashers from turning Gilley's wedding bells to funeral knells.

(Source: NAL)

Daisies For Innocence (Enchanted Garden) by Bailey Cattrell (NAL 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright's perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it's up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie's life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost...supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions, bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies.

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie's murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie's past—because it'll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud.

(Source: NAL)

Death of A Bad Apple (Food Festival) by Penny Pike (NAL 05 January 2016 / $7.99) - Product Description: The latest deliciously appealing mystery from the author of Death of a Chocolate Cheater.

Anxious to take a break from bustling San Francisco, Darcy and her Aunt Abby pack up the food truck and head for the apple festival at Apple Valley, California. Aunt Abby is sure her almond apple tarts will be a hit and Darcy wants to collect more recipes for her food truck cookbook.

But when a fellow guest at the Enchanted Apple Inn is pared-down—and the Inn's owner ends up the prime suspect—Darcy must peel away the layers of the mystery. Because an apple a day certainly isn't keeping the killer away.

(Source: NAL)

New Pulp Press

Nocturne for Madness (Thomas Haftmann) by Robb White (New Pulp Press 09 January 2016 / $14.95) - Product Description: Here we encounter the controlled madness of two men, one a former cop, the other a misfit and killer of women. The ex-cop Thomas Haftmann, formerly of Cleveland Homicide, is recently divorced and working as a private investigator in the resort town of Jefferson-on-the-Lake. Barely surviving financially, and haunted by his own twin demons of gambling and alcohol, Haftmann gets swept up in the statewide manhunt for a killer who meets women on swingers' Internet sites and kills them. Ohio police are finding headless bodies displayed in bizarre poses. Sensationalized in the tabloid press as the "Jack-in-the-Box Killer for leaving severed heads at murder scenes, Lonnie Dale Nelson carries with him a voice in his head (his "angel) that grows stronger as his madness intensifies over the course of the year-long manhunt. And Haftmann's own mental instability is accelerating as the trail leading to Nelson grows warmer.

(Source: New Pulp Press)

Sarah Crichton Books

The Crooked House by Christobel Kent (Sarah Crichton Books 12 January 2016 / $26.00) - Product Description: Published in the United Kingdom in 2015, Christobel Kent's The Crooked House has drawn comparisons to works by the pantheon of British female literary suspense writers--Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, P.D. James, and Kate Atkinson. In this darkly atmospheric psychological thriller, she accomplishes what those celebrated writers do best: she creates an insular world (a single house, a small town) where something sinister has occurred, and subtly inflects each page with the toxic residue of violence.

Much like the unnamed narrator of Rebecca, Alison lives her life under the radar. She has no ties, no home, and she spends her days at a backroom publishing job. Which is how she wants it. Because Alison used to be a teenager named Esme, who lived in a dilapidated house by a bleak estuary with her parents and three siblings. One night, something unspeakable happened in the house, and Alison emerged the only survivor. In order to escape from the horror she witnessed, she moved away from her village, changed her name, and cut herself off from her past.

Only now her boyfriend invites her to a wedding in her old hometown, and she decides that if she's going to have any chance of overcoming the trauma of what happened, she'll have to confront it. But soon Alison realizes that that night's events have left a terrible mark on everyone in the village, and she begins to suspect that they are all somehow implicated in her family's murder.

(Source: Sarah Crichton Books)

Seventh Street Books

A Thousand Falling Crows by Larry D. Sweazy (Seventh Street Books 05 January 2016 / $15.95) - Product Description: Sonny Burton was forced to retire from the Texas Rangers after taking a bullet from Bonnie Parker in a shoot-out. The bullet so damaged Sonny's right arm that he had to have it amputated.

While Sonny struggles with recuperating and tries to get used to the idea of living a life with only one arm, Aldo Hernandez, the hospital's janitor, asks Sonny to help find his daughter and bring her back home. She has got herself mixed up with a couple of brothers involved in a string of robberies. Sonny agrees to help, but is more concerned about a wholly different criminal in town who has taken to killing young women and leaving them in local fields for crows to feast on.

Just as Sonny is able to track down Aldo's daughter, he comes to an uncomfortable realization about who might be responsible for the string of murders and races to nab the killer before another girl is left to the crows.

(see review)

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Samuel Craddock) by Terry Shames (Seventh Street Books 12 January 2016 / $15.95) - Product Description: Nonie Blake is back home from a mental institution where she has spent the last twenty years, and people in Jarrett Creek are worried. Maybe too worried, for within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered.

Chief Samuel Craddock thinks the only possible suspects are members of her tight-lipped family. Ever since Nonie tried to kill her sister when she was fourteen and was sent away to the institution, the family has kept to itself.

Clues are scarce and Craddock is stumped. So he checks with therapists at the mental hospital to see whether they can add anything useful to his investigation. But he discovers that she has not been there for ten years. Now Craddock has to find out where Nonie has been all this time.

Soon Craddock finds himself dealing not only with murder, but layers of deception and secrets, and in the midst of it all--a new deputy, one Maria Trevino, sent by the sheriff to beef up security in the small Texas town.

(Source: Seventh Street Books)

Soho Crime

Real Tigers (Slough House) by Mick Herron (Soho Crime 19 January 2016 / $26.95) - Product Description: London's Slough House is where disgraced MI5 operatives are reassigned to spend the rest of their spy careers pushing paper. But when one of these "slow horses" is kidnapped by a former soldier bent on revenge, the agents must breach the defenses of Regent's Park to steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade's safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but also the highest authorities in the Security Service. After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the slow horses suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself.

(Source: Soho Crime)

The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura (Soho Crime 05 January 2016 / $25.95) - Product Description: On a nighttime walk along a Tokyo riverbank, a young man named Nishikawa stumbles on a dead body, beside which lies a gun. From the moment Nishikawa decides to take the gun, the world around him blurs. Knowing he possesses the weapon brings an intoxicating sense of purpose to his dull university life.

But soon Nishikawa's personal entanglements become unexpectedly complicated: he finds himself romantically involved with two women while his biological father, whom he's never met, lies dying in a hospital. Through it all, he can't stop thinking about the gun--and the four bullets loaded in its chamber. As he spirals into obsession, his focus is consumed by one idea: that possessing the gun is no longer enough--he must fire it.

(Source: Soho Crime)

St. Martin's Griffin

A Woman Unknown (Kate Shackleton) by Frances Brody (St. Martin's Griffin 26 January 2016 / $15.99) - Product Description: The Woman Unknown: Deirdre Fitzpatrick is married to a man who wants to know where she really goes when supposedly taking care of her sick mother and calls on the expertise of Kate Shackleton, amateur sleuth extraordinaire to investigate.

The Gentleman: Everett Runcie is a banker facing ruin and disgrace. His American heiress wife will no longer pay for his mistakes, or tolerate his infidelity, and is seeking a divorce.

The Murder: When a chambermaid enters Runcie's hotel room, she is shocked to find that he is alone--and dead! Suddenly Kate is thrown into the depths of an altogether more sinister investigation. Can she uncover the truth of her most complex, and personal, case to date?

(Source: St. Martin's Griffin)

Thomas Nelson

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart (Thomas Nelson 19 January 2016 / $26.99) - Product Description: TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?

Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won't come back to sabotage her dreams.

Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can't deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.

On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses--and films--a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes--again, right in front of Erica and her cameras. Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can't just be coincidence. But what is it?

Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster--and her troubled past--don't catch up with her first.

(see review)

William Morrow

Blood Infernal (Order of the Sanguines) by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (William Morrow 26 January 2016 / $9.99) - Product Description: What price will we pay for true salvation?

As an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy, one found in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries. With the Apocalypse looming and the very foundations of our world crumbling, Erin must again join forces with Army sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza to search for a treasure lost for millennia, a prize that has already fallen into the hands of their enemy.

The forces of darkness have crowned a new king, a demon named Legion, who walks this Earth wearing many faces. His reach is beyond measure—even the walls of the Vatican fall before him. To have any hope of saving the world, Erin must uncover the truth behind man's first steps out of the Garden of Eden, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that damned humankind for eternity.

(Source: William Morrow)

Flesh and Blood (K. Scarpetta) by Patricia Cornwell (William Morrow 05 January 2016 / $15.99) - Product Description: It's Dr. Kay Scarpetta's birthday, and she's about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids' game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there's been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one has heard or seen a thing.

In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the unsettling pursuit of a serial sniper who leaves no incriminating evidence except fragments of copper. The shots seem impossible, yet they are so perfect they cause instant death. The victims appear to have had nothing in common, and there is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta investigates a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. And it is there that she comes face to face with shocking evidence that implicates her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta's own flesh and blood.

Includes an exclusive excerpt from the riveting next novel in the Kay Scarpetta series, Depraved Heart.

(Source: William Morrow)

The Cyclops Initiative (Jim Chapel Mission) by David Wellington (William Morrow 05 January 2016 / $25.99) - Product Description: To save an innocent friend, soldier and spy Jim Chapel will risk his own life and reputation to stop a deadly conspiracy from threatening the country in this relentless, non-stop action adventure from the author of the acclaimed thrillers Chimera and The Hydra Protocol.

Jim Chapel pledged his life to protect his country from its enemies. But now, the one-armed Special Forces soldier turned spy is on the wrong side of the law. The person he trusts most in the world, the brilliant hacker known only as Angel, is suspected of terrorism. When his boss calls for Angel's arrest, Chapel--certain it's a frame job--has only one option: to go rogue.

To protect Angel--a woman he's never actually met--Chapel must clear her name. But first he has to find her, before a deadly Marine sniper, a drone aircraft gone feral, and the entire intelligence community closes in. With the aid of old friends and his ex-lover Julia, the search to find who framed Angel leads Chapel deep into the dark and lethal underbelly of the covert intelligence world ... to a conspiracy with deep roots that shocks even this hardened veteran--and a plan that will destroy the United States as we know it if it succeeds.

(Source: William Morrow)

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