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US Books Received- 04/2017  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 Frying Shame (Deep Fried) by Linda Reilly (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: A cooking contest becomes a fry to the finish in the new Deep Fried Mystery from the author of Out of the Dying Pan and Fillet of Murder.

The town of Wrensdale is abuzz with excitement when Steeltop Foods sponsors a cooking contest to promote its new product, the Flavor Dial. With a $25,000 prize at stake, all the contestants are on edge, including Talia Marby, owner of Fry Me A Sliver. She hopes her mini deep-fried apple pies will win her the money to pay off the renovations on her restaurant. But when Norma Ferguson wins with her flaky-top chicken stew, the tensions dial up even more.

After Norma is found dead at her cooking station, the police suspect a losing contestant got a little too hot under the collar. Now it's crunch time as Talia works to catch the killer and clear her name before another cook gets burned. (Includes delicious recipes!)

Blood Orange (China Bayles) by Susan Wittig Albert (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: China Bayles is renting her guest cottage to Kelly Kaufman, who needs a temporary place to live as she contends with an acrimonious divorce, including a nasty dispute over ownership of the Comanche Creek Brewing Company. At the same time, as a nurse employed by a local hospice, Kelly has discovered instances of suspicious practices and believes that a patient has been murdered.

On her way to China's house, Kelly is forced off the road and critically injured, putting her in a medically induced coma. Who wants Kelly out of the picture? Her soon-to-be ex? His new lover--who happens to be the sister of China's friend Ruby? Or someone connected with the corruption at the hospice? China owes it to her friend to uncover the truth--but she may be putting her own life at risk.

(see review)

Caramel Crush (Cupcake Bakery) by Jenn McKinlay (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he's only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.

When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn't the reaction she was expecting: he's dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts. (Includes recipes.)

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen (Berkley 18 April 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: Hannah Monroe's boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It's as though their last four years together never happened.

As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she'll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth. (Readers Guide Inside)


(Source: Berkley)

Occult and Battery (Bay Island Psychic) by Lena Gregory (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: A murder mystery weekend becomes a little too real in the latest Bay Island Psychic Mystery from the author of Death at First Sight. Cass Donovan uses her skills as a former psychiatrist to get away with pretending to be psychic, but she's not about to let anyone get away with murder.

The outlook is not so good for Cass's psychic shop, Mystical Musings. With winter winds discouraging tourists from riding the ferry from Long Island to Bay Island, Cass hopes to draw in more customers by hosting a murder mystery weekend, complete with a séance, in a supposedly haunted mansion.

But Cass begins to lose her spirit when her ex-husband shows up, along with his fiancée--Cass's ex-best friend. Then, after one of the guests is found dead, a blizzard blows in, trapping everyone inside with a murderer. Now Cass must divine who did the deed before her reputation and her livelihood fade away.

Silence of the Jams (Down South Café) by Gayle Leeson (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: In the latest Southern cozy from the author of The Calamity Café, small-town chef Amy Flowers can't take her freedom for granted when she's served up as a murder suspect.

It's Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Café is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the café so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.

When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it's a heart attack—until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now, it's up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost. (Includes delicious Southern recipes.)

The Last Chance Olive Ranch (China Bayles) by Susan Wittig Albert (Berkley 04 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of the Huntsville prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there's only one way to stop the vengeful convict--set a trap with himself as bait.

China wants to stay by her husband's side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid  insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she's agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.

When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza's nephew is contesting the will.

While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid's plan backfires when Mantel executes a countermove he never saw coming. Now McQuaid's life is not the only one at stake--and this time may really be his last chance. (see review)

Town in a Maple Madness (Candy Holliday) by B.B. Haywood (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $7.99) - Product Description: The imminent arrival of spring has the locals gearing up for their sweetest celebration ever--the first annual Maple Madness Weekend. Along with maple sugar house tours, a community-wide marshmallow roast, and a weekend-long pancake breakfast, restaurants will be serving up special maple syrup dishes. But the weekend festivities are put in jeopardy when things start to get sticky.

One of Candy's friends is accused of stealing sap from a rival's sugar maple trees, and landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead, floating down the river wrapped up in a fisherman's net. As Candy taps into Mick's life, his unsavory side comes to light, as well as a possible connection to both crimes. Now it's up to Candy to follow the flow of suspects to a cold-blooded killer. (Includes recipes.)

(see review)

Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr) by C.S. Harris (Berkley 04 April 2017 / $26.00) - Product Description: In the latest mystery from the author of When Falcons Fall, the gruesome murder of a young boy takes Sebastian St. Cyr from the gritty streets of London to the glittering pleasure haunts of the aristocracy.

London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he's never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a fifteen-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory.

One of London's many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder--and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin's fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished.

Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city's most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: someone from society's upper echelon is preying upon the city's most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm.

(Source: Berkley)

Crown Books for Young Readers

Missing by Kelley Armstrong (Crown Books for Young Readers 18 April 2017 / $20.99) - Product Description: The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve's End is that soon she'll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There's nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They're better off taking a chance elsewhere.

What Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they're all missing?

(see review)

Forge Books

Dangerous to Know (Lillian Frost & Edith Head) by Renee Patrick (Forge Books 11 April 2017 / $25.99) - Product Description: Los Angeles, 1938. Former aspiring actress Lillian Frost is adjusting to a new life of boldfaced names as social secretary to a movie-mad millionaire. Costume designer Edith Head is running Paramount Pictures' wardrobe department, but only until a suitable replacement comes along. The two friends again become partners thanks to an international scandal, a real-life incident in which the war clouds gathering over Europe cast a shadow on Hollywood.

Lillian attended the Manhattan dinner party at which well-heeled guests insulted Adolf Hitler within earshot of a maid with Nazi sympathies. Now, secrets the maid vengefully spilled have all New York society running for cover--and two Paramount stars, Jack Benny and George Burns, facing smuggling charges.

Edith also seeks Lillian's help on a related matter. The émigré pianist in Marlene Dietrich's budding nightclub act has vanished. Lillian reluctantly agrees to look for him. When Lillian finds him dead, Dietrich blames agents of the Reich. As Lillian and Edith unravel intrigue extending from Paramount's Bronson Gate to FDR's Oval Office, only one thing is certain: they'll do it in style.

Minotaur Books

Date with Death (Samson and Delilah) by Julia Chapman (Minotaur Books 04 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Samson O'Brien has been dismissed from the police force--quite unfairly, according to him. Now back in his home town of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales, Samson sets up the Dales Detective Agency while he fights to clear his name. However, the people of Bruncliffe aren't entirely welcoming to a man they see as trouble.

Delilah Metcalfe, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating Agency, afloat. When Samson gets his first case, investigating the supposed suicide of a local man, things take an unexpected turn, and soon he discovers a trail of deaths that lead back to the door of Delilah's agency.

With suspicion hanging over someone they both care for, Delilah and Samson soon realize that they need to work together to solve the mystery of the dating deaths. But working together is easier said than done, and the couple must find a way to kiss and make up before more villagers wind up dead.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Flamingo Road by Sasscer Hill (Minotaur Books 18 April 2017 / $25.99) - Product Description: Baltimore police officer Fia McKee is put on leave for excessive use of force after interfering in a crime that turns deadly. Given a second chance, she is sent to work undercover for the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) at the Gulfstream Park in Florida, where she works as an exercise rider. Her assignment is to watch and report back on two racetrack workers who have been suspected of illegal activities and whose horses continue to outperform all expectations, winning their owners unseemly amounts of money in the races.

To complete her cover story, Fia moves in with her semi-estranged brother, Patrick, who lives near the racetrack. Her investigations are complicated when her niece, Jilly, disappears after a shadow gang takes Jilly's beloved horse. Now Fia must work two angles--first to find out what's really going on with the men who might or might not be gaming the system, and second to bring the men who prey on horses to justice. Along the way, Fia encounters Cuban gangs living off the grid, a (very handsome) do-gooder who's close on their trail, and a cabal of super wealthy gamblers who will stop at nothing to ensure they always win.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

I Am Your Judge (Pia Kirchhoff & Oliver von Bodenstein) by Nele Neuhaus (Minotaur Books 18 April 2017 / $16.99) - Product Description: Police Detective Pia Kirchhoff is about to leave on her long-delayed honeymoon when she receives a phone call. An elderly woman has been shot and killed while walking her dog. A short while later another murder is committed and the modus operandi is eerily similar--a woman is killed by a bullet that smashes through her kitchen window...and in both cases, the same weapon fired the shot. Two more murders follow in short order. None of the victims had enemies and no one knows why they were singled out. As fear of the Taunus Sniper grows among the local residents in the German mountains, the pressure rises on Detective Kirchhoff. She and her partner, Oliver von Bodenstein, search for a suspect who appears to murder at will, but as the investigation progresses, the police officers uncover a human tragedy.

Of Books and Bagpipes (Scottish Bookshop) by Paige Shelton (Minotaur Books 04 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Delaney Nichols has settled so comfortably into her new life in Edinburgh that she truly feels it's become more home than her once beloved Kansas. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is everything she had dreamed, with her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, entrusting her more and more with bigger jobs. Her latest task includes a trip to Castle Doune, a castle not far out of Edinburgh, to retrieve a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an "Oor Wullie", in a cloak and dagger transaction that Edwin has orchestrated.

While taking in the sights of the distant Highlands from the castle's ramparts, Delaney is startled when she spots a sandal-clad foot at the other end of the roof. Unfortunately, the foot's owner is very much dead and, based on the William Wallace costume he's wearing, perfectly matches the description of the man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. As Delaney rushes to call off some approaching tourists and find the police, she comes across the Oor Wullie, its pages torn and fluttering around a side wall of the castle. Instinct tells her to take the pages and hide them under her jacket. It's not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is and endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, all before getting herself booked for murder.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Perseverance Press

Fortune's Fool: Sixth Case from Notebooks of Pliny the Younger by Albert A. Bell Jr. (Perseverance Press 07 April 2017 / $15.95) - Product Description: On the shores of beautiful Lake Como in Roman Italy, a Greek tragedy has taken place. Twenty years later, a skeleton falls out of a wall in Pliny's villa, bearing mute witness to family secrets and crimes.

Pliny the Younger is intelligent about everything but women. He agrees to his wife's and mother's wishes to marry off his lover, Aurora, to another slave, but neglects telling her until the wedding! To add to his problems, when building a wing onto his Lake Como villa, workmen discover a skeleton. As is Pliny's habit, he launches a scientific investigation of the crime, but soon receives anonymous warnings and threats to cease. Then his wife, Livia, is kidnapped!

As in the earlier books, a glossary of Roman terms and a list of historic and fictional characters are included.

(Source: Perseverance Press)

Water Signs (Jeri Howard) by Janet Dawson (Perseverance Press 07 April 2017 / $15.95) - Product Description: Oakland, California, is a city shaped by water. The waterfront, home to the ship and rail yards, is also ripe for development. There's lots of money to be made, so greed and crime inevitably follow. PI Jeri Howard looks into the murder of a former coworker who was a security guard at a construction site on the Embarcadero. It was a surprise when Cal Brady's body washed up on the Estuary shoreline. But Jeri is certain Cal's death was no accident, and she's determined to find out who killed him, and why.

(see review)

Prospect Park Books

The Good Byline (Riley Ellison) by Jill Orr (Prospect Park Books 11 April 2017 / $16.00) - Product Description: Meet Riley Ellison, a quirky young library assistant who has become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Riley's odd habit of living vicariously through people she reads about in the obituary pages hits a little too close to home when she is asked to write one for her childhood best friend, Jordan James. Jordan's unexpected suicide has left Riley desperate to understand why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out, so she steps out of her comfort zone and into the role of obituary writer.

Things get messy, however, when Jordan's co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan's death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks. Eventually, Riley's serpentine hunt for the truth leads to a discovery that puts everything she holds dear--her job, the people she loves, and even her life--in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?

(Source: Prospect Park Books)

Severn House Publishers

As Dark As My Fur (Blackie and Care) by Clea Simon (Severn House Publishers 01 April 2017 / $28.99) - Product Description: A seemingly routine case becomes something far darker and deeper for novice private investigator, Care, and her feline companion, Blackie.

Blackie does not trust Care's new client, factory owner Mr Gravitz, who has hired the young PI to shadow one of his workers, a man he suspects is stealing from him. With his feline sixth sense, Blackie knows the client is not telling the truth--but how can he protect and warn his companion, Care, when he is only a cat?

Combining elements of feline fantasy and traditional whodunit, As Dark As My Fur continues the adventures of this original and unusual detective duo: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives and for the memories of those they love.

(see review)

Soho Crime

Bad Seeds (PI Jade de Jong) by Jassy Mackenzie (Soho Crime 04 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Relentless South African private investigator Jade de Jong tracks a saboteur in a race to prevent a nuclear disaster in Jassy Mackenzie's new, pulse-pounding thriller.

Despite her checkered history with law enforcement, Johannesburg private investigator Jade de Jong is attempting to operate on the right side of the law, confining herself to low-profile cases. But her remarkably attractive new employer, Ryan Gillespie, has tasked her with finding a missing security official after a break-in at his nuclear energy plant. The target of her search is Carlos Botha, a skilled operative and a threat to national security.

Jade traces Botha to a run-down suburb, but discovers she's not the only one looking for him. Someone has put a hit out on Botha, and Jade forms an unlikely alliance with her mark in order to learn more. But how long can she keep up the façade of friendship before he realizes she's been hired to track him?

(Source: Soho Crime)

Cruel Is the Night by Karo Hamalainen (Soho Crime 11 April 2017 / ) - Product Description: Finnish author Karo Hämäläinen's English-language debut is a literary homage to Agatha Christie and a black comedy locked-room mystery about murder, mayhem, and morality in our cynical modern world.

Three cell phones ring in an opulent London apartment. The calls go unanswered because their recipients are all dead.

Earlier that night, four Finnish friends meet for dinner. It's been ten years since the host, Robert, has seen his once-best friend, Mikko. The two had an ideological falling-out because Robert, a banker, made millions off of unethical (but not illegal) interest rate manipulation. Mikko, meanwhile, is an investigative journalist who has dedicated his career to bringing down corrupt financiers and politicians. Mikko's wife, Veera--with whom Robert once had a secret affair--and Robert's young trophy wife, Elise, are also joining the fray. Mikko has arrived in London with an agenda and thinks he's about to get away with murder, but he has no idea what's on the menu for the night: not only does every diner have a bone to pick with another, but there's an arsenal of deadly weapons hiding in plain sight.

And by the end of the night, there will only be one survivor.

(Source: Soho Crime)

Sons of Spade

Serving Justice (Noah Milano Novella) by Jochem Vandersteen, Keith Dixon, and Sean Dexter (Sons of Spade 25 April 2017 / $0.99) - Product Description: For fans of Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais and good old-fastioned pulp fiction.

When security specialist and son of LA's biggest mobster, Noah Milano, moonshines as a process server and manages to anger a MMA fighter and stumble on a corpse. He's enlisted to prove a beautiful woman didn't killer her husband, the corpse Noah found. Caught in a dangerous web of deception where danger lurks around the corner and it can be very unclear who is friend and who is foe Noah Milano fights for redemption ... And to serve justice

Subterranean Press

Keller's Fedora by Lawrence Block (Subterranean Press 30 April 2017 / $25.00) - Product Description: A NEW HAT. FOR A NEW HIT. Happily retired, living under a new name with his wife and daughter, Keller thought he was out of the murder-for-hire business. Until he got the call from his old employer, asking him to tackle the most unusual assignment of his career. The client's wife is having an affair, and Keller's been hired to get rid of her lover. But who is this mysterious lover? The husband doesn't know--he only knows that she has one, and he wants the man dead.

It's an opportunity for Keller to try his hand at the private eye game, investigating the adulterous spouse. And yes, he does buy himself a new hat for the occasion, a fedora worthy of any film noir detective. But in this puzzling situation, with more than one potential lover in the picture and more than one potential solution, is Keller going to be a black hat or a white hat--or something in between?

One of MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block's greatest creations, Keller is the two-time Edgar Award-winning star of Hit Man, Hit List, Hit Parade, Hit and Run, and Hit Me. Keller's Fedora is the first new Keller story in more than three years.
Limited: 200 signed numbered copies, bound in leather ($45.00)
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition ($25.00)

(see review)

Thomas & Mercer

The Measure of the Moon by Lisa Preston (Thomas & Mercer 18 April 2017 / $15.95) - Product Description: When eight-year-old Greer Donner falls off his horse in the Washington wilderness, he braces himself to face the long hike home alone. But screams pierce the darkness, and he stumbles upon a dead-end road where a man is beating a woman--nearly to death. In a moment of courage, he stops the assault, but he's left to face the man, who turns his wrath into an ominous threat: if the boy ever reveals what he has seen, his family will pay the ultimate price. The secret Greer now carries begins his emotional unraveling.

In Seattle, Gillian Trett is a photographer with a troubled marriage and a childhood she's trying to forget. Domestic tension mounts when her husband's stepsister arrives. Desperate for a distraction, and a way to advance her career, Gillian throws herself into uncovering the history behind an old man's Holocaust photo of boys in a forest. The mysterious children and the truth behind the scene haunt her--she can't let go of the image, or of her own shadowed past.

Then a horrifying revelation entangles Gillian's path with young Greer's. The boy and the woman, separated by a generation and a hundred miles, each confront the terrible power of harbored secrets--not only to eclipse the truth but also to illuminate the dark, unknown dimensions of their loved ones and themselves.

(see review)

The Ridge by John Rector (Thomas & Mercer 25 April 2017 / $15.95) - Product Description: With its manicured lawns, pastel houses, and quiet, tree-lined streets, Willow Ridge seems to be the perfect place for Megan and Tyler Stokes to start a new chapter in their lives together. But soon after settling in, Megan begins to notice cracks in the neighborhood's bright suburban facade--cracks that reveal a darker secret hidden just beneath the surface.

After an angry encounter with a neighbor takes a horrifying turn, Megan's waking nightmare truly begins--growing ever more chilling and bizarre with each shocking twist. Suddenly forced to question everything around her, Megan finds herself trapped between the specter of madness and the shadow of something far worse. Her only hope is to expose the community's pretty lies and discover the truth about what is really going on in Willow Ridge--a truth so devastating that her life will never be the same.

William Morrow

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (William Morrow 11 April 2017 / $14.99 / $9.99) - Product Description: From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things and The Black Hour comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother's desperate search for a lost boy.

Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance--at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm's length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna's skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son--and herself--once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she'd rewritten.

(Source: William Morrow)

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