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US Books Received- 02/2018  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

Prague Noir by (Akashic Books 06 February 2018 / $15.95) - Product Description: The noir quotient of this legendary Eastern European city will enthrall and terrify readers from across the globe.

Brand-new stories by: Martin Goffa, Stepán Kopriva, Milos Urban, Jirí W. Procházka, Chaim Cigan, Ondrej Neff, Petr Stancík, Katerina Tucková, Markéta Pilátová, Michal Sýkora, Michaela Klevisová, Petra Soukupová, Irena Hejdová, and Petr Sabach.

From the introduction by Pavel Mandys: How do you write noir in a city where, until 1990, the profession of private detective didn't even exist? Where the censors cultivated a positive image of the police in both media and literature? Where, in essence, organized crime was nowhere to be found, and the largest criminal group was the secret police? If, however, the concept of noir is extended and considered a label for literary works that contain elements of crime, danger, and menace, or where main characters find themselves in a critical situation, then you will find fourteen such stories in this collection...

I see Prague Noir as a chance for Czech authors to introduce themselves to international audiences ... Contemporary Czech literature is vivid, vibrant, and informed by contemporary world literature which--thanks to active translators--is usually available in Czech very fast. It is global and local, poetic and humorous, filled with stories from the past, present, and from imaginary worlds. And it is waiting for when, in addition to all the enthusiastic Czech readers, it will also gain a great international audience.

Berkley

Clairvoyant and Present Danger (Bay Island Psychic) by Lena Gregory (Berkley 06 February 2018 / $7.99) - Product Description: A haunting vision reveals a ghostly grave in the latest Bay Island Psychic Mystery from the author of Occult and Battery.

Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donvan. Cass has always relied on her abilities to guide her, but after communications with a ghost land her in the middle of a murder investigation, she has to wonder if her gifts are really more a curse.

Cass knows she is meant to help track down the killer--much to the chagrin of local law enforcement--when the apparition leads her to a dead body on the beach near her psychic shop, Mystical Musings. But the police are not the only ones who wish Cass would stick to reading palms. Someone is trying to scare her off, and it will take all her powers of premonition to catch the killer before Cass herself becomes the next victim.

Pekoe Most Poison (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs (Berkley 06 February 2018 / $7.99) - Product Description: When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston's most prominent hostesses, to a "Rat Tea", she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen's entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. (Includes recipes and Tea Time Tips.) (see review)

The Fast and the Furriest (Second Chance Cat) by Sofie Ryan (Berkley 06 February 2018 / $7.99) - Product Description: Sarah Grayson and her trusty companion, Elvis, race to tail the right suspects in the fifth installment of the Second Chance Cat Mysteries.

Sarah Grayson owns Second Chance, a shop that sells lovingly refurbished items, in the charming town of North Harbor, Maine. But she couldn't run the store without the help of her right-hand man, Mac--or her dashing rescue cat, Elvis.

Mac's life before North Harbor has always been a little bit mysterious, but it becomes a lot more intriguing when a woman from his past shows up in town, and then turns up dead. Suspicion falls on Mac, but Sarah--and Elvis--know he can't be the killer, and they hope they can prove his innocence quick as a whisker.

Coffeetown Press

Deros (Father Jake Austin) by John A. Vanek (Coffeetown Press 01 February 2018 / $16.95) - Product Description: When Father Jake Austin is assigned to his hometown of Oberlin, Ohio, in July of 2002, he has been away for a long time. A physician and a war veteran before entering a Catholic seminary, he is now a member of the Camillian Order. He takes comfort in his vows of obedience, poverty, chastity, and service to the sick.

Jake arrives just in time to attend his high school reunion, where an encounter with his high school sweetheart forces him to question his commitment to the priesthood. Before the night is over, one of his classmates will be dead, a second gravely wounded, and a third hospitalized. The carnage at the reunion comes on the heels of what appears to be an unrelated murder at the quarry.

Overseeing the investigation is Jake's former football teammate, Chief of Police Tremont "Tree" Macon, who is unwilling to rule out anyone as a suspect, not even Jake. As he struggles to prove his innocence and to find his footing in a town that remembers him as a hellion, Jake searches for threads that will connect these brutal attacks. The war may be long past, but in some ways Jake is still waiting for his DEROS: Date of Expected Return from Overseas. Can he put aside his own demons long enough to find the living, breathing devil who stalks his classmates?

Crowood Press

Perfect Killer by Robb T White (Crowood Press 01 February 2018 / $32.95) - Product Description: Jade Hui is an FBI agent on the way down--until that is, her supervising agent assigns her a triple-murder investigation. She soon must overcome bureaucratic obstacles to catch a free-roaming, amoral killer who leaves neither pattern nor motive in his wake. Her suspect is not a typical spree killer or psychotic fantasy killer. Born into wealth and privilege, gifted with great intelligence and strength, Charles Wöissell has his own reasons for traveling across America selecting victims. Wöissell intends to burn every bridge left—home, family, safety—for revenge against the one woman who has put herself in his path.

Forge Books

Final Strike (Sean Falcone) by William S. Cohen (Forge Books 13 February 2018 / $26.99) - Product Description: In his political, apocalyptic thriller, Final Strike, former Secretary of Defense and US Senator William Cohen dramatizes one of the most terrifying global security nightmares: an asteroid hurtling towards Earth.

Sixty million years ago, the K-T Asteroid obliterated the dinosaurs, and now its apocalyptic twin is rocketing toward the US on a similar mission of extermination. Russian President Boris Lebed, the charismatic successor to Vladimir Putin, wants to turn that asteroid into a superweapon to use against the US and is holding Hamilton hostage in Moscow until Hamilton agrees to help. Former Senator and National Security Advisor Sean Falcone leads a dangerous off-the-books operation to bring Hamilton home and derail Lebed's disastrous plan.

But will Falcone succeed in time?

The asteroid is hurtling toward earth. If it is not deflected, humanity will go the way of dinosaurs, and the entire planet will burn. Only one strategy has a chance of stopping humanity's extinction--only one. There is no Plan B. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Lakewater Press

All Systems Down (Cyber War) by Sam Boush (Lakewater Press 08 February 2018 / $14.99) - Product Description: 24 hours. That's all it takes. A new kind of war has begun.

Pak Han-Yong's day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he's labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.

And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate.

Brendan Chogan isn't a hero. He's an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there's a foreign enemy on the shore, a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.

Brendan must do whatever it takes to keep his family safe.

In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide. Strangers whose survival depends upon each other's skills and courage.

Minotaur Books

A Whisper of Bones (Jane Lawless) by Ellen Hart (Minotaur Books 27 February 2018 / $25.99) - Product Description: Britt Ickles doesn't remember much from her only visit to her mother's childhood home when she was a kid, except for playing with her cousin Timmy and the eruption of a sudden family feud. That's why, when she drops by unannounced after years of silence, she's shocked when her aunts tell her Timmy never existed, that she must be confusing him with someone else. But Britt can't shake the feeling that Timmy did exist ... and that something horrible has happened to him. Something her aunts want to cover up.

Britt hires Jane Lawless, hoping the private investigator can figure out what really happened to her cousin. When a fire in the family's garage leads to the discovery of buried bones and one of the aunts dies suddenly and suspiciously, Jane can't help but be pulled into the case. Do the bones belong to Timmy? Was the aunt's death an accident, suicide, or homicide? What dark secret has this family been hiding for decades? It all depends on Jane Lawless to unravel.

Death in the Stars (Kate Shackleton) by Frances Brody (Minotaur Books 13 February 2018 / $25.99) - Product Description: Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party on the grounds of Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.

During the eclipse, Selina's friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can't help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs. Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths--and whether there is a murderer in the company.

When Selina's elusive husband Jarrod--who was injured in the war and is subject to violent mood swings--comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame.

The Legacy (Children's House) by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Minotaur Books 13 February 2018 / $25.99) - Product Description: The Legacy is the first installment in a fantastic new series featuring the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar.

The only person who might have the answers to a baffling murder case is the victim's seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she's not talking.

Newly-promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja for her expertise with traumatized young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn't best pleased. But she's determined to keep little Margret safe.

It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues, but can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next?

The Throne of Caesar (Ancient Rome) by Steven Saylor (Minotaur Books 20 February 2018 / $27.99) - Product Description: Julius Caesar, appointed dictator for life by the Roman Senate, has pardoned his remaining enemies and rewarded his friends. Now Caesar is preparing to leave Rome with his legions to wage a war of conquest against the Parthian Empire. But he has a few more things to do before he goes.

Gordianus the Finder, after decades of investigating crimes and murders involving the powerful, has been raised to Equestrian rank and has firmly and finally decided to retire. But on the morning of March 10th, he's first summoned to meet with Cicero and then with Caesar himself. Both have the same request of Gordianus--keep your ear to the ground, ask around, and find out if there are any conspiracies against Caesar's life. And Caesar has one other matter of vital importance to discuss. Gordianus's adopted son Meto has long been one of Caesar's closest confidants. To honor Meto, Caesar plans to bestow on Gordianus an honor which will change not only his life but the destiny of his entire family. It will happen when the Senate next convenes on the 15th of March.

Gordianus must dust off his old skills and see what plots against Julius Caesar, if any, he can uncover. But more than one conspiracy is afoot. The Ides of March is fast approaching and at least one murder is inevitable.

Pegasus Books

The Bookworm by Mitch Silver (Pegasus Books 06 February 2018 / $25.95) - Product Description: Why did Hitler chose not to invade England when he had the chance?

Europe, 1940: It's late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery's library and then escapes.

London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery―a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of "a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?" One viewer knows better: it's all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together--and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent--is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, "Lara the Bookworm," to her friends. She's also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.

In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward--actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill. She will understand precisely why that leather Bible, scooped up by the Nazis and deposited on the desk of Adolf Hitler days before he planned to attack Britain, played such a pivotal role in turning his guns to the East. And she will discover the new secret pact negotiated by the nefarious Russian president and his newly elected American counterpart--maverick and dealmaker--and the evil it portends.

Oh, and she'll reconcile with her husband.

Soho Crime

My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler (Soho Crime 06 February 2018 / $25.95) - Product Description: How far would you go for your best friend? If she begged you to, would you kill her?

Nathan Lucius, 31, is an ad salesman at a Cape Town newspaper. Disaffected, hard-drinking and plagued by blackouts, Nathan lives alone and has only one true friend, a woman named Madge. But Madge is dying slowly of cancer, and when she asks Nathan to end her pain, she sets off a shocking string of events.

A modern-day answer to Crime and Punishment, My Name Is Nathan Lucius is a taut and unforgiving exploration of the intersection of violence, trauma, social responsibility, and memory. Stylish, intense, and unforgettable, this glittering noir gem will appeal to readers of Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk as well as fans of Thomas Harris and Dennis Lehane.

Thomas & Mercer

Punishment (Detective Barnes) by Scott J. Holliday (Thomas & Mercer 01 February 2018 / $24.95) - Product Description: Do you want to know what it's like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked.

Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims' experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives--the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain--is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.

Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren't his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.

Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life--and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see.

Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green (Thomas & Mercer 01 February 2018 / $24.95) - Product Description: After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.

Ava is certain that it's a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she'd been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she'd been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother's lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder.

When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what's been buried in Ava's nightmares isn't just a crime. It's a holy conspiracy.

Tor Teen

To Right the Wrongs (Erin Blake) by Sheryl Scarborough (Tor Teen 27 February 2018 / $17.99) - Product Description: Sheryl Scarborough continues the adventures of teen amateur sleuth and aspiring forensic scientist Erin Blake in To Right the Wrongs, the sequel to To Catch a Killer.

Barely three weeks after catching the killer of Erin's mother and their biology teacher, Erin and her crew are back, up to their elbows in forensics projects. But this time it's with the full approval of their parents.

With Uncle Victor at the helm, Erin and her best friends, Spam and Lysa, are prepping a new classroom for CSI summer camp, where they will serve as camp counselors. Meanwhile, Erin's super-hot new boyfriend, Journey, is graduating, just in time for him to take a position as Victor's intern in the new CSI lab on campus. Journey and Victor are going to take another look at the evidence in the murder trial that sent Journey's father to prison. The girls are under strict orders not to meddle with the murder case, but that's easier said than done.

University of Arizona Press

Betrayal at the Buffalo Ranch (Sadie Walela) by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe (University of Arizona Press 20 February 2018 / $16.95) - Product Description: When Sadie Walela learns that her new neighbor in Cherokee Country, Angus Clyborn's Buffalo Ranch, offers rich customers a chance to kill buffalo for fun, she is horrified. No good can surely come from this. It doesn't, and murder soon follows.

Even though Deputy Sheriff Lance Smith, Sadie's love interest, suspects a link to the Buffalo Ranch, he can find little evidence to make an arrest. And when a rare white buffalo calf is born on the ranch and immediately disappears, Sadie's instincts tell her something is wrong--and she sets out to prove it. Her suspicions—and fears of more violence--escalate when a former schoolmate returns to Oklahoma to visit her ailing father and finds employment at the ranch. Will she be the next victim?

Drawn deeper and deeper into danger, Sadie uncovers an unparalleled web of greed and corruption. It will take all of her investigative skill to set things straight—assuming she and her wolfdog can stay alive long enough to succeed.

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