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US Books Received- 12/2009  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 Play of Treachery (A Joliffe the Player Mystery) by Margaret Frazer (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: At the behest of his powerful patron, Joliffe journeys to France to act as a servant to the widowed duchess Jacquetta of Bedford-while actually training in spycraft. But when a member of the duchess's household is murdered, Joliffe learns just how dangerous secrets can be...

(Source: Berkley)

Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: When Cackleberry Clubber Suzanne delivers a pie to funeral director Ozzie Driesden, she discovers him not working at the embalming table but lying on the embalming table. She barely has time to recognize his corpse before she's drugged with chloroform. With more suspects than breakfast specials, the Cackleberry Club scrambles to crack the case before one of their own ends up six feet under.

(see review)

Exposé! (A Vicki Hill Mystery) by Hannah Dennison (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: When the local celebrity, Scarlett Flemming, dies, Vicky learns of Scarlett's shaky finances-and marriage. While canvassing an entire town of suspects and juggling three eligible suitors, she must stay one step ahead of a killer once she realizes she's no longer writing an obituary, but an exposé!

(Source: Berkley)

Howl Deadly (A Kendra Ballantine, Pet-Sitter) by Linda O. Johnston (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Kendra's weekend getaway with gorgeous millionaire Dante DeFrancisco turns chilling when a mother she-wold goes missing from Dante's pet sanctuary. Now Kendra must find her-along with a killer hiding right before her eyes.

(Source: Berkley)

Murder for Christ's Mass (A Templar Night Mystery) by Maureen Ash (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: The town of Lincoln is covered in snow-concealing the mortal remains of a clerk who worked in the local mint. The only clue is a pristine coin stamped with the visage of King Stephen. But Templar Bascot de Marins soon discovers that the motive goes beyond money-and beyond mere murder.

(Source: Berkley)

Murder Has a Sweet Tooth (A Cooking Class Mystery) by Miranda Bliss (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: Annie Capshaw has found that the way to a man's heart is through his cooking class. But just as she and her best friend, Eve, are planning Annie's big day with Jim, her former cooking instructor turned boss, murder takes the cake. Make that the wedding cake...

(Source: Berkley)

Tragedy at Two by Ann Purser (Berkley 01 December 2009 / $23.95) - Product Description: Lois Meade's daughter was admittedly considering leaving her partner, Rob-but she never expected him to be found badly beaten and left for dead in a ditch by the side of the road. When Rob tragically dies from his injuries without regaining consciousness, Inspector Cowgill has a murder investigation on his hands, and once again he engages the assistance of the woman he respects above all others-Lois.

Suspicion quickly falls on the traveling gypsies who are camped out on Alf Smith's property. There is strong prejudice among many in the village who consider the gypsies no better than tramps and thieves. Lois must follow a twisted path that leads to arson, local delinquents, secret assignations, and blackmail-before she can discover who's been tinkering with the truth...

(Source: Berkley)

Forge Books

Alone (Valentino Mysteries) by Loren D. Estleman (Forge Books 08 December 2009 / $24.99) - Product Description: Valentino wants to keep The Oracle, his beloved run-down movie palace, from being condemned before it even reopens, but murder keeps intruding into his otherwise quiet life. At a gala party held in memory of screen legend Greta Garbo, he's having fun until the host, a hotshot developer named Rankin, tells Valentino about a certain letter from Garbo to his late wife. She and Garbo had been...close.

Such a letter is of great interest to a film archivist like Valentino, but the the plot thickens when Rankin tells Val that his assistant, Akers, is using this letter to blackmail him. Val is appalled by the thought of blackmail…but that letter sounds juicier all the time. Returning to Rankin's mansion after the party, Val finds Rankin sitting at his desk with a pistol in his hand, looking at Akers's dead body on the floor.

Valentino's in a quandary. He'd love to see that letter, but he can't. He's gotten his girlfriend—who works for the police—in trouble, so his love life is, pardon the expression, shot to hell. Worse yet, the building inspector has kicked him out of his unfinished living space in the Oracle, so he takes his life in his hands and moves in with his eccentric mentor, the elderly, insomniac Professor Broadhead. No love, no sleep, no letter—life isn't fair! (Source: Forge Books)

Foolproof by Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams, & Mark Richard Zubro (Forge Books 22 December 2009 / $24.99) - Product Description: The morning of 9/11 Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson met for coffee before going to their software firm in the World Trade Center. That casual act saved them from the Twin Towers' collapse, even as their friends and Brenda's fiancé were killed and their company obliterated.

Founding their own software security firm, they never forgot that morning of horror. Grant and Henderson then establish a clandestine division inside their company committed to covertly tracking down global terrorists. In a search involving Washington DC, Egypt, Italy and Turkey, they expose a plot to hijack a US presidential election, rig voting machines, and topple democracies worldwide.

Foolproof is a global thriller in the tradition of Tess Gerritson, Catherine Coulter, and Linda Howard. (see review)

Harper

Born to Run (Jack Swyteck) by James Grippando (Harper 01 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: When the U.S. Vice President dies un-expectedly during a hunting trip in the Everglades, the President selects his friend, former Florida governor Harry Swyteck, to fill the vacant position. Called to Washington to serve as his father's legal advisor, Jack Swyteck has mixed feelings about working so closely with the parent he's been at odds with in the past. Jack's duty, however, as a son and as an American, takes top priority.

But the vipers are restless in the D.C. snake pit. A fifty-year-old secret is unraveling and a cover-up at the highest levels of government threatens to drag both Swytecks under. When hostages are taken, Jack must get to the root of the evil and quickly—because suddenly no one is safe, and the presidency itself hangs in the balance.

[NOTE: See our review of the hardcover from our September 2009 issue.] (Source: Harper)

The Breach by Patrick Lee (Harper 29 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Thirty years ago, in a facility buried beneath a vast Wyoming emptiness, an experiment gone awry accidentally opened a door. It is the world's best-kept secret—and its most terrifying.

Trying to regain his life in the Alaskan wilds, ex-con/ex-cop Travis Chase stumbles upon an impossible scene: a crashed 747 passenger jet filled with the murdered dead, including the wife of the President of the United States. Though a nightmare of monumental proportions, it pales before the terror to come, as Chase is dragged into a battle for the future that revolves around an amazing artifact.

Allied with a beautiful covert operative whose life he saved, Chase must now play the role he's been destined for—a pawn of incomprehensible forces or humankind's final hope—as the race toward Apocalypse begins in earnest.

Because something is loose in the world. And doomsday is not only possible . . . it is inevitable.

Read Ernest Lilley's review of The Breach in the January 2010 issue of our sister publication SFRev.com. (Source: Harper)

The Sacred Blood by Michael Byrnes (Harper 01 December 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: The bones were just the beginning . . .

When American geneticist Charlotte Hennesey examined what she believed were the remains of Jesus, the Vatican buried her discovery. But the DNA Charlotte extracted from the sacred bones and injected into her own body has eliminated every trace of the cancer that was devouring her from within. And it has given her the power to perform medical miracles.

Now wheels have been set in motion that will have cataclysmic consequences for the volatile Middle East and all humankind. A two-thousand-year-old destiny is about to be fulfilled—resulting in the brazen kidnapping of Charlotte Hennesey, and ensnaring Israeli archaeologist Amit Mizrachi and noted Egyptologist Julie LeRoux in an ancient mystery centered around the world's most powerful relic. As zealots plot to rip the Holy Land asunder, the race begins to avert the unthinkable—for the armies gathering to meet on the hills of Meggido can mean only one thing: Armageddon!

(Source: Harper)

Knopf

Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Knopf 01 December 2009 / $22.00) - Product Description: In a perfect marriage of author and subject, P. D. James—one of the most widely admired writers of detective fiction at work today—gives us a personal, lively, illuminating exploration of the human appetite for mystery and mayhem, and of those writers who have satisfied it.

P. D. James examines the genre from top to bottom, beginning with the mysteries at the hearts of such novels as Charles Dickens's Bleak House and Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, and bringing us into the present with such writers as Colin Dexter and Henning Mankell. Along the way she writes about Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie ("arch-breaker of rules"), Josephine Tey, Dashiell Hammett, and Peter Lovesey, among many others. She traces their lives into and out of their fiction, clarifies their individual styles, and gives us indelible portraits of the characters they've created, from Sherlock Holmes to Sara Paretsky's sexually liberated female investigator, V. I. Warshawski. She compares British and American Golden Age mystery writing. She discusses detective fiction as social history, the stylistic components of the genre, her own process of writing, how critics have reacted over the years, and what she sees as a renewal of detective fiction—and of the detective hero—in recent years.

There is perhaps no one who could write about this enduring genre of storytelling with equal authority and flair: it is essential reading for every lover of detective fiction.

Minotaur Books

Faces in the Pool: A Lovejoy Mystery (Lovejoy Mysteries) by Jonathan Gash (Minotaur Books 08 December 2009 / $24.99) - Product Description: Lovejoy is released from jail on condition he join the elegant Laura Moon's speed-dating agency. A divorced millionairess, she proposes a temporary marriage of convenience to help her hunt down her former husband.

Can Lovejoy do what is expected of him without getting killed? (Source: Minotaur Books)

Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks (Minotaur Books 08 December 2009 / $25.99) - Product Description: Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That's the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner. Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama's boy—came from different parts of the city and didn't seem to know one another.

The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter's paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn't come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark's neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this.

Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper's smoking-hot city editor, to run interference at the office; Tommy Hernandez, the paper's gay Cuban intern, to help him with legwork on the streets; and Tynesha Dales, a local stripper, to take him to Newark's underside. It turns out that the four victims have one connection after all, and this knowledge will put Carter on the path of one very ambitious killer.

Treading the same literary turf as Harlan Coben, and writing with a fresh Jersey voice, Brad Parks makes an energetic, impressive debut. (see review)

The Good Son by Russel D. McLean (Minotaur Books 08 December 2009 / $24.99) - Product Description: There is something rotten behind the apparent sucide of Daniel Robertson and it's about to come bursting into the life of J. McNee, a Scottish private investigator with a near-crushing level of personal baggage. James Robertson, a local farmer, finds his estranged brother's corpse hanging from a tree. The police claim suicide. But McNee is about to uncover the disturbing truth behind the death. With a pair of vicious London thugs on the move in the Scottish countryside, it's only a matter of time before people start dying. As the body count rises, McNee finds himself on a collision course with his own demons and an increasing array of brutal killers in a violent, bloody showdown that threatens to leave none involved alive. Plumbing the depths of love, loss, betrayal, and one broken man's attempt to come to terms with his past, The Good Son successfully blends the classic style of the gumshoe era with the outer edges of modern noir. (see review)

NAL

Mr. Monk in Trouble by Lee Goldberg (NAL 01 December 2009 / $22.95) - Product Description: Ever since a 1962 unsolved train robbery made it famous, people have made their way to Trouble in California-s gold country-to search for the booty that train robbers supposedly dumped in the botched heist.When the museum watchman is murdered, Monk and his assistant, Natalie, are sent to investigate. Monk becomes obsessed with the legendary unsolved robbery, discovering a personal connection to the town-s past. During the tail-end of the gold rush, Trouble-s assayer was one Artemus Monk.Natalie can-t help but notice the resemblance. But that might not be the only thing that ties the past to the present, and if Monk isn-t careful, he-ll learn how the town of Trouble lives up to its name. (see review)

Oceanview Pub

Dead Air (Sammy Greene Thrillers) by Deborah Shlian (Oceanview Pub 07 December 2009 / $25.95) - Product Description: Talk is cheap, but when this radio host takes action, she may pay the ultimate price. An outspoken, brash, native New Yorker, Sammy Greene isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers at Ellsford University, her ultraconservative New England college. Host of "The Hot Line", a talk-radio show on campus station WELL, Sammy tackles the toughest, most controversial issues facing Ellsford's students. When Sammy discovers the body of Dr. Burton Conrad, one of Ellsford's most esteemed professors, her journalistic drive kicks in and she sets out to discover what happened to the beloved professor. But when several Ellsford students mysteriously disappear, Sammy realizes she's uncovered the seamy, terrifying underbelly of this prestigious institute of higher education. With the entire campus in peril, and demons from her past close behind, Sammy Greene must race to find answers. Along the way, she'll discover some unlikely allies-and even more unlikely enemies. If Sammy isn't careful, someone is going to make sure that she signs off-for good. (Source: Oceanview Pub)

Picador

Mixed Blood: A Thriller by Roger Smith (Picador 22 December 2009 / $15.00) - Product Description: Reluctant bank robber Jack Burn is on the run after a heist in the United States that left three million dollars missing and one cop dead. Hiding out in Cape Town, South Africa, he is desperate to build a new life for his pregnant wife and young son. But on a tranquil evening in their new suburban neighborhood, they are the victims of a random gangland break-in.  Benny Mongrel, an ex-con night watchman, knows who went into Burn's house, and what the American did to them. Burn's actions soon trap them both in a cat-and-mouse game with Rudi "Gatsby" Barnard, a corrupt Afrikaner cop. Once Gatsby smells those missing American millions, the men are drawn into a web of murder and vengeance that builds to an unforgettable conclusion. (Source: Picador)

Pinnacle

Silent Screams by C.E. Lawrence (Pinnacle 01 December 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: In the streets of New York City, the Slasher chooses his victim - and makes his move. As he wraps his fingers around the girl's pretty throat, his power increases. As he carves into her skin, his words become flesh. As he arranges her lifeless body in a loving tableau, his fantasies demand new, more violent sacrifices...At first, NYPD detectives suspect a jealous boyfriend. But criminal profiler Lee Campbell senses something darker, even ritualistic, about the murder. More chilling, he's convinced he's witnessing the genesis of a full-blown serial killer. But time is running out. A new victim has been chosen. Campbell must search the most terrifying recesses of the human mind - and his own past - before the screaming starts again...

"Pulse-racing, compelling, first rate. Lawrence knows how to build and hold suspense with the best of them. Once you get into this one, you can't get out. (Source: Pinnacle)

Pocket Star

Term Limits by Vince Flynn (Pocket Star 29 December 2009 / $9.99) - Product Description: In an intense thriller a former US Marine and congressman with a haunting past will reveal explosive implications of the country's future. (Source: Pocket Star)

The Devil's Punchbowl: A Novel by Greg Iles (Pocket Star 29 December 2009 / $9.99) - Product Description: As a prosecuting attorney in Houston, Penn Cage sent hardened killers to death row. But it is as mayor of his hometown -- Natchez, Mississippi -- that Penn will face his most dangerous threat. Urged by old friends to try to restore this fading jewel of the Old South, Penn has ridden into office on a tide of support for change. But in its quest for new jobs and fresh money, Natchez, like other Mississippi towns, has turned to casino gambling, and now five fantastical steamboats float on the river beside the old slave market at Natchez like props from Gone With the Wind.

But one boat isn't like the others.

Rumor has it that the Magnolia Queen has found a way to pull the big players from Las Vegas to its Mississippi backwater. And with them -- on sleek private jets that slip in and out of town like whispers in the night -- come pro football players, rap stars, and international gamblers, all sharing an unquenchable taste for one thing: blood sport -- and the dark vices that go with it. When a childhood friend of Penn's who brings him evidence of these crimes is brutally murdered, the full weight of Penn's failure to protect his city hits home. So begins his quest to find the men responsible. (Source: Pocket Star)

Signet

Dead and Kicking (Ghost Dusters Mysteries, No. 3) by Wendy Roberts (Signet 01 December 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: Sadie Novak cleans up crime scenes for a living and is also blessed-or cursed- with the gift of second sight. This time she's digging out the home of a compulsive hoarder. She discovers unexpected things, including an angry ghost who wants her to go away. And there are even more secrets beneath the surface that someone will kill to keep buried... (see review)

Soho Crime

Village of the Ghost Bears: A Nathan Active Mystery by Stan Jones (Soho Crime 01 December 2009 / $24.00) - Product Description: Alaska State Trooper Nathan Active must figure out what connects a dead hunter on a remote Arctic lake with a year-old fatal plane crash in the Brooks Range and a fire at the Chukchi Recreation Center that killed eight people, including the town's basketball star. The case turns out to involve a lucrative polar bear poaching operation and the intense bond between a brother and sister from the village of Cape Goodwin, famous in the Arctic for twins, polar bears, and schizophrenia. The heart of the matter, he discovers, is a dead woman whose killer remembers her as having a mouth so sweet "it was like kissing a Hershey bar."

Stan Jones is a native of Alaska. He has worked as an award-winning journalist and a bush pilot. He is the author of three previous mysteries in the acclaimed Nathan Active series.

(see review)

William Morrow

Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy (William Morrow 01 December 2009 / $19.99) - Product Description: Beware of the cat striking back . . .
On a lovely moonlit night, Joe Grey is minding his own business, carrying a gift of mice to a litter of kittens, when he stumbles upon a murder scene. Behind an empty house lies a swimming pool, its bottom covered with mud. There is also blood, the smell of human death, and drag marks. But there is no victim. Without a body, it's a crime that will be hard to prove.

With stubborn feline curiosity, Joe Grey sets out to investigate. As he, Dulcie, and Kit follow the killer's trail among four houses whose owners are on vacation, they discover that more murder has been planned for the small, close-knit neighborhood. They uncover evidence of conflict among the residents and multiple signs of breaking-and-entering, although nothing valuable seems to be missing.

With the help of two local ferals, the cats find the victim's hidden grave and learn of the violence that is yet to come. As they set out to alert the law, they discover the perfect way to thwart the killer—through that person's unnatural but powerful fear of cats.

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c/o Gumshoe 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

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