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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

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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)

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.

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