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US Books Received- 01/2018  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

Berkley

Death Below Stairs (Below Stairs) by Jennifer Ashley (Berkley 02 January 2018 / $15.00) - Product Description: Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family's eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered. 

Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin's unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that's a threat to Queen Victoria herself.

Dial M for Mousse (Emergency Dessert Squad) by Laura Bradford (Berkley 02 January 2018 / $7.99) - Product Description: The Emergency Dessert Squad business is booming, with owner and baker Winnie Johnson working overtime to satisfy the emergency cravings of Silver Lake, Ohio. Her latest order, a plate of motivational desserts for an artists' retreat, is just what she needs to keep her mind off her own relationship woes.

But Winnie's problems seem like trifles when she discovers the body of retreat owner Sally Dearfield mere inches away from five oh-so-eccentric and viable suspects. Now, this baking detective must uncover the inspiration behind Sally's murder before another creative genius is iced. (Recipes included)

Twelve Angry Librarians (Cat in the Stacks) by Miranda James (Berkley 02 January 2018 / $7.99) - Product Description: Charlie is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year's annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. And as if that weren't bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie's old nemesis from library school.

It's been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin Fong, and he's still an insufferable know-it-all capable of getting under everyone's skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth a most unpopular opinion: that degreed librarians will be obsolete in the academic libraries of the future. So when Gavin drops dead, no one seems too upset.

But Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin the day before, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must check out every clue to refine their search for the real killer among them before the next book Charlie reads comes from a prison library.

Coffeetown Press

Crazy Rhythm (Gunnar Nilson) by T.W. Emory (Coffeetown Press 01 January 2018 / $15.95) - Product Description: In the summer of 1950, private eye Gunnar Nilson reluctantly agrees to accompany Rune Granholm on an errand to collect gambling winnings. When Gunnar arrives at Rune's Wallingford apartment, he finds the man dead, shot with his own gun. No one much cared for the caddish ne'er-do-well, but Gunnar feels he owes it to Rune's brother, a good friend and casualty of World War II, to find the killer. When a paying client arrives, Gunnar puts this investigation aside.

Attorney Ethan Calmer wants him to investigate a series of phone calls menacing his fiancée, Mercedes Atwood. Mercedes lives in Broadmoor, a tony neighborhood occupied by Seattle's moneyed class, many of whom are descended from lumber barons. A poor little rich girl, Mercedes is beautiful but strangely passionless.

Then, like the hula-girl lamp in the apartment of the late and unlamented Rune, Mercedes shows him her moves.

Gunnar soon wonders if the two cases might be connected in some way, but how, exactly?

Book 2 in the Gunnar Nilson Mystery series, which began with Trouble in Rooster Paradise.

Hanover Square Press

The Black Painting by Neil Olson (Hanover Square Press 01 January 2018 / $24.99) - Product Description: An old-money East Coast family faces the suspicious death of its patriarch and the unsolved theft of a Goya painting rumored to be cursed.

There were four cousins in the Morse family: perfect Kenny, the preppy West Coast lawyer; James, the shy but brilliant medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, youngest and most fragile, haunted by the fear that she has inherited the madness that possessed her father.

Their grandfather summons them to his mansion at Owl's Point. None of them has visited the family estate since they were children, when a prized painting disappeared: a self-portrait by Goya, rumored to cause madness or death upon viewing. Afterward, the family split apart amid the accusations and suspicions that followed its theft. 

Any hope that their grandfather planned to make amends evaporates when Teresa arrives to find the old man dead, his horrified gaze pinned upon the spot where the painting once hung. As the family gathers and suspicions mount, Teresa hopes to find the reasons behind her grandfather's death and the painting's loss. But to do so she must uncover ugly family secrets and confront those who would keep them hidden.

Kaylie Jones Books

The Devil's Song by Lauren Stahl (Kaylie Jones Books 02 January 2018 / $15.95) - Product Description: Up-and-coming Mission County, Pennsylvania, prosecutor Kate Magda has been given the assignment of a lifetime: lead counsel on a string of murders rocking the community. As the privileged daughter of a powerful local judge, Kate views the case as her chance to show her boss, her family, and the public that she is more than just "the judge's daughter".

As Kate delves into the case, she becomes convinced that she shares a personal link with the killer, who seems to know intimate details about a tragic childhood event from Kate's past--an event she'd long been trying to forget. Paranoia sets in, the night terrors return, and Kate has a strong sense that she's the killer's next victim. She no longer feels assigned to the case...she is the case, and solving it is her only chance for survival.

Minotaur Books

Darkness, Sing Me a Song (Holland Taylor) by David Housewright (Minotaur Books 02 January 2018 / $25.99) - Product Description: Holland Taylor is a PI who does simple background checks and other mostly unchallenging cases. Still wounded by the long-ago death of his wife and daughter, and newly mourning a recently failed relationship, Taylor doesn't have much interest in more challenging work. But almost by accident, he finds himself in the middle of the crime of the century.

Eleanor Barrington, the doyenne of a socially prominent family of great wealth, has been arrested for the murder of Emily Denys, her son's fiancée. Barrington made no secret of her disdain for the victim, convinced that she was trying to take advantage of her son and her family.

Taylor had been brought in to do a full background check on Emily, only to discover that both her name and her background were fabricated. Before he could learn more, she was murdered--shot in the head outside her apartment.

Barrington had been overheard threatening to kill her son's fiancé and an eyewitness claims to have seen her kill Emily. But that's not the worst of it. Barrington's own son has even worse accusations to make against her.

Caught in the dark tangle of a twisted family and haunted by his own past, Taylor finds that the truth is both elusive and dangerous.

Prospect Park Books

The Perpetual Summer (Chuck Restic) by Adam Walker Phillips (Prospect Park Books 09 January 2018 / $15.95) - Product Description: A missing teenage girl leads LA corporate HR exec-turned-private eye Chuck Restic to a high profile fight over a new art museum and a forty-year-old murder that won't stay in the past. Anyone could be behind the teenager's disappearance: her fitness-obsessed mom, switchblade-toting chauffeur, personal life coach, or even the girl herself. This is the second book in the Chuck Restic mystery series.

Seventh Street Books

A Reckoning in the Back Country (Samuel Craddock) by Terry Shames (Seventh Street Books 09 January 2018 / $15.95) - Product Description: When Lewis Wilkins, a physician with a vacation home in Jarrett Creek, is attacked by vicious dogs, and several pet dogs in the area around Jarrett Creek disappear, Police Chief Samuel Craddock suspects that a dog-fighting ring is operating in his territory. He has to tread carefully in his investigation since lawmen who meddle in dog fighting put their lives at risk. The investigation is hampered because Wilkins is not a local.

Craddock's focus on the investigation is thrown off by the appearance of a new woman in his life, as well as his accidental acquisition of a puppy.

Digging deeper, Craddock discovers that the public face Wilkins presented was at odds with his private actions. A terrible mistake led to his disgrace as a physician, and far from being a stranger, he has ongoing acquaintances with a number of county residents who play fast and loose with the law.

Dominic by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street Books 02 January 2018 / $17.00) - Product Description: Only two other people know that Dominic, a charming Englishman, prosecutor, and musician in Austin, Texas, is also a psychopath. They also know that a year ago he got away with murder.

One of those people is his special lady, and the other is her brother, a teenager and fellow psychopath called Bobby. When a wily homicide detective starts digging up that past murder, little Bobby offers to take care of the problem--permanently. Dominic tries to dissuade him, but as he himself knows, psychopaths aren't good with following instructions. Or impulse control.

As Detective Megan Ledsome circles closer, Dominic knows his life depends on keeping his secrets hidden, from her and the rest of the world. And when his annoying office-mate declares his interest in a judicial position, one he himself would like, Dominic realizes that one of his carefully-orchestrated plans could kill two birds with one stone.

Of course, that means some sleight of hand and a sacrifice or two. But if there's one thing a psychopath doesn't mind, it's sacrificing other people.

Soho Crime

The Widows of Malabar Hill (1920s Bombay) by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime 09 January 2018 / ) - Product Description: Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with an Oxford, legal education, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women's legal rights.

Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X--meaning she probably couldn't even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah--in strict seclusion, never leaving the women's quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.

Inspired in part by a real woman who made history by becoming India's first female lawyer, The Widows of Malabar Hill is a richly wrought story of multicultural 1920s Bombay as well as the debut of a sharp and promising new sleuth, Perveen Mistry.

This Is What Happened by Mick Herron (Soho Crime 23 January 2018 / $25.95) - Product Description: Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice.

Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk.

Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero--if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.

William Morrow

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow 02 January 2018 / $26.99) - Product Description: Anna Fox lives alone--a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times ... and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble--and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one--and nothing--is what it seems.

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