Recent Paperbacks of
Soft-Boiled to Medium-Boiled
Alden, Laura, MURDER AT THE PTA (Obsidian, $6.99). After Tarver Elementary School’s unpopular principal is murdered, PTA secretary and mother of two Beth Kennedy puts aside bake sales and class trip fund-raisers to catch a killer. And when members of the PTA become suspects, she realizes solving this murder will not be as easy as ABC. PBO
Baxter, Cynthia, CROSSING THE LION (Bantam, $7.99). Newly-wed veterinarian Jessica Popper is aksed by neighbors to look into the suspicious death of Linus Merrywood, king of the corporate jungle. PBO
Camilleri, Andrea, THE TRACK OF SAND (Penguin, $14.00). Montalbano finds a horse carcass in front of his seaside home. Soon missing horses are reported. Then Montalbano’s home is broken into and ransacked. He is convinced the crimes are linked.
Carl, JoAnna, THE CHOCOLATE CUPID KILLINGS (Obsidian, $7.99). It’s Valentine’s Day at TenHuis Chocolade, but Lee is getting no love from detective Derrick Valentine. He’s looking for one of their new employees—an abused woman who Lee and her Aunt Nettie have been hiding. But when Valentine meets his own sticky end, it’s Aunt Nettie who is suspect. Now, Lee has to free Nettie of guilt without exposing their innocent guest—and find a killer with a heart that’s definitely not made of chocolate.
Casey, Elizabeth Lynn, PINNED FOR MURDER (Berkley, $6.99). The members of South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle are as loyal and close-knit as the day is long. But when the richest and meanest woman in town turns up murdered, the new Yankee librarian Tori Sinclair finds that some threads can bind dangerously tight. PBO
Childs, Laura, TRAGIC MAGIC (Berkley, $7.99). A New Orleans mansion is being converted into a haunted house for tourists and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand has been enlisted to help. No sooner does the project begin than someone winds up dead.
Coel, Margaret, THE SILENT SPIRIT (Berkley, $7.99). Kiki Wallowingbull went to Hollywood to uncover the truth behind why his great-grandfather disappeared back in 1923. But after Kiki’s frozen body is discovered on the reservation, Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley must find the connection between the two violent deaths separated by nearly a century. PBO
Collins, Kate, DIRTY ROTTEN TENDRILS (Obsidian, $6.99). A Flower Shop mystery. When high-powered lawyer Ken “the Lip” Lipinski is found dead from a suspicious overdose, florist and amateur sleuth Abby Knight finds it hard to swallow that his opposing counsel—and her old boss—is the murderer. PBO
Connolly, Sheila, FUNDRAISING IS DEAD (Berkley, $6.99). At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor “Nell” Pratt solicits donations—and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington’s letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn’t pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a long, rich history of crime. PBO
Ferris, Monica, BLACKWORK (Berkley, $7.99). This Halloween, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop and part-time sleuth, is haunted by murder. After one too many pints, a local blames bar owner and Wicca practitioner Leona Cunningham for a series of “accidents” that have happened throughout town. When he ends up dead without a mark on his body, Leona’s the main suspect. But Betsy being on the case spells trouble for the killer.
Henry, Sue, THE END OF THE ROAD (Obsidian, $6.99). Drifter John Walker has no friends, but he’s so engaging that Maxie invites him over for dinner. The next day he moves on—and is later found dead in his motel room. What looks like a simple suicide quickly grows more complicated when police discover that Walker was living under an assumed identity. Maxie tries to fathom why he would choose to end his life where the U.S. highway system ends—and where Maxie just might meet a dead end of her own.
Lavene, Joyce and Jim, DEADLY DAGGERS (Berkley, $7.99). Jessie Morton’s latest apprenticeship at the Renaissance Faire is in service to Daisy, the master swordsmith. But when a professional dueler—and Daisy’s former flame—is murdered, it’s up to Jessie to keep a sharp eye out for the killer. PBO
Maron, Margaret, SAND SHARKS (Grand Central, $7.99). While attending a conference for North Carolina district court judges, Deborah Knott stumbles upon a strangled corpse.
Mays, Casey, A DEADLY ROW (Berkley, $7.99). First in the new Math Puzzle series. Math whiz Savannah Stone makes a living creating Math puzzles in rural North Carolina. But when the mayor starts receiving death threats, Savannah needs to solve this puzzle—before the next box to be filled is the mayor’s coffin. PBO
Olson, Karen E., DRIVEN TO INK (Obsidian, $6.99). Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of Vegas’s hottest tattoo shop, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing. After discovering the corpse of a Dean Martin impersonator—sporting a spider web tattoo and a clip cord from a tattoo machine wrapped around his neck—Brett infiltrates That’s Amore, a drive-through wedding chapel, as a bride-to-be looking for the mark of a murderer. PBO
Richards, Emilie, A TRUTH FOR A TRUTH (Berkley, $7.99). After a former minister dies suddenly upon his return to Emerald Springs, his memorial service is cut just as short. Aggie Sloan-Wilcox, wide of the current minister, knows why. The poor old guy was murdered. But who in this bucolic village could be capable of such a crime? PBO
Roker, Al (and Dick Lochte), THE MORNING SHOW MURDERS (Bantam, $7.99). When one of the network’s top honchos ends up dead, tv celebrity chef Billy Blessing is the prime suspect.
Medium-Boiled to Hard-Boiled
Arjouni, Jakob, KISMET (Melville House, $15.00). Turkish immigrant, now a private eye in Frankfurt, Germany, Kemal Kayankaya, comes to the aid of a friend/restauranteur who is under threat from thugs demanding protection money. PBO
Barton, Beverly, DON’T CRY (Zebra, $7.99). Grief counselor Audrey Sherrod and Special Agent J.D. Cass investigate a serial killer liked to a long-ago series of crimes. PBO
Brooke, P.J., BLOOD WEDDING (Soho Crime, $15.00). Spanish Sub-inspector Max Romero is asked to help investigate the death of a beautiful Muslim postgraduate student who was researching the impact of the Spanish Civil War on Max’s home village.
Bruce, Alison, CAMBRIDGE BLUE (Soho, $15.00). DC Goodhew is assigned his first murder case. By all accounts the victim was universally liked. Then another murder occurs and the DC goes into high gear to catch the murderer – at the risk of his job. First novel of note.
Cain, Chelsea, SWEETHEART , EVIL AT HEART and HEARTSICK (Minotaur, all $14.99). The very dark trilogy surrounding the lives of serial killer Gretchen Lowell and the Portland detective Archie Sheridan who is obsessed with her. One of my “guilty pleasures.” Warning contains torture scenes and other unpleasantness that moves it to the far ends of hard-boiled crime fiction.
Edwardson, Ake, THE SHADOW WOMAN (Penguin, $15.00). Time is running out for Chief Inspector Erik Winter as he tracks down an enigmatic killer and the unidentifiable victim’s missing daughter.
Fowler, Christopher, BRYANT & MAY ON THE LOOSE (Bantam, $15.00). The Peculiar Crimes Unit has been disbanded and detectives Arthur Bryant and John May have been let go. That is, until May stumbles upon a gruesome murder.
Hooper, Kay, BLOOD TIES (Bantam, $7.99). Two brutal murders in a small Tennessee town lure Noah Bishop and the Special Crimes Unit into what may be the ultimate trap.
Jackson, Lisa, RUNNING SCARED (Zebra, $7.99). The newborn baby boy is hers if Kate Summers agrees to disappear from Boston and never talk about the adoption to anyone. PBO
Judson, Daniel, THE VIOLET HOUR (Minotaur, $14.99). Bridgehampton mechanic Caleb Rakowski is protecting a pregnant friend from her abusive husband. There’s also the secretive boss Eric Carver and his mysterious past that can cause trouble for Caleb.
Kipps, Charles, HELL’S KITCHEN HOMICIDE (Pocket, $7.99). NYPD homicide detective Conor Bard investigates the murder of a hugely successful criminal defense attorney with rumored ties to the Mafia. From a Law & Order writer.
Lane, Vicki, THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (Dell, $7.99). An Appalachian young woman named Least attempts to stop a violent criminal from committing an unspeakable crime. PBO
Lawrence, C.E., SILENT VICTIM (Pinnacle, $6.99). NYPD profiler Lee Campbell joins the pursuit of a murderous madman who delights in taunting police. While the body count mounts, Lee finds the case growing disturbingly personal. PBO
Lief, Katia, YOU ARE NEXT (Avon, $7.99). Serial killer Martin Price has destroyed all Detective Karin Schaeffer holds dear. He is caught and sent to prison. Then he escapes. PBO
Lief, Katia, NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME (Avon, $7.99). Detective Karin Schaeffer’s in-laws are murdered in a brutal home invasion and then her husband vanishes. PBO
Limon, Martin, G.I. BONES (SohoCrime, $14.00). A Korean fortune teller is haunted by a long-dead American soldier who wants his bones found and finally buried. American military policemen look into this as well as the case of a missing girl and the deaths of local gang lords.
Lovesey, Peter, SKELETON HILL (Soho Crime, $14.00). Another excellent case for Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond to solve. This one involves the discovery of a human skeleton during a military enactment of a battle between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers. Peter Lovesey never disappoints.
Lutz, John, MISTER X (Pinnacle, $7.99). Five years ago he claimed the lives of six women. Then the killing stopped – no one knows why. Ex-homicide detective Frank Quinn remembers. Which is why he is shocked to see one of the dead women in his office. PBO
Muller, Marcia, LOCKED IN (Grand Central, $7.99). Shot in the head by an unknown assailant, P.I. Sharon McCone is almost totally paralyzed except for her alert, conscious mind.
Neville, Stuart, THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (Soho Crime, $14.00). An ex-IRA killer, Fegan is haunted day and night by the ghosts of twelve of his innocent victims. In order to excise the ghosts he is determined the men who gave him the order to kill. Barry Award nominee.
Perez, Henry, MOURN THE LIVING (Pinnacle, $6.99). Reporter Alex Chapa is tracking the story of a trademark serial killer, following the lead of a murdered colleague. PBO
Reed, Rick, THE CRUELEST CUT (Pinnacle, $6.99). Victim bodies are left with a fractured nursery rhyme stuff in their throats. For detective Jack Murphy is a challenge and personal invitation to play – and no one plays rougher than Jack. PBO
Rollins, David, HARD RAIN (Bantam, $7.99). When a U.S. colonel is found murdered in his Istanbul home, Special Agent Vin Cooper suspects a serial killer may be at large in Turkey. But looks can be deceiving.
Rozan, S. J., THE SHANGHAI MOON (Minotaur, $14.99). NYC P.I. Lydia Chin is hired to find stolen jewels that trace their history back to when thousands of Jews fled Hitler’s Europe for Shanghai.
Sobol, Joshua, CUT THROAT DOG (Melville House, $15.00). An enigmatic Israeli called Shakespeare thinks he sees a famous terrorist on a sidewalk of New York City. PBO
Swarup, Vikas, SIX SUSPECTS (Minotaur, $14.99). From the author of Slumdog Millionaire, comes this tale of a playboy who murders a waitress, is acquitted and then is murdered himself at the party being held to celebrate his acquittal.
Walsh, Michael, EARLY WARNING (Pinnacle, $6.99). When international cyber-terrorists and radical insurgents breach the highest level of national security, NSA’s most lethal weapon, code-named Devlin, is unleashed. PBO
Wambaugh, Joseph, HOLLYWOOD MOON (Grand Central, $7.99). Various cases of Hollywood beat cops including searching for a prowler who has been brutally attacking women. Insider cop stuff.
Brown, Graham, BLACK SUN (Bantam, $7.99). In the heart of the Amazon, NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw discovers a translucent Mayan stone generating massive waves of energy while counting down towards the infamous apocalyptic date of December 21, 2012. PBO
Gore, Steven, ABSOLUTE RISK (Harper, $9.99). A terrorist bombing in Asia. A dead FBI agent in Marseilles. Bank accounts linked to a financial genius Boston professor. Can investigator Graham Gage connect these disparate events to save the day? PBO
Greaney, Mark, ON TARGET (Jove, $9.99). Follow up to the Barry-Award-nominated THE GRAY MAN. Court Gentry is a master assassin who successfully melts into the background. But when an old comrade who he thought was dead returns to haunt him, his own life is put in the crosshairs. Excellent series.
McDermott, Andy, THE PYRAMID OF DOOM (Bantam, $7.99). A buried Egyptian temple. A secret kept for 6,000 years. A race for life worth killing for.
Rucka, Greg, WALKING DEAD (Bantam, $7.99). Atticus Kodiak and his lover have been in hiding in Georgia (the country) for several years. Their neighbors house is attacked and the family killed – all except the teenaged girl, who is abducted. Kodiak goes in search. One of the best thrillers of the year. Barry Award nominated.
Ash, Maureen, SHROUD OF DISHONOUR (Berkley, $14.00). Templar Bascot de Marins is preparing to rejoin the Holy Wars when he is called upon to investigate a gruesome murder in the Order’s own chapel. The shocking discovery of a strangled prostitute in the Templar chapel throws the Order into disarray. Alongside the corpse is a purse containing thirty pence—the same amount of silver Judas received for betraying Christ. PBO
Benn, James R., EVIL FOR EVIL (Soho Crime, $14.00). Fifty rifles have been stolen from a US Army base in Northern Ireland. Billy Boyle’s “uncle,” Dwight Eisenhower, sends Billy to recover the weapons before they are used in a German-sponsored IRA uprising.
Christopher, Paul, THE TEMPLAR THRONE (Signet, $9.99). In the 14th century, Templar knight Jean de St. Clair piloted the order’s treasure-laden ships off the coast of France. Retired Army Ranger John Holliday suspects that St. Clair holds the key to answering some of history’s greatest questions. PBO
Gregorio, Michael, UNHOLY AWAKENING (Minotaur, $14.99). The murdered body of a woman is found with two punctures on her neck. Investigator Hanno Stifeniis must find the murderer before a mob’s hysteria results in innocent’s deaths. U.S. PBO
Hamilton, Barbara, A MARKED MAN (Berkley, $14.00). Abigail Adams, wife of attorney John Adams—who is deeply involved with the Sons of Liberty—is shocked when one of the Sons is accused of murder. Did the crime arise from the romantic competition for the daughter of a prominent Royalist—or was it politically motivated? Abigail and John believe the accused is innocent, though the evidence against him is strong. PBO
Izner, Claude, THE DISAPPEARANCE AT PERE LACHAISE (Minotaur, $14.99). Fin de Siecle Paris. Bookstore ownere Victor Legris is asked to look into the disappearance of Odette de Valois, the widow of a man who lost most of his fortune investing in the Panama Canal.
Melikan, Rose, THE MISTAKEN WIFE (Touchstone, $15.00). 1797. Mary Fitch, reluctant heiress and British spy, travels to Paris to disrupt vital Franco-American negotiations. PBO
Miller, John J., THE FIRST ASSASSIN (AmazonEncore, $14.95). Washington, D.C, 1861: Only Colonel Charles Rook stands between President Abraham Lincoln and a very resourceful assassin. PBO
Perez-Reverte, Arturo, THE CAVALIER IN THE YELLOW DOUBLET (Plume, $15.00). The fifth in the Captain Alatriste series of swashbuckling, 17th century Spain. The captain and his protege Inigo become unwilling participants in a court conspiracy.
Taylor, Andrew, A STAIN ON THE SILENCE (Hyperion, $15.99). What if a childless man in his forties discovers that he has a daughter, the result of an affair twenty-five years earlier? What if the daughter is pregnant? And what if she’s on the run for murder?
Thompson, Victoria, MURDER ON ST. MARK’S PLACE (Berkley, $15.00). Thinking she has been summoned by German immigrant Agnes Otto to usher a new life into the world, Sarah Brandt is greeted by the news of an untimely death instead. It seems that Agnes’s beautiful younger sister, Gerda, had fallen into the life of a “Charity Girl.” Caught up in the false glamour of the city’s nightlife, she would trade her company — and her favors — not for money, but for lavish gifts and an evenings’ entertainment. And now she was dead; victim, no doubt, of one of her “gentlemen friends.” PBO
Cain, Tom, ASSASSIN (Corgi, £6.99). Third in the Carver series. Former assassin Carver is being set up to take the fall for assassinations he didn’t commit. He’s out to find the real assassin. Good stuff. Not published in the U.S.
Carter, Maureen, DEATH LINE (Creme de la Crime, £7.99). When ten-year-old Josh Bank’s body is found dumped on waste ground, Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss is assigned the case. Not much motivation is needed in a child killing. Our Bev hates child killers as do all police. But she finds herself distracted by internal politics and the fact that her boss in under internal enquiry. If the guv goes, where does that leave Bev. One of the best kept secrets of British crime fiction. Available in the U.S.
Charters, Charlie, BOLT ACTION (Hodder, £6.99). The door between the pilots and the passengers are since 9/11 impossible to break down. What if the pilots are dead? PBO
Hannah, Sophie, A ROOM SWEPT WHITE (Hodder, £7.99). TV producer Fliss Benson receives an anonymous card at work: sixteen numbers arranged in four rows of four. Makes no sense to her. Then the subject of a documentary she is working on is found dead in her home,