The following is a list of 2010 titles which have garnered excellent reviews from critics, booksellers and library journals.

The purpose of the list is to make available to you, the reader, current information of what books are generally considered to be among the best of the year.  If you are so inclined to vote for fan awards such as the Barry Awards, the Anthonys, the Agathas and the Macavitys, then this list will give you a head start.

If any of the following novels received a glowing review in Deadly Pleasures, or a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist or Library Journal, it is indicated at the end of each entry with the abbreviations of the periodicals which gave such reviews.

Looking for good recommendations for paperback purchases or good all-around recommended reading lists?   You may want to look at:

DP List 2012

DP List 2011

DP List 2010

DP List 2009

DP List2008

DP List 2007

DP List 2006 

DP List 2005

DP List 2004

DP List 2003

DP List 2002

DP List 2001

DP List 2000

DP List 2013

Best Novels

** A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH, Adler-Olson, Jussi (Dutton, $26.95). Detective Carl Morck holds in his hands a bottle that contains old and decayed message, written in blood. It is a cry for help from two young brothers, tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Could it be real? Who are these boys, and why weren't they reported missing? Could they possibly still be alive?
Carl's investigation will force him to cross paths with a woman stuck in a desperate marriage- her husband refuses to tell her where he goes, what he does, how long he will be away. For days on end she waits, and when he returns she must endure his wants, his moods, his threats. But enough is enough. She will find out the truth, no matter the cost to her husband--or to herself. PW, LJ & DP
**THE RULES OF WOLFE, Blake, James Carlos (Mysterious Press, $24.00). Eddie Gato Wolfe is a young, impetuous member of the Wolfe family of Texas gun-runners that goes back generations. Increasingly unfulfilled by his minor role in family operations and eager to set out on his own, Eddie crosses the border to work security for a major Mexican drug cartel led by the ruthless La Navaja. PW & BL
** HIT ME, Block, Lawrence (Mulholland, $26.99). The economic downturn finds former hitman Keller (now happily married with child and a legitimate business) with too much time on his hands. So in part to deal with his boredom and in part to finance his stamp collecting hobby, Keller goes back to what his does best: contract killing. PW, LJ, BL and DP
**LOST, Bolton, S. J. (Minotaur, $25.99). Like everyone reading the newspapers these days, 10-year-old Barney Roberts knows the killer will strike again soon. The victim will be another boy, just like him. The body will be drained of blood, and left somewhere on a Thames beach. There will be no clues for London detectives Dana Tulloch and Mark Joesbury to find. There will be no warning about who will be next. PW, LJ & BL
**BREAKING POINT, C. J. Box (Putnam, $26.95). It was always good to see Butch Roberson, Joe Pickett thought—a hardworking, upright local business owner whose daughter was friends with his own. Little did he know that when he talked to Butch that day in the forest, the man was about to disappear. PW & LJ
**WHEN THE DEVIL DRIVES, Brookmyre, Christopher (Atlantic Monthly, $24.00). Actress turned private investigator Jasmine Sharp is hired by a woman to find her younger sister Tessa Garrion, The assignment takes her back into the world of professional theater, where she is warned off more than once for probing too deeply into the past.
Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent and mother-of-two Catherine McLeod is called to the scene of a murder in the Highlands. Following a theatrical outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Cragruthes Castle, a prominent figure in the Scottish arts community is shot dead during a post-performance photo call. BL & DP
**LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Burke, James Lee (Simon & Schuster, $27.99). Louisiana Sherriff’s Detective Dave Robicheaux and his longtime friend and partner Clete Purcel are vacationing in Montana’s spectacular Big Sky country when a series of suspicious events leads them to believe their lives—and the lives of their families—are in danger. BL & PW
**HER LAST BREATH, Castillo, Linda (Minotaur, $25.99). What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon and two of his children? PW & Kirkus
**KILLER AMBITION, Clark, Marcia (Mulholland, $26.00). When the daughter of a billionaire Hollywood director is found murdered after what appears to be a kidnapping gone wrong, Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller find themselves at the epicenter of a combustible and high-profile court case. Then a prime suspect is revealed to be one of Hollywood's most popular and powerful talent managers--and best friend to the victim's father. PW & BL
**SANDRINE’S CASE, Cook, Thomas H. (Mysterious Press, $24.00, Aug). Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and imagination. On the surface their relationship and marriage semed perfectly tranquil: jobs at the same small, liberal arts college, a precocious young daughter, a home filled with art and literature, and trips to some of the world's most beautiful cities and towns. And then one night Sandrine is found dead in their bed and Samuel is accused of her murder. PW, Kirkus & DP
** THE BLACK COUNTRY, Grecian, Alex (Putnam, $26.95). When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of The Yard, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they’re about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. PW & BL
**OUT OF THE BLACK LAND, Greenwood, Kerry (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95). Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt is peaceful and prosperous under the dual rule of the Pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV, until the younger Pharaoh begins to dream new and terrifying dreams.
Ptah-hotep, a young peasant boy studying to be a scribe, wants to live a simple life in a Nile hut with his lover Kheperren and their dog Wolf. But Amenhotep IV appoints him as Great Royal Scribe. Surrounded by bitterly envious rivals and enemies, how long will Ptah-hotep survive?
Kirkus & PW
**THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN, Hart, Erin (Scribner, $26.00). What sort of book is worth a man’s life? After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog? PW & LJ
**POPPET, Hayder, Mo (Atlantic Monthly, $25.00). Everything goes according to procedure when a patient, Isaac, is released into the community from a high security mental health ward. But when the staff realize that he was connected to a series of unexplained episodes of self-harm amongst the ward’s patients, and furthermore that he was released in error, they call on Detective Jack Caffery to investigate, and to track Isaac down before he can kill again. PW, BL & LJ
**DEAD LIONS, Herron, Mick (Soho, $25.95). London's Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their failed careers. The "slow horses," as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. One thing they all have in common is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there, even if it means having to collaborate with one another. Now the slow horses have a chance at redemption. An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. CWA Gold Dagger finalist. PW & LJ
**THE BURNING AIR, Kelly, Erin (Viking, $26.95). An atmospheric thriller about a charmed upper class family, their secrets, and the vengeful obsession of an enemy they don't even know they have. When Rowan and his three grown children gather for the first time since a family death at weekend home, years of secrets surface and they discover a stranger in their midst. Kirkus & BL
**BURIAL RITES, Kent, Hannah (Little, Brown, $26.00). Set against Iceland's stark landscape in 1829, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Kirkus & LJ
**THE MAN WITHOUT A BREATH, Kerr, Philip (Putnam, $26.00). Berlin, March, 1943. Though Hitler insists Germany is winning the war, commanders on the ground know better. Morale is low, discipline at risk. Now word has reached Berlin of a Red massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk. If true, the message it would send to the troops is clear: Fight on or risk certain death.All parties agree that the ensuing investigation must be overseen by a professional trained in sifting evidence and interrogating witnesses. Anything that smells of incompetence or tampering will defeat their purposes. And so Bernie Gunther is dispatched to Smolensk, where truth is as much a victim of war as those poor dead Polish officers. PW, BL & DP
**ORDINARY GRACE, Krueger, William Kent (Atria, $24.99). 1961. Frank begins the summer preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family— which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother— he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years. Kirkus & DP
**CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE, Laukkanen, Owen (Putnam, $26.95). The new Stevens and Windermere novel from the author of the dazzlingly acclaimed The Professionals. From the outside, Carter Tomlin's life looked perfect. But Carter has a secret. He's lost his job, the bills are mounting, and that perfect life is hanging by a thread. Desperate, he robs a bank. Kirkus & BL
**A DELICATE TRUTH, Le Carre’, John (Viking, $27.95). 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it. Cornwall, UK, 2011. A disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be--or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? BL, Kirkus & LJ
** THE TOOTH TATTOO, Lovesey, Peter (Soho, $25.95). Peter Diamond, head of the Criminal Investigation Division in scenic Bath, England, is investigating the murder of a young woman whose body has been found in the canal, the only clue to her identity a tattoo of a music note on one of her teeth. PW & DP
**ORIGINAL SKIN, Mark, David (Blue Rider Press, $26.95). A new gang has taken over the local drug trade, and Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh’s Serious and Organized Crime Unit is being run ragged by this well-connected and merciless group of criminals. With violent drug-related crime on the rise, the last thing the police need is an investigation of a depressed young man’s death. But Detective Aector McAvoy suspects that there is a murderer at work who has nothing to do with organized crime and investigates without approval from his bosses. PW & DP
**RED SPARROW, Matthews, Jason (Scribner, $26.99). In present-day Russia, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole. PW, LJ & BL
**CROSS AND BURN, McDermid, Val (Atlantic Monthly, $25.00). Guilt and grief have driven a wedge between long time crime-fighting partners psychologist Tony Hill and ex-DCI Carol Jordan. But just because they're not talking doesn't mean the killing stops. Someone is killing women. Women who bear an unsettling resemblance to Carol Jordan. PW, BL & DP
**GODS AND BEASTS, Mina, Denise (Reagan Arthur, $25.99). It's the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a busy Glasgow post office carrying an AK-47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and wordlessly helps the gunman fill bags with cash, then carries them to the door. PW, LJ & DP
**MURDER AS A FINE ART, Morrell, David (Mulholland, $25.99). Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, "is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier. The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives. PW & BL
**LITTLE GREEN, Mosley, Walter (Doubleday, $26.95). We last saw Easy in 2007's "Blonde Faith," fighting for his life after his car plunges over a cliff. True to form, the tough WWII veteran survives, and soon his murderous sidekick Mouse has him back cruising the mean streets of L.A., in all their psychedelic 1967 glory, to look for a young black man, Evander "Little Green" Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator's Blood, brewed by the conjure woman Mama Jo, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem. PW, DP & Kirkus
**POLICE, Nesbo, Jo (Knopf, $25.95). The police urgently need Harry Hole. A killer is stalking Oslo's streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated but failed to solve. The murders are brutal, the media reaction hysterical. But this time, Harry can't help . . . For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the center of every major criminal investigation in Oslo. His dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But now, with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry is not in a position to protect anyone. Least of all himself. BL & DP
**THE FAMOUS AND THE DEAD, Parker, T. Jefferson (Dutton, $26.95). Los Angeles County sheriff ’s deputy Charlie Hood is attached to the ATF, working undercover on the illegal arms trade that flows across the U.S.-Mexican border. PW & BL
**HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN, Penny, Louise (Minotaur, $25.99). When Chief Inspector Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone Kirkus, PW, BL, DP & LJ
**THE BOYFRIEND, Perry, Thomas (Mysterious Press, $25.00). After a respected career as a LAPD homicide detective, Jack Till now works as a private investigator. But when the parents of a recently murdered young girl ask for his help when the police come up empty, Till reluctantly takes the case. As Till digs deeper, he realizes that the victim is just one of several young female escorts killed in different cities in the exact same way. BL, LJ & PW
**NEMESIS, Pronzini, Bill (Forge, $25.99). Young, newly rich Verity Daniels claims to be receiving threatening demands for money from a mysterious caller. When Jake Runyon agrees to investigate, it seems a relatively simple matter to expose the extortionist by setting a trap for him. The case, however, is nowhere near as clear-cut as it first appears. And Verity Daniels is nowhere near the helpless victim she pretends to be. BL & DP
**THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT, Ryan, William (Minotaur, $25.99). Captain Alexei Korolev has nothing to complain about. He has his own room in an apartment, a job in the police force that puts food on the table, and his good health. In Moscow in 1937, that’s a lot more than most people have to be grateful for. But for the first time in a long time, Korolev is about to be truly happy: his son Yuri is coming to visit for an entire week. Shortly after Yuri’s arrival, however, Korolev receives an urgent call from his boss—it seems an important man has been murdered, and Korolev is the only detective they’re willing to assign to this sensitive case. BL & PW
**SILKEN PREY, Sandford, John (Putnam, $27.95). Very early one morning, a Minnesota political fixer answers his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, “Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, “Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows. Lucasd Davenport is investigating another case when the trail leads to the man’s disappearance, then—very troublingly—to the Minneapolis police department, then—most troublingly of all—to a woman who could give Machiavelli lessons. Kirkus & BL
**A FATAL LIKENESS, Shepherd, Lynn ( Delacorte, $26.00). When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan. Kirkus & PW
**THE CARRION BIRDS, Waite, Urban (Morrow, $25.99). Hired gun Ray Lamar is ready to put his past behind him. He wants to see his twelve-year-old son and start a new life—away from the violence of the last ten years. One last heist will take him there. All he has to do is steal a rival’s stash. Simple, easy, clean. PW & BL
**CRIME OF PRIVILEGE, Walker, Walter (Ballantine, $26.00). A murder on Cape Cod. A rape in Palm Beach. All they have in common is the presence of one of America’s most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office. George has always lived at the edge of power. He wasn’t born to privilege, but he understands how it works and has benefitted from it in ways he doesn’t like to admit. Now, an investigation brings him deep inside the world of the truly wealthy—and shows him what a perilous place it is. LJ & PW
**CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, Wilson, Robert (Houghton Mifflin, $28.00). Alyshia D’Cruz, daughter of Indian tycoon Frank D’Cruz, has grown up in London and Mumbai wanting for nothing. After a boozy evening out, she gets in the wrong cab home. Enter Charles Boxer. Ex-army, ex-police, he has found his niche in private security. His specialty: kidnap and recovery. When D’Cruz hires Boxer to find Alyshia, Boxer knows Frank’s crooked business empire has made him plenty of enemies. Despite the vast D’Cruz fortune, the kidnappers don’t want cash, instead favoring a cruel and lethal game. PW & BL

Best First Novels
**THE CARETAKER, Ahmad, A.X. (Minotaur, $24.99). Back in India, Ranjit Singh commanded an elite army squad. But that was years ago, before his Army career ended in dishonor, shattering his reputation. Driven from his homeland, he is now a caretaker on the exclusive resort island of Martha's Vineyard, looking after the vacation homes of the rich and powerful. One harsh winter, faced with no other choice, he secretly moves his family into the house of one of his clients, an African-American Senator. Here, his wife and daughter are happy, and he feels safe for the first time in ages. But Ranjit's idyll is shattered when mysterious men break into the house. Pursued and hunted, Ranjit is forced to enter the Senator's shadowy world, and his only ally is Anna, the Senator's beautiful wife, who has secrets of her own. Together, they uncover a trail of deception that leads from the calm shores of the Vineyard to countries half a world away. And when his investigation stirs up long forgotten events, the caretaker must finally face the one careless decision that ruined his life- and forced him to leave India. BL & LJ
**THE OLD TURK’S LOAD, Gibson, Gregory (Mysterious Press, $24.00). Angelo DiNoto is the most powerful crime lord in New Jersey, his empire bolstered by importing pure heroin courtesy of the poppies grown by an old Turkish farmer. Yet when a five million dollar shipment goes missing, DiNoto isn't the only one willing to turn over every rock (and bust some heads, arms, legs, etc.) to locate it. BL, LJ & DP
**BURIAL RITES, Kent, Hannah (Little, Brown, $26.00). 1829 Iceland. Agnes, charged with murdering her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. As Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. BL, LJ & Kirkus
**COVER OF SNOW, Milchman, Jenny (Ballantine, $26.00). Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse, Nora instantly knows her world is irretrievably shattered: Her husband has committed suicide. PW & BL
**GHOSTMAN, Hobbs, Roger (Knopf, $25.00). When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favor from someone who's occasionally called Jack. While it's doubtful that anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity, or even if he's still alive, he's in his mid-thirties and lives completely off the grid, a criminal's criminal who does entirely as he pleases and is almost impossible to get in touch with. Kirkus, BL, PW & DP
**THREE GRAVES FULL, Mason, Jamie (Gallery, $24.99). For fans of the Coen brothers' films or for those who just love their thrillers with a dash of sharp humor--an engaging and offbeat story about a man driven to murder, who then buries the body in his backyard only to discover that there are two other shallow graves on his property. BL, PW, LJ & DP
**RED SPARROW, Matthews, Jason (Scribner, $26.99). In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole. PW, LJ, BL & DP
**THE EDGE OF NORMAL, Norton, Carla (Minotaur, $25.99). Ten years ago, Reeve LeClair was kidnapped and held captive. After a lucky escape, she’s spent the last six years trying to rebuild her life, a recovery thanks in large part to her indispensable therapist Dr. Ezra Lerner. But when he asks her to help another girl rescued from a similar situation, Reeve realizes she may not simply need to mentor this young victim—she may be the only one who can protect her from a cunning predator who is still out there, watching every move. PW, BL & LJ
**THE EXECUTION OF NOA P. SINGLETON, Silver, Elizabeth (Crown, $25.00). Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date.
Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. Marlene tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa’s sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story. Kirkus & PW
**BEAR IS BROKEN, Smith, Lachlan (Mysterious Press, $24.00). Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney who racked up enemies quickly. When Teddy is shot, Leo must examine the life of a brother he realizes he barely knew. PW, BL & DP

Best Thrillers
**THE NIGHT RANGER, Berenson, Alex (Putnam, $27.95). John Wells enters new territory, as he goes underground in East Africa to track four kidnapped Americans and the Somali bandits who snatched them. DP
**EYE FOR AN EYE, Coes, Ben (St. Martin’s, $25.99, July). When Dewey Andreas uncovers a spy working for the Chinese in Israel’s Mossad, he becomes a prime target of Fao Bhang, head of China’s state security. DP
**SUSPECT, Crais, Robert (Putnam, $27.95). LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty—until he meets his new partner.Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler to an IED, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s.They are each other’s last chance. DP
**DEAD EYE, Greaney, Mark (Berkley, $16.00). Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows—to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. DP
**THE DISCIPLE OF LAS VEGAS, Hamilton, Ian (Picador, $15.00). Fifty million dollars has disappeared into thin air from the accounts of one of the richest men in the Philippines, Tommy Ordonez. His one hope is Ava Lee—sleek, capable forensic accountant and sleuth. With the help of her Triad-connected partner, Uncle, Ava follows the money trail from San Francisco to Costa Rica to the casinos and illegal gambling dens of Las Vegas. DP
**THE THIRD BULLET, Hunter, Stephen (Simon & Schuster, $27.00). Bob Lee Swagger takes interest in the Kennedy Assassination. Why did the third bullet aimed at John F. Kennedy explode? The Warren Commission had no idea. The 4,000 authors and investigators who followed the case remain clueless. But Bob Lee Swagger knows. BL & LJ
**GHOSTMAN, Hobbs, Roger (Knopf, $25.00). See description above under Best First Novels
**THE JACKAL’S SHARE, Jones, Christopher Morgan (Penguin Press, $25.95). A corporate investigator follows the Middle East's criminal money trail in this sequel to The Silent Oligarch. A desperate race against time that pits modern wealth against buried betrayals, The Jackal's Share carries readers from London to Lake Como, from the rotten alleys of Marrakesh to the shining spires of Dubai. Kirkus & PW
**THE SHANGHAI FACTOR, McCarry, Charles (Mysterious Press, $26.00, June). A young, unnamed spy is living in Shanghai in order to observe and absorb the culture and language so as to aid a shadowy U.S. agency known only as 'HQ'. However when he meets a sultry and mysterious woman named Mei, they begin a torrid affair that threatens to expose him to HQ's enemies. DP
**THE DOLL, Stevens, Taylor (Crown, $24.00, June). On a busy Dallas street, Munroe is kidnapped by an unseen opponent and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are merchandise and a shadowy figure known as The Doll Maker controls her every move. While trusted friends race to unravel where she is and why she was taken, everything pivots on one simple choice: Munroe must use her unique set of skills to deliver a high-profile young woman into the same nightmare that she once endured, or condemn to torture and certain death the one person she loves above all else. DP
**THE INTERCEPT, Wolf, Dick ( $27.00). NYPD Special Agent Jeremy Fisk is New York City's last hope against an ingenious, multi-pronged terrorist attack. LJ & DP

Best Paperback Originals

**OSCAR WILDE AND THE MURDERS AT READING GAOL, Brandeth, Gyles (Touchstone, $16.00). Oscar Wilde has fled to France after his release from Reading Gaol. Tonight he is sharing a drink and the story of his cruel imprisonment with a mysterious stranger. Oscar has endured the treadmill, solitary confinement, censored letters, no writing materials. Yet even in the midst of such deprivation, his astonishing detective powers remain undiminished—and when first a brutal warder and then the prison chaplain are found murdered, who else should the governor turn to for help other than Reading Gaol’s most celebrated inmate? PW & DP
**DEAD EYE, Greaney, Mark (Berkley, $16.00). See description above in Best Thrillers.
**THE DISCIPLE OF LAS VEGAS, Hamilton, Ian (Picador, $15.00). See description under Best Thrillers above.
**SCORPION DECEPTION, Kaplan, Andrew (Harper, $9.99). The independent contract agent known as Scorpion is asked to ferret out the information that will decide whether the U.S. goes to war with Iran. DP
**THE RAGE, Kerrigan, Gene (Europa, $17.00). Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Novel. Just released from jail, a thief is planning for an armored car robbery. An honest policeman, discouraged by his crooked colleagues, is investigating the murder of a banker. A call from an old acquaintance will change his course of investigation. LJ, BL & DP
**BOLERO, McDonell, Joanie (Thomas & Mercer, $14.95). Despite his bronze star with its prized V for valor, Nick Sayler was once a thief, junkie, and prime suspect in a murder case. Now he’s a mostly changed man, a private investigator with a long list of rich clients and a good life. But even after ten years there’s not enough whiskey in the world to wash away acid-etched memories of Julia Carteret, the beautiful woman who took a bullet meant for him.He never expected a second chance to make things right until he got a midnight call from a distraught young doctor and a plea from a fragile dancer with no money, no memory, nothing in her pocket except Sayler’s card, and the number 44 carved across her back. DP
**THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND, McMahon, Jennifer (Morrow, $15.00). An architect’s troubled mother has been found 25 years after being kidnapped by a killer who is still on the loose. Kirkus & PW
**THE BEGGAR KING: HANGMAN’S DAUGHTER, Potzsch, Oliver (Mariner, $18.00). When hangman Jakob Kuisl is falsely arrested for killing his sister and brother-in-law, his daughter Magdalena and her young doctor paramour Simon rush to his aid and enlist an underground network of beggars, a beer-brewing monk, and an Italian playboy for help. PW & DP
**A DARK REDEMPTION, Sherez, Stav (Europa, $17.00). A Dark Redemption introduces DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller as they investigate the brutal rape and murder of a young Ugandan student. Plunged into an underworld of illegal immigrant communities, they discover that the murdered girl’s studies at a London college may have threatened to reveal things that some people will go to any lengths to keep secret. DP
**THE RUSSIAN DONATION, Speilberg, Christoph (AmazonCrossing, $14.95). Doctor Felix Hoffmann is a seasoned physician at a Berlin hospital, respected by colleagues and devoted to his intelligent girlfriend, Celine. When a former patient shows up dead by causes unknown, curiosity and sheer medical devotion propel Hoffmann to investigate. But his autopsy order goes unfulfilled as the body is cremated and hospital records vanish. Soon, Hoffmann discovers a diagnosis of conspiratorial proportions, and he must risk everything to save not only himself but the hospital he's always loved. PW & BL
**DEADLY HARVEST, Stanley, Michael (Harper, $14.99). Girls are disappearing in Botswana. The rumor is they're being harvested for muti, a witch doctor's potion traditionally derived from plants and animals--and which, some believe, can be made more potent by adding human remains. Detective David "Kubu" Bengu joins the investigation with the police force's newest detective--and only woman--Samantha Khama, for whom the case is personal. PW & DP
**FEAR IN THE SUNLIGHT, Upson, Nicola (Harper, $14.99). Summer, 1936: Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, are there to sign a deal to film Josephine's novel, A Shilling for Candles, and Alfred Hitchcock has one or two tricks up his sleeve to keep the holiday party entertained--and expose their deepest fears. But things get out of hand when one of Hollywood's leading actresses is brutally slashed to death in a cemetery near the village. PW