Vicious Circle: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. BoxMystery. Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett has some deadly enemies in the violent Cates family, especially former rodeo champ Dallas (who once assaulted Joe's daughter) and his quadriplegic mother, who's doing quite well for herself even though she's serving time. When a newly-out-of-prison Dallas returns to town and a murder occurs, Joe realizes that the Cates are targeting those close to him. Teaming up with his friend Nate, who's no stranger to killing, honorable Joe fights back. With so much back story in this fast-paced 17th series entry (and with characters aging over the course of the novels), newcomers may want to start with an earlier book. For those who are already fans and looking for other suspenseful, outdoors-flavored mysteries, try Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire mysteries, Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon mysteries, or Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch novels.
Old Bones by Trudy Nan BoycePolice Procedural. In the 2nd atmospheric novel to feature Atlanta police detective Sara "Salt" Alt, a Take Back the Night vigil by Spelman college students is thrown into chaos when a car with a Confederate flag on board drives up and shoots into the crowd, killing one and injuring others. Alt, who's working a cold case involving the murder of a teen girl she'd once arrested, isn't on the task force for unknown reasons, but is called to perform riot duty when racial tensions come to a boil. Readers looking for authentic and compelling police procedurals should read Trudy Nan Boyce's books: she was an Atlanta cop for decades and paints a compelling picture of policing in the South.
A Death in the Dales: A Kate Shackleton Mystery by Frances BrodyHistorical Cozy. When private detective Kate Shackleton's 14-year-old niece Harriet needs time to recover from an illness, the pair head to a small village in Yorkshire, staying in a cabin that Kate's beau, Lucian, recently inherited from his aunt. While Kate hopes to rest, she discovers that Lucian's aunt claimed to be the solitary witness to a murder a decade earlier, a case where she said the wrong man was convicted. But that's not all going on in the quaint town: there's blackmail, a missing boy, and another suspicious death. Set in the 1920s and featuring an independent-minded female detective, this richly detailed series (Death in the Dales is book 7) might prove a good fit for fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs or Charles Todd's Bess Crawford.
The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Lyndsay FayeShort Stories. In this superb collection, Edgar Award-nominated Lyndsay Faye presents a collection of 15 Sherlock Holmes stories, including two new works (such as the clever "The Adventure of the Thames Tunnel") as well as tales that were previously published. Though Sherlock Holmes pastiches abound, not very many place him in his prime on Baker Street as Lyndsay Faye often does here. Can't get enough of Faye's Holmes? Pick up her novel Dust and Shadow, which pits him against Jack the Ripper. Want other authors' takes on the great detective? Try Anthony Horowitz's Sherlock Holmes novels or Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series (King, together with Leslie Klinger, has also edited several Sherlock anthologies). Read and enjoy, Sherlockians!
Cruel Mercy by David MarkPolice Procedural. Going to New York City, Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy of Humberside, England meets up with dedicated Detective Ronald Alto of the 7th precinct. The men work together to sort out who shot and killed a promising young Irish boxer and left his legendary coach in a coma -- but the case is complex, and it has a family connection for Aector. Meanwhile, the cops also deal with various Mafias (Russian, Italian, and more), a date rapist, and a serial killer. With all of McAvoy's previous dark, compelling outings taking place in the U.K., fans of Manhattan-set crime novels may want to start with this 6th novel; Kirkus Reviews says it's "beautifully crafted, filled with flashbacks, horror, angst, and chilling detail."
Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel by Adrian McKintyPolice Procedural. As the 6th book featuring Detective Sean Duffy begins, he's handcuffed and walking towards a clearing where he'll be forced to dig his own grave; will he figure a way out of this mess? It's 1988 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Troubles and sectarian violence are part of life. Duffy, a Catholic who works for the Royal Constabulary, has ticked off someone while investigating the killing of a man with a crossbow in front of his own house, and now he may pay with his life. Like the other Sean Duffy books, this gritty, fast-paced novel is chock full of realistic dialogue and memorable characters; fans of fellow Northern Irish writer Stuart Neville will find much to like.
Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being a Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie BarronHistorical Mystery. Mystery writer Stephanie Barron has been authentically capturing Jane Austen as a character for years -- and in this 10th book, she pits Austen against one of 19th-century England's most famous poets. In Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron, Austen encounters Lord Byron, who's known for being mad, bad, and dangerous to know -- but is the poetic lady killer an actual killer of ladies? Austen isn't so sure and investigates after a pastor's teenage daughter is found dead in the infamous rake's bed. For another look at Austen and crime, pick up Lynn Shepherd's debut novel, Murder at Mansfield Park.
The Dante Club: A Novel by Matthew PearlHistorical Mystery. In 1865 Boston, the Civil War has just ended and a group calling themselves the Dante Club work on the first American translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy. But club members -- including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. -- find themselves dealing with a highly literate and all-too-real killer when someone begins re-creating episodes from the Inferno. If you like your literary mysteries fast-paced, well-plotted, and focused on poets, try The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl's bestselling debut novel, or his equally entertaining The Poe Shadow.
The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise PennyMystery. Death by fear? That's what it looks like when a woman dies during an Easter séance at the notorious Hadley House in the quaint small town of Three Pines. Intelligent and kind Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec investigates the death of the well-liked villager while dealing with internal police politics that threaten his career and reputation. Fans of traditional mysteries will enjoy the charming village setting as well as the delightfully eccentric characters (poetry fans will particularly like curmudgeonly author Ruth Zardo). Though this is the 3rd book in a consistently award-winning series, newcomers can start here.
Above the Waterfall by Ron RashCrime Fiction. In a rural county in the mountains of North Carolina, Les is the local sheriff who’s three weeks away from retirement, and Becky is a troubled park ranger; both are loners fascinated by the area’s natural beauty. In this evocative novel, they find their odd relationship on edge when Becky’s other good friend, elderly Gerald, who’s lived in the mountains all of his life, is accused of trespassing onto a resort’s land and poisoning their trout stream. As Les tries to keep peace in the county by busting up a meth lab and sorting out what happened at the resort, Becky waxes poetic about the natural world (chapters narrated by her are poem-like) and tries to keep cantankerous Gerald out of trouble. Combining nature, poetry, and crime, this lyrical tale by poet and fiction writer Ron Rash should please many.
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