Judgment at Santa Monica by E.J. CoppermanStarring: former New Jersey prosecutor Sandy Moss, now a Los Angeles family lawyer who's friends with Hollywood star Patrick McNabb.
What happens: Sandy agrees to help Patrick's friend, actress Cynthia Sutton, who's divorcing her husband -- but then Cynthia is found over the dead body of her mother-in-law. Sandy tries to clear Cynthia's name, and Patrick, who's playing a detective on TV, thinks he can help.
Series alert: This is the wackily fun 2nd entry in the Jersey Girl Legal Mysteries by E.J. Copperman, who also writes as Jeff Cohen; the 3rd book, Witness for the Persecution, comes out in April.
The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell ErikssonWhat it's about: Even though she's retired to a small village, former Swedish police detective Ann Lindell can't help getting involved in a missing person's case while she's visiting her boyfriend on the small island of Gräsö.
Series alert: This is the slow-burning, atmospheric 9th Ann Lindell mystery. Though newcomers can start here, those who'd like to begin with the 1st book should pick up The Princess of Burundi.
Read this next: other Swedish crime novels, such as those by Henning Mankell, Camilla Läckberg, Åsa Larsson, and Helene Tursten.
All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. MorrisStarring: Ellice Littlejohn, the only Black lawyer at her Atlanta company, who's also having an affair with her married white boss, Michael.
Early morning surprise: Ellice shows up for an office tryst and finds Michael dead. She thinks it's suicide, panics, and leaves -- but Michael was murdered. After she's unexpectedly given his job, Ellice faces office scrutiny and gossip, and realizes she needs to figure out what happened to Michael, even as old secrets from her past threaten her future.
Why you might like it: All Her Little Secrets is a compelling debut that weaves in poignant flashbacks to Ellice's troubled childhood and thoughtfully covers racism, sexism, abuse, and corporate politics.
Grave Reservations by Cherie PriestIntroducing: Leda Foley, a Seattle travel agent and psychic whose fiancé's murder has never been solved.
What happens: After she gets a bad feeling and changes Seattle police detective Grady Merritt's flight, which saves his life, the two team up to solve a cold case...which might also be related to Leda's fiancé's death.
Did you know? Cherie Priest is a Locus Award winner who's best known for writing horror and steampunk; Grave Reservations is her first adult mystery and the charming 1st in a planned series.
Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry ThomasThe premise: Sherlock Holmes doesn't exist; he's an alter ego made up by socially ruined Charlotte Holmes, who uses her extraordinary powers of deduction to succeed as an inquiry agent in Victorian England.
Enemy at the gates: Moriarty arranges a meeting to request Charlotte's help finding his daughter, who was last seen at a community of occult practitioners. Charlotte and Mrs. Watson travel to the remote locale, finding lies and liars, and Charlotte wonders if it's all a setup.
Series alert: The richly detailed 6th Lady Sherlock book works best for fans (who'll be interested in romantic developments); newcomers can start with an earlier entry, like the 1st one, A Study in Scarlet Women.
Midnight Hour by Abby L. Vandiver, editor; foreword by Stephen Mack JonesWhat it is: a wide-ranging collection, from cozy to noir, of 20 original stories centered around the midnight hour, showcasing authors of color and edited by Abby L. Vandiver (aka Abby Collette).
Authors include: Jennifer Chow, Tracy Clark, E.A. Aymar, Raquel V. Reyes, Gigi Pandian, V.M. Burns, and David Heska Wanbli Weiden.
Reviewers say: "must reading for mystery aficionados" (Publishers Weekly); "an excellent collection" (Kirkus Reviews).
Depth of Winter by Craig JohnsonA change of scenery: Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire arrives in northern Mexico alone, on the hunt for his kidnapped adult daughter, who's been taken by a ruthless drug cartel leader.
Series alert: Newcomers who'd like a gritty Western crime story can start with this compelling 14th Longmire outing. Those who want to begin in Wyoming, where most of the books take place, can pick up the 1st novel, The Cold Dish, or his short story collection, Look for Signs.
Reviewers say: "the celebratory Mexican festivals are vivid and complement the unfolding plot" (Library Journal); "a rip-roaring adventure" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Dead of Winter by S.J. ParrisWhat it is: a collection of three novellas set in the 1560s featuring (real-life historical figure) Giordano Bruno as a youthful monk in Italy.
What's inside: two previously published stories ("The Secret Dead" and "The Academy of Secrets") and one new one ("A Christmas Requiem").
Who it's for: fans of the Giordano Bruno novels, which detail Bruno's adventures in England as a spy for Queen Elizabeth I; those who like intricately plotted historical stories and fascinating characters.
The Secrets of Winter by Nicola UpsonStarring: real-life British Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey; her partner Marta Fox; and Tey's longtime friend, Scotland Yard detective Archie Penrose.
What happens: In 1938, the trio head to St. Michael's Mount, a tidal island in Cornwall, for a Christmas house party -- but the festivities are interrupted by two brutal deaths.
Did you know? This cleverly plotted, atmospheric 9th entry in the Tey mysteries includes film star Marlene Dietrich as a character and was published as The Dead of Winter in the U.K.
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli WeidenWhat happens: Virgil Wounded Horse, a vigilante enforcer on South Dakota's Rosebud Indian Reservation, works with the ex-girlfriend he still loves in order to figure out who's bringing heroin to the rez. Virgil's also raising his teenage nephew, who's bullied for his mixed-race heritage.
For fans of: S.A. Cosby, Craig Johnson, C.J. Box, and others who write gritty, compelling crime novels with rural settings.
Did you know? With his 2021 win for Best First Novel for Winter Counts, David Heska Wanbi Weiden became the first Native American writer to win an Anthony Award.
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