Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie BarronMay 1816: Feeling poorly, Jane Austen, with her sister Cassandra in tow, goes to Cheltenham Spa to rest and take the curative waters.
What happens: Jane runs into handsome artist Raphael West (introduced in Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas), discovers that someone at her guest house is a poisoner, and also investigates a fatal stabbing.
Series alert: This evocative, well-researched 14th Jane Austen mystery follows 2016's Jane and the Waterloo Map. Those who'd like to begin with the 1st book can pick up Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor.
Murder at the Porte de Versailles by Cara BlackThe setup: Weeks after 9/11, a bombing at the Paris police lab where Boris Viard works leaves him unconscious...and accused of setting off the explosive.
What happens: To prove her friend Boris' innocence, fashionable PI and single mom Aimée Leduc investigates political intrigue and terrorist threats. She also faces pressure from the father of her three-year-old daughter to move to the country, where he says it's safer.
Series alert: This compelling 20th Aimée Leduc novel offers evocative descriptions of the City of Light, fascinating characters, and complex plotting.
Don't Know Tough by Eli CranorThe game plan: Just before the state high school football playoffs, the Christian head coach of a small-town Arkansas team and his family try to help troubled Billy Lowe, a star running back whose abusive home life translates to dangerous aggression on the field.
Foul (on the) play: When the cruel boyfriend of Billy's mother is found murdered, Billy is the main suspect, but what really happened?
For fans of: acclaimed rural noir debuts; crime novels with unforgettable characters and evocative settings, such as S.A. Cosby's novels and David Heska Wanbli Weiden's Winter Counts.
Murder on an Irish Farm by Carlene O'ConnorWedding bells? Not so fast -- though friends and family are gathered together, Siobhan O'Sullivan and Macdara Flannery postpone their nuptials after a skeleton is found on their new farm in County Cork.
What happens: Since both are Irish police officers, they investigate, linking the remains to the 50-year-old case of a local man who went missing on his own wedding day -- and then there's a new murder.
Series alert: This 8th Irish Village mystery is a delight for cozy readers who appreciate likeable characters and charming settings.
One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips1963 Los Angeles: Black freelance photographer Harry Ingram takes pictures of a car crash that killed a white jazz musician, a guy Harry had served with in Korea. Despite what the LAPD says, Harry thinks it was murder and seeks justice for his friend in a city rife with racism as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Freedom Rally approaches.
Reviewers say: "a particularly satisfying, no-nonsense hero" (Booklist); "propulsive...crackles with authenticity" (Wall Street Journal).
For fans of: James Ellroy; Walter Mosley (especially his Easy Rawlins books); and Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle.
City on Fire by Don WinslowWhat it is: the highly anticipated 1st in a new trilogy by acclaimed author Don Winslow, which offers a gritty version of Homer's Iliad set in 1986 Providence, Rhode Island, featuring rival Irish and Italian gangs.
What happens: When a beautiful woman comes between a Moretti and a Murphy, it sets off a mob war. Though he's Irish, Danny Ryan has done some work for the Italians, and pitted between the two, he loses any chance for the normal life he'd dreamed of for himself and his family.
Read this next: Jo Nesbo's Macbeth (a Shakespeare retelling set in a rundown Scottish industrial city); Mario Puzo's classic The Godfather.
If you like: Sara Paretsky
1979 by Val McDermid1979 Glasgow: In a year filled with extreme winter weather and labor strikes, young journalist Allie Burns deals with sexism and teams up with co-worker Danny Sullivan to find stories, including ones about an international tax fraud case and a domestic terrorist group.
The problems: Danny wants to protect his brother, who's involved in the tax ring; the duo's nosing around creates dangerous enemies.
Why Sara Paretsky fans might like it: Though 1979 is something of a slow-burn story, it has a charismatic female lead and an atmospheric urban setting.
Ice and Stone by Marcia MullerWhat happens: San Francisco PI Sharon McCone, who discovered as an adult that her birth parents were Shoshone, goes undercover in Northern California, in order to determine who killed two Indigenous women and to look into the disappearances of other women.
Series alert: This is the 34th and most recent entry in the Sharon McCone mysteries; the 1st book is 1977's Edwin of the Iron Shoes.
Why Sara Paretsky fans might like it: Like V.I., Sharon McCone is a courageous female detective concerned with social causes who's surrounded by well-developed characters.
The Missing American by Kwei QuarteyIntroducing: Ghanaian Emma Djan, who finds work at a private detective agency after her dream of becoming a homicide detective like her deceased dad ends when a police superior sexually assaults her.
What happens: An American widower goes to Accra, Ghana, to meet a woman he met online and realizes he's been scammed. After he disappears, his son hires Emma to find him in a case that includes a fetish priest, a helpful reporter, and a political assassination.
Why Sara Paretsky fans might like it: This series starter offers an atmospheric story starring a compelling female detective navigating the mean streets of her city.
The Art of Violence by S.J. RozanThe premise: Talented artist Sam Tabor, who medicates mental health problems with alcohol, wants PI Bill Smith to prove he's guilty of killing two women, even though he can't recall doing so. Wondering if troubled Sam really did commit the murders, Bill and his partner Lydia Chin delve into the cutthroat art world to try to paint a picture of what happened.
Reviewers say: "Rozan brilliantly inverts a whodunit trope" (Publishers Weekly) in this 13th in an award-winning series.
Why Sara Paretsky fans might like it: Like Paretsky's novels, S.J. Rozan's books have a well-drawn urban setting, intricate plotting, clever prose, and complex characters.
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