Surrender, New York: A Novel by Caleb CarrMystery. Living on an upstate New York dairy farm after losing the favor of the NYPD, criminal psychologist Trajan Jones has been teaching college classes about the problems with forensic science and not working crimes. But when a series of "throwaway children" are murdered around Surrender, New York, Jones and his friend Michael Li, a trace evidence expert, investigate. Detail-rich and leisurely paced at over 600 pages, Surrender, New York is thought-provoking and, at times, disturbing. Readers who enjoyed Caleb Carr's bestselling The Alienist may appreciate Jones (who's an authority on Dr. Kreizler), his quirky supporting cast, and the New York setting; important differences are that this more multilayered book takes place in the present day and in a rural upstate town.
Darktown: A Novel by Thomas MullenHistorical Mystery. It's 1948, and Atlanta has eight African American police officers -- but the new cops have limited privileges (no driving a police car, no entering police headquarters, no policing white parts of town, etc.) and face hostility from their peers as well as distrust from their community. One night while walking their beat, rookies Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith see a white man driving a car erratically with a young African American woman inside. When the woman is found dead, the men investigate, even though it could end their careers and maybe their lives. Blending history with mystery, this gritty 1st in a new series has already been optioned for TV, with Jamie Foxx set to produce. For another atmospheric Atlanta-set mystery, pick up Matthew Guinn's Scribe featuring an (entirely fictional) African American cop in 1881.
Blind Sight: A Mallory Novel by Carol O'ConnellMystery. New York police detective Kathy Mallory is not a warm and fuzzy person; though she may look like an angel, she's actually a bit of a sociopath. Even so, in her mid-twenties, she's already an excellent cop, and in her 12th appearance, she investigates the baffling disappearances of a blind 12-year-old and his aunt, a Catholic nun. When the bodies of the nun and three other people are left on the grounds of the mayor's home, Mallory and her NYPD colleagues try to find the boy -- a clever kid who's doing his best to stay alive -- and find a killer who may have ties to high levels of public office. Those who want other intricately plotted books like this one and don't mind going to L.A. can try Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, which also has a tough detective seeking justice at any cost.
The Secrets of Wishtide: A Laetitia Rodd Mystery by Kate SaundersHistorical Mystery. In 1850 England, 52-year-old Laetitia Rodd finds herself in reduced circumstances after the death of her archdeacon husband. Living with a friend in Hampstead, she pays her bills by occasionally acting as a private investigator for her barrister brother. It's just such a case that sends her to Wishtide, the home of Lord Calderstone in Lincolnshire, to work undercover as a governess and ferret out information about the mysterious fiancée of the nobleman's son -- but before long, she's also trying to solve a murder. This well-plotted 1st entry in a new series features a charming main character and is perfect for readers who'd like a Victorian-era novel with a Golden-Age mystery feel.
Only the Hunted Run: A Novel by Neely TuckerHardboiled Fiction. It's August in Washington D.C. when journalist Sully Carter finds himself in a shooting rampage in the Capitol building. He hears the shooter call 911, say his name is Terry Waters, and admit to the killings, most of which he's sorry for, excepting the messy murder of the representative from Oklahoma. After Sully's eyewitness account is published, Waters contacts him, sharing details of his life and forming a connection. When Waters is finally caught and put in a D.C. mental institution, Sully heads to the Oklahoma Native American Reservation where Waters hailed from and uncovers details that readers won't see coming. This 3rd entry in an excellent series is an "ingenious, expectation-trumping mystery that doesn't scrimp on suspense or shock tactics" (Kirkus Reviews).
Focus on: The Supernatural
A Song of Shadows by John ConnollyMystery. Struggling to recover from life-threatening wounds in a dying coastal town in Maine, Charlie "Bird" Parker takes daily walks on the beach. It's there that he meets his new (and only) neighbors, widow Ruth Winter and her nine-year-old daughter Amanda. When a body washes up on the beach, Parker can't help but look into things, and learns that the case might be related to his new friends and to World War II Nazis. Blending bits of the supernatural with suspense and hardboiled action, this 13th in the Charlie "Bird" Parker novels "builds to a shocking ending" (Publishers Weekly); fans eager for the next book will be happy to know that the 14th book, A Time of Torment, was recently published.
The Woman Who Wouldn't Die: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos by Colin CotterillMystery. In 1978 communist Laos, recently retired national coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun travels to a village at the request of a powerful general. The general hopes to recover the body of his ten-years-dead brother, and to that end, he brings along Dr. Siri, both men's wives, and a woman some call a witch and others call "Madame Used-To-Be" (though she was murdered months ago, the woman mysteriously reappeared later, alive and with clairvoyant powers). As events unfold, Siri becomes curious about the witch, and wonders if there's more going on with the body recovery than there appears. This excellent 9th outing shows the dry wit and excellent plotting that Colin Cotterill's books are known for; his 11th in the series, I Shot the Buddha, was just published in August.
Bryant & May on the Loose by Christopher FowlerMystery. The Peculiar Crimes Unit was recently closed, leaving elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May at a bit of a loss. But not to worry: thanks to the discovery of a beheaded body in King's Cross, the members of the London group are back! Well, sort of. They don't have money or official status, but they do have May champing at the bit to work (he even gets Bryant back on the street). In addition to the headless corpse, there's a man wearing a stag's head abducting people in the same area, and the peculiar cases might be connected. In this 7th outing, "the pacing, prose, planting of clues and characterizations are all top-notch" (Publishers Weekly); Bryant & May and the Burning Man, the 12th book in this funny, well-plotted series was released earlier this year.
Ghost to the Rescue by Carolyn HartCozy Mystery. A 13-year-old girl wishes on a star, and before you know it, spunky spirit Bailey Ruth Raeburn is dispatched to Adelaide, Oklahoma to help the girl's struggling single mom Deirdre Davenport. Deirdre's desperate for a teaching job at the local college, and she should get it, too, except that the man doing the hiring expects inappropriate favors. When he's found dead, Deirdre is accused of the crime, and Bailey Ruth has a lot more of a challenge than she expected when she left Heaven. This is the 6th Bailey Ruth mystery; the 7th, Ghost Times Two, was released in October. Fans of Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity mysteries should appreciate these novels' supernatural elements and lighthearted tone.
Joyland by Stephen KingMystery. In the summer of 1973, college student Devin Jones takes a job at Joyland, a North Carolina amusement park, despite an ominous warning from the park's fortune-teller. When he's not dressing up as the park's mascot, operating rides, or cleaning up the resulting vomit, Devin explores his surroundings...which leads to the knowledge that a girl was murdered on one of the rides a few years ago and possibly still haunts it. Aided by terminally ill child psychic Mike and fellow employee Erin Cook, Devin comes of age as he tries to solve the crime. Combining nostalgia with a spooky mystery, this delightful book is Stephen King at his best.
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