The Lonely Witness by William BoyleStarring: Amy Falconetti -- a former party girl now volunteering as a Eucharistic Minister for the elderly in her Brooklyn neighborhood -- who witnesses a murder and takes the weapon instead of calling the cops.
For fans of: character-driven gritty mysteries with strong senses of place like those by George Pelecanos, as well as William Boyle's earlier novel Gravesend, in which Amy plays a role.
Reviewers say: "this is crime fiction at its best: immersive, intense, and darkly illuminating" (Publishers Weekly).
Murder at the Mansion: A Victorian Village Mystery by Sheila ConnollyWhat happens: Hotel administrator Kate loses her job due to a change in ownership and returns to her small hometown of Asheboro, Maryland. She's agreed to help the town revive itself, focusing on a recently acquired historic Victorian mansion. Kate thinks turning Asheboro into a living-history town will save it -- but the murder of a town council member at the mansion complicates things.
Series alert: This 1st in a new cozy mystery series has a small-town setting, Civil War history, and a touch of romance.
A Howl of Wolves by Judith FlandersStarring: deliciously witty (and sometimes snarky) London editor Samantha "Sam" Clair in her fun 4th outing.
What happens: At a play featuring actor friends, Sam and her Scotland Yard detective boyfriend Jake Field investigate when a "dummy" hanging on the stage turns out to be a body, that of the unpopular director.
Who it's for: those who like mystery novels with theater settings, amusing looks at the world of book publishing, or British dry wit.
In Dust and Ashes: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel by Anne HoltWhat it's about: Years ago, a man went to jail for killing his wife, and now the cop who put him away is retiring and doubting the man's guilt. Det. Henrik Holme agrees to examine the case for the retiree, and asks for his mentor Hanne Wilhelmsen's help, but she's busy with the (supposed) suicide of a racist blogger...and then the cases intersect.
Series alert: This is the 10th and final book in a gritty, intricately plotted, and internationally popular series by Norwegian author Anne Holt.
For fans of: Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope mysteries (which also star a prickly, experienced police detective), Jo Nesbo, and Karin Fossum.
The Word Is Murder by Anthony HorowitzWhat happens: In this delightful fair play mystery (the 1st in a proposed series), a London murder brings together acerbic PI Daniel Hawthorne with writer Anthony Horowitz (yes, the author is a character), who chronicles the case, acting as a modern-day Watson.
Who it's for: Sherlockians, Golden Age mystery fans, and those who relish innovative, original crime novels.
Author buzz: Not only is Anthony Horowitz the author of the bestselling books Magpie Murders and Moriarty, he also wrote the Alex Rider spy series for kids and created the acclaimed TV show Foyle's War.
A Handful of Ashes by Rob McCarthyWhat it is: a cleverly plotted follow-up to The Hollow Men, the author's assured debut that introduced Dr. Harry Kent, a London police medical examiner, and his alcoholic ex-girlfriend, acting DCI Frankie Noble.
What happens: A woman who blew the whistle on a risk-taking pediatric surgeon dies from stab wounds that some say are self-inflicted -- but based on Kent's examination, it's murder.
Read it for: realistic characters struggling with addiction, the blending of medical thriller and police procedural, and the clever ending.
Savage Liberty: A Mystery of Revolutionary America by Eliot PattisonWhat it is: an immersive mystery providing an authentic look at 1768 Colonial America as disenchantment with legislators and customs agents grows.
Starring: Duncan McCallum, an exiled Scotsman who, in his 5th outing, becomes friendly with John Hancock and Samuel Adams, but has to go on the run to uncover the truth when he's accused of treason.
For fans of: richly detailed historical mysteries, United States history, and James Fenimore Cooper's classic Leatherstocking Tales.
A Taste for Vengeance: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel by Martin WalkerStarring: recently promoted Bruno, now policing more of France's Périgord region, bringing him new bosses and new responsibilities.
What happens: A missing British tourist is found dead -- as is her companion, a mysterious Irishman who may have ties to the IRA. Also, the top teenage player on the rugby team that Bruno coaches is pregnant, just as she was bound for the national team.
Series alert: This is the charming 11th Bruno novel that beautifully describes village life, the French countryside, and the mouthwatering cuisine and wine that Bruno so enjoys.
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