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New Deets Shanahan

Robert B. Parker fans will begin to feel his absence soon after the last of his novels have been published posthumously.   Those readers might enjoy the Deets Shanahan mysteries by Ronald Tierney.  Deets (Dietrich) is a seventy-two-year-old former intelligence agent with a pension, a somewhat neglected private eye business and a loving companion Maureen.  Deets may be a bit curmudgeonly, but age hasn’t blunted his independent spirit or his need to see justice done.  Friend and fellow PI Howie Cross plays a large part in some of the books.  The newest book in the series is  Bullet Beach (Severn, 1/2011) which finds Deets and Maureen traveling to Thailand to find his long lost brother.  Author Ronald Tierney is an Indianapolis native and the Indianapolis setting that Deets moves in feels gritty and real.  Tierney now lives in San Francisco.

–posted 12/26/2010

Posted December/26/2010

South Dakota mysteries

Lori Armstrong is the only author currently writing mystery series set in South Dakota.  One series of four novels stars Julie Collins, secretary to the sheriff of Bear Butte County.  Julie also works part-time as a detective with local private investigator Kevin Wells, whom she has known since childhood.  Many of the hard-drinking, hard-luck characters involved in Julie’s cases are Lakota Sioux, to whom she is related.

Mercy Gunderson stars in a newer series—only two so far.  She is a former Army sniper, a real kick-ass type who can hold her own in the tough guy society she lives in.  Mercy has returned home to South Dakota after the death of her father.  The future of the family farm is uncertain, and Mercy is restless and angry until she gets involved in solving crimes.  Mercy Kill (Touchstone, 1/2011) will be released soon.  It finds Mercy working as a part-time bartender.  After closing up one night,  she finds the shot and slashed body of Major “J-Hawk” Hawley, who once saved her life in Indonesia. When the local sheriff’s investigation seems perfunctory, Mercy tackles the case.

Lori Armstrong is a native South Dakotan who lives in Rapid City and her books bristle with local color.

Harold Adams wrote a series of mysteries set in 1930s South Dakota.  He wrote 16 novels between 1981 and 1999 starring Carl Wilcox, ex-con, reformed drunk, sometime sign-painter and amateur detective. The respectable folk of Corden (based on Adams’s hometown of Clark, SD), including Carl’s hotel-keeping parents, want little to do with the town ne’er-do-well, except when his murder-solving talents are needed.  Adams’ novels are filled with sharp dialogue, interesting characters, and a wry humor.  Carl eventually woos and weds school librarian Hazel Warford, which should have a good influence on his character.  Alas, we may never know.  Adams (now in his late 80’s) seems to have stopped publishing.

–posted 12/19/2010

Posted December/17/2010

Woman of the streets

Debt of Honor (Creme de la Crime, 10/8/2010) is the third volume in a series starring  female highwayman Georgianna Grey (aka the notorious Crimson Cavalier).   Author Mary Andrea Clarke has set these diverting mysteries in 18th century England where villains are a dime a dozen.  Fortunately Georgianna  is a plucky, brave and witty villain with a heart of gold and a penchant for solving mysteries.

–posted 12/12/2010

Posted December/13/2010

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