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New Moe Prager

Reed Farrel Coleman is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year.  Moe Prager, his hard-boiled detective, has appeared in seven books so far.   The latest, Hurt Machine (Tyrus, 12/18/2011) begins when Moe’s ex-wife and former PI partner, Carmella Melendez, asks him to investigate the murder of her sister Alta.  Alta was one of two EMTs recently vilified for dereliction of duty when they refused to help a stroke victim at a fancy restaurant and the NYPD doesn’t seem very interested in finding her murderer.  Moe’s personal life is in turmoil–his daughter is getting married and he has just learned that he has stomach cancer.  Coleman writes another mystery series starring Dylan Klein, a wisecracking insurance investigator and aspiring noir writer.  Coleman lives on Long Island, writes poetry as well as fiction, and is an adjunct professor at Hofstra University.

–posted 10/30/2011

Posted October/30/2011

Margaret Maron Two-fer

From 1981 to 1995 Margaret Maron wrote eight mysteries featuring Sigrid Harald, homicide detective with the New York City Police Department.  Sigrid is a cool and determined professional, a bit of a loner who begins to flower after she is promoted to Lieutenant.  Detective Tilden is her partner at work and playboy Oscar Nauman aims to become her life partner.

With Bootlegger’s Daughter (Mysterious, 1992) Maron introduced her second series starring a very different heroine.   Deborah Knott, lawyer, only daughter of a bootlegger with eleven sons, and candidate for District Court judge in the rural community of Cotton Grove, Colleton County, North Carolina, delighted readers and critics alike. Subsequent novels by native North Carolinian Maron have established Deborah as a superior series character in a well-realized small-town Carolina Piedmont setting whose inhabitants are being thrust into the contemporary world by the forces of integration and suburbanization.

Maron’s newest book, Three-Day Town (Grand Central, 11/21/2011), includes both Deborah Knott and Sigrid Harald!   Woe is the poor bibliographer trying to keep track of things.

–posted 11/24/2011

Posted October/24/2011

New series author Todd Ritter

Single mother Kat Campbell is the police chief of rural Perry Hollow, PA, a sleepy, usually peaceful  town.   But things are about to change:  first, the flower shop’s van is stolen, then a dead man is found in a rough pine coffin by the side of the road.  These are the events that set off the action in Death Notice (Minotaur, 2009), Ritter’s first novel.  Now Kat is back in Bad Moon (Minotaur, 2011), investigating a cold case, that of nine-year-old Charley Olmstead who disappeared 40 years earlier.  His younger brother Eric, now back in town to tend to his dying mother, asks Kat to review the original case files, which would have been done by Kat’s father, police chief at the time.  What she finds puzzles her and leads her to delve further until she finds the secret that can unlock the case.  Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania and conveys the small town atmosphere convincingly.  His tightly-paced prose concludes with a surprise ending.

–posted 10/16/11

Posted October/16/2011

Lydia Chin, Chinese-America PI

S. J. Rozan’s eleventh mystery starring Lydia Chin was released last week. In Ghost Hero (Minotaur, 9/27/2011) Lydia narrates events as she investigates the possible forgery of the works of contemporary Chinese artist Chau Chun, called “Ghost Hero” Chun.   Readers who haven’t met Lydia, have a treat in store.   Lydia and her sometime partner/lover Bill Smith take turns narrating the books in this award-winning series: Chin narrates the odd volumes, Smith the even volumes.  Though  Rozan (pronounced Rose Anne) is not herself Chinese-American, she captures convincingly the ambiance and the cultural conflicts of Lydia’s world–her brother disapproves of her career, her mother disapproves of her non-Chinese boyfriend.   Lydia and Bill’s sleuthing usually takes place in Chinatown or other parts of New York City, but sometimes they go further afield:  Reflecting the Sky (St. Martin’s, 2001) finds them in Hong Kong.  But wherever they are, this clever and stylish team will hold your interest and keep you guessing.

–posted 10/10/2011

Posted October/10/2011

Fin-de-siecle Paris

Victor Legris is a bookseller who moonlights as a detective in a series of noir mysteries set in the well-evoked Paris of the 1890s. Victor’s first case, Murder on the Eiffel Tower (St. Martin’s, 2008), takes place during the 1889 World’s Fair where the newly erected Eiffel Tower served as the entrance to the exposition.  Four unrelated people at the Fair have died mysteriously of what appears to be bee stings.  Victor discovers that the only link between these four victims may be someone he knows and loves.  Claude Izner is the joint pseudonym of Parisian bookseller sisters Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefevre.   So far they have written ten Legris mysteries, six have been translated into English, only four have been released in the U.S.  The Assassin in the Marais, published in the U.S. by Minotaur on 9/27/2011, concerns a stolen goblet which sparks a killing spree, in a city menaced by anarchist violence.

–post5ed 10/2/2011

Posted October/2/2011

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