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Two Birmingham police women

British author Maureen Carter’s books are now becoming more available in the U.S.  She has written six crime novels starring Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss of the Birmingham, England police force.  Bev is the young and “lippy” protagonist in a series of gritty police procedurals with good plots and convincing settings.   As the series proceeds, she works her way through several failed romances, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other personal problems.   Mother Love (Crème de la Crème, 1/1/2012) is the second in a new series featuring Sarah Quinn, who seems to be the exact opposite of Bev Moriss.  DI Sarah Quinn is known as the ‘Ice Queen’ of the Birmingham police department.  Caroline King, a feisty local TV reporter, serves as a foil for the cool Sarah.  They are adversaries at first, but in Mother Love, they work together as a team.  Carter’s books deserve to be better known in the U.S.

–posted 12/30/2011

Posted December/30/2011

New South African series

I just finished Wessel  Ebersohn’s page-turner  The October Killings (Minotaur, 2011) which stars an engaging young black woman, Abigail Bukula.   During the struggle against apartheid, her parents were killed, but she was saved by a young white soldier.  Sent abroad for college and law school, she returns to South Africa to take a responsible position in the new government’s Department of Justice.  When we meet her, she is just about to get entangled in a mission to stop a serial killer determined on revenge.  Abby braves one danger after another and the final secret isn’t revealed until the very last page.  So I am pleased to learn that a sequel,  Those Who Love Night, will be released on January 3, 2012 by Minotaur.   In the late 70’s Ebersohn wrote three thrillers featuring Yudel Gordon, psychologist at the Pretoria Central Prison. The novels, which were honest depictions of apartheid-era South Africa, ran into trouble with the South African authorities, but were popular abroad.  Yudel Gordon reappears as a secondary character in the Abigail Bukala books.

–posted 12/27/2011

Posted December/28/2011

Surprise sequel by Bill Fitzhugh

You never can tell when a sequel might pop up and surprise you.  The Exterminators (Poisoned Pen, 1/3/2012) by Bill Fitzhugh is a sequel to the novel Pest Control (Avon, 1996).   After fifteen years, Fitzhugh has revived Bob Dillon, an exterminator whose search for the perfect organic bug control has gone high-tech.  Now Dillon is using gene sequencing to create an assassin bug that will kill all the other bug pests.  When the U.S. Department of Defense offers to fund Bill’s research, he can’t resist and finds himself in political hot water.  Then a menacing figure from Dillon’s past puts out a contract on his life.  If you like Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard’s darkly comic crime novels, you should like anything by Fitzhugh.  Though he has written other crime novels, these two are the only true sequels.

–posted 12/17/2011

Posted December/16/2011

Bill Clinton’s thriller

Oh no, now Bill is writing thrillers.  At least that’s what I thought when I noticed The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen (Viking, 1/10/2012) by Thomas Caplan and President Bill Clinton.  But in fact he just wrote the introduction.  Still, his name on the book jacket should help this book sell.  Clive Cussler has called it “the most ingenious thriller I’ve even read.”  The protagonist is handsome and dashing Ty Hunter who was an undercover operative before he became a top Hollywood star.  International derring-do with jet-set glamor–how can it fail?

–posted 12/13/2011

Posted December/16/2011

Barbieri’s Murder 101

Maggie Barbieri’s “Murder 101” series stars the humorously insecure amateur detective, Alison Bergeron, who teaches English at her alma mater, St. Thomas College, a small Catholic school at the northern tip of New York City.  With its beautiful view of the Hudson River, St. Thomas should be a bucolic utopia, but somehow Alison keeps tripping over one murder after another.  Bobby Crawford, a New York Police detective, is the romantic interest in divorced Alison’s life. So far Barbieri has written six of these academic cozies–an increasingly popular sub-genre–and has acquired a loyal following of readers.  In the latest installment, Physical Education (Minotaur, 11/22/2011), Alison must fill in for a dead colleague and teach Phys. Ed.   And she also finds another corpse in the trunk of her car.

–posted 12/4/2011

Posted December/5/2011

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