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Phillip Dryden returns

Protagonist Philip Dryden is a reporter on a weekly newspaper in a small town in Cambridgeshire where he has a knack for turning up murders.  When we first meet him in The Water Clock (St. Martin’s, 2003), he is still suffering from the aftershock of a grievous accident.  Dryden’s car was forced off a road and into a body of water, where a stranger rescued him, but not his wife Laura.  As a result, she has been comatose for the last two years.  In book five of the series, The Skeleton Man (St. Martin’s, 2008), Laura shows signs of emerging from her coma and paralysis after seven years.   In 2009 author Jim Kelly began a successful police procedural series and seemed to abandon Dryden.   But now, after a five-year hiatus, he has written Nightrise (Creme de la Crime, 1/2013) which is billed as the first of the “Return of Philip Dryden” series.  Fans will be happy to see Dryden ecstatic over the birth of his first child, while uncovering the thread that ties a number of seemingly unrelated crimes together.

–posted 1/28/2013

Posted January/28/2013

Backwoods thriller

Here are two books that will appeal to fans of James Dickey’s backwoods novel Deliverance (Houghton Mifflin, 1970).  Mississippi resident Jake Crosby is pleased that his nine-year-old daughter Katy shares his love of the outdoors.  Together they have taken many camping, fishing and hunting trips. Katy has already caught trout and bass, and shot ducks and deer.  When we meet them in the first of Bobby Cole’s thrillers, The Dummy Line (Context, 2008), Jake and Katy are heading off to a turkey hunt that Jake’s hunt club has arranged at their clubhouse in Alabama.  When drug dealers intrude into their quiet campsite, Jake and Katy flee for their lives into the desolate Noxubee River swamp.  In the sequel, Moon Underfoot (Thomas & Mercer, 1/2013) Redneck Ethan “Moon Pie” Daniels sets out to murder Jake and his family as retribution for Jake’s acts in the first book.  Dare I say surefire?

–posted 1/20/2013

Posted January/20/2013

Hangman’s Daughter series

Oliver Potzsch’s  historical mysteries are set in 17th century Bavaria.  His protagonist  Jakob Kuisl is a hangman, a shunned profession, usually handed down from father to son.  Jakob is strong and gruff, but he has a sense of justice.  When he suspects that a person has been wrongfully convicted, he tries to uncover the real criminal.  Jacob’s daughter Magdalena, an apprentice midwife, helps him in his investigations, as does her secret suitor, Simon Fronwieser, a doctor’s son.   Potzsch lives in Germany.  His period detail rings true for good reason—he has access to documents and records of the period, because his own forebears were executioners.   Interesting plots, place and time.  Not as grisly as you might think.  The Beggar King (Houghton Mifflin, 1/2013) is the third volume in the series.

–posted 1/7/2013

Posted January/7/2013

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