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New Spy to watch

After 22 years in British Intelligence, Thomas Kell has been suspended indefinitely from MI6.  His marriage is failing, he tends to drink too much, and no other kind of work can hold his interest.   A public inquiry into his actions as “Witness X” will eventually clear him of all charges or throw him to the wolves as a sacrificial lamb.  In the meantime, his uncertain status makes him useful for ultra-sensitive operations.  A Foreign Country (St. Martin’s, 2013) was his first outing.  A Colder War (St. Martin’s, 8/2014) continues his story.  If you like John Le Carré’s spy  stories, you will enjoy these novels by British author Charles Cumming.

–posted 8/24/2014

Posted August/25/2014

Tahoe detective

tahoeWhat’s better than a fast, action-packed series of thrillers with a likeable hero?   If you’re like me, the answer is:  a fast action-packed series of thrillers with a likeable hero and a good dog in it. Todd Borg has created a wonderful dog for his Tahoe series:  Spot is a 170 pound Harlequin Great Dane, and he is just as endearing as his master, Owen McKenna, who works the gold-dusted streets of Lake Tahoe (on the California/Nevada border).  Owen, a former policeman turned private detective, lives in a four-room log cabin, but his neighbors all live in designer mansions.  The twelfth book in the series, Tahoe Ghost Boat (Thriller, 8/2014), concerns the hunt for a killer called “Mikhailo the Monster.”

–posted 8/18/2014

Posted August/20/2014

A detective named Song

Here ‘s a find:  a Korean-American female detective named Juniper Song.  She is a Raymond Chandler fan and models herself after his quintessentially hard-boiled PI Phillip Marlowe.  In the first book, Follow Her Home (Minotaur, 2013), Song is a spunky amateur helping a friend.  In her second adventure, Beware Beware (Minotaur, 2014), she has become an apprentice private eye assigned to watching a freelance scriptwriter who may be cheating on his girlfriend.  Song is a delightful new addition to the ranks of tough but lovable women detectives and the glimpse she gives us into Los Angeles’ Korean-American community is a special bonus.  We hope that author Steph Cha has many more cases lined up for Song.  Her tough-guy dialogue is a treat.

–posted 8/10/2014

Posted August/10/2014

The Magician’s Trilogy

magicianDon’t miss the final book of Lev Grossman’s epic fantasy,  “The Magician’s Trilogy.”  The New York Times book reviewer calls it “the strongest book in Grossman’s series”.   The Magician’s Land (Viking, 8/2014) continues the story of Quentin Coldwater after he is banished from the magical kingdom of Fillory where he was a high king.   Now age 30, forlorn and friendless, he joins a motley group of magicians on a quest lead by a talking bird.  Like most such epics, this can be considered a coming of age story.  Some have called it “Harry Potter for adults.”  But everyone seems to agree that this is a spellbinder.  Lev Grossman is an American novelist and journalist whose imagination, wit and style will be appreciated by even non-genre readers.   Caution:  read them in the correct order.

–posted 8/7/2014

Posted August/9/2014

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