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New Harpur and Iles

disclosuresDetective Superintendent Colin Harpur isn’t always the star of this series of procedurals set in an unnamed coastal town in the South of England:  sometimes it is Desmond Iles, Colin’s wily, borderline-paranoid boss.  Sometimes ineffectual Chief Constable Mark Lane, or a crook named “Panicking Ralph,” or the potential victim takes center stage. But all the characters—cops and crooks alike–are humorously fallible, self-deceived, boastfully misguided and/or just plain vain.  These very well-written novels full of black humor and gritty social satire may not be to everyone’s taste. But once caught, you won’t want to stop until you’ve read them all. As many readers have noted, it is best to read the Harpur and Iles series from the beginning to fully appreciate the characters and the humor of the books, so start with You’d Better Believe It (St. Martin’s, 1986), the first book in the series, originally called the Colin Harpur series. Disclosures (Berkley Prime Crime, 12/2014) is the 32nd book.  In it Ralph Ember and cop Esther Davidson reminisce about Ember’s entry into the drug trade. Harpur and Iles appear only near the end of the book.

–posted 12/27/2014

Posted December/26/2014

New Rizzoli and Iles

dieagainTess Gerritsen’s new novel Die Again (Ballantine, 122014) sends Boston police detective Jane Rizzoli to the Okavango Delta of Botswana to investigate the gruesome murders that took place there six years earlier. The story begins when Leon Gott, a famous Boston taxidermist, is found hung and gutted in his own garage, just the way one of his specimens may have been prepared . Forensic evidence leads medical examiner Maura Iles to suspect that Gott’s murder is connected to the Botswana killings.  She fears that the killer may be hunting more victims in the U. S. The books are so much better than the television series, though most fans I know watch them anyway. Every new Gerritsen novel is cause for celebration and this one is mesmerizing.

–posted 12/21/2014

Posted December/26/2014

New Jo Bannister series

Jo Bannister, English author of the well-regarded mystery series starring Brodie Farrell, has started a new series. Two characters share the spotlight in these books: Gabriel Ash is a former government investigator whose wife and children were kidnapped by Somali pirates four years earlier. Constable Hazel Best is a new police recruit in the small town of Nobold, England. They become friends in the first book and then work together informally as a team, each gradually fighting off the shadows that haunt them. Bannister fans will know that her mysteries are “character-driven” and thus are guaranteed to focus on interesting characters who develop through the series.  Perfect Sins (Minotaur, 12/2014) is only the second novel in the series, so you can get an early start on what may well become her best series yet.

–posted 12/14/2014

Posted December/18/2014

New Inspector Sandilands case

sandilandsBritish author Barbara Cleverly is the author of an engaging series of historical mysteries set in the 1920s. We first meet Commander Joe Sandilands, a Scotland Yard detective, in 1922 as he is just finishing up a six-month assignment with the Bengal Police. Post World War I India is growing restive and and incidents of violence are becoming more frequent. Sandilands negotiates this dangerous climate with skill and sensitivity.  The first four Sandilands books are set in India. Cleverly’s classic mysteries feature ingenious plots, interesting characters, and authentic portrayals colonial India. In 1926, Sandilands gets back to England and proves himself equally effective in swinging London.  Enter Pale Death (Soho Crime, 2014) is the twelfth novel in the series. Set in 1933, it concerns Sir James Truelove, a government minister expected to be Home Secretary and thereby Sandilands’ new boss.

–posted 12/7/2014

Posted December/7/2014

Captain Dan Lenson

poyerIf you like naval techno-thrillers, don’t miss the highly praised series by David Poyer. Himself a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Poyer’s books reveal an intimate knowledge of the workings of the modern Navy. His protagonist Dan Lenson is a career naval officer who goes through career and marital crises during the course of the series. The Circle (St. Martin’s, 1992) is the first novel chronologically but the third published in the series. Set in the early 1970s, it shows Lenson, fresh out of Annapolis, on his first ship, the disappointingly obsolete destroyer USS Reynolds Ryan. A Soviet submarine in the Arctic is the enemy. The Cruiser (St. Martin’s, 12/2014) is the 14th book in the series. Now Captain, Dan has been assigned to the USS Savo Island, which has been run aground by its disgraced Captain. Dan takes the ship to the dangerous waters of the Middle East on a secret mission.

–posted 11/30/2014

Posted December/2/2014

Cherokee detective

HoloktubbeBlue-eyed half-blood Cherokee Sadie Walela adapts to White ways when she wants to, but retains the intuition and perseverance of her Native American ancestors to sort out trouble.  Sadie’s no-nonsense attitude and resourcefulness make her a successful amateur sleuth. These light-hearted mysteries offer a look at small town life in Oklahoma with all its eccentric characters from both white and native cultures. In Sinking Suspicions (University of Arizona, 2014) Sadie is pursuing a new career as a travel agent. While she is on an introductory trip to Maui, her neighbor, Buck Skinner, goes missing. Buck’s troubles with the IRS and the discovery of a pair of murder victims turn the search into a manhunt.  Sara Sue Hoklotubbe is herself a Cherokee tribal citizen.  She has received the New Mexico-Arizona Mystery Book of the Year Award.

–posted 11/23/2014

Posted December/2/2014

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