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Detective Lou Norton

skiesofashDetective Elouise “Lou” Norton is smart and sassy, like a black Jane Rizzoli working in Los Angeles. She’s been on the force for ten years and she is married to a man who is probably unfaithful. The reader first meets Lou “hammer fisting” at the gym before her cell phone alerts her to a new case. She works with Colin Taggert, a lily-white rookie from Colorado Springs, who has a lot to learn about policing in Los Angeles . Hall has written several successful novels before starting this series, so her craft is polished and eminently readable. She is a native of Los Angeles. Skies of Ash (Forge, 2015) is the second novel in the series.  It concerns a suspicious fire that killed Juliet Chatman and her two children.

–posted 4/28/2015

Posted April/28/2015

Emma Lord series

Daheim’s legion of readers are wondering if the Emma Lord series will continue, now that it has reached Z with The Alpine Zen (Ballantine, 4/2015).   The first book in the series, The Alpine Advocate (Ballantine, 1992), introduced Emma as the new publisher-editor of the local newspaper in the small logging town of Alpine at foothill of Washington’s Cascade Mountains.   Emma is often assisted by her best friend, House-and-Garden editor Vida Runkel, and Milo Dodge, the local sheriff, eventually Emma’s husband.  Fortunately, Daheim has declared that Emma will not cease and desist.  In her blog (!books/cnec)  she states that she will keep writing them as long as readers keep reading them.

–posted 4/24/2015

Posted April/24/2015

Claire Malloy

Claire Malloy, proprietress of the Book Depot, a bookstore in the college town of Farberville, Arkansas (read Fayetteville, Arkansas, hometown of Hess and the University of Arkansas), can’t seem to stay away from sleuthing. When we first met Claire in Strangled Prose (St. Martin’s, 1986), she was a middle-aged widow with a 14-year-old daughter “from hell.” In the latest book, Pride v. Prejudice (Minotaur, 2015), the 20th book in the series, Claire has married her long-time friend Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen and her daughter is eighteen and college bound. Farberville isn’t quite so zany a place as Maggody (Hess’ other series location), but the Malloy series will also please readers of humorous mysteries.

–posted  4/27/2015

Posted April/24/2015

Max Revere

compulsionAllison Brennan has written at least three series, depending on how you sort them, and many non-series thrillers. The “Lucy Kincaid” series, now at 10 books plus two ebook novellas, is perhaps her most famous. But in 2014 she created a new protagonist, Maxine “Max” Revere. Max investigates murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. Compulsion (Minotaur, 4/2015) is the second book in this series. In it Max gets an exclusive interview with an accused serial killer. Although he is charged with five murders, Max focuses on two victims, a middle-aged couple on their second honeymoon, whom she believes he also killed, but whose bodies were never recovered.  Already this series of two has a complication. Maximum Exposure (Amazon, 2014) is a short teaser ebook released a month before the first book, Notorious (Minotaur, 2014). It tells of a case that takes place two years before the action in the first book, making it an unnumbered prequel.

–posted 4/21/2015

Posted April/21/2015

Thomas De Quincey, detective

dequinceyHere is another English author as detective, joining the ranks of Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and others. Thomas De Quincey, the 19th century essayist, is best known for his “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater”. But he also wrote “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts,” which dealt with a real serial murderer. In De Quincey’s first case, he is a suspect because the murders seem to duplicate those in his essay. Emily, De Quincey’s dedicated daughter, acts as his assistant. Inspector of the Dead (Little Brown/Mulholland, 3/2015) is the second book to star De Quincey. In this case the murders may be connected to a group of conspirators who plotted to assassinate Queen Victoria in 1840. These historical mysteries are a departure for Canadian-American author David Morrell who usually writes contemporary mystery/thrillers.

–posted 4/16/2015

Posted April/16/2015

Indridason’s Detective Erlendur

indridasonIndridason fans know Detective Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson of Reykjavik, Iceland, as a typical gloomy Nordic detective. But Reykjavik Nights (Minotaur, 4/2015), a prequel set in the late-1960s, gives readers an interesting peek at young Erlendur’s first job as a rookie traffic cop on night duty.  Bored with writing speeding tickets and escorting drunks to the station house, Erlendur suspects that Hannibal, a tramp he knew, was murdered.  Investigating on his own time, he solves a tricky double murder, thereby earning the attention and respect of Reykjavik’s detective squad.  Considering that Erlendur was about 50 years old in Jar City (St. Martin’s, 2004), the first book in the now 10-book series, there is plenty of time for Indridason to fill in with back-story.  We’re looking forward to more stories about his early years.

–posted 4/10/2015

Posted April/10/2015

Fran Harmon #6

cutlerThe prolific English author Judith Cutler has produced six mystery series in a variety of types—two police procedurals, three amateur sleuths and one historical starring a priest. Even so, she hasn’t topped her husband Edward Marston (pseudonym of Keith Miles) who has seventy-six books (mostly mysteries) to his credit. The books of both of these authors have been gradually making their way across the Atlantic, many first appearing here as large print editions. Recently Severn and Amazon have greatly accelerated the process by digitization. Twenty-two Cutler titles are now available for Kindle. Green and Pleasant Land (Severn, 4/2015), the most recent title is available simultaneously in all formats. It is number six in the Fran Harmon series. In this installment Fran is newly-retired. She and her partner Mark volunteer to re-investigate a twenty-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a mother and child.

–posted 4/6/2015

Posted April/6/2015

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