Hillary's Recent Favorites
Once Were Cops by Ken Bruen, Minotaur.
Michael O'Shea (Shay) is a member of The Guards in Ireland, and as it happens, a vicious serial killer. When an exchange program opens up and offers him the chance to transfer to America and become NYPD, he jumps on it, being that it's his life long dream. In New York Shay's paired up with an unstable cop named Kebar (named for his favorite weapon of choice) and the two of them take on the city's war on crime, both hiding some very dark secrets from each other as well as the rest of the force. This book is Bruen at his very best. Honestly, put Jack Taylor aside for now and check out Shay - he's absolutely killer! $22.95
Crime by Irvine Welsh, Norton.
Scottish cop Ray Lennox can't get his latest child rape/murder case out of his head. He's losing his sanity and sobriety and is headed for a full-on mental breakdown. Ordered to take a vacation, he travels to Miami with his fiancee, Trudi, who can think of nothing but their upcoming nuptials. Ray, on the other hand, is much more interested in his dwindling supply of antidepressants and what he can get to drink. Once Ray runs head on into some locals with a massive supply of coke the typical Welsh fun begins. Will Ray get himself and Trudi killed or will he find some sort of redemption for the 10-year-old girl he wasn't able to save? $24.95
The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri by David Bajo, Viking.
Attention, we've got a biblio-mystery on our hands - and a very good one, I might add. Phillip Masryk, a mathematician, and Irma Arcuri have been having an on-going love affair for most of their lives. One day, Irma disappears and leaves Phillip her library of 351 books, some of which she has written, others to which she has added text, notes and clues, little messages for Phillip, to try and help him find her. He quits his job and begins to read - from Borges to Cervantes, traveling from Philadelphia to Barcelona and Seville trying to follow her path. Though her trail remains cold, Phillip continues pursuit. This story is captivating and moving, and reminded me alot of Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Recommended for bibliophiles. $24.95
Dan's Recent Favorites
Quantum of Solace by Ian Fleming, Penguin.
Ian Fleming's James Bond was quite an unusual creature and unlike the film series, the literary 007 was anything but predictable. For the first time all the Bond short stories have been collected in one slim volume including the title story wherein the superspy is told a noirish tale of a marriage on the rocks and bitter revenge. This is more character study than spy thriller and I can tell already the film version will have no relation whatsoever to the original story- but these tales offer real insight into Bond's personality, morality and even sexuality and are proof that Fleming was much more than a genre hack. After you are done with the title story check out the original stories that inspired many other Bond pics including Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights. pb. $15.00
The Other by Thomas Tryon, Millepede Press.
This is my Halloween recommendation for this year. One of the great "lost" horror novels of the 1970's by the Hollywood film actor, it's a must read for fans of gothic suspense in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Stephen King. The setting is 1930's small town Connecticut. This is the disturbing tale of twin boys- one born before midnight, the other after (they have different astrological signs and are literally as different as day and night) and their Grandmother Ada and her weird little games. To give away any more would be criminal but suffice it to say that this book is beautifully atmospheric, deeply disturbing and incredibly well written. pb. $17.00
Le Crime by Peter Steiner, Thomas Dunne Books.
This one slipped under our radar in hardcover - maybe it was its original title - A French Country Murder - that did it. This book is not a cozy, it's a totally original hybrid that combines the best elements of the existential European thriller (think Simenon) with the traditional whodunit (ala Christie) and le Carre style intrigue added to the mix. It's found a new life in paperback. Former CIA field agent Louis Morgan is now living in the small rustic French town of Sain leon Sur Deme. One summer morning his breakfast is interrupted by the discovery of a corpse with a slashed throat seemingly dumped on his doorstep. Now he must cooperate with suspicious local French authorities in what started as a garden variety murder case but it taking on international implications. Written in the vivid style of the best travel books with a cool collected hero, this book will please both fans of traditional mysteries as well as lovers of the latest contemporary espionage. Also available, for a limited time, is the hardcover signed first edition of the second book in the series L'Assassin ($24.95). pb. $13.95
Sally's Recent Favorites
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson, Doubleday.
This series featuring Jackson Brodie is a favorite of mine. I thought the second in the series, One Good Turn, was weaker than the first, Case Histories, but that still put it way ahead of many mysteries being written today. Here, sixteen-year-old Reggie works for a GP, but Dr. Hunter has gone missing and only Regie seems to be worried. Meanwhile Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is an old friend, Jackson Brodie, who is on a journey that is about to be fatally interrupted. If you have been reading Atkinson's work, you know that she will weave these stories together in a quite extraordinary way. Those of you who know my preference for serial killers and high body counts should also know that I sleep like a baby every night. However, the first chapter of this book ruined my, up until now, perfect record. It is a jaw-dropper. $51.00
The Legal Limit by Martin Clark, Knopf.
Clark doesn't write often enough possibly because he's busy being a circuit-court judge in Virginia. But when he does, attention must be paid. Clark has been described as a drinking-man's John Grisham and one can certainly see why in this extraordinary legal drama. Brothers Gates and Mason Hunt are survivors of abusive childhoods. Mason escaped by going to law school, but Gates, who often protected his younger brother, is a compulsive felon. When Gates is imprisoned he asks Mason to use his legal influence to spring him. Actually, he does more than ask him. Gates and Mason share a secret which they swore they'd take to the grave, but Gates uses this secret as leverage to secure Mason's cooperation. Is fraternal loyalty more important than personal integrity? Clark explores this and other moral dilemmas in this finely written story. $24.95
The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner, Dutton.
Several months ago, Stephen King raved in his column in Entertainment Weekly (yes, I do read it - its how I keep up with popular culture) about a British author named Meg Gardiner. He said she was going to be the next suspense superstar. Only problem was, her books weren't available in the US. Beginning with The Dirty Secrets Club which is being published simultaneously here and in the UK, and thanks, I suspect, to Mr. King, they now will be. A fashion designer burns to death clutching the body of his murdered lover; a football superstar jumps from the Golden Gate Bridge; a U.S. attorney drives her BMW off a highway overpass, killing herself and three others. This string of murder/suicides has San Francisco abuzz and the SFPD rattled. Forensic psychiatrist Jo Becket is called in to perform psychological autopsies and she makes a shocking discovery. All the suicides belonged to The Dirty Secrets Club, a group with nothing but money and something to hide. This is a page-turning read; the first big beach book of the summer!
Ian's Recent Favorites
Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, Minotaur.
In this thrilling sequel to Heartsick, Ms. Cain continues to dazzle. Archie Sheridan has renounced his visits with famed Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell and is trying to repair the damage to his family. His respite will be short-lived. A body buried in Portland Forest Park bears an eerie likeness to Gretchen's first murder. A well-liked senator with a possible shady past drives his car off a bridge. And then the @&$ really hits the fan. With the help of gung-ho reporter Susan Ward and his partner Henry Sobol, Archie must confront the danger and fear erupting across the city. Sweetheart ups the suspense to such a dizzying degree you might faint just from reading it. Of course, it also contains enough sharp objects to wake you back up. Enjoy! $24.95
Good People by Marcus Sakey, Dutton.
There's no such thing as a free lunch is a phrase we've all heard time and again. In Tom and Anna Reed's case, "lunch" equals $400,000 and may just cost them their lives. When their reclusive tenant kicks the bucket, a search of his apartment yields a tremendous amount of cash hidden in bags of flour and boxes of cereal. Saddled with debt and trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, the money comes as a godsend. Of course, you and I know, it's never as simple as all that. And neither is the plot of Good People. The author takes great care with his characters, crafting complex people with plenty of faults and layers of intention. The action is satisfying, but not overdone. If anything, it's the suspense that will get to you before the blood. It's rare that a new author can enjoy as much success as Mr. Sakey, but in this case the praise is deserved. If you have yet to read The Blade Itself or At the City's Edge, do yourself a favor. And while you're at it, check out Good People and learn why Mr. Sakey is one of the best up-and-comers around. $24.95
Volk's Shadow by Brent Ghelfi, Henry Holt.
This follow-up to Volk's Game puts us back in the capable, yet violent hands of Alexei Volkovoy. Tough as they come and not adverse to shady dealings, Volk works part-time for the Russian government, and as his own boss in the Moscow underworld. He's also missing a foot thanks to a horrific mission in Chechnya. Picture a meaner Jack Reacher with the same penchant for trouble, but less scruples. This time around Volk has to connect an explosion at an American oil facility, a stolen Faberge egg and a digital film of dubious authenticity depicting war-time atrocities. The action is non-stop without sacrificing character development (and there are some real winners, believe me). You don't have to read the first book to understand what's going on (I read this one and went back), but you will probably want to after hanging around with Volk for a few days. Ghelfi has created a kick-ass new series that's not all shoot-em-ups and car chases, one that will be more than just a great summer read. $25.00