Monday, November 30, 2009

The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin

Joakim Westin recently moved to Eel Point on the Swedish isle of Oland with his wife and two young children. Eel Point is an isolated estate (a manor house adjacent to two lighthouses) at which there have been a number of unfortunate deaths since the mid-1800's. When Joakim's wife, Katrine, is found drowned, he wonders if it was suicide or murder. Joakim also feels that Katrine is still around as a ghostly spirit. Meanwhile, three men are robbing houses all over the island and set their sights on Eel Point. Newly arrived policewoman Tilda Davidsson tries to find out who's responsible for the stealing, at the same time thinking that Katrine might have been the object of foul play. The Darkest Room follows these three storylines, as well as those of the past inhabitants of Eel Point, to create a mystery that slowly picks up speed as the threads intersect. Patient readers will be rewarded with an unputdownable ending. The novel is a sequel to Theorin's first book, Echoes of the Dead.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie

Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid of Notting Hill CID and Scotland Yard, respectively, are drawn into the life of three-year-old Charlotte Malik when her father, Naz, is found murdered. Charlotte's mother, Sandra, an artist, disappeared a few months earlier and when Charlotte repeatedly says that her father went to look for her mother the day he died, it leads Gemma and Duncan to believe the cases are connected. Delving into London's East End, specifically the area of Brick Lane, they try and find out who's responsible. On a personal front, Gemma worries about her mother's deterioration from cancer, the pressures of planning her wedding to Duncan and arranging care for Charlotte. Necessary as Blood is a worthy addition to this long-running British police procedural series.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

Harper Connelly is in north Texas working for wealthy Lizzie Joyce. Lizzie wants Harper to tell her what her deceased grandfather, Rich, died of. Harper's news that it was possibly murder and that his young caregiver, Mariah died in childbirth, confuses and angers the family. Harper and her stepbrother/boyfriend, Tolliver, are also in Texas to see their young half-sisters, who were taken away from the family when Harper and Tolliver were teens (because of their respective parents' drug use). Seeing their sisters always brings up mixed emotions for them, given all the bad memories dredged up, especially the disappearance of Harper's sister, Cameron, who's been missing for years. Tolliver's father, Matthew, has also recently gotten out of prison, and is trying to re-establish contact with him. When it appears that someone wants Harper dead, she wonders if it's because of the Joyce case or a more personal matter.... Grave Secret is the fourth book in the Harper Connelly series.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The First Rule by Robert Crais

Joe Pike hasn't seen Frank Meyer in over ten years. But when Frank and his family are murdered in their home, Pike decides he must find out who killed them. Frank had been part of Pike's crew when both worked as mercenaries around the world. Then Frank retired when he married his wife, Cindy. The LAPD suspects that Frank is involved in something illegal and the crime is tied to a series of break-ins around Los Angeles. Pike, on the other hand, believes Frank is clean and enlists his friends and contacts, including detective Elvis Cole, to hunt down the killer. The First Rule is the second novel to feature Joe Pike, who is actually Cole's partner (Cole is featured in Crais' long-running mystery series). The First Rule is a page turner in the tradition of Lee Child and James Swain's Jack Carpenter series. It will be published in January.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell

When Reginald Wexford was starting out as a policeman, he suspected Eric Targo of murder, but had no proof. Over more than thirty years, Targo has stayed in Wexford's mind, and he has kept loose notice of Targo's whereabouts. But after seeing him for the first time in many years, Wexford feels the need to tell his partner and friend, Mike Burden, of his longtime suspicions, including another old murder of which he suspects Targo of being the culprit. Burden isn't convinced, but Wexford presses on. Meanwhile, Burden's wife, Jenny, and DS Hannah Goldsmith take up the cause of a young Muslim woman named Tamima Rahman who they believe might be forced into an arranged marriage. Wexford and Burden feel that the women are poking their noses in where they don't belong. Are Jenny and Hannah overeacting? The Monster in the Box flashes back over the years of Wexford's career in which he met his wife and has children. Fans of this long-running series will be happy for this background material.