Monday, December 30, 2013

Don't Ever Look Back by Daniel Friedman

Retired police detective Buck Schatz is crankier than usual as he spends his days doing heavy physical therapy while living in a retirement home. His slow descent into dementia is only making things worse. When a criminal named Elijah that Buck knew forty years ago visits and asks Buck to help him turn himself into the police for past crimes and to help shield Elijah from the people that are after him, Buck agrees. However, in meeting with Elijah, Buck recollects the case that brought them together in the first place and finds himself deeply involved, despite his own failing physical and mental health, in Elijah's criminal activities yet again. Don't Ever Look Back will be published in April.

15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

Plastic surgeon Henry Steadman is in Jacksonville, Florida when, in a case of mistaken identity, the police believe that he murdered a cop during a traffic stop.  Wanted by the authorities, Henry makes his way to a friend's house and finds him dead. Not knowing whom he can trust, he is on the run and completely in the dark about why he's in this situation. He decides to plead his innocence to Carrie Holmes, who's manning the phones for the police hotline. While the police believe Henry is a killer, Carrie decides on her own to follow some leads that Henry gives her and soon realizes that he could be innocent. Racing against time, Henry comes to the realization that he must hunt down the real killer...  A great read-alike for Harlan Coben.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

In this sixth outing of the Ruth Galloway series, Ruth becomes immersed in the life of Jemima Green. Nicknamed "Mother Hook", Green became infamous in Victorian times for possibly murdering young children in her care. Ruth unearths bones that might be Jemima's and agrees to participate in a television program about her life. It doesn't hurt that a dishy American historian named Frank is doing the show also. Meanwhile, Ruth finds herself drawn into a child kidnapping case that hits especially close to home. The Outcast Dead is another satisfying outing with Ruth and her wide circle of friends. For readers who like series where the personal relationships of the characters are more prominent than the mystery. It will be published in March.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

No Man's Nightingale by Ruth Rendell

When vicar Sarah Hussain is found murdered, the authorities wonder if someone objected to female clergy, her race, or if it was something more personal.  Retired Chief Inspector Wexford is asked to consult on the case by his former colleague, Mike Burden.  Wexford finds that it could be any of the three motives, but he's especially interested in Sarah's personal life after he discovers that her daughter, Clarissa, was to learn the identity of her father on her eighteenth birthday, which is coming up soon. Burden, however, believes that it is Sarah's job and/or race which provides the motive.  Rendell then, at a leisurely pace, delves into the interpersonal relationships between a wide range of characters as we learn the killer's identity.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Once Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri

Maeve Conlon is not the least bit sorry to learn that her cousin, Sean, has been murdered.  Sean tormented Maeve when she was young, even breaking her arm.  Maeve believes that her father, Jack--widowed when Maeve was young--had no idea of Sean's evilness. Now, years later, Maeve and Jack can't really talk about the past because Jack is slowly descending into Alzheimer's and resides at an assisted living facility, from which he regularly escapes. When the police begin to wonder if Jack had something to do with Sean's death, Maeve worries that it's possible, but that, given Jack's state, they will never know the truth. Striving to protect Jack, keep her bakery afloat and raise two teenage daughters, Maeve is overwhelmed, but she finds that she has to face the secrets of her childhood in order to be set free.  A great read-alike for Hallie Ephron and Harlan Coben.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante

Palo Alto police detective Samantha Adams is assigned to investigate the suspicious death of plastic surgeon John Taylor. Even though Taylor had a heart attack, he has a puncture wound on his shoulder. The police are also tipped off that Taylor had not just one wife, but three. He had been married to wife number one, Deborah, for over thirty years and they had three children. Wife number two, MJ, is an accountant, with whom he lived in Los Gatos. Helen, a pediatric oncologist, was much younger than John--they met when she asked him to consult on one of her patients. In A Circle of Wives, the reader observes the unfolding murder investigation and has a front row seat as all the secrets of each of the four women's lives are laid bare. An engrossing novel that keeps you guessing right up to the end. A great read-alike for Tana French's Broken Harbor and A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife.  It will be published in March.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

Eve Petworth writes a fan letter to American novelist Jack Cooper and finds a kindred soul.  Both are near fifty, love cooking, and are at a crossroads with the relationships in their respective lives.  Eve has been divorced for years and is struggling with helping her daughter plan her wedding since they haven't been close. Jack's wife has recently left him for a woman and he wonders if he should start dating again.  In their letters to each other (Eve lives in Britain, Jack in the Hamptons), they are able to express their innermost thoughts and feelings.  After corresponding for awhile, Jack wants to meet in Paris, but Eve is hesitant.  Should they meet or will seeing each other ruin the special relationship they have created?  That Part Was True is reminiscent of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and is a cozy, heartwarming read.  It will be published in February.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

In this fifth book of the Mickey Haller series, Mickey is hired by Andre La Cosse, who's been arrested for murdering prostitute Gloria Dayton. Mickey knew Gloria years ago and gave her money to start a new life in Hawaii.  He's disappointed that Gloria returned to Los Angeles and that her job seems related to her death. But as Mickey and his team delve into Gloria's life, they discover that her murder is probably connected to why she disappeared from L.A. originally. Preparing for trial, Mickey risks both his life and those close to him to prove that Andre is innocent.  In Connelly's trademark style, he writes a fast-paced novel with a intriguing story and likable characters.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Innocent Sleep by Karen Perry

Harry and Robin are a married couple, living in Dublin, who are suffering tremendous grief. Five years ago, while living in Tangier, their young son Dillon was presumed dead after an earthquake destroyed the building they were living in. Harry had left Dillon home alone for a few minutes while Robin was working when the earthquake occurred. Even though they've moved back to their hometown of Dublin, it's been difficult to heal. Harry, however, believes that Dillon did not die in the earthquake. When he sees a boy who looks like Dillon, he decides he must track him down. He doesn't tell Robin about it, but searches on his own with the help of his friend, Spencer. Robin, meanwhile, discovers that she's expecting a child. Told through both Harry's and Robin's points of view, The Innocent Sleep explores loss in a family, along with the secrets we keep from each other.  It will be published in February.