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Something Mysterious: December Reading Roundup

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 This month I offer you books in two's: two indie/small press books by authors I know and two Christmas-themed novels just in time for the holidays. First, Martha Crites is the author of Grave Disturbance, put out by new Seattle indie Rat City Publishing. She and I were both finalists for the Nancy Pearl Book Award this year. Next is Karen Musser Nortman, the indie author of a quirky camping mystery series. She was also the first-ever recipient of the Granny Grace Award for Outstanding Women 40+. The other two books that caught my fancy are from rock-star big names.

 When you read these, tell us what you think in the comments, and as always, review the books on Amazon and anywhere else you can. Studies show reviews sell books, and that when books sell, authors can afford to write more of them!

 Grave Disturbance by Martha Crites

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 Grace Vaccaro works as a mental health evaluator--if a person is a danger to self or others, she orders hospitalization. When a paranoid man she just released is found bludgeoned to death on the banks of the Snoqualmie River, Grace wonders if she could have done more to help him. When her neighbor is found dead in the same location, she suspects a connection.

 Grace's search for answers leads her from a Seattle homeless encampment to the rainy forests of the Cascade foothills. The results are never clear. A Mexican immigrant fears deportation and refuses to talk to the police. A Native American elder works to conceal the location of ancestral gravesites. And a pregnant woman Grace just evaluated is terrified. Are her statements delusional or does she have information leading to the murderer?

 As Grace comes closer to the truth, her quiet home is invaded and she is the next target. She must face the killer alone and learn how far she will go to protect herself and others.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Follow Martha Crites on Twitter and Facebook.

 A Campy Christmas by Karen Musser Nortman

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 This is book six in the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries Series.

 A holiday novella. The Shoemakers and Ferraros plan to spend Christmas in Texas with Larry and Jane Ann’s brother and then take a camping trip through the Southwest. But those plans are stopped cold when they hit a rogue ice storm in Missouri and they end up snowbound in a campground. And that’s just the beginning. Includes recipes and winter camping tips.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Follow Karen Musser Nortman on Facebook and Twitter.

The Mistletoe Murder by P.D. James

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 The newly appointed Sgt. Dalgliesh is drawn into a case that is "pure Agatha Christie." . . . A "pedantic, respectable, censorious" clerk's secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder . . . A best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier . . . Dalgliesh's godfather implores him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease the godfather's mind about an inheritance, but which will reveal a truth that even the supremely upstanding Adam Dalgliesh will keep to himself. Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author's sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex--not to say the most damning--aspects of human nature. A treat for P. D. James's legions of fans and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

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 Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.

 Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take...

 Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Follow Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Twitter and Anna Waterhouse on Twitter, too.

 


Something Mysterious: October Reading Roundup

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This month I've got two hot, current mysteries and two vintage classics harkening back to my bookworm childhood. Because I listened to that part of me who wishes to avoid a nervous breakdown, I took a vacation recently, during which I plowed through many a book. That means everything from August's Reading Roundup as well as the four books below. There's a "girl" theme at work here, with the so-called "girl" on the train (who is really a woman, by the way), the eighteen-year-old who disappears in Faithful Place, and the two girls in the vintage books, which I read as a girl. The contrast between those early mysteries and what's hot now is startling. 

If you've read any of these, tell us what you think in the comments, and as always, review the books on Amazon and anywhere else you can. Studies show reviews sell books, and that when books sell, authors can afford to write more of them!

Faithful Place by Tana French 

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Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was a nineteen-year-old kid with a dream of escaping his family's cramped flat on Faithful Place and running away to London with his girl, Rosie Daly. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again. Neither did Rosie. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank, now a detective in the Sublin Undercover squad, is going home whether he likes it or not.

Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he's a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he's willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Follow Tana French on Twitter.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  The girl on the train

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Follow Paula Hawkins on Twitter.

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon by Carolyn Keene

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Nancy receives an urgent call from her Aunt Eloise in New York, requesting her help in solving a mystery. Her neighbor's granddaughter, Chi Che Soong, has gone missing! Nancy and her friends fly to New York to help track down the missing girl.

Review on Amazon.

Trixie Belden's Mystery in Arizona by Julie Campbell

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Di Lynch’s Uncle Monty has invited Trixie, Honey, and the rest of the Bob-Whites to his Arizona dude ranch for winter vacation. There will be lots to do—horseback riding, swimming, festivals—but Trixie is hoping for an activity that isn’t on the usual list. She wants another mystery.

 


Something Mysterious: August Reading Roundup

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Here are a few of the books on my to-read list this summer, and I hope to bring you some of these writers as guests on the blog in the coming months, too. 

But first, a quick PSA. Reviews are a writer's life blood - and they're an easy gift to give. Just pick a star rating and write one or two sentences to provide other readers a quick impression, or feel free to write more if you like. I've provided links below so you can follow these folks and review their books.

In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni

In the Clearing

Detective Tracy Crosswhite has a skill, and a soft spot, for tackling unsolved crimes. Having lost her own sister to murder at a young age, Tracy has dedicated her career to bringing justice and closure to the families and friends of victims of crime.

So when Jenny, a former police academy classmate and protégé, asks Tracy to help solve a cold case that involves the suspicious suicide of a Native American high school girl forty years earlier, Tracy agrees. Following up on evidence Jenny’s detective father collected when he was the investigating deputy, Tracy probes one small town’s memory and finds dark, well-concealed secrets hidden within the community’s fabric. Can Tracy uphold the promise she’s made to the dead girl’s family and deliver the truth of what happened to their daughter? Or will she become the next victim?

Review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Follow Robert Dugoni on Facebook and Twitter.  

Damascus House by Corrina Wycoff

Damascus House

Amy Rotolo's announcement to her family that she is a lesbian sets off a series of events that threaten to unravel the tight-knit members of Pastor Lou Bianchi's fundamentalist Christian church in Riverview, New Jersey. The resulting drama escalates to irrevocably affect Amy's parents, her "perfect" childhood friend Rachel, Rachel's husband Alan, Rachel's high school boyfriend Paul, and his wife, Lee.

Damascus House is a psychological novel written from the perspective of six different characters. Wycoff told the Puyallup Post, "It's not an indictment against the religious community. It asks how we make sense of faith and circumstance. What does it mean to figure out what to believe when you’ve been told what to believe all of your life?"

I reviewed Wycoff's short story collection O Street on the blog previously. She is a friend and former colleague of mine from Pierce College.

Review on Amazon and buy directly from the small press publisher.

Check out Corrina Wycoff's Wikipedia page.

Poems of Inspector Chen by Qiu Xiaolong 

Inspector Chen poems

Fans of Inspector Chen--the poet in inspector's clothing--will love this compilation of his poetry.

The poems in the present collection are compiled chronologically. Some of them have appeared—either entirely or partially—in the Chen novels, but with his writing in a hurry under the stress of the job, he usually takes time later to revise them, so the poems here may show difference, sometimes substantial, from the original versions. And some of them, either written in his pre-inspector days, or conceived in fragments only in his mind, now appear for the first time in the collection here. 

I reviewed Xiaolong's novels Shanghai Redemption and A Case of Two Cities on the blog previously. He is a friend and former colleague of mine from St. Louis Community College.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads. Visit Qui Xiaolong's web site for more information.

 In the Dark by Chris Patchell

IntheDark

Marissa Rooney stands in her daughter’s empty dorm room, a half-used vial of insulin clutched in her trembling hand. Brooke has been missing for days. Her roommate hasn’t seen her since that night in the bar. And if Marissa has Brooke’s insulin, it means that Brooke does not.

But Marissa isn’t alone in her terror. A phantom from her past is lurking in the shadows, waiting in the night, and holding her family captive…

In the dark.

Review on Amazon and Goodreads

Follow Chris Patchell on Facebook and Twitter.

More from MWA

As I wrote this roundup, an email from the Mystery Writers of America hit my inbox, so here's a whole other list to peruse, all the new books by members for August. You're welcome.