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Anthony Awards
2017 (Best Novel)
You Will Know Me
Book Jacket   Megan Abbott
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316231077 *Starred Review* Teen gymnastics prodigy Devon Knox has excelled despite a childhood lawn-mower accident that left her with a Frankenfoot, as her mom, Katie, our third-person narrator, regrets calling it. Devon thrives because of her intense drive and single-mindedness and because her parents have focused the family's entire existence around helping her succeed. Yet as Devon prepares for a second chance at Elite Qualifiers (she failed the first time when her ankle wobbled), her Olympic dream is in turmoil: a much-loved young man has been killed in a hit-and-run, beloved Coach T. loses focus when his niece is suspected, and, worst of all, Katie suspects her husband, Eric, is involved. Abbott has a knack for dissecting the dark, beating heart of the most all-American activity. Her Dare Me (2012) brought a Fight Club intensity to cheerleading, and here she captures ripped palms and the muscle-bound physiques that attract the cruel taunts of classmates. But this equally dazzling tale is set not in the teens' world but rather in the adult boosters' strange tribe, exploring the agony and urgency of their desire, the unknowability of others, and the burden of expectations laid on the gymnasts. It's vivid, troubling, and powerful and Abbott totally sticks the landing.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2016 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Abbott's latest thriller (The Fever, 2014, etc.) about everyday lives changed forever by an exceptional individualin this case an Olympic gymnastics hopeful. "So many things you never think you'll do until you do them." This speaks volumes of truth for Devon Knox, who forces her body to pick fights with gravity for hours every day. To her mother, Katie, watching from the bleachers, it seems impossible that her daughter will land on her feet, until she does. Devon is extraordinary, and the normal-on-the-surface Knox family can't help but fly toward this one extra-bright light. Devon's dad, Eric, is obsessively devoted to the cause, fundraising constantly for gym BelStars and heading up the booster club. Gregarious Coach T. relies on his star gymnast to attract business; nothing is shinier than having an Olympic hopeful under his wing. But when tragedy strikes and Coach T.'s tumbling-coach niece, Hailey, learns her much-loved boyfriend, Ryan, is dead in a hit-and-runonly a couple of months before Elite Qualifiersthe gym begins to unravel. Devon, especially, can't afford any missteps. Her success relies on structure, and Eric promises he'll do anything to keep Devon on that golden track. When Hailey starts threatening Devon and the Knoxes' painfully sweet and observant son, Drew, starts talking about things he hears in the night, the whole gym family, Katie especially, begins to wonder just who might've had it in them to mow Ryan down. After all, you never know what you're capable of until you test your limits. With Elite Qualifiers looming, readers will begin to question what they think to be true right alongside the characters. Getting picky, readers will also catch on to one major plot element well before it's revealed, but Abbott makes the blindness of parents relatable; they come close to collapse on a regular basis from the pressures of their demanding schedules. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to an anomaly is something else entirely. Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging-into-your-palms suspense. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316231084 Thriller Award-winner Abbott (The Fever) takes a piercing look at what one family will sacrifice in the name of making their daughter a champion. For Katie and Eric Knox, nothing is more important than ensuring that their 16-year-old daughter, Devon, has everything she needs to pursue a possible Olympic berth in gymnastics, from round-the-clock training with coach Teddy Belfour at BelStars Gym to a plethora of high-performance leotards and hand grips. Despite a childhood foot injury, Devon is the obvious star of the gym, something the other parents both appreciate (because it raises BelStars's profile) and quietly resent (because it makes their own daughters look second-rate). When an unexpected death rocks the gym community, Katie is determined not only to shield her daughter from the fallout but also to make sure that Devon's elite trajectory doesn't falter. But she can't help being inexorably drawn to the tragedy and the young man who died, and in the process Katie learns that what she thought she knew about Devon only scratches the surface. Abbott keenly examines the pressures put on girls' bodies and the fierce, often misguided love parents have for their children. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316231077 Devon Knox, 15, is a brilliant gymnast and far more talented than the other girls training at BelStars gym. Her path to success could lead to the Olympics. Everyone knows it-all the other gymnasts, all the coaches, all the booster parents, and, most especially, Devon's parents. Her mother, Katie, dedicates her afternoons to sitting in the stands at BelStars, soaking up the envy of the other mothers as Devon flies over the vault. It's Katie who shows how secrets, betrayal, and murder can shatter the tight-knit group of girls and parents. At first, Katie seems like a well-balanced narrator, fair-minded in her attitude toward those with less amazing daughters, tenderly caring for Devon's little brother when he becomes ill. But readers notice that Katie seems to be missing some obvious signs of trouble. Katie discovers Devon, remote and self-contained by nature, in a cat fight with another girl in the locker room. Katie's husband, Eric, spends way too much time with Gwen, a wealthy booster mom. Even as the narrator increasingly suspects disturbing secrets, readers increasingly wonder how much to trust her. Abbott, who put a menacing spin on the world of cheerleading in Dare Me, amplifies the sense of danger implicit in high-stakes gymnastics, as well as the competition among the highly invested parents. Think Dance Moms, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. VERDICT Teens will get a hard-hitting look at competitive gymnastics, framed in a tale of gripping psychological suspense.-Diane Colson, Gainesville City College, FL © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316231077 This latest novel from Abbott (after The -Fever) centers on a young man's -hit-and-run death shortly before a major gymnastics competition, ripping apart that sport's close-knit community. Immersed in her life as an Olympic hopeful, 15-year-old Devon Knox is in a tailspin. Her mother, Katie, goes into protective mode and attempts to salvage her family from ugly rumors involving her husband and questions about the boy's tragic end. Trying to keep her daughter's dream alive at any cost, Katie is as much a focus of this story as Devon. In true Abbott style, nothing is predictable here; the plot consistently confounds expectations with its clever twists and turns. -VERDICT Admirers of -Patricia Highsmith, Laura Lippman, and Kimberly Pauley (Ask Me) are in for a treat. New readers have a backlist to explore! [See Prepub Alert, 1/26/16; see also profile of Abbott, p. 65.-Ed.]--Frances Thorsen, -Chronicles of Crime Bookshop, Victoria, BC © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781478938408 Ever since their teen daughter, Devon, hinted at a special talent for gymnastics, Katie and Eric Knox have spared nothing to get her whatever she needs to qualify for the Olympics. When the novel opens, Katie is beginning to wonder if they have given up too much. Her doubts increase when a family friend is killed by a hit-and-run driver in a car that seems similar to Eric's. Reader Fortgang catches every subtle mood shift of Katie's, from her delight at Devon's ability to her fear that events, real or imagined, will derail her daughter's progress. Eric usually sounds uptight and anxious, and when he and Katie are alone, a little furtive. Devon is brimming with entitlement, impatience, and intolerance. Her fellow gymnasts are humorless, snarky, soft-spoken or arrogant. All are almost as driven as their parents, for whom Olympic excellence is all that matters in their lives. A Little, Brown hardcover. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2017 (Best First)
Dodgers
Book Jacket   Bill Beverly
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781101903735 *Starred Review* In this stunning crime-fiction debut, East, a 15-year-old gang member in L.A., loses his job after police raid the drug house where he's standing guard. Offered a chance at redemption, he joins a crew driving cross-country to Wisconsin to kill a witness in a case against his boss. With him are Michael Wilson, a 20-year-old smooth talker; Walter, an overweight 17-year-old problem-solver; and East's own brother, Ty, an unknowable 13-year-old killer. East has never been out of L.A. and the journey is transformative, forcing him to confront problems inside and outside the van while figuring out who he is and why he was ultimately sent along. The premise and execution are terrific, and the prose is remarkable: Beverly does more with a sentence than many writers accomplish in a paragraph. East and his compatriots are old before their time, and yet we never lose the sense that they are still growing up, even if their growing-up is like that of soldiers dropped behind enemy lines in their first war. They are black, and the highway they travel is very white indeed. Highly recommended for fans of Richard Price, this is a searing novel about crime, race, and coming-of-age, with characters who live, breathe, and bleed.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2016 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Four street kids from Los Angeles discover that America is weirder, and bigger, than they imagined. It's tempting to call Beverly's debut a coming-of-age novel; its protagonist, a boy known only as East, is 16. Yet East has come of age long before the action starts: a lookout at a Los Angeles drug house, he is experienced beyond his years. "He was no fun," Beverly writes, "and they respected him, for though he was young, he had none in him of what they hated most in themselves: their childishness. He had never been a child." That's one of the charms and also one of the issues with the novel, which opens with a police shootout at the house East has been paid to protect. In the aftermath, he's sent, with three other young men (one of them his brother), on a looping road trip to Wisconsin, where a troublesome witness must be killed. The title refers to the LA Dodgers gear the four put on as camouflage, a strategy to fit in, or at least pass beneath the radar of, an America they do not understand. Beverly is best tracing this elusive strangeness, the way common landscapestruck stops, gas stations, interstatescan be alien, even dangerous: "Here the ground was nearly empty of buildings and the mountains were like people, huddled figures, blue and gray and white, so high." Still, as the novel progresses, it begins to lose its path. Partly, it's that the drama peaks too early, but even more, that East comes to us so fully formed there's no room for him to grow. Yes, he faces challenges and makes decisions. Yes, he adapts to circumstance. Ultimately, however, he does not develop throughout the book so much as remain consistentthe reason, of course, is that he's so highly valued as a lookout, yet it's problematic when it comes to his arc as a character. An interesting debut that doesn't quite live up to its promise. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781101923573 Beverly's fiction debut is an atmospheric thriller, a crime novel of violence and murder, and an on-the-road experience. The book's young antihero is a 15-year-old named East, who is standing at a crossroads to his future. His upward mobility through the ranks of his South Central L.A. gang, due primarily to his high-ranking uncle Fin, was halted when he allowed his feelings for a young murdered girl to interfere with his guardianship of a drug house. To reestablish his nephew's credibility, Fin sends him with three other teen gangsters on a road trip from L.A. to kill a judge on vacation in Wisconsin. Actor Jackson tells Beverly's granite-hard story in a smooth, almost gentle voice that underscores the pressures East is feeling on the trip. Something in that just-telling-it-like-it-is attitude highlights the boy's sense of confusion and frustration, saddled with a job he doesn't think he can do, traveling in unfamiliar surroundings, with boys he can't control. Jackson has no trouble clarifying the members of East's teammates on the hit. But his finest achievement is his presentation of East, a too-rapidly maturing boy, confused by his conflicting emotions, uncertain of what to do, how to do it, and where to go to seek advice. A Crown hardcover. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781101903735 Beverly (On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover's America) makes his fiction debut with a dazzling crime novel that's equal parts coming-of-age tale à la Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and travelogue à la Kerouac. East, a 15-year old gang member from South L.A., sets out for Wisconsin with three other teenage boys at the behest of his uncle, on a mission to kill a key witness in an upcoming trial. Along for the ride is East's brother, Ty, an emotionless killer at 13. The revelations experienced by the young men as they drive cross-country through America's heartland are life changing, and in some cases, life ending. The narrative is simultaneously coldhearted and lyrical. For example, the dark, abandoned houses in a neighborhood known as the Boxes are described as "a row of loose teeth," and planes flash "like blades" in the morning sky. Readers won't soon forget East and his bloody journey of self-discovery and, ultimately, salvation. Agent: Alia Hanna Habib, McCormick & Williams. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781101903735 With characterizations recalling the best of George Pelecanos, this debut novel by Beverly (American literature, Trinity Univ.; On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover's America) follows the coming-of-age story of East, a young Los Angeles gang lookout who is sent on a road trip with three others to kill a witness in Wisconsin. This is not the usual road trip narrative; each of the four young men could easily carry their own book, but East, a smart and sympathetic narrator, propels the story with his internal assessments of his cohorts and their situation. An unexpected turn in the latter third of the novel brings the focus more squarely on East, who has never been out of L.A. and begins to examine the possibilities that are available to him beyond his urban life as well as the reality of being a young black man in a predominantly white Midwest America. VERDICT Fans of HBO's The Wire and Richard Price novels will be engaged by the book's themes of race, identity, and the U.S. class system.-Julie Elliott, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781101903735 Working for one of his uncle's drug houses in South Central L.A., East takes his 12-hour shifts of watching the street and managing the drug users with a level of seriousness and perspicacity that would make him the envy of any fresh MBA. When the cops raid and begin to unravel the organization with arrests, East's house shuts down. Instead of receiving a bullet to the brain as he's expecting, 15-year-old East is sent by his uncle beyond the neighborhood he's always known to the wilds of Wisconsin as one of an unlikely team of urban boy soldiers on a mission to take out a judge who poses a danger to boss Fin. The characterizations of East and those who accompany him are masterly. Beverly presents an unflinching third-person glimpse through the jaded eyes of East at college wheeler-dealer Michael, physically flabby but mentally sharp Walter, and Ty, East's younger and frighteningly volatile trigger man and half brother. The protagonist has seen so much darkness and crime that the naïveté he conveys is miraculous. This man-boy from the mean streets is still able to experience watershed moments that open his eyes to a world and people beyond his ken and his kin. His rites of passage are atypical compared with many other antiheroes; in some ways, he washes clean rather than becoming dirtied by the world at large. VERDICT At once gritty and literary, this novel is sure to please YA readers, who, like East, know-or seek to know-more about life than is sometimes comfortable.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Gwinnett County, GA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781101923597 In Beverly's first novel, East is a smart and hardened 15-year-old Los Angeles gang member who oversees a group of youths serving as lookouts for the drug house controlled by his uncle Finn. After police arrest Finn, East and three other young men, including East's estranged younger brother Ty, travel to Wisconsin to murder a witness. The bulk of the story centers on the cross-country road trip and the stormy relationships among the young men, especially East and Ty. They succeed in their grim task, but East shoots Ty in a botched carjacking attempt. East tries to run, but Ty tracks him down to a small town in northern Ohio, where Ty reveals breathtaking news regarding his brother's past. JD Jackson does an excellent job presenting the tale. Verdict This audiobook is recommended to listeners interested in stark urban novels. ["Fans of HBO's The Wire and Richard Price novels will be engaged by the book's themes of race, identity, and the U.S. class system": LJ 4/15/16 starred review of the Crown hc.]-Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Parkersburg Lib. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781101903735 Fifteen-year-old East is pulled from his job as gang lookout at a drug site to join three other young black men on a road trip from California to Wisconsin, where they will carry out an assassination. Rich characterization and profound cultural insights make this debut novel an unforgettable journey for teen readers. (http://ow.ly/PN4C305MyAa)-Diane Colson, Gainesville City College, FL © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017 (Best Paperback)
Shot in Detroit
 Patricia Abbott
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781940610825 At 40, Violet Hart is a down-on-her-luck photographer still waiting for her big break. Living in Detroit, with its plethora of crumbling and abandoned buildings, she is drawn to "ruin porn," but her focus changes when her lover Ben, a mortician catering to the black community, asks her to take a final photo of a family's loved one. In this moment she finds inspiration to capture the images of at least a dozen young black men in their final state of repose and to exhibit these pictures in her own one-woman show. By immersing herself in the world of the dead and constantly searching for "unusual" scenes to shoot, Violet inadvertently places herself, and those around her, in harm's way. Derringer Award-winning author Abbott (Concrete Angel) has delivered a fresh look at the disintegration of Detroit as seen through the lens of a camera. Less a suspense novel than the plot summary may imply, it is instead a detailed account of one woman battling her inner demons against the backdrop of a city that is doing the same. VERDICT This title is bound to have strong regional appeal, and fans of Megan Abbott may be curious, as the author is Abbott's mother.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781940610825 As she nears 40, Detroit photographer Violet Hart is eking out a living shooting weddings and bar mitzvahs and looking for an artistic project. Then Bill Fontenel, the mortician she's romantically involved with, asks her to photograph a young man at the request of his family after his corpse has been prepared for burial. Violet has found her project: shooting young, dead black men (with the consent of their loved ones). Always looking for what is edgy, Violet also bonds with a young bipolar man who's building a sculpture of found objects, including human body parts that wash up from the Detroit River. This friendship, as well as her involvement with death, makes Violet suspicious in the eyes of the police. Soon she's struggling with concerns about her project, with a revelation about her racial background, and with what seems Bill's waning interest in her when the plot takes a final, tragic turn. Although less gripping than Abbott's debut, Concrete Angel (2015), this is an assured mystery centering on artistry and the price that can be paid for it.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781940610825 Abbott follows her well-received suspense debut, Concrete Angel, with a macabre but perceptive novel set in Detroit. Nearing 40, Violet Hart is not yet successful with her photographic career and has doubts about her talent. She wanders decayed Belle Isle, once a fashionable waterside city park, now crawling with the homeless, the criminal, and the mentally ill. After accepting a commission from her handsome lover, mortician Bill Fontenel, to photograph a young man's corpse for his grieving relatives, Violet becomes inspired to create a series of images of the dead that she hopes will make her reputation as a serious artist. She enlists Bill's reluctant help in making a quick deadline for an exhibit of her series. Her need for bodies involves Violet, who's tormented by personal and professional issues, in a serious police investigation. Some readers may feel that Abbott teeters on the brink of distasteful sensationalism, but she makes some telling points about the sometimes questionable relationship between art and morality. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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  Book Jacket
2017 (Best Anthology)
Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns
 Eric Beetner
  Book Jacket
 
2016 (Best Novel)
The Killing Kind
Book Jacket   Chris Holm
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316259538 Michael Hendricks is a hit man who kills only other hit men. As a military special op assassin in Afghanistan, he was declared dead, leaving his childhood sweetheart Edie to marry someone else and him to reinvent himself. Hendricks's guilt at what he did as a soldier drives him to kill killers-for ten times the killer's fee. Unfortunately, many of his victims are mob-connected, and the organization hires Edelmann, a nasty piece of work, to eliminate Hendricks. Charlotte Thompson, an FBI agent, also is pursuing Hendricks. Events come to a head at a casino at which all three converge, only to emerge from the carnage to meet again for a fiery climax at Edie's home. Verdict Holm's "Collector" trilogy, which blended urban fantasy with pulp crime fiction, featured an unusual but likable antihero, and so it is the same here with both Hendricks and his crippled war buddy Lester, who helps him with computer wizardry. The ending slips into melodrama, but the wild and furious action, the unusual plot featuring assassin versus assassin, and the memorable characters all keep the reader racing through this skillfully told tale of vengeance. [See Prepub Alert, 3/23/15.]-Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316259538 Former U.S. special operations soldier Michael Hendricks, the hero of Holm's inventive thriller, was presumed killed in a horrifying attack in Afghanistan that left his unit destroyed. Informing neither the government nor his ex-girlfriend, Hendricks returns to the U.S., where he contacts the intended victims of organized crime hit contracts and, if they meet his standards for decency, offers to take out their killer, for a fee 10 times what the hit man was paid in the first place. A shadowy cartel of organized crime groups hires sadistic but effective hit man Alexander Engelman to deal with Hendricks. Engelman learns Hendricks's background through devious means, which sets up a final showdown of hit man versus hit man. Holm (Dead Harvest and two other novels in his Collector fantasy series) carries off a preposterous plot with brazen aplomb, creating a diverting, action-packed story interspersed with excellent character vignettes. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316259538 When Michael Hendricks, an off-the-books hit man working for the U.S. during one of its many incursions into the Middle East, finds himself listed as presumed dead after an IED explosion, he jumps at the opportunity to move still further off the grid. The only person who realizes Hendricks is alive is Lester Meyers, who lost both legs in the same IED explosion and now, back home, uses his computer-hacking skills to learn about planned Mob assassinations. He passes the info along to Hendricks, who convinces the intended victims to pay him to kill their would-be killers. Of course, the Mob is unhappy about this situation and hires the crème de la crème of hit men to kill the mysterious killer. There are too many clichés and telegraphed plot lines here, but there's plenty to praise, too. Holm's action scenes are breathtaking whirlwinds, and even when readers know what's next, he builds an improbable level of suspense. Yes, this first Holm novel is a bit uneven, but it's clear he's a writer with a strong future. Stick with him.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A fast-moving thriller with a clever premise. Edgar Morales is about to get whacked by a button man for an international crime syndicate called the Corporation. When the fatal shot rings out, though, it's said button man's head that explodes. His executioner is Michael Hendricks, who has an odd specialty: he's a "hitman killing hitmen." So the Councila group of major American crime familieshires Engelmann, "one of the most gifted contract killers in the world," to blot out Hendricks, "a pest in need of exterminating." Hendricks is a killer with not just a conscience, but business sense. If there's a price on your head, he'll take out the hired killer for 10 times that price. And if he calls you, it means that "someone, somewhere, want[s] you dead." The plot weaves the storylines of both killers in with that of FBI Special Agent Charlotte "Charlie" Thompson, who wants to catch the two men. Hendricks is the most complex of the characters, hence the most interesting. He's a Special Forces veteran thought by most people, including his former girlfriend, to have been killed in Afghanistan. His code prevents him from killing innocents, unlike Engelmann, the flat-out evildoer who relishes the pain and suffering of others. Hendricks' worldview comes out of his crucible of pain, while Engelmann just grew up bad; he will happily kill you and have a good night's sleep. Meanwhile, Charlie and her partner try to track both men down. The three main characters play their roles wellCharlie is appealing, Hendricks is the semisympathetic antihero, Engelmann is just plain vile, and they're all smart. Who will best whom is by no means obvious in this fast-moving, witty tale of good guy versus bad guy versus worse guy. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2016 (Best First)
Past Crimes
Book Jacket   Glen Erik Hamilton
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062344557 [DEBUT] Iraq War veteran Army Ranger Van Shaw, recuperating from wounds received while serving in Afghanistan, receives a letter from his grandfather Dono, with whom Van has not communicated for many years, asking Van to come home. He dutifully does so, but only moments after his grandfather has been shot-he finds Dono bleeding profusely on the kitchen floor, barely alive. Dono has lived a larcenous life of mostly genteel, nonconfrontational crime, but things have taken a suddenly dangerous, possibly fatal turn. Van gets the unconscious Dono to the hospital and sets out to discover who shot him and why. Armed with his military training (and some criminal skills taught him as a boy by Dono), Van follows a trail that leads deeper into his grandfather's life-and closer to uncovering what drove Dono to reach out after years of silence. Verdict In his outstanding debut, Hamilton has created a tough and intriguing character in Van Shaw, one that will appeal to fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.-Vicki Gregory, Sch. of Information, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A combat-tested Army Ranger returns home to investigate the shooting of his grandfather in this debut novel.Van Shaw is recovering from a recent combat injury when he receives a letter from his estranged grandfather Dono asking him to come home to Seattle. He doesn't know why his grandfather wants to see him, and the tension ratchets up when he arrives to find that Dono has just been shot by an intruder. During the police investigation, it becomes clear that Dono may not be an innocent victim because, as Hamilton tersely states, "Dono Shaw was a thief." The novel develops into a divided narrative split between the contemporary investigation into Dono's shooting and flashbacks to Van's experiences of being raised by a career criminal. Van was exposed to a felonious world from which he escaped by joining the Army after high school. Van discovers that Dono's last heist may have led to his shooting, and in the process, he's pulled back into his grandfather's criminal culture. To solve the mystery, Van must make use of the thief's skill set he learned from Dono and reconnect with his grandfather's old cronies in Seattle's underworld. Throw in a buried family secret, a love interest with an alluring woman and some missing diamonds, and you have the recipe for an exciting heir to the classic detective novel. A well-written modern rendition of the old-fashioned gritty noir. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062344557 Van Shaw was brought up by thieves, who were a bit like an extended family. He displayed an alarming proficiency in the craft but decided it wasn't the life for him and escaped, as many do, by joining the army. After a tour of Afghanistan, he gets a summons from his old grandfather, who had been his coach in lawbreaking. Once home, he finds the old man wounded and near death, and Van's criminal skills must become detective skills as he tries to learn what happened. That means interacting at length with Grandfather's old cronies, and reader response to these long chapters of talk is going to be personal. Some may want more of what the author is awfully good at action. A warehouse break-in, with the old man guiding the kid's moves, is wonderful. And a battle on a yacht blends heightened language and dirty deeds to haunting effect, as when a vanquished opponent suddenly becomes two hundred pounds of wet cement. If he stays true to his talent, Hamilton is an author to watch.--Crinklaw, Don Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062344557 Hamilton's accomplished debut introduces Van Shaw, an Army ranger who returns home to Seattle after 10 years, in response to a terse message from the man who raised him, his grandfather Donovan "Dono" Shaw: "Come home, if you can." Dono taught Shaw to be like him, a skillful and careful thief, but at 18, Shaw left him after a bitter fight and joined the army. On arrival at Dono's house, Shaw finds him on the floor, dying of a gunshot wound. In his quest for vengeance, Shaw connects with Dono's old buddies Hollis Brant, a smuggler, and Jimmy Corcoran, a tech expert. Shaw has to figure out what Dono was up to, and he needs all his criminal skills and ranger training to do so. Hamilton details Shaw's upbringing in sharply honed flashbacks and surrounds him with a cast of intriguing characters on both sides of the law. Readers will be eager to see more of this tough, clever hero. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016 (Best Paperback)
The Long and Faraway Gone
 Lou Berney
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Twenty-five years after a devastating shooting and the unrelated disappearance of a teenage girl, the survivors of both events struggle to find out what really happened so they can move on with their separate lives. Edgar nominee Berney (Whiplash River, 2012) introduces two damaged but engaging characters: Wyatt, the sole survivor of a robbery/shooting at a movie theater that left six other people dead; and Julianna, whose beautiful and mercurial older sister, Genevieve, disappeared at the Oklahoma State Fair and has been presumed murdered ever since. The plot is driven by their searches for what happened in the past as well as a present-day mystery that brings Wyatt, now a private detective, home to Oklahoma City, the site of both earlier losses. Berney alternates his focus between their two stories, and while their paths do cross once or twice, there is no forced blending of the narratives. As in classic noir, the evocation of a specific placeOklahoma Cityand time's effects add another layer of meaning. Also as suggested by the noir-ish title and tradition, Berney's novel is most truly a thoughtful exploration of memory and what it means to be a survivor. Elegiac and wistful, it is a lyrical mystery that focuses more on character development than on reaching the "big reveal." The novel smartly avoids being coy; there are answers to private detective Wyatt's case and answers to the mysteries from the past, but they reflect the truth of such moments; in the end, the answers are almost beside the point because the wondering, the questions, never really go away. But both characters do achieve their own kind of closure, and that allows the reader to also feel some comfort of fulfillment. A mystery with a deep, wounded heart. Read it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062292438 *Starred Review* Affable Las Vegas PI Wyatt is happy doing background checks for casinos on potential management hires and getting home in time for dinner with his significant other, Laurie. When a casino exec asks him to look into who is harassing one of his in-laws, Wyatt is reluctant to take the case. When he learns he must go to Oklahoma City for it, he is emotionally rocked. Twenty-six years before, he was a 15-year-old OKC movie usher who, inexplicably, was spared execution in the murder of every other employee. That same summer, Julianna attended the state fair with her adored older sister, the beautiful and occasionally wild Genevieve, who disappeared into the crowd and was never seen again. Now a nurse, Julianna remains obsessed with Genevieve's disappearance. Wyatt's return to OKC brings everything back in a rush. Berney's first two novels (Gutshot Straight, 2011; Whiplash River, 2012) were delightful, Elmore Leonard-style crime novels. This time he's focused, very insightfully, on love, loss, and memory, and he astutely portrays the immediate and long-term psychological impact of the loss of the most important people in his characters' young lives. Wyatt, Juli, Genevieve, and Wyatt's dead coworkers are all fully realized creations that readers won't soon forget. A genuinely memorable novel of ideas.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2015 Booklist
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  Book Jacket
2016 (Best Anthology)
Murder Under the Oaks
 Art Taylor
  Book Jacket
 
2015 (Best Novel)
After Im gone
Book Jacket   Laura Lippman
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062265258 Inspired by a true mysterious disappearance, Lippman here examines the effects on the five women Felix Brewer left behind when he skipped town to avoid imprisonment. Retired detective Sandy Sanchez is working on a cold case: the death of Felix's mistress Julie Saxony, whose body was found ten years to the day after Felix fled. Lippman intertwines Sanchez's story with those of Julie; betrayed wife Bambi; and Bambi and Felix's three daughters, Linda, Rachel, and Michelle. The survivors deal with resentment, loss, greed, immaturity, economic struggle, pride, hope, and deceit as they adjust to life without Felix. Linda Emond capably performs the shifting characters and time frames from Felix and Bambi's first meeting to the present time. verdict Recommended for mystery collections. [Despite the murder at its center, this is less a suspenseful whodunit than a masterly novel of character, with secrets skillfully and gradually revealed," read the starred review of the Morrow hc, LJ 11/15/13.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062083395 The catalyst for Lippman's (And When She Was Good, 2012) smart and mesmerizing nineteenth work of fiction is the 1976 disappearance of sexy and calculating Felix Brewer, the head of a megaprofitable Baltimore gambling operation. In flight to avoid prison, he tries to do right by his gorgeous, loyal wife, Bambi, nee Bernadette Gottschalk; his three temperamentally complex daughters; and his trusting mistress, Julie Saxony. But, instead, they all suffer emotional torment and financial deprivation. Ten years later, Julie's body is found in a park. Recently widowed former police detective Roberto Sandy Sanchez, a blue-eyed, blond Cuban, working cold cases freelance, now has a hunch that Saxony's murder can finally be solved. On this flexible frame, Lippman stretches a richly textured canvas that depicts, with wit and sensitivity, the wounded but tough women Felix left behind. As she traces the matrix of longing, jealousy, and betrayal that led to Julie's murder, Lippman incisively explores marriage, Jewish family life, class distinctions, and the power and liability of physical beauty, thus creating an involving and elegant novel of the psychological ravages of crime. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An extensive marketing campaign will cover all media bases as best-selling Lippman goes on tour.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062265258 Lippman's latest crime novel begins as more of a family drama, focusing on shady businessman Felix Brewer. The story opens as Felix flees suburban Maryland to escape the law, leaving behind his wife, Bambi; three daughters; and a mistress, Julie Saxony. When Julie disappears 10 years later, it is assumed that she joined Felix. The whodunit aspect of the narrative kicks in when her skeletal corpse is discovered in one of the city's favorite body dumps, Leakin Park. Enter Sandy Sanchez, a retired Baltimore police detective who supplements his pension by closing the department's cold cases, who reopens the investigation of Julia's death. Emond reads the character-rich story with just the right amount of emotion, catching Bambi's youthful infatuation, her smug comfort in a seemingly idyllic marriage, and, finally, her disillusionment. The actress is just as effective in portraying Felix's brash scoundrel's charm and the various moods of the very different daughters. As for Sandy Sanchez, the guy's a dogged sleuth who saves his emotion for his work. Emond catches his faux empathy in interviews, his elation in uncovering decades-old clues, and his determination to get the job done. A William Morrow hardcover. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062083395 On July 4, 1976, shady businessman Felix Brewer escapes the law by fleeing suburban Maryland, leaving behind his wife, Bambi; three daughters; and a mistress, Julie Saxony. So begins bestseller Lippman's finely wrought study of what it means to move forward without answers. When Felix met Bambi in 1959, it was love at first sight. Without telling her how, he promised they'd get rich. And they did, even if he wasn't often home to enjoy it with her and their daughters. Julie-a stripper who loved Felix, despite knowing he'd never leave Bambi-wasn't even Felix's only bit on the side. When he ran, Felix made sure, or so he thought, that all his women would be looked after. Ten years later, Julie disappears. At first, rumors swirl that Felix came back for her, but when her remains turn up in a local park in 2001, the word on the street is that he killed her. Adept as always with character nuance, Lippman (And When She Was Good) uses Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a consultant who used to be a Baltimore cop, to dig into Julie's cold case, and to uncover the secrets of the women Felix left in his wake. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062083395 Rather than face 15 years in prison, Baltimore gambling boss Felix Brewer goes on the lam in 1976, leaving behind his wife, Bambi, the love of his life; his beloved daughters, Linda, 17, Rachel, 14, and Michelle, three; and his mistress, ex-stripper Julie Saxony. Ten years later, Julie disappears. It's suspected that she joined Felix, until her body is discovered in 2001 in a park near Bambi's childhood home. The Saxony cold case is reopened in 2012 by Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a widowed retired detective working as a consultant for the Baltimore police department. Chapters detailing critical points in the Brewer women's lives from 1959 forward alternate with those about the murder investigation, which is ultimately solved by following the money. VERDICT In this stand-alone (adroitly linked to the Tess Monaghan series), Lippman focuses on the inner lives of the women left behind. Despite the murder at its center, this is less a suspenseful whodunit than a masterly novel of character, with secrets skillfully and gradually revealed. Revel in the pace and pleasures of this book (including section headings that riff on the song "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me") that should add to Lippman's literary luster. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062083401 The catalyst for Lippman's (And When She Was Good, 2012) smart and mesmerizing nineteenth work of fiction is the 1976 disappearance of sexy and calculating Felix Brewer, the head of a megaprofitable Baltimore gambling operation. In flight to avoid prison, he tries to do right by his gorgeous, loyal wife, Bambi, nee Bernadette Gottschalk; his three temperamentally complex daughters; and his trusting mistress, Julie Saxony. But, instead, they all suffer emotional torment and financial deprivation. Ten years later, Julie's body is found in a park. Recently widowed former police detective Roberto Sandy Sanchez, a blue-eyed, blond Cuban, working cold cases freelance, now has a hunch that Saxony's murder can finally be solved. On this flexible frame, Lippman stretches a richly textured canvas that depicts, with wit and sensitivity, the wounded but tough women Felix left behind. As she traces the matrix of longing, jealousy, and betrayal that led to Julie's murder, Lippman incisively explores marriage, Jewish family life, class distinctions, and the power and liability of physical beauty, thus creating an involving and elegant novel of the psychological ravages of crime. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An extensive marketing campaign will cover all media bases as best-selling Lippman goes on tour.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The disappearance of a Baltimore gambling lord sends shock waves through his community, his business and his family. Felix Brewer always knew the odds were rigged. So, with the feds poised to put him away for 15 years, he has girlfriend Julie Saxony drive him to Philly in her sister's horse trailer to hop a plane to Montreal and then disappear. He knows that his best friends, lawyer Bert Gelman and bail bondsman Tubby Schroeder, will close down his business. And he trusts his wife, Bambi, to take care of herself and his three daughters, Linda, Rachel and Michelle. But how could Felix leave it all--the place he made for himself at the heart of Baltimore's Jewish community, the luxury and respectability he bought with every illegally bet dollar, and most of all, the love of his life? Since the night he'd crashed a high school dance, Bert, already an established businessman, knew Bambi Gottschalk would be the center of his world. And she was, despite Julie and the string of girls who preceded her. The story of Bambi and her daughters unfolds: struggles, successes, good marriages and bad. Then the discovery of Julie's body in Leakin Park brings it all back to Felix. Who intercepted Julie, whose success parlaying the modest coffee shop Felix left her into a bed-and-breakfast positioned her to open a destination restaurant, on her way to Saks? Sandy Sanchez, an ex-cop who specializes in cold cases, hopes to find out. Coaxing the inevitable out of the improbable, Lippman (And When She Was Good, 2012, etc.) is a bet you just can't lose.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2015 (Best First)
The black hour
Book Jacket   Lori Rader-Day
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781616148850 *Starred Review* After 10 months spent recovering from a gunshot wound, sociology professor Amelia Emmet returns to the classroom, delivering lectures on her now disturbingly familiar specialty: the sociology of violence. But Amelia's welcomes are laced with an undercurrent of suspicion about her role in the shooting. How could the shooter, a troubled student who committed suicide at the scene, have been a stranger to her? The truth is, Amelia doesn't know. Nathaniel, a new graduate student hoping to share Amelia's dark area of study, snags his dream job as her graduate assistant. Amelia's erratic behavior and battle to manage her pain make her a challenging boss, but he's dedicated to her, especially since he secretly plans to study her shooting for his graduate thesis. Separately, Amelia and Nathan seek answers about her attacker's motivation, goaded along by Rory McDaniel, a newspaper reporter. This accomplished debut bears favorable comparison to the work of Gillian Flynn (more Sharp Objects than Gone Girl), Cornelia Read, and S. J. Watson. Chicago writing instructor Rader-Day ably manipulates the elements that constitute academia's dark side (competition, campus politics, quests for identity, and, of course, sex) without the overlong academic digressions these settings sometimes court. Amelia Emmet is a sympathetic, yet jaded and darkly witty main character. An unputdownable read.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781616148850 Chicago's Rothbert University was rocked when one of its sociology professors, -Amelia Emmet, was shot randomly; the student attacker committed suicide immediately after. End of story. Readers enter as Amelia returns to teaching months later, determined to take ownership of her own mystery case. Teaching assistant Nathaniel Barber is protective, but covertly he wonders if Amelia might become his dissertation topic. A newspaper reporter has pursued her story since day one, and he hovers too closely for comfort. Finally, there is the suicide hotline staff who seem extra-zealous. All of these behaviors create an air of paranoia. Not until Amelia's memory begins to loosen does she realize that danger has not left the campus. A seriously scary sailing regatta on Lake Michigan brings it all home, vividly! -VERDICT With disconcerting timeliness (in the wake of recent shootings), Rader-Day captures the more sinister aspects of campus life. While the author captivates from page one with her psychologically attuned debut, it is the sociological frames that work so well: class, power, and violence. This reviewer was bowled over by the novel's alternating points of view, superb storytelling, and pitch-perfect take on academia. [A July LibraryReads pick, see p. 119.-Ed.] (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781616148850 Sociology professor Amelia Emmet, the heroine of Rader-Day's exceptional debut, returns to Rothbert University, near Chicago, 10 months after a student shot her and killed himself. Struggling with physical and mental problems caused by her injuries, Amelia is equally aware of irony: she's a scholar of violence in society, yet has no idea why she was attacked, had no acquaintance with the perpetrator, and only the sketchiest of memories of the incident. Nathaniel "Nath" Barber, her teaching assistant and student of Chicago's gangland past, is eager to investigate and soon links the shooter with associates of Rothbert's suicide hotline. Meanwhile, a reporter seems too conveniently at hand when trouble arises, an eccentric array of campus colleagues are inclined to blame the victim, and a scion of Rothbert's founder may have taken entitlement to a new extreme. Chapters that alternate between Amelia and Nath's viewpoints provide an irresistible combination of menace, betrayal, and self-discovery. Agent: Sarah Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015 (Best Paperback)
The Day She Died
 Catriona McPherson
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780738740454 In this improbable tale of suspense from McPherson (As She Left It), heroine Jessica Constable's chance encounter with a stranger begins a journey that makes her phobia-induced nightmares seem tame by comparison. Constable works at a charity shop in Dumfries, Scotland, and struggles with an unusual affliction: pteronophobia, the fear of feathers. In an act of kindness, she gives a ride home to a shocked and distraught customer, Gus King, who has just learned his wife, Becky, has left him. News arrives that Becky died in a car crash shortly after hitting the road, and Constable finds herself spending increasing amounts of time with Gus and his children, Ruby and Dillon. Eventually, she moves into their cottage, despite repeated warning signals that something is amiss. As in a poor slasher film, Constable ignores imminent danger until it's almost too late. Agent: Lisa Moylett, Coombs Moylett Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A chance meeting in the Marks and Spencer food hall puts a deeply troubled young woman in a dangerous position. While she works part-time in a charity shop, Jessie Constable must deal every day with her disabling phobiaa fear of feathers. Shopping in the food court, she spots a big red-haired man she'd seen before. In fact, she'd once even offered to buy a cake for Ruby, his little girl. Sitting with his head in his hands while Ruby looks on, sculptor Gus King suddenly tells Jessie that his wife, Becky, has left him. Since he's obviously in shock, Jessie drives him home, making the long trip from Dumfries out to a country cottage on the water. Soon afterward, the police arrive to tell Gus that Becky has died in what looks like a suicidal car crash. Somehow Jessie gets roped into staying to help care for Ruby and her baby brother, Dillon. As she does her best to learn the household's routine, she notices that not everything she learns about the family makes sense. Even though Becky's best friend Ros had apparently left for Poland, a young Pole Jessie meets hanging around the caravan site next door tries to tell her in his very limited English that Ros would never have done that. Jessie and Gus quickly become lovers, and he gradually draws the story of her feather phobia out of her. Each telling, she acknowledges, is different, and years of therapy have allowed her to lead only a semi-normal life. For his part, Gus maintains that Becky would never have killed herself. All the pieces of the puzzle add up to more confusion for Jessie, who no longer knows whom to believe. McPherson's second stand-alone (As She Left It, 2013, etc.) is a tour de force, a creepy psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780738740454 When Gus King has a meltdown at a Marks & Spencer grocery story in Dumfries, Scotland, saying his wife has left him, bystander Jessie Constable offers to drive him and his child home. Somehow, she gets suckered into staying in a remote cottage and caring for Gus's daughter and infant son. Readers will be on high alert, but Jessie's distorted logic makes it seem appropriate. When news comes that Gus's wife died in a car-crash suicide, Jessie worries about her two young charges. Then she meets frightened Polish immigrant neighbors who are searching desperately for the dead woman's best friend, who has recently gone missing. Jessie is psychologically damaged by her own childhood demons, and Gus's confusing jumble of explanations keeps her and readers off guard. A chill overtakes us all. -VERDICT Keep the lights on and batten down the hatches, for McPherson's psychologically terrifying stand-alone demands to be read all night. Miles away from her witty and award-winning historical cozy series (Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains), Scottish author McPherson has written a top-notch tale of modern gothic suspense that is sure to please Charlotte Bronte and Daphne du Maurier fans. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
2015 (Best Anthology)
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
 Leslie S. Klinger
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781605986586 Devotees of the greatest of all fictional detectives will welcome this anthology from King and Klinger (A Study in Sherlock), who have assembled a murderers' row of talent, including bestselling authors not usually associated with Holmes and Watson. Only two stories are traditional pastiches; the other 13 pay homage to the spirit of the originals in very different ways. Michael Connelly's "The Crooked Man," in which Harry Bosch consults a coroner named Art Doyle, cleverly riffs on Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Crooked Man."A brilliant bipolar patient puts his gifts for Holmesian deduction to use while tracking a serial killer in Jeffrey Deaver's "The Adventure of the Laughing Fisherman." Cornelia Funke provides insights into Holmes's youth in her moving "Lost Boys," while an elderly Holmes plays a heroic role during WWII in John Lescroart's stirring "Dunkirk." Klinger himself weighs in with one of the more memorable entries, "The Closing," which offers a sophisticated variation on one of the most tragic canonical adventures. According to the editors' illuminating introduction, a similarly themed second volume is in the works. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A notorious lawsuit over whether the Great Detective was in the public domainhe is, according to the courtheld up this sequel to King and Klinger's collection A Study in Sherlock (2011), but it's well worth waiting for.The range of the 15 new stories here is remarkable. One of the best, Sara Paretsky's "The Curious Affair of the Italian Art Dealer," is the most conservative, taking true delight in approximating Watson's turns of phrase. Michael Sims retells "Silver Blaze" from the title character's perspective. Cornelia Funke displays Holmes' magnanimity toward a young thief who invades 221-B Baker St., and Nancy Holder provides a sad, spectral sequel to "The Beryl Coronet." John Lescroart shows an aging Holmes helping out in the Dunkirk evacuation. Since Holmes can never die, Michael Connelly reimagines Dr. Watson as a deputy coroner working with Harry Bosch's LAPD, and Jeffery Deaver, in a characteristically twisty tale, sets a Sherlock-ian wannabe against New York's East Side Slasher. Holmes is only one among several inspirations behind Laura Caldwell's "Art in the Blood," Denise Hamilton's "The Thinking Machine" and co-editor Klinger's "The Closing." Leah Moore and John Reppion resurrect Holmes in a fast-moving comic book, and Andrew Grant even more breathlessly abridges The Hound of the Baskervilles for social media. Harlan Ellison's wild fantasia, the strangest item here, is more Ray Bradbury than Conan Doyle. And in the wittiest story, Michael Dirda unmasks Doyle as a Strand house author whose byline conceals the identities of many contributors. Notable among its many competitors mainly for raising the question of what can legitimately count as Sherlock-ian pastiche. Even readers who aren't pleased with every answer will undoubtedly be stimulated to provide answers of their own, perhaps for the inevitable next collection. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
 
2014 (Best Novel)
Ordinary grace : a novel
Book Jacket   by William Kent Krueger
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781451645828 Krueger, primarily known for his Cork O'Connor mystery series (Trickster's Point), ventures into new territory with this coming-of-age stand-alone that has a hint of mystery. In 1961 New Bremen, MN, Frank Drum is a typical 13-year-old who likes baseball and getting into trouble. He has an 11-year-old brother, a Methodist minister father, a sister bound for Juilliard, and an artistically inclined mother. Narrating the story 40 years after the events unfold, Frank recalls the five deaths that occurred that summer that scarred many, especially his family. He and his brother grow up that summer as they see, hear, and experience tragedy and love that is part and parcel of the adult world. Verdict For fans of Wiley Cash's A Land More Kind Than Home or Krueger's other works, this is a touching read, with just enough intrigue to keep the story moving along.-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781451645828 Best known for the Cork O'Connor mystery series, Krueger (Trickster's Point) has produced an elegiac, evocative, stand-alone novel. The summer of 1961 finds thirteen-year-old Frank Drum living in small-town New Bremen, Minn. He and his younger brother, Jake, idolize their older sister, Ariel, a talented church organist who's also the "golden child" of their parents, WWII veteran and Methodist pastor Nathan and church music director Ruth. Nathan and Ruth befriend the accomplished musician Emil Brandt, a veteran left blinded by his service, who tutors Ariel in her music education. Meanwhile, Jake, who has a stutter, forms a close bond with Lise, Emil's deaf older sister and caretaker, while Ariel dates Emil's wealthy nephew, Karl. The Drums' peaceful existence is shattered, however, when Ariel fails to return from a late-night party. In the aftermath of her disappearance, Karl comes under suspicion, Ruth undergoes a crisis of faith, and dark secrets about New Bremen come to light. The small-town milieu is rendered in picturesque detail, accurate down to period-appropriate TV programs, for what becomes a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781451645828 Krueger, the author of the best-selling Cork O'Connor mysteries, largely set in Minnesota, has written a stand-alone novel that is part mystery but mostly an extended (and often overly extended) meditation. The narrator, Frank Drum, writes as a middle-age man looking back on a summer in 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, when he was 13; the Minnesota Twins were in their first season; and death, in five different instances, shook his family and their community in the Minnesota River valley. The first death is that of Frank's sometime friend Bobby Cole. The proximate cause was a train, but the mystery is whether Bobby stood in front of that train, or was pushed or placed there. More deaths follow, one of which rips apart Frank's family. This coming-of-age story is obviously an attempt to show how grace can work through the fissures of suffering. While the setting is well rendered, the characters are too flat, and Krueger keeps striking the same monologist's meditative note throughout, while most readers will long for variety in style.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A respected mystery writer turns his attention to the biggest mystery of all: God. An award-winning author for his long-running Cork O' Connor series (Trickster's Point, 2012, etc.), Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work. The setting is still his native Minnesota, the tension with the region's Indian population remains palpable and the novel begins with the discovery of a corpse, that of a young boy who was considered a little slow and whose body was found near the train trestle in the woods on the outskirts of town. Was it an accident or something even more sinister? Yet, that opening fatality is something of a red herring (and that initial mystery is never really resolved), as it serves as a prelude to a series of other deaths that shake the world of Frank Drum, the 13-year-old narrator (occasionally from the perspective of his memory of these events, four decades later), his stuttering younger brother and his parents, whose marriage may well not survive these tragedies. One of the novel's pivotal mysteries concerns the gaps among what Frank experiences (as a participant and an eavesdropper), what he knows and what he thinks he knows. "In a small town, nothing is private," he realizes. "Word spreads with the incomprehensibility of magic and the speed of plague." Frank's father, Nathan, is the town's pastor, an aspiring lawyer until his military experience in World War II left him shaken and led him to his vocation. His spouse chafes at the role of minister's wife and doesn't share his faith, though "the awful grace of God," as it manifests itself within the novel, would try the faith of the most devout believer. Yet, ultimately, the world of this novel is one of redemptive grace and mercy, as well as unidentified corpses and unexplainable tragedy. A novel that transforms narrator and reader alike.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014 (Best First)
Yesterdays Echo
Book Jacket   Matt Coyle
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781608090761 "The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget." This delectable opening line sets the tone for Coyle's hard-boiled crime series debut, which introduces Rick Cahill, a former cop whose wife was brutally murdered eight years ago. Rick was accused of the crime but never convicted. Unable to fight the media maelstrom, he retreats to La Jolla, CA, to help run a restaurant with his best (and only) friend. It isn't much of an existence but Rick is slowly regaining control of his life. Fate arrives in the figure of Melody, a gorgeous Filipina who embroils Rick in a lethal entanglement. Before too long, the protagonist finds himself back in the crosshairs of the media and the police, who remember all too well the cop that got away with murder. VERDICT Coyle does a superb job of drawing the reader in and keeps a steady pace of action along with solid character development. This celebration of the crime noir novels of old with a modern sensibility in Rick Cahill as hero will strongly appeal to fans of classic hard-boiled PI novels.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781608090761 Coyle's promising debut introduces ex-cop Rick Cahill, a tarnished knight who battles internal and external demons. Cahill now ekes out a living in La Jolla, Calif., managing Muldoon's Steak House, but has lots of baggage. His police officer father was kicked off the La Jolla force in disgrace 25 years earlier, and eight years ago Cahill was arrested for his wife's murder. One night at Muldoon's, he rescues a damsel in distress, TV reporter Melody Malana, from a guy who was about to assault her. For her safety, Cahill takes the captivating Melody home to his place, where they make love. When Melody later disappears, a pair of thugs beat Cahill up because they think he knows her whereabouts. Coyle breaks no new ground, but Cahill turns out to be both tough and resourceful when forced to confront his past. Readers can hope his future will be brighter. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781608090761 "The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget." This delectable opening line sets the tone for Coyle's hard-boiled crime series debut, which introduces Rick Cahill, a former cop whose wife was brutally murdered eight years ago. Rick was accused of the crime but never convicted. Unable to fight the media maelstrom, he retreats to La Jolla, CA, to help run a restaurant with his best (and only) friend. It isn't much of an existence but Rick is slowly regaining control of his life. Fate arrives in the figure of Melody, a gorgeous Filipina who embroils Rick in a lethal entanglement. Before too long, the protagonist finds himself back in the crosshairs of the media and the police, who remember all too well the cop that got away with murder. VERDICT Coyle does a superb job of drawing the reader in and keeps a steady pace of action along with solid character development. This celebration of the crime noir novels of old with a modern sensibility in Rick Cahill as hero will strongly appeal to fans of classic hard-boiled PI novels.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781608090761 Coyle's promising debut introduces ex-cop Rick Cahill, a tarnished knight who battles internal and external demons. Cahill now ekes out a living in La Jolla, Calif., managing Muldoon's Steak House, but has lots of baggage. His police officer father was kicked off the La Jolla force in disgrace 25 years earlier, and eight years ago Cahill was arrested for his wife's murder. One night at Muldoon's, he rescues a damsel in distress, TV reporter Melody Malana, from a guy who was about to assault her. For her safety, Cahill takes the captivating Melody home to his place, where they make love. When Melody later disappears, a pair of thugs beat Cahill up because they think he knows her whereabouts. Coyle breaks no new ground, but Cahill turns out to be both tough and resourceful when forced to confront his past. Readers can hope his future will be brighter. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2014 (Best Paperback)
As she left it
 Catriona McPherson
  Book Jacket
2014 (Best Non-Fiction)
The hour of peril : the secret plot to murder Lincoln before the Civil War
 Daniel Stashower
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312600228 *Starred Review* Some of President Lincoln's associates and some historians have questioned if the supposed conspiracy to assassinate him upon his arrival in Baltimore was serious. Stashower has no doubt that the plot was real, and he has written a convincing and well-researched chronicle of it and the successful effort to thwart it. His story has the necessary elements of a successful historical thriller, including a determined assassin; a wily, intrepid detective; a serpentine plot; and, in Lincoln, an important and sympathetic potential victim. Stashower seems determined to lay out the painstaking details of the plot; although it provides credibility, it sometimes acts as a drag on the narrative. Still, the stakes are high, so the story has a built-in urgency and excitement. The detective, the soon-to-be-famous Allan Pinkerton, is a relentless and clever sleuth, and the chief conspirator, a Baltimore barber named Ferrandini, is a formidable adversary. Despite some slow moments, the book generally succeeds as both a historical inquiry and a detective story.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312600228 John Wilkes Booth succeeded in 1865, but the first major plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln unfolded in 1861 in anticipation of the then president-elect's railway trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) explains how Allan Pinkerton, a temperamental Scottish cooper turned "fierce and incorruptible lawman" and founder of the Pinkerton Agency, sought to infiltrate and obfuscate a murderous group led by Cypriano Ferrandini, an outspoken Italian barber in Baltimore. Interwoven with the tale of Pinkerton and company's efforts to foil what would become known as the Baltimore Plot, Stashower offers a rich portrait of a resolute but weary Lincoln as he makes his way, both politically and physically, to the White House. As everyone knows, he arrived without incident, but while he saved his skin, he lost some respect for stealing into the capital "like a thief in the night," as one newspaper put it. The book starts out slow, but once Stashower lets the Pinkerton operatives loose, their race against time as Lincoln's train speeds toward Maryland makes for an enthralling page-turner that is sure to please true crime, thriller, and history fans. Photos. (Feb.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312600228 The first known attempt to murder Abraham Lincoln occurred in February 1861 during his railway journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC, for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) details how Allan Pinkerton, head of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, managed to stop a band of rebels bent on killing the president-elect in Baltimore. Stashower describes a campaign-weary, nonchalant, and somewhat incautious Abraham Lincoln, traveling east toward the presidency. The author records him arriving safely in DC after stealing through Maryland's darkened countryside and Baltimore's precincts as "a thief in the night"-at Pinkerton's behest, but in the process forfeiting a measure of political stature to his detractors, who questioned his courage and fitness for office. The tale builds methodically before shifting into dramatic mode as Pinkerton, in fewer than two weeks, uncovers and quashes the would-be assassins' designs, assisted by agent Kate Warne, the leader of Pinkerton's female undercover unit. VERDICT Stashower's character-driven narrative and lively writing style reveal the finely honed skills of an accomplished mystery writer. Recommended.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
 
2014 (Best Childrens)
The Testing
Book Jacket   by Joelle Charbonneau
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780547959108 Cia wants to pass the mysterious Tests and become one of the elite few helping to rebuild the world after the Seven Stages War. Along the way, she falls in love, struggles to define friendship versus alliances, and tries to keep a core of decency. A lightning pace and a vividly described setting compensate for occasional dialogue that feels like exposition. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781470326203 Gr 8 Up-With the echoes of "Happy Graduation Day" still in her ears, 16-year-old Cia Vale tries to swallow her disappointment when she is not selected as a Testing candidate, which means she will probably spend the rest of her days in rural Five Lakes Colony, where she and her four older brothers grew up. Cia's dad was a Testing candidate, but his memories of the experience were erased, returning only in occasional nightmares. It's not that Cia doesn't like her farming community. She appreciates that they are dedicated to restoring fertility to the land after the Seven Stages of War and making better use of resources for the good of the United Commonwealth. But Testing meant a chance for greater things, starting with attending the University in Tosu City. Suddenly, Cia and three classmates receive word that they have been selected. From this point on, the first title (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) in a projected dystopian trilogy by Charbonneau is a detailed chronicle of the various tests, from psychological to physically exhausting. The influence of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic) is obvious, as some candidates go to deadly lengths to gain an advantage, while others show more kindness. Cia teams up with Tomas, and they find their mutual crush is turning to love. Narrator Elizabeth Morton uses an earnest and measured tone for Cia, which suits her no-nonsense personality, although it slows down the pacing a bit. She also interjects accents ranging from Valley Girl to almost mechanical when the officials recite lists of rules to be followed. Fans of The Hunger Games will enjoy every sly twist and careful detail of the story. A free prequel that adds even more enjoyment to the book is available online at http://ow.ly/nSKC8.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780547959108 Making the jump from adult mysteries to YA, Charbonneau (the Rebecca Robbins series) launches a dystopian trilogy reminiscent of the Hunger Games. Cia Vale is one of four teens chosen to represent her small colony at the annual Testing, an intensive mental and physical examination aimed at identifying the best and brightest, who will go on to the University and help rebuild their shattered world. Forewarned not to trust anyone, Cia nonetheless forms a tentative partnership with resourceful Tomas, with whom she shares an unexpected emotional connection. As the Testing pushes its candidates to the breaking point and beyond, the body count rises, forcing Cia and her friends to fight for survival. The rising tension, skillfully executed scenarios, and rich characterizations all contribute to an exciting story bound to capture readers' imaginations. However, it's the last-minute revelations, a cliffhanger laden with potential, and the intriguing status quo of Cia's world that will bring readers back for the next installment. Charbonneau works action, romance, intrigue, and a plausible dystopian premise into a near-flawless narrative. Ages 12-up. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780547959108 Gr 7 Up-Like almost every 16-year-old in the United Commonwealth, Cia Vale hopes to be called for the Testing, her ticket out of rural Five Lakes Colony and into the University in Tosu City. Cia's father was selected, but only vaguely remembers the experience in nightmares. Her four older brothers were passed over. Just when she has resigned herself to life as a mechanic or farmer, she gets word that she is one of four students selected from Five Lakes and is expected to board the skimmer to Tosu City the next day, most likely never to return. The bulk of the book is taken up with the Testing-devious exercises to identify those with superior leadership skills as society has suffered through Seven Stages of War and desperately needs to repair the damage to living creatures and the environment. The mental and physical trials will weed out 80 percent of the candidates, leaving several maimed or dead. Cia teams up with Tomas for both practical and romantic reasons. She is independent and smart for the most part, and Tomas seems almost too good to be true. There are double-crosses, mutant life-forms, and booby traps to navigate before 20 hearty souls receive word that they have passed. Cia's story is expected to span a trilogy. The influence of The Hunger Games is obvious, and The Testing will satisfy readers who want similar dystopian adventures.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780547959108 Mystery writer Charbonneau throws her hat into the YA dystopian ring with this series opener that bears more than a slight resemblance to The Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old newly graduated Cia Vale is selected to take part in The Testing, a process that offers the only chance at a college education and training to become part of the next generation of leaders. Cia has spent years preparing for this it's her chance to help the United Commonwealth recover from the devastating Seven Stages War. Cia's father, who took part in The Testing himself, warns her to trust no one. Charbonneau is treading familiar ground as she sets her young heroine against a government machine that is focused, brutal, and duplicitous. Though the story moves quickly, readers might be confused as to the reasons behind the government's methods. Why the brutality against students? There is no indication that the citizens are oppressed, and they're unaware of how gruesome The Testing is. The ending will ensure interest in the next installment, but hopefully book two will deliver some answers.--Dean, Kara Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. There are no grades in this dystopian futureonly survival. It's graduation day for 16-year-old Malencia "Cia" Vale, and she's hoping to be selected for The Testing in Tosu City, a necessary prerequisite to attend the University. She is, along with three other Five Lakes colony teens. Embarking on the four-part series of challenges, Cia will learn whom to trust, even as she falls in love with Tomas, one of her fellow Five Lakes colonists. Cia must pass multiple-choice exams, hands-on survival tests and team challenges before facing the final testa wilderness trek back to the University to prove her abilities as a leader. With a gun, compass and water in her bag, Cia will trek from the ruins of Chicago back to Tosu City, depending on her wits and her trust in Tomas. Charbonneau jumps into the packed dystopia field with a mashup of Veronica Roth's Divergent (2011) and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy, but she successfully makes her story her own. Cia's mechanical abilities are an unexpected boon to the overall character development, and it's refreshing not to have a female protagonist caught up in a love triangle. There's a nicely developed relationship between Cia and Tomas and genuine suspense surrounding another candidate's motivations and intentions. Between the ruined world and the mutants, there's plenty of threats to keep the pages turning. Though genre elements are in place, this page-turner earns an A for freshness. (Dystopian adventure. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2013 (Best Novel)
The Beautiful Mystery
Book Jacket   Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A prior's murder takes Quebec's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his sidekick, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, inside the walls of the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loupes. The Gilbertine order, long extinct except for the two dozen brothers who live on an island apart from the rest of the world, enforces silence on its members. In the absence of speech, a raised eyebrow or averted gaze can speak intense hostility. Now someone has found a new way to communicate such hostility: by bashing Frre Mathieu, the monastery's choirmaster and prior, over the head. Gamache and Beauvoir soon find that the order is devoted heart and soul to Gregorian chant; that its abbot, Dom Philippe, has recruited its members from among the ranks of other orders for their piety, their musical abilities and a necessary range of domestic and maintenance skills; and that an otherworldly recording the brothers had recently made of Gregorian chants has sharply polarized the community between the prior's men, who want to exploit their unexpected success by making another recording and speaking more widely of their vocation, and the abbot's men, who greet the prospect of a more open and worldly community with horror. Nor are conflicts limited to the holy suspects. Gamache, Beauvoir and Sret Chief Superintendent Sylvain Franoeur, arriving unexpectedly and unwelcome, tangle over the proper way to conduct the investigation, the responsibility for the collateral damage in Gamache's last case (A Trick of the Light, 2011, etc.) and Beauvoir's loyalty to his two chiefs and himself in ways quite as violent as any their hosts can provide. Elliptical and often oracular, but also remarkably penetrating and humane. The most illuminating analogies are not to other contemporary detective fiction but to The Name of the Rose and Murder in the Cathedral.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312655464 Religious music serves as the backdrop for bestseller Penny's excellent eighth novel featuring Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete (after 2011's A Trick of the Light). Gamache and his loyal number two, Insp. Jean-Guy Beauvoir, travel to the isolated monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, which produced a CD of Gregorian chants that became a surprise smash hit, to investigate the murder of its choirmaster, Frere Mathieu, found within an enclosed garden in a fetal position with his head bashed in. Gamache soon finds serious divisions among the outwardly unified and placid monks, and begins to encourage confidences among them as a first step to catching the killer. Traditional mystery fans can look forward to a captivating whodunit plot, a clever fair-play clue concealed in plain view, and the deft use of humor to lighten the story's dark patches. On a deeper level, the crime provides a means for Penny's unusually empathic, all-too-fallible lead to unearth truths about human passions and weaknesses while avoiding simple answers. 150,000 first printing; author tour. Agent: Patty Moosbrugger, Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312655464 *Starred Review* An entire mystery novel centering on Gregorian chants (whose curiously hypnotic allure is called the beautiful mystery )? Yes, indeed, and in the hands of the masterful Penny, the topic proves every bit as able to transfix readers as the chants do their listeners. It begins when the choir director of a monastery in a remote corner of Quebec is murdered, his skull bashed in with a rock. Outsiders are not allowed inside the monastery's walls, where 24 cloistered monks pray, make chocolate, and sing though a few years earlier, a homemade recording of their chants was released and created a sensation, helped along by the inaccessibility of the artists. Now, with the murder, the doors of the monastery are opened to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, charged with finding a killer among a group of largely silent monks, who, it quickly becomes apparent, are engaged in a civil war over their music, but one fought with glances and small gestures until now, when rocks have been added to the arsenal. P. D. James, of course, has made a career out of taking her sleuth, Adam Dalgliesh, into closed worlds to investigate murders, and while Penny follows that formula, she layers her plots more intricately than does James, this time adding an entire contrapuntal plot concerning Gamache, Beauvoir, their relationship, the secrets each conceals, and the demons each continues to fight. The deepest passions could appear dispassionate, the face a smooth plain while something mammoth roiled away underneath, Gamache thinks, expressing not only his frustration with the case but, inadvertently, the coming crisis in his relationship with Beauvoir. Of course, there is always something mammoth roiling away beneath the surface of Penny's novels but this time the roiling is set against the serenity of the chanting, producing a melody of uncommon complexity and beauty. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A major marketing campaign and a 150,000-copy first printing will launch Penny's latest in style.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312655464 Penny's (A Trick of the Light) eighth elegant entry in her Agatha Award-winning series is a locked-room mystery set in a remote monastery deep in the wilderness of northern Quebec. There are 24 cloistered monks. One is dead. There are only 23 suspects. The monks have taken a vow of silence, except that they made the most beautiful recording of Gregorian chant ever heard. And it caused a schism. And then a murder. Chief Inspector Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Surete du Quebec come to investigate the murder and the difficulties in this formerly peaceful order that caused it. It also brings the viper within the Surete to this remote place and exposes the rot inside Gamache's own house. VERDICT This heart-rending tale is a marvelous addition to Penny's acclaimed series. Fans won't be disappointed. [See Prepub Alert, 7/5/12.]-Marlene Harris, Reading Reality LLC, Atlanta (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013 (Best First)
The expats : a novel
 Chris Pavone
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307956354 Former CIA agent Kate is enjoying the expat life in Luxembourg until she gets suspicious of some acquaintances. "Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable"; a big debut. (LJ 1/12) (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307956354 Fans of John le Carre and Robert Ludlum will welcome former book editor Pavone's first novel, a meticulously plotted, psychologically complex spy thriller. When Dexter Moore, a financial systems security expert in Washington, D.C., receives a lucrative offer to work for a bank in Luxembourg, his wife, Kate, resigns her position as a CIA operative-a job her husband knows nothing about-and vows to recreate herself as a devoted wife and mother to their two boys. But Kate soon discovers that computer geek Dexter has been living a secret life as well, and that he may be a thief being investigated by the FBI and Interpol who's stolen millions of euros in online banking transactions. The sheer amount of bombshell plot twists are nothing short of extraordinary, but it's Pavone's portrayal of Kate and her quest to find meaning in her charade of an existence that makes this book such a powerful read. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307956354 *Starred Review* The premature death of her parents turned Kate into a driven loner who never expected to find someone to love. After college, clandestine fieldwork for the CIA filled the void; then she met decent, somewhat nerdy Dexter Moore. Marriage and two young sons convinced her to transfer into intelligence analysis, but she never told Dexter about her CIA employment. But when Dexter is offered a job in Luxembourg with a private bank, Kate abruptly finds herself an expat mom. Housework and lunches with other expats don't fulfill her, and she maintains the suspicious nature the CIA fostered. Soon, she focuses on expats Julia and Bill, as well as Dexter's new, uncharacteristic behavior. Her spook instincts bear fruit: Julia and Bill aren't what they seem; Dexter is up to something; and Kate must find out what it all means. The Expats is a stunningly assured first novel. Kate's character, her CIA experiences, and her new life are examined in granular detail, all of which helps drive an intricate, suspenseful plot that is only resolved in the final pages. The juxtaposition of marital deceptions and espionage is brilliantly employed. European locales, information on private banks and cybercrime, and the particulars of expats' quotidian but comfortable lives ooze verisimilitude. A must for espionage fans.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307956354 Kate is a young mom cozily wrapped up in her expat life in tiny Luxembourg-her two young sons and husband fill her days. What keeps her up at night glued to the Internet is the suspicion that a couple of casual buddies she met on the cocktail circuit are really assassins. Fueled by her 15 years as a covert CIA agent, Kate's obsession soon leads her to deeply hidden plots that involve 50 million euros, a suddenly flaky husband with curiously muddy shoes, and herrings-red and not-that rip her comfy world to tatters. VERDICT Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable, this debut thriller breaks the espionage genre bounds with its American-as-apple-pie heroine. Standing on the shoulders of such giants as Robert Littell, Gayle Lynds, Eric Ambler, Helen MacInnes, and Daniel Silva, Pavone displays the best characteristics of the form and will earn a faithful and yearning readership. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/11; see the Q&A with Pavone on p. 98.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, Va (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
2013 (Best Paperback)
Big Maria
 Johnny Shaw
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781612184395 *Starred Review* Shaw is back with another crazy buddy picture of a caper novel (following Dove Season, 2011), this one featuring three engaging losers who band together for a Treasure of the Sierre Madre-like search for an abandoned gold mine. Fortunately, our gang of bumblers is a bit less greedy than Fred C. Dobbs and associates, but the job they've set for themselves is a lot more demanding: first, they must find the treasure map buried under a house that is itself residing at the bottom of a lake; then it's a simple matter of trespassing on federal land being used as a test-bombing site and climbing a mountain while dodging artillery and skipping through a minefield. It doesn't help that our heroes are, respectively, a drunk named Schmidttberger (guess what his nickname is) with a broken leg; another drunk, this one a foolish optimist with an atrophied arm; and a senior citizen suffering from cancer and a heart condition. The comedy is low but hilarious and often tinged with violence ( Everything got a lot more confusing after the burro exploded ), but the emotion is real and often heartrending. Shaw somehow manages to drag you into his mix of absurdity, mayhem, and pathos against all your better instincts. You really shouldn't be liking this book so much, you tell yourself before peeling off another 50 pages to see what explodes next and whether our guys get home safely. Comic thrillerdom has a new star.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
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  Book Jacket
 
2013 (Best Non-Fiction)
Books to die for : the world's greatest mystery writers on the world's greatest mystery novels
Book Jacket   edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
2012 (Best Novel)
A trick of the light : a Chief Inspector Gamache novel
Book Jacket   Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Schadenfreude descends on the Quebecois village of Three Pines.Clara Morrow's solo exhibition at the Musee d'Art Contemporain in Montreal has been a long time coming. And although some seem pleased for her success in middle age, others, including a school friend turned vitriolic art critic, a gallery owner and even her husband Peter, an artist himself, wrestle with their envy. The day after the showing, back in Clara's garden in Three Pines, Lillian Dyson, former critic, current A.A. participant and Clara's vituperative ex-friend, lies dead of a broken neck. Armand Gamache, heading up the Suret's homicide division, and his second-in-command Jean Guy Beauvoir (Bury Your Dead,2010, etc.), are called on to investigate. They soon realize the case pits sobriety against drunkenness, appearance against reality and good changes against bad. Moreover, Gamache and Beauvoir have their own demons to exorcize, stemming from a catastrophic police raid, physical and emotional rehab and a marriage that never should have happened. With suspects and old slights vying to be uncovered, it becomes difficult indeed to find "some measure of peace in the small village."Penny, elevating herself to the pantheon that houses P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, demonstrates an exquisite touch with characterization, plotting and artistic sensitivity. And there could be no better explanation of A.A. than you will find here.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312655457 In Penny's outstanding seventh Chief Inspector Gamache novel, Gamache and his loyal deputy in Quebec's Surete, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, are still coming to terms with the multiple physical and emotional traumas they suffered in the previous book, Bury Your Dead. These tribulations have already cost Beauvoir his marriage. Meanwhile, the day after the triumphant opening of a show of their friend Clara Morrow's paintings at Montreal's Musee d'Art Contemporain, a dead woman with a broken neck turns up in Clara's garden in the small town of Three Pines. Gamache and his team return to this outwardly idyllic community once again to ascertain whether one of its residents is a murderer. With her usual subtle touch and timely injections of humor, Penny effectively employs the recurring motif of the chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, which distinguishes Morrow's artwork and which resonates symbolically in the souls of the author's characters. 100,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312655457 Whereas Penny's superb Bury Your Dead (2010) was an elaborately constructed crime novel incorporating three freestanding stories, her latest in the Inspector Armand Gamache series is much more focused. The action, of course, is centered in Three Pines, the Brigadoon-like village outside of Montreal, a seemingly idyllic oasis from civilization except for the remarkable number of murders that occur there. This time the body is discovered during a party in celebration of Clara Morrow's breakthrough art show in Montreal. The victim, art critic Lillian Dyson, was a childhood friend of Clara's, but her savage review of Clara's work early in her career put an end to that. Gamache and his team, including the troubled Jean Guy Beauvoir, gather at Three Pines yet again to make sense of the crime. While the investigation burrows deep into the cutthroat art world, the narrative line is fairly straightforward, building to an Agatha Christie-like finale in which all the suspects gather for dinner at Clara's home. Readers who have watched Penny's novels develop from character-driven cozies into deeply textured, multifaceted crime fiction may find this one just a bit disappointing but only in context. Like P. D. James, Penny shows how the tight structure of the classical mystery story can accommodate a wealth of deeply felt emotions and interpersonal drama. . HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Penny's remarkable string of successes and awards has moved her to the top of the genre. A 100,000 first printing and the attendant publicity will ensure that her latest effort finds the author's adoring audience quickly.--Ott, Bil. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312655457 This follow-up to the Agatha Award--winning Bury Your Dead finds Armand Gamache, chief inspector of the Montreal police force, and Beauvoir, his lieutenant, still healing physically and psychologically from a fatal police operation gone awry. But this doesn't prevent them from taking on yet another murder case in the secluded village of Three Pines. When resident artist Clara Morrow's solo show at Montreal's premier art museum causes a sensation in the art world, it sets into motion a series of events that expose the vicious jealousies of artists and dealers. Clara's joy rapidly gives way to perplexity when the body of her sociopathic, long-estranged roommate is found in her garden. Gamache's investigation reveals the sad panoply of crippling human aspirations and failures. VERDICT Readers who love literary mystery writers such as Donna Leon will enjoy Penny's latest excellent series entry. [100,000-copy first printing.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781427213204 In Penny's latest whodunit in this popular series, Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec and his assistant, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, are back in the small village of Three Pines. This time, the sleuths are called to the home of artist Clara Morrow when a corpse is discovered in the garden. Veteran Penny narrator Ralph Cosham-whose British accent in no way hinders him from lapsing into Quebecois when necessary-reads with a mellow baritone that is an ideal match for the thoughtful Gamache. Additionally, he succeeds at creating voices for other continuing characters, including the sardonic, psychically damaged Beauvoir and the hapless but undaunted Clara. Cosham also ably renders the emotional art crowd, the envious painters, the fiercely competitive gallery owners, the snarky, self-styled critics, and an angry and ancient poetess whose late arrival ends this beautifully performed audiobook on a perfect note. A Minotaur Books hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2012 (Best First)
Learning to swim : a novel
 Sara J Henry
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307718389 Freelance writer Troy Chance, the protagonist of Henry's impressive first novel, impulsively, and literally, dives into trouble when she sees a youngster fall from a ferry boat on Lake Champlain. Troy manages to rescue the boy, discovers that his fall was no accident, and after brief, anonymous reports to the police, embarks on an ill-conceived attempt to become the boy's protector. Bonding with the boy, she eventually learns his name, Paul Dumond; his age, six; and that he and his mother had been kidnapped and his mother later shot and killed. Troy locates Paul's Canadian father, Philippe, and reunites father and son, but she is unwilling to end her involvement. When the police can't find the kidnappers, Troy starts to probe more deeply into the lives of Philippe, his abducted wife, and Paul's captivity. Henry adroitly handles Troy's exposure to new emotions as she re-examines her life and relationships. An inconclusive ending may signal that Chance's journey is not yet over. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307718389 When Troy Chance spots what she thinks is a small boy being tossed off the back of a passing ferry, she instinctively jumps into the icy waters of Lake Champlain. She rescues the youngster and discovers that his arms were bound with an adult sweatshirt. He's incredibly frightened, speaks only French, and won't tell her what happened. Troy determines that she will keep him safe rather than turn him over to the police. When he finally begins to confide in her, he tells a bizarre tale of being kidnapped, hearing his mother murdered by gunshot, and then being held for months. As Troy tracks down the boy's father, she begins to question whether she will be able to let him go, since he has unleashed within her a maternal instinct she had no idea she possessed. In her debut, the first in a projected series, Henry proves herself to be a smooth and compelling storyteller. And her lead is highly appealing: an athletic, fiercely independent young woman who, like crime-fiction author Gillian Flynn's feisty females, is capable of making delightfully acerbic observations.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307718389 Freelance writer Troy Chance sees a child thrown from a ferry and jumps into the water to save him. Haunted by a past experience with an abandoned child, she decides to be sure that his parents weren't responsible before she notifies the police. She travels to Canada to meet with Paul's divorced father and realizes that she has become more attached to the child than she wanted to be. Accepting an invitation to stay with the family for a few days while Paul recovers from the trauma of his kidnapping, Troy finds herself falling for his father. At the same time, she is unable to leave the investigation in the hands of the police, still fearing that one of the parents could have been involved. Verdict Fans of both mystery and romantic suspense will welcome this promising new author; the unsettled ending hints at a follow-up mystery.-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
2012 (Best Paperback)
Buffalo West Wing
 Julie Hyzy
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780425239230 In Hyzy's diverting if preposterous fourth White House Chef mystery (after 2010's Eggsecutive Orders), nothing goes well for Olivia "Ollie" Paras, the White House's first female executive chef, on the arrival of the newly inaugurated U.S. president, Parker Hyden, and his family. First, Ollie stops a box of take-out chicken wings of unknown origin from reaching the Hyden children, 13-year-old Abby and nine-year-old Josh, much to the new First Lady's annoyance. The five White House staff members who eat the chicken wings, however, wind up violently ill in the hospital, where terrorists later take them hostage. To add to Ollie's woes, the Hydens' egotistical personal chef expects to be the boss in the kitchen. Ollie befriends Josh, and their developing bond, reinforced during a kidnapping incident, is one of this cozy's highlights. Recipes include a kid-friendly chicken meal. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780425239230 Hyzy's White House executive chef Olivia Paras puts in another appearance. She has just become comfortable with one First Lady when the vicissitudes of the American electoral process install a new chief executive in the West Wing. During the general tumult surrounding Inauguration Day, a box of chicken wings from a popular restaurant chain suddenly appears in the White House kitchen. Shunted off to staffers, the wings promptly sicken them. When it becomes apparent that these chicken wings were meant to surreptitiously poison Abigail and Josh, the presidential children, the Secret Service moves into high gear to uncover the mystery, and matters quickly spread far beyond the White House mess. Paras fears for her professional future when the neophyte First Lady holds her responsible for this threat to her offspring. So it's up to Paras to get to the root of the mystery.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2010 Booklist
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  Book Jacket
 
2012 (Best Non-Fiction)
The Sookie Stackhouse companion
Book Jacket   edited by Charlaine Harris
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. After 11 novels in her Sookie Stackhouse supernatural mystery series, as well as an extremely popular TV adaptation (HBO'sTrue Blood), Harris (Dead Reckoning, 2011, etc.) has provided her dedicated fanbase with this mostly superfluouscompanion work.The primary appeal of theCompanionis a new Sookie novella by Harris, "Small-Town Wedding," which finds Sookie accompanying her boss and friend Sam Merlotte to his brother's wedding in a small Texas town. Sam, a shape-shifter who can take the form of various animals, is worried about prejudice directed at his shape-shifting family now that the "two-natured" (as they're known in the series) have revealed themselves to the general public, just as vampires did in Harris' first Sookie novel,Dead Until Dark (2001). "Wedding" features a simple story that adds dimension to Harris' wider fictional world while remaining squarely focused on two of her long-running characters, and it serves as a nice spotlight for Sam and his family. The rest of the book is mostly filler, including painstakingly detailed (but completely dry) summaries of all the Sookie novels and short stories to date, as well as similarly exhaustive entries on every character, no matter how minor, who's ever appeared in the series. Those sections might at least be informative for readers who can't be bothered to check Wikipedia or fan websites, but features like the history of Harris' fan club, a selection of recipes inspired by the books and an instantly outdated interview withTrue Bloodcreator Alan Ball are almost completely useless. This hodgepodge of material will only become more irrelevant as Harris continues the series, adding narrative pieces outside of the scope of theCompanion.The previously unpublished novella is charming, but the rest of the book is for hardcore Sookie completists only.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2011 (Best Novel)
Bury your dead
Book Jacket   Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The sixth appearance of Armand Gamache, North America's most humane detective.Chief Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Sret and his associate Jean Guy Beauvoir are slowly healing from a case that turned horribly bad. Gamache spends hours reading in Qubec's Literary and Historical Society library. Beauvoir, at Gamache's instigation, reopens the Three Pines murder enquiry that sent BB owner Olivier to prison. While Beauvoir quietly interrogates the gently eccentric residents of Three Pines (The Brutal Telling, 2009, etc.) to see whether anyone else had motive to kill a hermit for his antique treasures, happenstance lands Gamache in the middle of another murder case. Augustin Renaud, obsessed with finding the burial place of idolized Qubec city founder Samuel de Champlain, lies dead in the library's basement. The riddles of who killed him and why force Gamache and his aging mentor Emile to examine 400 years of Qubec history. As they delve for clues among the library's old journals and diaries, they focus ever more closely on the endless rancor between the French and the English.Gamache's excruciating grief over a wrong decision, Beauvoir's softening toward the unconventional, a plot twist so unexpected it's chilling, and a description of Qubec intriguing enough to make you book your next vacation there, all add up to a superior read. Bring on the awards.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312377045 At the start of Agatha-winner Penny's moving and powerful sixth Chief Insp. Armand Gamache mystery (after 2009's The Brutal Telling), Gamache is recovering from a physical and emotional trauma, the exact nature of which isn't immediately disclosed, in Quebec City. When the body of Augustin Renaud, an eccentric who'd spent his life searching for the burial site of Samuel de Champlain, Quebec's founder, turns up in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society, Gamache reluctantly gets involved in the murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Gamache dispatches his longtime colleague, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, to the quiet town of Three Pines to revisit the case supposedly resolved at the end of the previous book. Few writers in any genre can match Penny's ability to combine heartbreak and hope in the same scene. Increasingly ambitious in her plotting, she continues to create characters readers would want to meet in real life. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780792773436 This sixth entry in Agatha and Anthony award-winning author Penny's (www.-louisepenny.com) Armand Gamache series is among the best. This time, the chief inspector is in Quebec City recovering from a recent traumatic incident when he becomes involved in a murder. The familiar setting of Three Pines is still featured, however, as the murder from Penny's previous title in this series, The Brutal Telling (2009), is revisited by one of Gamache's colleagues. The solutions to both killings as well as the event that drew Gamache to Quebec in the first place are all slowly and expertly revealed. British actor Ralph Cosham's narration is a bit flat, but not to the point where it detracts from the enjoyment of the book. Recommended. [The Minotaur: St. Martin's hc received a starred review, LJ 7/10.-Ed.]-Mary Knapp, Madison P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312377045 *Starred Review* Penny's first five crime novels in her Armand Gamache series have all been outstanding, but her latest is the best yet, a true tour de force of storytelling. When crime writers attempt to combine two fully fleshed plots into one book, the hull tends to get a bit leaky; Penny, on the other hand, constructs an absolutely airtight ship in which she manages to float not two but three freestanding but subtly intertwined stories. Front and center are the travails of Gamache, chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec, who is visiting an old friend in Quebec City and hoping to recover from a case gone wrong. Soon, however, he is involved with a new case: the murder of an archaeologist who was devoted to finding the missing remains of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec. As Gamache is drawn into this history-drenched investigation the victim's body was found in an English-language library, calling up the full range of animosity between Quebec's French majority and dwindling English minority he is also concerned that he might have jailed the wrong man in his last case (The Brutal Telling,2009) and orders his colleague, Jean Guy Beauvoir, back to the village of Three Pines to find what they missed the first time. Hovering over both these present investigations is the case gone wrong in the past, the details of which are gradually revealed in perfectly placed flashbacks. Penny brilliantly juggles the three stories, which are connected only by a kind of psychological membrane; as Gamache makes sense of what happened in the past, he is better able to think his way through present dilemmas. From the tangled history of Quebec to the crippling reality of grief to the nuances of friendship, Penny hits every note perfectly in what is one of the most elaborately constructed mysteries in years.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312377045 This superb mystery fast-forwards from The Brutal Telling, Penny's last novel, precipitating readers into the fictional future, as it further develops characters and plot. As always, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Montreal police is the series protagonist. Perceptive and reflective, Gamache has taken leave from his job and has repaired, sans wife, to Quebec City in order to recover from severe physical and emotional trauma incurred during a disastrous police hostage rescue mission. Plagued by his fatal mistakes, Gamache, succumbing to intrusive thoughts, incessantly relives the catastrophe. Indeed, the novel's structure replicates Gamache's thought processes, moving, in stream-of-consciousness fashion, from present to past and back again. Fortunately, Gamache is gradually drawn back to life as he happens upon a murder case. In the investigative process, he must perform meticulous research into the mystery of Quebec founder Samuel de Champlain's secret burial place. Verdict Reminiscent of the works of Donna Leon, P.D. James, and Elizabeth George, this is brilliantly provocative and will appeal to fans of literary fiction, as well as to mystery lovers. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 5/1/10; 100,000-copy first printing.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2011 (Best First)
The damage done
 Hilary Davidson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780765326973 Travel writer Lily Moore is called back to New York by news of the death of her younger sister, Claudia, but on arrival, she discovers that the body found in the bathtub of her apartment isn't Claudia's. (Lily had taken her heroin-addict sister in to save her from life on the streets, but she fled to Spain when living with Claudia became unbearable.) So who died in the apartment that Lily still pays for? Where is Claudia? And how are Claudia's close friend and onetime lover, wealthy Tariq Lawrence, and Lily's ex-fiancé, real-estate magnate Martin Sklar, involved? With the help of her best friend, Jesse, and a couple of sympathetic cops, Lily traces strands of a tangled web back to a shady rehab facility. Travel-journalist Davidson does a fine job with characterizations, gradually fleshing out the Moore sisters' backstory, and she keeps plot tangents under control to spin a tale of nonstop action with a nice final twist. An entertaining and promising crime-fiction debut, with the potential for a sequel.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765326973 In Davidson's razor sharp mystery debut, travel journalist Lily Moore, who's been living in Spain, rushes home to Manhattan's Lower East Side on learning that her younger sister, Claudia, a recovering heroin addict, has apparently drowned in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. The corpse in the morgue, however, is that of a stranger who'd been posing as Claudia for months. So where's Claudia? An increasingly frantic Lily launches her private investigation while NYPD detectives Norah Renfrew and hunky "Brux" Bruxton oversee the official one. As Lily dodges the amorous attentions of Martin Sklar, her wealthy ex-boyfriend, who she suspects might've had a secret affair with Claudia, she discovers Claudia's connection to a recently deceased "pseudopsychologist" who had a habit of getting too involved with his female patients. Davidson, herself a travel journalist (Frommer's Toronto 2010), offers a great portrait of sisterly love, despite a dysfunctional past, as well as a highly satisfying mystery. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765326973 Successful writer Lily Moore returns to New York from Spain when her heroin-addicted sister is found dead in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. Lily is shocked to find that the dead woman is not her sister but has been living as Claudia Moore for six months. Where is the real Claudia? At this very vulnerable time, Lily's ex-fiance reappears, causing further emotional turmoil, and then her life begins to disintegrate as everything that Lily believes is turned upside down. VERDICT Making a notable fiction debut, travel journalist Davidson has written an intriguing psychological mystery with a fully drawn protagonist who is surrounded by real characters who either care for her or who want her to fit their idea of who she should be. Readers will eagerly await Davidson's next book. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Even death doesn't stop the family's black sheep from causing more problems.Claudia, who ingested drugs the way most of us breathe air, apparently took her last fix, then toppled into her bathtub, where she died. Eerily, the date of her demise coincides with the anniversary of her mother's suicide. Lily, who spent years tidying up the messes left by their father's abandonment, their mother's temperament and Claudia's escapades, returns from a year doing travel writing in Spain to handle her sister's final misdeed. She's stunned to learn that the body in the tub isn't Claudia; the woman who phoned in the death has gone missing; and the new tenant in the neighboring apartment seems to know every aspect of the family's sad history. Hoping that Claudia is alive somewhere, Lily goes looking for her with the help of her chum Tiger. Her search leads to some unsettling developments. Claudia may have seduced Lily's ex-fianc Martin; Claudia's lover Tariq gets shot at; several people from the rehab center Claudia stayed at, including the corpse in the tub, are now dead. There will be one last revelation before all facts are known and Lily's days of mothering her sister come at last to an end.Davidson's first mystery follows 18 nonfiction books. The story is zealously overplotted, but Lily's emotional center is true, and her career as a travel writer might make her a decent candidate for more temperate adventures. ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
2011 (Best Paperback)
Expiration date
 Duane Swierczynski
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312363406 In this workmanlike time travel thriller from Swierczynski (Severance Package), 37-year-old Mickey Wade, a struggling journalist who's lost his job with an alt-weekly newspaper, the Philadelphia City News, accepts his mother's suggestion to move into his grandfather's apartment in the city's seedy Frankford neighborhood. After popping some long-expired Tylenols for a hangover, Wade is transported back to February 22, 1972, the day he was born. Wade's time-traveling self proves vulnerable to light, as shown by his losing two fingers. On returning to the present, Wade finds those fingers restored but without feeling. Subsequent deliberate trips into the past give Wade some background on the great trauma of his life, the apparently motiveless stabbing murder of his father, a musician known as the Human Jukebox. Predictable complications follow from Wade's efforts to prevent the killing. This one will appeal mainly to Swierczynski fans. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312363406 Swierczynski (Severance Package, 2007) originally planned to write this beguiling, pulp-style mix of fantasy and mystery as a magazine serial, but when the New York Times Magazine bowed out of the fiction business, he turned it into a stand-alone novel. Mickey Wade, an unemployed journalist, moves into his grandfather's apartment in the family's old Philadelphia neighborhood and, after gobbling a few aspirin to fight a hangover, finds himself beamed back to the day of his birth in 1972. Turns out those weren't your garden-variety aspirin but, rather, the pills a crackpot scientist had created as part of a government-funded plan to investigate out-of-body travel. Only, in Mickey's case, he can only go back to the early 1970s. But there's plenty to do there: if he can somehow divert the young boy who will eventually murder Mickey's father, he can change his family's history. Swierczynski cleverly melds the thriller and fantasy elements (especially the notion of nonlinear time), producing a thoroughly readable, suspenseful romp that evokes John D. MacDonald's pulp classic The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
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  Book Jacket
 
2011 (Best Graphic Novel)
The chill
Book Jacket   writer, Jason Starr ; art, Mick Bertilorenzi ; letters, Clem Robins
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781401212865 In 1967 on the County Clare coast, Arlana discovers she is erotically gifted, which is bad news for her boyfriend, though her pop is overjoyed. Fast-forward to present-day New York, where three undergrads' night out leads to the decapitation of the one who scores. Hunky homicide dick Pavano encounters a major hitch when everyone who saw the victim's apparent pickup describes her radically differently, and a surveillance camera disagrees with all of them. A laid-off Boston cop an Irish immigrant, as it happens horns in on Pavano after a second sensational murder, with similar details, occurs. He acts as loony as the story of ritual murder he tells, but, of course, he's right on the money. Pavano almost becomes another victim before the killings stop. Well, at least these killings stop. For his thirteenth crime novel, Starr goes graphic and adds lethally dark fantasy to the mix. Bertilorenzi's black-and-white art is too superheroic for the story's would-be noirish aura, though about right for its supernatural trappings.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781401212865 There seems to be a serial killer at work in New York, hacking up young men in elaborately grotesque ways, and a drunken ex-cop claims that it is the work of some sort of druidic witch, eating souls for immortality. But there's never any mystery or suspense, just one chase from something to something else, with a lot of yelling and killing going on. Starr is known for his novels, including Panic Attack, but his first graphic novel misses the mark. The ugly and nasty script claims it is neo-noir, but it's actually splatterpunk, with a lot of plot holes. Why are the FBI such interfering jerks? No reason, except to frustrate the heroes' attempts. Meanwhile, the borderline racist caricatures of the Irish and Irish druids are practically embarrassing. Bertilorenzi's art is a cut-rate mishmash of Hellboy and Dylan Dog. Often the book feels as if it was a script for the old Night Stalker TV show rewritten as a Cinemax soft-porn movie. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781401212865 Best-selling author Starr tries his hand at graphic novels with this supernatural murder mystery steeped in sex and violence. Heroine Arlana has the power to freeze young men whilst in the throes of passion. Her magical ability has its roots in ritualistic sacrifice, which her abusive father continues to exploit, forcing her to lure young men to their deaths so that he may feast on their remains and retain eternal vigor. The true suspense in this book isn't whether the stock characters-a grizzled NYPD detective, a shady FBI agent, a mentally unsound old timer-will catch the killers, but how and when. The bold, atmospheric artwork of Mick Bertiorenzi steals the show, bringing gritty city streets, dirty back alleys, and foreboding industrial spaces to life with detail and personality. Verdict For readers accustomed to hard-edged crime dramas, this is a quick, uncomplicated read. It's not a cozy mystery, however. Copious nudity, graphic sex, and unsettling murder scenes comprise the bulk, so YA librarians take note.-M. Brandon Robbins, Wayne Cty. P.L., Goldsboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781401212865 Gr 9 Up-The scene is rural Ireland in 1967. Two young lovers are becoming intimate when Arlana inadvertently does something to her boyfriend, Martin Cleary. She nearly kills him. When she runs to her father for help, he savagely beats her and ominously says, "Your time has come!" Fast forward to present-day New York City. Young men keep meeting the woman of their dreams, only to be savagely murdered when they start to get lucky. An older Martin Cleary figures out that Arlana and her father have traveled to the New World to spread their Druidic nightmare overseas. How can an old man stop such powerful magic? This graphic novel, set in a noir-type world, lacks a coherent story and solid plot. Arlana, the one female character, is depicted as both victim and seductress in equal measure. Readers will feel little sympathy for her situation because it's never really clear why she's following her father's evil wishes. The overall story is scrapped for gratuitous sex, violence, and seemingly every character swearing for no reason other than shock value. The spooky twist at the end will leave most readers underwhelmed.-Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781401212865 In 1967 on the County Clare coast, Arlana discovers she is erotically gifted, which is bad news for her boyfriend, though her pop is overjoyed. Fast-forward to present-day New York, where three undergrads' night out leads to the decapitation of the one who scores. Hunky homicide dick Pavano encounters a major hitch when everyone who saw the victim's apparent pickup describes her radically differently, and a surveillance camera disagrees with all of them. A laid-off Boston cop an Irish immigrant, as it happens horns in on Pavano after a second sensational murder, with similar details, occurs. He acts as loony as the story of ritual murder he tells, but, of course, he's right on the money. Pavano almost becomes another victim before the killings stop. Well, at least these killings stop. For his thirteenth crime novel, Starr goes graphic and adds lethally dark fantasy to the mix. Bertilorenzi's black-and-white art is too superheroic for the story's would-be noirish aura, though about right for its supernatural trappings.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781401212865 There seems to be a serial killer at work in New York, hacking up young men in elaborately grotesque ways, and a drunken ex-cop claims that it is the work of some sort of druidic witch, eating souls for immortality. But there's never any mystery or suspense, just one chase from something to something else, with a lot of yelling and killing going on. Starr is known for his novels, including Panic Attack, but his first graphic novel misses the mark. The ugly and nasty script claims it is neo-noir, but it's actually splatterpunk, with a lot of plot holes. Why are the FBI such interfering jerks? No reason, except to frustrate the heroes' attempts. Meanwhile, the borderline racist caricatures of the Irish and Irish druids are practically embarrassing. Bertilorenzi's art is a cut-rate mishmash of Hellboy and Dylan Dog. Often the book feels as if it was a script for the old Night Stalker TV show rewritten as a Cinemax soft-porn movie. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781401212865 Best-selling author Starr tries his hand at graphic novels with this supernatural murder mystery steeped in sex and violence. Heroine Arlana has the power to freeze young men whilst in the throes of passion. Her magical ability has its roots in ritualistic sacrifice, which her abusive father continues to exploit, forcing her to lure young men to their deaths so that he may feast on their remains and retain eternal vigor. The true suspense in this book isn't whether the stock characters-a grizzled NYPD detective, a shady FBI agent, a mentally unsound old timer-will catch the killers, but how and when. The bold, atmospheric artwork of Mick Bertiorenzi steals the show, bringing gritty city streets, dirty back alleys, and foreboding industrial spaces to life with detail and personality. Verdict For readers accustomed to hard-edged crime dramas, this is a quick, uncomplicated read. It's not a cozy mystery, however. Copious nudity, graphic sex, and unsettling murder scenes comprise the bulk, so YA librarians take note.-M. Brandon Robbins, Wayne Cty. P.L., Goldsboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781401212865 Gr 9 Up-The scene is rural Ireland in 1967. Two young lovers are becoming intimate when Arlana inadvertently does something to her boyfriend, Martin Cleary. She nearly kills him. When she runs to her father for help, he savagely beats her and ominously says, "Your time has come!" Fast forward to present-day New York City. Young men keep meeting the woman of their dreams, only to be savagely murdered when they start to get lucky. An older Martin Cleary figures out that Arlana and her father have traveled to the New World to spread their Druidic nightmare overseas. How can an old man stop such powerful magic? This graphic novel, set in a noir-type world, lacks a coherent story and solid plot. Arlana, the one female character, is depicted as both victim and seductress in equal measure. Readers will feel little sympathy for her situation because it's never really clear why she's following her father's evil wishes. The overall story is scrapped for gratuitous sex, violence, and seemingly every character swearing for no reason other than shock value. The spooky twist at the end will leave most readers underwhelmed.-Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2011 (Best Non-fiction)
Agatha Christie's secret notebooks : fifty years of mysteries in the making
Book Jacket   John Curran
 
2010 (Best Novel)
The brutal telling
 Louise Penny
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312377038 Having won numerous mystery prizes, including the prestigious Arthur Ellis and Anthony awards for her debut, Still Life, Canadian author Penny has only gotten better with each succeeding novel. Her fifth in the series is the finest of all. Featuring series protagonist Chief Inspector Gamache, this literary mystery explores the ways in which sins of the past have a way of resurrecting themselves, wreaking havoc upon their perpetrators, and, unfortunately, the innocent. Thus, when a hermit is slain in the woods near an isolated village in rural Quebec, secrets surface, unmasking characters who have adopted benign personae to conceal their questionable past deeds. Fortunately, sagacious Gamache possesses the acumen to peel away the layers of deceit and to expose the truth. Verdict This superb novel will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated literary mysteries in the tradition of Donna Leon. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 6/1/09; 100,000-copy first printing; library marketing campaign.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312377038 *Starred Review* This fifth in Penny's celebrated Armand Gamache series finds the chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec returning once again to the tiny village of Three Pines, where murder seems to disrupt the comfortable routines of the residents with alarming frequency. This time the body of an unknown man has turned up on the floor of the village bistro and antique shop. With a sophistication and a sense of empathy that will remind readers of P. D. James' Adam Dalgleish, Gamache and his team tease information out of the recalcitrant locals, many of whom have appeared in previous books. When the identity of the man, a hermit who was living in a cabin deep in the woods, is finally revealed, the case expands its boundaries, as Penny leapfrogs gracefully from village rivalries and festering grudges to the international antiques trade and the works of legendary Canadian artist Emily Carr. What holds the book together, though, is the calming presence of Gamache, whose mix of erudition and intuition draws readers in just as it lulls suspects into revealing a little too much. Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie, and while there is a surface resemblance there, it sells her short. Her characters are too rich, her grasp of nuance and human psychology too firm for the formula-bound Christie. No, Penny belongs in the hands of those who read not only P. D. James but also Donna Leon, who, like Penny, mixes her hero's family and professional lives fluidly and with a subtle grasp of telling detail.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2009 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312377038 When the body of an unknown old man turns up in a bistro in Agatha-winner Penny's excellent fifth mystery set in the Quebec village of Three Pines (after Jan. 2009's A Rule Against Murder), Chief Insp. Armand Gamache investigates. At a cabin in the woods apparently belonging to the dead man, Gamache and his team are shocked to discover the remote building is full of priceless antiquities, from first edition books to European treasures thought to have disappeared during WWII. When suspicion falls on one of Three Pines' most prominent citizens, it's up to Gamache to sift through the lies and uncover the truth. Though Gamache is undeniably the focus, Penny continues to develop her growing cast of supporting characters, including newcomers Marc and Dominique Gilbert, who are converting an old house-the site of two murders-into a spa. Readers keen for another glimpse into the life of Three Pines will be well rewarded. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Chief Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Sret is again called to restore order to the tiny Quebecois hamlet of Three Pines. Olivier and Gabri, gay owners of the Bistro and BB, insist they that they don't know the dead man and can't imagine how he came to be lying on their floor. That's not quite the truth, but it's merely the setup for the first of many surprises. The real story will unravel for Gamache and his subordinates Beauvoir and Lacoste in startling ways. These include the discovery that the corpse has been moved three times by two different people; the return of a father declared dead over 20 years ago; a word woven into a spider's web; and the disclosure of several wood carvings emanating evil that require Gamache to fly to British Columbia and inspect totem poles. Priceless antiques sequestered in a hermit's cabin and sorrowful tales of Czech citizens cheated of their belongings will come to light before Gamache, to his considerable distress, will have to arrest a friend. Penny (A Rule Against Murder, 2009, etc.) is a world-class storyteller. If you don't want to move to Montreal with Gamache as your neighboror better yet, relocate to Three Pines and be welcomed into its community of eccentricsyou have sawdust in your veins, which must be very uncomfortable. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2010 (Best First)
A bad day for sorry
 Sophie Littlefield
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312559205 Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on. After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victimhood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son. Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312559205 Stella Hardesty's sideline business delivering justice to men who abuse women has earned her a reputation far beyond her home in rural Prosper, Missouri. By day she's the sole operator of Hardesty Sewing Machine Sales & Repair, started with her wife-beater husband, Ollie, before he died (after his head connected with the wrench in Stella's hand). When Roy Dean Shaw gets a very pointed warning from handgun-toting Stella to stay away from Chrissy, the wife he beats, Stella's job seems to be done until someone takes off with Chrissy's 18-month-old son. Stella's concern for the missing child is great enough to involve Sheriff Goat Jones in the case, but not before launching her own clandestine and well-armed search, along with a newly fierce Chrissy. Ass-whuppin' 50-year-old Stella is nothing if not inventive, from using high-quality sexual restraints on abusers to going toe to toe with some very bad Mafia types; she's ably backed up by Goat, a divorcee who sends Stella sexual vibes and winks at her vigilantism. Littlefield puts a new spin on middle-age sleuths in this rollicking, rip-roaring debut.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2009 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Renegade justice takes a turn when a domestic-violence case becomes a kidnapping. Stella Hardesty is no lady. She owns a small sewing shop in the depths of Missouri, but she's also got a side job delivering her own special brand of justice to dealers of domestic violence. It's her way of giving back after a life with Ollie, her own death-do-us-part abuser. Having disposed of him years ago, she's managed to keep this little domestic secret and her side job from the watchful eyes of Sheriff Goat Jones. Too bad, too, because she wouldn't mind spending a little more time in the gaze of those eyes. Stella's got a routine down pat: five days a week peddling sewing goods to old ladies, the other two for extracurriculars. When she spots poor Chrissy Shaw, who suffers regularly at the hands of her loser husband Roy Dean, Stella makes a quick visit to Roy Dean and thinks she's taken care of the situation. But then Chrissy's two-year-old son Tucker disappears, with Roy Dean the obvious suspect. Preliminary investigations suggest that the story is far more complex than Stella ever imagined. In addition, Chrissy's quite a bit tougher than Stella figured. Will the two be able to team up and figure out where Tucker's stashed while staying under Goat's radar? First-timer Littlefield creates characters with just the right quirks who charm even in the face of unrealistic plot turns. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2010 (Best Paperback)
Starvation Lake : a mystery
Book Jacket   Bryan Gruley
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781416563624 Gruley's outstanding debut effortlessly incorporates his inside knowledge of both the newspaper business and his hockey avocation into a tale of violence and betrayal that will remind many of Dennis Lehane. After crossing an ethical line while writing an investigative series for the Detroit Times, reporter Gus Carpenter has returned to his hometown of Starvation Lake, Mich., to work for the local paper, whose stories mostly reflect the pedestrian and placid nature of smalltown life. That changes when evidence surfaces that the town's legendary hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, who disappeared after an apparent snowmobile accident a decade earlier, was actually murdered. Carpenter's reopening of the case, which has personal resonance for him (he'd been the goalie for the amateur boys' team Blackburn coached), shakes all sorts of skeletons loose. Gruley, the Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau chief, has a gift for making all his characters, from the leads to the bit players, realistic. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Ten years after it disappears beneath the icy waters of Starvation Lake, a beloved hockey coach's snowmobile is found in another lake. Jack Blackburn had it all. His players adored him, and his success in bringing them closer and closer to the Michigan championship put his adopted town on the map, brought a welcome influx of new investment capital and made him the first citizen of the hockey-mad hamlet. Now the snowmobile on which his assistant Leo Redpath watched him sink into Starvation Lake has turned up five miles away. Did it drift there through an underground tunnel, or is there a more sinister explanation? Gus Carpenter, the former goalie who blew the state championship game for Blackburn's finest team, would seem the logical person to investigate. But Gus's experience digging up juicy stories for the Detroit Times has come at a high price, and not even his secluded gig as associate editor of the Pine County Pilot can prevent his scandalous past from resurfacing. Gus's struggle with this new mystery is complicated by his old rival Teddy Boynton's attempt to put Soupy Campbell, Gus's best friend, out of business, and by his painful discovery that all the people he's been closest to, from his mother to his old girlfriend to his society columnist, have been hoarding secrets that have made them strangers to him. Gruley's debut is generously plotted and rewardingly solid on character and atmosphere, though most readers will be ahead of Gus every step of the way. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781416563624 *Starred Review* Gus Carpenter's big-city journalistic career has gone down in flames, and he returns to Starvation Lake, a faded resort town at the northern end of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. There, he faces another ignominy: everyone in town remembers that he is the goalie who gave up the winning goal in the state ice-hockey championship more than a decade before, and many relate the town's economic slide to that loss. Soon after his return, evidence that might explain the mysterious snowmobiling death of Gus' coach is found, and as de facto editor of the local paper, Gus must pursue the truth but the cost of redemption is high, for everyone. Starvation Lake is a wonderfully polished and assured first novel. Gruley's portrayal of a struggling small town in a harsh environment rings with authenticity. His characters are believable small-town archetypes; some are self-aware, some are in denial, others are oblivious. The plot is convoluted, but Gruley maintains the suspense very effectively. Ice-hockey scenes not only advance the plot but also offer insights into the sport's culture and its importance to small, very cold towns. Many good crime novels appear every month, but few have the depth and poignancy of Starvation Lake, which deserves comparison with Dennis Lehane's Mystic River.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2009 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781416563624 The discovery of pieces of a snowmobile owned by the late Jack Blackburn, the much revered hockey coach in Starvation Lake, MI, prompts a new look into what happened ten years earlier, when Blackburn perished in the frozen water. Gus Carpenter, recently returned from Detroit after a failed attempt at working for a bigger publication, edits the local newspaper. With a young journalist, he works on the Blackburn story and uncovers some secrets no one wants exposed. In confronting the ghosts from his past and the evils of the present, Carpenter finds his moral and ethical footing. Gruley, a Michigan native, an amateur hockey player, and the Chicago bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, has written a terrific first novel about what it means to be a journalist. Full of insider knowledge about hockey and great local color, this is not to be missed. Highly recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2010 (Best Non-fiction)
Talking about detective fiction
Book Jacket   PD James
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307592828 One of the most widely read and respected writers of detective fiction, James (The Private Patient) explores the genre's origins (focusing primarily on Britain) and its lasting appeal. James cites Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone, published in 1868, as the first detective novel and its hero, Sergeant Cuff, as one of the first literary examples of the professional detective (modeled after a real-life Scotland Yard inspector). As for Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, James argues that their staying power has as much to do with the gloomy London atmosphere, "the enveloping miasma of mystery and terror," as with the iconic sleuth. Devoting much of her time to writers in the Golden Age of British detective fiction (essentially between the two world wars), James dissects the work of four heavyweights: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. Though she's more appreciative of Marsh and Allingham (declaring them "novelists, not merely fabricators of ingenious puzzles"), James acknowledges not only the undeniable boost these women gave to the genre but their continuing appeal. For crime fiction fans, this master class from one of the leading practitioners of the art will be a real treat. 9 illus. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780792769040 James, who turns 90 in August, wrote this Edgar Award-winning book on the history, development, and craft of detective fiction as a charitable contribution to the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library. Exploring the genre in great detail, she begins with Wilkie Collins's seminal 1868 novel, The Moonstone, also discussing the Golden Age of British detective fiction that gave us the works of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, among others. James additionally addresses her own contributions to the genre; namely, her Adam Dalgliesh series. Throughout, her prose is as clear and precise as her readers and listeners have come to expect. Actress/writer Diana Bishop does an extraordinary job of narrating this material; her British accent is crisp and lucid, and her pacing is perfect for optimal understanding by American audiences. Highly recommended for James's fans as well as anyone interested in fiction writing and literary history. The Knopf hc was described as being "entertaining [and] approachable.an appealing read for a wide audience," LJ 1/10.-Ed.]-Barbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307592828 In 2006, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University asked celebrated novelist P. D. James to write about British detective fiction. Had they requested this of James 20 or even 30 years ago, the result would have been much the same. James pontificates on detective fiction, primarily British but with an occasional nod to American writers, as if she has just emerged from the 1950s or1960s. Except for a reference to Sara Paretsky, which sticks out like a body in the library, this overview is decidedly old school. What makes her fairly conventional history worthwhile, however, is the personality of James herself. She talks about her own methods for coming up with ideas and for plotting. She talks about how Agatha Christie broke some of the most cherished rules of crime fiction. And the book is filled with quirky asides for example, James holds that the formation of a British police force in 1842 made detective fiction possible. It's like sitting across from James over tea, and that, naturally, is a delight.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307592828 James, who lives and breathes detective fiction, tackles her genre in this examination of British detective fiction. It is important to note this is not literary criticism in the academic sense. James will introduce readers to lesser-known detectives from the past, such as two from the 1920s: H.C. Bailey's doctor Reggie Fortune and Gladys Mitchell's psychiatrist Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley. Because of these types of discoveries, the volume has the potential to stimulate investigations beyond the text. James includes chapters on Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown; a brief nod to Americans Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler; and a discussion of four women writers: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. She is not afraid to share her opinion of writers' strengths and weaknesses, especially when the focus is on Christie. VERDICT Considering James's devoted following and her highly recognizable name, there is sure to be interest amongst fans and readers of detective fiction. The writing is entertaining, approachable, and interesting, and this makes it an appealing read for a wide audience.-Stacy Russo, Chapman Univ. Libs., Orange, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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