Buzz Bin (reviews) from issue 56

BittersweetBITTERSWEET (Crown) by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is a perfect summer read. Scholarship student Mabel Dagmar is going to an exclusive East Coast school and very quickly finds herself fitting into a lifestyle she could only dream of. He is invited to spend the summer with her old moneyed roommate at the family estate. Mabel discovers that she could actually be a part of this and have this life, but she also discovers that it comes at a price that she isn’t sure she wants to pay. A bit reminiscent of the way Ross MacDonald wrote about families of privilege this was engaging and had great payoff.

Sharon Bolton returns to bookshelves everywhere with A DARK AND TWISTED TIDE (Minotaur). If you’ve yet to introduce yourself to protagonist Lacey Flint jump right in, the water is fine. Well the water’s great unless you’re the corpse Lacey find’s one summer’s morning. Lacey, now living on a houseboat and part of London’s river culture is quickly drawn into the investigation. She may have begun her career as a Marine Police but as it becomes apparent she was meant to find the body, her detective skills refuse to remain silent.

directTHE DIRECTIVE (Little, Brown) is Matthew Quirk’s follow up to his debut THE 500. Mike Ford is back, living a quiet life in the ’burbs, working his law degree and laying low …. Until his brother arrives in town. Threatened into planning a heist on the Federal Reserve Bank, Ford finds himself seduced by the shadier side of life. When he discovers that the evil all around is much closer to home and much larger than imagined author Quirk uses his keyboard to dazzle us with a bevy of plot twists and reveals sure to make this a favorite summer read.

Jan Merete is one of Soho Press’s newer writers. Her sophomore outing A FEW DROPS OF BLOOD is on shelves now. Captain Natalia Monte is a high profile police officer in the Naples force. She is assigned to investigate the murder of two men found in a Countess’s garden and quickly realizes the sleazier side of Naples Art world is involved. The weaving of Naples history and current political and social climate is woven into well done police procedural. Looks like I’ll be visiting Naples on an annual basis.

goodAntonio Hill brings back Inspector Salgado in THE GOOD SUICIDES (Crown) once again promising to keep readers on the edge of their seats. After a cosmetics company has a retreat which is one of the fun new things companies do to make people feel like team members the people that were there each get strange emails and then start killing themselves. Salgado is deep into the case that is shaking more than just the corporate folks in Barcelona. The suspense in this book is beautifully laid out and watching as Salgado works his way through the case is pure joy and the reason we read mysteries.

FACEOFF (Simon & Schuster) is a collection of short stories that should be read by any and all Thriller fans and dabblers. David Baldacci has collected and edited an amazing collection of short stories that feature not one but two of the genre’s favorite characters. In a stroke of genius this collection of stories features 11 short stories written by 22 of our favorite authors. Opening with Michael Connelly’s Bosch and Dennis Lehane’s Kenzie joining forces to look for a missing child, each story is a gem. It’s impossible to pick a favorite and was such a pleasure to be introduced to the two characters I’d never read before. This book is dedicated to David Morrell and Gayle Lynds for everything they have done for the Thriller community. It is a fitting tribute.

Bliss is a new Scott Phillips novel. In HOP ALLEY (Counterpoint Press), Phillips delivers another snapshot of history as seen through the life and times of photographer Bill Ogden. Set in the Denver of 1878 this slim volume will delight returning readers with a missing piece of Ogden’s history. New readers have a wonderful place to jump into the wonderful settings only Phillip’s can deliver and a wordcraft that makes all of his novels MUST reads.

Debut novel THE INTERN’S HANDBOOK (Simon and Schuster) by Shane Kuhn is just the kind of book we love to read. Fast paced, some great humor thrown in and characters that are a little bit out of step. John Lago is an assassin who pulls off his jobs by being a faceless intern, access and invisibility both working for him. But he’s reached the age that he will start to stick out as it is a young person’s game. He takes on one last job and along the way runs into a complication of a woman he might be falling for but also works for the FBI. Really looking forward to the next book by this new author. On our short list for best debut of the year.

With all the popularity and interest in Sherlock Holmes peaking again this release is perfectly timed. THE LEGEND OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (Lanternfish Press) collects11 stories of the famous detective starting the case that ended Moriarty. The rest are all post Moriarty and take Holmes from 1894 to 1914. If you are digging the Holmes stuff on TV and on the big screen you need to read these.

Remember this name. Jonathan Wood. The name of the book is NO HERO (Titan Books) and two sequels YESTERDAY’S HERO & ANTI-HERO are already on the docket. Protagonist Arthur Wallace is minding his own business, solving another murder when lo and behold, tentacles appear on the corpse. And we’re off. Arthur becomes a member of the secret government Agency MI37 fighting evil from another dimension. Full of one liners and humorous plotting that will have you queuing up Ghostbusters and Men in Black on your Netflix, this is one of those light hearted readable paperbacks that goes down so well on a trip or of a weekend. Bonus points for all the movie references.

Wallace Stroby doesn’t pull any punches in his latest, SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST. It’s a high stacks game with Crissa Stone, professional thief, on the run from bad cops and drug dealers after pulling off a heist that ends up going south. Great action and a story that moves like a TransAm on nitro this book is impossible to put down. Stroby is one of the new kings of hard boiled fiction.

STAYDEADFLATSTAY DEAD (Thomas and Mercer) from Anne Frasier is out now. The book opens with Elise Sandburg recovering from last year’s STAY DEAD. Elise rests at her deceased aunt Anastasia’s plantation sorting through feelings about her job an d her partner, David. The Organ Thief is still out there, Aunt Anastasia may not be dead, and trouble seems to be finding her. It’s time to get back to work. Frasier’s mix of Police Procedural and the local culture with her engaging heroine makes this series one to be read!

Alison Gaylin’s STAY WITH ME (Harper– mass paperback) is out June 24th, just in time for that first trip to the shore! Brenna Spector has autobiographical memory of her adult life but no clarity as to why her sister Clea disappeared 30 years ago. In SWM her growing obsession with that long ago crime takes on an urgency when her own Daughter, Maya disappears. Is it coincidence, a cat and mouse game or something even more evil. Brenna must use all of her PII skills to get to the end of this tale. Brenna is “one of the most memorable protagonists to come along in years” Laura Lippman . You know you want to meet her.

SUSPICION (Dutton) from Joe Finder should come with a warning on the title page/ “Do not open this book unless you have a window to read straight through.” Finder is back with his brilliant mix of dialog, characters and visual action. The plot of SUSPICION is more personal. Single parent Danny is afraid he’s going to have to pull his daughter out of school when one of her classmate’s dads offers him a loan. Thomas Galvin is an extremely successful Boston business man and so Danny accepts with some trepidation. The trepidation quickly turns to fear when the DEA comes knocking, informing our hero he has just received drug money. What happens next is a brilliant bit of believable fiction that will have you turning pages, holding your breath, and cheering on the good guys until the last page is consumed.

WOLVERINE BROS. FREIGHT & STORAGE (Minotaur) is the latest Conway Sax offering from Steve Ulfelder. Conway Sax, former race car driver, recovering alcoholic and private investigator has quickly become one of Mystery’s must reads. In WBR&S, Sax is doing a favor for a friend. The book opens in LA with a complicated and highly entertaining rescue and then heads back home to Ulfelder’s Massachusetts. And what a Massachusetts it is. Sax’s favor soon involves him in a family dynamic worthy of Lear with a strong dose of murder for the discerning reader.