Buzz Bin Reviews

Following last year’s BLOOD OF THE WICKED Leighton Gage is back with his second novel, BURIED STRANGERS (Soho). Mario Silva is back in a another tale set in Brazil, this time in a case that is hampered by corruption and fear. A secret cemetery is home of dozens of corpses all missing body parts. The government is afraid it will hurt tourism, a corrupt cop want to use it as a chance to make money and it seems no one want Silva to solve the case. Atmospheric and suspenseful as all get out Gage has written another wonderful book.

Among the throng of new authors emerging this year a few are already standing out. Steven M. Forman has debuted with BOCA KNIGHTS, a wonderful PI novel that is hopefully the beginnings of a new series. Edie Perlmutter has retired from the Boston Police department and moved to Florida, hopefully to relax and help his arthritis. But being a champion of the underdogs, Eddie soon realizes that retirement may not be what he truly wants. He becomes a Private Detective and soon finds himself confronting skinheads and neck deep in trouble. Authentic Florida flavor and a realistic older hero help make this debut one to look out for.

BONES OF BETRAYAL(William Morrow) by the writing team of Dr,. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson as Jefferson Bass is their fourth work of fiction together. It’s also the best one so far. Two murders separated by 50 years are linked together by a number of strange factors, not the least of which is radiation which looks to be from Oak Ridge Tennessee, the home of part of the Manhattan Project. This books joins history together with a top notch mystery and delivers a real punch and is a book that will want you to read it non stop.

Nevada Barr is back with another Anna Pigeon adventure in BORDERLINE(GP Putnam). This time out she is in Big Bend National Park in Texas. Anna is supposed to be relaxing and on vacation but she is once again in the midst of a mystery and on the run from snipers and bad guys hunting someone in her rafting party. Things are made more difficult by the newborn infant she has wither. Fast paced and everything you would expect from this incredible author BORDLINE is another great book from Barr.

Author of CITY OF FIRE Robert Ellis is back with THE LOST WITNESS (Minotaur Books). Lena Gamble returns though disgraced after her last case. She has been punished by the higher ups by not being given any real cases. When she finally does get a real homicide to investigate it’s a real loser and may give the brass the reason they need to dump her. An unidentified body cut to pieces in a dumpster with no witnesses. Ellis write3s a great mystery and while dropping in twists and surprises he never once stops playing fairly with the reader. Getting caught up and rooting for Gamble is easy the way Ellis writes this and it’s a real joy to read.

DOORS OPEN (Orion) by Ian Rankin is now in paperback in the UK. The story was serialized in the US in the New York Times. This stand alone heist thriller has Rankin flexing some different muscles and from the looks of it he’s been working out. Heist novels are always fun and Ranking definitely seems to have fun writing this book. Mike Mackenzie plans to rob the National Gallery in Edinburgh, the catch is he doesn’t want anyone to know it was robbed. Rankin is on the top of his game here, and that’s saying something because he always plays all out.

Barry Eisler has proved his skills as a master in the thriller genre repeatedly with his John Rain series. FAULT LINE (Ballantine) is his first book outside the series and it’s an ass kicker. Lawyer Alex Trevan and his brother Ben, a shadowy operative, have been at odds for years and are a bit more than estranged. Alex ends the standoff when he is in danger and turns to the only person he know he can trust, his own brother. If Ross MacDonald wrote thrillers they may have felt like this. Outstanding. (look for an interview with Barry elsewhere in this issue)

In the tradition of such action adventure as THE DEEP and the books of Matt Reilly KRONOS (Variance) is a paperback original from Jeremy Robinson. Atticus Young is a former navy seal getting over the death of his wife when off the gulf of Maine a tragedy occurs with his daughter. It leads him on a hunt for a creature never seen before. Funded by a crazed billionaire Atticus goes all out to find Kronos. Full of twists and action packed KRONOS is relentless.

Lisa Scottoline has another winner on her hands with LOOK AGAIN (St, Martin’s). The story feels very original and it’s execution certainly is. A reporter named Ellen Gleeson discovers that her legally adopted son may actually be a missing child. Both heart breaking and intriguing this is a real tour de force. Scottoline pulls out all the stops in LOOK AGAIN.

NEMESIS by Jo Nesbo is a book that is getting a lot of buzz. It’s been picked as an Indie pick of January and is being covered everywhere. This is the Norwegian author’s second book released by Harper and is another featuring police detective Harry Hole last seen in REDBREAST. NEMESIS has a double threat with Harry trying to solve a series of savage bank robberies and at the same time trying to figure out if someone is trying to frame him for a murder. Fast paced and loaded with atmosphere this is a great read.

William Bernhardt also has a new novel named NEMESIS (Ballantine). Bernhardt’s is set in Cleveland in 1935 and it tackles Elliot Ness’s famous Torso Murders. I’ve read a number of different books about this case, some fictional and some not. This take on it is fascinating and engrossing. For fans of true crime and fiction this book will totally satisfy.

PLEA OF INSANITY (Vanguard) by Jilliane Hoffman is a legal thriller that makes this, her third book, her best yet. Julia Vacanti is a prosecutor trying to convict a man accused of killing his family. The defendant, a surgeon named David Marquette is using the insanity defense. The case is more than it seems as it appears there are a lt more bodies and in trying to win the case Julia has to face her own horrific past. Lightening fast pacing and true suspense make this book a must read.

If historical mysteries are more your thing then you really need to check out PORTRAIT OF A LADY (Berkley Prime Crime) by Diane A.S. Stuckart should be right up your alley. A Leonardo da Vinci tale set in 1483 sees conspiracy and murder challenging the famous multi talented artist. Two young female servants have died, suicides that are more than they seem and da Vinci needs to find the killer to help the Duke of Milan save face. A well researched and fun read.

John Conner is a great writer and his latest, UNSAFE (Orion) is yet another reason everybody should be reading him. Detective Karen Sharpe is a bit of a loose cannon, and after coming back after a suspension she is given a new case and a trainee to work with. Her new partner, Trainee Marcus Bradley quickly learns that Karen doesn’t mind crossing into grey areas when the case demands it, and with a child in danger he may agree. Fast moving and intelligent this is a superb example of why British writers get so much praise.

Michael Robotham’s latest, SHATTER (Doubleday) starts with an intense scene and continues to pick up speed as it continues. Joe O’Loughlin was the main character in SUSPECT and the psychologist is back in spades in this latest masterpiece from Robotham. Someone who is a master at manipulating people is driving random citizens to commit suicide. O’Loughlin is working with the coops to put a stop to it, but soon the killer is changing his focus to the people hunting him, in particular, Joe. Fast paced and exciting like a riding in a car spinning out of control this is a great book.

A new author, another from Chicago (What is in the water there?!) Bryan Gruley makes his debut with STARVATION LAKE (Touchstone). A regional mystery set in a small town in Michigan the mystery surrounds the death of a hockey coach. The protagonist is a local newspaper editor with a past that he needs to get over and in doing so find redemption. This is a wonderfully suspenseful book and Gruley’s background as a reporter really helps to make this a detailed and gripping read. We look forward to more from this new talent.

WHISPERS OF THE DEAD (Bantam UK) by Simon Beckett is another great book from this rising star. Dr. David Hunter returns in this book and also returns to the body farm in Tennessee to reinvigorate his skills and himself. His mentor asks him along to observe on a particularly gruesome case. The case is complicated as it looks like the killer as a knowledge of forensics and maybe playing games. Beckett writes a hell of novel that never lets up. It’s dark and amazing and it lingers long after the reading is done. Beckett is a new favorite here at Crimespree.

Kim Harrison in addition to being a wonderful author also has some of the coolest titles ever. The latest from Harrison os WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE (EOS) and is another in her Rachel Morgan series. Morgan is a bounty hunter and a witch and in this adventure she has a case that intersects with her hunt for her lover’s killer. She brings in all her contacts to help and the action is nonstop. In this perfect blend of thriller/supernatural/mystery Harrison excels and this is another great book from a master.