Mystery & Crime Book Reviews

THE LAKE DISTRICT MURDER by John Bude
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Period reticence apart, the most notable impression this old-school procedural leaves is how remarkably little the formula has changed over the years."
Poisoned Pen follows its recent publication of Bude's first novel (The Cornish Coast Murder) by reprinting his second, which was first published, like its predecessor, in 1935 and marks the debut of his doughty series detective, Inspector Meredith. Read full book review >
THE KNIFE SLIPPED by Erle Stanley Gardner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"For all its pulpy limitations, this road not taken is worth reading if only for its heroine's hard-boiled wisdom: 'You can't have understanding without empathy, and you can't have empathy without losing money.'"
A remarkable discovery: not a new novel about Bertha Cool and Donald Lam but their second adventure, originally written in 1939 but unpublished till now. Read full book review >

BRAZEN by Loren D. Estleman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Middling, highly proficient work from a pro who makes a virtue of economy by getting every chapter, scene, and sentence to pull its weight and then some."
Who says blondes have more fun? Certainly not the three women who are killed in unnervingly precise restagings of the death scenes of real-life Hollywood blondes. Read full book review >
THE CHOSEN by Kristina Ohlsson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Warning to the squeamish: things turn out much worse than you could have expected. In retrospect, it's hard to see how it could have been otherwise."
A series of horrific crimes against Stockholm's Jewish community has its roots in the Holy Land, which has never seemed less holy than it does here. Read full book review >
WHO WATCHETH  by Helene Tursten
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Proficient, unexceptionable work for readers who haven't had enough of self-righteous serial killers targeting helpless women beneath Nordic skies."
Göteborg's Violent Crimes Unit sets its sights on a killer who takes an unusually retributive view toward sins of the flesh. Read full book review >

THE GENTLEMAN FROM JAPAN by James Church
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"The sixth outing for Church's wise inspector creates an intriguing synergy, with many insights into international culture and a complex plot."
A Chinese State Security officer follows a tantalizing trail to neutralize a devastating menace. Read full book review >
OUT OF BOUNDS by Val McDermid
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"This wayward and entertaining mystery has the grace of a heroine on the verge of coming into her own as a character whom readers will want to spend time with."
A fatal car crash leads to information about a cold murder case in the fourth DCI Karen Pirie mystery. Read full book review >
PLAID AND PLAGIARISM by Molly MacRae
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"This series kickoff from MacRae (Wilder Rumors, 2007, etc.) is chock-full of intriguing characters and Highland charm. Maybe a little too full: it could have done with some judicious pruning."
Four ladies who've purchased a bookshop in the Scottish Highlands find murder messing up their plans. Read full book review >
A DECLINE IN PROPHETS  by Sulari Gentill
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"A delightful period piece."
A wealthy, bohemian Australian artist is forced to become an amateur sleuth. Read full book review >
LIES OF THE LAND by Chris Dolan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Glasgow is as much a character—and as contradictory a mix of light and dark—as Dolan's very human heroine in this complex sequel to Potter's Field (2015)."
The murder of a prominent Scottish lawyer reopens an old case and new wounds. Read full book review >
ESCAPE TO HAVANA by Nick Wilkshire
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"A bit of romance, a bit of gentle humor, several bits of official corruption and drug-related violence, and a chance for the mild-mannered hero to rise to an impossible challenge. It doesn't hold together any better than this summary suggests, but individual bites are tasty enough."
Wilkshire (Thin Ice, 2014, etc.) kicks off a new series by packing middle-aged pencil-pusher Charlie Hillier off to Havana as the Canadian Embassy's new Management Consular Officer. Read full book review >
BEYOND THE TRUTH by Anne Holt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"The detection is labored, but the family of suspects is memorably monstrous, and Holt (No Echo, 2016, etc.) even finds time for a welcome and touching Christmas miracle. Ho, ho, ho."
Chief Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen rings in the most wonderful time of the year by investigating a murderous assault on the clan connected with an Oslo shipping company. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Kendare Blake
November 16, 2016

Bestseller Kendare Blake’s latest novel, Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. The last queen standing gets the crown. “Gorgeous and bloody, tender and violent, elegant, precise, and passionate; above all, completely addicting,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >