Books by Edna Buchanan

Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"The nonstop action and romance go a long way toward offsetting the frequent shapelessness of both stories—especially the tale of the real-life outlaws, which all too often reads like an extended summary of old newspaper articles."
As if reconstructing the real-life, century-old tale of Florida's most notorious outlaw couple weren't enough, Buchanan (Legally Dead, 2008, etc.) dovetails it with a parallel modern-day story in this ambitious, inventive saga. Read full book review >
LEGALLY DEAD by Edna Buchanan
Released: Aug. 12, 2008

"The creator of Britt Montero (Love Kills, 2007, etc.) keeps the pages fluttering, even though suspense doesn't begin to build until late in the game."
A disillusioned U.S. Marshal leaves the Witness Protection Program to freelance. Read full book review >
LOVE KILLS by Edna Buchanan
Released: June 12, 2007

" Final score: Britt 1, Cold Case Squad 0."
Crime reporter Britt Montero is back on the beat, this time along with the Cold Case Squad (Shadows, 2005, etc.), in an adventure that will carry her further from the Miami sunshine than she can imagine. Read full book review >
SHADOWS by Edna Buchanan
Released: June 27, 2005

"Honored veteran Buchanan (Cold Case Squad, 2004, etc.) produces another masterfully crowded canvas, even if some of the loose ends are tied up more convincingly than others."
Another double helping of ancient Miami murder for the Cold Case Squad. Read full book review >
COLD CASE SQUAD by Edna Buchanan
Released: June 1, 2004

"As a late-arriving FBI agent exults: 'Only in Miami could a pregnant Miccosukee Indian cave in the skull of a Cuban exile who has snatched a native of Croatia. By God, I love this place!' Readers will too."
A suspicious 12-year-old blaze is the main course in Buchanan's banquet of homicide served cold. Read full book review >
THE ICE MAIDEN by Edna Buchanan
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

"A powerhouse plot fueled by keen sensitivity to the devastation unsolved crimes can wreak: a standout in this irresistible series."
An incorrigible burglar who got a hotter welcome than he could have imagined kicks off Britt Montero's eighth case. The Miami News reporter (You Only Die Twice, 2001, etc.) is on hand when Det. Sgt. Craig Burch ties Andre Coney, electrocuted by a perennial victim's booby trap, to a long-ago crime of the sort Burch's Cold Crimes Squad specializes in: the kidnapping, beating, and shooting of high-school athlete Richard Lee Chance, who died in farmer Clyde Pinder's field, and Sunny Hartley, who miraculously survived. When Burch's boss soft-pedals the case, Britt goes off to ask Sunny to look over a bunch of mug shots of Coney's old pals in hopes of identifying the five men who beat and raped her and left her for dead. No way, replies the one-time victim, who's emerged from 14 years of trauma determined to leave all that behind her—the case, her grieving family, the cops who probed her memory for evidence. Toiling as a reclusive sculptor who makes decorative ice carvings to pay the rent, Sunny wants nothing to do with Britt, Burch, or their photos—especially since gang member Ronald (Mad Dog) Stokes has promised to call on her personally the minute his latest prison sentence is up. Britt picks her way through a minefield littered with half a dozen criminal and domestic subplots, from the murder of a kindly old widow to her own romantic rivalries, to unmask a series of secrets even more horrific than Sunny Hartley remembers. Read full book review >
YOU ONLY DIE TWICE by Edna Buchanan
Released: April 1, 2001

"Pruning away the tabloid crime cameos she does better than anybody else, Pulitzer-laureate Buchanan (Garden of Evil, 1999, etc.) focuses like a laser on her irresistible main event, and comes up trumps."
Buchanan, whose hooks are the best in the business, outdoes herself when the corpse Miami News police reporter Britt Montero sees wash up on a sunlit beach is identified as Kaithlin Jordan, whose husband is already on Death Row, convicted of her murder ten years ago. If the corpse really does belong to the former department-store clerk who married the owner's heir and became a crackerjack store manager before her well-publicized domestic and legal problems (allegations of a $3 million embezzlement, her separation from R.J. Jordan), its discovery raises some tough questions: What was she doing for the past ten years? Was she an amnesiac or a fugitive from justice? Why didn't she ever come forward to clear the man accused of killing her? And what brought her back to Miami to get murdered days before the state executed her husband? As Britt works her contacts—this time including an investigator for the State's Attorney who shows real promise as a romantic lead—to delve deeper into Kaithlin's life, she bumps up against some memorable characters, from R.J.'s sanctimonious mother to an impoverished friend of Kaithlin's who claims her body (along, eventually, with two other competitors) to the sleazy lawyer Kaithlin phoned from her posh hotel room shortly before she died. But none of them upstages the dead woman, who remains even beyond the last shocking revelation the most mysterious presence of all.Read full book review >
GARDEN OF EVIL by Edna Buchanan
Released: Nov. 9, 1999

"HEADLESS DRIVER CRASHES AFTER WILD MILE RIDE," shrieks the Miami News headline introducing Britt Montero's latest story. But that story's only a curtain-raiser for the veteran crime reporter's most monstrous case to date. It all begins with the murder of a Shelby County sheriff who evidently got a little too friendly with a female prisoner who fled their brief encounter with his sidearm, several boxes of expanding bullets, and a determination to keep on trucking. A trail of corpses marks the Kiss-Me Killer's path to Miami, and the murder of an all-too-deserving local politician signals her arrival. When the killer phones her office and asks for an interview, Britt's ready to drop everything—even her investigation of Althea Moran's fears that her life is in danger—to make contact. It's a decision that will end up spelling disaster for Britt, several innocent bystanders, and even Althea. Nor is it such a great deal for readers hungry for more of the quirky, colorful vignettes of big-city crime Buchanan (Margin of Error, 1997, etc.) does better than anyone else alive. Instead, as bravely but less successfully than in Pulse (1998), the Pulitzer-winning Miami News reporter leaves her unchallenged home turf for straight suspense with a moralizing edge (what makes the Kiss-Me Killer tick?) that she can't quite pull off. Alas, both the case Britt follows and the one she drops end not with a bang but a whimper. Read full book review >
PULSE by Edna Buchanan
Released: May 1, 1998

A transplant patient finds that he's bought into a lot more than another man's heart, in this greased-lightning thriller from the Pulitzer-winning crime reporter best known for her Britt Montero mysteries (Margin of Error, 1997, etc.). Overwhelmed with gratitude at the donor whose heart saved his life, Frank Douglas isn't satisfied with all the rules about confidentiality; despite his private eye's warning that the man who gave him a second chance at life probably wasn't a model citizen—now that traffic fatalities are down, most organ donors are shooting victims—he wants to locate the donor's family and thank them. And the donor he finds, suicidal businessman Daniel Alexander, turns out to be too good to be true: a man who piled up a substantial estate and left behind a tender note for his wife Rory before he blew his brains out. But just as Frank's disturbing dreams and flashbacks (as if his new heart were remembering its old life) are starting to get to him, and his family's behavior—his own wife Kathleen doesn't like the time he's spending with Rory; his teenaged daughter Shandi is defying her grounding and seeing a much older man—Frank starts to find holes in the official story of Daniel's death. In the weeks before he died, it turns out, he carefully cleaned out all the nest eggs he'd left for Rory; his body was cremated as soon as its vital organs had been harvested; and his closemouthed ex-partner Ron Harrington is killed minutes before his meeting with Frank. Could Daniel have been murdered, despite all the forensic evidence—or could he still be alive, leaving Frank with a stranger's heart? There's no leisure to worry about the subtleties of these questions, because Frank's growing intimacy with Rory has Kathleen putting pressure on him back home—pressure that'll chase him from Florida all the way to the Pacific one step ahead of the police. Buchanan rides her irresistible premise hell-for-leather all the way to the fairy-tale ending. (Author tour) Read full book review >
MARGIN OF ERROR by Edna Buchanan
Released: July 11, 1997

There's a new man in Britt Montero's life—handsome, sexy, glamorous, endlessly attentive Lance Westfell. From the moment they meet, Lance follows Britt everywhere, and no wonder: She's been assigned to feed him background for his starring role (government agent turned undercover reporter) in the new film Margin of Error. So Britt gets to squeeze this beefcake puppy dog in along with Darnell Oliver, the divorced dad who wants to get custody of his kids before his wife starves any more of them to death; Monica Atwater, the anti-gun head of the Tourist Development Association whose own AK-47 has been stolen by burglars; Randall Fairborn, the dead Metrorail security guard whose story Britt is determined to uncover; and the anonymous sicko with the shoe fetish who's been heating up her phone lines. It's only a matter of time before Britt falls for Lance, of course, and can add some of the star's rival fans to her reporter's notebook as suspects in the outbreak of sabotage and murder on the movie set: Stephanie Carrollton, who stalks him armed with the fairy tale of being his fiancÇe; Karen Sawyer, who sprays him with a blinding love potion; Lexie Duran, the supermodel who's come back to costar with him despite their recent divorce. With fans like these, who needs enemies? So many felonies you may need a map. But Britt (Act of Betrayal, 1996, etc.) stays on her supercharged caseload long enough to winnow the sheep from the goats, pluck a surprising killer from the cast, and even come to warmly convincing terms with her Hollywood hunk. Read full book review >
ACT OF BETRAYAL by Edna Buchanan
Released: Feb. 15, 1996

It's August in Miami, but the real heat wave that blows across Britt Montero's desk comes, as usual, from her newsbeat. There's the bombing execution of Cuban TV-commentator Alex Aguirre, the disappearance of teenager Charles Randolph, and the order from on high to interview Castro-hating businessman Juan Carlos Reyes, who's never liked either Britt or the Miami News. At first the Randolph story looks the hottest, even though the boy has been missing over two years, because a few days' work on the phones turns up nine other blond boys like him who've vanished over the past five years. But the biggest bombshell is Reyes's news that he was a boyhood friend of Britt's father, a Cuban ÇmigrÇ who was killed on an abortive mission to his homeland before his daughter ever got to know him, and that Antonio Montero kept a diary that must be around somewhere. Can Britt—who's also keeping company with a fearfully avid schoolkid journalist, a recent axe-killer, and the worst hurricane to hit Miami in 30 years—tear herself loose long enough to fit the pieces together? Mass murder, the heroine's confrontation with her family secrets, and a monster storm—yet it all lacks the sizzle of Miami, It's Murder (1994) and Suitable for Framing (1995), maybe because it's so obvious where the story is heading. Buchanan's most ambitious novel is less than her best. (Mystery Guild main selection; $150,000 ad/promo) Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 23, 1995

Miami never lets up—certainly not for crime reporter Britt Montero (Miami, It's Murder, 1994, etc.), who gets no more home- cooked meals or eight-hour sleeps than any of the cops on her beat. The main event this time is a series of carjackings masterminded by underage Gilberto Sanchez—self-baptized ``FMJ,'' for Full Metal Jacket—who likes to take the fight out of his victims by shooting them in the leg before he takes their wheels. Following a tip on Howie, a.k.a. Cornflake, a milder member of FMJ's gang, Britt manages to tie FMJ to a car theft that left a mother crippled and her son dead. Promising immunity for Howie, Britt persuades him to surrender to the law—and then the real trouble begins, for Britt as well as Howie. His calls for help don't get through; she starts to arrive too late to cover stories that instead go to Trish Tierney, the ambitious new kid she helped to the newsroom. Midway through this tour of America's meanest streets, it becomes obvious that Trish, not Howie, is the real story. This sweetie, who steals Britt's sources and risks lives to make stories happen, is one slick piece of work. It's almost a letdown to learn that, hours after a very public catfight with Britt outside the police station, Trish has been found murdered—with Britt the obvious suspect. Perfect. Sadly, it's all downhill from there, with nothing much to do but watch Britt languish until she can get bailed out and nab the real perp, who's nowhere near as much fun to watch as Trish. But the first half of this story, with its reeking background, is a scorcher: Even on deadline, Buchanan couldn't write a boring page. (Literary Guild featured alternate selection) Read full book review >
MIAMI, IT'S MURDER by Edna Buchanan
Released: Feb. 3, 1994

Not just murder, but rape, too, as Cuban-American Miami Daily News staffer Britt Montero (Nobody Lives Forever, 1990; Contents Under Pressure, 1992), on the trail of the Downtown Rapist who's attacked half a dozen women in public restrooms, provokes him into sending her illiterate threatening letters and a cow's severed tongue (a Santer°a curse, according to her Aunt Odalys) before her inevitable trip to the ladies' room. In the meantime, the corpses keep on coming: three-times ``self-made widower'' Dieter Steiner gets electrocuted—whizzed to death, actually—Emerson Creech, long suspected of killing his niece, is a victim of sexual asphyxia; Paul Eldridge, missing since 1987, turns up inside his submerged Chevy Malibu; and contractor Sam Farrington nearly becomes a permanent fixture in his latest project. All this, plus Britt's frustrated determination to reopen the decades- old case of little Mary Beth Rafferty, whose body was discovered by a suspect whose name was never revealed—and who's now the heavy favorite to be elected governor. As many loose ends as you'd expect from such a full slate; but peerless crime reporter Buchanan lays out the main plotlines with a master's hand, never forgets that her magnetic reporter-heroine is her biggest story, and swirls the high-octane cocktail with a zillion anecdotes, most of them zingers. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 3, 1992

A fictional version of Miami Herald crime-reporter Buchanan's memoirs (Never Let Them See You Cry; The Corpse Had a Familiar Face)—i.e., a tale (reporter investigates suspicious death) surging with sentiment and crackling action, and far more appealing than the author's debut novel, Nobody Lives Forever (1990). Buchanan's alter ego here is Cuban-American Miami Daily News staffer Britt Montero, who seems poised for a series run with all the proper paraphernalia—feisty personality, fractured love life, intriguing sidekick (a photographer gal-pal), irritating boss. The sleek, first-person narrative centers on Montero's digging into the death of ex-football star D. Wayne Hudson, black, who, fleeing from police, allegedly smashed his car and died of his injuries while hospitalized. As Montero talks with the cops who pursued Hudson, a disturbing pattern emerges: All Anglo or Hispanic, with few exceptions, they are violent misfits exiled onto the wild midnight shift—a shift that Montero explores in the company of a homicide cop who soon shares her bed. Meanwhile, back at the office, crank callers (including Montero's mom) and a harebrained scheme to set a young reporter adrift in simulation of Haitian refugees add some edgy comic relief. Soon, though, the action turns downright nasty as Montero comes up with evidence that gets the midnight cops indicted—and then further evidence pointing to a coldblooded murderer wearing the blue. The ensuing trial and verdict lead to a Rodney King-style riot that flames across Miami and to the melodramatic but intensely exciting closing pages, which see Montero running from crazed mobs even as she's stalked by the killer. Formulaic, but Montero's a charmer and her story seethes with the street-life that her creator knows so well: first-rate entertainment. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1992

Slightly blurred carbon copy of The Corpse Had a Familiar Face, Buchanan's riveting 1987 report on crimes she'd covered during her nearly 20 years as a Pulitzer-winning reporter for The Miami Herald. Novelistic tones still vibrating from Buchanan's less compelling 1990 police procedural, Nobody Lives Forever— particularly those emanating from plucked heartstrings—are what distinguish this new crime roundup from Corpse. Again, Buchanan proclaims her love affair with Miami (``The hot-blooded heartbeat of this passionate and mercurial city touches my soul'') and only whispers of her checkered romantic life—but where in Corpse the hundreds of case histories took a hard edge, focusing on drugs, the perils of reporting, etc., here they emphasize sentiment, focusing often on heroes, mostly fallen, and love, usually gone terribly awry. The opening chapter, ``Putting It in the Newspaper,'' for instance, is a litany of cases in which Buchanan effected good by reporting stories—of a missing person, a homeless woman, etc. The second chapter, a clutch of heroic dog and other animal tales, also makes an emotional pitch—delivered, however, in solid declarative prose that firms the mush (``Few four-footed heroes receive accolades. Most are unsung, many without a home''). A flurry of cases—of criminal Christmases, historic crimes, homicidal love, cop heroes, rescuers, odd occurrences (such as that of the barbiturate-soaked gunman who took 26 direct hits from cops' guns and kept shooting until a 27th round took him down)—follows, sometimes so fast and furious that impact is lost. More moving are the longer ``stories'' that close the book, particularly that of the Southerland family—not a crime chronicle at all, but a testament to one family's courage in the face of cancer. Distinctly middle-drawer files—but still a generous bonanza for crime buffs, presented by one of the sharpest writers in the field. Read full book review >