Books by Elizabeth Gunn

BURNING MEREDITH by Elizabeth Gunn
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 2018

"In a departure from her police procedurals (Denny's Law, 2016, etc.), Gunn introduces some engaging new characters but leaves too many loose ends for a satisfying conclusion."
A retired schoolteacher's part-time job turns her into an eager sleuth. Read full book review >
DENNY'S LAW by Elizabeth Gunn
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2016

"Gunn (Noontime Follies, 2015, etc.) has produced an expert police procedural with plenty of quirks and twists that raise it well above the average."
A Tucson police detective catches a murder case that is anything but ordinary. Read full book review >
RED MAN DOWN by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 2014

"A solid police procedural from Gunn, with enough twists and turns to make it altogether more gripping than her last (The Magic Line, 2012, etc.)."
Tucson police detective Sarah Burke catches a case that may amount to suicide by cop. Read full book review >
ELEVEN LITTLE PIGGIES by Elizabeth Gunn
Released: April 1, 2013

"Jake (The Ten-Mile Trials, 2010, etc.) is his usual proficient self, whether passing spoons to his almost 1-year-old son to bang around, helping wife Trudy get Thanksgiving dinner to the table or dealing with his underpaid, overworked staff."
Murder resolves the Kester brothers' disagreement over whether to continue farming or become millionaires by selling their acreage. Read full book review >
THE MAGIC LINE by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 1, 2012

"Like Kissing Arizona (2011, etc.), a stolid, earnest police procedural with a shade too much information about Sarah's domestic arrangements. "
A dead perp gets up and hightails it away from the murder scene. Read full book review >
KISSING ARIZONA by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

"Solid procedural fare with perhaps a slight overemphasis on Sarah's domestic arrangements. "
Domestic and social upheaval plague Tucson detective Sarah Burke. Read full book review >
NEW RIVER BLUES by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 2009

"As stolid and serviceable as its predecessor (Cool in Tucson, 2008), but not a patch on Gunn's Jake Hines series."
A middling second case for Tucson homicide detective Sarah Burke. Read full book review >
COOL IN TUCSON by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

"An ever-so-carefully plotted procedural written in a manner so pedestrian it's hard to believe it comes from the talented author of the Jake Hines series (McCafferty's Nine, 2007, etc.)."
The debut of a Tucson homicide cop straddled with a boss, a sister, a niece and a potential love interest, all of whom lie to her. Read full book review >
MCCAFFERTY’S NINE by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"What Ed McBain was to the big-city police procedural, Gunn is to the small-town force. A cast this engaging should have a TV show."
Would a serial mugger escalate to murder? Read full book review >
CRAZY EIGHTS by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 1, 2005

"Good trial detail and small-town ambience. And congratulations are in order for Jake, who is about to become a papa."
Jake Hines (Seventh-Inning Stretch, 2002, etc.) revisits an age-old question: Do juries get it right? Read full book review >
SIX-POUND WALLEYE by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2001

"A near-perfect blend of detection, police procedure, small-town quirkiness, and middle-aged romantic noncommunication. The series, now on its fourth entry (Five Card Stud, 2000, etc.), just keeps getting better. "
In Minnesota, the February sky is gray, the air is frigid, and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is jangling the synapses of everyone in the town of Rutherford, including Detective Jake Hines's best gal Trudy, who threw his galoshes into the snow and stomped off for no reason he can fathom. At work, matters are even worse. Hines learns that eight-year-old Billy Sheets, waiting for the school bus, has suddenly fallen face down dead of unknown causes, and the police chief's son, teenager P.K. McCafferty, has started a major brouhaha in the Central School lot, with everyone taking sides and throwing punches. Although no one heard or saw it, scientific investigation turns up a bullet in Billy's back. Tracking its trajectory leads Jake to a supposedly locked shed—except that a couple of kids have broken in and left shell casings that match the ones used in several random dog killings, and now in Billy's death. Before Jake and Trudy patch things up, P.K. will be taken hostage, a sharpshooter will suffer through a bout of acrophobia, and the mysterious behavior of a pair of teenagers and young Billy's senseless murder will be traced to darker, meaner impulses than those unleashed by SAD. Read full book review >
SEVENTH-INNING STRETCH by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2001

"Gunn's mastered small-town nuances, police procedure, and now, as in Six-Pound Walleye (2001), deft character-sketching. Why isn't some awards committee handing her a prize?"
For a welcome change, serious crime in Rutherford, Minnesota, is so slow that the gang at the station house—Bo Dooley, Andy Pitman, Clint Maddox, Darrell Betts, Lou French, Kevin Evjan, and Chief of Detectives Jake Hines—are passing the time by jocularly comparing the m.o. of past and recent con artists, with an emphasis on the bodacious babe, the guy with a big nose, and the little girl who are currently working over local convenience stores and sloshed bar patrons. Their reverie is interrupted when a body crammed into a Dumpster behind a Chinese restaurant turns up. When they rush to the scene and tip it out, there's another body, almost as badly mashed, beneath it. The Dumpster doesn't belong to the restaurant, but has been hauled there from Bo's backyard. Foul play by some of his recovering-addict wife's dealers? Bo is shunted off the case and replaced by eager-beaver Rosie Doyle, with frequent consulting calls to DNA expert Trudy Hanson, Hines's girlfriend. Meanwhile, the babe and the kid are still scamming the town, but where's Mr. Big Nose? Meticulous police work, dogged persistence, and just a bit of providential nudging from the author will tie the murders to the swindlers and to an unsolved five-year-old Rutherford homicide. Read full book review >
FIVE CARD STUD by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 24, 2000

"Like its predecessors (Par Four, 1999, etc.), a strong contender for small-town procedural honors. Self-deprecating humor and a likable cast almost make the tied-up-in-a-bow ending seem plausible."
Since Rutherford police lieutenant Jake Hines forgot to post the duty roster at the station, the call announcing a dead body with one shoe on, one shoe off, and no shirt in sight comes to him, forcing him to leave his poker game and head out into the subzero Minnesota landscape to check on the DOA. Except for hands, feet, and nose blackened from hypothermia, the body looks peaceful—until Pokey, the Ukrainian dermatologist- coroner, shifts it and most of its brain matter can be seen congealing in the snow. The blood-splatter pattern indicates there might have been someone else in trouble at the scene, but the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) is on overload, so Jake and his team, for the moment, have to do without high-tech detective work. Nonetheless, they eventually recover the DOA's shirt, marked with the insignia of Clearwater Truck Lines, and identify the deceased as long-hauler Wayne Asleson, on his way back from Nogales with a semi filled with entertainment-center components. But where's Roger Carr, his driving partner—and where's their truck? Wayne's gal Cathy swears he was lovable, honest, and devoted, and Carr's wife Connie vouches for him too, but Hines turns up a gambling addiction, and then the truck and Carr's body, shot by the same Walther that did in Wayne. Two murderers will be unmasked, with the last to shoot confessing all, before Hines can enjoy some much-needed eiderdown time with his girlfriend Trudy. Read full book review >
PAR FOUR by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 7, 1999

Wait till Lt. Jake Hines sees how he'll have to earn his promotion to Chief of Detectives in Rutherford, Minnesota. The break-in at Rowdy's Bar looks routine—two would-be burglars surprised owner Babe Krueger (and vice versa) as she was counting the weekend's take, taped her to a chair, and made off with $28,000—but the sequel is anything but. Item: the robbery may be just the latest in a quietly alarming string of thefts. Item: Babe is hacked to death only hours after Jake interviews her. Item: the two kids who confess to the robbery seem to forget all sorts of important details about it. Item: one of the two is ominously linked to the lowlife who's just kidnaped little Jessica Schultz, the police dispatcher's bratty but lovable daughter. And what does the whole mess have to do with a crack epidemic Jake's detective squad is convinced has arrived in peaceful Rutherford on the wings of Eugene Soames, the fleeing suspect who capped his high-speed chase by plowing into Jake's brand-new pickup while the Chief of Detectives was celebrating his promotion out on the links? With such a scorching crime wave heating up the town, there's no time for Jake to deal with the news that his ladylove Trudy Hanson, the state's photograph-and-fingerprint expert, is pulling up roots to move to San Francisco. Miraculously, Jake hitches up his britches and ties up all the loose ends, making his second appearance (Foul Play, 1997)—except for the unbelievable casting of his archcriminal—a model of the small-town procedural. Read full book review >
TRIPLE PLAY by Elizabeth Gunn
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 30, 1997

Though it's a good two hours from Minneapolis, Rutherford, Minn., doesn't lack for baseball action. In the striking opening scene of this debut mystery, for instance, James Wahler is out at home. He's been strangled, gelded, dressed in a softball uniform and a pair of old-fashioned cleats, and transported to Pioneer Park, where he's been arranged astride home plate with a baseball bat substituting for his lost manhood and a Polaroid of the crime scene helpfully pinned to his uniform chest. Though Detective Jake Hines has no more idea what the tableau means than why Wahler spent several hours after death propped up on his feet, the scene has been so deliberately set that most readers will be a lot less surprised than he is when a second victim is called out at Willow Creek Park: Louis (Frenchy) LaPlante, who's splayed up against the backstop in a similar uniform, with a similarly convenient photograph, only the postmortem mutilations being different. While they're waiting for the inevitable third out, Jake and his hard-working colleagues interview the dead men's families, chase down dozens of dead-end leads, and watch in admiration (mingled, in Jake's case, with lust) over the solid, if unspectacular, crime-scene work of attractive photographer Trudy Hanson and her gung-ho crime lab colleague Jimmy Chang. An unusually assured kickoff to Gunn's new series of procedurals. And if the murder motive is a little hoary, Jake comes up with it before you have time to get bored with an unassuming cast who could easily turn into welcome regulars. Read full book review >