Books by Ellen Hart

FEVER IN THE DARK by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 31, 2017

"Hart (The Grave Soul, 2015, etc.) connects the events of the main story to a brief opening chapter presenting a savage murder, leading readers up to the attack and beyond while revealing the potential murderer's motive."
A video gone viral forces a couple to confront one member's past and decide whether it means they can still have a future together. Read full book review >
THE GRAVE SOUL by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"The present/past/present structure works to make a fairly standard plot into something more mysterious. And the newly playful way Hart fleshes out familiar characters could help hook readers just coming to the series."
A private eye's latest case leaves her without a memory and wondering what secrets someone would harm her to try to protect. Read full book review >
THE OLD DEEP AND DARK by Ellen Hart
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"The Deere family has to carry much of the weight of the narrative. That's great for readers who buy into their family gossip but less great for those who'll miss the sharp wit Cordelia displays in Hart's ongoing Jane Lawless series (Taken By the Wind, 2013, etc.)."
Two old friends work together to make connections between a historic mystery emerging from a theater renovation and a modern-day murder. Read full book review >
TAKEN BY THE WIND by Ellen Hart
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"A judicious balance of long-term development and short-term storytelling; even readers who come for the ongoing characters will stay for the mystery."
The case of two missing boys forces a community to face the possibility that they may be gone for good. Read full book review >
REST FOR THE WICKED by Ellen Hart
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 2, 2012

"Giving Jane more spark than readers have seen in a while, Hart (The Lost Women of Lost Lake, 2011, etc.) brings new life to an aging series and hope for future installments."
Her partner's enforced stay in the hospital won't stop a newly minted private eye from investigating the murder of his nephew. Read full book review >
THE LOST WOMEN OF LOST LAKE by Ellen Hart
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 4, 2011

"A distinct improvement in this series, this tale is more coherent than its most recent predecessors (The Cruel Ever After, 2010, etc.), but also more somber in tone."
A sleuth gets involved in a melancholy mystery that unravels the dark past of a close friend. Read full book review >
THE CRUEL EVER AFTER by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 7, 2010

"Hart's characters show little mercy and even less leg in this installment in the Lawless series (The Mirror and the Mask, 2009, etc.)."
Jane Lawless has no time for romancing ladies or crime-solving when her ex-husband turns up. Read full book review >
THE MIRROR AND THE MASK by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 10, 2009

"Romance scenes read like outtakes from a Harlequin bodice-ripper in this blast from Jane's past, whose light-fare pleasures will depend on readers' investment in the cast."
Veteran sleuth Jane Lawless (Sweet Poison, 2008, etc.) tries to wrap up her first case as an actual PI, even as she wonders if she's getting too involved for her own good. Read full book review >
THE MORTAL GROOVE by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 12, 2007

"Hart swings wildly from farce to thriller in this densely plotted family saga that pulls out perhaps one stop too many."
Her father's gubernatorial campaign spells trouble for a gay restaurateur and her flamboyant best friend. Read full book review >
NIGHT VISION by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 20, 2006

"Jane's got a new girlfriend, and Cordelia's been snookered by her sister Octavia once again. Otherwise, their 14th tour of duty (An Intimate Ghost, 2004, etc.) finds them little matured in their middle years."
Gay restaurateur/sleuth Jane Lawless wrangles with obsessed fans. Read full book review >
AN INTIMATE GHOST by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 8, 2004

"Cordelia, weaning baby Hattie from cartoons to Bette Davis movies, is enough to make you slog through the tedious plot, Jane's schmaltzy new romance, and the ancient newspaper excerpts. Give the gal her own book already."
Kids do the darnedest things—drugs, murder, and turning a campy auntie into a devoted handmaiden. Read full book review >
IMMACULATE MIDNIGHT by Ellen Hart
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 15, 2002

"Otherwise, a fairly stodgy examination of the Lawless men's troubled marriages and Jane's passion for a younger woman and a runaway dog."
Serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole for multiple casualties incurred in the course of his burning things down, Bobby Alto, dubbed the "Midnight Man" by the Minneapolis press, is hoping his lawyer, Ray Lawless, can win the pending appeal. Read full book review >
THE MERCHANT OF VENUS by Ellen Hart
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 1, 2001

"A spurious dying message, a card game, a secret formula, much outing of '40s and '50s movie stars, theatrics and bombastics from the sisters, and a mild flirtation for Jane—all add more and more empty calories to the endless nonsense."
Lesbian impresario Cordelia Thorn is startled when her much-married sister Octavia, a Broadway star she hasn't spoken to since the death of their mother eight years ago, insists that she attend her latest wedding, this one to octogenarian ex-movie director Roland Lester. Read full book review >
HUNTING THE WITCH by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

"Kitchen-sink plotting, romance-novel writing, lame puzzle, limp effort."
Shoved into the elevator shaft of an abandoned hotel, Jeffrey Chapel falls to his death—and plunges restaurateur/sleuth Jane Lawless (Faint Praise, 1995, etc.) into another fine mess. Read full book review >
WICKED GAMES by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 11, 1998

"Workmanlike, overlong, and not up to the endearing nuttiness of Faint Praise (1995)."
Little does Jane Lawless know what she's getting into when she takes on Elliot Beauman as a tenant for her vacant Minneapolis apartment. Read full book review >
FAINT PRAISE by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

"Despite the loose ends, Jane's sixth case is denser and more deeply felt than A Small Sacrifice (1994), with the most drolly understated rescue of the heroine from certain death you've ever seen."
Everybody agrees that TV personality Arno Heywood, tastefully attired in a gray silk blouse, navy skirt, and pearl earrings, threw himself from the 24th story of Minneapolis's Foshay Tower. Read full book review >
A SMALL SACRIFICE by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 15, 1994

"But if you can look past the flatulent platitudes about life and love, the mystery's not half bad."
Twenty years after their graduation from the University of Minnesota, the half-dozen members of the Shevlin Underground, a theater troupe notorious for their intimacy on- and offstage at school, are invited by imperious Diana Stanwood, the most famous Shevlin alumna, to a reunion at her playhouse in Wisconsin. Read full book review >
A KILLING CURE by Ellen Hart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 24, 1993

"Stodgy writing, silly plotting, and lots of feminist rhetoric- -with interruptions, now and then, for one of Cordelia's eating binges."
Lesbian feminist restaurateur Jan Lawless (Hallowed Murder, 1989, etc.), whose lover Dorrie and best friend Cordelia are members of Minneapolis's Amelia Gower Women's Club, is asked to solve the murders of two of the Gower's four board members, Charlotte and Rose—and she's soon racing along secret passages in the club's headquarters in pursuit of a killer, a ghost, a missing ledger (in code), and two valuable jewels. Read full book review >