A razor-sharp mystery with twists aplenty.

PARKER’S CHOICE

An ex-convict becomes unwittingly embroiled in a fatal shooting and a case of white-collar crime in Nemeth’s thriller.

When John Parker dissolved his business partnership, it almost killed him. Rather, Meredith Walker, his former partner, almost killed him with an attempted lethal double cross. But Parker was the one who went to prison for allegedly shooting Meredith’s accomplice. Three years later, John, a levelheaded, likable lead, is married and working in bustling downtown Atlanta as the head of analytics for an international company. His life is back to normal, and he’s managed to avoid trouble—until Meredith shows up at John’s suburban home. She demands half of the proceeds for the sale of their startup company’s software, but Parker doesn’t have the money. An unexpected gunfight ensues in the yard among Parker, Meredith, and others. After the smoke clears, someone has taken a bullet, and another one of Meredith’s accomplices later turns up dead. Now Parker’s wife, who was armed that night, may face jail time. To add to Parker’s woes, he and his colleague Sabrina Mitchell uncover fraud at their workplace. If they can prove it, they may be able to save hundreds of jobs. Nemeth masterfully weaves the two mysteries together. The murder plot is particularly strong; the deceptively simple bullet-riddled event turns out to have been quite complex. Parker, for example, thoughtfully contemplates everything from shell casings and fingerprints to the distinctive sounds of different caliber guns. These considerations spark lively dialogue, which keeps the pages turning along with abundant plot turns. While the protagonist is memorable, supporting characters, like Sabrina and Paula, also shine. Intelligent, headstrong Sabrina may be even more compassionate about saving those jobs than Parker, and Paula’s alcoholism compounds her paranoid belief that her husband is cheating on her.

A razor-sharp mystery with twists aplenty.

Pub Date: March 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970137-14-9

Page Count: 382

Publisher: Southern Fried Karma, LLC

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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More like a con than a truly satisfying psychological mystery.

LOCAL WOMAN MISSING

What should be a rare horror—a woman gone missing—becomes a pattern in Kubica's latest thriller.

One night, a young mother goes for a run. She never comes home. A few weeks later, the body of Meredith, another missing woman, is found with a self-inflicted knife wound; the only clue about the fate of her still-missing 6-year-old daughter, Delilah, is a note that reads, "You’ll never find her. Don’t even try." Eleven years later, a girl escapes from a basement where she’s been held captive and severely abused; she reports that she is Delilah. Kubica alternates between chapters in the present narrated by Delilah’s younger brother, Leo, now 15 and resentful of the hold Delilah’s disappearance and Meredith’s death have had on his father, and chapters from 11 years earlier, narrated by Meredith and her neighbor Kate. Meredith begins receiving texts that threaten to expose her and tear her life apart; she struggles to keep them, and her anxiety, from her family as she goes through the motions of teaching yoga and working as a doula. One client in particular worries her; Meredith fears her husband might be abusing her, and she's also unhappy with the way the woman’s obstetrician treats her. So this novel is both a mystery about what led to Meredith’s death and Delilah’s imprisonment and the story of what Delilah's return might mean to her family and all their well-meaning neighbors. Someone is not who they seem; someone has been keeping secrets for 11 long years. The chapters complement one another like a patchwork quilt, slowly revealing the rotten heart of a murderer amid a number of misdirections. The main problem: As it becomes clear whodunit, there’s no true groundwork laid for us to believe that this person would behave at all the way they do.

More like a con than a truly satisfying psychological mystery.

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-778-38944-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Park Row Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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