Mystery & Crime Book Reviews

THE FIFTH ELEMENT by Jorgen Brekke
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"The intricately linked plotlines will appeal to puzzle fans. But it's Brekke's prodigious powers of invention, his ability to keep coming up with unforgettable characters and indelible episodes, that lift this above his own earlier work and most of the heavy Nordic competition."
Forgoing the historical excursions that tangled the first two cases of Trondheim's Inspector Odd Singsaker (Dreamless, 2015, etc.), Brekke mingles the immediate past, present, and future to produce an even more tangled, but deeply rewarding, tale. Read full book review >
THE LOST BOOK OF THE GRAIL by Charlie Lovett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"A solidly built, innocently bookish diversion with a distinct Masterpiece Theater flavor."
He's a book-loving Brit who's skeptical about modernity; she's a tech-savvy Yank who talks too much. Is it possible this unlikely pair of "Grail buddies" could forge a meeting of minds—and even hearts—while tracking down one of the world's most revered treasures? Read full book review >

THE THIRD HELL by Connie Dial
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"Both the tale and the landscape against which it unfolds are so glum that the glimpse of promised happiness at the end is almost too much to bear."
Dial takes a break from her six tours of La-La-Land's mean streets with Detective Josie Corsino (Set the Night on Fire, 2016, etc.) for an even deeper descent into the city's dark side as a retired LAPD detective searches frantically for his 13-year-old son. Read full book review >
THE WRONG DEAD GUY  by Richard Kadrey
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"A goofy, flamboyant, and breathless horror adventure by one of the genre's sharpest creators."
Supernatural agent "Coop" Cooper returns in an overstuffed, hyperkinetic sequel to The Everything Box (2016). Read full book review >
BANANA CREAM PIE MURDER  by Joanne Fluke
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

"Baking maven Fluke wants to have her cake and eat it too. Grafting Hannah's new relationship with Ross onto her lingering attachment to two previous boyfriends, her family of origin, her business, and the rest of the Lake Eden crew leaves precious little room for mystery."
Newlywed Hannah Swensen Barton (Wedding Cake Murder, 2016, etc.) is disconcerted to find that her husband Ross' favorite dessert is a clue in a murder investigation. Read full book review >

THE BOGUS BONDSMAN by Paul Colt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 22, 2017

"Colt's elderly male Scheherazade keeps the formulaic story—one near miss after another—moving smartly along from bank to bank. Even non-Western fans who pick this one up by mistake will be beguiled."
1878. A Pinkerton operative signs on with a rival concern just in time to catch a case that will pit him against a resourceful gang of swindlers—and one of his former Pinkerton colleagues. Read full book review >
FACIALS CAN BE FATAL by Nancy J. Cohen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 22, 2017

"Routine poke-your-nose-where-it-doesn't-belong fare, with results as expected."
The death of a philanthropist has Florida salon owner Marla Vail tearing her hair out. Read full book review >
RUSTY PUPPY by Joe R. Lansdale
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Minor blemishes aside, this puppy tells a waggly tale the reader is happy to follow down the roughest paths."
A woman's plea to find her son's murderer sets the stage for the latest Hap and Leonard mystery. Read full book review >
THE ENGLISH AGENT by Phillip DePoy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Fairly nonsensical but par for the course for DePoy, who writes characters from child protective workers (Cold Florida, 2016) to Christopher Marlowe as fast-talking action heroes."
Pressed into investigation in service of the queen, playwright Christopher Marlowe must learn the truth about a plot to destroy the nation. Read full book review >
DEATH OF A GHOST by M.C. Beaton
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Fans of the handsome Highlander will delight in his continuing penchant for the wrong women and his utter lack of ambition despite his superior detecting skills, which this complex case puts on handsome display."
A wily Highland police sergeant solves a case the higher-ups want covered up. Read full book review >
OLD BONES by Trudy Nan Boyce
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Dispensing with anything like conventional exposition, Boyce lunges at the caldron of Atlanta racial/sexual/institutional politics as if she can't wait to tear the lid off. Readers prepared for the deep dive will find themselves enlightened, sobered, and maybe even cautiously uplifted by the heroine's reckless courage."
A second staccato tour of Atlanta's darkest corners for rookie Detective Sarah "Salt" Alt. Read full book review >
THE MURDER OF WILLIE LINCOLN by Burt Solomon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"The book is billed as 'A John Hay Mystery,' indicating that there may be more to come. Solomon (Where They Ain't, 2000, etc.) depicts the scores of people around Lincoln with vigor and authority. His middling mystery is a passable MacGuffin for his rich historical offering."
Disturbing questions arise after the tragic death of Abraham Lincoln's beloved son, Willie. Could it possibly be…? Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Yoojin Grace Wuertz
February 27, 2017

In Yoojin Grace Wuertz’s debut novel Everything Belongs to Us, the setting is Seoul in 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind. For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew; her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty. But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever. “Engrossing,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “Wuertz is an important new voice in American fiction.” View video >