Mystery & Crime Book Reviews

SHOOT by Loren D. Estleman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Valentino's most relaxed and accomplished appearance to date, one whose tone of sunset valediction perfectly suits what sounds uncomfortably (say it ain't so!) like Estleman's farewell to the two genres he's been masterfully associated with for 30 years."
Estleman combines his two greatest loves, sleuthing and Westerns, in film-preservation detective Valentino's fourth appearance. Read full book review >
THE BIG REWIND by Libby Cudmore
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A mystery that will inspire more than one playlist and, hopefully, a sequel."
The clues to a Brooklyn murder unspool on a mixtape in what might be a new mystery subgenre—the hipster cozy. Read full book review >

HONKY TONK SAMURAI by Joe R. Lansdale
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Let's hope there's more of that good feeling to come in this terrific series."
Hap and Leonard, the East Texas duo of two-fisted do-gooders, return in the ninth novel about their adventures. Read full book review >
THICKER THAN WATER by Sally Spencer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"Although Spencer's path is a familiar one, she treads it with authority. It's good to have Monika back, doing what she does best."
DCI Monika Paniatowski (Best Served Cold, 2015, etc.) returns with passion from maternity leave.Read full book review >
EVEN THE DEAD by Benjamin Black
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"From less than promising material, Black fashions a meticulously written installment notable for its palpable sense of place, a slate of fully drawn characters, and a meaningful denouement."
Solving a case has a profound effect on its investigator in this Dublin-set thriller. Read full book review >

CRUCIFIXION CREEK by Barry Maitland
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"First of a series. Though you'll wonder early and often how Harry can possibly survive for any sequels, you'll hope again and again to be proved wrong."
The creator of DS Kathy Kolla and DCI David Brock, those ornaments of the Met (The Raven's Eye, 2013, etc.), goes Down Under to feature an even more hard-used cop. Read full book review >
RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER by Sally Andrew
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"A delightful debut, tender and funny. The mystery takes on the worldwide problem of abused women while revealing both the beauties and problems of South Africa. And the recipes will make you want to drop everything and start cooking."
A South African woman cooks out of love while hoping for the real thing. Read full book review >
THE DO-RIGHT by Lisa Sandlin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Despite plot pieces that fit together a little too snugly, Sandlin blends pathos, humor, and poetic prose in a strong debut."
A former oilman and a determined parolee form a detective team in Texas' bayou country. Read full book review >
THE CHILD GARDEN by Catriona McPherson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"McPherson's newest stand-alone (Come to Harm, 2015, etc.) is a stunning combination of creepy thriller and classic mystery with a startling denouement."
A divorced woman with a severely disabled teenage son gets sucked into a mystery that will change her forever. Read full book review >
X by Sue Grafton
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Grafton's endless resourcefulness in varying her pitches in this landmark series (W Is for Wasted, 2013, etc.), graced by her trademark self-deprecating humor, is one of the seven wonders of the genre."
What does X stand for? Xanakis, XLNT, maybe even Father Xavier, all features of Kinsey Millhone's dense, meaty 24th case. Read full book review >
LAST RAGGED BREATH by Julia Keller
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"A beautifully crafted mystery in which Keller (Summer of the Dead, 2014, etc.) explores love, hate, and poverty in a place of stunning natural beauty with pockets of overwhelming ugliness. The ending may leave you in tears."
A West Virginia prosecutor has an uneasy feeling about her latest case. Read full book review >
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST by Louise Penny
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Penny is an expert at pulling away the surface of her characters to expose their deeper—and often ugly—layers, always doing so with a direct but compassionate hand."
In Inspector Gamache's 11th outing, the sheltering forest around his small village of Three Pines is revealed to be a hiding place for unexpected evil. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >