Mystery Thriller Book Reviews (page 4)

THE COUNTESS OF PRAGUE by Stephen Weeks
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"The titled heroine is implausible but charming, and the plot is crammed as full of intrigue as a Viennese pastry is of cream. Weeks blends equal parts espionage and farce into a frothy confection that ends perhaps a bit too darkly on intimations of World War I."
Weeks (Awakening Avalon, 2014, etc.) introduces an intrepid new heroine, Countess Beatrice "Trixie" von Falkenburg, who crosses the Continent to solve a puzzle in her first foray in the demimonde. Read full book review >
DEATH OF A BUSYBODY by George  Bellairs
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"The plotting is routine, the characterization perfunctory, and the surprises modest. But Bellairs' dryly ceremonious wit, which shines from the very first page, helps explain why Anthony Berkeley, aka Francis Iles, was such a fan 75 years ago."
In his vintage reprint from 1942, Bellairs, the pseudonym of prolific Harold Blundell (1902-1982), asks who murdered a heavy-handed gossip whom everyone in the Suffolk village of Hilary Magna probably wanted dead. Read full book review >

TO FUNK AND DIE IN LA  by Nelson George
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Skip the mystery and read this for its passionate and unresolved argument about the still-beating heart of R&B."
Ex-bodyguard D Hunter travels from Brooklyn to Los Angeles to investigate the circumstances surrounding his grandfather's murder in the fourth entry in this series (The Lost Treasures of R&B, 2015, etc.) by critic and journalist George. Read full book review >
DEAD IN THE WATER by Denise  Swanson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Swanson relaunches her Scumble River series (Murder of a Cranky Catnapper, 2016, etc.) under the flag Welcome Back to Scumble River. But her stories are just too earnest, as well as too formulaic, to stay afloat long."
A pregnant Illinois school psychologist braves a tornado's wrath while searching for a city councilman's killer. Read full book review >
BURGUNDY by Janet Hubbard
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Hubbard expounds on the ways winemaking and drinking are deeply embedded in French culture while her charming protagonists solve murders—in this case, a complex puzzle that touches on the threat of terrorism lurking throughout France today."
Hubbard's trilogy of lovingly forged mysteries about the beauty and culture of France (Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish, 2014, etc.) draws to an end with a case much too close to home. Read full book review >

A TALE OF TWO KITTIES by Sofie Kelly
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"In spite of the heroine's protestations, Kelly writes a tale that's Minnesota nice in the best possible way, allowing readers to enjoy the story without tipping into either Pollyanna or snark."
Two cats provide active assistance to a small-town Minnesota librarian investigating an ancient scandal that may have sparked a recent murder. Read full book review >
LIE TO ME by J.T. Ellison
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Instead of a suspenseful peek into a crumbling marriage with a missing wife at the center, Ellison's latest devolves into a mishmash of well-worn tropes carried out by even more threadbare characters."
The life of a picture-perfect literary couple sours when the wife goes missing and suspicion immediately falls on the husband, exposing a home life that was anything but picturesque. Read full book review >
A LEGACY OF SPIES by John le Carré
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Any reader who knows le Carré's earlier work, and quite a few who don't, will assume that any attempt to second-guess the mandarins of the Service will backfire. The miracle is that the author can revisit his best-known story and discover layer upon layer of fresh deception beneath it."
After having turned from his peerless chronicles of George Smiley and his fellow spies to the tale of his own life (The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life, 2016), le Carré returns to put yet another spin on the events of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963). Read full book review >
MONTANA NOIR by James Grady
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"If Montana has a dark side, is anywhere safe from noir? Not Accra, Buenos Aires, or Santa Cruz, among the 17 spots next up for this prodigious series."
Long shadows over Big Sky country. Read full book review >
THE BLOOD CARD  by Elly Griffiths
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"In the third case for the Magic Men (Smoke and Mirrors, 2016, etc.), half the fun is the journey through postwar England to the surprising denouement."
A policeman, a magician, and a fortuneteller all take a hand in solving several murders in 1953 London. Read full book review >
WHEN IT GROWS DARK  by Jorn Lier Horst
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Not nearly as raw or powerful as Horst's earlier cases (Ordeal, 2017, etc.) but still a deft and effective 'prequel as well as a milestone' in the life of its suddenly retrospective hero."
As he's about to address a group of police officer trainees, Chief Inspector William Wisting receives a letter that dramatically changes his remarks, which now invite the student officers to join him in clearing up a cold case nearly a century old. Read full book review >
THE ESSENCE OF MALICE by Ashley Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Weaver, a librarian, has a deft touch with the 1930s upper-class repartee. The climactic surprise makes this the best of her mysteries to date."
The scents of murder and betrayal fill the Paris air. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >