Scalzi, John. Head On.

NY: Tor, 2018.

Scalzi is a purveyor of idea-based science fiction who can almost always be relied on for highly original concepts combined with a fluent and frequently cheeky style of writing. That was certainly the case with Lock In (2014), in which an influenza-like global pandemic killed hundreds of millions and left millions more fully awake and aware but completely paralyzed and dependent on machines for life. The U.S. government poured billions into developing ways of coping (helped by the fact that the First Lady, Margaret Haden, was one of the victims) and now, a couple decades later (not far in our own future), things have settled down. And “Hadens,” as they are now known, are being reintegrated.

(more…)

Advertisements

Perry, Thomas. The Bomb Maker.

NY: Mysterious Press, 2018.

Perry has written some two dozen books, most of them thrillers of one variety or another — but not “mysteries,” because you always know whodunit from the beginning. It’s more a matter of witnessing what the Bad Guys do, how that affects those around them, and how their assorted nemeses attempt to stop them. (And they don’t always succeed.) This one involves a nameless killer with no political or other outside motivation who is very, very good at building bombs. Why? He wants to lure in and kill off the LAPD bomb squad, and he manages to get appalling close to his goal.

(more…)

Lovesey, Peter. Beau Death.

NY: SohoPress, 2017.

This series about Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond of the Bath CID has been generally pretty good. The first couple of volumes were problematic, frankly, but then the author got a handle on his characters and now he’s up to adventure no. 17. Diamond runs into oddball situations in nearly every book, and this one is no different.

(more…)

Sjowall, Maj & Per Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman.

NY: Pantheon, 1970.

Scandinavian police-procedural crime novels are a fixture for American lovers of mystery yarns now, but when this one was first published in the U.S. in 1970, it was considered exotic. It also won an Edgar. It was the fourth of ten novels featuring Stockholm’s Detective Superintendent Martin Beck, a rather dour character with marital problems and a teenage daughter who gives him heartburn.

(more…)

Robinson, Peter. Sleeping in the Ground.

NY: Morrow, 2017.

Robinson’s first-rate mystery series featuring DCI Alan Banks of Yorkshire has always been heavy on police procedural details when it comes to crime-solving, and this 24th episode is no exception. Banks is coming home from the funeral of a woman he hasn’t seen in forty years — the first girl he was every really in love with, back in college — when he gets word there’s been a shooting at a country wedding on his patch.

(more…)

Lovesey, Peter. Another One Goes Tonight.

NY: Soho Press, 2016.

When this series started, back in the early ’90s, I wasn’t at all sure it was going to work. Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, head of Bath CID, in the West Country, was an abrasive and overweight bully. In fact, his high-handedness got him sacked and he spent the second book working security for a London department store. But Lovesey got him under control and Diamond settled down to a continuing and successful police career chronicled in writing and plots of generally high quality.

(more…)

Griffiths, Elly. A Room Full of Bones.

NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

This is the fourth in the series featuring Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist — a bone specialist — working in Norfolk and living in near-isolation out on the edge of the Saltmarsh. She’s become a regular consultant for the cops, in the person of DCI Harry Nelson — by whom she also managed to get pregnant, but he’s married so she’s now also a single mother, something that doesn’t really come naturally to her.

(more…)

Connelly, Michael. Two Kinds of Truth.

NY: Little, Brown, 2017.

Harry Bosch, longtime star of homicide for the LAPD, may be retired now but he hasn’t quit. He did the private eye thing for a little while, then found a home as an unpaid volunteer detective for the tiny San Fernando PD out in the Valley. He’s pursuing cold cases (using a cell in the old, now unused jail as an office), helping out with new cases that come up, and also mentoring their young and relatively inexperienced detectives. But then his ex-partner from shortly before he retired turns up, accompanied by a Deputy DA.

(more…)

Published in: on 25 March 2018 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Penny, Louise. The Nature of the Beast.

NY: St. Martin, 2015.

This is number eleven in the series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete, one of the most recognizable cops in Canada (he’s often in the papers) and now retired to the tiny, off-the-map village of Three Pines, down near the Vermont border. And this one includes a large swath of genuine history that most people, even most Canadians, have never heard of before.

(more…)

Gallagher, Stephen. The Bedlam Detective.

NY: Crown, 2012.

I kind of hate to admit that I’ve never heard of this author, since this is his fifteenth novel, and I confess I picked it up mostly because of the title, but I definitely lucked out. It’s a very original sort of murder mystery, with adroitly painted characters and a thoroughly believable setting. It’s the fall of 1912 in the southwest of England and Sebastian Becker is on a case. He used to be a homicide detective in London, and then went to America, where he became a Pinkerton undercover agent (and learned how to use a pistol because “they’re all gunslingers over there”) and also met and married Elisabeth, a Philadelphia girl. Nowadays, he’s an investigator for Sir James, the Lord Chancellor’s Visitor in Lunacy, who takes an official interest in any man of property whose sanity begins to appear questionable.

(more…)