Morton, Kate. The Secret Keeper.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2012.

I read The Lake House awhile back and was thoroughly caught up in the narrative. Morton is a first-rate storyteller. That book dealt with the theme of family secrets, and this one does, too. The first (and main) POV character, though there are several others, is Laurel Nicolson, who grew up happy with her three sisters and much younger brother in a rural English farmhouse.


Winslow, Don. California Fire and Life.

NY: Random House, 1999.

I sort of got hooked recently on Don Winslow via his most recent book, The Winter of Frankie Machine. I discovered that he writes very exciting, very well thought-out crime novels, which are also very funny (though sometimes in a macbre way). They’ve won a number of awards and have been finalists for a great many more.


Perry, Thomas. Forty Thieves.

NY: Mysterious Press, 2016.

I’ve read maybe twenty of Perry’s thrillers by now, and I think I could identify one of his books solely by the narrative style, without ever looking at the title page. In some ways, that style is as unaffected as if he were writing a washing machine owner’s manual, but with characters and a plot. That’s not denigration either. He simply doesn’t believe in exclamation points and even his action scenes come across a bit clinical. This has the effect of sucking you into the story and then suddenly catching you off-guard when something unexpected, and frequently violent, happens.


McDermid, Val. Out of Bounds

NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016.

DCI Karen Pirie, head of the Historic Cases unit for Police Scotland, comes at this one kind of sideways. A quartet of teenagers, drunk out of their minds, has crashed their speeding stolen SUV on the highway, and the driver — the only survivor — is in a coma. A routine blood test has turned up a DNA hit to a twenty-year-old unsolved rape-murder case, which brings Pirie into things.


Published in: on 3 April 2020 at 3:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lloyd, Catherine. Death Comes to the Village.

NY: Kensington Books, 2013.

This is the first in a new series (well, new to me) of historical mysteries and it’s not bad. The setting is 1816 in the small village of Kurland St. Mary, where the Kurland family have been lords of the manor, magistrates, and just about everything else of importance for centuries. The current head of the family is Major Robert Kurland, who had a large cavalry horse fall on him the year before at Waterloo, and he’s been trying to recover, both physically and psychologically, ever since.


Goldberg, Lee. Lost Hills.

Seattle: Thomas Mercer, 2019.

Goldberg has written more than thirty novels, mostly mysteries and thrillers, and has won two Edgars and a number of other awards. This is the first episode in a new series and the character-handling and the writing in general are as skilled as you would expect.


Griffiths, Elly. The Chalk Pit.

NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2017.

This is the ninth in the detective series featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway of Norfolk, and it’s one of the best yet. Norwich is a very old city that sits atop a series of low chalk hills, which used to be mined for the construction trades. Now there’s an extensive network of tunnels under the city, some of them medieval, and most of them unmapped.


Published in: on 29 February 2020 at 10:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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McDermid, Val. The Skelton Road.

NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014.

For whatever reason, the author let five years slip by since publishing the previous adventure of DI Karen Pirie of Fife, head of the local cold-case squad, and a similar amount of internal time has passed in this third volume in the series. Pirie is now a Chief Inspector and Scotland has amalgamated its various forces into a centralized Police Scotland, with Karen given responsibility for historic cases for the whole country. Her crew now consists of just her and a single detective constable — who’s not terribly bright, but he knows it, and he’s loyal and works hard at the things he’s good at.


Connelly, Michael. The Night Fire.

NY: Little, Brown, 2019.

Harry Bosch is pushing seventy now and has been retired for a few years (and he’s having some serious medical problems, too), but he’s been keeping his hand in by investigating cold cases for a very small police department out in the San Fernando Valley — but then he had to give that up because of his admittedly cavalier attitude toward the rules when they get in his way.


Lovesey, Peter. Killing with Confetti.

NY: Soho Press, 2019.

This is the 18th in the series featuring Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond of Bath, and while it’s not bad, it’s a long way from his best. Diamond is always leery of his boss, the rather pompous Assistant Chief Constable Georgina Dallymore, so when she summons him for a confidential meeting with her own superior, Deputy Chief Constable George Brace, Diamond expects the worst.


Published in: on 8 February 2020 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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