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Anthony Awards
2011 (Best Novel)
Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Click to search this book in our catalog   Louise Penny

Publishers Weekly At the start of Agatha-winner Penny's moving and powerful sixth Chief Insp. Armand Gamache mystery (after 2009's The Brutal Telling), Gamache is recovering from a physical and emotional trauma, the exact nature of which isn't immediately disclosed, in Quebec City. When the body of Augustin Renaud, an eccentric who'd spent his life searching for the burial site of Samuel de Champlain, Quebec's founder, turns up in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society, Gamache reluctantly gets involved in the murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Gamache dispatches his longtime colleague, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, to the quiet town of Three Pines to revisit the case supposedly resolved at the end of the previous book. Few writers in any genre can match Penny's ability to combine heartbreak and hope in the same scene. Increasingly ambitious in her plotting, she continues to create characters readers would want to meet in real life. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Penny's first five crime novels in her Armand Gamache series have all been outstanding, but her latest is the best yet, a true tour de force of storytelling. When crime writers attempt to combine two fully fleshed plots into one book, the hull tends to get a bit leaky; Penny, on the other hand, constructs an absolutely airtight ship in which she manages to float not two but three freestanding but subtly intertwined stories. Front and center are the travails of Gamache, chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec, who is visiting an old friend in Quebec City and hoping to recover from a case gone wrong. Soon, however, he is involved with a new case: the murder of an archaeologist who was devoted to finding the missing remains of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec. As Gamache is drawn into this history-drenched investigation the victim's body was found in an English-language library, calling up the full range of animosity between Quebec's French majority and dwindling English minority he is also concerned that he might have jailed the wrong man in his last case (The Brutal Telling,2009) and orders his colleague, Jean Guy Beauvoir, back to the village of Three Pines to find what they missed the first time. Hovering over both these present investigations is the case gone wrong in the past, the details of which are gradually revealed in perfectly placed flashbacks. Penny brilliantly juggles the three stories, which are connected only by a kind of psychological membrane; as Gamache makes sense of what happened in the past, he is better able to think his way through present dilemmas. From the tangled history of Quebec to the crippling reality of grief to the nuances of friendship, Penny hits every note perfectly in what is one of the most elaborately constructed mysteries in years.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal This superb mystery fast-forwards from The Brutal Telling, Penny's last novel, precipitating readers into the fictional future, as it further develops characters and plot. As always, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Montreal police is the series protagonist. Perceptive and reflective, Gamache has taken leave from his job and has repaired, sans wife, to Quebec City in order to recover from severe physical and emotional trauma incurred during a disastrous police hostage rescue mission. Plagued by his fatal mistakes, Gamache, succumbing to intrusive thoughts, incessantly relives the catastrophe. Indeed, the novel's structure replicates Gamache's thought processes, moving, in stream-of-consciousness fashion, from present to past and back again. Fortunately, Gamache is gradually drawn back to life as he happens upon a murder case. In the investigative process, he must perform meticulous research into the mystery of Quebec founder Samuel de Champlain's secret burial place. Verdict Reminiscent of the works of Donna Leon, P.D. James, and Elizabeth George, this is brilliantly provocative and will appeal to fans of literary fiction, as well as to mystery lovers. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 5/1/10; 100,000-copy first printing.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011 (Best First Novel)
The Damage Done
Click to search this book in our catalog   Hilary Davidson

Book list Travel writer Lily Moore is called back to New York by news of the death of her younger sister, Claudia, but on arrival, she discovers that the body found in the bathtub of her apartment isn't Claudia's. (Lily had taken her heroin-addict sister in to save her from life on the streets, but she fled to Spain when living with Claudia became unbearable.) So who died in the apartment that Lily still pays for? Where is Claudia? And how are Claudia's close friend and onetime lover, wealthy Tariq Lawrence, and Lily's ex-fiancé, real-estate magnate Martin Sklar, involved? With the help of her best friend, Jesse, and a couple of sympathetic cops, Lily traces strands of a tangled web back to a shady rehab facility. Travel-journalist Davidson does a fine job with characterizations, gradually fleshing out the Moore sisters' backstory, and she keeps plot tangents under control to spin a tale of nonstop action with a nice final twist. An entertaining and promising crime-fiction debut, with the potential for a sequel.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In Davidson's razor sharp mystery debut, travel journalist Lily Moore, who's been living in Spain, rushes home to Manhattan's Lower East Side on learning that her younger sister, Claudia, a recovering heroin addict, has apparently drowned in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. The corpse in the morgue, however, is that of a stranger who'd been posing as Claudia for months. So where's Claudia? An increasingly frantic Lily launches her private investigation while NYPD detectives Norah Renfrew and hunky "Brux" Bruxton oversee the official one. As Lily dodges the amorous attentions of Martin Sklar, her wealthy ex-boyfriend, who she suspects might've had a secret affair with Claudia, she discovers Claudia's connection to a recently deceased "pseudopsychologist" who had a habit of getting too involved with his female patients. Davidson, herself a travel journalist (Frommer's Toronto 2010), offers a great portrait of sisterly love, despite a dysfunctional past, as well as a highly satisfying mystery. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Successful writer Lily Moore returns to New York from Spain when her heroin-addicted sister is found dead in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. Lily is shocked to find that the dead woman is not her sister but has been living as Claudia Moore for six months. Where is the real Claudia? At this very vulnerable time, Lily's ex-fiance reappears, causing further emotional turmoil, and then her life begins to disintegrate as everything that Lily believes is turned upside down. VERDICT Making a notable fiction debut, travel journalist Davidson has written an intriguing psychological mystery with a fully drawn protagonist who is surrounded by real characters who either care for her or who want her to fit their idea of who she should be. Readers will eagerly await Davidson's next book. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2010 (Best Novel)
The Brutal Telling
Click to search this book in our catalog   Louise Penny
 
2010 (Best First Novel)
A Bad Day for Sorry
 Sophie Littlefield
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2009 (Best Novel)
The Brass Verdict
 Michael Connelly
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2009 (Best First Novel)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
 Stieg Larsson
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2008 (Best Novel)
What the Dead Know
Click to search this book in our catalog   Laura Lippman
2008 (Best First Novel)
In the Woods
Click to search this book in our catalog   Tana French
2007 (Best Novel)
No Good Deeds
Click to search this book in our catalog   Laura Lippman
Library Journal: Following on the heels of Lippman's haunting standalone To the Power of Three, Tess Monaghan is back in this ninth entry of the award-winning series. An assistant U.S. attorney is found stabbed to death in the car of a young homeless man, Lloyd, whom Tess meets after her soft-hearted boyfriend, Crow, brings him home on a cold Baltimore night. But Lloyd may know something about the murder. Tess gives the story to her old newspaper with the understanding that they won't reveal her source—they don't, but they do report that Tess leaked the story. Lloyd goes into hiding with Crow, but a very persistent triumvirate of law enforcement—an FBI agent, a DEA agent, and another assistant U.S. attorney—pursues Tess to identify and reveal the whereabouts of her source. Things get really sticky until the highly satisfying and surprising ending. Strongly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/06.]—Stacy Alesi, Southwest Cty. Regional Lib., Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL—Stacy Alesi, Southwest Cty. Regional Lib., Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: Smartly plotted and paced, Lippman's ninth Tess Monaghan novel (after By a Spider's Thread) opens with a somewhat unlikely scenario: Tess's boyfriend, Edgar "Crow" Ransome, brings home for the night a homeless teenager, Lloyd, who slashed Crow's tires outside a Baltimore soup kitchen. When PI Tess discovers that Lloyd has information regarding the recent murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Youssef, Tess gives his story, sans name, to the local paper, so the authorities will get it secondhand. After a crony of Lloyd's is murdered instead of Lloyd, Tess receives her first visit from a sinister trio of law enforcement agents avid to know her source. Crow flees with Lloyd while Tess suffers growing pressure, including the threat of federal jail time. Baltimore itself is the book's most compelling character, its uneasy mix of aspiration and decay perfectly suited to Lippman's ironic voice. Crow is the book's weakest link; even a late revelation about his motives fails to make his sudden paternalism toward Lloyd believable. Happily, Lippman's loyal fans won't mind.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2007 (Best First Novel)
Still Life
 Louise Penny
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2006 (Best Novel)
Mercy Falls
 William Kent Krueger
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2006 (Best First Novel)
Tilt-a-Whirl
 Chris Grabenstein
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2005 (Best Novel)
Blood Hollow
Click to search this book in our catalog   William Kent Kruger
Publishers Weekly: In his fourth Cork O'Connor mystery (after 2001's Purgatory Ridge), Krueger tells a chilling story with a warm heart. O'Connor, the prickly ex-sheriff of the small town of Aurora, Minn., finds himself in conflict with the new, politically motivated sheriff, Arne Soderberg, when Charlotte Kane, a beautiful but reckless teen, disappears on a drunken snowmobile ride during a New Year's Eve party. A Minnesota blizzard thwarts the search, and decidedly unspiritual O'Connor returns to civilization troubled by supernatural visions in the blinding snowfall. Kane's body doesn't surface until the spring thaw, and then questions about her death arise: the autopsy and evidence at the scene point to murder, and the most likely suspect is Solemn Winter Moon, her brooding, rebellious ex-boyfriend, a lothario from the Ojibwe reservation who has a bad reputation with the citizens of Aurora. Anti-Native prejudice gives way to spiritual controversy when Winter Moon turns himself in after claiming to have seen Christ while seeking a vision from Kitchimanidoo, the Great Spirit. Skeptical of Winter Moon's religious claims but determined to prove his innocence, O'Connor uncovers twisted family drama, frightening religious fervor and suspicious infidelities. Krueger skillfully crafts enough plot twists to keep everybody guessing through the bloody climax to the thrilling end. (Feb. 3)

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2005 (Best First Novel)
Dating Dead Men
Click to search this book in our catalog   Harley Jane Kozak
Library Journal : All greeting card artist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wants to do is get the status of her franchise card shop upgraded, go out on dates, and take care of her institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic brother, P.B. But life for Wollie isn't as simple as it appears. Corporate spies could appear at any moment. Her social life is dictated by a research project for a radio celebrity psychotherapist who's paying Wollie to date 40 men in 60 days. And her brother has called to tell her that there's been a murder at his mental hospital. To top it all off, Wollie has finally met the man of her dreams, but he's on the run from gangsters and the law, and may or may not be involved in a killing. There's never a dull moment in this rollicking caper, an exuberant, fun-filled roller-coaster ride worthy of Stephanie Plum. Kozak, a talented actress who's appeared in such films as Parenthood and When Harry Met Sally, will inevitably be compared favorably to Janet Evanovich-Kozak's humor, voice, and pacing is quite similar. This incredible debut novel is the first in a series of dating mysteries, and libraries of all sizes will want it for their collections.-Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Even Stephanie Plum's antics will seem sedate after readers make the acquaintance of Los Angeles's own Wollie Shelley, greeting card designer and small business owner. Wollie is dating 40 men in 60 days as part of a research project for a bestselling radio personality; the $5,000 fee could help her struggling store, "Wollie's Welcome! Greetings." In particular, Wollie's worried about inspections from national headquarters, who want to ensure that her franchise is up to standard. Her already full plate gets loaded up further when her paranoid schizophrenic brother, P.B., who resides at a mental hospital called Rio Pescado, phones to tell her he's witnessed a murder. The last thing Wollie wants is to call the police, so she dashes off to Rio Pescado. On the way she finds a dead body. At the hospital she picks up a charismatic stranger, "Doc," who's on the run, and Wollie can't help getting herself mixed up in his troubles as well. Juggling dates, avoiding the bad guys on Doc's trail, trying to keep her store up to snuff and figuring out what to feed the ferret Doc left in her care have Wollie hopping at a pace reminiscent of the best 1930s screwball film comedies. Kozak has struck gold first time out with a wacky, high-octane plot and characters to match.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2004 (Best Novel)
Every Secret Thing
Click to search this book in our catalog   Laura Lippman
Publishers Weekly: With this engrossing mystery/suspense stand-alone novel, Lippman, winner of the Edgar, Shamus and Agatha awards for her series featuring likable heroine Tess Monaghan (Baltimore Blues; Charm City; The Last Place) solidifies her position in the upper tier of today's suspense novelists. Two 11-year-old children-good girl Alice Manning and bad girl Ronnie Fuller-wander homeward in Baltimore after being kicked out of a friend's pool party. They discover a baby in an unattended carriage by the front door of a house and steal it away. The reader watches in horror, knowing what will come next. The baby dies, and Alice and Ronnie are imprisoned for seven years. The mystery involves which girl did the killing, and which was the dupe. After release from prison, their blighted lives move inexorably toward further horror and tragedy. Lippman slowly relinquishes the facts of her story, building suspense as she reveals the past. Her well-honed prose is particularly suited to descriptions that impart more than just appearances: "Holly was one of those people who seemed to be put together with higher quality parts than everyone else"; "...there was something menacing in the very fineness of his bones, as if a bigger boy had been boiled down until all that remained was this concentrated bit of rage and bile." With this book, much darker than any in her past series, Lippman shows she is an author willing to take risks in both writing and storytelling. Her deft handling of this disturbing material is sure to increase the breadth of her readership.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2004 (Best First Novel)
Monkeewrench
 P.J. Tracy
Library Journal: Right from the opening scene in which a priest complains about heartburn caused by the cooking of an overzealous nun, this first novel by an anonymous mother and daughter team delivers. Monkeewrench is a software company founded by five college buddies and headed by Grace McBride. After releasing their latest venture, a game called Serial Killer Detective, trouble arises: once it is released on the web, someone starts imitating the murders in real life. Are the killings in Minneapolis related to a church homicide in Wisconsin? Grace and her colleagues start playing the game themselves, analyzing victim profiles and crimes scenes to find the killer. This fun, snappy read features funny, sad, and spirited characters. Beautiful and tough, Grace has a sordid past that she is trying to forget; police detective Magozzi has his own past mistakes to overcome as well. Throw in a hot sheriff from rural Wisconsin, a ten-year-old African American orphan, a dog named Charlie, and the rest of the Monkeewrench crew-along with a serial killer who has just resurfaced after ten years-and you get one nonstop story. Highly recommended for most public libraries.-Marianne Fitzgerald, Independence High Sch., Charlotte, NC

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: A mother-daughter writing team pens a soundly plotted thriller that fires on all cylinders. Tracy (the authors' pseudonym) seamlessly weaves together three distinct subplots converging on a Minneapolis software company, Monkeewrench, run by eclectic misfits and founded by the beautiful, bitchy, haunted Grace MacBride, an enigmatic recluse. The slaying of an elderly couple in a Wisconsin church draws Sheriff Michael Halloran and his amorous deputy, Sharon Mueller, into an investigation that brings unprecedented scrutiny to their conservative rural town. At the same time, a string of baffling murders in Minneapolis are driving homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth bonkers. Then the folks at Monkeewrench figure out what's going on: a killer is staging a series of exotic murders that duplicate those in their grisly new video game, Serial Killer Detective. Desperate to prevent additional murders (the game has 20), the programmers study the victims to figure out who might be next. Meanwhile, Magozzi's investigation reveals that MacBride and her colleagues created entirely new identities for themselves years earlier, for reasons the FBI won't reveal, but which, Magozzi slowly finds, are connected to another series of murders a decade earlier in Atlanta. Tracy covers all the bases in this debut thriller: an accelerating, unpredictable plot that combines police procedural with techno-geek-speak, an array of well-drawn characters and, most importantly, witty repartee.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2004 (Best Young Adult)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
 J. K. Rowling
Publishers Weekly: Year five at Hogwarts is no fun for Harry. Rowling may be relying upon readers to have solidified their liking for her hero in the first four books, because the 15-year-old Harry Potter they meet here is quite dour after a summer at the Dursleys' house on Privet Drive, with no word from pals Hermione or Ron. When he reunites with them at last, he learns that The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign to discredit Harry's and Dumbledore's report of Voldemort's reappearance at the end of book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Aside from an early skirmish with a pair of dementors, in which Harry finds himself in the position of defending not only himself but his dreaded cousin, Dudley, there is little action until the end of these nearly 900 pages. A hateful woman from the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge (who, along with minister Cornelius Fudge nearly succeeds in expelling Harry from Hogwarts before the start of the school year) overtakes Hogwarts-GrandPrE's toadlike portrait of her is priceless-and makes life even more miserable for him. She bans him from the Quidditch team (resulting in minimal action on the pitch) and keeps a tight watch on him. And Harry's romance when his crush from the last book, Cho Chang, turns out to be a major waterworks (she cries when she's happy, she cries shen she's sad). Readers get to discover the purpose behind the Order of the Phoenix and more is revealed of the connection between Harry and You-Know-Who. But the showdown between Harry and Voldemort feels curiously anticlimactic after the stunning clash at the close of book four. Rowling favors psychological development over plot development here, skillfully exploring the effects of Harry's fall from popularity and the often isolating feelings of adolescence. Harry suffers a loss and learns some unpleasant truths about his father, which result in his compassion for some unlikely characters. (The author also draws some insightful parallels between the Ministry's exercise of power and the current political climate.) As hope blooms at story's end, those who have followed Harry thus far will be every bit as eager to discover what happens to him in his sixth and seventh years. Ages 9-12.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal: Gr 4 Up-Harry has just returned to Hogwarts after a lonely summer. Dumbledore is uncommunicative and most of the students seem to think Harry is either conceited or crazy for insisting that Voldemort is back and as evil as ever. Angry, scared, and unable to confide in his godfather, Sirius, the teen wizard lashes out at his friends and enemies alike. The head of the Ministry of Magic is determined to discredit Dumbledore and undermine his leadership of Hogwarts, and he appoints nasty, pink-cardigan-clad Professor Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and High Inquisitor of the school, bringing misery upon staff and students alike. This bureaucratic nightmare, added to Harry's certain knowledge that Voldemort is becoming more powerful, creates a desperate, Kafkaesque feeling during Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. The adults all seem evil, misguided, or simply powerless, so the students must take matters into their own hands. Harry's confusion about his godfather and father, and his apparent rejection by Dumbledore make him question his own motives and the condition of his soul. Also, Harry is now 15, and the hormones are beginning to kick in. There are a lot of secret doings, a little romance, and very little Quidditch or Hagrid (more reasons for Harry's gloom), but the power of this book comes from the young magician's struggles with his emotions and identity. Particularly moving is the unveiling, after a final devastating tragedy, of Dumbledore's very strong feelings of attachment and responsibility toward Harry. Children will enjoy the magic and the Hogwarts mystique, and young adult readers will find a rich and compelling coming-of-age story as well.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2003 (Best Novel)
City of Bones
 Michael Connelly
Library Journal : Hard-boiled LAPD detective Harry Bosch, last seen in A Darkness More Than Light, has been working the beat for more than 25 years (and thrilling readers for more than ten), and he just keeps getting better. When the old bones of an abused, murdered child are uncovered in the hills of Laurel Canyon, Harry and partner Jerry Edgar are assigned the nearly impossible task of identifying the child and solving a murder committed 20 years ago. An orphan himself, Harry considers child abuse cases particularly difficult, but he finds some solace in the arms of Julia Brasher, an attractive recruit whom regulations say he shouldn't be seeing. As the investigation progresses, so does Harry's relationship with Julia until everything goes spectacularly wrong. This riveting thriller finds Harry even more introspective than usual, and while the tight prose of the plot swirls around the mystery of the bones, Harry's turbulent life and career are changed forever in a stunning conclusion. Another thrilling winner for Connelly's many fans; highly recommended. Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Harry Bosch is at the top of his form which is great news for Connelly fans who might have been wondering how much life the dour, haunted LAPD veteran had left in him. His latest adventure is as dark and angst-ridden as any of Bosch's past outings, but it also crackles with energy especially in the details of police procedure and internal politics that animate virtually every page. What other crime writer could make such dramatic use of the fact that the front door of a house trailer swings out rather than in, creating problems for a two-man team of detectives? Who else would create to such credible narrative effect an egotistic celebrity coroner who jeopardizes an investigation because she lets a TV camera crew from Court TV follow her around, or an overage female rookie cop so in love with danger that she commits an unthinkable act? When the bones of an abused 12-year-old boy who disappeared in 1980 turn up in the woods above Hollywood (near a street named Wonderland, where former governor Jerry Brown used to live), the case stirs up Bosch's memories of his own troubled childhood. Also, as his captain so aptly points out, Harry is the LAPD's prime "shit magnet," an investigator who attracts muck and trouble wherever he goes. So it's no great surprise when the investigation takes a couple of nasty turns, right up through the last chapter. Connelly is such a careful, quiet writer that he can slow down the story to sketch in some relatively minor characters a retired doctor, a couple who lived through their foster children without missing a beat. (One-day laydown Apr. 16)

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2003 (Best First Novel)
In the Bleak Midwinter
Click to search this book in our catalog   Julia Spencer-Fleming
2002 (Best Novel)
Mystic River
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dennis Lehane
2002 (Best First Novel)
Open Season
Click to search this book in our catalog   C.J. Box
Publishers Weekly : Enthusiastic blurbs even from luminaries such as Tony Hillerman, Les Standiford and Loren Estleman can sometimes leave readers feeling as if they must have read a different book altogether. Not this time. Box's superb debut, the first in a series introducing Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, should immediately make him a contender for best first novel or even best novel awards. Young Joe is struggling to fill the shoes of his mentor, legendary Vern Dunnegan, as warden of Twelve Sleep County, and trying to support his wife and growing family on the meager salary he makes. The hours are long, the work hard but satisfying, and Joe's honesty and integrity would pay off if he could avoid "bonehead moves" like ticketing the governor of the state for fishing without a license, for instance, or allowing a poacher to grab Joe's firearm from him. When that very same poacher turns up dead and bloodied in Joe's woodpile with only a cooler containing unidentified animal scat, his life, livelihood and family will never be the same. Upping the excitement are a couple of murders, local political and bureaucratic intrigue, a high-stakes pipeline scheme and an endangered species that Joe's eldest daughter "discovers." No one has done a better job of portraying the odd combination of hardy and foolhardy folk that make their homes in Wyoming's wilderness areas, or of describing the dichotomy between those who want to develop the area and those who want to preserve it. Without resorting to simplistic blacks and whites, Box fuses ecological themes, vibrant descriptions of Wyoming's wonders and peculiarities, and fully fleshed characters into a debut of riveting tensions. Meet Joe Pickett: he's going to be a mystery star.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2001 (Best Novel)
A Place of Execution
 Val McDermid
Publishers Weekly : This superb novel should make Gold Dagger-nominee McDermid's reputation and bring her new readers in droves. It's December 1963 and teenage girls all over Britain are swooning to the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." In the tiny, remote village of Scardale, Derbyshire, 13-year-old Alison Carter is envied by her peers because her stepfather buys her all the latest records. When Alison goes missing one dark night, Dist. Insp. George Bennett takes control of the case, despite being new to the job and the district. Other children have gone missing recently from towns and cities in the north, but somehow Alison's case is different. Although the police feverishly track down clues and organize searches over the moors, any hope that they'll find the girl fades as the days go by. Obsessed by the case, George is tormented by his lack of success and by the suffering of Alison's mother. Little more can be said without giving away key plot points, but McDermid spins a haunting tale whose complexity never masks her adroitness at creating memorable characters and scenes. Her narrative spell is such that the reader is immersed immediately in the rural Britain of the early '60s. She clearly did extensive research on how police work was done at the time, and it has paid off beautifully. The format of the novel is unusual, with much of it purporting to be a true crime book, but McDermid keeps the suspense taut, and her pacing never flags. This is an extraordinary achievement, and it's sure to be on many lists of the best mysteries of the year. 10-city author tour. (Sept. 20)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2001 (Best First Novel)
Death of a Red Heroine
 Qiu Ziaolong
Library Journal : The murder of a young woman found in a canal some distance from Shanghai threatens to go unnoticed and unsolved until someone identifies her as a well-known national model worker. Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a rapidly rising detective with a penchant for Tang and Song dynasty poetry, heads the case, which has become a sudden political event. Chen!s investigation finally wheedles its way past the victim!s false faAade and unloving neighbors to the dangerous perpetrator. In his first novel, the author, who published poetry and criticism in China and who teaches Chinese literature at Washington University in St. Louis, depicts a modern, changeable China, using focused prose, realistic depictions, and a very human protagonist. Recommended.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Set a decade ago in Shanghai, this political mystery offers a peek into the tightly sealed, often crooked world of post-Tiananmen Square China. Chen Cao, a poet and T.S. Eliot translator bureaucratically assigned to be chief inspector, has to investigate the murder of Guan Hongying, a young woman celebrated as a National Model Worker, but who kept her personal life strictly and mysteriously confidential. Chen and his comrade, Detective Yu, take turns interviewing Guan's neighbors and co-workers, but it seems most of them either know nothing or are afraid to talk openly about a deceased, highly regarded public figure. Maybe they shouldn't be so uneasy, some characters reason; after all, these are "modern times" and socialist China is taking great leaps toward free speech. Chen and Yu make headway when they stumble on Wu Xiaoming, senior editor of Red Star magazine, who apparently was involved with Guan before her death. Tiptoeing around touchy politics and using investigative tactics bordering on blackmail, Chen slowly pieces together the motives behind the crime. The author, himself a poet and critic, peppers the story with allusions to classical Chinese literature, juxtaposing poignant poetry with a gruesome murder so that the novel reads like the translation of an ancient text imposed over a modern tale of intrigue. This is an impressive and welcome respite from the typical crime novel. (June)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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2000 (Best Novel)
In a Dry Season
 Peter Robinson
Library Journal : Robinson's latest in the Inspector Banks series is actually two parallel stories: the brutal post-World War II murder of a young British woman and the solving of the crime some 40 years later. A major complication for the investigators is that the town where the murder was committed has been covered by a reservoir for decades, eliminating most physical traces of the crime. Banks must painstakingly piece together the spotty record of the townspeople long after most of them have moved to other areas or died of old age. Robinson switches back and forth from present-day sleuthing to the time of the actual murder, with the characters of both time periods well developed and complex. Robinson tells a compelling story of war-time England that rings true. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/99.]--Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Anyone who loves a good mystery should curl up gratefully with a cuppa to enjoy this rich 10th installment of the acclaimed British police procedural series. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, on the skids since the breakup with wife Sandra, languishes in "career Siberia" until old nemesis Chief Constable Riddle sends him to remotest Yorkshire on a "dirty, pointless, dead-end case." It seems a local kid has discovered a skeleton in dried-up Thornfield Reservoir, constructed on the site of the deserted bucolic village of Hobb's End. Banks taps into his familiar network of colleagues to identify the skeleton as that of Gloria Shackleton, a gorgeous, provocative "land girl" who worked on a Hobb's End farm while her husband was off fighting the Japanese decades ago. Apparently, Gloria had been stabbed to death. As Banks and Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot struggle to re-create the 50-year-old crime scene, wartime Yorkshire, with all its deprivations and depravities, springs to life. (Banks revives, too, showing renewed interest in his job, and in women.) Robinson brilliantly interweaves the story of Banks's investigation with an ambiguous manuscript by detective novelist "Vivian Elmsley," a 70-ish woman once Gloria's sister-in-law. Is the manuscript a memoir of events leading to Gloria's vicious murder, or "all just a story"? Either way, every detail rings true. Once again, Robinson's work stands out for its psychological and moral complexity, its startling evocation of pastoral England and its gritty, compassionate portrayal of modern sleuthing. Agent, Dominick Abel. Author tour.

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : YA-A fascinating whodunit. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called to attend to a skeleton found in the ruins of a deserted village. Flooded by a reservoir shortly after World War II, Hobb's End had been under water until a recent drought exposed its remnants. Thanks to modern forensics, Banks and the local Detective Sergeant, Annie Cabbot, learn that the remains were those of a young woman who had been strangled and then viciously stabbed numerous times. An apparent 50-year-old crime faces Banks and Cabbot as they go about gathering facts in an attempt to determine the identities of the victim and her murderer. The charm of this story lies in the way it is played out. Readers are privy to the thoughts of the characters from 50 years ago as their story is told as it happened. Chapter by chapter, readers learn about life in a small village in England during World War II. Interspersed with these chapters are the investigations, interviews, and research conducted by the detectives in the present day. The traits and foibles of the townspeople take shape and a portrait of the victim emerges. Despite its length, mystery buffs will find this book an easy read, and they'll be left with some questions to ponder that would make for an interesting and lively book discussion.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA

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2000 (Best First Novel)
Murder, With Peacocks
Click to search this book in our catalog   Donna Andrews
Library Journal : Meg Lanslow, maid of honor for three impending weddings, returns to her Virginia small-town home for the summer in order to arrange the details. Amidst the near disasters, truculent brides-to-be, screwball relatives, and minutiae-filled days, someone kills the rudely annoying sister of her mother's fiance. Meg's divorced but amicable father, an insatiable busybody and doctor, begins investigating--with assistance from Meg. Loquacious dialog, persistent humor, and interrupted romance brand the 1997 winner of the publisher's "Malice Domestic" contest. A fun, breezy read.

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1999 (Best Novel)
Blood Work
Click to search this book in our catalog   Michael Connelly
Library Journal : Having made the best sellers lists with The Poet, Connelly waves goodbye to protagonist Harry Bosch and welcomes former FBI agent Terrill McCaleb, in retirement after a heart transplant. But he's back in action when he learns that the woman from whom he received the heart was murdered.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Connelly follows up Trunk Music with a tautly paced, seductively involving thriller about a murder that is less random than it seems. Ex-FBI agent Terry McCaleb is recuperating from a heart transplant when beautiful Graciela Rivers walks up to his San Pedro houseboat, tells him that the donor of his new heart, her sister Gloria, was murdered in a convenience-store robbery and asks him to find the killer. Although his doctor warns him against it, McCaleb can't resist the case (any more than he could resist the serial-murder cases that caused his heart attack in the first place). With no license and little cooperation from the police, McCaleb reviews the evidence and connects a second murder to Gloria's killer. But it's only when he discovers that souvenirs have been taken from the victims that McCaleb realizes he is dealing with a type of killer with which he is all too familiar. Even working with seemingly shopworn material, Connelly produces fresh twists and turns, and, as usual, packs his plot with believable, logical surprises. He adds a moral twist by establishing a frightening bond between the hunter and the hunted, intimately connecting his detective to the criminal's guilt. Fans of Connelly's Harry Bosch novels will feel right at home with this beautifully constructed, powerfully resonating thriller, and newcomers will see right away what all the fuss has been about. Author tour.

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1999 (Best First Novel)
Iron Lake
Click to search this book in our catalog   William Kent Krueger
Library Journal : In Krueger's first mystery after a spate of short stories, former sheriff Cork O'Connor deals with a missing boy, a dead judge, and a Minnesota blizzard. Some very strong prepublication reviews (e.g., "the author's deft eye...brings the town and its problem to vivid life," Publishers Weekly) sent this book spinning, and it won some praise from the consumer press as well. It also popped up a few times on LJ's "1999 Adult Book-Buying Survey Among Librarians" as a local title that circulated especially well.

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Short-story specialist Krueger brings a fresh take on some familiar elements and a strong sense of atmosphere to his first mystery. Chicago cop Cork O'Connor and his wife, Jo, a lawyer, moved back to his northern Minnesota hometown of Aurora to improve their quality of life, but it didn't work. Cork became the sheriff but lost an election after a disagreement between local Indians and whites over fishing rights turned deadly. Then his marriage broke up, with Jo becoming a successful advocate for tribal rights and Cork reduced to running a scruffy restaurant and gift shop. As the book starts, Cork, feeling guilty about sleeping with a warmhearted waitress, is still hoping to get back with Jo and their three children. Drawn into the disappearance of an Indian newsboy, which coincides with the apparent suicide of a former judge, Cork quickly clashes with some well-connected foes: a newly elected senator (who also happens to be the judge's son and Jo's lover); the town's new sheriff; and some tribal leaders getting rich on gambling concessions. When an old Indian tells Cork that a Windigo (a malign spirit) is fueling events, it becomes an occasion for Krueger to draw some nifty connections between the monsters of the heart and the monsters of myth. Krueger makes Cork a real person beneath his genre garments, mostly by showing him dealing with the needs of his two very different teenage daughters. And the author's deft eye for the details of everyday life brings the town and its peculiar problems to vivid life.

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1998 (Best Novel)
No Colder Place
 S.J. Rozan
Publishers Weekly : It's a nice inside joke when, in this fourth book in the Bill Smith and Lydia Chin series, a dedicated bricklayer complains about how the architect of the 40-story Manhattan apartment building he's working on doesn't "give a shit about anything on this job except the fucking aesthetics. He don't understand what makes a building work." Those words are spoken by Mike DiMaio to Bill, who's working undercover as a mason to find out why the construction site is plagued by thefts and deaths. It's funny because Rozan, in addition to being a Shamus winner (for 1995's Concourse), is also a New York architect. She certainly understands how a good mystery works: by doing your homework, using the best quality materials and keeping the surprises coming until the very end. Since Lydia was the star of Rozan's last book, Mandarin Plaid, it's Bill's turn to take control, and it's fun to see his side of their fond but apparently unconsummated relationship. While Bill is up in the clouds laying bricks, Lydia gets a job as a secretary in the construction bosses' trailer. Both see plenty of action as what at first appears to be a simple case of a few crooked workers turns out to be a much more complicated story of twisted relationships among sharply sketched characters: the tough-minded DiMaio; the ambivalent ex-cop who first gets Bill involved; the fierce black female entrepreneur who seems capable of doing anything to get her building up. But best of all are Bill and Lydia, originals who are strong enough to carry emotional baggage from other books without weakening their credibility.

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1998 (Best First Novel)
The Killing Floor
 Lee Child
Library Journal : The transient Jack Reacher finds himself in tiny Margrave, Georgia, and is almost immediately arrested, if briefly, as a murder suspect. Imagine his surprise when he discovers that one of the victims is his brother, a brilliant U.S. Treasury agent. Reacher himself is no slouch; a former military policeman, he can dispatch villains with an astonishing array of weapons, including various parts of his body. In the company of a straight-arrow detective and a beautiful lady cop, Reacher soon unearths a conspiracy stretching through the little town and beyond. Blood flows freely, terrible threats are made and carried out, and body parts accumulate. First novelist Child, a former television writer, stretches coincidence outrageously in this would-be noir outing, whose hero is creepily amoral, violent, and generally unpleasant. Only large pop fiction collections need consider.

Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Although the tale is built around a coincidence as big as the author's talent, beautifully detailed action scenes and fascinating arcana about currency and counterfeiting enliven this taut and tough-minded first novel by British TV writer Child. Out of sheer restlessness and rootlessness, 36-year-old ex-military policeman Jack Reacher persuades a Greyhound bus driver to make an unscheduled stop in Margrave, the small Georgia town where Reacher's brother, a U.S. Treasury official, just happens to have been murdered a few hours earlier. Reacher doesn't know about his brother's death or suspect his presence in the town. Indeed, when he's arrested in a local diner for being a conspicuously mysterious stranger, Reacher tells the detective who interviews him that he dropped off the bus to investigate the death of Blind Blake, a guitar player murdered in Margrave 60 years ago. Downsized out of the military, Reacher has cutting-edge investigative and killing skills that come in handy the moment he learns of his brother's murder. This combination of events is so unbelievably convenient that it almost overwhelms the book's solid writing. The reader expects the other shoe to drop-for Reacher to be revealed as an undercover agent, or some such; but it never does. Otherwise, Child writes with a hand as strong and steady as steel. Margrave is a wonderful creation, a seemingly picture- perfect community under the care of a mysterious foundation where the streets are always swept and the people who run the tiny local businesses get grants of $1000 a week to stay open. Two scenes of brutal violence in a nearby prison are rendered with exquisite precision, as is a stalking murder inside the baggage area of the Atlanta airport, and the vast counterfeiting conspiracy that Reacher's brother was probing is wholly credible.

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1997 (Best Novel)
The Poet
 Michael Connelly
Library Journal : Edgar Award winner Connelly deserts popular series detective Harry Bosch for a new hero: crime reporter Jack MacElvoy, whose first case involves the fishy suicide of his detective brother.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : In a departure from his crime novels featuring LAPD's Harry Bosch, Connelly (The Last Coyote) sets Denver journalist Jack McEvoy on an intricate case where age-old evils come to flower within Internet technology. Jack's twin brother, Sean, a Denver homicide detective obsessed with the mutilation murder of a young woman, is discovered in his car, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot, with a cryptic note written on the windshield. Jack's investigation uncovers a series of cop suicides across the country, all of which have in common both the cops' deep concerns over recent cases and their last messages, which have been taken, he quickly determines, from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. As his information reopens cases in Chicago, Baltimore, Dallas, New Mexico and Florida, Jack joins up with a team from the FBI's Behavioral Science Section, which includes sharp, attractive agent Rachel Walling. Connections between the dead cops, the cases they were working on and the FBI profile of a pedophile whom readers know as William Gladden occur at breakneck speed, as Jack and the team race to stay ahead of the media. Edgar-winning Connelly keeps a surprise up his sleeve until the very end of this authoritatively orchestrated thriller, when Jack finds himself in California, caught at the center of an intricate web woven from advanced computer technology and more elemental drives.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1997 (Best First Novel)
Death in Little Tokyo
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dale Furutani
Publisher's Weekly : Furutani gives a short course on Japanese-American culture on the West Coast in this pedantic, occasionally poetic debut. Unemployed computer programmer Ken Tanaka rents an office and fixes it up to look like a detective's office in order to host an L.A. Mystery Club weekend. When a woman comes in to hire him, he goes along, believing her to be a participant playing a joke. After she leaves and he realizes she wasn't role-playing, he feels obligated to retrieve the package she paid him to get. He picks up the package from international businessman Susumu Matsuda and gives it to his girlfriend, Mariko, for safekeeping. However, Matsuda is soon hacked to death, and Ken fleetingly becomes a suspect. Despite repeated cautions by Mariko and the insensitive detective in charge, Ken, who solves Mystery Club puzzles faster than other members, determines to find out why the man was killed and by whom. But once he is beaten up by Japanese gangsters, it becomes clear that real crime is less organized and more complicated than the game variety. Furutani packs so much history of the Japanese in America and mentions their current social problems so frequently that the mystery in this slim novel seems an afterthought.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1996 (Best Novel)
Under the Beetles Cellar
Click to search this book in our catalog   Mary Willis Walker
Publishers Weekly : Walker, whose The Red Scream won the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of 1994, returns with a knockout novel that may send her back for another bow in '95. This time, Texas journalist Molly Cates is drawn into a headline-grabbing multiple kidnapping: religious fanatic and self-proclaimed prophet Samuel Mordecai has abducted 11 Austin elementary schoolchildren and their bus driver. The children and the driver, Walter Demming, are being held in another bus buried beneath a barn on the heavily protected compound of the Hearth (``earth with an h, which stands for heaven,'' says Mordecai) Nazarenes until the end of the world--a mere 50 days away, according to Mordecai's prophecy. Joining the action on day 45, Walker moves her story both forward and back, holding her readers with two narrative threads: one traces Demming's and the children's dark endurance under the earth; the other moves with Molly as she delves into Mordecai's past to help the feds and the cops (the latter of whom include her former husband, who is also her current lover) understand Mordecai's intentions. Readers quickly become attached to the private, utterly believable Demming, a Vietnam vet, and to the brave, alternately defeated and defiant, youngsters, one of whom suffers from severe asthma. Above ground, Molly bends her own rules to uncover the circumstances of Mordecai's birth and childhood, which figure prominently in his religious fantasies. With unerring pacing and a vivid supporting cast (including a frustrated FBI negotiator and a cunning killer operative who is a former nun), Walker leads up to her superbly orchestrated final act, which will leave readers cheering, weeping and gasping for breath. Mystery Guild selection; paperback rights to Bantam; author tour.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : YA--Trapped underground for a ritualistic 50 days of cleansing are a busload of 11 elementary-school students and their Vietnam-vet bus driver. Kidnapped by Samuel Mordecai, a religious fanatic, the group slowly realizes that without a rescue attempt by the FBI, their demise will mark the beginning of Mordecai's prophesied apocalypse. Because he once found amateur detective Molly Cone to be a fair journalist, he requests that she interview him again. A chilling portrait of the man and his followers is tempered by the honest, earnest work of the FBI as they attempt negotiation and finally rescue. Molly's tenacity in her investigation of Mordecai leaves not one wart uncovered, yet without the help of the bus driver's literary friends, no one would be able to decipher the clues the entombed captives have hidden in their allocated one-minute messages to family members. A book that is horrifying in its realistic portrayal of religious fanaticism, heartrending in its description of the children's ordeal, and thrilling when it records one man's bravery.

Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1996 (Best First Novel)
Death in Bloodhound Red
Click to search this book in our catalog   Virginia Lanier
Library Journal : Not a police officer per se, rural Georgia's Jo Beth Sidden, a breeder and trainer of bloodhounds, collects clues in much the same way. Despite-or because of-her efficiency and resourcefulness in tracking missing persons for the police, she appears abrasive and outspoken, qualities that mask her fear of abusive ex-husband Bubba, who began stalking her the moment he left prison. Literate, well-modulated prose, satisfyingly detailed descriptions, elements of Southern decadence, and a leisurely pace punctuated by thrilling moments of action all characterize a very appealing first novel.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : Lanier's anecdotal debut, melding good-old-boy humor and action-packed adventure, tracks the personal and professional life of Georgia bloodhound trainer Jo Beth Sidden. Working the three counties bordering the Okefenokee Swamp, Jo Beth conducts harrowing searches for missing persons, among them a retarded boy, two fishermen and an elderly man. In between, the outspoken, engaging heroine deals with a mysterious inheritance from her renowned painter father and the vengeful, murderous intentions of her former husband, Bubba. She also finds time to help old friends enmeshed in crime. The latter effort backfires, however, when Bubba is beaten nearly to death and Jo Beth can't give the police an alibi for fear of incriminating herself and a friend. Indicted for attempted murder, she must prove her innocence without divulging where she was or what she was doing. Lanier gives readers a thorough, insider's look at a unique occupation and a detailed view of Southern life near the swamp.

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1995 (Best Novel)
She Walks These Hills
 Sharyn McCrumb
Library Journal : A tale of an escaped convict from Edgar Award winner McCrumb.

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Publishers Weekly : In 1779, Katie Wyler, 18, was captured by the Shawnee in North Carolina. The story of her escape and arduous journey home through hundreds of miles of Appalachian wilderness is the topic of ethno-historian Jeremy Cobb's thesis-and the thread which runs through the third of McCrumb's ballad novels (after The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter). As Cobb begins to retrace Katie's return journey, 63-year-old convicted murderer Hiram (Harm) Sorley escapes from a nearby prison. Suffering from Korsakoff's syndrome, he has no recent memory: old Harm is permanently stuck in the past. Hamelin, Tenn., police dispatcher Martha Ayers uses the opportunity to convince the sheriff to assign her as a deputy. One of her first duties is to calm a young mother who, angry at her inattentive husband, is threatening her baby with a butcher knife. Ayers and the sheriff must also warn Harm's ex-wife Rita that he has escaped. Acting as a kind of narrative conscience is a local deejay, a ``carpetbagger from Connecticut,'' who sees Harm as a folk hero from another era. Deftly building suspense, McCrumb weaves these colorful elements into her satisfying conclusion as she continues to reward her readers' high expectations. Mystery Guild selection; author tour.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : YA--Mystery and folklore are skillfully blended in this contemporary Appalachian tale. Driving the plot are ``Harm'' (Hiram) Sorley, an aging prisoner suffering from recent memory loss, who receives a spiritual message to escape from prison and return home to North Carolina; history grad student Jeremy Cobb, who wants to hike the trail used by Katie Wyler in the late 1700s when she escaped from Indians who held her captive; and members of the sheriff's department who search for both of these men. Strong females also figure prominently in this title, not the least of whom is Katie Wyler, dead over 200 years, whose spectral image helps several characters. Assisting Sheriff Arrowwood is his newest deputy, Martha Ayers, who's determined to prove she can rise above the lot of dispatcher. When all these folks converge beside a burning trailer home, more than one mystery is solved. McCrumb's rich use of dialect, accompanied by both physical description of and folklore about the mountains, combine to produce an evocative, haunting story. This novel defies stereotypical mystery elements, offering instead a complete melange of character study, plot, and setting.

Pam Spencer, Chapel Square Media Center, Fairfax County, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1995 (Best First Novel)
The Alienist
 Caleb Carr
Library Journal : A society-born police reporter and an enigmatic abnormal psychologist--the ``alienist'' of the title--are recruited in 1896 by New York's reform police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt to track down a serial killer who is slaughtering boy prostitutes. The investigators are opposed at every step by crime bosses and the city's hidden rulers (including J. Pierpont Morgan); they distrust the alienist's novel methods and would rather conceal evidence of the murders than court publicity. Tension builds as the detectives race to prevent more deaths. From this improbable brew, historian-novelist Carr ( The Devil Soldier , Random, 1991) has fashioned a knockout period mystery, infused with intelligence, vitality, and humor. This novel is a highly unorthodox variant of the Holmes-Watson theme and the best since Julian Symons's delightful A Three-Pipe Solution . It should entice new fans to the genre. Recommended. Literary Guild featured selection; Doubleday Book Club Selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.

David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1994 (Best Novel)
Wolf in the Shadows
 Marcia Muller
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1994 (Best First Novel)
Track of the Cat
Click to search this book in our catalog   Nevada Barr
1993 (Best Novel)
Bootleggers Daughter
Click to search this book in our catalog   Margaret Maron
Publishers Weekly : Maron's ( Past Imperfect ) series launch introduces attorney Deborah Knott, the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger, in an atmospheric adventure mixing Southern politics and a mysterious killing`unsolved murder' in next sentence . While Deb campaigns for a district court judgeship, 18-year-old Gayle Whitehead asks her to investigate the unsolved murder of her mother, Janie, which took place when Gayle was an infant. The girl wants Deb, who knows the locals of Cotton Grove, to ask around and see if she can find clues the police might have missed. Deb visits Michael Vickery, the gay son of Cotton Grove's retired doctor and owner of the property where Janie's body was found. She discovers long-kept secrets, learning that Janie had a roving eye and that a lesbian friend and her lover had made overtures to Janie a week before the murder.sentence ok?see my revisions yes, fine But not until another death occurs does Deb begin to close in on the truth. Filled with good-ole-boy patter and detailed local color, the story flows smoothly, and if it lacks suspense, Maron's appealing characterizations and her knowing eye for family relationships more than compensate. Mystery Guild alternate; author tour.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1993 (Best First Novel)
Blanche on the Lam
Click to search this book in our catalog   Barbara Neely
Publishers Weekly : Neely's deftly written first novel pays tribute to the community and culture of a working-class African American woman who becomes both a sleuth and a fugitive from the law.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1992 (Best Novel)
The Last Detective
 Peter Lovesey
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1992 (Best First Novel)
Murder on the Iditarod Trail
 Sue Henry
Publishers Weekly : In this enthralling debut mystery, someone is killing the dogsled racers competing in Alaska's internationally famous Iditarod race.

Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1991 (Best Novel)
G is for Gumshoe
 Sue Grafton
School Library Journal : Feisty private investigator Kinsey Millhone continues to solve mysteries, in this case finding and taking an elderly woman to a nursing home near her daughter. But the lady mysteriously disappears within hours of her arrival. Painfully aware of the fact that a contract has been arranged for her own murder, Kinsey unravels the events of the past clue by clue, narrating the action-filled story in a realistic, easy-to-read, informal style. Less motivated students are sure to appreciate a character with a respectable, exciting job without having had a college education; although Kinsey had police training, her bodyguard freely admits he left high school but later took an equivalency test. This light mystery maintains interest to the end; everything happens quickly. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

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1991 (Best First Novel)
Postmortem
Click to search this book in our catalog   Patricia Cornwell
Publishers Weekly : Cornwell, a former reporter who has worked in a medical examiner's office, sets her first mystery in Richmond, Va. Chief medical officer for the commonwealth of Virginia, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the narrator, dwells on her efforts to identify ``Mr. Nobody,'' the strangler of young women. The doctor devotes days and nights to gathering computer data and forensic clues to the killer, although she's hampered by male officials anxious to prove themselves superior to a woman. Predictably, Scarpetta's toil pays off, but not before the strangler attacks her; a reformed male chauvinist, conveniently nearby, saves her. Although readers may be naturally disposed to admire Scarpetta and find the novel's scientific aspect interesting, they are likely to be put off by her self-aggrandizement and interminable complaints, annoying flaws in an otherwise promising debut.

Copyright 1989 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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1990 (Best Novel)
The Sirens Sang of Murder
Click to search this book in our catalog   Sarah Caudwell
Publishers Weekly : Caudwell's third suspense novel takes place in the Channel Islands and is narrated, like its predecessors, by Professor Hilary Tamar of Oxford. Investigated here is the mysterious death of a great fortune's administrator. ``Besides giving readers a bewitching mystery, the author absorbs them in the legends of . . . all the storied Channel Islands,'' noted PW.

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1990 (Best First Novel)
Katwalk
Click to search this book in our catalog   Karen Kijewski
Publishers Weekly : Investigator Kat Colorado jets to Las Vegas to check on a fortune owed to her friend Charity Collins by Charity's ex-husband, Sam. Kat proves that Sam's story of losing the money at the casinos is a fraud, but before she confronts him, he dies. ``The story successfully combines stark terrors, comedy and even pathos,'' judged PW.

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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