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.

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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.

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2010 (Best Novel)
The Brutal Telling
Click to search this book in our catalog   Louise Penny

Library Journal Having won numerous mystery prizes, including the prestigious Arthur Ellis and Anthony awards for her debut, Still Life, Canadian author Penny has only gotten better with each succeeding novel. Her fifth in the series is the finest of all. Featuring series protagonist Chief Inspector Gamache, this literary mystery explores the ways in which sins of the past have a way of resurrecting themselves, wreaking havoc upon their perpetrators, and, unfortunately, the innocent. Thus, when a hermit is slain in the woods near an isolated village in rural Quebec, secrets surface, unmasking characters who have adopted benign personae to conceal their questionable past deeds. Fortunately, sagacious Gamache possesses the acumen to peel away the layers of deceit and to expose the truth. Verdict This superb novel will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated literary mysteries in the tradition of Donna Leon. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 6/1/09; 100,000-copy first printing; library marketing campaign.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, 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.

Book list *Starred Review* This fifth in Penny's celebrated Armand Gamache series finds the chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec returning once again to the tiny village of Three Pines, where murder seems to disrupt the comfortable routines of the residents with alarming frequency. This time the body of an unknown man has turned up on the floor of the village bistro and antique shop. With a sophistication and a sense of empathy that will remind readers of P. D. James' Adam Dalgleish, Gamache and his team tease information out of the recalcitrant locals, many of whom have appeared in previous books. When the identity of the man, a hermit who was living in a cabin deep in the woods, is finally revealed, the case expands its boundaries, as Penny leapfrogs gracefully from village rivalries and festering grudges to the international antiques trade and the works of legendary Canadian artist Emily Carr. What holds the book together, though, is the calming presence of Gamache, whose mix of erudition and intuition draws readers in just as it lulls suspects into revealing a little too much. Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie, and while there is a surface resemblance there, it sells her short. Her characters are too rich, her grasp of nuance and human psychology too firm for the formula-bound Christie. No, Penny belongs in the hands of those who read not only P. D. James but also Donna Leon, who, like Penny, mixes her hero's family and professional lives fluidly and with a subtle grasp of telling detail.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly When the body of an unknown old man turns up in a bistro in Agatha-winner Penny's excellent fifth mystery set in the Quebec village of Three Pines (after Jan. 2009's A Rule Against Murder), Chief Insp. Armand Gamache investigates. At a cabin in the woods apparently belonging to the dead man, Gamache and his team are shocked to discover the remote building is full of priceless antiquities, from first edition books to European treasures thought to have disappeared during WWII. When suspicion falls on one of Three Pines' most prominent citizens, it's up to Gamache to sift through the lies and uncover the truth. Though Gamache is undeniably the focus, Penny continues to develop her growing cast of supporting characters, including newcomers Marc and Dominique Gilbert, who are converting an old house-the site of two murders-into a spa. Readers keen for another glimpse into the life of Three Pines will be well rewarded. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2010 (Best First Novel)
A Bad Day for Sorry
 Sophie Littlefield

Publishers Weekly Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on. After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victimhood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son. Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Stella Hardesty's sideline business delivering justice to men who abuse women has earned her a reputation far beyond her home in rural Prosper, Missouri. By day she's the sole operator of Hardesty Sewing Machine Sales & Repair, started with her wife-beater husband, Ollie, before he died (after his head connected with the wrench in Stella's hand). When Roy Dean Shaw gets a very pointed warning from handgun-toting Stella to stay away from Chrissy, the wife he beats, Stella's job seems to be done until someone takes off with Chrissy's 18-month-old son. Stella's concern for the missing child is great enough to involve Sheriff Goat Jones in the case, but not before launching her own clandestine and well-armed search, along with a newly fierce Chrissy. Ass-whuppin' 50-year-old Stella is nothing if not inventive, from using high-quality sexual restraints on abusers to going toe to toe with some very bad Mafia types; she's ably backed up by Goat, a divorcee who sends Stella sexual vibes and winks at her vigilantism. Littlefield puts a new spin on middle-age sleuths in this rollicking, rip-roaring debut.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

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2009 (Best Novel)
The Brass Verdict
 Michael Connelly

Library Journal Mickey Haller, last seen in The Lincoln Lawyer, returns to the courtroom in an unusual way here. Former colleague Jerry Vincent is murdered, and his caseload is dropped in Haller's lap. One of Vincent's high-profile cases involved a movie mogul accused of killing his wife and her lover in a jealous rage. As Haller prepares the mogul's defense, he discovers that Vincent's killer might have chosen him as the next target. Haller must trust Harry Bosch, the police officer investigating Vincent's murder, if he is going to survive and trust his instincts if he is going to succeed in convincing a jury of his client's innocence. Connelly is firing on all cylinders in this epic page-turner. The intriguing story line, the chance to view Bosch from another perspective, and Haller's reappearance as a main character add up to a fantastic read. One of the best thrillers of the year and a mandatory purchase for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/08; $1 million marketing campaign.]--Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Connelly delivers one of his most intricate plots to date in his 20th book, a beautifully executed crime thriller. When L.A. lawyer Mickey Haller, last seen in The Lincoln Lawyer (2005), inherits the practice and caseload of a fellow defense attorney, Jerry Vincent, who's been murdered, the high-profile double-homicide case against famed Hollywood producer Walter Elliot, accused of shooting his wife and her alleged lover, takes top priority. As Haller scrambles to build a defense, he butts heads with LAPD Det. Harry Bosch, the stalwart hero of Connelly's long-running series (The Black Echo, etc.), who's working Vincent's murder. When Haller realizes that the Elliot affair is bigger than simply a jealous husband killing his cheating wife, he and Bosch grudgingly agree to work together to solve what could be the biggest case in both their careers. Bosch might have met his match in the wily Haller, and readers will delight in their sparring. 10-city author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Book list *Starred Review* It hasn't gone well for L.A. lawyer Mickey Haller since the events described in The Lincoln Lawyer (2005). The recovery from being shot was slow, and the addiction to prescription drugs was worse than the recovery. But Haller has kicked the pills and is ready to practice law again when his friend and fellow attorney Jerry Vincent is murdered, and Mickey inherits all Vincent's cases, including a career-maker: the trial of a studio executive accused of killing his wife and her lover. Quickly, Mickey realizes he's caught in the middle: defending the mogul requires concealing facts that could help solve the Vincent murder. OK, Mickey's used to playing fast and loose with the cops, but the investigating officer, Harry Bosch, knows when he's being played. Careful Connelly readers will know that there's a connection between the author's two heroes, Bosch and Haller, even though this is the first time the two costarred together (see The Black Light, 1993). Connelly plays the dueling characters off against one another effectively, especially for those familiar with the previous books, but it isn't all about backstory. Like Lincoln Lawyer, this is a fine legal thriller, full of both electric courtroom scenes and fascinating behind-the-scenes stuff about the business of lawyering. Connelly is justly celebrated for his characters and his ability to create mood from the sights and sounds of L.A., but he's also a terrific plotter, and that skill is in high relief here. Essential for fans; a great read for anybody.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

Library Journal Mickey Haller takes the case of a Hollywood lawyer who's been murdered--and discovers that the killer is now after him. With a ten-city tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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2009 (Best First Novel)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
 Stieg Larsson

Book list The first U.S. appearance of another major Swedish crime writer is cause for celebration but also disappointment: Larsson, an acclaimed journalist as well as the author of the award-winning Millenium trilogy, of which this is the first volume, died in 2004. The editor of a magazine called Expo, which was dedicated to fighting right-wing extremism, Larsson brings his journalistic background to bear in his first novel. It is the story of a crusading reporter, Mikail Blomkvist, who has been convicted of libel for his exposé of crooked financier Wennerstrom. Then another Swedish financier, a rival of Wennerstrom, wants to hire Blomkvist to solve the decades-old disappearance of his niece from the family's island compound in the north of Sweden. If Blomkvist works on the project for a year, his employer will deliver the goods on Wennerstrom. Blomkvist takes the job and soon finds himself trying to unlock the grisly multigenerational secrets in a hideously dysfunctional family's many closets. Helping him dig through those closets is the novel's real star, the girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, a ward of the state who happens to be Sweden's most formidable computer hacker and a fearless foe of women-hating men. Larsson has two great stories (and two star-worthy characters) here, and if he never quite brings them together the conclusion of the Wennerstrom campaign seems almost anticlimactic after the action-filled finale on the island the novel nevertheless offers compelling chunks of investigative journalism, high-tech sleuthing, and psychosexual drama. What a shame that we only have three books in which to watch the charismatic Lisbeth Salander take on the world!--Ott, Bill Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

Library Journal Larsson's gripping debut thriller about the decades-old disappearance of a teenage heiress exposes the darkness beneath Sweden's sunny blond veneer and introduces us to the memorable Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed, antisocial computer hacker. (LJ 8/08) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Ever since Knopf editor Sonny Mehta bought the U.S. rights last November, the prepublication buzz on this dark, moody crime thriller by a Swedish journalist has grown steadily. A best seller in Europe (it outsold the Bible in Denmark), this first entry in the "Millennium" trilogy finally lands in America. Is the hype justified? Yes. Despite a sometimes plodding translation and a few implausible details, this complex, multilayered tale, which combines an intricate financial thriller with an Agatha Christie-like locked-room mystery set on an island, grabs the reader from the first page. Convicted of libeling a prominent businessman and awaiting imprisonment, financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist agrees to industrialist Henrik Vanger's request to investigate the 40-year-old disappearance of Vanger's 16-year-old niece, Harriet. In return, Vanger will help Blomkvist dig up dirt on the corrupt businessman. Assisting in Blomkvist's investigation is 24-year-old Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant but enigmatic computer hacker. Punkish, tattooed, sullen, antisocial, and emotionally damaged, she is a compelling character, much like Carol O'Connell's Kathy Mallory, and this reviewer looks forward to learning more of her backstory in the next two books (The Girl Who Played with Fire and Castles in the Sky). Sweden may be the land of blondes, Ikea, and the Midnight Sun, but Larsson, who died in 2004, brilliantly exposes its dark heart: sexual violence against women, a Nazi past, and corporate corruption. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/03.]--Wilda Williams, Library Journal Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Wealthy young Harriet Vanger disappeared 40 years ago, and Uncle Henrik always thought she was murdered. Now he's drafted a hotshot journalist and a tattooed hacker to investigate. An expert on right-wing extremists, Swedish author Larsson died in 2004. This international best seller arrives here with a 100,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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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

Library Journal Three children wander into some woods near Dublin, but only one is found, hysterical and bloodied. Some 20 years later, he's a detective investigating a child's murder in the same woods. Lots of in-house excitement, though one wonders whether Coben (see The Woods, above) and French have talked. With a reading group guide. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut. When Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl from Knocknaree, a Dublin suburb, is found murdered at a local archeological dig, Det. Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, must probe deep into the victim's troubled family history. There are chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and the disappearance 20 years before of two children from the same neighborhood who were Ryan's best friends. Only Maddox knows Ryan was involved in the 1984 case. The plot climaxes with a taut interrogation by Maddox of a potential suspect, and the reader is floored by the eventual identity and motives of the killer. A distracting political subplot involves a pending motorway in Knocknaree, but Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, land the first big murder case of their police careers: a 12-year-old girl has been murdered in the woods adjacent to a Dublin suburb. Twenty years before, two children disappeared in the same woods, and Ryan was found clinging to a tree trunk, his sneakers filled with blood, unable to tell police anything about what happened to his friends. Ryan, although scarred by his experience, employs all his skills in the search for the killer and in hopes that the investigation will also reveal what happened to his childhood friends. In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel, and author French relentlessly builds the psychological pressure on Ryan as the investigation lurches onward under the glare of the tabloid media. Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans. --Thomas Gaughan Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

Library Journal Tana French's debut Irish mystery, In the Woods (Viking. 2007. ISBN 978-0-670-03860-2. $24.95), is a tightly woven police procedural that carries a huge psychological punch. When he was a boy, Det. Rob Ryan was found in the woods, clinging to a tree, shoes soaked in blood, and his two best friends were missing. Fast forward 20 years, and the detective and his partner, Cassie Maddox, catch the case of Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old who has been murdered in the same woods. As he investigates, Ryan hopes to solve his own cold case. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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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 Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list In Tess Monaghan's ninth outing, an impulse to do good leads to murder. When Crow Ransome, Tess' live-in boyfriend, catches 16-year-old Lloyd Jupiter running a tire scam on his car, he takes him home to ensure he has a place to sleep for the night. By accident, Tess discovers their reluctant guest has some intriguing information about the high-profile murder of a federal prosecutor. When Tess turns the information over to the papers, she's assured her source will be anonymous; not so Tess herself, however, and it isn't long before an aggressive assistant U.S. district attorney and two burly federal cops are knocking on her door. To protect the boy, Crow takes Lloyd away, leaving Tess to decide if increasing pressure from federal investigators is worth protecting a kid with a dubious sense of right and wrong. Lippman lets each character contribute a piece to the whole, which makes the story richer, and there's some nail-biting suspense as Tess faces off against what she thinks are the big guns of government. --Stephanie Zvirin Copyright 2006 Booklist

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

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. Author tour. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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2007 (Best First Novel)
Still Life
 Louise Penny
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2006 (Best Novel)
Mercy Falls
 William Kent Krueger
  Click to search this book in our catalog
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) FYI: Krueger's most recent novel is a political thriller, Devil's Bed (2003). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Book list The Corcoran O'Connor series deserves a larger audience. Cork O'Connor, former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota (he now owns a burger joint called Sam's Place), is one of crime fiction's more interesting series leads, andrueger's dead-on depiction of a rural American town is as vivid and realistic as any in the genre. This time out, Cork gets involved in the investigation of a young woman's murder and, as usual, must rely on his own investigative experience to do what the authorities can't: solve the case. But the mystery is only part of the draw here. What sets the novel (and the series) apart from the rank-and-file is the wayrueger tells the story, layering on the details, slowly revealing the relationships between characters, parceling out information a piece at a time. In this first-rate entry in an underappreciated series,rueger does for rural Minnesota what Steven Havill does, in his Posadas County novels, for small-town New Mexico. --David Pitt Copyright 2004 Booklist

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

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2005 (Best First Novel)
Dating Dead Men
Click to search this book in our catalog   Harley Jane Kozak

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. Agent, Amy Schiffman. (Jan. 20) Forecast: As an actress whose screen credits include Parenthood and When Harry Met Sally, Kozak is in a good position to promote this first novel, especially on the West Coast. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Book list Poor Wollie Shelley. She's desperately trying to make sure her card store, Wollie's Welcome, will stay in business. It figures her schizophrenic brother, P. B., would call while the store inspector was visiting and claim he's witnessed a murder. Wollie drives to the hospital where P. B. is, and sure enough, she stumbles across a dead body. She also runs into a man disguised as a doctor, who uses her to help him escape from the hospital. Only after they've eluded hospital security does Doc mention he's being pursued by the Mafia, although he won't say why. Wollie wants to help him, but his problems are starting to take over her life. She still has the store, and she's also participating in a dating program run by a radio personality, but it's hard for Wollie to focus on the men she's going out with when the Mafia is dogging her every move. Worse yet, she might actually be falling for Doc.ozak's debut is a lively, funny romp for fans of lighthearted mysteries. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2003 Booklist

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

Library Journal Actually, greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating 40 live men in 60 days to help a celebrated talk-show host research her next book. But when Wollie encounters one very dead man and a putative doctor trying to escape the Mob, the fun begins to fly. Actor Kozak seems to be making a cinematic debut. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/03.]-Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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2004 (Best Novel)
Every Secret Thing
Click to search this book in our catalog   Laura Lippman

Book list Lippman has won just about every mystery writing award there is--the Edgar, the Agatha, the Anthony, the Shamus, and the Nero Wolfe--for her Tess Monaghan series. This is her first stand-alone mystery, one in which the detectives are consigned to bit parts. The fact that the police here do little save go through the motions underscores the fatalistic feeling at the core of this dark domestic tragedy. Lippman writes the kind of opening that should make readers feel they're following helplessly as a nightmare slowly unfolds. Two 10-year-old girls, bounced from a birthday party for bad behavior, discover a baby in a carriage on the sidewalk and deem it necessary to save her. Lippman leaves the reader knowing something terrible happened but unsure what it was until the narrative progresses to seven years later, when the two girls are released from prison and return to their homes, six blocks away from the house to which they brought untold grief. The girls have to adjust to a new prison of neighborhood suspicion. Then, as the girls make somewhat of a new life, children start disappearing, and then reappearing, until one toddler is well and truly missing. Lippman doesn't write a standard whodunit here but plays with reader expectations of what should happen next. A startling page-turner. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2003 Booklist

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

Library Journal With her first stand-alone novel (after seven mysteries featuring Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan, the latest being The Last Place), Lippman proves equally adept at character-based psychological suspense. Seven years after Olivia Barnes, a black baby from a prominent family, dies at the hands of two 11-year-old white girls, children start disappearing for brief periods. Then a three-year-old is presumed kidnapped, with bloody evidence left behind. Suspicion points toward the two girls convicted of the earlier crime, now newly released from juvenile detention: Alice Manning, the "good girl" who claimed she was not there when Olivia died, and Ronnie Fuller, the "bad girl" and presumed murderer. This is not easy subject matter, with children as both victims and perpetrators, but the novel is notable not only for Lippman's skill in creating complex female characters-particularly the mothers of Olivia and Alice as well as the two girls themselves-but also for her subtle way of building suspense by ever so gradually revealing the true accounts of both the earlier and the current crimes. Essential for popular fiction collections, particularly for fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters.-Michele Leber, formerly with Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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. (Sept. 2) Forecast: Look for this one to garner critical praise with a sales boost to follow. Fans will hope to see series hero Tess Monaghan-who seemed a bit tired in her last outing-back on the page soon, reinvigorated from her time off. Major ad/promo; eight-city author tour. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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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.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list When people start dying in strange ways in Minneapolis, everyone wonders what the murderer will do next--everyone except the employees of Monkeewrench Software, who are all too aware that their new serial-killer computer game is the model for the crimes. They go to the police with the what, where, and when of the next murders and quickly become suspects themselves as the killer strikes again exactly as they predict. Does the closely knit group of coworkers know something they're not telling about the all-important who and why? The missing pieces come eventually from an unlikely source as a rural Wisconsin sheriff links his own chilling case to the Minneapolis murders. The two teams of detectives--one from the big city and one from the small town but both with their own quirks, love interests, and insights--provide the sparkle in this engaging debut thriller by a mother-daughter writing team who lace their suspense with humor ala Harlan Coben. --Carrie Bissey

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

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. Audio rights to Brilliance; foreign rights sold in France, Germany and the U.K. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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2004 (Best Young Adult)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
 J. K. Rowling

Library Journal Just in case you missed it in all the media, the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series is flying your way on June 21. It's one-third longer than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Dumbledore promises to tell all. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list No, you can't put it down, but believe me, you'll wish you could. This is not an easy book to lug around. Its worldwide hype aside, the fifth installment in Harry Potter's saga should be judged on the usual factors: plot, characters, and the quality of the writing. So how does it fare? One thing emerges quickly: Rowling has not lost her flair as a storyteller or her ability to keep coming up with new gimcracks to astound her readers. But her true skills lie in the way she ages Harry, successfully evolving him from the once downtrodden yet hopeful young boy to this new, gangly teenager showing all the symptoms of adolescence--he is sullen, rude, and contemptuous of adult behavior, especially hypocrisy. This last symptom of the maturing Harry fits especially well into the plot, which finds almost all of the grown-ups in the young wizard's life saying one thing and doing another, especially those at the Ministry of Magic, who discredit Harry in the media to convince the citizenry that Voldemort is not alive. Rowling effectively uses this plot strand as a way of introducing a kind of subtext in which she takes on such issues as governmental lying and the politics of personal destruction, but she makes her points in ways that will be clearly understood by young readers. To fight for truth and justice--and to protect Harry--the Order of the Phoenix has been reconstituted, but young Potter finds squabbling and hypocrisy among even this august group. And in a stunning and bold move, Rowling also allows Harry (and readers) to view an incident from the life of a teenage James Potter that shows him to be an insensitive bully, smashing the iconic view Harry has always had of his father. Are there problems with the book? Sure. Even though children, especially, won't protest, it could be shorter, particularly since Rowling is repetitious with descriptions (Harry is always angry ; ultimate bureaucrat Doris Umbridge always looks like a toad). But these are quibbles about a rich, worthy effort that meets the very high expectations of a world of readers. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

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

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. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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2003 (Best Novel)
City of Bones
 Michael Connelly

Book list "Child cases haunted you. They hollowed you out and scarred you. There was no bulletproof vest thick enough to stop you from being pierced." LAPD detective Harry Bosch gets pierced in the worst way this time. After a doctor out walking his dog in Laurel Canyon finds a human bone, forensic anthropologists unearth the rest of the skeleton and piece together part of the story: a 12-year-old boy was murdered around 1980 after being viciously abused for most of his brief life. Bosch picks up the trail, identifying the boy but encountering both investigatory and bureaucratic roadblocks as he attempts to close in on a suspect. Meanwhile, Bosch strikes up a romance with a rookie cop--against department regulations--and quickly finds himself in the midst of a personal and professional crisis. It doesn't help that, as he learns more about the dead boy, he keeps hearing echoes from his own troubled past. After spinning his wheels just a bit in his last two novels, Connelly regains his stride here. Like Ian Rankin's John Rebus, Bosch never stops feeling the bruises he has acquired through multiple encounters with evil. His view of the world darkens with each case, and he feels more and more powerless: "True evil could never be taken out of the world. At best he was wading into the dark waters of the abyss with two leaking buckets in his hands." Harry wanders deeper into that abyss this time than ever before, and it drives him to a shocking decision that will leave series fans reeling. Hard-boiled cop fiction at its most gripping. --Bill Ott

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

Book list In Blood Work (1998), the critically acclaimed Connelly introduced his many readers to former FBI profiler Terry McCaleb, prematurely retired by the need for a heart transplant. In the author's latest work, McCaleb takes a break from tranquil family life on Catalina Island to help an L.A. County detective investigate a horrific murder that looks like it might be the first of a series. McCaleb's study of the murder quickly isolates a prime suspect: LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, Connelly's most memorable character and the star of his best novels, including Trunk Music (1996). Although McCaleb knows and admires Bosch, he believes too much cruelty, depravity, and violence may have pushed Bosch over the edge. Connelly's appearance here elevates what might otherwise have been a major disappointment. The plot seems more than a little contrived, and Connelly seems to labor to reuse characters and events from earlier novels. Similar contrivances marred 1999's Angels Flight, but even at less than his best, a new Connelly is pretty much a must-buy for public libraries. --Thomas Gaughan

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

Book list "Child cases haunted you. They hollowed you out and scarred you. There was no bulletproof vest thick enough to stop you from being pierced." LAPD detective Harry Bosch gets pierced in the worst way this time. After a doctor out walking his dog in Laurel Canyon finds a human bone, forensic anthropologists unearth the rest of the skeleton and piece together part of the story: a 12-year-old boy was murdered around 1980 after being viciously abused for most of his brief life. Bosch picks up the trail, identifying the boy but encountering both investigatory and bureaucratic roadblocks as he attempts to close in on a suspect. Meanwhile, Bosch strikes up a romance with a rookie cop--against department regulations--and quickly finds himself in the midst of a personal and professional crisis. It doesn't help that, as he learns more about the dead boy, he keeps hearing echoes from his own troubled past. After spinning his wheels just a bit in his last two novels, Connelly regains his stride here. Like Ian Rankin's John Rebus, Bosch never stops feeling the bruises he has acquired through multiple encounters with evil. His view of the world darkens with each case, and he feels more and more powerless: "True evil could never be taken out of the world. At best he was wading into the dark waters of the abyss with two leaking buckets in his hands." Harry wanders deeper into that abyss this time than ever before, and it drives him to a shocking decision that will leave series fans reeling. Hard-boiled cop fiction at its most gripping. --Bill Ott

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

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. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/01.] Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Could Harry Bosch actually be a serial killer? That's the disturbing question Connelly poses in this hard-edged, smartly executed crime drama, pitting two of his most popular protagonistsDgrim L.A.P.D. detective Hieronymous ("Harry") Bosch (The Black Ice; Angels Flight, etc.) and Terry McCaleb, the crafty former FBI profiler of Blood WorkDagainst each other. At center stage is McCaleb, forced into retirement on Catalina Island following a heart transplant. When approached by an old L.A.P.D. pal, McCaleb jumps at the chance to help on a baffling murder case, the ritualistic details of which suggest a serial killer. It doesn't take McCaleb long to focus in on a prime suspect: Bosch. Not only did Bosch carry a grudge against the dead man, a murderer who narrowly escaped prison six years before, but clues at the death scene implicate the detective. While McCaleb investigates, Bosch is busy with his own case, helping prosecutors convict David Storey, a well-known Hollywood director accused of strangling a starlet. McCaleb eventually begins to wonder if the two cases are connected. Did Bosch cross over to the dark side, or is he being framed? Readers familiar with Bosch's bend-but-don't-break morality won't be stumped for long, but Connelly's 10th novel is otherwise flawless, cleverly conceived, superbly plotted and morally complex. (Jan. 23) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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) Forecast: Connelly doesn't need much help in hitting the charts, but Little, Brown is going all out anyway, with a massive television, radio and print ad campaign, transit ads in New York and a 10-city author tour. Expect blockbuster sales and blockbuster satisfaction. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Former FBI profiler Terry McCaleb is back in Connelly's latest thriller (following Void Moon). He has retired after his heart transplant and is running a charter fishing service. When he is brought in as a consultant to profile a killer for the LAPD, he finds that all of the clues from the gruesome killing point to a type McCaleb calls "an avenging angel." As he digs deeper, he is shocked to find that the most likely suspect is Connelly's regular hero, Detective Harry Bosch. Bosch himself is lead detective in a case going to trial that involves another grisly killing. Bosch's past relationship with the newest victim and his attitude toward the killing only increase McCaleb's suspicions. The reuniting of Bosch and McCaleb under these strained circumstances leads to a quickly paced and interesting story. As with all the Bosch thrillers, plot twists abound, but in this case the story itself carries the novel, and there is less gory detail to wade through than in previous books. Connelly is always popular, and this is Connelly at his best. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/00.]DPatrick J. Wall, University City P.L., MO Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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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

Book list Every few years a first novel appears that immediately sets itself apart from the crowd. As readers, we feel that special shock of recognition that announces, "Here is something special." Taking dead aim with his first sentence ("When a high-powered rifle hits living flesh it makes a distinctive--pow-WHOPsound that is unmistakable even at tremendous distance"), Wyoming first-novelist Box remains square on target throughout this superb debut. Joe Pickett, game warden of Twelve Sleep County in Wyoming, is just the kind of everyman hero we can't help but identify with: something of a plodder, even a bit of a bungler (he loses his gun to a poacher in the novel's opening scene), he is nevertheless the kind of man who responds to a crisis with courage and the ability to act decisively (just the way we like to think we would respond). And Joe faces a major-league crisis in his rookie year as game warden: when three elk hunters are killed under suspicious circumstances (one of them dies in the warden's backyard, apparently on his way to deliver something), Joe can't understand why his colleagues seem to want to sweep the case under the rug. When he looks under that rug, however, he finds a many-tentacled scam involving an oil pipeline and an endangered species. Soon Joe's career is in jeopardy and his family in mortal danger. The plot is constructed with airtight precision, generating remarkable suspense while drawing us completely into a vividly realized world. The Wyoming high country is a palpable presence here; its ruggedness plays a crucial role in the story, and its grandeur is continually set against the venality of most human concerns. The endangered-species theme, often a plot element is crime fiction, is explored with impressive complexity and no shortage of villains on all sides of the issue. And, best of all, the soft-spoken Joe Pickett is a Gary Cooper for our time: flawed, insecure, but a stand-up guy when it counts--the perfect mix of dream and reality. Open Season will please both mystery buffs and mainstream fiction readers; give it with confidence to anyone who likes either Nevada Barr or Ivan Doig. --Bill Ott

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

Library Journal The publisher is really excited about this debut mystery, set in Wyoming and featuring game warden Joe Pickett. Events center on a desperate battle to save an endangered species, lifting this work above standard genre fare. Box is president and CEO of Rocky Mountain International Corporation, which manages tourism for several Western states. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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2001 (Best Novel)
A Place of Execution
 Val McDermid

Book list Readers will be reminded of the real-life Moors Murders and of Stephen King's fictive eerie-village tales as they make their way through this compelling, funhouse-mirror mystery. McDermid turns the English village cozy on its head as she presents Scardale, a village whose hard-bitten inhabitants try to keep the world out and their secrets in. Part of the mystery is set in the '60s, when several children disappeared and were later found murdered in nearby Manchester. The stepdaughter of Scardale's leading citizen goes missing next. The local police investigating the disappearance are met with byzantine resistance from the villagers at every turn. The mystery deepens throughout, even extending, with a shocking ending, 30 years into the future. McDermid, who won the British Gold Dagger Award in 1995 for Mermaid Singing, brings some cunning new twists to the psychological-suspense genre. --Connie Fletcher

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

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.

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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.

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Book list The discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman in a canal 20 miles from Shanghai interrupts the housewarming party of Chief Inspector Chen Cao, one of the lucky few to obtain an apartment in the congested city. Cao is a food lover and a poetry lover (he has published a translation of T. S. Eliot, and he is reminded of bits of Chinese poetry even when investigating homicides). Cao is also the head of the Shanghai Police Bureau's Special Cases Squad, Homicide Division. Cao discovers that the victim was a National Model Worker, a role model used for propaganda purposes and recruitment by the Communist Party. The case is politically sensitive, and Cao is urged to do the impossible: solve the case without probing too deeply into the victim's personal life, the details of which may be embarrassing to the Party. The double bind facing the detective is the perfect backdrop for an extended exploration of the conflicts rooted in contemporary China. Xiaolong provides wonderful details of social polarization through his discussions of food, dress, housing. Cao himself is a complex, believable blend of someone devoted both to the flesh and to poetry, a sort of Chinese Maigret. Xiaolong, a Chinese poet and literary critic, is adept at threading social commentary of China in the 1990s with his detective's movements through social strata in search of the killer. Fascinating for what it reveals about China as well as what it reveals about a complex man in this setting. Xiaolong's first mystery may be the most impressive debut of the year. --Connie Fletcher

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

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.

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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.]ÄCaroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR

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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 Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Library Journal Inspector Banks looks into a decades-old murder uncovered when drought drains lush Yorkshire's reservoir.

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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. (Apr.)

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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 fiancé. 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

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. (Mar.)

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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.

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Book list Once the point man for FBI serial-killer hunts in Los Angeles, Terry McCaleb is now retired. He's also recovering from heart-transplant surgery, made necessary, at least in part, by the pure evil, madness, and inhumanity his work forced him to confront. His routine--monitoring his temperature, taking his meds, and puttering on his boat--is upset when Graciela Rivers asks him to investigate her sister's death in a convenience-store robbery. McCaleb refuses until Graciela tells him that he is alive because he received her dead sister's heart. Painstaking investigation convinces McCaleb that Graciela's sister wasn't the chance victim of a robbery gone bad; she was the target. Painstaking investigation also irritates the dickens out of the LAPD and ultimately the bureau, and Terry realizes that he is being manipulated. By the time he is about to be indicted as the killer, he learns an even more shattering truth. Blood Work is solid entertainment but not up to Connelly's last two novels: The Poet (1996) and the superb Trunk Music (1997). Frankly, many readers will see the shattering truth coming a long time before the sleuth does. That shouldn't keep libraries from buying the book, but this reviewer is looking forward to the return of Connelly's LAPD detective, Harry Bosch. --Thomas Gaughan

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

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1999 (Best First Novel)
Iron Lake
Click to search this book in our catalog   William Kent Krueger

Book list As Aurora, Minnesota, readies for a picture-perfect white Christmas, Cork O'Connor, the former sheriff, searches for a missing boy. The disappearance seems family related; a death the same afternoon appears to be a suicide. Cork's friend Henry Meloux, an elderly Ojibwa medicine man, blames the legendary Windigo, "an ogre with a heart of ice" that "comes out of the woods to eat the flesh of men and women," for the events. Cork finds a criminal mastermind behind the death and disappearance, in the process straining relations with his children and divorced wife and with the factions in a region suddenly rich from gambling run by Native Americans. Krueger's debut offers wonderful characters and makes the woods and waters vivid, wild, and menacing. Realistic details and political deals do not slow a tense, fast pace punctuated with humor and surprise in a book that is sure to appeal to fans of Nevada Barr and Tony Hillerman. This is mystery as allegory--the Windigo is alive and well in America, in stalkers, stupid spouses, and ruthless politicians. --John Rowen

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

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. (Aug.)

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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.

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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. (Sept.)

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Book list The likable PI team of Lydia Chin and Bill Smith return (after Mandarin Plaid [BKL S 15 96]), this time to combat skulduggery in real-estate development. A high-rise apartment building under construction on the Upper West Side has had more than its usual share of thefts. Enter Bill as a bricklayer, recruited to operate undercover on the site. To work the paper trail, Lydia signs on as secretary. The cause of a nasty accident, the discovery of a body in the pit of an elevator shaft, and the murder of a disliked foreman must all be resolved. This teaser of a plot will keep readers guessing until the rousing denouement. The unlikely match of the energetic Lydia and the world-weary Bill has helped establish this couple as an engaging, quixotic pair, and their relationship gives the series its good tension and character. Also boasting a well-crafted plot, this novel firmly establishes Rozan as a major figure in contemporary mystery fiction. --Stuart Miller

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

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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.

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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. (Mar.)

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Book list Jack Reacher never had this much trouble when he was a major in the military police. Now the doorman at a Chicago blues club, he witnesses the kidnapping of FBI field agent Holly Johnson. The three paramilitary types who snatch Johnson outside a dry cleaner mistakenly assume the strolling Reacher is with her and snatch him, too. Reacher and Johnson, whose father is one of the top-ranking military men in the country, quickly form an alliance in order to survive and also to determine their captors' motives. And there's the problem with this otherwise satisfying novel. Right-wing militias are the villains du jour of late, but it's almost impossible to take their portrayals beyond cliche. That's the situation here. Reacher is a wonderfully taciturn, insightful protagonist, and Holly Johnson is every bit his equal, but their antagonists are essentially faceless. It's hard to hate the villain you don't know. Reacher remains a promising hero; next time, he deserves a more worthy opponent. --Wes Lukowsky

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

Book list Former military policeman Jack Reacher is drifting through Margrave, Georgia, looking for the grave site of an old blues pioneer when he's arrested for the execution-style murders of two men. He's cleared and ready to leave town when he learns that one of the dead men is his brother, Joe, an undercover agent for the Treasury Department. Now it's personal. Reacher follows the trail to the world of international counterfeiting, but he still needs to figure out how the jerk-water town of Margrave fits into the picture. This accomplished, mature first novel brings to mind the classic motion picture Bad Day at Black Rock, in which everyone in town is in on the dark secret except the good man in the middle. Book-club sales and a healthy publicity campaign should generate greater than normal demand for unknown writer Child. If he keeps writing this well, however, he won't be unknown for long. --Wes Lukowsky

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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.

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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. (Jan.)

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Book list In Connelly's best-selling thriller, crime reporter Jack McEvoy sets out to prove that his cop brother didn't kill himself, but he winds up tracking a serial killer, dubbed the Poet, who forces his victims to leave suicide notes drawn from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. A riveting novel in The Silence of the Lambs tradition. (Connelly's latest, set in L.A., is reviewed in this issue's Upfront section.)

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

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1997 (Best First Novel)
Death in Little Tokyo
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dale Furutani

Publishers 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. (Oct.)

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1996 (Best Novel)
Under the Beetles Cellar
Click to search this book in our catalog   Mary Willis Walker

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

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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. (Sept.)

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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.

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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. (Mar.)

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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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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

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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. (Oct.)

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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

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Book list Transvestite boy prostitutes lie in the cross~hairs of this mystery's homicidal maniac, and bringing to brook the killer's depredations is the job of Theodore Roosevelt, New York's police chief in 1896. TR doesn't trust his corrupt department with the case and so enlists an informal task force consisting of psychologist Kreizler (in the day's jargon, the alienist of the title), crime beat reporter Moore (the tale's narrator), and assorted gumshoes and gophers. Appearing at cameo intervals, TR once makes the profile-clinching suggestion that the sicko is acquainted with the Sioux style of mutilation. With that idea, Moore and Kreizler unlock the case, eventually cornering their prey atop a water reservoir. Despite its unwieldy elements, flat characters, and excess palaver among them, this story boasts a veracious historical feel and a tight plot that keeps open the murderer's identity to the end. An original that fits no established mystery niche, Carr's fictional debut could be the start of something big. ~--Gilbert Taylor

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

Library Journal Historian Carr hits the big time with this story, set in 1890s New York, of a journalist who joins the hunt for a serial killer. Paramount Pictures has bought the film rights, and the first printing is huge .

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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. (May)

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Book list Old crimes and old criminals are the legacy of a small town in North Carolina. For lawyer and aspiring judge Deborah Knott, it is the reputation of her reprobate father that she must live down, and for Gayle Whitehead, it is the memory of her mother's unsolved murder 20 years ago that haunts the present (as an infant, she was the one who discovered the body). Whitehead chooses Knott for the investigation, and Knott, already battling a formidable battalion of good ol' boys in the upcoming election, reluctantly agrees to look into the old murder. For the reader, Knott turns out to be an interesting and spunky new sleuth, every bit the bare-knuckle fighter her infamous old man was--though she, of course, is on the the right side of the law. Maron isn't completely successful in splicing her two plots together: when Knott gets political the crime factor abruptly nosedives, and vice versa. But the evocation of place is detailed, spirited, and by and large feels right on the money. Loose talk in a bar. Loose morals in a law-office partner. And a killer hiding in plain sight. ~--Peter Robertson

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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. (Feb.)

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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. (Mar.)

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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

Book list Young women with little in common are being tortured and strangled in Richmond, Virginia. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta is at the center of the perplexing case, struggling to find the killer, recover vital information stolen from her office computer, and deal with the cops' growing conviction that her lover might just be the murderer. The story begins with a thumbnail sketch of Scarpetta and a dazzling if somewhat deadening display of forensic detail. Later, first-novelist Cornwell's plot kicks in with a vengeance. She not only introduces the traditional coarse yet likable cop, but also unveils several fascinating clues, which involve a rare disease that shows up in DNA testing, an aroma that seems to cling to the assassin, and, most tantalizing of all, a wrong telephone number. The eventual solution is a masterpiece of the unexpected. Hard going for the first 100 or so pages and a breathless rush for the last 150. --Peter Robertson

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

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. (Jan.)

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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. (Oct.)

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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. (Sept.)

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