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Crime Mysteries

To purchase any of these books, just click on the title. Via the miracle of cyberspace, you will be transported to Amazon's cyberstore for a more detailed description of the book and instructions for purchase.


cover Running Blind by Lee Child - ($10 Kindle, $32 (Hardcover) - Amazon.com Review: Jack Reacher is back, dragged into what looks like a series of grisly serial murders by a team of FBI profilers who aren't totally sure he's not the killer they're looking for, but believe that even if he isn't, he's smart enough to help them find the real killer. And what they've got on the ex-MP, who's starred in three previous Lee Child thrillers, is enough to ensure his grudging cooperation: phony charges stemming from Reacher's inadvertent involvement in a protection shakedown and the threat of harm to the woman he loves. The killer's victims have only one thing in common--all of them brought sexual harassment charges against their military superiors and all resigned from the army after winning their cases. The manner, if not the cause, of their deaths is gruesomely the same: they died in their own bathtubs, covered in gallons of camouflage paint, but they didn't drown and they weren't shot, strangled, poisoned, or attacked. Even the FBI forensic specialists can't figure out why they seem to have gone willingly to their mysterious deaths. Reacher isn't sure whether the killings are an elaborate cover-up for corruption involving stolen military hardware or the work of a maniac who's smart enough to leave absolutely no clues behind. This compelling, iconic antihero dead-ends in a lot of alleys before he finally figures it out, but every one is worth exploring and the suspense doesn't let up for a second. The ending will come as a complete surprise to even the most careful reader, and as Reacher strides off into the sunset, you'll wonder what's in store for him in his next adventure.

As usual, Martha borrowed the book from our library via the internet and is listening to the audio book.


cover Bone Box by Faye Kellerman - $28 (Hardcover) - Amazon.com Review: In this thrilling chapter in Faye Kellerman’s bestselling series, Rina Lazarus makes a shocking discovery in the woods of her upstate New York community that leads her husband, police detective Peter Decker, through a series of gruesome, decades old, unsolved murders, pointing to a diabolical, serial killer who's been hiding in plain sight. On a bright and crisp September morning, while walking a bucolic woodland trail, Rina Decker stumbles upon human remains once buried deep beneath the forest grounds. Immediately, she calls her husband, Peter, a former detective lieutenant with LAPD, now working for the local Greenbury Police. Within hours, a vista of beauty and tranquility is transformed into a frenetic crime scene. The body has been interred for years and there is scant physical evidence at the gravesite: a youthful skeleton, a skull wound and long dark strands of hair surrounding the bony frame. As Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams, further investigate, they realize that they're most likely dealing with a missing student from the nearby Five Colleges of Upstate—a well-known and well-respected consortium of higher learning where Rina works. There's more, but you get the idea.

As usual, Martha borrowed the book from our library via the internet and read it on her Kindle.


cover One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson - $10 (Kindle) - Amazon.com Review Kate Atkinson began her career with a winner: Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which captured the Whitbread First Novel Award. She followed that success with four other books, the last of which was Case Histories, her first foray into the mystery-suspense-detective genre. In that book she introduced detective Jackson Brodie, who reopened three cold cases and ended up a millionaire. A great deal happened in-between. In One Good Turn Jackson returns, following his girlfriend, Julia the actress, to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. He manages to fall into all kinds of trouble, starting with witnessing a brutal attack by "Honda Man" on another man stuck in a traffic jam. Is this road rage or something truly sinister? Another witness is Martin Canning, better known as Alex Blake, the writer. Martin is a shy, withdrawn, timid sort who, in a moment of unlikely action, flings a satchel at the attacker and spins him around, away from his victim. Gloria Hatter, wife of Graham, a millionaire property developer who is about to have all his secrets uncovered, is standing in a nearby queue with a friend when the attack takes place. There is nastiness afoot, and everyone is involved. Nothing is coincidental. Through a labyrinthine plot which is hard to follow because the points of view are constantly changing, the real story is played out, complete with Russians, false and mistaken identities, dead bodies, betrayals, and all manner of violent encounters. Jackson gets pulled in to the investigation by Louise Monroe, a police detective and mother of an errant 14-year-old.
There might be yet another novel to follow which will take up the connection those two forge in this book. Or, Jackson might just go back to France and feed apples to the local livestock. Atkinson has written an enjoyable and lively story of no degrees of separation among the most unlikely cast of characters. Some plot lines have been left to drift, but it does hang together in a satisfying fashion.

As usual, Martha borrowed the book from our library via the internet and read it on her Kindle.


cover Black Irish by Stephan Talty - $10 (Kindle) - From Booklist Detective Absalom Kearny of the Buffalo (NY) PD is caring for her aged, adoptive father, John, a legendary, former detective himself. Smart and driven, Abbie is seen by fellow cops as a rising star. But she may be too driven, and the savage torture-murder of Jimmy Ryan, a resident of the city's clannish Irish enclave, "the County," drives her toward obsession. More grisly murders occur, and even though Abbie grew up in the County, no one will talk with her, even though many know what is happening; the County avenges its own. Talty, author of several lauded nonfiction books (Agent Garbo, 2012), has produced a suspenseful debut novel with a circuitous plot. Abbie is a wonderfully complex and conflicted character, but it is the County, which may exist in Buffalo and certainly exists in other northeastern cities, that shines brightest. It's a place where a boy whose people came from Mayo isn't allowed to date a Kilkenny girl, and its residents share an "ancestral memory of being oppressed in a country they'd never been to." Economically ravaged Buffalo is portrayed in broader brush strokes, but the sense of place is palpably evocative. Black Irish is simply a riveting read.

As usual, Martha borrowed the book from our library via the internet and read it on her Kindle. The bad guy in the story is apprehended in Eden, where I grew up.


cover The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø - $10 (Kindle) - From Publishers Weekly: This sixth installment in Nesbø's popular series finds Harry Hole, Oslo's most successful and least collaborative police investigator, spending the Christmas season trying to unravel a knotty murder case while bemoaning the loss of a friendly superior and working around the demands of the strong-willed new boss. The novel alternates between Harry's sleuthing and a Croatian assassin's attempt to evade him long enough to escape the city. John Lee selects a properly surly and world-weary voice for Harry, and an accented, desperate one for the killer known as the little redeemer. Since the book travels through various strata of Oslo society and even includes a side trip to the former Yugoslavia, Lee is given ample opportunity to display a panoply of Norwegian and Croatian accents. He uses his own rich British accent to guide us smoothly through the novel's descriptive passages. Since the author packs his fast-paced scenes with crucial details easily missed, Lee's clear, crisp rendition is a blessing. However, several shifts between Harry's sections and those of the little redeemer are so abrupt—narrated by that same well-modulated voice—it may take listeners a moment to realize whose story is being told.

As usual, we borrowed the book from our library via the internet and listened to it on Martha's Kindle.


cover Case Histories by Kate Atkinson - $10 (Kindle) - From Publishers Weekly: Private detective Jackson Brodie finds himself entangled in three distinctly different cases only to thread the needle time and again and come across remarkable connections between them. Susan Jameson delivers an absolutely stunning performance; her classically trained voice is perfect for Atkinsons prose and the shifting point-of-view narration. Though the lead protagonist is male, listeners will never question Jamesons abilities; she brings raw emotion to this tale and her British dialect also gives the story a vintage mystery feel. As Brodie, Jameson is simply flawless, delivering her words firmly and with resoluteness. Hers is a performance that demands repeated listens.

As usual, we borrowed the book from our library via the internet and listened to it on Martha's Kindle.

cover The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø - $10 (Kindle) - From Publishers Weekly: This sixth installment in Nesbø's popular series finds Harry Hole, Oslo's most successful and least collaborative police investigator, spending the Christmas season trying to unravel a knotty murder case while bemoaning the loss of a friendly superior and working around the demands of the strong-willed new boss. The novel alternates between Harry's sleuthing and a Croatian assassin's attempt to evade him long enough to escape the city. John Lee selects a properly surly and world-weary voice for Harry, and an accented, desperate one for the killer known as the little redeemer. Since the book travels through various strata of Oslo society and even includes a side trip to the former Yugoslavia, Lee is given ample opportunity to display a panoply of Norwegian and Croatian accents. He uses his own rich British accent to guide us smoothly through the novel's descriptive passages. Since the author packs his fast-paced scenes with crucial details easily missed, Lee's clear, crisp rendition is a blessing. However, several shifts between Harry's sections and those of the little redeemer are so abrupt—narrated by that same well-modulated voice—it may take listeners a moment to realize whose story is being told.

As usual, we borrowed the book from our library via the internet and listened to it on Martha's Kindle.



cover Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo - $8 (Kindle) - From Booklist: "Sometimes, setting mirrors action in crime fiction, but other times, the beauty or tranquility of a landscape serves to heighten the horror of the crimes that unfold against it. Such is certainly the case in Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series, starring the police chief of Painters Mill, Ohio, seemingly a near-bucolic community set in the midst of Amish country. In this sixth installment, Kate must connect the dots linking a horrendous 1975 robbery-gone-wrong (reminiscent of In Cold Blood)—an Amish man was killed, four of his children died in a fire, and his wife disappeared—and a string of 2014 murders suggesting that the victims may have been involved in the decades-old crime. But why has the revenge-fueled killer waited so long to begin extracting his or her pounds of flesh? Castillo effectively combines an airtight plot with a revealingly complex look at what can happen when a fissure develops along the fault line separating an insular community from the secular world. As always, the introspective but determined Kate straddles both worlds with remarkable dexterity. Castillo shows again why the phrase "gritty Amish mystery" is no oxymoron."

As usual, we borrowed the book from our library via the internet and listened to it on Martha's Kindle.


cover Night School - $15 (Kindle) - From Amazon: "Instead of picking up where [the previous Reacher book] left off, [Lee Child] takes Reacher back in time to 1996. Still in the Army, Reacher is coming off a medal-earning career triumph when he is sent back to school. His three-man class (Reacher, a CIA guy and an FBI agent) however, is a front for a secret mission: figure out the plot behind a message intercepted in Germany which reads "the American wants 100 million dollars." The good news for fans is that all the familiar elements show up in Night School: the words "Reacher says nothing" appear at least half a dozen times, and as usual, Reacher combines mechanical precision and brute strength to beat up bad guys with a degree of violence falling somewhere between Bruce Lee and a backhoe. Best of all, fan-favorite Sergeant Frances Neagley makes a welcome reappearance, riding shotgun with Reacher as he hunts for his quarry. Is the plot as robust and impressive as our hero? Not entirely, but readers will barely notice. Twenty-one books into this series it's clear that what makes them work as well as they do is the joy of watching Reacher's extraordinary powers of deduction working in tandem with his remarkable ass-kicking abilities. On that front, Child delivers as usual."

Also as usual, we borrowed the book from our library and listened to it on Martha's Kindle.


cover The Cruelest Month - $10 (Kindle) - From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Chief Insp. Armand Gamache and his team investigate another bizarre crime in the tiny Québec village of Three Pines in Penny's expertly plotted third cozy (after 2007's A Fatal Grace). As the townspeople gather in the abandoned and perhaps haunted Hadley house for a séance with a visiting psychic, Madeleine Favreau collapses, apparently dead of fright. No one has a harsh word to say about Madeleine, but Gamache knows there's more to the case than meets the eye. Complicating his inquiry are the repercussions of Gamache having accused his popular superior at the Sûreté du Québec of heinous crimes in a previous case. Fearing there might be a mole on his team, Gamache works not only to solve the murder but to clear his name. Arthur Ellis Award-winner Penny paints a vivid picture of the French-Canadian village, its inhabitants and a determined detective who will strike many Agatha Christie fans as a 21st-century version of Hercule Poirot.


cover The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny - $10 (Kindle) - From Amazon: "Hardly a day goes by when nine year old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. From alien invasions, to walking trees, to winged beasts in the woods, to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. Including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, who now live in the little Quebec village. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true. And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. Leads right to the door of an old poet. And now it is now, writes Ruth Zardo. And the dark thing is here. A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, Ruth knows, it is back. Armand Gamache, the former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, must face the possibility that, in not believing the boy, he himself played a terrible part in what happens next."

Martha and I went over the books that we had heard over the last month and I said that though I generally liked the Inspector Gamache books, I found this book a bit far-fetched. Martha said that I hadn't listened to the afterword. Had I done so, I would have learned that the book was based on a true story!


cover The Black Widow by Daniel Silva - $12 (Kindle) - From Amazon: "Bestselling author Daniel Silva delivers another spellbinding international thriller—one that finds the legendary Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind. Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation "since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond" (Rocky Mountain News), is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again." Silva started writing this before the attacks in Paris, put it a side for a while, but eventually decided to finish the book. We listened to an audio version downloaded from our library.


cover Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman - $15 (Kindle) - From Amazon: Jonathan Kellerman has been universally hailed as the master of psychological suspense, and the blockbuster new thriller featuring Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis confirms his status as today's preeminent practitioner of saber-sharp storytelling. Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda's release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Having experienced more than enough of L.A.'s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis for help in finding out who ended Zelda's broken life. At the same time, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda's missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror. As Alex struggles to piece together the brief rise and steep fall of a gorgeous, talented actress, he and Milo unveil shattered dreams, the corruption of a family, and a grotesque betrayal of innocence. With each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex's brilliant mind is challenged as never before and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.

We got this from our local library and listened to the audio version.


cover Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - $12 (Kindle) - From Amazon: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them. Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.