Archive for the ‘Mystery & Detective’ Category

THE SPIDER’S WEB, First Reviews

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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Today is the release day in the U.K. for the English-language version of The Girl in the Spider’s WebA Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print).  We won’t see it here until Tuesday, and critics are in a competition to review it first.

Daily New York Times critic, Michiko Kakutani, has reviewed all the previous titles in the series. Her take on the new book  is summed up in these lines, “Though there are plenty of lumps in the novel along the way, Salander and Blomkvist have survived the authorship transition intact and are just as compelling as ever  … Spider’s Web is less bloody, less horror movie lurid than its predecessors. In other respects, Mr. Lagercrantz seems to have set about — quite nimbly, for the most part — channeling Larsson’s narrative style, mixing genre clichés with fresh, reportorial details, and plot twists reminiscent of sequences from Larsson’s novels with energetically researched descriptions of the wild, wild West that is the dark side of the Internet.”

USA Today chimes in, “Rest easy, Lisbeth Salander fans — our punk hacker heroine is in good hands.”

The Washington Post‘s Patrick Anderson is less enthusiastic, saying, “I recall the Larsson books unfolding gracefully. Lagercrantz’s narrative is fragmentary and confusing. It’s almost impossible to keep track of all the hackers, scientists and killers who emerge briefly, vanish, then turn up again after you’ve forgotten them,” It ends with a reference to Larsson’s long-time companion who fought against the continuation of the series, “Don’t be fooled. Gabrielsson was right; Larsson deserves better than this.”

The book is currently at #33 on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are heavy in many libraries.

Holds Alert: BLACK-EYED SUSANS

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.32.18 AMHolds are growing for Julia Heaberlin’s third thriller and hardcover debut Black-Eyed Susans (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Trade reviews were solid but not over the top, but reviewer, reader, and librarian response has been. It is an August LibraryReads pick, one of Amazon’s August selections of the Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Books, and a Goodreads Best Books of the Month choice.

The Washington Post review all but glows, calling it “brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed [and] outstanding.” The review concludes with this million dollar endorsement:

“Heaberlin’s work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn’t be: Flynn’s Gone Girl and now Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans. Don’t miss it.”

Need a quick summary? The Dallas Morning News offers a share-worthy take:

“16-year-old Tessie Cartwright was found buried alive in a field of black-eyed Susans with the remains of other girls who weren’t so fortunate. The story toggles between two timelines, one involving the traumatized teen’s therapy sessions, the other taking place nearly 20 years later, when mid-30s Tessa believes the wrong man was sentenced to death row — and that her “monster” is still stalking her. Never has a patch of pretty flowers blooming outside a bedroom window seemed so sinister.”

Thanks to Wendy Bartlett, collection development at Cuyahoga Public Library, for the tips!

Crystal Ball: IN A DARK,
DARK WOOD

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.18.09 PMWith growing word of mouth, Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) is poised to hit next week’s bestseller lists.

Featured on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday with the wonderful headline “Scream Meets Agatha Christie,” it is also rising on Amazon, currently at #150.

Entertainment Weekly gave it an A- review, writing that the novel’s “foggy atmosphere and chilling revelations will leave you breathless.” As we noted earlier, it’s a LibraryReads pick for August and was one of GalleyChat’s unexpected BEA gems.

Holds are more than respectable on fairly light ordering.

NPR’s David Greene said that he began reading the book in a secluded park and that that was “a very bad idea. Even the title sends chills up the spine.” Here is the full interview:

New Life for THE SECOND LIFE
OF NICK MASON

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.41.32 AMSteve Hamilton, the NYT bestselling author with several Edgar wins under his belt, created a bit of a publishing tempest last week when he pulled out of his contract with St. Martin’s just weeks before his new book, The Second Life of Nick Mason was due on the shelves. (Note: cover art, left, is for the now cancelled St. Martin’s/Minotaur edition).

Libraries have solid holds lists for the start of this new series, one Harlan Coben blurbs as “A gamechanger. Nick Mason is one of the best main characters I’ve read in years. An intense, moving, absolutely relentless book — it will grab you from the first line and never let go.”

Within 23 hours of news breaking that Hamilton had walked away from St. Martin’s he was fielding multiple offers from other publishers, according to Entertainment Weekly, but the fate of his forthcoming book seemed murky (you can read the backstory here).

Separately, the AP reports that Hamilton has accepted a 4-book deal with Penguin/Putnam to publish the first two books in his Nick Mason series. The first title is now due out in the middle of 2016.

GRANTCHESTER: Season Two
On the Way

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 8.01.40 AMBritain’s Carnival Films, the production company behind hits such as Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie’s Poirot is gearing up for a second season of Grantchester, to air on PBS Masterpiece in 2016, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Based on the short stories by James Runcie, the first season drew from the collection Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (Bloomsbury; Movie-tie in ed.; OverDrive Sample). The new season appears to be based on Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample; the publisher tells EarlyWord that a movie tie-in is likely, but has not yet been announced).

If you missed the first season, Grantchester features a dishy village vicar who solves crimes around his tiny hamlet outside of Cambridge, England and ventures further afield as well. Full of jazz music, anguished flashbacks to WWII, and frustrated romance, the sprightly paced 1950s set whodunits showcase well-drawn characters, a fabulous setting, and a not quite cozy tone.

Reviews were generally positive on both sides of the ocean when season one debuted. The Telegraph wrote “Stop it, I’m hooked. Sign me up. I’ll give you my cat and house to see what happens next.”

The LA Times called the show “guilelessly entertaining” and said that while it “lulls more than it grabs [like a] good sermon, you may think you’re only barely listening until you realize you’re fully immersed.”

The New York Times had a different view, however, claiming that Grantchester will be “breezy fun for fans of the form, though the more discerning will be put off by how rudimentary the actual murder mysteries are after being squeezed into 50 minutes (half the norm for this type of show). Others are liable to find it faintly ridiculous, more of a haiku than an actual drama.”

The show created demand for the book and holds spiked at some locations beyond a 3:1 ratio.

Holds Alert: THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 1.18.52 PMAuthor Chelsea Cain reviews A.J. Rich’s The Hand That Feeds You in this week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review.

The story follows a student at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who comes home to find her fiancé mauled to death by her three dogs . As she tries to piece together what happened, she discovers her fiancé was not the person he claimed to be.

As we reported, booksellers are behind it and so is Cain, who says it is “a tense, intriguing psychological mystery … [with] a clearheaded, character-driven style… [filled with] the sort of celebration of simple moments more often seen in short stories.”

As Cain points out, the creation of the novel is as interesting as its plot. A.J. Rich, is the pen name for two authors, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, who collaborated on the project begun by their dying friend, Katherine Russell Rich.

Holds are outpacing copies across the country.

GOTT Moves to New York for Film

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

The Girl on the TrainAccording the the Sunday Times of London, the film version of The Girl on the Train will be set in upstate New York

The book, set in London, was inspired by author Paula Hawkins’ own commute. She tells the Times, “I’m not really concerned about the repositioning as I think it is the type of story that could take place in any commuter town.” She adds that she will not be work on the movie, saying, “I don’t want to be involved … let them get on with it.”

British actress Emily Blunt is in talks to star in the DreamWorks film directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. There’s no word on whether she will adopt an American accent for the role. No word yet on when it will begin filming, Blunt is currently at work on another movie, The Huntsman, scheduled for release in April, 2016.

NPR Offers RA Assistance

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Author and NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan, who last month offered a summer reading book list came back to Fresh Air yesterday with four more suggestions, this time suspense novels she says are all “deadly accurate in their aim to entertain.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.58.49 PMFirst up is Innocence; Or, Murder on Steep Street (Soho; OverDrive Sample) by Heda Margolius Kovaly, translated by Alex Zucker. Kovaly is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and communist rule in Czechoslovakia. She died in 2010, leaving behind a number of works including this novel set in 1950s Prague, just a few years after the close of WWII. It centers on a movie theater usher trying desperately to save her husband who has been imprisoned and accused of espionage. Corrigan says “the great draw is the menacing view it gives us of communist Prague.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.00.29 PMS.J. Watson’s Second Life (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), also featured in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, is Corrigan’s second pick. She calls it a “nuanced” and “erotic psychological thriller.” The story follows a woman who falls down the rabbit hole of the “online demimonde.” Corrigan promises readers will never see the end coming.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.02.20 PMThe third pick is Run You Down (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Julia Dahl, (following Dahl’s Edgar-nominated debut, Invisible City). It again features the reporter Rebekah Roberts as the central character, who is once again drawn into the world of Hasidic Jews – this time when she starts poking into the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Roseville, N.Y. where a woman has been found dead in a bathtub. Corrigan ends her summary with this useful take: “Though the plot becomes a bit formulaic at the end, Dahl is an evocative writer, never more so than when she’s describing the nascent yearnings of those younger members of that religious community — gay, vaguely feminist, simply different — who can’t quite fit in, but can’t quite leave.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.02.52 PMClosing out her picks is The Last Taxi Ride (Macmillan/Minotaur; OverDrive Sample) by A.X. Ahmad, the follow-up to The Caretaker. Here Ranjit Singh, an ex-army captain and Sikh immigrant from India, has become a taxi driver and is accused of murdering a Bollywood film icon. In her summary of what it feels like to read the book Corrigan offers the very high praise, that in a period when “we’ve lost both P.D. James and Ruth Rendell, it’s cheering to stumble upon an emerging detective like Ranjit, who feels utterly authentic and original.”

Crime Report

Monday, July 6th, 2015

9781476795553_70309This week’s NYT Sunday Book Review offers a rundown of crime stories starting with Joseph Finder’s review of Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). It is an antihero novel about a man pretending to write the very successful crime novels his wife actually pens.

After pointing out that “we’re in something of a golden age of the sociopathic antihero, on the page and on screen, from Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter to the passionate borderlines of Gillian ­Flynn and Paula Hawkins,” Finder calls this a strong example of the genre:

Arango, a German television writer, has constructed a clever plot that always surprises, told with dark humor and dry wit and bustling with aperçus that show no signs of jet lag from Imogen Taylor’s clean translation.

Trade reviews are very strong and it is a July Indie Next pick.

Reviewer Marilyn Stasio’s crime roundup column in the same issue highlights four further titles.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.44.57 PMLeah Stewart returns to her suspense roots in The New Neighbor (S&S/Touchstone; Dreamscape; OverDrive Sample). The secret-filled novel centers on two reclusive women who begin a fraught relationship after they exchange grudging waves from the decks of their isolated houses. As the story unfolds, Margaret, an abrasive 90-year-old, decides to play detective, prying into the past of Jennifer, a much younger woman with a 4-year-old son.

Stasio tantalizingly ends her review with “Stewart never relaxes her tight focus on these complex characters…but even as they begin to break through each other’s defenses, you can’t help thinking it might have been better for Jennifer if she’d never returned that first wave.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.45.31 PMS.J. Watson’s sophomore novel, Second Life (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), which follows his breakout debut Before I Go To Sleep, is the story of middle-aged and bored Julia who discovers her murdered sister was involved in cybersex. As she investigates further a man who could well be her sister’s killer pulls her into his thrall.

Stasio describes it as “a discreetly sexy novel [that] should have a “Beach Candy” sticker on its cover… [the] romantic suspense story pairs high concept with low literary value. But the plot is a pip.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.46.25 PM Clearly a fan of David Mark, Stasio calls him a “craft-conscious author” and his Det. Sgt. Aector McAvoy mysteries “robust police procedurals.” Her review of the newest, Taking Pity (Penguin/Blue Rider Press; OverDrive Sample), in which McAvoy is involved in two cases, a mass murder from 1966 and a present day crime ring, offers a strong pitch to start the series now and keep reading until caught up.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.47.12 PMNot so well received is Tom Wright’s Blackbird (Europa; OverDrive Sample). While praising the style, “Wright is one of those regional authors who can out-sing the birds with his lyrical descriptions of his home place,” Stasio has issues with the plotting, “he keeps running away from his own story.” Still, it is getting great trade reviews and is the follow-up to his well-received debut What Dies In Summer.

Silva Summer: THE ENGLISH SPY

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 11.05.17 AMSeveral things happen around this time of year: the heat intensifies, humidity blooms, and Daniel Silva releases another Gabriel Allon thriller.

This time it is The English Spy (Harper; HarperAudio) which comes out tomorrow.

In this new title, Silva’s character, Israel’s super spy Allon, finds himself torn between the past and future as he is forced to leave his pregnant wife to fulfill a longstanding vendetta. It is a quest that will ensnare his British cohort Christopher Keller (who first appeared in The English Assassin) and a number of other old friends and enemies.

Making the book tour rounds, Silva appeared this morning on the Today Show to talk about how he borrows from the headlines, politics, and current events to create the background for his plots.

He was also on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday where he offered brief comments on politics and writing. While there are a number of complications in writing a political series (and his series  is very political, with a conservative point of view about Israel and Middle Eastern and Russian politics) he says it is those complications that give his Allon books their edge. He also discussed the burdens of writing a successful franchise, revealing that he has numerous blue note cards full of stories that do not feature Allon, but feels that his fans would revolt if his next book didn’t continue the series.

For now, Allon reigns supreme but fans might one day meet a new Silva character.

DARK PLACES, U.S. Trailer

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

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The second adaptation of a Gillian Flynn novel, after Gone Girl, arrives in theaters on  August 7. Based on Dark Places, it was filmed at the same time as Gone Girl. Both films were originally scheduled to to be released last fall.

Premiering in France earlier this year, it has a lot going for it, including the major success of Gone Girl, and an A-list cast featuring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Chloe Grace Moretz as well as Christina Hendricks, on screen for the first time since the ending of Mad Men.

However, trade reviews were not kind (The Hollywood Reporter was mixed but Variety was decidedly negative).

A second, U.S. trailer has just been released:

Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, is being adapted as a TV series. The author, who has a developed a career in Hollywood, is now at work on an original script with 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen

Tie-in:

Dark Places (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Gillian Flynn
RH/Broadway: June 2, 2015
9780553418484, 0553418483
Trade Paperback
$14.00 USD, $17.00 CAD

RA Alert: ORIENT

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 12.36.25 PMChristopher Bollen’s second novel,  Orient (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) “might well be this summer’s most ambitious thriller or this summer’s most thrilling work of literary fiction” according to author Ivy Pachoda in her glowing LA Times review of Bollen’s second novel.

It is a review with plenty of juicy quotable lines for readers’ advisors to reference – especially when working with patrons who like their crime novels filled with high body counts and a thrumming sense of place.

And Pachoda knows a thing or two about capturing a strong sense of locale — she did it in her book Visitation Street (HarperCollins/Ecco; OverDrive Sample), set in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In her review of Orient she clearly appreciates a fellow author who is able to create a similar vibrant evocation of place, saying:

The Orient of Bollen’s novel is of course Orient Point, the town at the eastern-most tip of Long Island’s less fashionable North Fork — think Gatsby’s West Egg to Daisy’s East Egg — which has so far resisted the Ralph Lauren and McMansion uprising of the Hamptons to the south. But the artists are coming, scooping up pricy shorefront properties, gutting the charming homes, bringing their cavalier city ways and transforming the quaint town as they see fit.

Her quotes just get better, ending with this summary:

There’s a smorgasbord of delights in Orient, from its murderous plot to the cheeky fun Bollen has at the expense of the art world. And there is ample room in this expansive novel for surprisingly soulful descriptions of everything from the intricacies of beekeeping to the beauty of deer hunting. Most impressive is how Bollen’s book is rich in literary diversions, moments of keen sociological and emotional insight — often into personal isolation — that transcend the conventions of its story.

Pachoda is not alone in her admiration. USA Today offers another quotable line:

… a gorgeously written book whose literary chops are beyond doubt. Come for the prose, and stay for the murders.

Ruth Rendell Dies at 85

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.04.40 AMAuthor Ruth Rendell, who also wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine, has died at age 85, after suffering a stroke in January.

Known for her skill in crafting dark, pointed, and intellectual psychological thrillers, Rendell is one of the pioneers of crime fiction.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.45.54 AMShe is the author of the Inspector Reginald Wexford mysteries, beginning in 1964 with From Doon with Death (RH/Ballantine, 2007; OverDrive Sample). She went on to write 23 more over a career that spanned fifty years (the most recent is No Man’s Nightingale, S&S/Scribner, 2013; OverDrive Sample).

Rendell also wrote successful standalones. The newest is The Girl Next Door (S&S/Scribner, 2014; OverDrive Sample).

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.05.54 AMHer next book, also a standalone, is scheduled for December, Dark Corners (S&S/Scribner, 12/1/15; 9781501119422, 1501119427).

As Barbara Vine, Rendell wrote hits such as A Dark-Adapted Eye (currently out of stock in print; available digitally from Open Road Media; OverDrive Sample) and The Birthday Present (RH/Broadway; OverDrive Sample).

The Guardian suggests five key works for new readers to try and for established fans to revisit.

Edgar Honors Go To King and Flynn Among Others

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.48.39 AMA relative newcomer to the hardboiled detective genre, Stephen King, wins the Edgar award for Best Novel with Mr. Mercedes (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The book, a cat-and-mouse game between an ex-detective and a killer who turns a car into a weapon, is the first in an expected trilogy. As we reported, the second book, Finders Keepers, comes out in early June.

This is King’s first individual Edgar Award. He was named a Grand Master in 2007 and was nominated for an Edgar in 2014 for Joyland, although The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood took the prize that year.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.51.34 AMGillian Flynn won the Best Short Story category with “What Do You Do?” published in Rogues (Penguin/Bantam Books; OverDrive Sample) which was a LibraryReads pick last June.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.52.26 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.53.31 AMAdditional Edgars, which are widely considered the premier awards for the mystery genre, were also awarded to Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton; OverDrive Sample) for Best First Novel (it was a LibraryReads pick last July) and The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani (Penguin; OverDrive Sample) for Best Paperback Original.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.55.10 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.54.11 AMThe two top nonfiction picks went to Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (Harper; OverDrive Sample) for Best Fact Crime and to Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton/Countryman Press) for Best Critical/Biographical.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.58.01 AMThe Mary Higgins Clark Award went to Jane Casey for The Stranger You Know (Macmillan/Minotaur Books; OverDrive Sample) and two new Grand Masters were named, Lois Duncan and James Ellroy.

A complete list of winners and nominees is available on the Edgar site.

Next CORMORAN STRIKE On The Way

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.55.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.55.33 AMThe third Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil, is coming this fall.

Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) announced that the novel is finished via a Twitter post:

That was followed by a tweet by Little, Brown UK stating the title:

Details on the U.S. edition (ISBN, pub date) are still being worked out, according to the publisher. We will let you know when that information is available.