My Bookish Ways

Top 10 Must Read Titles of January 2013 (Suspense/Mystery)

A little while back I gave you a list of my Top 10 Must Reads of January 2013 in Scifi/Fantasy/Horror, so with 2013 right around the corner, I’d also like to give you a taste of what’s coming up in Suspense, and the 10 that I just must get my hands on!


American Tropic by Thomas Sanchez (Knopf-Jan. 15th)
Synopsis-The exotic island city of the Florida Keys is being terrorized by horrific murders committed by a mysterious voodoo assassin. With each new kill, it becomes clear that the skeleton-clad executioner has an ecological agenda. The novel propels us through a complex maze populated by rapacious developers, ruthless scammers, and common folk engaged in heroic acts to save their community.

The characters, from the defenders of America’s only continental reef to the destroyers of marine life, are all swept up in this torrent of horrors. Everyone dreads being the killer’s next victim as the clock counts down to the end of hurricane season and the final dramatic explosion of fear and rage.

With canny perception and striking revelations, American Tropic illuminates a world of dark desires, hidden truths, and colliding destinies.


The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly (Atria-Jan. 1st)
Synopsis-In the depths of the Maine woods, the wreckage of a plane is discovered. There are no bodies, and no such plane has ever been reported missing, but men both good and evil have been seeking it for a long, long time.

What the wreckage conceals is more important than money. It is power: a list of names, a record of those who have struck a deal with the devil. Now a battle is about to commence between those who want the list to remain secret and those for whom it represents a crucial weapon in the struggle against the forces of darkness.

The race to secure the prize draws in private detective Charlie Parker, a man who knows more than most about the nature of the terrible evil that seeks to impose itself on the world, and who fears that his own name may be on the list. It lures others, too: a beautiful, scarred woman with a taste for killing; a silent child who remembers his own death; and a serial killer known as the Collector, who sees in the list new lambs for his slaughter. But as the rival forces descend upon this northern state, the woods prepare to meet them, for the forest depths hide other secrets.

Someone has survived the crash. Something has survived the crash.

And it is waiting. . .


Ratlines by Stuart Neville (Soho Press-Jan. 1st)
Synopsis-Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II.

A note from the killers is found on the dead German’s corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler’s favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: “We are coming for you.”

As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators, all presided over by Skorzeny from his country estate outside Dublin. When Ryan closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? Ryan learns that Skorzeny might be a dangerous ally, but he is a deadly enemy.


Die Easy by Zoë Sharp (Pegasus-Jan. 8th)
Synopsis-Professionally, she’s at the top of her game, but her personal life is in ruins. Her lover, bodyguard Sean Meyer, has woken from a gunshot-induced coma with his memory in tatters. It seems that piercing back together the relationship they shared is proving harder for him than relearning the intricacies of the bodyguard business. Working with Sean again was never going to be easy for Charlie, but a celebrity fundraising event in aid of still-ravaged areas of New Orleans should have been the ideal opportunity for them both to take things nice and slow. Until, that is, they find themselves thrust into the middle of a war zone.

When an ambitious robbery explodes into a deadly hostage situation, the motive may be far more complex than simple greed. Somebody has a major score to settle, and Sean is part of the reason. Only trouble is, he doesn’t remember why. And when Charlie finds herself facing a nightmare from her own past, she realizes she can’t rely on Sean to watch her back. This time, she’s got to fight it out on her own.One thing is for certain, though—no matter how overwhelming the odds stacked against her, or however hopeless the situation may appear—Charlie is never going to die easy.


Rough Men by Aric Davis (Thomas & Mercer-Jan. 22nd)
Synopsis-For his entire adult life, ex-criminal Will Daniels has been running from his past. Now, in the wake of his son’s gruesome death, he’ll turn around and embrace it.

After learning his boy got his head half blown off while helping a couple of punks rob a bank, Will tries — oh, how he tries — to just let the police handle the investigation. But as legal channels fall well short and Will’s helpless fury mounts, it’s only a matter of time before he dishes out a more personal brand of justice.

Armed with a dark past and brutal skills, Will is perfectly equipped to hunt down his son’s killers. Unfortunately, his violent quest for revenge may destroy him and everything he loves before it’s over.


Little Elvises (Junior Bender #2) by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Press-Jan. 29th))
Synopsis-LA burglar Junior Bender has (unfortunately) developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him, either his suspect or his employer.

Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he’d threatened to kill a couple times. It doesn’t help that the dead journalist’s widow is one pretty lady, and she’s trying to get Junior to mix pleasure with business. Just as the investigation is spiraling out of control, Junior’s hard-drinking landlady begs him to solve the disappearance of her daughter, who got involved with a very questionable character. And, worst news of all, both Junior’s ex-wife and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Rina, seem to have new boyfriends. What a mess.


Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman (Soho Press-Jan. 8th)
Synopsis-Set on the Minnesota prairie in the late 1980s during a drought season that’s pushing family farms to the brink, Little Wolves features the intertwining stories of a father searching for answers after his son commits a heinous murder, and a pastor’s wife (and washed-out scholar of early Anglo-Saxon literature) who has returned to the town for mysterious reasons of her own. A penetrating look at small-town America from the award-winning author of The Night Birds, Little Wolves weaves together elements of folklore and Norse mythology while being driven by a powerful murder mystery; a page-turning literary triumph.


The Disciple of Las Vegas by Ian Hamilton (Picador-Jan. 29th)
Synopsis-Fifty million dollars has disappeared into thin air from the accounts of one of the richest men in the Philippines, Tommy Ordonez. His one hope is Ava Lee—-sleek, capable forensic accountant and sleuth. With the help of her Triad-connected partner, Uncle, Ava follows the money trail from San Francisco to Costa Rica to the casinos and illegal gambling dens of Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a vengeful adversary from Ava’s past has put out a contract on her life, and the shadowy hit man is close at her heels every step of the way. Will Ava recover the stolen cash without stepping into the crosshairs of a growing list of enemies? The first book of an electrifying new series, The Disciple of Las Vegas introduces Ava Lee: a deadly martial artist with a taste for luxury and a mind like a steel trap.


Moon Underfoot by Bobby Cole (Thomas & Mercer-Jan. 15th)
Synopsis-Eighteen months ago, stockbroker Jake Crosby and his daughter Katy narrowly survived a living nightmare at a remote Alabama hunting camp. To save Katy, Jake killed two men — men who were friends and business associates of notorious outlaw and drug-runner Ethan “Moon Pie” Daniels. That night, Moon Pie made a blood promise of revenge. And in Moon Pie’s dark world of violence, such promises are always kept.

Jake Crosby doesn’t regret what he did that night; he knows it was kill or be killed. But he can’t shake the feeling that the horror isn’t over, that Katy and his wife, Morgan, aren’t yet safe — and that retribution is coming. All he knows for sure is that he will do anything — everything — to protect his family. That’s a vow the dangerous Moon Pie will put to the ultimate test on a cold, moonless night deep in the heart of a river swamp.

This riveting follow-up to Bobby Cole’s heart-stopping thriller The Dummy Line deftly explores the perils of revenge…and the profound power of a husband and father’s love.


What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Soho Press-Jan. 8th)
Synopsis-Like the yearning, doomed young clones in Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, three teenagers with XP (a life-threatening allergy to sunlight) are a species unto themselves. As seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Allie Kim, they roam the silent streets, looking for adventure, while others sleep. When Allie’s best friend introduces the trio to Parkour, the stunt-sport of running and climbing off forest cliffs and tall buildings (risky in daylight and potentially deadly by darkness), they feel truly alive, equal to the “daytimers.”

On a random summer night, while scaling a building like any other, the three happen to peer into an empty apartment and glimpse an older man with what looks like a dead girl. A game of cat-and-mouse ensues that escalates through the underground world of hospital confinement, off-the-grid sports, and forbidden love. Allie, who can never see the light of day, discovers she’s the lone key to stopping a human monster.


EXTRA CREDIT:
Also, coming up on 1/31 is a brand new novella by Joe Lansdale called Dead Aim (Subterranean Press)!

Here’s the write-up (via Subterranean Press): The story begins simply enough when the two agree to provide protection for a woman harassed by her violent, soon-to-be-ex husband. But, as readers of this series will already know, events in the lives of Hap and Leonard rarely stay simple for long. When a protracted stakeout ends in a lethal shooting and a pair of moldering corpses turn up in an otherwise deserted trailer, the nature of this “routine” assignment changes dramatically. The ensuing investigation unearths a complex web of lies, duplicity, and hidden agendas that leads from an upscale Texas law firm to the world of organized crime, culminating in the kind of explosive, anything-can-happen confrontation that only Joe Lansdale could create. Violent, profane, and often raucously funny, Dead Aim is a tautly written, hugely entertaining thriller and a triumph of the storyteller’s art.

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