My Bookish Ways

Top Ten Must Read Titles of February 2013 (Mystery/Suspense)

Yesterday, I gave you my 10 most anticipated reads for Feb. 2013 in SF/F/Horror. Today I’ve got the 10 books that I’m especially looking forward to in the mystery/suspense category!


Darkstar Rising by Parker Bilal (Bloomsbury-Feb. 19th)
Synopsis-Summer, 2001. The mutilated bodies of young boys are turning up in the backstreets of Cairo, and the finger of suspicion is pointing at the city’s Coptic community. As Makana, a private investigator who fled his native Sudan a decade ago, watches the embers of religious hatred begin to glow, he has a premonition that history may be about to repeat itself. But for now, Makana has another case to solve, involving a disgruntled travel agent, stolen money, and threatening letters-an assignment that appears to point to nothing more than a family feud. That is, until Makana meets Meera, a woman with a dangerous secret who asks for his help- and stumbles upon an unlikely link to the murdered boys.When the travel agent’s office becomes the backdrop to a brutal killing Makana is the sole witness, and he attracts the unwanted attention of not only the state security services and the police but also a disreputable Sudanese businessman-who claims to hold the key to Makana’s past. His search for answers takes him from the labyrinth of Cairo to the city of Luxor and an abandoned monastery near the tombs of the pharaohs, where he uncovers a web of intrigue, violence, and secrecy that reaches deep into Egypt’s political heart…


Seduction of the Innocent by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime-Feb. 19th)
Synopsis-It’s 1954, and a rabble-rousing social critic has declared war on comic books – especially the scary, gory, bloody sort published by the bad boys of the industry, EF Comics. But on the way to a Senate hearing on whether these depraved publications should be banned, the would-be censor meets a violent end of his own – leaving his opponents in hot water.

Can Jack Starr, private eye to the funny-book industry, and his beautiful boss Maggie unravel the secret of Dr. Frederick’s gruesome demise? Or will the crackdown come, falling like an executioner’s axe…?


Family by Rex Kusler (Thomas & Mercer-Feb. 5th)
Synopsis-Every family has its skeletons in the closet, but Shane Hall’s relatives? They’ve got a cemetery’s worth. Yet when he loses his job and gets evicted, Shane’s only option is to rely on his estranged aunt and cousins for help. He returns to his hometown in rural South Dakota, and despite having been out of touch for over a decade, is welcomed back with booze-soaked hospitality. After settling in, Shane’s cousin approaches him with an offer that’s almost too good to be true: if he comes on board as assistant manager at the family’s salvage yard, he’ll get not only a sky-high salary but also the down payment on a home. It seems like Shane and his girlfriend Katie will be able to put the hard times behind them and start fresh—at least, until some pesky skeletons rise up from the past, leaving Shane uncertain where to turn or who to trust.


Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Knopf-Feb. 12th)
Synopsis-When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favor from someone who’s occasionally called Jack. While it’s doubtful that anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity, or even if he’s still alive, he’s in his mid-thirties and lives completely off the grid, a criminal’s criminal who does entirely as he pleases and is almost impossible to get in touch with. But within hours a private jet is flying this exceptionally experienced fixer and cleaner-upper from Seattle to New Jersey and right into a spectacular mess: one heister dead in the parking lot, another winged but on the run, the shooter a complete mystery, the $1.2 million in freshly printed bills god knows where and the FBI already waiting for Jack at the airport, to be joined shortly by other extremely interested and elusive parties. He has only forty-eight hours until the twice-stolen cash literally explodes, taking with it the wider, byzantine ambitions behind the theft. To contend with all this will require every gram of his skill, ingenuity and self-protective instincts, especially when offense and defense soon become meaningless terms. And as he maneuvers these exceedingly slippery slopes, he relives the botched bank robbery in Kuala Lumpur five years earlier that has now landed him this unwanted new assignment.


The Night Ranger by Alex Berenson (Penguin-Feb. 12th)
Synopsis-John Wells enters new territory, as he goes underground in East Africa to track four kidnapped Americans and the Somali bandits who snatched them, in the tough, thoughtful, electrifying new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

Four friends, recent college graduates, travel to Kenya to work at a giant refugee camp for Somalis. Two men, two women, each with their own reasons for being there. But after twelve weeks, they’re ready for a break and pile into a Land Cruiser for an adventure.

They get more than they bargained for. Bandits hijack them. They wake up in a hut, hooded, bound, no food or water. Hostages. As a personal favor, John Wells is asked to try to find them, but he does so reluctantly. East Africa isn’t his usual playing field. And when he arrives, he finds that the truth behind the kidnappings is far more complex than he imagined.

The clock is ticking. The White House is edging closer to an invasion of Somalia. Wells has a unique ability to go undercover, and to make things happen, but if he can’t find the hostages soon, they’ll be dead – and the U.S. may be in a war it never should have begun.


Angel’s Gate by PG Sturges (Scribner-Feb. 26th))
Synopsis-Our hero Dick Henry—aka the Shortcut Man—becomes involved in a case featuring an aging but still amorous Los Angeles movie mogul named Howard Hogue who keeps a stable of young starlets available for his highly ritualized attentions. Retained by the sister of a young woman who has gone missing, Henry becomes friendly with Connie Cielo, the “housemother” to the starlets. Despite Connie’s morally questionable responsibilities, she is willing to help (and enjoy the company of) the Shortcut Man.

After Hogue’s star director assaults one of these women in a drug-fueled romp, Henry is drawn into a deeper mystery from years past involving a mysterious death on a boat and a missing screenplay written by what appears to be a homeless man. As he peels back layer upon layer of sordid Hollywood history, Dick Henry must contend with crazed drug dealers, Hogue’s personal doctor, crooked cops, private security henchmen, and Hogue himself—who is so powerful and bunkered in his movie-biz millions that he is unfazed by the resourceful Henry.


A Good Death by Christopher R. Cox (St. Martins Press-Feb. 19th)
Synopsis-An expertly crafted debut, A GOOD DEATH introduces Sebastian Damon, a sharp-witted though struggling Boston PI who catches an intriguing case. Linda Watts is a beautiful, talented Southeast Asian refugee with a promising career in finance—or she was, until she turned up dead, the victim of a heroin OD, in a cheap Bangkok guest house. Her death seemed straightforward to the Thai authorities, but her insurance company isn’t buying it. They send Sebastian halfway around the world to investigate—where he finds himself confounded and completely out of place chasing faint leads through the broken, bewildering streets of Thailand’s teeming capital.

An award-winning journalist with decades of experience traveling in and reporting on Southeast Asia, Christopher R. Cox takes readers on a vibrant journey through a corrupt police bureaucracy, a network of steamy Bangkok nightclubs and grimy hostels to a place where you can you feel the humid air and smell the stir-fried street food. Along the way, Sebastian finds romance as he falls for a captivatingly mysterious woman and camaraderie with his father’s wise-cracking old Special Forces wingman — an expat who can navigate Bangkok’s chaotic underbelly and the wild mountains of Laos with equal aplomb. For Sebastian, it’s the assignment of a lifetime, a chase that will lead him to a long-buried truth at the heart of all the dark lies, a quest that will change him forever in this richly imagined, compelling debut perfect for fans of John Burdett.


The Jackal’s Share by Chris Morgan Jones (Penguin-Feb. 21st)
Synopsis-A murder in a Tehran hotel leaves the London art world spinning. The deceased, beloved at home as a proud dealer in antiquities, now stands accused of smuggling artifacts out of Iran for sale in the West. But despite the triumphal announcements of the secret police, there is something perhaps too tidy in the official report—given that no artifacts have been recovered, no smuggling history discovered, no suspects found.

Half a world away, Darius Qazai delivers a stiring eulogy for his departed friend. A fabulously successful financier, Qazai has directed his life and wealth toward philanthropy, art preservation, and peaceful protest against the regime of his native Iran. His fortune, colossal; his character, immaculate. Pleasantly ensconced in the world of the London expatriate elite, Qazai is the last person anyone would suspect of foul play. Yet something ominous is disrupting Qazai’s recent business deals, some rumor from his past so frightening to his American partners that they will no longer speak to him.

So Qazai hires a respectable corporate intelligence firm to investigate himself and clear his reputation. A veteran of intelligence work in the former Soviet Union, Ben Webster soon discovers that Qazai’s pristine past is actually a dense net of interlocking half-truths and unanswered questions: Is he a respectable citizen or an art smuggler? Is his fortune built on merit or on arms dealing? Is he, after all, his own man? As he closes in on the truth of Qazai’s fortune—and those who would wish to destroy it—Webster discovers he may pay for that knowledge with the lives of his own family.

A vivid and relentless tale of murderous corporate espionage, The Jackal’s Share follows the money through the rotten alleys of Marrakech and the shining spires of Dubai, from the idyllic palaces of Lake Como to the bank houses of London’s City. The Jackal’s Share plunges readers into a Middle East as strange and raw as ever depicted, where recent triumphs rest uneasily atop buried crimes and monumental greed.


The Burning Air by Erin Kelly (Pamela Dorman-Feb. 21st)
Synopsis-The MacBrides lead a cozy life of upper class privilege: good looks (more or less), a beautiful home, tuition-free education at the prestigious private school where Rowan is headmaster, an altruistic righteousness inherited from magistrate Lydia.

But when Rowan and his three grown children gather for the first time since Lydia’s passing at the family’s weekend home—a restored barn in the English countryside—years of secrets surface, and they discover a stranger in their midst. A stranger who is convinced that Lydia was a murderer. A stranger who has been exacting vengeance upon the family for years without their ever knowing. And one who will threaten the youngest MacBride, baby Edie, and the clan’s memory of Lydia, shattering their world forever.


The Beggar’s Opera by Peggy Blair (Pintail-Feb. 26th)
Synopsis-In beautiful, crumbling old Havana, detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water, much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the couple for a few pesos on the world famous Malecón.

For Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, head of the Havana Major Crimes Unit, arresting Ellis isn’t the problem—the law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. And Ramirez has his own troubles. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of his unsolved cases. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step. . . .

First in a new series featuring Inspector Ramirez, The Beggar’s Opera exposes the bureaucracy, corruption, and beauty of Hemingway’s Havana.

2 Responses to “Top Ten Must Read Titles of February 2013 (Mystery/Suspense)”

Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments

  1. Shan says:

    The Beggar’s Opera is a fantastic book. The sequel, The Poisoned Pawn, is one of my must reads for February.

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