Yesterday, I gave you my
10 13 most anticipated reads for July 2013 in SF/F/Horror. Today I’ve got the 10 books that I’m especially looking forward to in the mystery/suspense category (click on the covers to pre-order)! These are in no particular order.
Synopsis-A contemporary London-set crime novel from the author of the the Peculiar Crimes Unit series. • Sex and the City meets the modern crime thriller. • Apartment-sitting in a luxury penthouse goes horribly wrong for June Cryer when a young girl breaks into the apartment only to be horribly murdered and June must find the killer, before he finds her.
June Cryer is a shopaholic suburban housewife trapped in a lousy marriage. After discovering her husband’s infidelity with her flight attendant neighbour, Hilary ‘Boarding From The Rear’ Cooper, she loses her home, her husband and her credit rating. • Then her best pal Lou offers a solution; a mutual friend needs someone reliable to act as caretaker in a spectacular London high-rise apartment. It’s just for the weekend, but there’s good money in it… Seizing the opportunity to escape, June moves into the penthouse only to find that there’s no electricity and the phones don’t work. She must flat-sit until the security system comes back on. When a terrified girl breaks into the flat and June makes the mistake of asking the neighbours for help, she finds herself embroiled in an escalating nightmare, trying to prove that a murderer exists. Over the next 24 hours she must survive on the streets without friends or money, solve an impossible crime, and fight off the urge to buy a new wardrobe.
The Fame Thief (Junior Bender #3)by Timothy Hallinan (SOHO-July 2nd)_
Synopsis-There are not many people brave enough to say no to Irwin Dressler, Hollywood’s scariest mob boss-turned-movie king. Even though Dressler is ninety-three years old, LA burglar Junior Bender is quaking in his boots when Dressler’s henchman haul him in for a meeting. Dressler wants Junior to solve a “crime” he believes was committed more than sixty years ago, when an old friend of his, once-famous starlet Dolores La Marr, had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her at a Las Vegas party. Dressler wants justice for Dolores and the shining career she never had.
Junior can’t help but think the whole thing is a little crazy. After all, it’s been seventy years. Even if someone did set Dolores up for a fall from grace back then, they’re probably long dead now. But he can’t say no to Irwin Dressler (no one can, really). So he starts digging. And what he finds is that some vendettas never die—they only get more dangerous.
Unseen by Karin Slaughter (Random House-July 2nd)
Synopsis-Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.
Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.
In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide with a conspiracy straddling both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter’s latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives.
The Last Word by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster-July 9th)
Synopsis-ISABEL SPELLMAN, PI , is used to being followed, extorted, and questioned—all occupational hazards of working at her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Her little sister, Rae, once tailed Izzy for weeks on end to discover the identity of Izzy’s boyfriend. Her mother, Olivia, once blackmailed Izzy with photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994. It seemed that Spellman vigilance would dissipate after Izzy was fired for breaching client confidentiality, but then Izzy avenged her dismissal by staging a hostile takeover of the company. She should have known better than to think she could put such shenanigans behind her.
In The Last Word, Izzy’s troubles are just beginning. After her takeover of Spellman Investigations, her employees are the furthest thing from collegial . . . and Izzy finds herself struggling to pay the bills. But when she is accused of embezzling from a former client, the ridiculously wealthy Mr. Slayter, the stakes become immense. If Izzy gets indicted, she could lose her PI license and the Spellman family’s livelihood, not to mention her own freedom. Is this the end of Izzy Spellman, PI?
Skinner by Charlie Huston (Mulholland-July 9th)
Synopsis-Skinner founded his career in “asset protection” on fear. To touch anyone under his protection was to invite destruction. A savagely effective methodology, until Skinner’s CIA handlers began to fear him as much as his enemies did and banished him to the hinterlands of the intelligence community.
Now, an ornate and evolving cyber-terrorist attack is about to end that long exile. His asset is Jae, a roboticist with a gift for seeing the underlying systems violently shaping a new era of global guerrilla warfare.
At the root of it all is a young boy, the innocent seed of a plot grown in the slums of Mumbai. Brought to flower, that plot will tip the balance of world power in a perilous new direction.
A combination of Le Carre spycraft with Stephenson techno-philosophy from the novelist hailed by the Washington Post as “the voice of twenty-first century crime fiction,” SKINNER is Charlie Huston’s masterpiece—a new kind of thriller for a new kind of world.
The Last Whisper In the Dark by Tom Piccirilli (Random House-July 9th)
Synopsis-In the follow-up to Tom Piccirilli’s acclaimed novel The Last Kind Words, prodigal thief Terrier Rand has come home to the family that has lawbreaking in its blood. With generations of Rands keeping secrets from the outside world—not to mention from one another—Terry is sure of one thing: He owes it to the woman he loved and lost to make sure her husband stays alive.
Kimmy’s husband, Terry’s old friend Chub, hasn’t been seen since he supplied a getaway car for a heist that went wrong. When Terry investigates the ominous disappearance, he discovers that Chub was involved with a strange, violent gang of heavy hitters—guys who don’t take kindly to Terry asking questions. But before Terry can find his friend, a curvaceous divorcée takes him for a walk on the wild side, estranged relatives pull him into their horror movie empire, his sister Dale sets her sights on Hollywood after scoring a hit viral video, and his own uncle recruits Terry to rip off his partner.
In a world of larceny, grift, and fraud, no amount of loyalty—to friends, wives, or lovers—can compete with the Rand family drama. Terry just wants to bring Chub home to his wife and child. Instead, he’s dodging mobsters, moguls, and murderers . . . and the truth about one crime of his own.
The Last Whisper in the Dark takes readers on a wild, rollicking ride with an eclectic crowd of fascinating characters—from a well-mannered killer who drives needles into his victims’ brains to a young gangster struggling to live up to his father’s expectations. Bonds of honor, bonds of blood, and betrayals of both make this the most powerful read yet from the heralded Tom Piccirilli.
Countdown City by Ben H. Winters (Quirk-July 16th)
Synopsis-Now Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank’s days of solving crimes are over…until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.
Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees.
Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse—and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond “whodunit.” What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?
There’s a reason the first book in this series, The Last Policeman, won the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. Trust me.
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Viking-July 30th)
Synopsis-On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?
The Never Llist by Koethi Zan (Pamela Dorman Books-July 16th)
Synopsis-For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.
Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.
Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors—who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.
Let It Burn (Alex McKnight #10) by Steve Hamilton (St. Martins Press-July 2nd)
Synopsis-Even though Alex McKnight swore to serve and protect Detroit as a police officer, a trip to Motown these days is a trip to a past he’d just as soon forget. The city will forever remind him of his partner’s death and of the bullet still lodged in his own chest. So he’s more than happy to stay in the little town of Paradise, three hundred miles and half a lifetime away.
Then he gets a call from his old sergeant. It turns out that a young man Alex helped put away will be getting out of prison. That one big case marked the highlight of his career, before his partner was killed, before his marriage fell apart, before he left Detroit, forever. Now that man is about to walk free.
When the sergeant invites Alex downstate to have a drink for old times’ sake, it’s an offer he would normally refuse. However, there’s a certain female FBI agent he can’t stop thinking about, so he gets in his truck and he goes back to Detroit. While he’s there, he’s reminded of something about that last case, a seemingly small piece of the puzzle that he never got to share. It’s not something anyone wants to hear, but Alex can’t let go of this gut feeling that they arrested the wrong man.
And that the real killer not only got away, but went on to kill again.
London 1859-62. A time of great exhibitions, foreign conquests and underground trains. But the era of Victorian marvels is also the time of the Great Stink. With cholera and depravity never far from the headlines, it’s not only the sewers that smell bad.
Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary, seemingly determined to bring London to its knees through a series of devilish acts of terrorism.
But cast into a lethal, intoxicating world of music hall hoofers, industrial sabotage and royal scandal, will Lawless survive long enough to capture this underworld nemesis, before he unleashes his final vengeance on a society he wants wiped from the face of the Earth?
Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square is the first of a series of historical thrillers by William Sutton set during the mid-nineteenth century, featuring Metropolitan policeman, Campbell Lawless, aka the Watchman, on his rise through the ranks and his initiation as a spy.
Before Holmes, there was Lawless…
Before Campbell Lawless, the London streets weren’t safe to walk…
Sugar Pop Moon by John Florio (Seventh Street Books-July 9th)
Synopsis-Jersey Leo is the quintessential outsider—an albino of mixed race. Known as “Snowball” on the street, he makes a living as the bartender at a mob-run speakeasy in Prohibition-era Hell’s Kitchen. Being neither black nor white, he has no group to call his own. His own mother abandoned him as a baby. And his father-a former boxing champ with his own secrets-disapproves of Jersey’s work at a dive owned by one of New York’s most notorious gangsters. So when he inadvertently purchases counterfeit moonshine (“sugar pop moon”) with his boss’s money-a potentially fatal mistake-he must go undercover to track down the bootlegger who took him in. The clues lead to Philadelphia, where he runs into a cleaver-swinging madman out for his femurs and a cold-blooded gangster holed up on a Christmas-tree farm. Now with a price on his head in two cities, Jersey seeks help from the only man he can trust, his father. As the two delve into the origins of the mysterious sugar pop moon, stunning secrets about Jersey’s past come to light. To ensure his future, Jersey must face his past, even if it means that life will never return to normal.