Top 10 Must Reads of December 2013 (Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction)

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in the mystery/suspense/fiction category for December (click on the covers to pre-order)! These are in no particular order. 


thegodsofguiltThe Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown-Dec. 2nd)

Synopsis-Mickey Haller gets the text, “Call me ASAP – 187,” and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game.

When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger.

Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Mickey must work tirelessly and bring all his skill to bear on a case that could mean his ultimate redemption or proof of his ultimate guilt.



spooklightsThe Spook Lights Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (Tor Forge-Dec. 3rd)

Synopsis-In 1895 San Francisco young debutantes don’t commit suicide at festive parties, particularly not under the eye of Sabina Carpenter. But Virginia St. Ives evidently did, leaping from a foggy parapet in a shimmer of ghostly light. The seemingly impossible disappearance of her body creates an even more serious problem for the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services.

Sabina hadn’t wanted to take the assignment, but her partner John Quincannon insisted it would serve as entrée to the city’s ultra rich and powerful. That means money, and Quincannon loves the almighty dollar. Which is why he is hunting the bandit who robbed the Wells, Fargo office of $35,000.

Working their separate cases (while Sabina holds John off with one light hand), the detectives give readers a tour of The City the way it was. From the infamous Barbary Coast to the expensive Tenderloin gaming houses and brothels frequented by wealthy men, Quincannon follows a danger-laden trail to unmask the murderous perpetrators of the Wells, Fargo robbery. Meanwhile, Sabina works her wiles on friends and relatives of the vanished debutante until the pieces of her puzzle start falling into place. But it’s an oddly disguised gent appearing out of nowhere who provides the final clue to both cases—the shrewd “crackbrain” who believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes.


collectoroflostthingsThe Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page (Pegasus-Dec. 3rd)
Synopsis-An arctic adventure story fueled by obsession, passion, and gothic influence, The Collector of Lost Things is a compulsive literary suspense novel

The worlds of ocean and ice were meeting in a frontier of rage, as if the
Earth had torn in two along this line. This was a place, if there ever was a place, where you could disappear . . .

The year is 1845 and young researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding remains of the by-now-extinct Great Auk, a large flightless bird of mythical status.

Eliot joins a hunting ship, but the crew and the passengers are not what they seem.
Caught in the web of relationships on board, Eliot struggles to understand the motivations of the sociopathic Captain Sykes; the silent
First Mate, French; the flamboyant laudanum-addicted Bletchley; and most importantly of all, Bletchley’s beautiful but strange ‘cousin’ Clara.

As the ship moves further and further into the wilds of the Arctic Sea,
Eliot clings to what he believes in, desperate to save Clara but irrevocably drawn back into a past that haunts him—and a present that confronts him with a myriad of dangers.


onceuponalieOnce Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri (Minotaur-Dec. 10th)
Synopsis-Maeve Conlon’s life is coming apart at the seams. Her bakery is barely making ends meet, and one of her daughters spends as much time grounded as the other does studying. Her ex-husband has a new wife, a new baby, and a look of pity for Maeve that’s absolutely infuriating. Her father insists he’s still independent, but he’s slowly and obviously succumbing to Alzheimer’s. And now, her cousin Sean Donovan has been found dead, sitting in his car in a public park, shot through the head.

There was never much love lost between Maeve and Sean and she’s not exactly devastated by his death, but suddenly the police are poking around asking the family questions. It’s just one more hassle Maeve doesn’t have time for, until she realizes that her father, whose memory and judgment are unreliable at best, is a suspect in the murder. Maeve is determined to clear his name, but is she prepared to cope with the dark memories and long-hidden secrets that doing so might dredge up?

Maggie Barbieri will mesmerize readers with Once Upon a Lie, a gripping novel about family, justice, and the choices we make that define who we are.


whatwelostinthedarkWhat We Lost in the Dark by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Soho-Dec. 17th)
Synopsis-Allie Kim’s fatal allergy to sunlight, XP, still confines her to the night. Now that she’s lost her best friend Juliet to an apparent suicide, the night has never felt darker—even with Rob at her side.

Allie knows why Juliet killed herself: to escape the clutches of Garrett Tabor, whom the trio saw committing an unspeakable crime. Garrett is untouchable; The Tabors founded the world-famous XP clinic that keeps Allie and Rob alive and their small Minnesota town on the map.

Allie can’t rest until Garrett is brought to justice. But her obsession jeopardizes everything she holds dear. Not even Parkour can distract her; nothing reminds her more that Juliet is gone. When Rob introduces Allie to the wildly dangerous sport of nighttime deep diving, Allie assumes he’s only trying to derail her investigation… until they uncover the horror terrible secret Garrett Tabor has hidden under Lake Superior.


redpoleofmacauThe Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton (Picador-Dec. 31st)
Synopsis-n Ian Hamilton’s The Red Pole of Macau, family ties are stressed to the limit when intrepid forensic accountant Ava Lee must rescue her half brother, Michael, and his business partner, Simon, from a disastrous multimillion-dollar real-estate deal in Macau. When the developers turn out to be gangsters, Michael and Simon are threatened with bankruptcy and much worse. Ava struggles to salvage the deal and her family’s money, but then Simon is kidnapped, and the rules of the game abruptly change.

Determined to keep her mentor, Uncle, out of the affair, Ava is forced to turn to a former client, the cunning and seductive May Ling Wong, for help. With time running out, Ava must use all her skills to outwit the gangsters, rescue Simon, and save her family’s future.


alicecloseyoureyesAlice Close Your Eyes by Averil Dean (Harlequin-Dec. 31st
Synopsis-With haunting prose and deft psychological insight, Averil Dean spins a chilling story that explores the dark corners of obsession—love, pain and revenge.

Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft’s life. Now, she has a chance to right that wrong—and she thinks she’s found the perfect man to carry out her plan.

After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese’s house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous…and intrigued.

That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice starts to see just how deep Jack’s secrets run—and how deadly they could be.
 


viewfromthetowerThe View From the Tower by Charles Lambert (Exhibit A-Dec. 31st)
Synopsis-A psychological thriller sure to appeal to fans of William Boyd and John Le Carre…Can she trust them? Can you? Helen is in a hotel room with her lover in Rome, when a gunman murders her husband, a high-level politician, less than a mile away. Helen immediately finds herself both a suspect and suspicious of those around her – including her friends and her husband’s family, and her lover, Giacomo, an ex-terrorist with a new wife and a reinvented life. As Helen struggles to understand her husband’s death and the extent to which she and the people she knows may have been responsible, she is forced to examine her own past and peel back the years of secrets and lies.


huntedHunted by Elizabeth Heiter (Harlequin-Dec. 31st)
Synopsis-Overview
Terror stalks a small Virginia town.

FBI rising star, criminal profiler Evelyn Baine, knows how to think like a serial killer. But she’s never chased anyone like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women and displays them, half-buried, deep in the woods. As the body count climbs, Evelyn’s relentless pursuit of the killer puts her career—and her life—at risk. And the evil lurking in the Burier’s mind may be more than even she can unravel.

Terror is closer than she thinks…

The Bakersville Burier knows he’s got an FBI profiler on his trail. He knows who she is and where to find her. And he’s biding his time, because he’s planned a special punishment for Evelyn. She may have tracked other killers, but he vows to make this her last chase. This time it’s her turn to be hunted!


greed

Greed by Dan O’Shea (Exhibit A-Dec. 31st)
Synopsis-Ex-Marine, Nick Hardin, heads back from a decade in Africa to his hometown, Chicago, with $100 million in blood diamonds stolen from an Al Qaeda’s financing pipeline. His retirement plan? To cash out through a Chicago Mossad contact and head for the beach. But soon, Hardin’s stuck in Chicago with diamonds he can’t sell and a series of hit men, mobsters, and a Washington off-the-books black ops team on his tail. The resulting body count leaves Chicago detective John Lynch trying to find connections among the victims, while simultaneously solving the murder of a dead infectious disease expert who’d drafted a biological weapons plan that could turn Chicago into a ghost tow

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