June 2015 Must Reads in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for June Enjoy (all synopsis are from B&N or Amazon)!


Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Dutton-June 2nd)

Synopsis-In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.

On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.

It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she?

As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago.


Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews (Scribner-June 2nd)

Synopsis-From the bestselling, Edgar Award–winning author of the “terrifically good” (The New York Times) Red Sparrow, a compulsively readable new novel about star-crossed Russian agent Dominika Egorova and CIA’s Nate Nash in a desperate race to the finish.

Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow. She despises the men she serves, the oligarchs, and crooks, and thugs of Putin’s Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington’s most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.

As she expertly dodges exposure, Dominika deals with a murderously psychotic boss; survives an Iranian assassination attempt; escapes a counterintelligence ambush; rescues an arrested agent and exfiltrates him out of Russia; and has a chilling midnight conversation in her nightgown with President Putin. Complicating these risks is the fact that Dominika is in love with her CIA handler, Nate Nash, and their lust is as dangerous as committing espionage in Moscow. And when a mole in the SVR finds Dominika’s name on a restricted list of sources, it is a virtual death sentence…


Haints Stay by Colin Winnette (Two Dollar Radio-June 2nd)

Synopsis-Brooke and Sugar are killers. Bird is the boy who mysteriously woke beside them while between towns. For miles, there is only desert and wilderness, and along the fringes, people.

The story follows the middling bounty hunters after they’ve been chased from town, and Bird, each in pursuit of their own sense of belonging and justice. It features gunfights, cannibalism, barroom piano, a transgender birth, a wagon train, a stampede, and the tenuous rise of the West’s first one-armed gunslinger.

Haints Stay is a new acid western in the tradition of Rudolph Wurlitzer, Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, and Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man: meaning it is brutal, surreal, and possesses an unsettling humor.


The Evidence Room by Cameron Harvey (Minotaur-June 2nd)

Synopsis-This atmospheric and beautifully written police procedural is set in Florida where a murder of a young mother shook a small bayou town to its core. Twenty years later, the victim’s daughter returns to the scene of the crime and learns that the tragedy of her past has very real consequences for her future.

Everyone in Cooper’s Bayou knows the story of Raylene Atchison, the local woman who was murdered on the banks of the bayou, and her daughter, Aurora, who was found on the steps of the mini-mart, alone. But when Aurora, who was raised far away from Cooper’s Bayou, returns to Florida to settle her grandfather’s estate, she learns that the suspect in her mother’s murder was wrongly accused. Aurora meets Josh Hudson, a cop who has been put on administrative leave at the Evidence Room, a warehouse of dusty and forgotten items that could hold the key for solving Raylene’s murder. Together, Josh and Aurora delve into the past and find that the answers they are seeking lie just below the surface of the bayou they thought they knew.

Spanning decades of secrets and lies and featuring a setting that comes alive as a character in its own right, Cameron Harvey’s THE EVIDENCE ROOM is a stunning debut mystery from a new literary talent.


Finders Keepers by Stephen King (Scribner-June 2nd)

Synopsis-A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.


The Convictions of John Delahunt (Pegasus-June 15th)

Synopsis-Beautifully observed, seductive, and laced with dark humor, a gripping historical thriller ― set in 1840s Dublin ― about a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself.

Dublin, 1841. On a cold December morning, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. This could be just one more small, sad death in a city riven by poverty, inequality and political unrest, but this murder causes a public outcry. For it appears the culprit – a feckless student named John Delahunt – is also an informant in the pay of the authorities at Dublin Castle. And strangely, this young man seems neither to regret what he did, nor fear his punishment. Indeed, as he awaits the hangman in his cell in Kilmainham Gaol, John Delahunt decides to tell his story in this, his final, deeply unsettling statement…

Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself. Set amidst Dublin’s taverns, tenements, courtrooms, and alleyways and with a rich, Dickensian cast of characters, this enthralling, at times darkly humorous novel brilliantly evokes a time and a place, and introduces a remarkable new literary voice.


Second Life by SJ Watson (Harper-June 9th)

Synopsis-She loves.
her husband.

She’s obsessed by a stranger.

She’s a.
devoted mother.

She’s prepared to lose everything.

She knows.
what she’s doing.

She’s out of control.

She’s innocent.

She’s guilty as sin.

She’s living.
two lives.

She may lose both.


No Harm Can Come to a Good Man by James Smythe (The Borough Press-June 9th)
Synopsis-How far would you go to save your family from an invisible threat? A terrifyingly original thriller from the author of The Machine.

ClearVista is used by everyone and can predict everything.

It’s a daily lifesaver, predicting weather to traffic to who you should befriend.

Laurence Walker wants to be the next President of the United States. ClearVista will predict his chances.

It will predict whether he’s the right man for the job.

It will predict that his son can only survive for 102 seconds underwater.

It will predict that Laurence’s life is about to collapse in the most unimaginable way.


The Nightmare Place by Steve Mosby (Pegasus-June 15th)

Synopsis-Sometimes, there’s a thin line between love and hate. Or at least that’s one theory for DI Zoe Dolan, tracking the Creeper―a stalker who’s been breaking into women’s homes and attacking them. But the Creeper’s violence is escalating and there’s no pattern, no clue as to how he’s getting in, and no clue as to who’s next.

Until Jane Webster gets a call to the helpline where she volunteers. It’s meant to be a confidential service and Jane is torn―it could be a hoaxer, but the soft voice at the end of the line has the ring of truth about it. He says he loves these women―but it’s a love that ends in blood.

When Jane tells the police, it should be the lead that Zoe needs―but it only pulls her further into a case that is already taking her dangerously close to the past she’s never fully escaped. For Jane, Zoe and all the other young women of the city, suddenly nowhere is safe. Particularly their own bedroom at the dead of night…


Paradise Sky by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland-June 16th)

Synopsis-A rollicking novel about Nat Love, an African-American cowboy with a famous nickname: Deadwood Dick.

Young Willie is on the run, having fled his small Texas farm when an infamous local landowner murdered his father. A man named Loving takes him in and trains him in the fine arts of shooting, riding, reading, and gardening. When Loving dies, Willie re-christens himself Nat Love in tribute to his mentor, and heads west.

In Deadwood, South Dakota Territory, Nat becomes a Buffalo Soldier and is befriended by Wild Bill Hickok. After winning a famous shooting match, Nat’s peerless marksmanship and charm earn him the nickname Deadwood Dick, as well as a beautiful woman. But the hellhounds are still on his trail, and they brutally attack Nat Love’s love. Pursuing the men who have driven his wife mad, Nat heads south for a final, deadly showdown against those who would strip him of his home, his love, his freedom, and his life.


The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo (Atria-June 16th)

Synopsis-A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature.

It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death.

Now, twenty years later, as Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted gets called back to investigate a crime that mirrors the horror of that night. Except this time, the victim was tied to a tree before the mauling. Ted teams up with one of the park officers—a man named Monty, whose pleasant exterior masks an all-too-vivid knowledge of the hazardous terrain surrounding them. Residents of the area turn out to be suspicious of outsiders and less than forthcoming. Their intimate connection to the wild forces them to confront nature, and their fellow man, with equal measures of reverence and ruthlessness.

As the case progresses with no clear answers, more than human life is at stake—including that of the majestic creature responsible for the attack. Ted’s search for the truth ends up leading him deeper into the wilderness than he ever imagined, on the trail of a killer, until he reaches a shocking and unexpected personal conclusion.

As intriguing and alluring as bestselling crime novels by C.J. Box, Louise Penny, and William Kent Krueger, as atmospheric and evocative as the nature writing of John Krakauer and Cheryl Strayed, The Wild Inside is a gripping debut novel about the perilous, unforgiving intersection between man and nature.


Brutality by Ingrid Thoft (GP Putnam’s Sons-June 23rd)

Synopsis-Gutsy, relentless, wisecracking P.I. Fina Ludlow is back with her most hard-hitting case yet in the critically acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.

When soccer mom Liz Barone is attacked in her kitchen and left with a life-threatening injury, Fina Ludlow is hired by Liz’s mother to identify her attacker. It’s unusual for Fina to take a case that isn’t connected to the family firm, Ludlow and Associates, but Liz was in the process of suing her alma mater, New England University—a suit that could be a legal gold mine.

Twenty years earlier, Liz was an NEU soccer star known for her physical toughness; however, a serious cognitive decline has soured her soccer memories. She’s convinced that her aggressive style of play—and the university’s willingness to ignore head injuries in favor of a win—has put her health and her future in jeopardy, and someone needs to be held responsible.

Was Liz attacked to stop her lawsuit, or were there other secrets in the seemingly innocent woman’s life? Fina convinces her father and boss, Carl, to take the case, and discovers that wading into the financially lucrative and emotionally charged world of collegiate sports requires nerves of steel. As the list of suspects grows and hidden agendas are revealed, Fina wonders if any game is worth the price.


The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler (St. Martin’s Press-June 23rd)

Synopsis-Simon Watson lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, works for a travelling carnival and seldom calls.

On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. The book tells the story of two doomed lovers who were part of a travelling circus more than two hundred years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes and sketches. He is fascinated, yet as he reads Simon becomes increasingly unnerved. Why do so many women in his family drown on 24th July? And could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in years, risk the same terrible fate?

As 24th July draws ever closer, Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before it’s too late.


The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango (Atria-June 23rd)

Synopsis-“Evil is a matter of opinion…”

On the surface, Henry Hayden seems like someone you could like, or even admire. A famous bestselling author who appears a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous friend and coworker. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. No one besides him and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

For most of Henry’s life, it hasn’t been a problem. But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, he tries to find a permanent solution, only to make a terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past—which he has painstakingly kept hidden—threatens to catch up with him as well. Henry is an ingenious man and he works out an ingenious plan. He weaves lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. But bit by bit the noose still tightens.

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, here is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.


White Crocodile by KT Medina (Mulholland-June 30th)

Synopsis-An atmospheric debut thriller in which a woman must hunt down the ferocious killer responsible for her husband’s murder.

Tess Hardy thought she had put Luke, her violent ex-husband, firmly in her past. Then he calls from Cambodia, where he is working as a mine-clearer, and there’s something in his voice she hasn’t heard before: Fear. Two weeks later, he’s dead.

Against her better judgment, Tess is drawn to Cambodia and to the killing fields. Keeping her relationship to Luke a closely guarded secret, Tess joins his team of mine clearers, who are shaken to the core by Luke’s sudden death. Even in their grief, the group remains a tightly knit and tightly wound community in which almost everyone has something to hide.

At the same time, the circle of death begins to expand. Teenage mothers are disappearing from villages around the minefields, while others are being found mutilated and murdered, their babies abandoned. Everywhere there are whispers about the White Crocodile, a mythical beast that brings death to all who meet it. Caught in a web of secrets and lies, Tess must unravel the truth, and quickly. The crocodile is watching, and Tess may be its next victim.

Combining the technical expertise of military suspense with a richly drawn sense of place, White Crocodile forges new ground in the thriller genre. Medina’s internationally acclaimed debut announces the arrival of a prodigiously talented novelist whom readers will be discussing for years to come.


What Doesn’t Kill Her by Carla Norton (Minotaur-June 30th)

Synopsis-Reeve LeClaire is a college student, dammit, not Daryl Wayne Flint’s victim. Not anymore-not when Reeve is finally recovering a life of her own after four years of captivity.

Flint is safely locked up in Olshaker Psychiatric Hospital, where he belongs. He is walking the grounds of the forensic unit, performing his strange but apparently harmless rituals. It seems that he is still suffering the effects of the head injury he suffered in the car crash that freed Reeve seven years ago. Post-concussive syndrome, they call it.

For all that Flint seems like a model patient, he has long been planning his next move. When the moment arrives, he gets clean away from the hospital before the alarm even sounds. And Reeve is shocked out of her new life by her worst nightmare: Her kidnapper has escaped. Less than 24 hours later, Flint kills someone from his past–and Reeve’s blocked memories jolt back into consciousness. As much as she would like to forget him, she knows this criminal better than anyone else. When Flint evades capture, baffling authorities and leaving a bloody trail from the psychiatric lock-up to the forests of Washington state, Reeve suddenly realizes that she is the only one who can stop him.

Reeve is an irresistibly brave and believable heroine in Carla Norton’s heart-stopping new thriller, What Doesn’t Kill Her, about a young woman who learns to fight back.


Black Valley by Charlotte Williams (Bourbon Street Books-June 30th)

Synopsis-Jessica Mayhew has enough problems without getting wrapped up in her patients’ drama. Her separation from her husband doesn’t seem as amicable as she once thought, and her daughters are drifting away as fast as they’re growing up. But her new client—chic, moody, obsessive painter Elinor Powell—has a way of drawing people in, and soon Jessica’s getting involved with what seems to be a most artful murder.

Elinor blames herself for keeping a valuable portrait in her studio, where her mother was killed in an unsolved robbery. A bout of claustrophobia is interfering with her work, as is her deepening paranoia about her twin sister, Isobel, and her brother-in-law, Blake, a ruthless art dealer. But when Jessica meets the entire unhappy family at the debut show of Blake’s protégé—a reclusive ex-miner producing startling canvases in the Black Mountains of southeast Wales—she starts to wonder whether Elinor might be on to something. Might there be more to her mother’s death? Could Blake have been involved? And just what’s going on in those lonely hills?

Eerie and grippingly suspenseful, Black Valley is a novel rich in character, intrigue, and harrowing dangers


Murder DC by Neely Tucker (Viking-June 30th)

Synopsis-Washington, D.C., reporter Sully Carter returns in a thrilling murder mystery of race, wealth, and corruption, by the author of The Ways of the Dead

When Billy Ellison, the son of Washington, D.C.’s most influential African-American family, is found dead in the Potomac near a violent drug haven, veteran metro reporter Sully Carter knows it’s time to start asking some serious questions—no matter what the consequences. With the police unable to find a lead and pressure mounting for Sully to abandon the investigation, he has a hunch that there is more to the case than a drug deal gone bad or a tale of family misfortune. Digging deeper, Sully finds that the real story stretches far beyond Billy and into D.C.’s most prominent social circles. An alcoholic still haunted from his years as a war correspondent in Bosnia, Sully now must strike a dangerous balance between D.C.’s two extremes—the city’s violent, desperate back streets and its highest corridors of power—while threatened by those who will stop at nothing to keep him from discovering the shocking truth.

The follow-up to last year’s acclaimed The Ways of the Dead, this gritty mystery showcases Tucker’s talent for spot-on dialogue, authentic characters, and complex narrative.

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