October 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 October Enjoy (all synopsis are from B&N or Amazon)!


Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier (Pocket Star-Oct. 5th)

Synopsis-Welcome to Wonderland. By day, it’s a magical place boasting a certain retro charm. Excited children, hands sticky with cotton candy, run frenetically from the Giant Octopus ride to the Spinning Sombrero, while the tinkling carnival music of the giant Wonder Wheel—the oldest Ferris wheel in the Pacific Northwest—fills the air. But before daybreak, an eerie feeling descends. Maybe it’s the Clown Museum, home to creepy wax replicas of movie stars and a massive collection of antique porcelain dolls. Or maybe it’s the terrifyingly real House of Horrors. Or…maybe it’s the dead, decaying body left in the midway for all the Wonder Workers to see.

Vanessa Castro’s first day as deputy police chief of Seaside, Washington, is off to a bang. The unidentifiable homeless man rotting inside the tiny town’s main tourist attraction is strange enough, but now a teenage employee—whose defiant picture at the top of the Wonder Wheel went viral that same morning—is missing. As the clues in those seemingly disparate crimes lead her down a mysterious shared path of missing persons that goes back decades, she suspects the seedy rumors surrounding the amusement park’s dark history might just be true. She moved to Seaside to escape her own scandalous past, but has she brought her family to the center of an insidious killer’s twisted game? Acclaimed author Jennifer Hillier’s bone-chilling thriller is masterful and fast-paced, hurtling toward a shocking, bloody conclusion.



The Guise of Another by Allen Eskins (Seventh Street Books-Oct. 6th)

Synopsis-Who was James Putnam? Answering that question may mean salvation for Alexander Rupert, a Minnesota detective whose life is in a serious downward spiral. A Medal of Valor winner, Alexander is now under subpoena by a grand jury on suspicion of corruption. He’s been reassigned to the Frauds Unit, where he is shunned by his fellow detectives, and he fears his status-seeking wife may be having an affair. When he happens across a complex case of identity theft, Alexander sees an opportunity to rehabilitate his tattered reputation.

But the case explodes into far more than he could have expected, putting him in the path of trained assassin Drago Basta, a veteran of the Balkan wars who has been searching for “James Putnam” for years. As his life spins out of control, Alexander’s last hope may be his older brother, Max, a fellow police detective who steps in to try to save his brother from the carnage his investigation has let loose.


We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean (HMH Books for Young Readers-Oct. 6th)

Synopsis-Murder.
Fire.
Revenge.
That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths. Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.


Icarus by Deon Meyer (Atlantic Monthly Press-Oct. 6th)

Synopsis-South Africa’s preeminent crime fiction writer, Deon Meyer is internationally acclaimed for his razor’s-edge thrillers, unforgettable characters, and nuanced portrayals of contemporary life in his native country. The fifth pulse-pounder starring Captain Benny Griessel, a lead detective in South Africa’s priority crimes unit, delves into the country’s burgeoning tech and wine industries.

A week before Christmas, a young photographer discovers a plastic-wrapped corpse amidst the sand dunes north of Cape Town. The only thing found on the corpse is a dead iPhone, but it doesn’t take long for the police to identify the body as that of Ernst Richter—the tech whiz behind MyAlibi, an internet service that provides unfaithful partners with sophisticated cover stories to hide an affair. Meanwhile, Benny Griessel is called to the scene of a multiple homicide involving a former colleague, and four years of sobriety are undone on the spot. He emerges from his drunken haze determined to quit the force, but the take-no-sass Major Mbali Kaleni, now his boss, wants Griessel on the Richter case. The high-profile murder has already been the subject of fierce media speculation, with questions swirling about the potential for motive: could the perpetrator be one of the countless jilted spouses? An aggrieved client?

Before the week is out, an unexpected connection to a storied family winery comes to light, and Griessel’s reputation is again on the line. Mounting towards a startling conclusion, Icarus is another exceptional novel from the “King of South African Crime.”


A Cold War by Alan Russell (Thomas & Mercer-Oct. 6th)

Synopsis-Nina Granville believes her business trip to Alaska will give her a short respite from the merry-go-round that came with her engagement to Congressman Terrence Donnelly. But instead of allowing her the peace she craves, Nina’s getaway from the public eye means that no one witnesses her abduction into a very cold hell.

Taken by a mountain man who calls himself Baer and then transported to a remote cabin surrounded by nothing but frozen wilderness, Nina descends into a nightmare of terror, privation, and bitter cold. Nina’s privileged life did not prepare her for imprisonment at the hands of this survivalist trapper. If she is to live—and to escape—Nina realizes she must do it on her own.

Undaunted and with startling determination, Nina pits herself against her captor, her fear, and nature itself in a battle for her life—but can she win against such deadly opponents?


The Lithium-6 by Risto Isomäki (AmazonCrossing-Oct. 6th)

Synopsis-In the span of a few days, six tons of lithium-6 are stolen in Japan, and 180 grams of plutonium vanish in France. Word of these crimes quickly reaches Colonel Kenneth Andrews at the US Nuclear Terrorism Unit. He mobilizes the best team in nuclear defense, including special agents—and couple—Lauri Nurmi and Alice Donovan.

As this secret task force sets out to find the contraband elements, they begin to fear that someone is developing a doomsday weapon. Breeder reactors are being installed around the world to provide clean energy, but they also present risks: every shipment of fuel to a nuclear power station gives terrorists an opportunity to create a nuclear weapon. When Lauri and Alice realize that they have a global conflict on their hands, one in which the definition of terrorist is a moving target, they’ll put their relationship—and their lives—in jeopardy to venture headfirst toward a new and dangerous front line. But in this game of nuclear reaction, what holds the most power to destroy the world as we know it—the weapon itself or the fear it inspires?


The Edge by Roland Smith (HMH Books for Young Readers-Oct. 6th)

Synopsis-The International Peace Ascent is the brainchild of billionaire Sebastian Plank: Recruit a global team of young climbers and film an inspiring, world-uniting documentary. The adventure begins when fifteen-year-old Peak Marcello and his mountaineer mother are helicoptered to a remote base camp in the Hindu Kush Mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. When the camp is attacked and his mother taken, Peak has no choice but to track down the perpetrators to try to save her. Fans of the bestselling Peak will be thrilled with this gripping, high-stakes sequel.


Mrs. John Doe by Tom Savage (Alibi-Oct. 6th)
Synopsis-Nora Baron’s life is perfect. She lives on Long Island Sound, teaches acting at a local university, and has a loving family. Then one phone call changes everything. She’s informed that her husband, Jeff, has died in a car crash while on a business trip in England. Nora flies to London to identify the body, which the police have listed as a “John Doe.” When she leaves the morgue, a man tries to steal her purse containing Jeff’s personal effects. Clearly, all is not as it seems.

At her hotel, Nora receives a cryptic message that leaves her with more questions than answers. She follows the message’s instructions to France, where a fatal encounter transforms her into a fugitive. Wanted for murder, on the run in a shadowy landscape of lies, secrets, and sudden violence, Mrs. “John Doe” must play the role of a lifetime to stay one step ahead of a ruthless enemy with deadly plans for her—and for the world.


Savage Lane by Jason Starr (Polis-Oct. 13th)

Synopsis-EVERY TOWN HAS ITS SECRETS

In Savage Lane, Jason Starr has crafted a searing tale of suspense that proves the adage: Love thy neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge. Karen Daily, recently divorced, lives with her two kids in a quaint suburb of New York City. She’s teaching at a nearby elementary school, starting to date again, and for the first time in years has found joy in her life. Mark Berman, Karen’s friend and neighbor, wants out of his unhappy marriage, and so does his wife, Deb, but they have stayed together for the sake of their children.

Unbeknownst to Karen, while Mark’s marriage has deteriorated his obsession with her has grown. And as Mark’s rich fantasy life takes on a more sinister edge, rumors begin to spread about Karen and a bigger secret is uncovered. And soon Karen finds that Mark is not the only one who has taken an undesired interest in her…

Jason Starr is one of our most accomplished writers of the darkness that lies within the human heart, and Savage Lane is his most riveting and intimate novel yet—a dark, domestic thriller and an honest, searing satire of a declining marriage, suburban life, and obsessive love.


Strong Light of Day by Jon Land (Forge-Oct. 13t)

Synopsis-Texas ranger Caitlin Strong is involved in an international plot rooted in secrets from the Cold War in Strong Light of Day, the seventh installment of Jon Land’s New York Times bestselling Caitlin Strong series

Caitlin Strong is a fifth generation Texas Ranger as quick with her wits as she is with her gun. Over the years she’s taken on all manner of criminals and miscreants, thwarting the plans of villains to do vast damage to the country and state she loves. But none of that has prepared Caitlin for an investigation that pits her against ruthless billionaire oilman Calum Dane, whose genetically engineered pesticide may have poisoned a large swath of the state.

How that poisoning is connected to the disappearance of thirty high school students from a Houston prep school, including the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters, presents Caitlin with the greatest and most desperate challenge of her career. As if that wasn’t enough, she also has to deal with a crazed rancher whose entire herd of cattle has been picked clean to the bone by something science can’t explain.

The common denominator between these apparently disparate events is a new and deadly enemy capable of destroying the US economy and killing millions, a foe it will take far more than bullets to bring down. There’s yet another player in the deadly game Caitlin finds herself playing: Russian extremists prepared to seize an opportunity to win a war they never stopped fighting.

Caitlin’s race to save the United States weaves through the present and the past, confronting her and Cort Wesley with the most powerful and dangerous enemies they’ve ever faced, human and otherwise. The Cold War hasn’t just heated up; it’s boiling over under the spill of a strong light only Caitlin can extinguish before it’s too late.


Death in Veracruz by Héctor Aguilar Camín (Schaffner Press-Oct. 19th)

Synopsis-This novel marks the long-awaited arrival—in English—of a masterful voice in Mexican and noir fiction

Death in Veracruz is a gritty and atmospheric noir centered on the so-called oil wars of the late 1970s, which pitted the extremely powerful and corrupt government-owned oil cartel PEMEX against the agrarian landowners in the coastal regions of Southern Mexico. This novel, translated for the first time in English since its publication 30 years ago, concerns a journalist who investigates the death of a colleague and friend Rojano in a bizarre shooting incident that takes place in a small rural village, and who finds himself up against crooked police and a charismatic and ruthless union boss . But, as he gets deeper into this Mexican Heart of Darkness, he finds Rojano was not all he seemed, and neither was his widow with whom he falls into a doomed affair.


Killer Nashville Noir: Coldblooded edited by Clay Stafford (Diversion-Oct. 27th)

Synopsis-Bestselling authors Jeffery Deaver and Anne Perry join rising stars like Dana Chamblee Carpenter and Paul Gail Benson in a collection that proves Music City is a deadly place to be when your song gets called.

Featuring stories by: Bain, Robert Dugoni, Jefferson Bass, Mary Burton, Jonathan Stone, Steven James, Maggie Toussaint, Clay Stafford, Heywood Gould, Jaden Terrell, and more…

Every year, some of the biggest names in the thriller world converge in Tennessee for the Killer Nashville conference, an event where stars of the genre rub elbows with their most devoted fans, where the bestsellers of tomorrow pick up tricks of the trade, and where some of the best writers of today swap dark tales of good deals gone bad, rights made wrong, and murder in all shades…

This collection of new stories features some of the biggest names in suspense, from bestsellers to ferociously talented newcomers. Grouped around the classic theme of murder, KILLER NASHVILLE NOIR: COLD-BLOODED is a first-class collection and a must-have for fans of the genre.


Powerless by Tim Washburn (Pinnacle-Oct. 27th)

Synopsis-Nothing Can Prepare You. . .

It strikes without warning. A massive geomagnetic solar storm that destroys every power grid in the northern hemisphere. North America is without lights, electricity, phones, and navigation systems. In one week, the human race is flung back to the Dark Ages.

Nothing Can Save You. . .

In Boulder, Colorado, weather technicians watch in horror as civilization collapses around them. Planes are falling out of the skies. Cars are dead. Pandemonium and terror grip the Northern Hemisphere. As nuclear reactors across North America face inevitable meltdowns, the U.S. President remains powerless in a heavily guarded White House. From London to Boston to Anchorage, there is no food, no water, no hope. It’s every man for himself. . .and it will only get worse.

Survival Is Everything.

Only one man–army veteran Zeke Marshall–is prepared to handle a nightmare like this. But when he tries to reunite with his family in Dallas–across a lawless terrain as deadly as any battlefield–he discovers there are worse things in life than war. And there are terrible and unthinkable things he’ll have to do to survive. . .


Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell (William Morrow-Oct. 27th)

Synopsis-Depraved Heart: “Void of social duty and fatally bent on mischief.”

—Mayes v. People, 806 III. 306 (1883)

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages and seems to be from her computer genius niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn’t know whom she can tell—not her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.

In this new novel, Cornwell launches these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the mysterious death of a Hollywood mogul’s daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta’s entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they raid Lucy’s estate and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.

In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell will captivate readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail that she is famous for, proving yet again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer.


Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell (Scribner-Oct 27th)

Synopsis-When his father dies, Carl Martin inherits a house in an increasingly rich and trendy London neighborhood. Carl needs cash, however, so he rents the upstairs room and kitchen to the first person he interviews, Dermot McKinnon. That was colossal mistake number one. Mistake number two was keeping his father’s bizarre collection of homeopathic “cures” that he found in the medicine cabinet, including a stash of controversial diet pills. Mistake number three was selling fifty of those diet pills to a friend, who is then found dead.

Dermot seizes a nefarious opportunity and begins to blackmail Carl, refusing to pay rent, and creepily invading Carl’s space. Ingeniously weaving together two storylines that finally merge in one shocking turn, Ruth Rendell describes one man’s spiral into darkness—and murder—as he falls victim to a diabolical foe he cannot escape.

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