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



The Crossing by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown-Nov. 3rd)

Synopsis-Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. A woman has been brutally murdered in her bed and all evidence points to Haller’s client, a former gang member turned family man. Though the murder rap seems ironclad, Mickey is sure it’s a setup.

Bosch doesn’t want anything to do with crossing the aisle to work for the defense. He feels it will undo all the good he’s done in his thirty years as a homicide cop. But Mickey promises to let the chips fall where they may. If Harry proves that his client did it, under the rules of discovery, they are obliged to turn over the evidence to the prosecution.

Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch reluctantly takes the case. The prosecution’s file just has too many holes and he has to find out for himself: if Haller’s client didn’t do it, then who did? With the secret help of his former LAPD partner Lucy Soto, Harry starts digging. Soon his investigation leads him inside the police department, where he realizes that the killer he’s been tracking has also been tracking him.

Thrilling, fast-paced, and impossible to put down, The Crossing shows without a shadow of doubt that Connelly is “a master of building suspense” (Wall Street Journal).



Dust and Desire by Conrad Williams (Titan-Nov. 3rd)

Synopsis-Joel Sorrell, a bruised, bad-mouthed PI, is a sucker for missing person cases. And not just because he’s searching for his daughter, who vanished five years after his wife was murdered. Joel feels a kinship with the desperate and the damned. He feels, somehow, responsible. So when the mysterious Kara Geenan begs him to find her missing brother, Joel agrees. Then an attempt is made on his life, and Kara vanishes… A vicious serial killer is on the hunt, and as those close to Joel are sucked into his nightmare, he suspects that answers may lie in his own hellish past.



Blood Relative by David Thomas (Quercus-Nov. 3rd)

Synopsis-Architect Peter Crookham is running late for a dinner party with his estranged journalist brother and his gorgeous German wife, Mariana. He enters his home to discover his brother viciously stabbed to death and his wife covered in blood and clutching a knife, in a nearly catatonic state. Refusing to accept that Mariana could be responsible for Andy’s death, Peter vows to clear her name.

As he begins to search the past for clues, Peter soon learns that Andy had been looking into Mariana’s murky past in Germany, and had even traveled to Berlin to piece together some facts about her childhood. Anxious for answers, Peter retraces his brother’s steps in East Berlin–and finds himself caught in a web of intrigue involving violent remnants of the former East German security service, the feared STASI.

With a split narrative that alternates back and forth between Peter’s current hunt for the truth and the horrendous realities of life in communist East Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, Blood Relative asks the question: How well do we really know the ones we love?


Tenacity by J.S. Law (Henry Holt-Nov. 3rd)

Synopsis-Two hundred meters below the ocean’s surface, you can’t run, you can’t hide, and the truth won’t set you free.

An officer hangs himself in the engine room of naval submarine HMS Tenacity. A woman’s murder bears disturbing similarities to an old case. Lieutenant Danielle “Dan” Lewis grasps for the truth before it submerges in the gray waters of the English Channel.

Cramped, claustrophobic, and under strict command, the confines of HMS Tenacity are unwelcoming in the best of circumstances. For Dan, the only female aboard, who must methodically interrogate a tightknit and hostile crew, it’s her own special place in hell.

Recently reassigned to the Special Investigation Branch’s Kill Team, Dan’s hardheaded reputation precedes her. But facing an obstinate ship’s company, a commanding officer too eager to close the case, and a constant threat of unfriendly male interest, she learns that under enough pressure everyone has their breaking point.


Numero Zero by Umberto Eco (HMH-Nov. 3rd)

Synopsis-From the best-selling author of The Name of the Rose and The Prague Cemetery, a novel about the murky world of media politics, conspiracy, and murder

A newspaper committed to blackmail and mud slinging, rather than reporting the news.

A paranoid editor, walking through the streets of Milan, reconstructing fifty years of history against the backdrop of a plot involving the cadaver of Mussolini’s double.

The murder of Pope John Paul I, the CIA, red terrorists handled by secret services, twenty years of bloodshed, and events that seem outlandish until the BBC proves them true.

A fragile love story between two born losers, a failed ghost writer, and a vulnerable girl, who specializes in celebrity gossip yet cries over the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. And then a dead body that suddenly appears in a back alley in Milan.

Set in 1992 and foreshadowing the mysteries and follies of the following twenty years, Numero Zero is a scintillating take on our times from the best-selling author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum.


The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (Atria-Nov. 3rd)

Synopsis-In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the Spirits, The Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.


The Crucifixion Creek by Barry Maitland (Minotaur-Nov. 10th)

Synopsis-A meth-addicted biker shoots a woman during a police siege. An elderly couple commit suicide on the terrace of their favorite café. An unidentified white male is stabbed to death in the street.

For Sydney homicide detective Harry Belltree, not long out of the military and a grueling tour of Afghanistan, these three deaths appear to be just another day at the office. Until, that is, he identifies the stabbing victim as his own brother-in-law Greg, and journalist Kelly Pool suggests there’s a link between the three incidents. It seems Greg and the old couple had ties to the same man, a corrupt money man with a murky past and friends in both high places and low.

Harry Belltree can’t get officially involved in Greg’s murder, but he’s not going to leave it in the hands of others. That’s when he goes off-grid to investigate the links between these deaths. That’s when things start to get dangerous.


Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing-Nov. 10th)

Synopsis-A secret chamber.
A mysterious shipwreck.
A murder in the desolate salt marshes.
A seemingly straightforward private case turns out to be much more complicated-and sinister-than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated.

Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton.

Pendergast and Constance soon learn that Exmouth is a town with a very dark and troubled history, and this skeleton may be only the first hint of an ancient transgression, kept secret all these years. But they will discover that the sins of the past are still very much alive. Local legend holds that during the 1692 witch trials in Salem, the real witches escaped, fleeing north to Exmouth and settling deep in the surrounding salt marshes, where they continued to practice their wicked arts.

Then, a murdered corpse turns up in the marshes. The only clue is a series of mysterious carvings. Could these demonic symbols bear some relation to the ancient witches’ colony, long believed to be abandoned?
A terrible evil lurks beneath the surface of this sleepy seaside town-one with deep roots in Exmouth’s grim history. And it may be that Constance, with her own troubled past, is the only one who truly comprehends the awful danger that she, Pendergast, and the residents of Exmouth must face . . .


Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter (Pegasus-Nov. 16th)
Synopsis-Set against the historical reign of the Golden and Iron King, Bohemian Gospel is the remarkable tale of a bold and unusual girl on a quest to uncover her past and define her destiny.

Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who―or what―she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor’s arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse’s unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone―especially herself―she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?

A heart-thumping, highly original tale in the vein of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, Bohemian Gospel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice for historical fiction.


A Different Lie by Derek Haas (Pegasus-Nov. 16th)

SynopsisFrom acclaimed author and screenwriter Derek Haas comes a unique and thrilling twist on a family story―what happens when an elite assassin becomes a father?

Now a new dad, the infamous Silver Bear finds himself staying up late for feedings and changing diapers―all while leading the double life of a contract killer.

The struggle is not with his conscience. He enjoys his gig. But a child forces him to weigh selfishness versus safety. Continue his line of work, and he’ll always wonder if he’s putting his child’s life at risk. His partner, Risina, serves as his fence. Like Columbus, she’s good at her job and likes doing it. An unusual take on working motherhood . . .

When the next assignment comes in, both Columbus and Risina are surprised to find that the mark is another assassin: a brash, young killer named Castillo. Castillo is an assassin on the rise. Even Columbus is impressed by his tenacity and talent―and as he closes in on his target, he realizes that Castillo is a younger version of himself. It’s almost like looking in a mirror. Castillo has even studied Columbus’s work.

But Columbus’s assignment is clear: kill the young man. However, Castillo learns that his hero and unwitting mentor has a family―a revelation with enormous ramifications.


American Blood by Ben Sanders (Minotaur-Oct. 17th)

Synopsis-In Ben Sanders’s American Blood, a former undercover cop now in witness protection finds himself pulled into the search for a missing woman; film rights sold to Warner Bros with Bradley Cooper attached to star and produce.

After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall’s instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray.

Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray’s whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall’s efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life, including the Dallas Man, are coming for him.

Written by a rising New Zealand star who has been described as “first rate,” this American debut drops a Jack Reacher-like hero into the landscape of No Country for Old Men.


Ivory by Tony Park (St. Martin’s Press-Nov. 17th)

Synopsis-Alex Tremain is a pirate in trouble. All he really wants is to reopen his parents’ five-star hotel on the Island of Dreams, off the coast of Mozambique. But instead he’s facing a mounting tide of debt, his crew of modern-day buccaneers is getting restless, and he has just been dumped by not one, but two women.

As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate, a chance raid on a ship then sets the Chinese triads after him and, to add insult to injury, corporate lawyer Jane Humphries lands, literally, in his lap…

Before he knows it, Alex is embroiled in two separate and equally risky pursuits–one takes him to South Africa’s Kruger National Park and will pay enough for him to reopen his hotel, and the other involves the love of a lifetime. Can Alex pull off this one last heist and walk away with both prizes?


Cracked by Barbra Leslie (Titan-Nov. 24th)

Synopsis-After her stormy marriage ends, Danny Cleary jumps down the rabbit hole into a world of crack cocaine – delivered to her door by a polite but slightly deranged dealer. But when Danny’s twin sister Ginger is murdered, Danny and her rock musician brother fly to California to find their nephews – and the people who killed their sister. Fighting her addiction, nosy cops and crazy drug dealers, she kicks ass and takes names, embracing her inner vigilante in a quest to avenge her sister and save her family.

Cracked is a darkly comic roller-coaster ride to redemption as Danny struggles with bad guys and her own demons to find out who killed her twin.

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