February 15, 2016 Booklist 33 www.booklistonline.com
Deaver juggles several plotlines here: the main
story and a few subordinate stories (
including one that involves the return of the ex-con,
ex-cop, ex-lover of Rhyme’s partner, Amelia
Sachs). The plot twists are clever and unexpected, the dialogue is colloquial and natural,
and the characters—especially Rhyme, Sachs,
and the killer, who contributes to the story
via first-person narrative passages—are vividly
realized. Highly recommendable to fans of
the series, and to any non-Deaver readers who
appreciate a nice mix of plot and character.
While there are some plot threads carried over
from previous books, the novel can be read as
a stand-alone. —David Pitt
Stop the Presses!
By Robert Goldsborough.
Mar. 2016. 250p. Open Road/ MysteriousPress.com, paper,
$14.99 (9781504023573); e-book (9781504023559).
The New York Gazette’s popular columnist
Cameron Clay is getting anonymous death
threats. Fortunately, Lon Cohen of the Ga-
zette is one of the very few people legendary
private investigator Nero Wolfe respects. As a
favor to Cohen, Wolfe agrees to see Clay, even
though no violence has occurred. The irascible
Clay, who has scores of enemies as a result of
both legitimate investigative journalism and
mean-spirited innuendo, supplies Wolfe with
the names of five suspects. Shortly thereafter,
Clay is found dead. The police say suicide, but
the Gazette doesn’t buy it and engages Wolfe
to investigate. Archie Goodwin, Wolfe’s inde-
fatigable assistant, arranges individual meetings
with the five suspects, who range from a Trump-
like developer to a celebrated opera singer who
happens to be Clay’s ex-wife. This is the elev-
enth Wolfe mystery written by Goldsborough.
He scrupulously re-creates all the details of the
classic Rex Stout series: Wolfe’s epicureanism,
orchids, beer, and intractable routine, as well
as Archie’s bemused narration. Add in consis-
tently clever plots, and Goldsborough shows
again why he was the perfect man to continue
the Nero Wolfe legend. —Wes Lukowsky
The Unfortunate Englishman.
By John Lawton.
Mar. 2016. 352p. Atlantic Monthly, $26
(9780802123992); e-book, $26 (9780802190673).
When we last saw Joe Wilderness—London
cat burglar turned black marketeer in the
rubble of postwar Berlin and
then remade yet again as a
spy in that same rubble—
he had inadvertently shot
the woman he was trying to
smuggle out of East Berlin
and appeared destined to
spend a long chunk of time
in a Berlin jail. He’s rescued
from that by his MI6 spymaster (and father-
in-law) but forced, unwillingly, back into the
game. One thing leads to another, as happens
in the cloak-and-dagger world, and Wilderness
is tasked with facilitating a spy exchange—a
Russian who has come to love pretending to
be English swapped for a clumsy British sci-
entist and clumsier agent who fell in love with
the wrong girl at the wrong time. Complicat-
ing matters, Wilderness’ former fellow black
marketeers, one now a Russian KGB head,
the other an American CIA agent, both have
stakes in the outcome. Lawton gets the Cold
War chill just right, leading to yet another
tense exchange across a Berlin bridge, but un-
like, say, the film Bridge of Spies, the principals
here are not freighted with moral rectitude
but, rather, exude a hard-won cynicism in con-
flict with dangerously human emotions. The
result is a gripping, richly ambiguous spy dra-
ma featuring a band of not-quite-rogue agents
that will find genre fans reaching for their old
Ross Thomas paperbacks to find something
comparable. —Bill Ott
The Waters of Eternal Youth.
By Donna Leon.
Mar. 2016. 304p. Atlantic Monthly, $26
(9780802124807); e-book, $26 (9780802190314).
For Leon’s many devoted fans, the appearance of her twenty-fifth Guido Brunetti novel
No One Knows.
By J. T. Ellison.
Mar. 2016. 384p. Gallery, $26 (9780501118470);
e-book, $13.99 (9781501118494).
Aubrey Hamilton’s husband, Josh, disappeared five years ago. She was initially
accused of murdering him, but without
a body, there was no proof. Josh’s mom
declares her son legally dead, and suddenly the grief consumes Aubrey again.
After finally deciding to go on with her life,
she begins to suspect that she is being
watched. As in The Girl on the Train, to
which this novel inevitably will be compared, the story line jumps back and forth
in time as the reader becomes enthralled
with Aubrey and her life while also desperate to learn answers. The payoff succeeds
in surprising, but some readers may find
the author guilty of unnecessary manipulation. —Jeff Ayers
Set the Night on Fire.
By Connie Dial.
Mar. 2016. 304p. Permanent Press, $29.95
Another authentic look at the LAPD
through the eyes of Josie Corsino, with
a twist. It is 1971, and she is fresh out
of the police academy and working as an
undercover operative (UC) in a tumultu-
ous Los Angeles where demonstrations
invariably turn into riots, and homemade
bombs are in fashion. When a fellow UC
disappears, Josie is forced deeper into the
violent radical underground. There is some
denseness in the narrative, which is en-
demic to the genre, but the action moves
steadily through short chapters and clipped
professional exchanges. A treat for fans of
realistic police crime drama, from a 27-year
LAPD veteran. —Jane Murphy
Terror in Taffeta.
By Marla Cooper.
Mar. 2016. 288p. Minotaur/Thomas Dunne, $24.99
(9781250072566); e-book, $11.99 (9781466884380).
Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna thinks
her work is done at a San Miguel de Al-
lende destination event; then a bridesmaid
passes out. After sending the newlyweds
and the rest of the party to the recep-
tion, Kelsey learns that the bridesmaid
is dead. Police discover that the victim’s
room has been ransacked, and the bride’s
sister is arrested after poison is found
in her belongings. The bride’s mother,
who at times skews stereotypical but at
other times surprises, convinces Kelsey
to work on finding the killer and proving
her daughter’s innocence. It’s all a bit
beyond her usual purview, but smart, car-
ing Kelsey makes it work. The lush setting
adds appeal, and the destination-wedding
frame gives the tale a kind of locked-room
dimension. —Amy Alessio
By Brenda Chapman.
Mar. 2016. 376p. Dundurn, paper, $14.99
(9781459730960); e-book, $8.99 (9781459730984).
The third in the Stonechild and Rou-
leau mystery series involves a missing
mother and child. Jacques Rouleau, of
the Kingston, Ontario, Criminal Investiga-
tions Division, tasks his subordinates, Kala
Stonechild and Paul Gundersund, with the
investigation. The mother’s body is soon
found, but the daughter is still missing.
The obvious suspect, the husband, denies
having anything to do with it, but Stone-
child and Gundersund aren’t convinced,
until a new lead turns up and takes them
into the dead woman’s past, uncovering
hidden secrets and things that refuse to
stay buried. A deft balance of character,
story, and setting. —David Pitt
CRIME FICTION IN BRIEF