28 Booklist February 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
worthy entry in this globe-trotting mystery
series. —David Pitt
By Melissa Ginsburg.
Apr. 2016. 208p. Ecco, $25.99 (9780062429704); e-book,
When Charlotte Ford’s oldest friend,
Danielle, is violently murdered, Charlotte
realizes how much she’d counted on reconnecting. They lost touch after heroin
addiction led Danielle to prison but met
for drinks shortly before Danielle’s murder,
when Charlotte confessed that she’d leaked
Danielle’s cell number to her estranged
mother. Danielle seemed to have shaken her
heroin addiction but was still flirting with
Houston’s underworld as a popular pornography star and occasional prostitute. Sinking
into grief, Charlotte becomes obsessed with
the thought that Danielle’s wild ride ended
just days after they’d reunited. Did Danielle
die because Charlotte gave up her number?
Or because Danielle spoke too freely about
her life as a porn star? Charlotte dives into
Danielle’s world, desperate to feel close to
her lost friend and to know if she was responsible for her murder. Ginsburg, a poet,
crafts pitch-perfect dialogue and develops
Charlotte and Houston with a disarming
mix of nostalgic sadness and brutal honesty.
A great recommendation for readers who enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects (2006).
Time of Fog and Fire.
By Rhys Bowen.
Mar. 2016. 288p. Minotaur, $25.99 (9781250052049);
e-book, $12.99 (9781466853379).
NYPD Captain Daniel Sullivan, facing un-
just criticism from his ranks in early 1906,
takes a top-secret mission from the presi-
dent, delivered to him by the head of the
Secret Service. The job is so secret that he
keeps his wife—the former Molly Murphy,
who headed her own detective agency before
marrying—in the dark and at home with
their 18-month-old son, Liam. But Molly
sees Daniel in a movie newsreel from San
Francisco, spotlighting the pending visit of
famed opera singer Enrico Caruso; then she
receives a strange letter from her husband
that she can interpret only as a request to
join him. So, fearing that Daniel is in dan-
ger, she takes Liam and heads west, aided in
her travels by a Metropolitan Opera admin-
istrator whom she chances to meet on the
train. Fortunately, Molly is both plucky and
resourceful, traits that serve her well when
she’s faced with tragic news and natural
disaster, plus the occasional murder and in-
stance of gross corruption. Molly shines once
again in this sixteenth entry in an appealing
series that foretells changes ahead for the
Sullivan family. —Michele Leber
By Siobhán MacDonald.
Mar. 2016. 258p. Penguin, paper, $16 (9780143108436).
Two families with dreadful secrets, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, hope for beneficial
effects from a vacation house swap. But the result, as shown in the opening pages, is deadly.
Money problems pale for Kate O’Brien of
Limerick, Ireland, next to concerns about
Fergus, her eight-year-old son, who is being
bullied because of his developmental disabilities. So she jumps at the chance for a swap
of living quarters with the Harvey family in
their Manhattan apartment, particularly since
Fergus is enamored of King Kong and the Empire State Building. Meanwhile, Hazel Harvey,
who’s suffering increasing physical abuse from
her husband, yearns for a change and a healing return to the land of her birth. Instead, a
woman is murdered just days into the Harvey
family stay at the O’Brien’s house. MacDonald
gradually reveals the secrets of the two families, each with a preteen daughter and younger
son, as the identity of the killer—seemingly so
obvious—is brought into question, and suspense builds toward a potentially lethal climax.
A skillfully wrought thriller that exposes the
dangers of secrecy. —Michele Leber
A Voice from the Field.
By Neal Griffin.
Feb. 2016. 320p. Forge, $25.99 (9780765338518);
e-book, $12.99 (9781466839038).
Following last year’s Benefit of the Doubt,
Griffin returns to the Newberg, Wisconsin,
police department. An ex-marine, Officer Tia
Suarez is tough, but a recent shooting and
subsequent visions of a haunted young girl
have others questioning her fitness for duty.
When Gunther Kane tries to abduct Tia when
she’s on a prostitution stakeout, she swears she
saw another woman tied up in the back of his
van. She can’t believe her ears when charges
aren’t filed against him. Then she learns that
the feds want Kane on bigger charges for his
alleged involvement in white-supremacist activity and human trafficking. Kane is the kind
of creep who will give readers nightmares. No
super-slick Hollywood villain, he is big and
mean, the reason you check the backseat of
your car at night. Fortunately, Suarez isn’t
a one-dimensional female cop. She’s angry
and impatient, and has some literal ghosts to
battle. A convincing hybrid of thriller, procedural, and midwestern noir. —Karen Keefe
When Bunnies Go Bad.
By Clea Simon.
Mar. 2016. 264p. Poisoned Pen, $26.95
(9781464205330); paper, $15.95 (9781464205354);
e-book, $9.99 (9781464205361).
In this latest title in the only series to combine pets with noir (or a semi-tame form of
noir), animal psychic Pru deals with a sneaky
rabbit and finds a few bodies strung about
Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge.
By Ovidia Yu.
Apr. 2016. 368p. Morrow, paper, $14.99
(9780062416490); e-book, $10.99 (9780062416506).
The third book in the Singaporean mystery series finds Rosie “Aunty” Lee only
slightly sidelined from running her cafe
due to a twisted ankle. Keeping off her
feet gives her more time to listen to the
woes of a trio of former animal-shelter
volunteers being sued by a mad Englishwoman whose husband left her after she
euthanized their dog. Then the woman is
murdered in her hotel room, and the three
friends are suspects. Chatty Aunty Lee
uses her friendship with Inspector Salim
Mawar of the Neighborhood Police Hub
to learn more about the case. Yu, an acclaimed playwright, layers details of foods,
festivals, and family obligation in a warm,
international cozy. —Karen Keefe
Desert City Diva.
By Corey Lynn Fayman.
Feb. 2016. 192p. Severn, $28.95 (9780727885487).
San Diego guitarist and part-time PI Rolly
Waters is back, and this time he’s trying to
sort out a golden-eyed beauty, alien enthu-
siasts, and a one-stringed guitar that may
have mystical powers. Hired by a woman to
find her mother, Waters winds up looking
into the Universal Vibration Technologies
cult, which believes that the keys to the
universe can be unlocked through the right
audio frequency. Rolly is like a supermellow
Elmore Leonard character—seen a lot, done
a lot, and has a lot of smart-mouthed opin-
ions. Fans of wisecracking California crime
solvers will enjoy this working-class PI with
a poet’s soul. —Karen Keefe
The Lavender Lane Lothario.
By David Handler.
Feb. 2016. 256p. Minotaur/Thomas Dunne, $25.99
(9781250076113); e-book, $12.99 (9781466887497).
In the latest Mitch Berger and Des Mitry
mystery—he’s a film critic, she’s a Connect-
icut state trooper—the only grandchild of
silent-film star Aurora Bing is murdered. As
the suspect list grows longer, Berger and
Mistry become increasingly baffled, both
at the depth of hatred a local family, the
Gants, have for Bing and her descendants
and at the apparently endless number
of women who counted themselves the
dead man’s amorous partner. Effectively
straddling the line between mystery and
comedy, this is a solidly plotted, fluidly writ-
ten story that keeps the reader entertained
from the get-go. —David Pitt
CRIME SERIES IN BRIEF