By Rick Campbell.
June 2017. 352p. St. Martin’s, $25.99
(9781250072160); e-book, $12.99 (9781466883567).
Campbell’s latest finds the U.S. crippled in
the aftermath of a battle with China. Russia
exploits the weakness by launching cruise
missiles at a remaining U.S. aircraft carrier,
then quickly denies any responsibility. At
the same time, the Russians make bold
moves to take over old territory. As in Tom
Clancy’s technothrillers, the war maneuvers
feel authentic and are described in stellar
detail. Unlike Clancy, however, Campbell
has a good feel for character development
and firmly grounds the military machinations
with a human presence, especially in the
form of National Security Advisor Christine
O’Connor, who is definitely not someone to
mess with in a crisis. Campbell’s background
in the navy reflects the real-world feel of the
narrative. —Jeff Ayers
By Glenis Wilson.
July 2017. 224p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727887085);
Harry Radcliffe is gifted jockey who also
has an uncanny knack for getting involved
in murder cases. This time, after Harry finds
the bludgeoned body of longtime friend
Alice, he has still another murder to solve.
Harry would like to think his old nemesis,
hardened criminal Jake Smith, is involved,
but Jake wants Harry to find the murderer.
Given that Jake was apparently the last per-
son to see Alice alive, he’s sure the cops are
looking for him, so the pressure is on Harry
to find the killer before the cops find Jake.
Solid writing, a twisty plot, a likable hero,
and plenty of horse-racing ambience make
for an entertaining read. —Emily Melton
Death on Nantucket.
By Francine Mathews.
June 2017. 288p. Soho, $24.95 (9781616957377);
e-book, $14.99 (9781616957384).
Nora, the adopted daughter of war correspondent Spencer Murphy, has been
murdered, and her elderly father has disappeared. Meredith Folger, a detective on the
Nantucket police force, soon realizes that
this is no ordinary murder investigation: the
entire Murphy family seems incapable of
either remembering its own history or telling the truth about it. This fifth in the Folger
series and the first since 1998’s Death in a
Cold Hard Light gives the resourceful cop
plenty to deal with—not just the murder
case (a second body soon turns up), but also
the busy Fourth of July holiday, a new and
antagonistic boss, and her own impending
wedding. It’s nice to see Folger back in action after a too-long hiatus. —David Pitt
By Jane A. Adams.
July 2017. 224p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727887030);
In 1928, Detective Chief Inspector John-
stone of Scotland Yard is charged with
investigating the death of a silent-movie
actress. He heads off to Shoreham-by-the-
Sea, a small town populated in large part by
people in the movie business. This means
that most of Johnstone’s likely suspects
live a large part of their lives in make-believe
worlds and are thoroughly adept at spinning
lies. The first Johnstone novel, The Murder
Book (2017), introduced us to a fascinating
character, but just as we were getting to
know him, the story ended. So this new
installment in the series offers not just a
solidly constructed mystery but also the wel-
come return of a character we hope to read
more about in the future. —David Pitt
By Glenn Meade.
July 2017. 432p. Howard, $25 (9781476797410);
e-book, $13.99 (9781476797755).
Kathy Kelly’s husband, Jack, and the couple’s children were killed in an airplane crash
eight years ago. Now, finally, the plane’s
wreckage has been found, but there’s no
sign of Jack’s body. Kathy soon discovers
that Jack might have faked his own death
and that he might have been somehow connected to the apparent suicide of Kathy’s
mother. When a man calls Kathy on the
phone, claiming to be Jack, she is plunged
into a terrifying world of secrets and lies.
Meade, who’s written a string of top-flight
thrillers, has a real knack for creating lifelike,
compelling characters and placing them in
situations that are simultaneously larger than
life yet believable. —David Pitt
CRIME FICTION IN BRIEF
dio operators have intercepted messages that
could derail the plan, and Stalin wants Pekkala
to get the Brits’ most valuable agent out of
Berlin. Clockwork precision in plotting, vivid
history, and a romantic backstory make this
compulsive reading. —Connie Fletcher
By Jeff Abbott.
July 2017. Grand Central, $26 (9781455558438); e-book
Two years ago, teenager Jane Norton caused
a car accident that killed her passenger, David
Hall. At least that’s what she’s been told: she
woke up after the accident with amnesia and is
still discovering new memories, but she continues to remember nothing of the accident. She
knows that David’s mother despises her, and
that her former best friend, Kamala (David’s
girlfriend), seems determined to ruin her life.
But is she determined enough to be the person
who, posing as the fictitious Liv Danger, has
posted a message on Jane’s social-media page
claiming to know what really happened that
night two years ago? As Jane desperately tries
to find out who Liv is and what led up to the
accident, the questions keep stacking up, each
one adding a layer of mystery to Jane’s life. A
solid stand-alone from the author of the Sam
Capra series. —David Pitt
YA: With a teenage protagonist, this
is a natural crossover for YAs who love
psychological thrillers. SH.
Easy Motion Tourist.
By Leye Adenle.
June 2017. 328p. Cassava Republic, paper, $14.95
(9781911115069); e-book (9781911115076).
Nigerian writer Adenle delivers a horrifyingly absorbing thriller set in contemporary
Lagos. The somewhat naive, first-person narrator, Guy Collins, a newbie British journalist
at an Internet start-up, sends himself to Lagos
to cover the election. Collins might be a nod
to the famously in-over-his head journalist
hero of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop; that the horrors
Collins encounters are witnessed by an outsider makes them even more shocking for the
reader. The novel’s prologue sets up how easily women, even sheltered university students,
can slip into prostitution and then entrapment
in a larger criminal operation. Collins’ visit to
a Lagos bar at night leads both to a meeting
with a savvy woman on a campaign to free the
“working girls” and to his discovery of the mutilated body of a young woman in the gutter
outside the bar. Adenle uses Collins (who, in
turn, is used by the prostitutes’ self-appointed
guardian) to open up the secret world of sex
trafficking, witchcraft, and the trade of body
parts, all of which depend on the exploitation
of young women. This African noir debut novel hits hard. —Connie Fletcher
By Christopher Farnsworth.
July 2017. 368p. Morrow, $26.99 (9780062568496);
John Smith, the uniquely talented fixer introduced in Killfile (2016), returns. This time
he is up against a clever and anonymous villain
who runs a website, Downvote, which puts
prices on celebrities’ heads. Finding a guy who
doesn’t want to be found is never an easy task,
but John has an extraordinary gift: he can read