May 1, 2016 Booklist 19 #mysterymonth
involving a real-life CIA scientist, on McCar-
thy’s hit list, who disappears after Nate contacts
him. The shocking, little-known story of what
happened to Frank Olson makes a great true-
crime subject, but it’s even better in the hands
of fact-fiction maestro Collins. —Bill Ott
By Michael Wiley.
June 2016. 192p. Severn, $28.95 (9780727886002);
Poor Daniel Turner. He is the nominal hero of
Wiley’s gritty noir series set in and around Jacksonville, Florida, but he doesn’t get a whole lot
of screen time. Here the Jacksonville homicide
detective’s main job is to help set the premise:
haunted by an unsolved disappearance years
ago, he returns to the scene after hearing about
a disturbance in the area. The focus then turns
to the bad guys and the morbid, even slightly
fantastical, revenge drama they are intent on
playing out. Oren is a man out to destroy the
man who murdered his father and married his
mother. Yes, it’s Hamlet in the country, but
Oren is no prince. He leads a small squad of
wannabe killers on a road trip from Georgia to
Oren’s family home, Black Hammock Island,
in northern Florida. Once there, they encircle
the house and begin a siege of torture and torment that evokes Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs.
The horrific action sometimes strains credibility, but no one will stop reading, so hypnotic is
Wiley’s writing. Perhaps the point here is the
corrosiveness of revenge—or the ability of a
fine writer to make so outlandish a narrative so
powerful. —Don Crinklaw
By Steve Martini.
May 2016. 336p. Morrow, $27.99 (9780062328960);
e-book, $14.99 (9780062328977).
In the latest Paul Madriani novel, Paul and
his partner, Harry Hinds, take on the case of
an elderly woman who’s accused of killing her
father. Emma Brauer spins an arresting story:
her father recently received a parcel in the mail,
sent to him by a man he served with in WWI,
and Emma believes the contents of the package are responsible for his death. It seems an
impossible-to-prove proposition, even if it’s
true, but when Paul’s assistant is murdered,
he begins to think Emma’s story might not be
so improbable after all. As he digs deeper, he
uncovers a conspiracy that reaches back into
history and involves, apparently, multiple homicides in the present day. Tightly constructed
and efficiently written in the manner of the
other entrées in this long-running series, this
one sticks tightly to a proven formula, but that
won’t bother series fans. —David Pitt
By Cynthia Riggs.
May 2016. 304p. Minotaur, $25.99 (9781250058683).
Ninety-two-year-old Victoria Trumbull is at
her dental clinic on Martha’s Vineyard, having
a wisdom tooth removed, when the disagree-
able Mrs. Wilmington dies a violent death in
the next room. The same day, the clinic’s re-
ceptionist is found drowned in the harbor. Is
there a connection? The autopsy reveals Mrs.
Wilmington was poisoned, and there is no
shortage of suspects. Everyone who works at
the clinic, as well as her four grandchildren,
despised her. With the small Vineyard police
department swamped with preparations for a
visit from the president of the U.S., Victoria,
an honorary deputy, takes it upon herself to in-
vestigate the murder. By interviewing the many
suspects, she pieces together the evidence, un-
covering the motive and the murderer. At the
same time, she must deal with her granddaugh-
ter’s abusive ex-husband, who is on the island
vowing to bring Elizabeth back home with
him. Victoria is a feisty character, reminiscent
of Miss Marple, who knows human nature and
everyone on Martha’s Vineyard and uses that
knowledge to her advantage in solving crimes.
By Michael Byrnes.
July 2016. 432p. Ballantine, $28 (9780804178341).
This is a grand-scale spin on the vigilante
story—the guy knocking off all the bad people
the cops can’t nail and who earns the cheers
of the public and the media. Byrnes’ vigilante
offers a twist on the theme: he’s mastered cyberspace to the point where he can outsource
some of his to-do list, offering a cash reward on
his website to anyone who will kill the crooked
banker, the news anchorman who got away
with raping a girl, and the weasel who bilked
Medicare for $127 million. And he’s just getting started. There’s a monster cast of victims,
and one of agents out to close this operation
down—and that’s the problem with the novel.
It sprawls. Individual scenes are sharply drawn,
but the lack of a single point of view makes
the chapters blur and many of the characters
mostly interchangeable. Still, the premise—
using technology to make the vigilante’s job
easier—has a certain allure and may draw fans
of techno-thrillers. —Don Crinklaw
The Branson Beauty.
By Claire Booth.
July 2016. 336p. Minotaur, $25.99 (9781250084385).
The crash of the old paddleboat The Bran-
son Beauty during a wintry luncheon cruise is
a big enough problem for new sheriff Hank
Worth. The pilot is found virtually catatonic
in the wheelhouse, and there are dozens of
aged passengers to rescue. Then Worth finds
the strangled body of college freshman Mandy
Bryson, former high-school prom queen and
track star, who was on the boat for her boy-
friend’s grandmother’s birthday celebration.
But Mandy, while universally loved in town,
also had been getting letters from an anony-
mous stalker, a situation she kept secret from
all but some close friends. As the murder in-
vestigation proceeds, the boat explodes and
burns, leaving the sheriff suspecting arson,
but with no way to prove it. Worth, recently
appointed to his job, finds himself up against
Branson’s business and political interests, as he
tries to carve out family time for his surgeon
Distributed by W. W. Norton & Co.
9781681771397 | June 2016
9781605989747 | April 2016
9781681771328 | May 2016