Traces of Guilt.
By Dee Henderson.
May 2016. 288p. Bethany, $22.99
State police detective Evie Blackwell is
excited to be in Carin, Illinois, as the new
head of a task force dedicated to examin-
ing cold cases, especially since her friend
and professional mentor, Ann Falcon, has
assured her that she will have the coopera-
tion of Sheriff Gabriel Thane. Excited is not,
however, exactly the word Gabriel would
use to describe his feelings about the task
force, since he knows his life and the lives
of the residents of Carin are going to be
disrupted as Evie looks into two different
missing persons cases. Unlike some of RITA
and Christy Award–winner Henderson’s
previous suspense novels, the first install-
ment in the Evie Blackwell Cold Case series
starts off slowly as she establishes her char-
acters and sets the stage. The combination
of dogged detective work and clever deduc-
tions that leads Evie to solve both cases is,
however, bound to please mystery fans,
and the hint of attraction between Evie
and Gabriel will keep romance readers
intrigued enough to see how this relation-
ship develops over the course of the series.
By D. P. Lyle.
July 2016. 352p. Oceanview, $26.95
(9781608091812); e-book (9781608091874).
Lyle debuts a new series starring Jake
Longly, former baseball player, now reluctant
PI working for his father. Assigned to watch
a wealthy woman believed to be having an
affair, he quickly learns that her paramour
is Jake’s own ex-wife’s new husband. Then
the woman is murdered, and Jake, who has
a mouth that speaks before his brain has
time to think, finds himself in deep trouble.
Readers who enjoy smart-mouthed PIs like
Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole will want to watch
this series develop. —Jeff Ayers
By Patricia Hall.
July 2016. 208p. Severn, $28.95 (9780727886057);
In Hall’s fifth Kate O’Donnell mystery, the
1960s-era photographer is documenting the
urban renewal of England’s Canvey Island,
devastated by floods in 1953. The island also
just happens to have a connection to the
disappearance of Ray Robertson, a Soho
club owner and murder suspect. Robertson,
along with O’Donnell’s boyfriend, Detective
Sergeant Harry Barnard, were evacuated to
the same farm as children during WWII and
maintain an uneasy alliance. As Barnard tries
to clear Robertson’s name without compromising his job, Kate learns that the lost loot
from a bank robbery may be the missing link
between Robertson and feuding families on
the island. O’Donnell and Barnard are a compelling couple—independent, yet devoted.
Hunt the Dragon.
By Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo.
May 2016. 304p. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $26
(9780316377539); e-book, $13.99.
The latest in the SEAL Team Six series
is another action-packed and timely ad-
venture. The leader of the team, Thomas
Crocker, is having personal problems, but
it hasn’t affected his skills or loyalty to his
team. Scientist James Dawkins gives a talk
at a conference and then disappears. His
wife is frantic, but her pleas for help are ig-
nored. Dawkins has been kidnapped by the
North Koreans, who are demanding that he
fine-tune that country’s nuclear-weapons
system. While he contemplates his op-
tions, Crocker stumbles upon a bizarre
conspiracy involving men disguising them-
selves as Chinese diplomats. The action
never lets up for a second, and the SEAL
team continues to give military-thriller fans
everything they want. —Jeff Ayers
Ed. by Tony Bellotto. Tr. by Clifford E.
June 2016. 224p. Akashic, paper, $15.95
(9781617753121); e-book (9781617754623).
The latest installment of Akashic’s geographically wide-ranging mystery series
lands in Rio de Janeiro, a city whose famous
imagery—the massive statue of Christ the
Redeemer, Sugarloaf mountain, the beautiful beaches—constitutes the public face
of the city, but behind lurks a “world of
shadows, blood, intrigue, violence, hideouts,
and mystery” (to quote the introduction).
Contributors’ names might not be familiar to
English-speaking readers, but their subjects
are: murder, duplicity, mayhem, the general
spectrum of human misery. A good introduction to writers of the region and to the dark
side of a very sunny place. —David Pitt
Scratch a Thief/House of Evil.
By John Trinian.
2016. 244p. Stark House, $20.95 (9781933586991).
Trinian (1933–2008) published a handful of
books in the 1960s. Scratch a Thief, about
a retired thief who’s convinced to take on
one last job, was made into the 1965 movie
Once a Thief (which now has a devoted cult
following). House of Evil, the second novel
in this twofer, tells the story of a con man
who thinks he might have met the Devil
(or maybe the Devil is just a second-rate
actor hamming it up). Trinian, who also
wrote under the name Zekial Marko—both
were pseudonyms—built his characters in
broad but vivid strokes, and his stories are a
mixture of noir and something approaching
comedy, or at least pale noir. Check this guy
out; he deserves rediscovery. —David Pitt
St. Louis Noir.
Ed. by Scott Phillips.
Aug. 2016. 240p. Akashic, $15.95 (9781617752988);
e-book, $15.95 (9781617754616).
Featuring a baker’s dozen of original stories, plus one “poetic interlude, ” this new
entry in Akashic’s globetrotting anthology
series explores, as editor Phillips, author of
The Ice Harvest, tells us in his introduction,
the “collision of high and low” that makes
St. Louis so interesting to crime writers.
Although the contributors’ list features only
one instantly recognizable name—the prolific and award-winning John Lutz—the stories
here are uniformly strong. Regular readers of
the Noir series (since its inception in 2004,
there have been about 75 installments)
know what to expect: tightly written, tightly
plotted, mostly character-driven stories of
murder and mayhem, death and despair,
shadow and shock. —David Pitt
By Joshua Hood.
July 2016. 352p. Touchstone, $25 (9781501108280);
e-book, $12.99 (9781501108303).
Hood’s follow-up to the excellent Clear
by Fire (2015) continues the saga of Mason
Kane, a disgraced soldier desperate to
redeem himself with his colleagues and
superiors. He makes a deal with the CIA
and leads a black-ops mission that goes
horribly wrong. The man he’s supposed
to protect lands in a trap, and when Kane
raises an alert, he’s told by his superiors to
stand down. Chaos ensues. Kane and his
colleagues are strong action characters,
and readers who enjoy the world of special
ops will appreciate Hood, whose combat
background gives the authenticity needed
for military thrillers. The action never stops,
and familiarity with the first novel is not
necessary. —Jeff Ayers
CRIME FICTION IN BRIEF