May 1, 2017 Booklist 17 #mysterymonth
involving the fiery Livia; plenty of food and
drink to quiet the raging beast within the
Sicilian inspector’s breast; and, sneaking
in between meals, a somber reminder
of the melancholy nature of life and love.
This time the death of a wealthy widower
opens a Pandora’s box of extortion and
abuse. As always, Camilleri’s ability to
make subtle changes in tone, from light to
dark, continues to define this perennially
popular series. —Bill Ott
No Turning Back.
By Tracy Buchanan.
June 2017. 352p. Crooked Lane, $25.99
(9781683311638); e-book, $11.99 (9781683311645).
Radio personality and newly single mum
Anna Graves accidentally kills a teenage
boy who had been coming after her and
her baby daughter. As if her guilt weren’t
enough to produce sleepless nights, Anna
begins receiving e-mails from a murderer
believing them to be kindred spirits. Could
it be the Ophelia Killer, whose rampage 20
years earlier led Anna’s father to commit
suicide? First-person chapters narrated
by the killer detail his first forays into
murder, slowly unspooling in such a way
as to leave the reader unable to guess
his identity. Anna’s fear, exhaustion, and
mama-lion devotion to her daughter are
palpable. A suspenseful “woman in jeopardy” debut from British writer Buchanan.
By Matt Hilton.
July 2017. 256p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727887054);
In the new Tess Grey and Nicolas “Po”
Villere mystery, ex-con Villere and his
private-eye partner (in more ways than
one), Grey, head from Maine to Louisiana,
where Po’s dying mother reveals he has a
long-lost sister, who has apparently gone
missing. Tess and Po race against time to
save the woman from death at the hands
of a vicious killer. The two leads make an
appealing team, their banter counterpointing the darker nature of the story, which is
as much about Po’s family’s twisted past
as it is about the pursuit of a killer. The dialogue and characterizations don’t always
ring true, but the narrative is well crafted
and full of suspense. —David Pitt
By Chris Goff.
June 2017. 320p. Crooked Lane, $25.99
(9781683311263); e-book (9781683311270).
Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa
Jordan returns in this follow-up to Dark
Waters (2015). A diplomat she’s scheduled
to meet, along with the prisoner he was
bringing from China, are in a plane crash
in Ukraine. Jordan is allowed to inspect
the wreckage, and, when she’s forced to
leave, she finds an envelope that appears
to contain sensitive material. She hides it
from the authorities, and soon finds her-
self a target. Why did the plane crash, and,
more important, who is responsible? Most
of the plot elements here are predictable,
but Goff is still able to generate consider-
able suspense. Above all, Jordan makes
a fine lead character. Give this to readers
who like Matthew Palmer’s blend of diplo-
macy and thrills. —Jeff Ayers
By Linda Greenlaw.
June 2017. 304p. Minotaur, $24.99
(9781250107565); e-book, $11.99 (9781250107572).
Greenlaw’s Jane Bunker is an insurance investigator and part-time deputy
sheriff in Green Haven, Maine. Her family
is originally from nearby Acadia Island,
but she knows little of her past. When
she is asked to investigate a fire that
has destroyed a home on the island, she
thinks she might learn a bit about her
history in the process. Then she finds
a body in the house, and the case becomes murder. The dead woman, Midge
Kohl, ran a lobster-processing plant and
was universally disliked in the town. The
author’s experience as a lobster-boat captain is apparent in her vivid descriptions
of nor’easters and in her portrayals of the
quirky residents of Maine’s rural areas.
An entertaining series, strong on setting.
By Sji Holliday.
June 2017. 278p. IPG/Black & White, paper, $12.95
Sergeant Davie Gray is working in Bank-toun, a small, seemingly sleepy Scottish
town. Nothing much happens here, Davie
thinks, prompting him to contemplate training for Scotland Yard CID. All that changes
when a patient escapes from a nearby
mental hospital and brutally attacks a young
woman. Add to this a series of deaths from
nasty designer drugs, which may be connected to a visiting carnival. There’s also the
matter of Davie’s girlfriend, Marie, and her
strange behavior, which may have something to do with the escaped patient. Fans
of British procedurals that go to very dark
places will love this creepy thriller about
a town that turns out to be not so sleepy
after all. —Barbara Bibel