20 Booklist October 15, 2015 www.booklistreader.com
a promising mystery writer who is strapped
for cash, inherits a house in London from his
father and decides to rent out the top floor.
He also decides to keep his father’s cabinet
of homeopathic remedies. Enter a strange,
lonely upstairs lodger. Also enter one of Carl’s
friends, a woman who is on the brink of losing her TV career because of weight gain. Carl
sells his friend some of his father’s diet pills,
and the friend is found dead a few days later.
The lodger’s blackmailing and Carl’s unraveling follow. This is stunningly suspenseful and
often downright creepy. —Connie Fletcher
Dead on Course.
By Glenis Wilson.
Dec. 2015. 208p. Severn, $28.95 (9780727885449);
paper (9781847516466); e-book (9781780107035).
Those who love both horses and a good
mystery will find this latest installment in the
Harry Radcliffe series a real treat. After recuperating from a fall during a race, Harry is
thrilled to be riding again. But he’s no sooner
won his first race than he’s approached by Jake
Smith, an ex-con who’s aware of Harry’s status
as a talented amateur sleuth. Jake’s sister Jo-Jo
died recently in a car crash, and Jake is convinced she was murdered. He’s giving Harry
no choice but to find Jo-Jo’s killer or he’ll harm
someone close to Harry. Giving in, Harry starts
interviewing the few leads Jake’s given him.
With Harry off attending a wedding, tragedy
strikes, a tragedy that will break open not only
the story behind JoJo’s death but also a much
larger murder plot. With a compelling story,
plenty of action, taut suspense, a no-nonsense
sporty hero, and realistic descriptions of a
jockey’s world, this one follows perfectly in the
Dick Francis tradition, now so ably continued
by his son Felix. —Emily Melton
Death on Demand.
By Jim Kelly.
Nov. 2015. 224p. Crème de la Crime, $29.95
(9781780290775); paper (9781780295619); e-book
Kelly, awarded the UK’s Dagger in the Li-
brary Award, specializes in police procedurals
that highlight both the complexities of the
case and the characters of the investigators.
Detective Inspector Peter Shaw and Detec-
tive Sergeant George Valentine of the Norfolk
Constabulary have forged a grudging respect
for each other over the past six mysteries,
despite the fact that Valentine, much older
than Shaw, has to take orders from him. Both
men are wounded: Shaw has lost the sight in
his left eye, and this book episode reveals a
grim medical prognosis for Valentine. And
both men carry a cop’s cynical outlook. This
is reinforced when Ruby Bright, a woman in
a seaside nursing home, expecting a big party
and a call from the Queen on the occasion of
her 100th birthday, is found murdered in her
wheelchair. The perplexing question of who
would murder a woman that old leads Shaw
and Valentine through a labyrinthine plot
containing more murders, and into settings,
like the derelict Lister Tunnel, that are filled
with peril. A wrenching addition to the series.
By Patricia Cornwell.
Oct. 2015. 457p. Morrow, $28.99 (9780062325402);
e-book, $14.99 (9780062325426).
At a crime scene, medical examiner Dr. Kay
Scarpetta gets a text from her niece Lucy’s
emergency number. Scarpetta breaks protocol
and checks it out. But it’s not from Lucy. The
text links to a video of her niece, apparently
filmed nearly two decades earlier and seemingly—this chills Scarpetta to the bone—shot
by Carrie Grethen. Series fans will remember
Grethen, the deeply psychotic woman who
was at one time Lucy’s mentor and lover (and
who appeared as a major antagonist in a few
previous novels in the series). Is the video,
which was clearly filmed without Lucy’s
knowledge, a threat of some sort? Did Grethen
put in motion, many years earlier, a plan that
is only now coming to its culmination? Kay
has a potentially high-profile case on her
hands—the daughter of a Hollywood bigwig
has died under suspicious circumstances—but
can she focus on it when her niece’s life might
be in danger? Dark and cleverly plotted, the
latest Scarpetta novel should definitely appeal
to loyal series fans. Newcomers might want to
check out the backlist first to bone up on Kay,
Lucy, and Carrie’s rather complicated history.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cornwell’s
track record assures demand for her latest
Scarpetta novel wherever books are sought.
The Devil in Jerusalem.
By Naomi Ragen.
Oct. 2015. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (9781250043139); e-book
Daniella Goodman has lived her life in
search of religious fulfillment. Steeped in Jewish teachings at a prestigious day school and
an Orthodox summer camp, she finds herself
far too busy with pre-med
studies at the University of
Pennsylvania to seek out religiously like-minded friends.
Until she meets Steven, a
devout Jewish scholar who
prefers to be called “Shlo-
mie.” His religious interests
skew toward the mystical
and fanatical, and Daniella soon finds herself
wrapped up in Shlomie’s enthusiasm. Before
long, she and Shlomie move to Israel to start
a family and to further their religious educa-
tion. Isolated from their friends and families
and blinded by their quest for piety, Daniella,
Shlomie, and their growing family become a
target for one of Israel’s most abusive, horri-
fying cults. Detective Bina Tzedek is tasked
with unraveling the threads of pain, prayer,
and prophecy in the most difficult case of
her career. Ragen draws on the tactics of cult
leaders and on victim testimony to craft this
exploration of religious fanaticism, weaving
together vicious description of abuse and the
Goodmans’ higher-minded desires for purity.
Readers of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places (2009)
and Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010) will be
drawn to this terrifying and compelling novel,
Die Again Tomorrow.
By Kira Peikoff.
Oct. 2015. 320p. Pinnacle, paper, $9.99
Isabel Leon is a beautiful triathlete who
lands a dream job—star of a reality series
called Wild Woman. But now she faces a crisis: her mother is dying from cancer, and to
have a chance of saving her, Isabel must make
a deal with the devil to acquire an experimental drug. As usually happens with such deals,
it backfires, and Isabel is murdered—maybe.
A mysterious group called The Network has
possession of both Isabel’s body and the drugs
to bring her back to life. Big Pharma and the
life-insurance industry take it on the chin in
this twisty thriller that bounces all over the
place, sometimes making it hard to keep track
of who is who and what is happening. But the
story is so compelling and the characters so
well drawn that the pages fly by. Readers who
like strong female protagonists—Jon Land’s
Caitlin Strong or the heroines of Tess Gerrit-sen’s Rizzoli & Isles series—should be happy
to meet the resourceful Isabel. —Stacy Alesi
Dig Two Graves.
By Kim Powers.
Dec. 2015. 304p. Tyrus, $24.99 (9781440591914); paper, $16.99 (9781440591921); e-book (9781440591938).
Ethan Holt overcomes an abusive childhood
and becomes an Olympic gold medalist in the
decathlon, earning the nickname Hercules
from the admiring press. Many years later he
is teaching at his college alma mater and struggling to raise his teenage daughter, Skip, after
his wife dies in a car accident. Then Skip is
kidnapped, and Holt’s life careens out of control, especially as the kidnapper has proffered
a rhyming list of challenges to be completed
in order for Holt to get Skip back. Eventually
Holt realizes that he is being asked to perform
an updated version of the Twelve Labors of
Hercules, suggesting that the kidnapper knows
way too much about him, his family, and his
childhood. The usual suspense-building kidnapping plot elements are in play here, but
they are executed well, and, while there are
no real surprises until the very end, the story
keeps the reader engaged. This should appeal to
readers who enjoy Harlan Coben’s or Linwood
Barclay’s suburban thrillers. —Stacy Alesi
An Evil Mind.
By Chris Carter.
Dec. 2015. 368p. Atria/Emily Bestler, $25
When a double homicide is reported in
rural Wyoming, the case is quickly turned
over to the FBI as details suggest there is a
serial killer at work. Enter Robert Hunter, an
experienced profiler from the LAPD. Turns
out Hunter went to college with the sus-