September 15, 2015 Booklist 35 www.booklistonline.com
there is sobbing in the night, gunk flowing
from a shower head, suddenly spoiled food,
and attempts on Giulia and Mac’s lives. Is the
inn being haunted by one of Mac’s long-dead
relatives, or is someone trying to force Mac
from her newly, expensively renovated inn?
When one of the psychics channels Mac’s
ancestor, Mac believes a supernatural explanation is more likely. Giulia doesn’t believe in
ghosts, and her suspects include some of the
inn’s guests, a couple of psychics, one of Mac’s
relatives, and even Mac herself. Giulia solves
the case, saving a life in the process, and she is
handsomely rewarded. Giulia is a sympathetic, well-drawn character who has built a full
life for herself after leaving the convent, but
appealing touches of the former nun remain.
A Shadowed Evil.
By Alys Clare.
Oct. 2015. 240p. Severn, $28.95 (9780727885203);
It’s no wonder Clare’s novels are popular—they’re magical, atmospheric, and
beautifully plotted, and always provide a
glimpse of life in thirteenth-century Britain.
In the latest installment of the Hawkenlye
Abbey series, Josse d’Acquin and his lady
Helewise visit Southfire Hall, where Josse’s
extended family lives. Josse hasn’t seen this
branch of his family for nearly 20 years, but
he has fond memories of visits to Southfire
when he was young. However, when he and
Helewise arrive, they find that the house
seems filled with a palpable sense of evil.
Hugh’s son has married Cyrille de Picus, an
extremely unpleasant woman who rules the
household with an iron fist. Josse’s cousin
Aeleis has vanished, and the rest of the
family seems completely cowed by the vile
Cyrille. But when a young man who’s been
seriously injured in a fall from his horse
is discovered outside Southfire’s gates, the
mystery deepens, and Josse realizes it’s up
to him to determine who has the most to
gain from destroying his family. Thoroughly entertaining fare for historical-mystery
devotees. —Emily Melton
Still Night in L.A.
By Aram Saroyan.
Oct. 2015. 158p. illus. Three Rooms, paper, $15.95
(9781941110331); e-book (9781941110348).
Well into middle age, L.A. native Michael
Shepard is a self-described “middling PI,” di-
vorced, concerned about his twentysomething
son’s future, and devoted to slowly slogging his
way through George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Then
he meets a potential client at her trendy Hol-
lywood condo; she is beautiful and seems only
mildly concerned that someone may intend
to kill her. Within hours of their meeting, the
woman is dead, and Shepard is working with,
or perhaps for, an LAPD detective assigned
the case. Shepard is plunged into a world of
actors, former actors once seen as rising stars,
models, performance artists, and poets, many
of whom are “working an AA program.” The
PI’s encounters with these people consist main-
ly of their gnomic responses to his questions,
but he knows he’s getting somewhere when
he is poisoned with a psychoactive drug and
later tased. Still Night in L.A. is illustrated with
grainy photos that seem to echo the enigmat-
ic dialogue. Not everyone’s shot of rye, to be
sure, but perfect for fans of offbeat hard-boiled
crime, like Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice
(2009). —Thomas Gaughan
By Robert Palmer.
Oct. 2015. 320p. Prometheus/Seventh Street, paper, $15.95
(9781633880825); e-book, $11.99 (9781633880832).
Dr. Cal Henderson is now a practicing psychologist in Washington, D.C., but 25 years
earlier, he was Davie Oakes, an eight-year-old
whose entire family was killed in a horrific incident. He was “it” in a game of hide-and-seek,
when shots were fired at his father and into the
closet where his two older brothers and best
friend, Scottie Glass, were hiding. He then
watched his mother shoot herself. Only Davie
and the grievously wounded Scottie survived
what was considered a murder-suicide by Davie’s mother, Denise. Adopted by his aunt and
uncle and relocated, with a new name, Henderson still struggles with blackout episodes
related to the trauma. Then Scottie Glass tracks
Henderson down, still looking for answers. Recovered memories trigger the two survivors’
search for the truth, which begins to center on
the then-up-and-coming defense contractor
who employed Denise Oakes. Suspense and
danger increase in this tale of high-level intrigue with a political edge. A promising debut
that starts a series. —Michele Leber
Thoreau in Phantom Bog.
By B. B. Oak.
Sept. 2015. 320p. Kensington, paper, $15
(9780758290274); e-book, $12.99 (9780758290281).
During a week in May 1848, Plumford,
Massachusetts, near Concord where Henry
David Thoreau lives, proves to be a dangerous stop on the Underground Railway.
Called to look into the disappearance of one
of the “conductors” and his charge, Thoreau
finds the body of conductor Ezra Tripp, shot
through the back at the edge of Phantom
Bog. Thinking the murder is the work of
slave catchers, Thoreau and his friend, village
doctor Adam Walker, seek evidence that the
runaway made her escape but also search the
bog, finding no trace. Their investigations
lead them to Boston, where they learn of the
murder of another conductor. Assisting the
pair is Walker’s lover, Julia Pelletier, an artist
who has left her French husband, a former
slave trader. It takes the combined powers of
observation of the naturalist, the doctor, and
the artist to piece together the truth behind
not only the murders but also the lies spun
by guests at the village inn. Third in the series, this historical mystery effectively mixes
social commentary and love story with the
murder plot and should appeal to a wide variety of readers. —Karen Muller
By Elizabeth J. Duncan.
Nov. 2015. 272p. Crooked Lane, $24.99
(9781629531915); e-book (9781629532042).
Fortysomething Charlotte Fairfax works as
a costume designer for the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, located at the
now-shabby Jacobs Grand Hotel. As rehearsals begin, she is trying hard to avoid Brian
Prentice, who is the star of this summer’s
productions. Brian, a once-promising actor, dumped Charlotte for the daughter of
an earl. When the actress who is to play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Lauren Richmond,
is found dead, Charlotte’s intern, Aaron Jacobs, nephew of the hotel’s owner, is one of
the suspects. Other suspects include Brian,
who was having an affair with Lauren; Brian’s wife, Lady Deborah; and the owner of
the hotel. Although Charlotte’s current boyfriend, Walkers Ridge Chief of Police Ray
Nicholson, is careful not to share details of
the investigation, Charlotte and Aaron work
to solve the crime on their own. Sympathetic, well-drawn characters and fascinating
details on Shakespeare’s plays and costume
design add to what is a satisfying mystery.
Pair this one with Jill Paton Walsh’s The Bad
Quarto (2007). —Sue O’Brien
The White Shepherd.
By Anne Dalton.
Oct. 2015. 256p. Severn, $29.95 (9780727885210);
Best known for her YA novels, Dalton now
offers her first adult thriller. Sixteen years
ago, teenager Anna Hopkins found her entire family brutally slaughtered. The killer
was never found. Suffering from survivor’s
guilt, she has struggled to get her life back on
track but seems now to have turned the corner. Then the nightmare begins anew when
Anna stumbles upon the battered body of
her friend, Naomi. Two women, Tansy and
Isadora, appear on the scene just after Anna’s
grisly discovery, and the women team up to
support each other during the investigation.
The police conclude that Naomi was a victim of the Oxford Ripper, but Anna and her
friends aren’t so sure. While Anna is reluctant to re-experience the horror she felt when
her family was murdered, she finds herself
drawn into the case. As the story weaves its
way toward a shocking conclusion, readers
will find themselves rooting hard for Anna to
somehow find the normal life she has so far
been denied. An inventive plot, charismatic
characters, and even some black humor combine to make this a good choice for suspense
junkies. —Emily Melton
Wrath of the Furies.
By Steven Saylor.
Oct. 2015. 320p. Minotaur, $26.99 (9781250015983);
e-book, $12.99 (9781250026071).
This is the latest in historian Saylor’s
Novels of Ancient Rome series (following
Raiders of the Nile, 2014), and it is every bit