September 1, 2017 Booklist 51 www.booklistonline.com
ing coincidence, Kubu searches the links that
connect these separate cases, closely aided by
Khama, who shines here, and a resourceful
local constable. Kubu also has problems at
home: his young daughter, Nono, is no longer
responding to her HIV antiviral medication,
and his wife, Joy, will try anything to help her
child. The sixth in this fine series by South Africans Stanley Trollip and Michael Sears again
features strong characterizations, a vivid sense
of place, and a complex, fast-moving, and
compelling plot. —Michele Leber
By Catherine Coulter.
Sept. 2017. 496p. Gallery, $27.99 (9781501138065);
Fiction touches on current events in two
separate cases for FBI Special Agents Dillon
Savich and Lacey Sherlock and their Criminal Apprehension Unit. Savich, called by an
old friend, subdues an erratically behaving
armed man who has broken into the home
of pregnant Kara Moody, raving wildly and
calling himself an enigma. Then Kara’s newly
delivered son is stolen from the same hospital
in which her unknown attacker lies comatose. Meanwhile, Irish international criminal
Liam Hennessey (known as Manta Ray), who
was caught after robbing safe-deposit boxes,
escapes during a prison transfer and touches
off a chase through Kentucky’s Daniel Boone
National Forest. While one case leads to a
morally offensive quest for a drug to extend
life, the other is found to involve a wealthy
Russian’s attempt to ease U.S. sanctions by
compromising someone close to the president. Despite some shoot-outs, the action and
suspense quotients in this entry in Coulter’s
FBI series remains moderate at best. But the
always-reliable Coulter, a master of smooth,
eminently readable narratives, won’t lose any
readers here. —Michele Leber
The Essence of Malice.
By Ashley Weaver.
Sept. 2017. 304p. Minotaur, $24.99 (9781250060464);
e-book, $11.99 (9781466865693).
The fourth in Weaver’s cozy 1930s Amory
Ames series finds Milo and Amory cutting
short their Lake Como vacation to investigate
a mysterious death in Paris (such a hard life!).
Milo’s former nanny calls upon the sleuthing
couple to uncover whether or not her current
employer (and former lover), the famous perfume magnate Helios Belanger, was murdered.
Motives are plentiful (a betrayed wife with a
new baby, two grown siblings fighting for control of the parfumerie, while a third worries he’s
about to lose his playboy lifestyle), and business
rivals abound. The Ameses make a beautiful
pair, stylish and clever, and Weaver infuses her
story with all of the Golden Age splendor a
reader could want. Who killed the passionate
parfumier and why? What are all of the family
members hiding—and where is the secret formula for the next big perfume launch? This is
an excellent entrée into a delightful (
librarian-penned) series. —Rebecca Vnuk
By Dirk Kurbjuweit. Tr. by Imogen Taylor.
Oct. 2017. 272p. Harper, $25.99 (9780062678348).
Berlin architect Randolph Tiefenthaler is
visiting his father in a prison, after the senior
Tiefenthaler, at 77, is sentenced for shooting
and killing Randolph’s difficult neighbor, Dieter Tiberius. The story, as told by Randolph,
goes from his childhood, when his car-sales-man father collected guns and “home was a
place where you could get shot,” to his adult
life made unbearable by Tiberius, who lived in
the flat below his. It starts when Tiberius, “a
fat, ugly dwarf,” falls in love with Randolph’s
wife, Rebecca, and sends her poems and erotic letters and escalates to public accusations
that the Tiefenthalers are sexually abusing
their young children, Paul and Fay. Randolph
consults police, social-welfare officials, and
lawyers, but none can offer solutions to the
situation, which ironically rejuvenates his
tepid marriage. In his first novel translated
into English, German author and journalist
Kurbjuweit examines a life of privilege irrevocably marked by fear and moral dilemma, as
the narrative takes a final turn. Cerebral crime
fiction with an ethical core. —Michele Leber
By Tod Goldberg.
Sept. 2017. 352p. Counterpoint, $28 (9781619027237).
In the sequel to 2014’s Gangsterland, fugitive
Mob boss Sal Cupertine is living a (relatively)
peaceful life in Las Vegas under the assumed
identity of Rabbi David Cohen. He’s slowly
amassing enough money to move to South
America, where he plans to resume his criminal ways in a less-dangerous environment.
Meanwhile, disgraced former FBI agent Matthew Drew is hell-bent on finding Cupertine
and exacting revenge for the Mob man’s murder of three of Drew’s former colleagues; and
Peaches Pocotillo, a Mob fix-it guy, is negotiating a sweet deal with Sal’s cousin Ronnie.
Set a couple of years after Gangsterland, Goldberg’s new novel is every bit as entertaining
and at least as quirky as its predecessor—not
an out-and-out comedy but certainly lighter
than most books featuring organized-crime
figures and crazed law enforcers (although
there are moments of memorable darkness).
The book can be read as an installment in a
series or as a stand-alone; Goldberg provides
enough background to allow newbies to pick
up the important plot threads. —David Pitt
Girl in a Big Brass Bed / The Spy Who
Was 3 Feet Tall / Code Name Gadget.
By Peter Rabe.
Sept. 2017. 384p. Stark House, paper, $21.95
The prolific Rabe (1921–90) wrote mostly
stand-alones but also two short series: six Daniel Port books and three Manny deWitts, the
latter of which are included in this omnibus
edition. While de Witt’s globe-trotting adventures could arguably be seen as an attempt to
capitalize on the James Bond craze, Rabe’s
hero is no gun-toting spy—he’s a corporate
“An excellent & compelling
read!” —Susan Crawford, bestselling author
of The Pocket Wife & The Other Widow