Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
A Little More Free

John McFetridge. ECW (Legato, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-77041-264-4

This terrific continuation of the narrative McFetridge began in Black Rock opens with a bang. Constable Eddie Dougherty is on the scene of Montreal’s infamous Blue Bird Café fire in 1972. McFetridge sets the mystery within layers of that era’s history: the legendary Canada-U.S.S.R. Hockey Summit Series, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts heist, and the flood of Vietnam War draft dodgers. As Dougherty investigates the fire and heist, plus the unsolved death of a U.S. deserter, he discovers his own growing unease with the job’s shaded-gray morality: “He was feeling how a homicide investigation could get under his skin, how the idea that someone who beat a man to death could be walking around the city like nothing happened... he was starting to understand how little it had to do with being his job.” As with Black Rock, McFetridge’s Montreal is a full character, a persistently tense bilingual city where the Anglophone Dougherty can size up a room by observing which kinds of cigarettes are being smoked. Working with a deceptively simple style that echoes Joseph Wambaugh, McFetridge has delivered an unpredictable mystery, a fine character study, and a vivid snapshot of 1972 Montreal. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Reckoning Stones

Laura DiSilverio. Midnight Ink (midnightinkbooks.com), $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7387-4511-4

Iris Dashwood, the heroine of this uneven tale of revenge, retribution, and redemption from DiSilverio (Swift Run), was born into a strict Colorado religious community and sexually abused at 15 by its pastor, Matthew Brozek. After the congregation supported him and inflicted a stoning ritual on her, she fled Colorado. Now 38, she’s a well-heeled jewelry designer in Portland, Ore., where she engages in casual sex with hot—and younger—men. When Iris learns that her abuser has awakened from a coma caused by the vicious beating that her father has spent 23 years in prison for committing, she returns to Colorado to confront Matt. In her search for the truth, she must come to terms with her failures in judgment and lack of compassion. Iris begins as a model of trendy sexual role reversal, but after she seduces her once-best friend’s son, she realizes that she has victimized people in a way that uncomfortably mirrors Matt’s behavior. The reality-stretching antics of assorted religious zealots pad out Iris’s cozy confessions. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Dawn of the Deb: A Debutante Detective Mystery

Laurie Moore. Five Star Publishing, $25.95 (380p) ISBN 978-1-4328-3095-3

In Moore’s scattershot fourth cozy starring Dainty Prescott (after 2013’s Deb on Air—Live at Five), the owner of the Debutante Detective Agency and substitute anchor on WBFD-TV regrets having taken a large retainer from Avery Marshall, “one of Fort Worth’s richest oil barons,” and spending it all before learning what Avery hired her for—which is to prepare his ungainly stepdaughter, Dawn, for a forthcoming debutante ball. Avery has already booked a friend’s lodge in west Texas for a spa weekend so Dainty and her wild sister, Teensy, can “groom Dawn on the finer points of etiquette.” Two of Dainty’s close friends join the sisters and Dawn at the remote spa, where they soon come under the first of many attacks. When not dodging inept assassins, Dainty manages to find never-ending family drama with Teensy, her “blue-blood, blue-haired” grandmother, and her “undiagnosed alcoholic, out-of-touch” father. Readers should be prepared for a lot of slapstick humor, some of it strained. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Marbeck and the Gunpowder Plot

John Pilkington. Severn, $27.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8514-2

Set in London in 1605, Pilkington’s fourth mystery featuring intelligencer Martin Marbeck (after 2014’s Marbeck and the Privateers) sustains suspense throughout, even though most readers are likely to know the outcome of the real-life title conspiracy. While working undercover during a time when talk of rebellion against the crown appears to have more substance than usual, the spy hears rumors of a kidnapping plot targeting the children of James I. By chance Marbeck gathers more disturbing evidence that concerns the increased production of gunpowder. As he follows the trail, he finds himself in peril and unable to trust anyone, even his superiors. A plot to blow up the Parliament building when it resumes session on the fifth of November with the king inside is afoot, but Marbeck doesn’t reveal what’s really going on until the satisfying and twisty conclusion. Evocative period detail more than compensates for the weak romantic subplot involving a lost love of the lead. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Thirteen Guests

J. Jefferson Farjeon. Poisoned Pen, $12.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0489-0

The prolific Farjeon (1883–1955) remains a master of the English country house mystery, as shown by this entry in the British Library Crime Classics series. First published in 1936, it plays with the unlucky 13 superstition. When John Foss, a young man with a secret, injures his ankle while getting off a train, a charming young widow, Nadine Leveridge, brings him to Bragley Court, the estate of Lord Aveling, a politician. The 12 other guests include an actress, a novelist, an athlete, a painter, a gossip columnist, and an opposition politician. It turns out they all have emotional baggage as well as agendas. There’s murder, mutilation, and mayhem aplenty until the redoubtable Detective Inspector Kendall reveals his clever conclusions with a timetable of mischief. The book holds up remarkably well, though readers should be prepared for some racial and class stereotyping (e.g., an Asian cook is referred to as “the Chinaman”). (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Shameful Murder

Cora Harrison. Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8511-1

Set in 1923, this stellar first in a new Irish series from Harrison (Condemned to Death, her latest Burren mystery set in 16th-century Ireland) introduces Reverend Mother Aquinas, who finds the corpse of a young woman near the gateway to the chapel of her Cork convent. Mother Aquinas summons a former charge, Sgt. Patrick Cashman, to the crime scene, where they note that the dead girl is dressed in fancy clothes and find her handbag contains a large amount of money, as well as a dance card for the Merchants’ Annual Ball. When Mother Aquinas notes bruise marks on the cadaver’s throat, she suspects foul play (“Cork, in its first year of independence, simmered in the heat of a deadly civil war and the resolution of political differences was often murder”). The body is soon identified as that of Angelina Fitzsimon, a respected tea merchant’s daughter, who was about to turn 21 and gain access to a fortune. Harrison combines a savvy detective and a setting fraught with intrigue and tension for another winner. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Twillyweed: A Claire Breslinsky Mystery

Mary Anne Kelly. Open Road/Mysterious-
Press.com, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-5040-1667-4

In Kelly’s enjoyable ninth Claire Breslinsky mystery (after 2006’s Pack Up the Moon), Claire reunites with her niece Jenny Rose Cashin, who was raised in Ireland by two maiden aunts after being abandoned by Claire’s teenage sister. Oliver Cupsand, the owner of Twillyweed, a Long Island mansion, hires Jenny Rose as an au pair to Wendell, a boy Oliver adopted with the wife who has now left him. When visiting Jenny Rose, Claire becomes entranced by a cottage near Twillyweed and, seeking a new start, relocates there. Claire soon becomes intrigued with the assault on a priest at a nearby parish during the theft of a moon dial, a valuable 17th-century church-owned art relic. Coincidentally, Wendell previously slipped two moonstones to Jenny Rose that turn out to be the eyes of the dial. When Twillyweed’s housekeeper is found strangled, Claire suspects there’s a connection between the two crimes and starts sleuthing. The plot builds to a satisfying resolution. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Dark Places: A Red River Mystery

Reavis Z. Wortham. Poisoned Pen, $26.95 (370p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0424-1

Set in 1967, Wortham’s engaging fifth Red River mystery (after 2014’s Vengeance Is Mine) focuses on two cousins: aptly named Pepper Parker, the feisty 14-year-old granddaughter of Constable Ned Parker of Center Springs, Tex., and Top Parker, Ned’s grandson, who’s a little older than Pepper and is often mistaken for her twin. Bored with small-town life, Pepper decides to run away to California and manages to talk Cale Westlake, a boy she likes, into going with her. Ned and Pepper’s father get on the trail of the clueless hitchhikers, who run into scam artists, hippies, and bikers on their journey west. Meanwhile, a robbery by three town wastrels goes bad and two visiting strangers are killed, a crime that Sheriff Cody Parker and his new deputy, Anna Sloan, try to solve. Wortham nails the time period, the hardscrabble town, and the people, for whom family loyalties are paramount. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Associates. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Axeman

Ray Celestin. Sourcebooks, $14.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-4926-0916-2

The eponymous killer of Celestin’s strong debut has thrown the people of 1919 New Orleans into a panic as he slaughters one family after another. Three tormented investigators with very different agendas are in pursuit. Det. Lt. Michael Talbot, a white man, heads the official manhunt while hiding his illegal marriage to an African-American woman. Luca D’Andrea, a corrupt white ex-cop just released from prison, has been assigned to the case by the local Mafia boss, who’s disturbed that the murders are heightening police alertness. And 19-year-old African-American Ida Davis, assisted by her musician friend known as Lil’ Lewis Armstrong, is trying to demonstrate that she can be more than a secretary at the local Pinkerton office. Celestin deftly weaves the rich history of New Orleans into the multiple plot lines while highlighting racial prejudice and political corruption that are more appalling than the Axeman’s crimes. In sum, this is a tasty bowl of gumbo with a side of dirty rice. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
One Year After

William R. Forstchen. Forge, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7670-1

At the start of bestseller Forstchen’s stirring sequel to 2009’s One Second After, 730 days have passed since EMP weapons destroyed nearly all electronic equipment in the continental U.S. After the initial violence and starvation, the community of Black Mountain, N.C., led by history professor and former colonel John Matherson, now faces a different sort of challenge. The federal government, sheltered in Cold War bunkers in Virginia, has instituted a draft. The new federal district administrator in Asheville offers John a position as major in the Army of National Recovery and a reduction in the Black Mountain draft, if John will help suppress a renegade group in the nearby mountains. John and his people must choose whether to side with their neighbors, painted as just plain folks struggling to survive, or the feds, whom John isn’t sure he can trust. Readers should be prepared for some heavy-handed political commentary, but fans of Forstchen’s historical novels coauthored with Newt Gingrich will be satisfied. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary Agency. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/24/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.