cover image January Thaw: A Murder-by-Month Mystery

January Thaw: A Murder-by-Month Mystery

Jess Lourey. Midnight Ink (, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-7387-3875-8

In Lourey’s wry ninth Mira James outing (after 2012’s December Dread), the high-spirited heroine stays true to her pattern of finding a new homicide for every month that she lives in the tiny town of Battle Lake, Minn. This particular month’s case involves a man’s body discovered under the frozen surface of a local skating pond. As Mira tries to identify the stiff, she also looks into the nonfatal shooting of the local police chief, Gary Wohnt. This while running the library, reporting for the local paper, trying to obtain a private investigator’s license, and dealing with a boyfriend, Johnny Leeson, she adores but doesn’t trust. Mira’s main ally, the 80-year-old, outspokenly horny Mrs. Berns, can either seem delightfully eccentric or like a pain in the gluteus maximus—like Battle Lake’s other residents—but fans of smalltown mysteries will be charmed. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Jan.)