July Publications

Hearkening back to the time when magazine stands were clogged with pulps and slicks, Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg (co-editors of The Big Book of Noir) have assembled stories by John D. MacDonald, James M. Cain, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, Mickey Spillane and Harry Whittington in Pulp Masters. Cain's books "have never been rivaled as expressions of sociopathy, nor as 'tabloid poetry,' " gushes Gorman; MacDonald introduced "the working-class and the lower middle-class into the crime novel" and exhibited "the best storytelling skills of his generation"; and Spillane, well, he merely "wrote six of the ten best-selling books of all time," distinguished by their "atmospherics," sex scenes, "right-wing paranoid fantasy" and first-class writing. (Carroll & Graf, $14 paper 452p ISBN 0-7867-0873-5)

In Grape Noir, second in the Margot O'Banion series by Kit Sloane (Final Cut), film editor Margot and her companion, director Max Skull, visit California's wine country and run across more than just R&R. When another tourist is murdered, the couple must stick around as material witnesses. In typical fashion, they get embroiled in shadowy, sometimes ruthless rivalries among businessmen, smalltime winemakers trying to make good and a pair of bitterly estranged brothers. (Deadly Alibi [P.O. Box 5947 Vancouver, Wash. 98661], $16.99 paper 176p ISBN 1-886199-13-2)

Saz Martin, her new doctor girlfriend Molly in tow, is hired by someone called the Wavewalker to investigate Dr. Maxwell North, therapist, guru and inventor of an alternative therapy treatment whose participants, it turns out, have a penchant for suicide. In Wavewalker, fourth in Stella Duffy's (Calendar Girl) London series, our streetwise, wise-cracking heroine finds herself in a dangerous space between her mysterious employer and the equally enigmatic subject of her investigation. (Serpent's Tail [217 E. 86th St., #216, New York, N.Y. 10028], $6.99 paper 272p ISBN 1-85242-713-2)

An archeological dig in present-day Melissandra, Colo., a string of unsolved late-19th-century murders in the same town, two psychic women and a secret worth killing for—all accelerate the pace of Carol Cail's (Who Was Sylvia?) The Seeds of Time. Delia Pitman, a barroom dancer in the 1800s, makes contact with Annie Darrow, an archeologist on a dig 100 years later with her son and a sexy assistant, Jake; the women may be able to save each others' lives. (Deadly Alibi [P.O. Box 5947 Vancouver, Wash. 98661], $16.99 162p ISBN 1-886199-11-6)

A small Southern town reckons with its buried past when a Civil War professor is murdered and a famous retired opera singer receives threatening letters in Mary Saums's (Midnight Hour) The Valley of Jewels. PI Willi Taft returns home to investigate the murder and, after surviving a Civil War reenactment, Klan activities and attempts on her life, she uncovers a secret that's been kept quiet for 135 years. (Silver Dagger [silverdaggermysteries.com], $23.95 188p ISBN 1-57072-188-2)

After Quince Bishop gets into a fistfight with eco-activists who disrupt his best friend's funeral, his journalist ex-girlfriend covers the story and a beautiful funeral-rights advocate gets involved, upending poor Quince's lackadaisical life. But that's nothing compared to the funeral-biz scams he unearths in Sean Doolittle's uproarious first novel, Dirt. (UglyTown [www.UglyTown.com], $15 paper 368p ISBN 0-9663473-4-X)

Spring thaw in Montana, and a missing old man shows up dead in a melted snowdrift in John Paxson's (Bones) A Golden Trail of Murder. Rancher, erstwhile journalist and occasional carpenter and PI Ben Tripp almost gets himself killed (but is resuscitated by a sexy doc) as he uncovers an elaborate, murderous plot to steal valuable land. (Avalon [www.avalonbooks.com], $19.95 224p ISBN 0-8034-9488-2)

In Brigitte Aubert's Death from the Snows, translated from the French by David L. Koral, sequel to Death from the Woods, the blind, dumb, indomitable and humorous Elise arrives at a mountain resort with her caretaker, Yvette, only to attract the strange attentions of an unknown man. Soon the attentions turn deadly, and Elise must figure out who is trying to kill her and everyone associated with her. (Welcome Rain, $24.95 256p ISBN 1-56649-154-1)

Chantalene Morrell, a Gypsy from Tetumka, Okla., returns in search of the men who lynched her father and caused her mother to disappear in M.K. Preston's first book, Perhaps She'll Die. She gets a whiff of what she's up against when the butcher offers her information and ends up murdered, but a dauntless Chantalene, aided by a local boy back home for a visit, plumbs the depths of the hostile town and her own memories. (Intrigue [www.intriguepress.com], $23.95 232p ISBN 1-890768-33-2)

Third in Tony Fennelly's (The Hippie in the Wall) funny Margo Fortier series, Don't Blame the Snake, lands the stripper-turned—society columnist heroine at a literary conference on a cruise ship. One of the participants is killed in his cabin, and Margo must keep a close eye on the odd and unsavory suspects, including a bestselling author and his dominatrix, an ex-jewel thief and a struggling professor. (Top [12221 Merit Dr., Dallas, Tex. 75251], $21.95 264p ISBN 1-929976-05-4)