June Publications

British author Judith Cutler's second police procedural, Staying Power: A Kate Power Mystery, falls short of her promising debut, Power on Her Own (2003). The early revelation of the identity of the perpetrator behind various crimes, including a suspicious suicide and a string of pharmacy burglaries, undercuts suspense, while the offstage arrest of the chief villain comes as an anticlimax. The well-intentioned Power, a Birmingham detective sergeant, genuinely cares for the walking wounded she runs into, however, and that sincerity gives Cutler something to build on in future volumes. Agent, Shana Cohen at the Stuart Krichevsky Agency.(St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 304p ISBN 0-312-27732-6)

In Burning Precinct Puerto Rico: Book Three: A Luis Gonzalo Novel, a fair-to-middling mystery by Steven Torres, Sheriff Luis Gonzalo investigates a fatal fire involving a drug cartel that will stop at nothing. A perfunctory setting, uneven pacing and opaque characters other than Gonzalo suggest that Torres has a ways to go before he can join the ranks of such established regional authors as Tony Hillerman. (St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 256p ISBN 0-312-32109-0)

Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices, edited by Karin Slaughter (Blindsighted), collects 16 linked tales by an impressive group of British and American crime authors, including Peter Robinson, Fidelis Morgan, Lee Child and Laura Lippman. An unlucky charm bracelet figures in each contribution. Agent, Victoria Sanders.(Morrow, $21.95 352p ISBN 0-06-058330-4)

May Publications

I'd Kill for That: A Serial Novel, edited by Marcia Talley (Naked Came the Phoenix), combines the talents of 13 top female writers, among them Rita Mae Brown, Linda Fairstein, Kathy Reichs and Jennifer Crusie, in a diverting tale of murder among the social elite at a gated waterfront community outside Washington, D.C. A percentage of the royalties will go to support breast cancer research. Agent, James Vines.(St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 272p ISBN 0-312-29057-8)

In Hardboiled & High Heeled: The Woman Detective in Popular Culture, Linda Mizejewski (Ziegfeld Girl: Image and Icon in Culture and Cinema) examines the often ambiguous role of the female investigator in crime fiction, TV and film. Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs and Jodie Foster's portrayal of Clarice Starling receive special emphasis in this lively feminist study. (Routledge, $19.95 paper 272p ISBN 0-415-96970-0)