June Publications

Fans of Irish author Ken Bruen will find the same poetic spareness and jaded romanticism in Blitz, an entry in his series about the South East London police squad, that mark the Edgar finalist's better-known Jack Taylor series (The Guards, etc.). In this intelligent, uncompromising hard-boiled crime novel, published in the U.K. in 2002, Det. Sergeant Brant and his beleaguered colleagues must contend with a serial killer nicknamed "The Blitz" who's targeting cops all over London. Agent, Marianne Gunn O'Connor.(St. Martin's Minotaur, $12.95 paper 272p ISBN 0-312-32726-9)

Thick-skinned noir fans will enjoy Lono Waiwaiole's Wiley's Shuffle, his second suspense thriller to feature the eponymous Hawaiian tough guy (after 2003's Wiley's Lament), but others may be put off by the surfeit of degrading violence. Here Wiley rides to the rescue of Miriam, a hooker in thrall to a vicious pimp. The characters' often implausible actions, as well as Miriam's failure to get wise, may cause some head-scratching. Agent, Gina Maccoby.(St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 288p ISBN 0-312-30384-X)

Richard Hoyt's Pony Girls: A John Denson Mystery, the ninth in the series (after 2003's The Weatherman's Daughter), mixes myth, metaphor and mystery, with sometimes confusing results. PI Denson investigates the deaths of more than 20 Spanish mustangs spread over a large area of the Western U.S. He also engages in a cosmic battle of good vs. evil that may or may not be metaphoric. Agent, Jacques de Spoelberch.(Forge, $24.95 288p ISBN 0-765-30616-6)

In journalist David Schulman's uneven but promising first mystery, The Past Is Never Dead (a title derived from Faulkner's famous comment about the South), David "Gritz" Goldberg, a disillusioned doctor marking time at a psychiatric hospital in Asheville, N.C., gets involved in reexamining a miscarriage of justice—the execution of an innocent black man for the murder of white girl in 1939. Lively characters (including ambitious politicians, Nazi sympathizers and Jewish businessmen), a judicious use of historical background and a healthy helping of humor make this a memorable debut. Agent, Evan Marshall.(John F. Blair, $22.95 208p ISBN 0-89587-290-0)

Teddy Hayes dives into the legendary history of Harlem, often recalling the brilliant crime novels of Chester Himes, in his fast-paced noir debut, Blood Red Blues: A Devil Barnett Detective Novel. Barnett, a former wet-ops hit man for the CIA, returns to Harlem to ease back and run the Be-Bop Tavern after his father's death, but trouble keeps knocking at his door, starting with a massacre at a sex-and-drugs party whose victims include a Japanese diplomat. Nice touches of humor leaven the up-to-the-moment action. (Justin, Charles/Kate's Mystery, $12.99 paper 200p ISBN 1-932112-21-9)