Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $18.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

The Roma Plot

Mario Bolduc, trans. from the French by Jacob Homel. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $17.99 trade paper (472p) ISBN 978-1-4597-3606-1

The original edition of this earnest novel (following The Kashmir Trap) in screenwriter Bolduc’s series featuring professional con man Max O’Brien won an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Book in French. Max travels to Bucharest looking for his good friend and former colleague, Kevin Dandurand, who has been accused of burning down a building and killing the 23 Roma people living there. Max teams up with Kevin’s half-sister Josée, a lawyer in Paris, to uncover the truth about the fire and prove Kevin’s innocence. Their quest leads them to Emil Rosca, a Roma man who has “been caught in nearly every storm of the twentieth century,” and his descendants. As Max and Josée try to discover how his story is entwined with Kevin’s, Bolduc delves into the history of the Roma people from the concentration camps of WWII up to 2007, when this story takes place. It’s not the kind of lively caper readers might expect from a con man protagonist, but the book will appeal to readers who like to have their history lessons wrapped in a good yarn. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Outside the Wire: A Pacific Homicide Novel

Patricia Smiley. Midnight Ink, $15.99 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-7387-5235-8

In Smiley’s engrossing sequel to 2016’s Pacific Homicide, LAPD Det. Davie Richards and her partner, Det. Jason Vaughn, look into the shooting murder of security consultant Zeke Woodrow, a retired Army Ranger whose body was found in an airport parking garage. When Richards and Vaughn go to search the house Woodrow was renting in Topanga Canyon, they find it cleaned out. This is news to the real estate agent in charge of the property. When the officers interview Woodrow’s grown daughter, she tells them that he owned property in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica, which suggests he had more money than the usual recent military retiree. Woodrow’s ex-wife later points them to three of his Ranger buddies from Vietnam, with whom he remained close. A suspicious death, another murder, and an attempted killing raise the stakes as the investigation shifts from L.A. to the Mojave Desert and beyond. Richards, who’s battling PTSD from a justified shooting, makes a dogged and determined heroine as she roots out cause and killer. Readers will want to see a lot more of her.(Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Body on the Doorstep

A.J. MacKenzie. Zaffre (IPG, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-78576-120-1

The execution of British author MacKenzie’s mystery debut, a series launch, falls short of its intriguing premise. Late one night in the spring of 1796, Marcus Aurelius Hardcastle, a Kent rector, is busy composing a letter to a newspaper warning that Britain’s coastline is vulnerable to an invasion by the “blood-stained minions” of the French Republic when he’s interrupted by a pounding on his front door. When Hardcastle opens it, he finds a man dying of a gunshot wound on his doorstep. Before expiring, the victim utters the cryptic words, “Tell Peter... mark... trace.” Hardcastle feels compelled to investigate, despite being warned not to by his church superior, and engages the aid of Amelia Chaytor, an intrepid and prepossessing widow. The plot line is solid enough, but the main characters are less developed than Imogen Robertson’s Crowther and Westerman, another late-18th-century male investigator paired with a widow. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and her husband, Morgen Witzel, who have jointly written many academic works of nonfiction. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Price of Silence: An Anthony Brooke Espionage Thriller

Dolores Gordon-Smith. Severn, $28.99 (244p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8726-9

Set during WWI, Gordon-Smith’s exciting sequel to 2013’s Frankie’s Letter opens with the discovery of the bodies of kindly, well-regarded Edward Jowett, a bank officer, and his wife in a locked room in their comfortable London home. Jowett apparently shot his wife and then himself. When, a short time later, a Belgian priest overhears a suspect conversation in which the name Jowett is mentioned, British secret agent Dr. Anthony Brooke investigates. Aided by his resourceful and well-educated wife, Tara, and his fellow spies, Brooke uncovers some good old-fashioned clues, such as partial words on a scrap of paper found in a dead woman’s hand, with Tara recognizing the significance of a colon. Brooke later makes a daring foray into German-occupied Belgium, where he must rescue an orphan girl who may hold the key to solving the mystery of the Jowetts’ deaths. The trail eventually leads Brooke to a vicious nest of blackmailers and a gang of murderous criminals. Gordon-Smith smoothly inserts well-researched historical color into the derring-do plot. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The House of Smoke

Sam Christer. Sphere (IPG, dist.), $13.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-7515-5092-4

Christer (The Stonehenge Legacy) does a solid job recreating the Victorian underworld in this Sherlock Holmes knockoff, but he falls short of the standard set by John Gardner’s Moriarty trilogy in terms of character and plot. On January 1, 1900, Simeon Lynch, the self-described “manservant of Death” and the go-to hit man for the Moriarty organized crime family, is in London’s Newgate Gaol. In 17 days he will die on the gallows after conviction, ironically, for a murder he did not commit. The narrative alternates between the countdown to his execution and his backstory, in which the violent orphan, whose mother died giving birth to him, is enlisted by Professor Brogan Moriarty to become an enforcer and assassin. As the days go by, Lynch is eager to escape his fate, but he refuses to cooperate with Sherlock Holmes by ratting on his boss, even when offered a full pardon. That Christer never explains the survival of Brogan’s brother, James, at the Reichenbach Falls will strike readers familiar with the Holmes stories as odd. Agent: Luigi Bonomi, Luigi Bonomi Associates. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Seeds of Revenge: A Greenhouse Mystery

Wendy Tyson. Henery, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-63511-275-7

At the start of Tyson’s enticing third Greenhouse mystery (after Bitter Harvest), organic farmer Megan Sawyer picks up a stranded motorist, Becca Fox, during a snowstorm. Becca was on her way to Winsome, Pa., to start a business selling perfumes and potions. Megan delivers the young woman to her aunt’s house, where Becca confronts her estranged father, Paul Fox. Becca claims that her father murdered her mother, though the death was ruled an accident and no one took her accusation seriously. But, when Paul is poisoned, ex-chemist Becca becomes the prime suspect. The manner of Paul’s death, as well as series of attacks in town by a shadowy figure in black, all bear a frightening similarity to the murders described in books written by Megan’s great-aunt, mystery novelist Sarah Birch. Determined to find the truth, Megan discovers that past connections run deep and no one is who they seem. Complex characters, interesting twists, and a charming setting add up to a satisfying mystery. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Montreal Noir

Edited by John McFetridge and Jacques Filippi. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-345-9

The 15 entries in this Akashic noir anthology, a mixed bag of memorable tales and filler material, reveal the dark side of Montreal, one of the oldest cities in North America. The better stories tend to be translated from French, such as Geneviève Lefebvre’s unnerving “Such a Pretty Girl,” which delves into the disturbed world of child actors, and Johanne Seymour’s “Journal of an Obsession,” which explores the fragmenting mind of a writer bent on salvaging his ego (“I’ve always lived in a void: a black hole, an empty glass, a vacant heart, a blank page”). A highlight among the selections written originally in English is Arjun Basu’s “Wild Horses,” about a shoe store manager who sees horses galloping down his street one night and desperately seeks other people who have witnessed this same odd phenomenon. American crime fiction fans will welcome the opportunity to sample the short fiction of some worthy Canadian authors. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Death in the Stacks

Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-58375-9

In McKinlay’s exuberantly entertaining eighth Library Lover’s mystery (after 2016’s Better Late than Never), Olive Boyle, a skeletally thin, middle-aged bully, who has insinuated herself into the political life of Briar Creek, Conn., turns her beady eye on the local library. As the newly elected president of the library board, Olive demands staff changes, dress codes, and the firing of the director, Lindsey Norris, a friend of the person Olive beat in the election. A few hours after a very public argument between Olive and Lindsey at the annual Dinner in the Stacks fundraising event, Olive is found stabbed to death in the library. When a young staff member is implicated in the crime, Lindsey steps in to investigate. She discovers that Olive, besides knowing the dark secrets of practically everyone in Briar Creek, had a few murky secrets of her own. Once again, McKinlay invites the reader into an appealing world inhabited by kind, intelligent people and only the occasional nasty villain. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
World Enough

Clea Simon. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8733-7

This intriguing series launch from Simon, best known for her cozy Dulcie Schwartz mysteries (Into the Grey, etc.), introduces Boston journalist Tara Winton, who back in the 1980s covered local punk rock bands for fanzines that paid little but gave her access to the musicians and the music that remain central to her life. Now divorced and employed writing banal corporate reports, Tara is still holding on to what is left of the live music scene in Boston. After friend and former musician Frank Turcotte dies, Tara’s ex-boss offers her a chance to write a story about Boston-based bands for a glossy magazine. Soon Tara’s stable life begins to unravel as she revisits the past. Was Frank’s death accidental or was it murder? Is it tied to the long-ago death of singer Chris Crack, who blazed onto the stage eclipsing another band and destroying their shot at a record deal? Vibrant descriptions of Boston’s former music scene overshadow the plot, but readers with a taste for noir are sure to want to see more of the edgy Tara. Agent: Colleen Mohyde, Doe Coover Agency. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Consequence

Eli Yance. Skyhorse, $14.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-5107-0438-1

The lives of two hit men, two con men, and a wealthy businessman collide in London, with devastating results, in this relentlessly bleak crime thriller from British author Yance (House 23). Hit men Darren Morris and James Roach work for a drug boss, but they dream of more than the crumbs he provides. Con men Michael Richards and Johnny Phillips are tired of small scores and want one big enough to open a betting shop. Howard Price has made a huge success of a software business, has a beautiful wife, and dotes on his seven-year-old daughter, Lisa. Morris and Roach are brutal and direct, and Richards and Phillips are quick to run simple cons or devise on-the-spot scams when opportunity arises, but planning ahead is not a skill either pair possesses. A newspaper article about Price, which includes a photo of him and his daughter, gives Morris the idea of kidnapping Lisa. Grabbing the girl is easy, but getting the payoff isn’t when Richards and Phillips stumble into the picture and (almost) everything goes to hell. The action careens to a smashing ending. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/22/2017 | 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

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.