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 $19.95/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 Secrets They Left Behind

Lissa Marie Redmond. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-64385-299-7

Buffalo (N.Y.) PD patrol officer Shea O’Connor, the 23-year-old narrator of this engrossing mystery from Redmond (The Murder Book), has engaged in an undercover assignment for FBI agent Bill Walters that left her with emotional and physical scars. Bill now coerces her to work undercover in Kelly’s Falls, a town south of Buffalo, where three girls, all college freshmen, disappeared during Christmas break, leaving behind their purses, cellphones, and jackets. She poses as Shea Anderson, a college student who has supposedly come to live with her uncle, the police chief of Kelly’s Falls, after her parents died in a car accident. Shea immerses herself in the lives of the victims’ families and friends, but danger looms when her real and undercover identities begin to overlap. Her growing attraction to the brother of one of the missing girls raises the emotional stakes. Redmond, a former cold case homicide detective, skillfully doles out the plot twists. Fans of small-town police procedurals will be satisfied. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Creative Book Services. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Death out of Nowhere

Alexis Gensoul & Charles Garnier, trans. from the French by John Pugmire. Locked Room International, $19.99 trade paper (116p) ISBN 978-1-677840-22-9

Originally published in 1945 and appearing in English for the first time, this locked-room classic from Gensoul and Garnier offers multiple impossible crimes. Four friends—journalist Lucien Darlay, mystery novelist Jules Dublard, clerk Yves de Bellec, and school supervisor Louis Beaurieux—have gathered for their annual vacation at Breule Manor in Paris, the home of their friend Baron Pierre de Malèves. Beaurieux challenges Dublard to solve a real-life mystery, asking for just five minutes in which to commit a perfect crime. Dublard accepts, and Beaurieux, in the presence of the three others, sorts through a deck of cards, throws the king of spades to the floor, and proclaims: “And the Emperor of China be damned!” The challenger then states that a single revolver shot will be fired in a locked and sealed room of the manor, a prophecy that’s borne out when the baron’s great-uncle is found shot to death in such a location. More baffling murders follow. As in the best such novels, the solution is both plausible and surprising. This fair-play gem reinforces the publisher’s raison d’être. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Star Is Dead

Elaine Viets. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-9016-0

In Agatha finalist Viets’s skillfully plotted fourth mystery featuring death investigator Angela Richman (after 2018’s Ice Blonde), the burghers of Chouteau Forest, a posh community 30 miles from St. Louis, are agog at the prospect of meeting Jessica Gray, “a sixties beauty who’d starred in two classic films from that era, Flower Power and Eternally Groovy.” Jessica, the peddler of her own kale-based beauty products, has agreed to attend a party at the mansion of a prominent Chouteau Forest resident after the final performance of her one-woman show. There Jessica slips seamlessly from charm to condescension, managing to offend an ever-widening circle of people. It’s little wonder that she ends up dead. When Angela’s friend Mario Garcia, who was Jessica’s hairdresser during her stay in the area, is arrested for her murder, Angela steps up to help prove Mario’s innocence. Witty dialogue and well-defined characters, including plucky and intelligent Angela, lift this wry look at the trappings of celebrity. Fans and newcomers alike will be pleased. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Who Speaks for the Damned: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

C.S. Harris. Berkley, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-58568-5

At the start of Harris’s solid 15th whodunit featuring aristocratic Regency sleuth St. Cyr (after 2019’s Who Slays the Wicked), St. Cyr is astonished to learn from Jules Calhoun, his valet, that Nicholas Hayes, an old friend of Calhoun, has been fatally stabbed at a London tea garden. St. Cyr believed that Hayes, an earl’s son, had died a few years after being convicted of murder and transported to Australia 18 years earlier in 1796. Calhoun reveals that Hayes, who managed to return to England by stealing a dead man’s identity, got in touch with him and asked for his help, but didn’t specify what for. St. Cyr delves into the related questions of why Hayes took the step of coming to London at the risk of summary execution and who was responsible for his murder, which inevitably require probing the crime that led to Hayes’s being sent to Australia—the killing of the wife of a French count. Once again, Harris weds a twisty plot with convincing period detail. This long-running series shows no sign of losing steam. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Last Licks

Cynthia Baxter. Kensington, $26.00 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1418-3

In Baxter’s sprightly third Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe mystery (after 2019’s Hot Fudge Murder), Kate McKay, the owner of the Wolfert’s Roost, N.Y., ice cream emporium, is in the throes of decorating for the upcoming Halloween festivities when Chelsea Atkins, the assistant director of a movie being filmed in the Hudson Valley town, strides through the front door. She asks to use the shop as a location for a key scene featuring starlet Savannah Crane. The jaw-droppingly high fee for the one-day shoot prompts Kate to accept the offer. Besides the location, Kate also provides a bowl, spoon, and a big scoop of chocolate almond fudge, which Savannah eats during the scene. After polishing off the last of the ice cream, Savannah drops dead, and Kate becomes a suspect in her poisoning. Even while investigating plausible motives and potential suspects, Kate finds time to think up tantalizing ice cream flavors and enjoy the company of family and friends. This cozy has everything genre fans could want: an intelligent and plucky protagonist, a soundly plotted mystery, and solid character development. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Westwind

Ian Rankin. Little, Brown, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-49792-3

First published in 1990 and long out of print, this sophomoric thriller from bestseller Rankin (the John Rebus series) opens at a ground tracking station in England, where technician Paul Vincent notices that Zephyr, Britain’s latest spy satellite, has gone offline. In the U.S., the space shuttle Argos crashes, killing everyone aboard except for a British astronaut, Maj. Mike Dreyfuss. Could there be a connection? To keep the Zephyr fiasco quiet, the Brits seclude Vincent in a hospital, where he’s soon on his deathbed; he manages a final utterance to his friend Martin Hepton: “Argos.” Hepton subsequently realizes he’s being followed and his life is in danger. Meanwhile, Dreyfuss is recovering in a hospital in the States, but is also being kept out of the public eye. Decent prose doesn’t compensate for poor plotting. In a preface, Rankin admits the novel had problems, but finds some resonance with current events. That’s a thin and unconvincing justification for this reissue, which does the author’s reputation no favors. This one’s strictly for Rankin completists. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes

James Lovegrove. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-789092-00-4

Lovegrove, the author of Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon, a superior novel-length pastiche, is just as adept at conveying the spirit of the Holmes canon in short form, as shown in this solid collection of 12 original and reprinted stories. The loss of a family heirloom, a dagger, appears to trigger a series of calamities in the strongest tale, “The Adventure of the Marchindale Stiletto.” After the knife was deliberately dropped in a pond, “illness, injury, and financial disaster follow.” Two untraditional, creative contributions focus on secondary canonical characters: Barker, a private detective who provides his own perspective on “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”; and Toby, the dog Holmes employed in The Sign of Four. Professor Challenger is convincingly portrayed in “The Adventure of the Challenging Professor,” a sequel to the character’s best-known appearance, The Lost World; his assistant is mauled to death by a pterodactyl whose cage was suspiciously left unlocked, and the byplay between Holmes and Challenger suggests Lovegrove could expand on their relationship in a future work. Crossovers with the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Louis Stevenson fall flat, but there are more hits than misses. Sherlockians will welcome Lovegrove’s further efforts to emulate Conan Doyle. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Black Cage

Jack Fredrickson. Severn, $29.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8916-4

This strong series launch from Fredrickson (the Dek Elstrom series) introduces Milo Rigg, once “Chicago’s premier crime reporter.” Now, thanks to his involvement in a recent scandal, Milo has been reduced to writing “non-news, uncredited” for a small paper in a Chicago suburb. One cold, gray winter day, Milo happens to be in the neighborhood of a crime scene. The bodies of 15-year-old Beatrice Graves and her 12-year-old sister, Priscilla, have been thrown into a ravine. “They lay nude, like contorted marble mannequins, whiter than the melting snow.” The murders share certain similarities with a still unsolved case that occurred the year before. Milo is sure that the mishandling of evidence on the part of the sheriff and the medical examiner has let a murderer go free. While doggedly pursuing every lead, Milo must also deal with his grief over the death of his wife, who was shot “by a punk firing at someone else, or maybe just up in the air, in anger at the world.” Readers will look forward to spending more time with the complex, intriguing Milo. This skillfully crafted and richly nuanced crime novel bodes well for future entries. Agent: John Silbersack, Bent Agency. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 01/31/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Last Tourist

Olen Steinhauer. Minotaur, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-03621-6

A decade ago, the CIA’s Department of Tourism, a corps of highly trained assassins, went defunct, but now something similar has emerged from its ruins in bestseller Steinhauer’s stunning fourth thriller featuring ex-CIA operative Milo Weaver (after 2012’s An American Spy). As chief of the Library, a stealthy espionage operation buried within the UN’s bureaucracy, Weaver has been attempting to serve as a reasonably honest broker of sensitive information, but a series of increasingly violent assaults drives him into hiding in the Western Sahara. Milo eventually figures out that he’s being pursued by a darkly plausible, utterly ruthless assassins corps created by multinational corporations acting beyond the reach of any country’s laws to lock down global dominance. No dummies survive in this twisty shadow realm, and Weaver’s wits keep him alive as the complex, layered plot reaches a shrewd, nuanced climax at the World Economic Forum, leaving the reader with the hope that global elites can’t rig the rules of every game. The author does a masterly job of evoking dingy desert cities and the rarified air of Davos, Switzerland. Steinhauer reinforces his position at the top of the espionage genre. 125,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Co. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 01/24/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Long Range: A Joe Pickett Novel

C.J. Box. Putnam, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-53823-3

In Edgar winner Box’s terrific 20th novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett (after 2019’s Wolf Pack), a retired FBI agent warns Joe’s longtime falconer friend, Nate Romanowski, that the Mexican drug cartel whose four assassins Nate helped take down in Wolf Pack have marked Nate as a target for revenge. The cartel has dispatched Orlando Panfile, an expert marksman, to do the job. Meanwhile, someone takes a long-range shot at ill-tempered Judge Hewitt in his home that hits Hewitt’s wife, leaving her in critical condition. Could it be Panfile? Joe is asked to join the investigation by the new county sheriff, Brendan Kapelow, who eventually becomes convinced that Nate is responsible for the shooting. Kapelow arrests Nate for attempted murder when a long-range rifle is discovered hidden in one of his falcon pens. Of course, Joe isn’t buying it, and conducts his own unauthorized investigation to help clear Nate. But why does Panfile mount an effort to have Nate freed? Clever plotting keeps this conspiracy yarn moving briskly, and the scenes depicting Nate’s abuse while in prison are harrowing. This is another top-flight crime yarn illustrating why Box’s readers are never happier than when Joe and Nate have reason to “get western.” Author tour. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 01/24/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
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.