Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mysteries for the Dog Days of Summer!

Whether you like your mysteries with a touch of humor and animals, dark and brooding, or with an historical setting, Minotaur has something for everyone this August!  Visit old friends and make some new ones.  Thanks to #Kugel for making this posting possible!

Dead, to Being With: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider
After two dozen mysteries, Sheriff Dan Rhodes is still at the top of his game in Clearview, Texas.  Reclusive Jake Marley, oil heir, has finally reemerged into the community, heading up the restoration of the Clearview Opera House where A Christmas Carol is scheduled to be the first play in the newly renovated theater.  Jake, once thought by the community to be a ghost gets his chance when he falls to his death on the stage.  Rhodes is certain it was not an accident but murder and finds suspects galore as he investigates in this mystery with a cozy, down-home feel.

Gone Gull: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews
Donna Andrew’s twenty-first zany bird themed mystery finds Meg Langslow, sans her husband and twin sons, summering at the Biscuit Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia get it up and running.  Between teaching blacksmithing and helping Cordelia with the business end of the center, Meg keeps an eye on her grandfather who is tracking for an elusive, rare gull.  When vandalism at the center turns deadly, Meg suspects her grandparents’ two causes are more connected than it first seems.  Full of slapstick comedy and sidesplitting scenes, and an engaging plot, Gone Gull is sure to please readers looking for a light, but still well written mystery. 

Kill the Heroes: A Charlie Henry Mystery by David Thurlo
The writing duo of David and Aimee Thurlo have written over seventy mystery novels separately and together including Ella Clah, a Navajo FBI agent, and the Sister Agatha Mysteries.  This is the fourth mystery to feature Iraq war veteran and Albuquerque pawnshop owner Charlie Henry.  Honored to be an invited guest at the dedication of a memorial at a local park, Charlie is distressed when gunshots are fired and veterans and first responders are injured.  He is incensed that someone would shoot into a crowd, but takes it personally that someone would take aim at military heroes.  Together with his sidekick Gordon, Charlie takes matters into his own hands and is once again on the trail of a would-be killer, not for honor and glory, but for justice.  The hot, arid setting adds to the atmosphere of this fast-paced mystery.

The Stasi Child: A Karin Muller Thriller by David Young
In 1975, the Berlin Wall still stands as a reminder of the dual ideologies in what is ostensibly one city.  Oberleutnant Karin Muller is summoned when the body of a teenage girl is found at the base of the wall; the thing that strikes Karin first is that it appears the girl was attempting to escape from West Berlin, something Karin finds hard to fathom.  The Stasi tell Karin to only identify the girl and close the case, but things aren’t making sense to Karin and she begins to investigate further than The Ministry for State Security would like, putting her own life in jeopardy in this novel set in the not so distant past, an historical setting that many will still remember.

Ordeal: A Thriller by Jorn Lier Horst
Into the ranks of the ever-popular sub-genre of Scandinavian thrillers comes Inspector William Wisting in the fifth book to be translated into and published in English, the tenth in the series.  A short forward of sorts catches readers up on Wisting’s career and personal life making it easy for anyone to dive into this book and feel as comfortable as one can with what is at stake.  Single mother Sofie Lund has inherited a house from her grandfather, a man whose presence and memory she all but removes from the house so she and her one-year-old daughter can live without the ghosts of the past and make new memories.  There is an old safe bolted to the basement floor that Sofie is unable to remove, the contents of which prove to be the missing pieces Wisting may have been searching for in two deaths: half a million kroner and a gun that may implicate her grandfather, known as the Smuggle King in life as well as in death.  Wisting is anxious to revisit what is already in evidence in the cold case deaths of Elise Kittelsen and Jens Hummel, hoping to arrive at satisfactory conclusion, one that can provide closure to the families and justice for the victims.  Wisting’s investigation propels this narrative, keeping tensions high in what could have otherwise been simply a solid, dependable Scan thriller, helping it rise above with the plot, pacing and nuanced characters. 

Shattered by Allison Brennan
Allison Brennan is the author of almost thirty novels with two solid series, one featuring investigative journalist Max Revere and the other featuring FBI agent Lucy Kincaid; the pair team up in this crossover when an old friend whose wife sits in jail accused of their son’s murder approaches Max for help.  Max is hesitant at first until he realizes that over the last twenty years there have been three other boys kidnapped from their homes, suffocated, and left close to home in shallow graves.  Max approaches the first victim’s father and appeals to him: Justin Stanton’s father agrees to help as long as his former sister-in-law Lucy works on the case as well.  The unlikely pair does not want to work with each other, FBI agents and reporters are natural enemies, but each knows that together they can form a formidable team, bring a killer to justice, offer closure and comfort to four families, and prevent any more deaths.  Individually Brennan’s two series are solid and dependable, but her two main characters in one book pack a punch that won’t soon be forgotten and sets the stage for future collaborations between the two.

Dark River Rising by Roger Johns
First time novelist Johns is a former attorney with two law degrees and first-hand knowledge of steamy, sultry Louisianan, being born and raised there.  The bayous in and around Baton Rouge are filled with snakes, but when Police Detective Wallace Hartman finds one sewn into the belly of a murder victim, she knows her day-and probably her life-just got worse.  Wallace feels her life is already in the dumps; her partner is out on leave and has been just assigned a new partner, known as Medicate Mike, not an auspicious beginning to her investigation.  The victim, Ronnie Overman, was a major cocaine distributor for a Mexican cartel so Wallace isn’t terribly surprised when Federal Agent Mason Cunningham arrive; to Wallace’s surprise, however, he’s not there to take over the case but to work with Wallace.  When another man disappears from a government lab, the unlikely pair realizes each needs the other’s knowledge and connections if they hope to solve the murder and stay alive.  Thickly plotted and murky like the bayou itself, Wallace is a well fleshed out character and a welcome addition to the ranks of fictional female police detectives.  A fast, compulsive read, this debut will leave readers eager for a sequel.

And finally…the book you’ve been waiting for #kugel

The Dog Dish of Doom: An Agent to the Paws Mystery by E.J. Copperman
E.J. Copperman as himself and as Jeff Cohen has written several popular mystery series including the Asperger’s Mysteries, the Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries, and Mysteries Detective Mysteries; this first in a new series introduces animal talent agent Kay Powell who is desperate to find the next big star; with a new production of Annie being planned she thinks Bruno is just the man---er dog---for the job.  Except: Bruno’s people are stage parents extraordinaire and Les McMaster, the director, is no fan of Trent, Bruno’s man.  A knife in Trent’s back, literally, takes care of that problem but leaves McMaster with a new set of problems: suspect in Trent’s murder.  Kay quickly learns that while she has a knack being an agent placing animals her true talent may be for solving crimes.  E.J. Copperman is as funny as they come; he is a keen, wry observer of human (and canine) behavior.  A great cast of supporting actors and a hip, comfortable coffee shop with a charming barista, along with plenty of inside stage info make this a great first act to a series that is sure to have a long run.  It will play in Peoria for sure!

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