Posts Tagged ‘Detective’

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2014: Melissa O’s Picks

December 26, 2014

I read a wide variety of books of all different genres. Ask me for a suggestion and I most likely have read something that would appeal to you. Here are five books I stumbled upon this year. Some have been out there a long time, others are more recent arrivals, but they are all worth checking out and passing along for more to enjoy!

The Devil's BonesThe Devil’s Bones by Jefferson Bass
Bill Brockton is a forensic anthropologist who founded the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee. There he and his team study of the science of decomposition. He also finds himself drawn into the danger and drama of the murders they are trying to solve. It starts out simply enough, a woman’s charred body in a burned out car. How did she die? Then he receives a package of strange cremated remains. Suddenly he is fighting for his life and trying to solve a crime so hideous you won’t want to believe it. Another reason to love this book is that the author, Jefferson Bass, is actually a pseudonym for Bill Bass, the real-life famous forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm, and cowriter Jon Jefferson. How cool is that!

Pioneer WomanPioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – a love story by Ree Drummond
I had never read her blog, watched her cooking show, or picked up one of her cookbooks when I stumbled on this autobiography by Ree Drummond. As someone who spent some time feeling lost and unsure about the future, I could relate to her feelings as she struggled with where her next steps should take her. She never thought that future would mean staying in rural Oklahoma. And she certainly didn’t think it would involve a cowboy! I became lost in the words, flowery and syrupy as they sometimes are, as she “accidently” found herself on a cattle ranch and having adventures she never could have pictured in her future. A great read about taking a chance on love and setting out on the path less traveled.

Dangerous PassageDangerous Passage by Lisa Harris
This is a new inspirational series introducing widowed police detective Avery North and medical examiner Jackson Bryant. Harris nicely intertwines a love story into a thrilling murder mystery. Young Asian women are being murdered and the only link between them seems to be a small tattoo of a magnolia blossom. The investigation seems to simply uncover more mysteries and cover ups. Can they solve the case before more women go missing, and will Avery be ready to open her heart to love again?

 

Stand Up That MountainStand Up That Mountain by Jay Erskine Leutze
If you love the outdoors, this book is for you. If you love gut wrenching legal battles, this book is for you. If you love to root for the little guy, well you get the picture. Jay has escaped his life as an attorney and retreated to the North Carolina Mountains. Living quietly as a naturalist and fisherman, he loves the Appalachian Trail. He learns from a family of “mountain people” that a mining company plans to dynamite Belview Mountain, which sits right beside the Trail. They have evidence of their less than ethical behavior and the fight is on. As an avid mountain hiker and lover of nature, this book captured me, especially since it is in our own backyard! It is hard to believe that we almost lost one of the great treasures of our state. Jay Erskine Leutze recounts his story of the ground breaking legal fight to save this tiny Appalachian community in a book that is as engaging as any fiction tale.

SubmergedSubmerged by Dani Pettrey
The old saying “you can never go home again” seemed to hold true for Bailey Craig. Yet home is exactly where she found herself, for better or worse. She left Yancey, Alaska in disgrace, now can she find forgiveness? Bailey returned to bury her beloved aunt her died in a plane crash. Was it an accident or was it murder? Cole McKenna has put his past with Bailey behind him, until she shows up in town again. Soon she is fighting for her own life. Can Cole accept that Bailey has changed and help her solve the murder before she becomes another victim? Dani Pettrey is a new author and anyone who loves Dee Henderson’s novels should check her out. This new inspirational suspense series is fantastic and I can’t wait to continue the journey with her characters.

The Keeper by John Lescroart

November 18, 2014

Dismas Hardy has acquired a new client, Hal Chase. Hal is a prison guard in the Sheriff’s department in  San Francisco county. Hal’s wife Katie has disappeared , leaving their two small children alone in their house. A couple of spots of blood have been found and foul play is suspected. Since the first person people think of as the murderer is the husband, Hal decides to be pro-active and get himself a lawyer. And so starts John Lescroart’s latest book, The Keeper.

In order to find out as much as possible, Dis decides to hire his old pal retired homicide detective, Abe Glitsky to find out what he can about the lives of the Chase family. At the same time a scandal may be ready to arise out of some  mysterious prisoner deaths at the county jail where Hal Chase works. Wes Ferrell , the county DA and another friend of Hardy is about to open another ‘can of worms.’

The two stories may  intervene as Chase is one of the guards at the county jail.  Lescroart will keep you guessing with his latest page turner. I confess to being a big fan of Lescroart and this is one of his best.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

September 8, 2014

Dead Man's Time It is said that revenge can be sweet … even if it takes 70 years to exact. In February of 1922, in the Brooklyn apartment of 5 year old Gavin Daly and his 8 year old sister, Aileen, the unthinkable is about to happen. They are awakened by a group of mobsters who kill their mother and take away their father. Soon after, the two children are shipped off with an aunt to Brighton, England. Before departing a kid comes up to Gavin at the dock and gives him a gun, a broken Patek Philippe watch and a paper with a series of numbers on it.

It is now June of 2012 and an elderly woman is brutally murdered and her home burglarized. The woman is Aileen Daly and her brother, Gavin is still alive. Detective Superintendent, Roy Grace does not know yet how he will be drawn into this 90 year old case, he is also not aware that a gangster, Amis Smallbone plans his own revenge on Grace. Smallbone has just been released from prison after serving 12 years and he can’t wait to get his own brand of revenge. Apparently the antique market is more than just buying or selling of ancient treasures. Mobsters have advance men case homes where valuables are allegedly kept. They use all kinds of phony schemes to finagle themselves into these homes and they do an excellent job of casing the residence, then the bully boys break in and steal everything of value, this is how Aileen Daly is murdered. Now Gavin must figure out how to get back his family treasures including his Dad’s watch…. the only thing he has left from the incident in Brooklyn some 90 years ago.

Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent Grace does not know that Smallbone is planning his own revenge as he becomes more and more involved in the Daly murder and robbery. Peter James will keep you on the edge of your seat, because he has written another terrific mystery.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner

June 24, 2014

Touch & GoJustin and Libby Denbe appear to be the ideal American family and very rich. They have a bright 15 year old daughter, Ashley, who is giving them the usual teenage problems. Then their world is turned upside down…..with military precision, when the entire family is kidnapped from their Boston home and they disappear. Their home with all their security does not stop this trio of bad guys, but strangely all their personal possessions are left in the house.

Tessa Leoni is assigned to their case. She is a private investigator for a firm responsible for the security of Denbe’s construction firm. Leoni was once a Massachusetts State trooper, but an incident two years prior resulted in the death of her husband, another policeman. Although cleared of all charges, the remnants of the case hung over Leoni and she retired to become a private investigator.

The entire case seems strange because no ransom note or phone call has been received. Leoni, the Boston Police Department and the FBI are totally baffled. With most kidnappings, ransom demands arrive quite soon. Where are they? Will time run out?

Lisa Gardner’s fast paced mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat. The plot takes you back and forth from the victim’s plight and their circumstances to the police hunt and Leoni’s investigation. Gardner introduces us to another main player, Sheriff Wyatt Foster. Foster is a sheriff in New Hampshire where the kidnappers may be headed. Enjoy this story with enough twists and turns to keep your head spinning.

Find and reserve this book in the library.

Little Girl Lost by Brian McGilloway

May 20, 2014

little girlcover.phpLooking for a new mystery? Look no further! Brian McGilloway’s Little Girl Lost is a page turner that I devoured in one day.  Detective Sargent Lucy Black of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is first to respond to a call reporting a girl wandering the woods in the middle of a snowstorm. Black and her colleagues hope this girl is the missing teenage daughter of a wealthy and influential man. The teen was apparently abducted from a busy city street and the police have no clues. Instead, Lucy finds a much younger girl who has blood all over her hands; blood which belongs to someone else. The girl is traumatized and refuses to speak to or acknowledge anyone. She will only respond to Lucy.


Lucy is reassigned to the Public Protection Unit, which deals with cases relating to children at risk, in order to work on the young girl’s case. Lucy is upset over the transfer out of CID to a unit whose focus is not criminal, but more social work. She convinces her new boss she can find out who the girl is and still work on the kidnapping case. On top of this extra work, she is also caring for her aging father, a former policeman who now suffers from Alzheimer’s.


Then nasty secrets from the past begin to surface about events from Northern Ireland’s troubles in the 1990’s, when Lucy’s father’s was still on the force. By week’s end Lucy suspects the two cases could be related in more ways than one.
Weaving in the politics of the past with the heartbreaking work of caring for children at risk and an aging parent, the book is a mystery with a good heart. Lucy’s world is very complicated, and her mixed feelings about returning to the area she grew up in are very believable. What happens will make her doubt all of her memories from childhood.

 

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Love You More by Lisa Gardner

August 22, 2013

I love a good suspenseful mystery with strong women characters. And Lisa Gardner’s Love You More certainly fills the bill.

Police find State Trooper Tessa Leoni in her house, her husband lying on the kitchen floor, dead from gunshot wounds, she, badly beaten herself, and with her precious daughter Sophie missing. Detective D.D. Warren, however, doesn’t buy the victim story of Tessa being beaten by her husband and her killing her husband in self-defense. Something doesn’t add up, and those somethings begin to grow. What really happened? Where is little Sophie? Detective Warren thinks Leoni killed both her husband and Shphie intentionally, and is covering up her actions in a methodical way. Why was the body frozen downstairs and moved up to the kitchen a day later?  Why doesn’t anyone believe that the husband would beat his wife? Why didn’t Leoni, a trained officer, wound her husband rather than kill him?

While searching desperately for Sophie and trying to solve this case, Detective D.D. Warren has her own personal issue: she discovers she is pregnant. Here we get a glimpse of the person behind the strong, hardworking, no nonsense officer. But it doesn’t stop her from working every angle and trying to uncover the truth.

We also learn much about the other strong character, State Trooper Tessa Leoni, someone you will again see in Gardner’s newest book, Touch & Go. In Tessa’s own words you learn of her rough start in life, her sweet marriage gone bad, and her personal struggle for self-esteem. And what lengths Tessa will go to find her daughter. Oh, yes, she’s looking too! Who really killed Brian? And why? Who stole the money from the State Troopers Fund? It looks a lot like Tessa, but as plots thicken, Warren’s instincts about Tessa’s guilt begin to unravel. This is what Gardner does best — adding big twists to her plots, and often you aren’t sure who is good and who is bad. Excellent combinations in a suspense novel!

Although Gardner’s books often have a formulaic outline, you still struggle to figure out what REALLY happened. A great read, both in audio and in print.

This is the fifth in the Detective D. D. Warren series, which begins with Alone.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin

May 29, 2013

We’re pleased to re-post this book review of the first in Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters Mysteries; we first ran it last year when Nancy was scheduled to visit our libraries, and we’re running it again because she’ll be here this week!

How to Murder a Millionaire

The Blackbird sisters come from an old, respectable, wealthy Pennsylvania family. At least, they did until their parents fled the country. Now they just come from an old family with a somewhat murky reputation. Their parents left a mixed legacy for the three sisters. Libby got the antique furniture, Emma got the artwork, and Nora was left the old homestead. This sounds great, except Nora also inherited the two million dollar tax bill that goes with the land. Of course, like most sisters, they rarely agree and each thinks the others got the better deal.

Nora, the one with the land, has taken a job as an assistant to the gossip columnist of the local newspaper. She’s trying to make a go of it, despite a boss who hates her, when she finds the body of Rory Pendergast. Rory was a close friend to the Blackbirds who also owned the newspaper and gave Nora her job, so Nora is determined to find out what happened to him. Because of the standing of the Blackbird family, the police agree that Nora might be better placed to find inside information about the elite families of Philadelphia.

How to Murder a Millionaire is a fast and fun beginning to The Blackbird Sisters Mysteries. It has an intriguing mystery and the author’s descriptions of fabulous parties and the stylish clothes worn by the well-to-do give you a glimpse into another lifestyle. The historical notes about Philadelphia were also interesting to me. There is a young police detective and a shady character Nora sells some land to who sometimes help her with her investigations.  Both of them are also potential love interests for Nora. In addition, the rivalry between the sisters is very true to life. You can actually want to protect and kill one of your siblings at the same time (not that I am speaking from experience!). I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Nancy Martin is the author of many mystery, suspense, historical and romance novels. Nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Mystery of 2002, How to Murder a Millionaire won the Romantic Times award for Best First Mystery and was a finalist for the Daphne DuMaurier Award. Nancy has also written the Roxy Abruzzo mystery series.

Nancy will appear at several Wake County Libraries in this week on a mystery author panel hosted by Raven award winner Molly Weston She will be joined by fellow mystery writers Deborah Coonts and Brad Parks.

Find and reserve this book in the catalog.

In A Dry Season by Peter Robinson

May 21, 2013

Detective Chief Inspector Banks is currently in trouble for insubordination, not an unusual occurrence.  However, this time was much worse because he actually punched his boss, Jimmy Riddle. Banks was suspended at first, but the powers that be forced Riddle to reinstate him.  Since then Riddle has made sure Banks was limited to the drudgery of desk duty and other mundane tasks.  Now Riddle has a new kind of punishment in mind. He appoints Banks to lead the investigation of a fifty year old murder that he doesn’t think can be solved.

To complicate matters, Riddle assigns Banks to work with the local DS, Annie Cabot, an officer with a reputation as a troublemaker.  Cabot took the position in a small town force where there is little activity because it was made clear to her she would not be in line for promotion any time soon.  She has been branded a loner who doesn’t work well with others on the force.  What Riddle doesn’t expect is that once Banks sinks his teeth in, he will do everything in his power to uncover the truth. Not only that, it turns out he and Cabot work well together, both on and off duty.

While this book is part of the Inspector Banks series, there is more to it than a straightforward detective story. The victim was discovered when a drought caused a reservoir to dry up, exposing a village which had been evacuated and flooded in the early 1950s. The woman was not buried by the flood, though; she was murdered and placed under a stone slab. Banks 1st task is to figure out when the body was buried before he can begin to find out why she was murdered.

Robinson’s novel switches back and forth between World War II, when the village was last occupied, and the present day investigation.  Telling the story this way makes the mystery more suspenseful, and  Robinson is able to make a very cold police case have relevance and urgency for the characters today; and I found the description of life during the war to be fascinating. This is my favorite book in the Inspector Banks series, although I would recommend all of them.  The series has also been recently made into a television series that was shown on WUNCTV in January.  Hopefully, they will repeat it soon!

Find and reserve this book in the library.

Good Bait by John Harvey

March 6, 2013

John Harvey’s new novel is a fast paced story about two parallel cases, both related to a vast criminal underworld in London.  The main story is Chief Inspector Karen Shields’ investigation into the death of a young immigrant found in a frozen pond on Hampstead Heath.    The more Shields looks into the case, the more complicated it becomes.   Another murder in the same area seems to involve some of the same people, and Shields is suddenly called to the office of superior officer to discuss the crimes with a major task force.  Shields and her team can’t determine if the young man’s murder is related to the suddenly escalating violent incidents between rival gangs in the neighborhood, or if there is a more personal element.

The other case is an unofficial one.  Detective Trevor Cordon has come to London from Cornwall out of a sense of guilt.  Maxine, a woman he had arrested many times, asked for his help locating her daughter, Letitia.  Cordon had tried to help Letitia out in the past by giving her a job, but tells Maxine there is nothing he can do this time.  So Maxine goes to London herself.  Now Cordon hears Maxine was killed by a train and no one knows whether she fell, was pushed, or committed suicide.  Cordon decides to track down Letitia and make sure she is okay.  The trouble is he is not the only person looking for her.  Cordon’s case will eventually cross with Shields’ investigation in an unexpected way.

I enjoyed this book, although at times it was difficult to keep the characters straight.  But this actually makes it seem more realistic since the real world is rarely as neat as detective novels.  Also, Harvey is good at the details of police organizations and investigations and his characters are as interesting as the plot lines. What makes a woman born in Jamaica become an officer in the British police force?  Why would Cordon feel ties to this particular child, and not the children of other folks he has run across in the course of his job?  Fans of Harvey’s other series’ will enjoy this new book, as will fans of British mysteries.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin

September 14, 2012

The Blackbird sisters come from an old, respectable, wealthy Pennsylvania family. At least, they did until their parents fled the country. Now they just come from an old family with a somewhat murky reputation. Their parents left a mixed legacy for the three sisters. Libby got the antique furniture, Emma got the artwork, and Nora was left the old homestead. This sounds great, except Nora also inherited the two million dollar tax bill that goes with the land. Of course, like most sisters, they rarely agree and each thinks the others got the better deal.

Nora, the one with the land, has taken a job as an assistant to the gossip columnist of the local newspaper. She’s trying to make a go of it, despite a boss who hates her, when she finds the body of Rory Pendergast. Rory was a close friend to the Blackbirds who also owned the newspaper and gave Nora her job, so Nora is determined to find out what happened to him. Because of the standing of the Blackbird family, the police agree that Nora might be better placed to find inside information about the elite families of Philadelphia.

How to Murder a Millionaire is a fast and fun beginning to The Blackbird Sisters Mysteries. It has an intriguing mystery and the author’s descriptions of fabulous parties and the stylish clothes worn by the well-to-do give you a glimpse into another lifestyle. The historical notes about Philadelphia were also interesting to me. There is a young police detective and a shady character Nora sells some land to who sometimes help her with her investigations.  Both of them are also potential love interests for Nora. In addition, the rivalry between the sisters is very true to life. You can actually want to protect and kill one of your siblings at the same time (not that I am speaking from experience!). I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Nancy Martin is the author of many mystery, suspense, historical and romance novels. Nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Mystery of 2002, HOW TO MURDER A MILLIONAIRE won the Romantic Times award for Best First Mystery and was a finalist for the Daphne DuMaurier Award. Nancy has also written the Roxy Abruzzo mystery series.

Nancy will appear at several Wake County Libraries in September on a mystery panel hosted by Raven award winner Molly Weston She will be joined by fellow mystery writers Deborah Coonts and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Find and reserve this book in the catalog.

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