Monday, November 16, 2015

New Molly Murphy Out Today

Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen

My Review:

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was especially thrilled when I learned earlier this year that there would be two Molly Murphy books out in 2015, The Edge of Dreams last spring and Away in a Manger this November. I truly cannot get enough of Molly, her family, her friends, and the city of New York City at the beginning of the 20th Century. Rhys Bowen has gifted readers with a Christmas story bonus that I wasn't able to wait until Christmas to read. Having been lucky enough to receive an ARC, I even got in a bit early before the November 17th publication date. This series is such a favorite for so many readers, and fans will be delighted with Away in a Manger. It's Molly at her detecting best, clever and resourceful with a maturing confidence in herself and her abilities. The author's meticulous research is evident in the historical details of New York City coming into a new century, where the newness of motor cars is in high contrast to the struggling problems of the immigrants, especially the untended children of the poor.

Molly is preparing for Daniel's mother, the other Mrs. Sullivan, to visit for the Christmas holidays, and while running errands with her baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie, two young immigrant children catch their attention. Under-dressed and obviously underfed, the two children, whose names are Tig and Emmy, are brother and sister out on the cold streets trying to earn money, as are many children at that time. First Bridie, then Molly are drawn to these children in particular, the very young Emmy with an angelic singing voice and the well-spoken Tig. They are not the usual children of the street encountered. So, Molly is pulled in by her heartstrings and Bridie's concern to see that Tig and Emmy have some warm clothes and food. It, of course, gets much more complicated, with the mystery of their missing mother and an "aunt" who isn't really an aunt, who lets them stay at her boarding house, but only at nighttime. Molly is determined to find out who these children are and what has happened to their mother, and her best friends Gus and Sid become involved and enchanted with the two beggar children. Molly's investigation will take her from the dregs of society to the upper echelon of it, and will reveal a dark, twisted plan of greed and heinous acts.

And, there is Christmas. Molly and her mother-in-law have never been completely comfortable with one another, and the Christmas that Molly hoped would show Daniel's mother how happy Daniel was with his family turns chaotic. Even the steady Daniel presents a major problem with which Molly must deal. There is much to do to save Christmas for everyone, the Sullivans and the two orphaned children, and a happy ending seems a desperate reach indeed. Much is at stake for many in Maggie's latest challenge.

Great characters, fascinating plot, and Christmas magic. Rhys Bowen never fails to deliver a fascinating, thrilling tale. This Christmas season she gives readers a gift that is sure to please.

Monday, November 9, 2015

November Books to Fall Into

Fall is definitely in the air now, with leaves painting the trees a magnificent blend of orange, red, and gold.  And, with the quickly falling leaves, it's a time for homemade soup and pumpkin pie and snuggling down with a good book.  November is blowing in some reads that will definitely help to make the darker days and inside stays alive with action. Some of the ones that I'm looking forward to the most are here for your perusal and consideration.  There is the fourth Gabriella Giovanni Mystery from Kristi Belcamino, whose series comes highly recommended by so many in the mystery/crime community, and a series I have scheduled as a catch-up series.  Jennifer Kincheloe's debut novel has been making a lot of noise, and its historical connection is fascinating.  Fate of the Union by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens is a follow-up novel to Supreme Justice, and it promises to be intensely riveting.  The 5th Headlines in High Heels mystery by LynDee Walker will without a doubt demonstrate just how much fun a murder mystery can be.  Charles Finch has his 9th Charles Lenox novel coming out, a series known for its mystery and historical touches.  Anne Perry's Christmas novella will be out on November 10th, and I'll probably save this one for closer to Christmas to read.  Rhys Bowen is giving those of us who are Molly Murphy fans an extra treat this year, a Molly Christmas novel.  I doubt I can even wait for the publication date on this bonus book, as I have an ARC waiting for me now.  And, Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke have their second collaborative novel in the Under Suspicion series arriving in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend, much to the delight of fans (count me in) of their first collaboration, The Cinderella Murder.  So, here's a great start to late fall reading.  Grab a blanket and enjoy! 

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Gabriella Giovanni, #4) by Kristi Belcamino  (Nov. 3rd)
     Jacket Description:

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops' reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies--the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her--she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.
It is not until evil strikes Gabriella's own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves...

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe  (Nov. 3rd)           
     Jacket Description: 

It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father's collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief's son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.

Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Fate of the Union by Max Allan Collins and Matthew V. Clemens  (Nov. 10th)
     Jacket Description:

When a retired colleague dies of an apparent suicide, ex–Secret Service agent Joe Reeder knows there must be far more to the story. Why did the man leave a desperate message for Reeder moments before dying? And what could possibly make such a seasoned veteran fear for his life?
FBI Special Agent Patti Rogers has a mystery of her own to solve: she’s leading a task force investigating a brutal series of similar but seemingly unconnected murders across the DC area. Are they serial killings or something even more sinister?
Could Reeder and Rogers be tracking down different facets of the same conspiracy? And how do the continued assassination attempts on a presidential hopeful figure into an unprecedented attack on the heart of government?
The answers to these questions are uncovered in this riveting sequel to the bestselling Supreme Justice.

 Cover Shot (#5, Headlines in High Heels Mystery) by LynDee Walker
     Jacket Description:

“Will keep you hooked until the very last page. The storyline and plot will keep you guessing until the end, but you’ll end up wanting the best for one of the characters. Highly recommended.” – Obsessed Book Reviews
“The plot kept me guessing, and I was rooting for Nichelle the entire time. I read this book in one sitting, as I could not put it down until the very last page. Now I am quite happily looking forward to reading all of the other books in the series!” – Librarian at Jefferson-Madison Regional Library System
It’s been a slow news month in Richmond, and crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is enjoying the downtime when ominous messages and a dead body kick things into high gear. And that’s before the guy with the rifle takes a hospital full of people hostage.
Up to the top of her knee-high Prada boots in leads, Nichelle finds her favorite detectives under pressure to make an arrest, but it doesn’t add up—and ignoring the “why” of this story could cost Nichelle the most important person in her life.
With too much to lose, a shot at the story of a lifetime, and a missing bullet that might be the key, landing this headline could save the day, but can Nichelle dig up the truth before the killer buries her with it?

Home by Nightfall (Charles Lenox #9) by Charles Finch (Nov. 10th)

It's London in 1876, and the whole city is abuzz with the enigmatic disappearance of a famous foreign pianist. Lenox has an eye on the matter – as a partner in a now-thriving detective agency, he's a natural choice to investigate. Just when he's tempted to turn his focus to it entirely, however, his grieving brother asks him to come down to Sussex, and Lenox leaves the metropolis behind for the quieter country life of his boyhood. Or so he thinks. In fact, something strange is afoot in Markethouse: small thefts, books, blankets, animals, and more alarmingly a break-in at the house of a local insurance agent. As he and his brother to investigate this small accumulation of mysteries, Lenox realizes that something very strange and serious indeed may be happening, more than just local mischief. Soon, he's racing to solve two cases at once, one in London and one in the country, before either turns deadly. Blending Charles Finch's trademark wit, elegance, and depth of research, this new mystery, equal parts Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, may be the finest in the series.  

 A Christmas Escape by Anne Perry (Nov. 10th)
     Jacket Description:

For countless readers, Christmastime means a delicious new holiday mystery from New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry. A Christmas Escape, her thirteenth noel to the season, transports us to the Mediterranean island of Stromboli for an unconventional Yuletide adventure—and an unforgettable volcanic encounter.

Lonely Charles Latterly arrives at his small hotel hoping that the island’s blue skies and gentle breezes will brighten his spirits. Unfortunately, there’s no holiday cheer to be found among his fellow guests, who include a pompous novelist, a stuffy colonel, a dangerously ill-matched married couple, and an ailing old man. The one charming exception is orphaned teenager Candace Finbar, who takes Charles under her wing and introduces him to the island’s beauty. But the tranquility of the holiday is swiftly disrupted by a violent quarrel, an unpleasant gentleman’s shocking claims of being stalked, and the ominous stirrings of the local volcano. Then events take an even darker turn: A body is found, and Charles quickly realizes that the killer must be among the group of guests.

Captivating in its depiction of untamed nature in all its awesome power, and of the human heart in the throes of transformation, A Christmas Escape gifts readers with Anne Perry’s talent for making the season brighter—and more thrilling.

Away in a Manger (A Molly Murphy Mystery) by Rhys Bowen  (Nov. 17th)

     Jacket Description:

It''s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing "Away in a Manger." Bridie is touched by the girl's ragged clothes and wants to help her out if they can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But Molly discovers the boy is the girl's older brother. They've come from England and their mother has disappeared, and they're living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly.
Molly quickly realizes that these children are not the usual city waifs. They are well-spoken and clearly used to better things. So who are they? And what's happened to their mother? As Molly looks for a way to help the children and for the answers to these questions, she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society.
This is another compelling and richly drawn mystery from New York Times bestseller Rhys Bowen.

All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Nov. 17th)
     Jacket Description:

The second thrilling novel in the New York Times bestselling Under Suspicion series following The Cinderella Murder, featuring intrepid television producer Laurie Moran as she investigates the case of a missing bride.

Five years ago Amanda Pierce was excitedly preparing to marry her college sweetheart in a lavish ceremony at The Grand Victoria Hotel in Palm Beach. Then, with their guests and families on site, Amanda disappeared.

In present-day New York City, Laurie Moran realizes a missing bride is the perfect cold case for her investigative television series, Under Suspicion. She and her team set out to recreate the night of the disappearance at the Florida resort with Amanda’s friends and family in attendance, hoping to shed new light on the mystery as the series has done in past episodes. With a jealous sister, playboy groomsmen, Amanda’s former fiancé now married to a bridesmaid, and rumors about the “beloved” bride herself, Laurie and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley quickly realize everyone has a theory about why Amanda vanished into thin air.

One thing is certain: whoever was behind Amanda’s disappearance plans to keep the truth hidden “until death do they part…”

The bestselling Under Suspicion series from Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke offers “plenty of intrigue and excitement” (Publishers Weekly, on The Cinderella Murder). Featuring the chilling suspense and elegant settings readers have come to love, All Dressed in White is not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Reads: Get Your Scare On

Halloween is the perfect time to get your scare on.  Below are some suggested scary, creepy reading suggestions for Halloween in the short story form.  I especially enjoy short stories at this time of year, as you can get scared by so many different authors.  The listed collections are heavy on the classic tales, but there is some contemporary or more contemporary thrown in, too.  So, now that Halloween is right on our doorstep, read some of these delicious stories to set the mood of the season.  You might want to keep a light on after. 

In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe, Edited by Leslie S. Klinger
(Jacket Description)
Edgar Allan Poe did not invent the tale of terror. There were American, English, and Continental writers who preceded Poe and influenced his work. Similarly, there were many who were in turn influenced by Poe’s genius and produced their own popular tales of supernatural literature. This collection features masterful tales of terror by authors who, by and large, are little-remembered for their writing in this genre. Even Bram Stoker, whose Dracula may be said to be the most popular horror novel of all time, is not known as a writer of short fiction.
Distinguished editor Leslie S. Klinger is a world-renowned authority on those twin icons of the Victorian age, Sherlock Holmes, and Dracula. His studies into the forefathers of those giants led him to a broader fascination with writers of supernatural literature of the nineteenth century. The stories in this collection have been selected by him for their impact. Each is preceded by a brief biography of the author and an overview of his or her literary career and is annotated to explain obscure references.
Read on, now, perhaps with a flickering candle or flashlight at hand . . .

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
(Jacket Description)
 One might not expect a woman of Edith Wharton's literary stature to be a believer of ghost stories, much less be frightened by them, but as she admits in her postscript to this spine-tingling collection, "...till I was twenty-seven or -eight, I could not sleep in the room with a book containing a ghost story." Once her fear was overcome, however, she took to writing tales of the supernatural for publication in the magazines of the day. These eleven finely wrought pieces showcase her mastery of the traditional New England ghost story and her fascination with spirits, hauntings, and other supernatural phenomena. Called "flawlessly eerie" by Ms. magazine, this collection includes "Pomegranate Seed," "The Eyes," "All Souls'," "The Looking Glass," and "The Triumph of Night."

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
(Jacket Description)
Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he realtes in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. "Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story," Dahl writes. "It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts." For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favorite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.

Terrifying Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
(Jacket Description)
The melancholy, brilliance, passionate lyricism, and torment of Edgar Allan Poe are all well represented in this collection. Here, in one volume, are his masterpieces of mystery, terror, humor, and adventure, including stories such as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Pit and the Pendulum, to name just a few, that defined American romanticism and secured Poe as one of the most enduring literary voices of the nineteenth century.

The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, edited by Leslie S. Klinger
(Jacket Description)
"With an increasing distance from the twentieth century…the New England poet, author, essayist, and stunningly profuse epistolary Howard Phillips Lovecraft is beginning to emerge as one of that tumultuous period’s most critically fascinating and yet enigmatic figures," writes Alan Moore in his introduction to The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft.  Despite this nearly unprecedented posthumous trajectory, at the time of his death at the age of forty-six, Lovecraft's work had appeared only in dime-store magazines, ignored by the public and maligned by critics. Now well over a century after his birth, Lovecraft is increasingly being recognized as the foundation for American horror and science fiction, the source of "incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction" (Joyce Carol Oates).
In this volume, Leslie S. Klinger reanimates Lovecraft with clarity and historical insight, charting the rise of the erstwhile pulp writer, whose rediscovery and reclamation into the literary canon can be compared only to that of Poe or Melville. Weaving together a broad base of existing scholarship with his own original insights, Klinger appends Lovecraft's uncanny oeuvre and Kafkaesque life story in a way that provides context and unlocks many of the secrets of his often cryptic body of work.
Over the course of his career, Lovecraft―"the Copernicus of the horror story" (Fritz Leiber)―made a marked departure from the gothic style of his predecessors that focused mostly on ghosts, ghouls, and witches, instead crafting a vast mythos in which humanity is but a blissfully unaware speck in a cosmos shared by vast and ancient alien beings. One of the progenitors of "weird fiction," Lovecraft wrote stories suggesting that we share not just our reality but our planet, and even a common ancestry, with unspeakable, godlike creatures just one accidental revelation away from emerging from their epoch of hibernation and extinguishing both our individual sanity and entire civilization.
Following his best-selling The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Leslie S. Klinger collects here twenty-two of Lovecraft's best, most chilling "Arkham" tales, including "The Call of Cthulhu," At the Mountains of Madness, "The Whisperer in Darkness," "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Colour Out of Space," and others. With nearly 300 illustrations, including full-color reproductions of the original artwork and covers from Weird Tales and Astounding Stories, and more than 1,000 annotations, this volume illuminates every dimension of H. P. Lovecraft and stirs the Great Old Ones in their millennia of sleep.
280 color illustrations

The October Country by Ray Bradbury
(Jacket Description)
Haunting, harrowing, and downright horrifying, this classic collection from the modern master of the fantastic features:
THE SMALL ASSASSIN: a fine, healthy baby boy was the new mother's dream come true -- or her nightmare . . .
THE EMISSARY: the faithful dog was the sick boy's only connectioin with the world outside -- and beyond . . .
THE WONDERFUL DEATH OF DUDLEY STONE: a most remarkable case of murder -- the deceased was delighted!
And more!

Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Introduced and Illustrated by Audrey Niffenegger
(Jacket Description)
Collected and introduced by the bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry—including her own fabulous new illustrations for each piece, and a new story by Niffenegger—this is a unique and haunting anthology of some of the best ghost stories of all time.

From Edgar Allen Poe to Kelly Link, M.R. James to Neil Gaiman, H. H. Munro to Audrey Niffenegger herself, Ghostly reveals the evolution of the ghost story genre with tales going back to the eighteenth century and into the modern era, ranging across styles from Gothic Horror to Victorian, with a particular bent toward stories about haunting—haunted children, animals, houses. Every story is introduced by Audrey Niffenegger, an acclaimed master of the craft, with some words on its background and why she chose to include it. Niffenegger’s own story is, “A Secret Life With Cats.”

Perfect for the classic and contemporary ghost story aficionado, this is a delightful volume, beautifully illustrated. Ghostly showcases the best of the best in the field, including Edith Wharton, P.G. Wodehouse, A.S. Byatt, Ray Bradbury, and so many more.

Online, Free Sources for Classic Scary Short Stories:

Halloween Stories (classics)    Poe, Lovecraft, James, Irving, Bierce, Shelley, Stevenson

The Gothic, Ghost, Horror, & Weird Library

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Leafs Are Turning and Books Are Booming

The last two weeks of October are giving birth to some amazing reads by authors that we've come to rely on for reading that captivates us.  The hour we gain on November 1st when we set our clocks back an hour will be sorely needed to cope with the sleep we've lost over late nights spent staying with these stories we can't put down.  I've read only one so far, but the week isn't over, and there's next week to come.  So, here are some books that will "literally" make your day.  (I've put my personal comments in bold print at the end of each book description.)

Out October 20, 2015

What You See by Hank Phillippi Ryan

(Jacket Description)
Why would a father abduct his own child? A wedding is planned in Jane Ryland's family, but there's a calamity instead. Nine-year-old Gracie—supposed to be the flower girl—has been taken by her stepdad. Where are they? Is the girl in danger? Reporter Jane Ryland learns there's a limit to the bonds of family—and learns to her peril what happens when loved ones are pushed too far.
Meanwhile, Detective Jake Brogan's got a doozy of a case. At Boston's historic Faneuil Hall, a man is stabbed to death in front of a crowd of tourists snapping photos of the murder on their cell phones. Solving the case should be easy, but the pictures and surveillance video lead to a dark conspiracy of extortion and stolen lives.
In her newest ripped from her own headlines thriller, Ryan explores the terrifying realities of today's constant surveillance and the dire consequences to those unwittingly in the spotlight. WHAT YOU SEE puts Jane and Jake face to face with deception, intrigue, and—if they make the wrong decisions—disaster.

I was fortunate to receive and advanced reader's copy of What You See, and this fourth Jane Ryland book is one of my favorite reads this year.  My review can be found at  

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

(Jacket Description)
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible--and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them...

Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

As a major Harry Potter fan, I, like many fans, wondered at J.K. Rowlings' foray into crime/mystery writing as Robert Galbraith.  I can say with no hesitation that I am an equally enthusiastic fan of these Cormoran Strike books.  

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

(Jacket Description)
From the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette.  
Chronicling General Lafayette’s years in Washington’s army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War.  Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way.

Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.

While Vowell’s yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past—and present—her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people.  Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette’s sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore.  As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction.  He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what the founders hoped this country could be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing, singular past.

Vowell’s narrative look at our somewhat united states is humorous, irreverent and wholly original.

Sarah Vowell's books are how history should be taught.  She ferrets out the underbelly of people and events, and she narrates the findings in a witty, engaging voice.  Her book revealing much of the ugliness of America's role in acquiring Hawaii, Unfamiliar Fishes, is one of my favorite books.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

(Jacket Description)
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

Kate Morton has amazed us with her previous blockbuster hits full of family secrets and the past coming to play in the future.  The Lake House promises to be just as intriguing, and it's largely set in one of my favorite setting of Cornwall.

The Sherlock Holmes Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK Publishing, with foreward by Leslie Klinger

(Jacket Description)
The Sherlock Holmes Book, the latest in DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, tackles the most "elementary" of subjects — the world of Sherlock Holmes, as told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Sherlock Holmes Book is packed with witty illustrations, clear graphics, and memorable quotes that make it the perfect Sherlock Holmes guide, covering every case of the world's greatest detective, from A Study in Scarlet to The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place, placing the stories in a wider context. Stories include at-a-glance flowcharts that show how Holmes reaches his conclusions through deductive reasoning, and character guides provide handy reference for readers and an invaluable resource for fans of the Sherlock Holmes films and TV series.
The Sherlock Holmes Book holds a magnifying glass to the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective.

I've already starting delighting in this big book of Sherlock.  For Sherlock fans, it's like a kid in a candy store, and with renowned Sherlockian Les Klinger's foreward, it's especially thrilling.  I'll be including Les' Oct. 15th publication of In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe in my Halloween post this weekend.  

Out October 27, 2015

Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal

(Jacket Description)
December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States’ entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady’s aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt’s inner circle—as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world
Fifth in the Maggie Hope series, Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante has been long awaited by me.  Nobody does historical fiction mystery better than Susan Elia MacNeal.

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

(Jacket Description)
In a shadowy antiques shop in Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell happens upon a curious piece of music—the Incendio waltz—and is immediately entranced by its unusual composition. Full of passion, torment, and chilling beauty, and seemingly unknown to the world, the waltz, its mournful minor key, its feverish arpeggios, appear to dance with a strange life of their own. Julia is determined to master the complex work and make its melody heard.

Back home in Boston, from the moment Julia’s bow moves across the strings, drawing the waltz’s fiery notes into the air, something strange is stirred—and Julia’s world comes under threat. The music has a terrifying and inexplicable effect on her young daughter, who seems violently transformed. Convinced that the hypnotic strains of Incendio are weaving a malevolent spell, Julia sets out to discover the man and the meaning behind the score.

Her quest beckons Julia to the ancient city of Venice, where she uncovers a dark, decades-old secret involving a dangerously powerful family that will stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

Playing with Fire is a stand-alone novel from Tess Gerritsen.  Her stand-alones are absolutely as fascinating as her long-running series Rizzoli and Isles. 

Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day

(Cover Description)
In this freshly baked series, author Maddie Day lifts the lid on a small town in southern Indiana, where a newcomer is cooking up a new start--until a murderer muddles the recipe...

Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans ‘n Pancakes, but when the mayor's disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she'll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town's darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer--before she's the next to die...

Flipped for Murder is the first in the new Country Store series by Maddie Day.  Maddie also writes as Edith Maxwell.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Guestroom Bed is Full or My Bouchercon Booty of Books and My Bouchercon Wrap-Up

So, my boxes have finished arriving from Bouchercon, and I have laid my book booty out on the guestroom bed where I can ogle it appropriately.  Soon, I'll feel compelled to shelve the books, but for now, I just want to enjoy looking at them and remembering what a great time I had at Bouchercon meeting my favorite authors and meeting new favorites.

Books that I took with me to Bouchercon included ones not yet signed by my favorite authors since my first Bouchercon in 2013.  Authors include Hank Phillip Ryan, Elly Griffiths/Domenica de Rosa (and Dom's publisher rep, Katrina Kruse), Anne Cleeland, Deborah Crombie, Rhys Bowen (and her dapper husband, John), Susan Elia MacNeal, Karin Salvalaggio, Laurie R. King, Catriona McPherson, GM Malliet, Susanna Calkins, and Carla Buckley.    I love these authors dearly and am so proud to know them.  Of course, I picked up some more from these authors, too, as I'm trying to go back and get all the Laurie King's Mary Russell books in hardback, and I'm collecting Elly Griffiths' British covers for her Ruth Galloway series.  I also bought GM Malliet's latest, The Haunting Season.  I'm a a bit behind on Susanna Calkins' Lucy Campion series, but I will be catching up on those this winter, as I'm crazy about seventeenth century England and Lucy navigating it.  Also accompanying me to Bouchercon were some new authors I've just started reading and love.  James Ziskin and his Ellie Stone series went with me, but, everytime I saw Jim, I didn't have his books with me.  Say, bookplates.  Right before Bouchercon, I was able to fit in the first Deborah Knott by Margaret Maron, and needless to say, I bought the rest of them and got them signed by Margaret.  Yay!

And then there are the new authors I met and bought and can't wait to read.  Kristi Belcamino was such a delight and has the brightest smile, and I have it on expert authority (Kristopoher Zgorski) that her books are as great as she is.  Julia Dahl was a sweetheart, too, and I added Invisible City to my signed and TBR pile.  Laura DiSilverio had already sent me a copy of The Reckoning Stones and signed it, but I was able to meet her and thank her and see what a lovely person she is.  I was so excited to finally meet Lori Rader-Day and get her to sign The Black Hour for me.  She is full of life and laughter, and seeing her speechless when accepting her award for The Black Hour was priceless.  Meeting online pals Edith Maxwell and Kaye Barley, authors and classy ladies extraordinaire was another highlight.  Other amazing author meetings were Annamaria Alfieri, Allen Eskens, Terry Shames, Jonathan Moore, SJ Rozan, Reed Farrel Coleman, Matthew Clemens, Diana Chambers, Leslie Budewitz, and Alafair Burke.  Matthew Clemens gets my award for most hugable, and I love to hug.  SJ Rozan has promised me a calendar with goats from her exotic travels.  I bought her accordion calendar last year, and it was fabulous!  Another new person that I couldn't wait to meet and finally did was Dru Ann Love, famed blogger of Dru's Book Musings.  She is so sweet and always has a smile.  And, the first new person I met was Ali Karim, with whom I took a cool sunglasses picture.  I even met new relatives. Standing in a line behind author Stacy Allen, we discovered that my great-great-great-great uncle Daniel Boone is her great-great-great-great grandfather.  And, then there was the marvelous girl from my hometown that I finally caught up with, Teresa Smith Wilson, who worked so hard to help make this Bouchercon a success.   

And how could I list the people I loved seeing at Bouchercon without some of the most important and treasured book friends I have.  Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books is my guru, my enabler (of many books), and someone who I truly adore.  My travel buddy and friend since my mother taught us kindergarten, Susan Matchett, has been to both Bouchercons with me, and she makes my running around trying to see everyone go so much more smoothly than it could ever without her.  She is one of my truest friends, and I love her dearly.  John Bychowski and Meredith Taylor are fellow Friends of Laurie (King), and they are two of the most fun and reliable people I know.  John, of course, takes a few pictures of all the goings-on (around 1,700?) and chronicles Bouchercon in photos that are professional and flattering to us all.  Meredith is just about as crazy as I am, and I was so happy to finally spend some time with her.  It was great reconnecting with a friend from my first Bouchercon, Connie Smith, and sharing some meals with her.

I've tried to remember most everyone that I was able to have a moment with, but I'm sure that I've forgotten someone, and that will gut me.  So, I may be updating this post to accommodate my aging memory.  I'm just in awe of all the people that made this event so special for me, whether we shared a meal or just a quick talk.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bouchercon 2015 -- Authors and Books and Friends, Oh My

Bouchercon 2015 may have ended on this past Sunday, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.  When you attend this extraordinary gathering of authors, fans, and book industry people, you realize that Bouchercon is not a place, not a thing, not an event to come and go.  Bouchercon is truly a state of mind that draws you into a love reaching beyond even the books you can't wait to get signed or the authors who, yes, John Bychowski, produce a distinct scream of recognition.  You become a part of a community that stays in your heart and mind, sharing in your enthusiasm and supporting you in your whatever your "book thing" is.  As a blogger, I gain encouragement and guidance.  As a reader and fan, I get to live out every fantasy about meeting one's favorite author.  As a just plain person, I get to witness and experience a generosity and genuineness wherever I turn.  If I were to advise a first time Bouchercon attendee, I would say simple, go for the books, return for the love.

I plan on doing several posts on this gathering, but to begin my recap of my four and a half days in Raleigh, I am letting a few of my favorite photos do the talking.  The joy shown on the faces speaks volumes.

                                          Ali Karim

                                          Kaye Barley

                                          Annamaria Alfieri and Laurie King

                                                     Catriona McPherson

                                             Rhys Bowen

                                           Matthew Clemens and Kristopher Zgorski

                                                     Kristi Belcamino

                                                     Anne Cleeland

                                                     Hank Phillippi Ryan

                                                      Hank Phillippi Ryan

                                          Meredith Taylor, Anne Cleeland, and Elly Griffiths

                                          Terry Shames, Rhys Bowen, and Guest

                                          Guest, Susan Matchett, and Connie Smith

                                           Caroline Todd and Debs Crombie

                                           A Panel in Session

GM Maliett
                                                       Political Espionage Panel  

                                               Kristopher Zgorski and Susan Elia MacNeal

                                                      Karin Salvalaggio

                                                     Les Klinger and Laurie King

                                           Stiff Upper Lip Panel for British Mysteries

                                                       Sherlock and Watson (?)

                                               Susan Matchett and Teresa Smith Wilson

                                                      Lunch with the Usual Suspects

                                                               Michael Robertson

                                                                       Julia Dahl

                                                                   Deborah Crombie

                                                                  Carla Buckley

                                                               Margaret Maron

                                                                    Lori Rader-Day

                                         Traditional Mysteries as Comfort Reads Panel

                                                     Les Klinger and Laurie King

                                                                   Terri Bischoff

                                                                  Lori Rader-Day

                                                                      Rhys Bowen

                                                                       Art Taylor

                                                               Hank Phillippi Ryan

                                                     Managing Red Herrings Panel

                                                                   Cemetery Tour

                                             'Literary' vs. 'Pulp' Traditions Panel
                                               With Travel Buddy Susan Matchett

                                                                 Margaret Maron