Fall Preview: Great Books for Your Bookshelf
I’m really excited for September. There are lots of great mystery and thrillers to choose from. Below I’ve highlighted some of the most anticipated books of the fall season.
Heaven’s Keep – William Kent Krueger – September 1 – Hardback
If you haven’t read William Kent Kreuger yet, you’re missing one of the best mystery writers of the decade. Thanks to a great fan base, he continues to be nominated for the Anthony award year after year. His first novel, Iron Lake, is one of my all-time favorite great outdoor mysteries.
Synopsis: When a charter plane carrying Cork O’Connor’s wife, Jo, goes missing in a snowstorm over the Wyoming Rockies, Cork must accept the terrible truth that his wife is gone forever. But is she? In Heaven’s Keep, celebrated author William Kent Krueger puts his intrepid hero through the most harrowing mission of his life. Months after the tragedy, two women show up on Cork’s doorstep with evidence that the pilot of Jo’s plane was not the man he claimed to be. It may not be definitive proof, but it’s a ray of light in the darkness surrounding Cork’s loss. Agreeing to investigate, he travels to Wyoming, where he battles the interference of local law enforcement who may be on the take, the open hostility of the Northern Arapaho, who have much to lose if the truth is known, and the continuing attempts on his life by assassins who shadow his every move. At the center of all the danger and deception lies the possibility that Jo’s disappearance was not the end of her, that somewhere along the labyrinthine path of his search, maybe even in the broad shadow of Heaven’s Keep itself, Cork will find her alive and waiting for him.
The Hidden Man – David Ellis – September 3 – Hardback
I’d put David Ellis’ legal thrillers up against the best of John Grisham any day. His exhilarating first book, Line of Vision, won the Edgar award, and Publisher’s Weekly has already given this new legal thriller a starred review.
Synopsis: Jason Kolarich is a midwestern Everyman with a lineman’s build and an easy smart-ass remark. He’s a young, intelligent maverick, but he’s also struggling with an overwhelming emotional burden—one that threatens to unravel his own life, and possibly the lives of those around him. Twenty-seven years ago, two-year-old Audrey Cutler disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. She was never found. All the detectives had to go on were vague eyewitness accounts of a man running down the Cutlers’ street, apparently carrying someone. Without enough evidence to suggest otherwise, Griffin Perlini—a neighbor with prior offenses against minors—was arrested, but never convicted. The case is long closed when Perlini is murdered nearly thirty years later. Now a man named Mr. Smith appears in Jason Kolarich’s office, saying only that he represents a third party who wants the man charged with murder off the hook and that Kolarich is perfect for the job. The new client: Audrey Cutler’s older brother, Sammy—Kolarich’s estranged childhood best friend—a man he hasn’t seen in nearly twenty years. But when Kolarich starts receiving violent threats from Mr. Smith’s enigmatic employer, he figures out that the secrecy behind this nameless third party—and the key to winning Sammy’s case—is entangled with the mystery of Audrey’s disappearance. With his own life and Sammy’s in the balance, Kolarich has to put aside not only the mounting anxiety of the job but also a heart-wrenching personal tragedy in order to find out what really happened to Audrey all those years ago.
Tower – Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman – September 7 – Paperback Original
This will be one of the fall’s most anticipated novels. Two of today’s best hard-boiled writers come together. This will be a real treat.
Synopsis: Born into a rough Brooklyn neighborhood, outsiders in their own families, Nick and Todd forge a lifelong bond that persists in the face of crushing loss, blood, and betrayal. Low-level wiseguys with little ambition and even less of a future, the friends become major players in the potential destruction of an international crime syndicate that stretches from the cargo area at Kennedy Airport to the streets of New York, Belfast, and Boston to the alleyways of Mexican border towns. Their paths are littered with the bodies of undercover cops, snitches, lovers, and stone-cold killers. In the tradition of The Long Goodbye, Mystic River, and The Departed, Tower is a powerful meditation on friendship, fate, and fatality. A twice-told tale done in the unique format of parallel narratives that intersect at deadly crossroads, Tower is like a beautifully crafted knife to the heart. Imagine a Brooklyn rabbi/poet — Reed Farrel Coleman — collaborating with a mad Celt from the West of Ireland — Ken Bruen — to produce a novel unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. A ferocious blast of gut-wrenching passion that blends the fierce granite of Galway and the streetwise rap of Brooklyn. Fasten your seat belts, this is an experience that is as incendiary as it is heart shriven.
A Quiet Belief in Angels – R.J. Ellory – September 8 – Hardback
This book has already garnered high praise and accolades in the UK. Expect similar success in the States. This novel has it all.
Synopsis: 1939. In the small, rural community of Augusta Falls, Georgia, twelve-year-old Joseph Vaughan learns of the brutal assault and murder of a young girl, the first in a series of killings that will plague the community over the next decade. Joseph and his friends are determined to protect the town from the evil in their midst and they form “The Guardians” to watch over the community. But the murderer evades them and they watch helplessly as one child after another is taken. Even when the killings cease, a shadow of fear follows Joseph for the rest of his life. The past won’t stay buried and, fifty years later, Joseph must confront the nightmare that has overshadowed his entire life…
Dexter by Design - Jeff Lindsay - September 8 – Hardback
After a bizarre supernatural detour in the last Dexter thriller, Lindsay is back on firm ground. The books don’t seem to have the same following as the HBO series, but Lindsay deserves credit for creating the loveable serial killer, so I’m giving him another chance.
Synopsis: After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. Married life seems to agree with him: he’s devoted to his bride, his stomach is full, and his homicidal hobbies are nicely under control. But old habits die hard–and Dexter’s work as a blood spatter analyst never fails to offer new temptations that appeal to his offbeat sense of justice…and his Dark Passenger still waits to hunt with him in the moonlight. The discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a Miami beach chair) naturally piques Dexter’s curiosity and Miami’s finest realize they’ve got a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business.
Blood’s a Rover - James Ellroy – September 22 – Hardback
Ellroy concludes his amazing trilogy. I can’t wait for this one! No one writes American historical thrillers better than Ellroy.
Synopsis: Summer, 1968. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are dead. The assassination conspiracies have begun to unravel. A dirty-tricks squad is getting ready to deploy at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Black militants are warring in southside L.A. The Feds are concocting draconian countermeasures. And fate has placed three men at the vortex of History. Dwight Holly is J. Edgar Hoover’s pet strong-arm goon, implementing Hoover’s racist designs and obsessed with a leftist shadow figure named Joan Rosen Klein. Wayne Tedrow—ex-cop and heroin runner—is building a mob gambling mecca in the Dominican Republic and quickly becoming radicalized. Don Crutchfield is a window-peeping kid private-eye within tantalizing reach of right-wing assassins, left-wing revolutionaries and the powermongers of an incendiary era. Their lives collide in pursuit of the Red Goddess Joan—and each of them will pay “a dear and savage price to live History.”
Stardust - Joseph Kanon – September 29 – Hardback
The author of noir bestsellers The Good German and Los Alamos is back in this mesmerizing tale of post-war Hollywood.
Synopsis: Hollywood, 1945. Ben Collier has just arrived from wartorn Europe to find that his brother, Daniel, has died in mysterious circumstances. Why would a man with a beautiful wife, a successful career in the movies, and a heroic past choose to kill himself? Determined to uncover the truth, Ben enters the maze of the studio system and the uneasy world beneath the glossy shine of the movie business. For this is the moment when politics and the dream factories are beginning to collide as Communist witch hunts render the biggest stars and star makers vulnerable. Even here, where the devastation of Europe seems no more real than a painted movie set, the war casts long and dangerous shadows. When Ben learns troubling facts about his own family’s past, he is caught in the middle of a web of deception that shakes his moral foundation to its core.
The Gates -John Connolly – October 6 – Hardback
I will read everything this man writes until the day I die. I’m a huge fan of his Charlie Parker series, beginning with Every Dead Thing.
Synopsis: Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween, which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don’t mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe, a gap through which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out….Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it? Bursting with imagination and impossible to put down, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy, who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power. In this wonderfully strange and brilliant novel, John Connolly manages to re-create the magical and scary world of childhood that we’ve all left behind but so love to visit. And for those of you who thought you knew everything you could about particle physics and the universe, think again. This novel makes anything seem possible.
Nine Dragons – Michael Connelly – October 13 – Hardback
Harry Bosch is back for more. This time he travels to Hong Kong. As with all of Connelly’s Bosch series, this one is guaranteed to be a hit.
Synopsis: LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is off the chain in the fastest, fiercest, and highest-stakes case of his life. Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store’s owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li’s family that he’ll find the killer. The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation–not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li’s life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S. And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch’s life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he’s lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city’s Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad’s ferocity.
My Dead Body – Charlie Huston - October 13 – Paperback Original
The stirring conclusion of Huston’s Joe Pitt series. I’ll be the first in line for this one. No one writes hard-boiled crime fiction like Huston.
Synopsis: NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. NOT EVEN A VAMPYRE. Just ask Joe Pitt. After exposing the secret source of blood for half of Manhattan’s Vampyres, he’s definitely a dead man walking. He’s been a punching bag and a bullet magnet for every Vampyre Clan in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, not to mention a private eye, an enforcer, an exile, and a vigilante, but now he’s just a target with legs. For a year he’s sloshed around the subway tunnels and sewers, tapping the veins of the lost, while above ground a Vampyre civil war threatens to drag the Clans into the sunlight once and for all. What’s it gonna take to dig him up? Just the search for a missing girl who’s carrying a baby that just might be the destiny of Vampyre-kind. Not that Joe cares all that much about destiny and such. What he cares about is that his ex-girl Evie wants him to take the gig. What’s the risk? Another turn playing pigeon in a shooting gallery. What’s the reward? Maybe one shot of his own. What’s he aiming for? Nothing much. Just all the evil at the heart of his world.
London Boulevard – Ken Bruen - November 24 – Hardback
The king of today’s best hard-boiled fiction churns out another winner.
Synopsis: When Mitchell is released from prison after serving three years for a vicious attack he doesn’t even remember, Billy Norton is there to pick him up. But Norton works for Tommy Logan, a ruthless loan shark lowlife with plans Mitchell wants nothing to do with. Attempting to stay out of Logan’s way, he finds work at the Holland Park mansion of faded movie actress, Lillian Palmer, where he has to deal with her mysterious butler, Jordan. It isn’t long before Mitchell’s violent past catches up with him and people start getting hurt. When his disturbed sister Briony is threatened, Mitchell is forced to act.
Hollywood Moon – Joseph Wambaugh – November 24 – Hardback
Love police procedurals? Wambaugh continues his critically acclaimed Hollywood series.
Synopsis: There’s a saying at Hollywood station that the full moon brings out the beast–rather than the best–in the precinct’s citizens. One moonlit night, LAPD veteran Dana Vaughn and “Hollywood” Nate Weiss, a struggling-actor-turned cop, get a call about a young man who’s been attacking women. Meanwhile, two surfer cops known as Flotsam and Jetsam keep bumping into an odd, suspicious duo–a smooth-talking player in dreads and a crazy-eyed, tattooed biker. No one suspects that all three dubious characters might be involved in something bigger, more high-tech, and much more illegal. After a dizzying series of twists, turns, and chases, the cops will find they’ve stumbled upon a complex web of crime where even the criminals can’t be sure who’s conning whom.