New Releases available in the New Year
There’s a lot to look forward to in 2009. Below is a list of hardback and paperback crime novels which will soon be available. I can’t wait to read Charlie Huston’s new book, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, and Barry Eisler’s new stand-alone, Fault Line.
LATE DECEMBER ARRIVALS
The Intruders – Michael Marshall – December 30 (Paperback)
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this author. After receiving a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly for this newest thriller, I definitely going to purchase this book ASAP.
Synopsis: For ex-cop Jack Whalen, it all begins with a visit from a childhood friend, a lawyer who needs Jack’s help. The family of a noted scientist has been senselessly, brutally murdered, and the scientist is nowhere to be found. But Jack has more pressing concerns. The past that drove him from the L.A.P.D. continues to haunt him. And his wife has disappeared during a routine business trip to Seattle. She never checked into her hotel, she isn’t answering her cell phone. She is gone. A third missing person, a little girl in Oregon, is found miles away. But it soon becomes obvious that she is not an innocent victim . . . and far from defenseless. Something very strange is happening—a perplexing series of troubling events that’s leading Jack Whalen into the shadows. And the secrets buried there are unlike anything he, or anyone, could possibly have imagined.
Missing Witness – Gordon Campbell – December 31 (Paperback)
Synopsis: 1973, Phoenix, Arizona. A beautiful woman with a gun enters a house with her twelve-year-old daughter. When they leave, the man inside is dead. Though the only witness to the fatal shooting is in a catatonic state and unable to testify, the police, the attorney general’s office, and the media have already declared the woman guilty. But the best trial lawyer in Phoenix, Dan Morgan, has been hired to prove her innocent. For Morgan and his idealistic young protégé, Doug McKenzie, the goal is to win at any cost. But there are no easy answers, only shocks and mysteries, as the question of guilt versus innocence takes on a profound and disturbing new meaning.
Nemesis – Jo Nesbo – Jan. 6 (Hardback)
Synopsis: Grainy closed-circuit television footage shows a man walking into an Oslo bank and putting a gun to a cashier’s head. He tells the young woman to count to twenty-five. When the robber doesn’t get his money in tim
e, the cashier is executed, and two million Norwegian kroner disappear without a trace. Police Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case. While Hole’s girlfriend is away in Russia, an old flame decides to get in touch. Former girlfriend and struggling artist Anna Bethsen invites Hole to dinner, and he can’t resist a visit. But the evening ends in an all too familiar way as Hole awakens with a thundering headache, a missing cell phone, and no memory of the past twelve hours. That same morning, Anna is found shot dead in her bed. Hole begins to receive threatening e-mails. Is someone trying to frame him for this unexplained death? Meanwhile, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery. As the death toll continues to mount, Hole becomes a prime suspect in a criminal investigation led by his longtime adversary Tom Waaler and Waaler’s vigilante police force. Racing from the cool, autumnal streets of Oslo to the steaming villages of Brazil, Hole is determined to absolve himself of suspicion by uncovering all the information needed to crack both cases. But the ever-threatening Waaler is not finished with his old archenemy quite yet.
The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death – Charlie Huston – Jan. 13 (Hardback)
I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of this latest Huston novel. With a great review by Stephen King and the success of The Shotgun Rule, this is destined to be the best book of 2009.
Synopsis: The fact is, whether it’s a dog hit by a train or an old lady who had a heart attack on the can, someone has to clean up the nasty mess. And that someone is Webster Fillmore Goodhue, who just may be the least likely person in Los Angeles County to hold down such a gig. With his teaching career derailed by tragedy, Web hasn’t done much for the last year except some heavy slacking. But when his only friend in the world lets him know that his freeloading days are over, and he tires of taking cash from his spaced-out mom and refuses to take any more from his embittered father, Web joins Clean Team–-and soon finds himself sponging a Malibu suicide’s brains from a bathroom mirror, and flirting with the man’s bereaved and beautiful daughter. Then things get weird: The dead man’s daughter asks a favor. Her brother’s in need of somebody who can clean up a mess. Every cell in Web’s brain tells him to turn her down, but something else makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. Is it her laugh? Her desperate tone of voice? The chance that this might be history’s strangest booty call? Whatever it is, soon enough it’s Web who needs the help when gun-toting California cowboys start showing up on his doorstep. What’s the deal? Is it something to do with what he cleaned up in that motel room in Carson? Or is it all about the brewing war between rival trauma cleaners? Web doesn’t have a clue, but he’ll need to get one if he’s going to keep from getting his face kicked in. Again. And again. And again.
Pariah – Dave Zeltserman – Jan. 15 (Paperback)
I loved Zeltserman’s Small Crimes. For noir fans, it’s essential reading. I will definitely be first in line when this latest book comes out.
Synopsis: Once part of the holy triumvirate ruling the South Boston Irish Mob, Kyle Nevin is set up with the Feds by head mobster, Red Mahoney, which leads him to a court case and a stretch in the slammer. Now out of prison, Kyle wants revenge on his old boss and mentor, and just as importantly, to reclaim his former glory.A kidnapping gone horribly wrong leads to a major book deal for Kyle and a newfound celebrity status – but also brings about bigger problems for both himself and anyone unlucky enough to cross his path.”Pariah” is a heady mix of crime novel, history, social commentary and a satirical look at the publishing industry.
L.A. Outlaws – T. Jefferson Parker – Feb. 3 (Paperback)
Synopsis: Allison is an L.A. celebrity, a folk hero, and a modern-day Jesse James who loves a good armed robbery. She has a compulsion to steal, a knack for publicity, and the conscience to give it all to charity. In fact, one of her biggest fans is a cop. And no one’s ever been hurt—until last night. Now she and the rookie deputy are on the run for their lives.
Drood – Dan Simmons – Feb. 9 (Hardback)
Synopsis: On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens–at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world–hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
The Renegades – T. Jefferson Parker – Feb. 19 (Hardback)
Synopsis: Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Charlie Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his cruiser. The outlaws may not carry six-shooters, but they’re strapped all the same. Along the desolate and dusty roads of this new frontier, Hood prefers to ride alone, and he prefers to ride at night. At night, his headlights illuminate only the patch of pavement ahead of him: all the better to hide from the demons—and the dead outlaws—receding in his rearview mirror. But he doesn’t always get what he wants— certainly not when he’s assigned a partner named Terry Laws, a county veteran who everyone calls “Mr. Wonderful.” And not when Laws is shot dead in the passenger seat and Hood is left to bear witness by someone who knew that Mr. Wonderful didn’t always live up to his nickname. As he sets out to find the gunman, Hood knows one thing for sure: The West is a state of mind, one where the bad guys sometimes wear white hats—and the good guys seek justice in whatever shade of gray they can find it.
Blood and Bone – William Lashner – Feb. 10 (Hardback)
Synopsis: For a son, every funeral before his father’s death is a rehearsal and every funeral thereafter is a memorial. Kyle Byrne, the illegitimate son of a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, had to sneak into his father’s funeral when he was fourteen years old. Twelve years later, his father’s death still casts a shadow upon his heart. Now amiable and handsome, Kyle finds himself drifting through a life of slack. With his house in foreclosure and his part-time job lost, he spends his days playing Xbox and his nights in Philly bars, drinking way too much and sleeping with the wrong type of women. Life is, well, actually pretty damn sweet. But when his father’s former law partner is brutally murdered, the cops see Kyle as a possible suspect and start asking uncomfortable questions about his father’s death. And after a strange encounter with one of his father’s former clients, Kyle enters into a search for answers that leads from his father’s past to the highest pinnacles of power—and forces Kyle to lay bare the deceptions and losses in his own life. Just when it seems he’s close to learning the truth about his father and the murder, Kyle is reminded of that old adage “be careful what you wish for.” Because Kyle Byrne’s most fervent wish is suddenly about to come true—with a vengeance.
Chasing Darkness – Robert Crais – Feb. 24 (Paperback)
I’ve already read this one, and this latest Crais mystery definitely reminds me of the earlier books in the Elvis Cole series. The story starts with a intriguing puzzle, and it’s much darker than recent novels. You can always count on Crais to keep churning out highly entertaining but strong mysteries.
Synopsis: It’s fire season, and the hills of Los Angeles are burning. When police and fire department personnel rush door to door in a frenzied evacuation effort, they discover the week-old corpse of an apparent suicide. But the gunshot victim is less gruesome than what they find in his lap: a photo album of seven brutally murdered young women — one per year, for seven years. And when the suicide victim is identified as a former suspect in one of the murders, the news turns Elvis Cole’s world upside down. Three years earlier Lionel Byrd was brought to trial for the murder of a female prostitute named Yvonne Bennett. A taped confession coerced by the police inspired a prominent defense attorney to take Byrd’s case, and Elvis Cole was hired to investigate. It was Cole’s eleventh-hour discovery of an exculpatory videotape that allowed Lionel Byrd to walk free. Elvis was hailed as a hero. But the discovery of the death album in Byrd’s lap now brands Elvis as an unwitting accomplice to murder. Captured in photographs that could only have been taken by the murderer, Yvonne Bennett was the fifth of the seven victims — two more young women were murdered after Lionel Byrd walked free. So Elvis can’t help but wonder — did he, Elvis Cole, cost two more young women their lives? Shut out of the investigation by a special LAPD task force determined to close the case, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike desperately fight to uncover the truth about Lionel Byrd and his nightmare album of death — a truth hidden by lies, politics, and corruption in a world where nothing is what it seems to be.
At the City’s Edge – Marcus Sakey – March 3 (Paperback)
Sakey is one of the industry’s newest and brightest stars. I really enjoyed The Blade Itself, and I’m ready for more.
Synopsis: Jason Palmer loved being a soldier. But after returning home from Iraq with an “other than honorable” discharge, he’s finding rebuilding his life the toughest battle yet. Elena Cruz is a talented cop, the first woman to make Chicago’s prestigious Gang Intelligence Unit. She’s ready for anything the job can throw at her. Until Jason’s brother, a prominent community activist, is murdered in front of his own son. Now, stalked by brutal men with a shadowy agenda, Jason and Elena must unravel a conspiracy stretching from the darkest alleys of the ghetto to the manicured lawns of the city’s power brokers. In a world where corruption and violence are simply the cost of doing business, two damaged people are all that stand between an innocent child–and the killers who will stop at nothing to find him.
Fault Line – Barry Eisler – March 10 (Hardback)
Synopsis: In Silicon Valley, the eccentric inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in an apparent carjacking. In Istanbul, a cynical undercover operative receives a frantic call from his estranged younger brother. When Alex Treven, a patent lawyer who has been working for the inventor, is attacked in his apartment, he is convinced he is the target of a conspiracy, and his brother, Ben, is his only hope. Setting aside their differences, Alex and Ben come together to find out who is behind the attacks. They soon learn that forces in America and abroad are involved in a high-stakes struggle to take hold of the technology, and now both of their lives are in danger.
Shatter – Michael Robotham – March 17 (Hardback)
Synopsis: Joe O’Loughlin is on familiar territory—standing on a bridge high above a flooded gorge, trying to stop a distraught woman from jumping. She is naked, wearing only high-heel shoes, sobbing into a cell phone. Suddenly, she turns to him and whispers, “You don’t understand,” and lets go. Joe is shattered by the suicide and haunted by his failure to save the woman, until her teenage daughter finds him and reveals that her mother would never have committed suicide—not like that. She was terrified of heights. Compelled to investigate, Joe is soon obsessed with discovering who was on the other end of the phone. What could have driven her to commit such a desperate act? Whose voice? What evil? Having devoted his career to repairing damaged minds, Joe must now confront an adversary who tears them apart: a man who searches for the cracks in a person’s psyche and claws his fingers inside, destroying what makes them whole.
Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith – March 31 (Paperback)
Synopsis: “There is no crime.” Stalin’s Soviet Union strives to be a paradise for its workers, providing for all of their needs. One of its fundamental pillars is that its citizens live free from the fear of ordinary crime and criminals. But in this society, millions do live in fear . . . of the State. Death is a whisper away. The mere suspicion of ideological disloyalty-owning a book from the decadent West, the wrong word at the wrong time-sends millions of innocents into the Gulags or to their executions. Defending the system from its citizens is the MGB, the State Security Force. And no MGB officer is more courageous, conscientious, or idealistic than Leo Demidov. A war hero with a beautiful wife, Leo lives in relative luxury in Moscow, even providing a decent apartment for his parents. His only ambition has been to serve his country. For this greater good, he has arrested and interrogated. Then the impossible happens. A different kind of criminal-a murderer-is on the loose, killing at will. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, his world turned upside down, and every belief he’s ever held shattered. The only way to save his life and the lives of his family is to uncover this criminal. But in a society that is officially paradise, it’s a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer-much less a serial killer-is in their midst. Exiled from his home, with only his wife, Raisa, remaining at his side, Leo must confront the vast resources and reach of the MBG to find and stop a criminal that the State won’t admit even exists.