Murder and mayhem, to say nothing of theft and deception, abound in the five books included in this roundup. Join a fine selection of detectives, both professional and amateur, as well as a couple of crooks looking to work on the right side of the law for a change, as they attempt to solve a whole host of intriguing mysteries.
by Erin Mayer
Mira Books, 320 pages, $16.99
Unfulfilled by her work for a women’s lifestyle website and jealous of the happiness seemingly delivered to colleagues in the form of freebies, an unnamed woman is ripe for manipulation and mania in the right circumstances. Surprisingly, those circumstances arise one night when she visits a dive bar and comes to believe that she is hearing a secret message in the latest song by popular entertainer Adriana Argento. Sensing that she might finally have found a way to belong, the woman dedicates all her time to Adriana fan sites and fora, joining people from around the world in stalking the singer’s every move. Her new obsession doesn’t go unnoticed at work, instead leading to an invitation to join a secret society of Adriana superfans who call themselves the Ivies. From here, the woman spirals ever deeper into her obsession until she comes to realize that the Ivies are bound together by far more than admiration for Adriana Argento. Erin Mayer’s Fan Club is the dark and compelling story of a woman losing her fragile grip on reality while simultaneously recognizing that she might not actually be the strangest and most sinister one in the group.
The Night She Went Missing
by Kristen Bird
Mira Books, 352 pages, $16.99
When Catherine Callahan decided to move to the close-knit community of Galveston Island, she hoped that she would be able to leave the mistakes of her past well behind her. However, she didn’t bank on the power that her mother-in-law Rosalyn wields within the community or on the expectations that members of the community have regarding the Callahan family. Things start to look up for her when she makes a couple of friends—Morgan, who has been ostracized by the community since her teenage son was accused of rape, and Leslie, an apparently model citizen who will do whatever it takes to ensure that her children succeed in life—but things are still not quite right on Galveston Island. After Catherine’s teenage daughter disappears following a party, the cracks within the community begin to deepen and people start to turn on each other, looking for some—anyone¬—to blame. The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird is a tense and suspenseful story that exposes the multitude of secrets that lurk behind the façade of the perfect community.
by Gregory Galloway
Melville House Publishing, 256 pages, $26.99
In Gregory Galloway’s Just Thieves, Rick and Frank are a pair of recovering drug addicts who eke out a living by exploiting their considerable prowess as burglars. In fact, they’re so good at their dubious job that they no longer have to break into random houses and hope that the spoils are worth it. Instead, they work for a mysterious figure who tells them exactly where to burgle and what to take while they’re there. Unfortunately, what has always been a slick and rewarding operation is ruined when the pair are instructed to steal an apparently worthless trophy. The trophy seems to be generating far more interest than its intrinsic value warrants, although Rick and Frank are still able to pull off the heist. However, in the aftermath of the burglary, the pair are involved in a car crash that sparks off a chain of events that ultimately leads to Frank disappearing with the trophy. As Rick attempts to find both his friend and the loot, he is forced to confront the sins of his past as well as the realities of his present. It all makes for a thrilling noir crime story that is packed with deception and double-crosses.
Other People’s Things
by Kerry Anne King
Lake Union Publishing, 366 pages, $14.95
Despite what people, particularly members of the law enforcement community, might think, Nicole Wood is not per se a thief. Rather, the universe has tasked her with the job of relocating objects, whatever their value and whoever they might belong to, to their correct locations. However, as people don’t generally like their possessions to be relocated without their permission, Nicole is facing the threat of some serious jail time unless she is able to find more acceptable activities to occupy her time. When her sister offers her a job with her housecleaning firm, Nicole initially thinks that she has found the solution to her problem, but when she spots a paperback book that seemingly needs to be relocated from one client’s house to another’s, she is unable to pass up the task. The decision to appropriate the book for her own purposes has a number of unforeseen consequences that require Nicole to risk life and limb as secrets are revealed and those closest to her placed in danger. Other People’s Things by Kerry Anne King is an innovative and fun mystery novel in which pretty much nothing is as it seems. Combining fantasy and crime fiction, it’s a twisting, turning read featuring more than a hint of romance.
Nothing to Lose
by J.A. Jance
William Morrow & Company, 368 pages, $28.99
J.A. Jance’s Nothing to Lose marks the twenty-third outing for now retired Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont. This time around, a face from the past drags Beaumont into a missing person case with links to a period from his past that he would rather forget. Around twenty years ago, when he was still working for the Seattle Police Department, Beaumont’s partner, Detective Sue Danielson, was murdered by her former husband. On the night of the murder, Sue’s eldest son Jared had called Beaumont for help as his mother was being attacked. Beaumont instructed Jared to escape from the house with his younger brother Chris and then raced to the scene, although he was too late to save Sue. Now, Chris has disappeared and Jared needs Beaumont’s help once again, this time to save his little brother. Still haunted by his failure to save his partner, Beaumont readily agrees to help, having no idea that the case with take him into the wilds of Alaska and force him to confront the secrets of a killer who has nothing left to lose. Beaumont hasn’t been provided with the full set of facts regarding Christopher’s disappearance, which plunges him into another exciting and dangerous adventure that he’ll be lucky to survive.