It takes only a few pages of the suspenseful mystery After the Storm to hurl readers into the heart of a violent tornado touching down near the little town of Painters Mill in rural Ohio, bringing widespread destruction and even the death of an infant. In the twister’s aftermath, a different kind of damage works its way to the surface, as Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the site of an old barn where human bones have been unearthed in the wake of the storm.
In a windblown field near the sea in Norfolk, England, a land developer’s excavating machine uncovers first a silver wing, then the cockpit of an American World War II fighter plane, then the ghostly remains of a long-dead pilot staring up from inside.
Author Seán Haldane explores the frontier culture of 1869 British Columbia in an award-winning novel that wades through people’s preconceptions and ideas about savagery and civilization, set at a moment when geographic boundaries are expanding and Charles Darwin’s ideas are just beginning to challenge old frames of mind. This singular story offers a lively, up-close look at Victorian manners and views of that time, set in the context of cold-blooded murder.
The World War II era is fertile soil for writers of crime fiction, and Francine Mathews follows hard on the heels of her exceptional Jack 1939 (2012) with a crackerjack espionage thriller, Too Bad to Die, both set in that time. Mathews, a former intelligence analyst for the CIA, knows all the tricks of the trade, and her novel imagines the words and actions of bona fide participants in one of the seminal events of that war—the Tehran Conference in 1943, where Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin come together to plan their final move against Nazi Germany, the invasion of Europe.
Crime fiction groupies can usually form a pretty quick mental picture of the cop, PI or little old lady detective in any new mystery novel, and that take remains, embedded in the reader’s imagination, for the duration of the story.
Don’t look for a boilerplate story or predictable characters in Becky Masterman’s surprising second mystery, Fear the Darkness. There’s no letdown after Masterman’s first book, the Edgar Award finalist Rage Against the Dying. Her extraordinary heroine, 59-year-old FBI retiree Brigid Quinn, is front and center for a second time in this surprising thriller.
The members of the Last Death Club are kicking the bucket one by one, some of them practically under the nose of irascible Victorian detective Sidney Grice, in The Curse of the House of Foskett. It’s the second book in M.R.C. Kasasian’s intriguing new series that debuted in 2014 with The Mangle Street Murders, featuring Grice and his young ward, March Middleton, who narrates the books in a most unusual fashion.
The first book in a new crime series, Winter at the Door introduces Lizzie Snow, a Boston cop turned police chief, now ensconced in the remote town of Bearkill in northern Maine’s Aroostook County, which runs right up against the Canadian border. Bearkill barely manages the necessities with a supermarket, Laundromat, luncheonette and corner bar appropriately named Area 51.
The eccentric and purposeful Lady Lavinia Truelove enters her stables early in the morning, unseen by her peers, where she plans to subdue and ride the erratic, untamable Lucifer. She’ll show her husband that she’s a horsewoman to be reckoned with, as well as two sights higher than the woman she thinks may be capturing her husband’s eye.
Forty Days without Shadow, by French journalist Olivier Truc, is set in the remote Lapland of northern Norway, where reindeer are the only livelihood for indigenous Sami herders who brave the dark, Arctic winters to keep vigil over their animals, and where the old ways—even ritualized murder—can still hold sway.