Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January 2015 New Mystery Releases!

I'd like to see a show of hands. How many of you can't believe that we're staring 2015 right in the face? I thought so. Neither can I! In fact, I'm still compiling my 2014 reading statistics which will appear in a few days (if I can get all my graphs and other gizmos to cooperate).

Time may flash by all too quickly, but one thing never changes when you're a bookaholic: the never-ending and totally satisfying quest for new books and authors to read. 

These are my picks from new crime fiction that will be released during the month of January. I've grouped them by release date, and naturally I've included all the information you'll need to find them at your favorite "book procurement" locations. Book synopses are courtesy of Amazon.  Happy New Year-- and Happy Reading!

=== January 1 ===

Title: A Meditation on Murder
Author: Robert Thorogood
Series: #1 in the Death in Paradise series set on an island in the Caribbean
ISBN: 9781848453609
Publisher: MIRA
Paperback, 368 pages

*UK release, Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "Robert Thorogood is the creator and writer of the hit BBC One series Death in Paradise. Now, for the first time, he brings the characters to life on the page in an all-new, locked-room mystery. 

Aslan Kennedy has an idyllic life: Leader of a Spiritual Retreat for wealthy holidaymakers on one of the Caribbean's most unspoilt islands, Saint Marie. Until he’s murdered, that is. The case seems open and shut: when Aslan was killed he was inside a locked room with only five other people, one of whom has already confessed to the murder.
Detective Inspector Richard Poole is hot, bothered, and fed up with talking to witnesses who’d rather discuss his ‘aura' than their whereabouts at the time of the murder. But he also knows that the facts of the case don’t quite stack up. In fact, he’s convinced that the person who’s just confessed to the murder is the one person who couldn’t have done it. 

Determined to track down the real killer, DI Poole is soon on the trail, and no stone will be left unturned.

=== January 2===

Title: The Soul of Discretion
Author: Susan Hill
Series: #8 in the Simon Serailler police procedural series set in England
ISBN: 9781468301458
Publisher: Overlook
Hardcover, 336 pages

Synopsis: "From the outside, the cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. It suffers from the same kinds of crime, is subject to the same pressures from a rapidly changing world, and has the same hopes and fears as any number of towns up and down the land.

When Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieran Bright, he is met by two plainclothes officers, who ask him to take the principal role in a difficult, potentially dangerous undercover operation. He must leave town immediately, without telling anyone—not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon's sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work, as Lafferton’s hospice closes its bedded units—and at home, as her daughter is presented with a glittering opportunity that they would have to struggle to afford. And all is not well with Simon and Cat's stepmother, Judith, either.

To complete his special operation, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. This takes its toll on Simon and—as the investigation unfolds—also on the town and some of its most respected citizens.

=== January 6 ===

Title: A String of Beads
Author: Thomas Perry
Series: #8 in the Jane Whitefield series based in New York state
ISBN: 9780802123299
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Hardcover, 400 pages

Synopsis: "After two decades protecting innocent victims on the run, and a year after getting shot on a job that took a dangerous turn for the worse, Jane McKinnon, née Whitefield, has settled into the quiet life of a suburban housewife in Amherst, New York—or so she thinks.

One morning as she comes back from a long run, Jane is met by an unusual sight: all eight clan mothers, the female leaders of the Seneca clans, parked in her driveway in two black cars. A childhood friend of Jane’s from the reservation, Jimmy, is wanted by the police for the murder of a local white man. But instead of turning himself in, he's fled, and no one knows where he is hiding out. At the clan mothers’ request, Jane retraces a walking trip she and Jimmy took together when they were fourteen in hopes that he has gone the same way again. But it soon becomes clear that the police aren’t the only ones after him. As the chase intensifies, the number of people caught up in this twisted plot multiplies, and Jane is the only one who can protect those endangered by it.
A String of Beads is an addictive, fast-paced thriller about how abandoning the past can sometimes be the hardest thing to do, even when your life—and the life of those you love—depends on it." 

Title: Feta Attraction
Series: #1 in the Greek to Me cozy series set in upstate New York
ISBN: 9780425271650
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Synopsis: "Georgie Nikolopatos manages the Bonaparte House, a Greek restaurant and historic landmark in beautiful upstate New York rumored to possess ghosts and hidden treasure. But when her husband disappears and her main competitor is found dead, it’s up to Georgie to solve a big fat Greek murder.

With her husband, Spiro, inexplicably gone for days, Georgie has her hands full running the restaurant and dealing with the crew of the TV show Ghost Squad, called in by Spiro to inspect the house for haunting. So when she has a chance to take a boating excursion on the St. Lawrence River with her friend Keith Morgan, she jumps on it. But their idyll is quickly ruined when they discover the body of rival restaurant owner Domenic “Big Dom” DiTomasso floating in the water.

When the police start asking questions, it doesn’t help that Spiro can’t be found—and with Georgie on their suspect list, it’s up to her to find her missing husband and find out who killed Big Dom before someone else’s order is up

Title: Twisted Threads
Author: Lea Wait
Series: #1 in the Mainely Needlepoint cozy series set in Maine
ISBN:  9781617730047
Publisher: Kensington
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "Returning to the quaint coastal town of Harbor Haven, Maine—a place she once called home—Angie Curtis finds her memories aren’t all quite pleasant ones…

After leaving a decade ago, Angie has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.

The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case…" 

Title: Ghost in the Guacamole
Series: #5 in the Ghost of Granny Apples cozy series set in California
ISBN: 9780425262498
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Synopsis: "When two sisters feud over the family business, medium Emma Whitecastle doesn’t need a Ouija board to know it spells trouble. But with a little help from the spirited ghost of Granny Apples, she may be able to solve one murder and prevent another . . .

Sisters Lucinda and Ricarda Ricardo—better known as Lucy and Rikki—are at each other’s throats over the family business, Roble Foods. Lucy wants to sell and Rikki is against it. Rikki asks Emma to contact their deceased father, Felix, to help her convince Lucy not to sell.

But the ghost of Felix Ricardo has his own bombshell to drop—his death was not an accident, and Rikki’s life may be in danger if the girls don’t sell. Now it’s up to Emma and Granny Apples to chip away at the mystery and stop a killer from double dipping in death . . .

Title: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Author: Alan Bradley
Series: #7 in the Flavia de Luce series set in England
ISBN: 9780345539939
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Hardcover, 416 pages

Synopsis: "Banished! is how twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce laments her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia’s first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. Flavia being Flavia, a budding chemist and sleuth, that gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school’s stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim’s identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. Rumors swirl that Miss Bodycote’s is haunted, and that several girls have disappeared without a trace. When it comes to solving multiple mysteries, Flavia is up to the task—but her true destiny has yet to be revealed." 

=== January 13 ===

Title: The Ice Queen
Author: Nele Neuhaus
Series: #3 in the von Bodenstein and Kirchhoff police procedural series set in Germany
ISBN: 9780312604264
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover, 352 pages

Synopsis: "The body of 92-year-old Jossi Goldberg, Holocaust survivor and American citizen, is found shot to death execution style in his house near Frankfurt. A five-digit number is scrawled in blood at the murder scene. The autopsy reveals an old and unsuccessfully covered tattoo on the corpse's arm—a blood type marker once used by Hitler's SS. Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Bodenstein are faced with a riddle. Was the old man not Jewish after all? Who was he, really? Two more, similar murders happen—one of a wheelchair-bound old lady in a nursing home, and one of a man with a cellar filled with Nazi paraphernalia—and slowly the connections between the victims becomes evident: All of them were lifelong friends with Vera von Kaltensee, baroness, well-respected philanthropist, and head of an old, rich family that she rules with an iron fist. Pia and Oliver follow the trail, which leads them all the way back to the end of World War II and the area of Poland that then belonged to East Prussia. No one is who they claim to be, and things only begin to make sense when the two investigators realize what the bloody number stands for, and uncover an old diary and an eyewitness who is finally willing to come forward. 

Nele Neuhaus's The Ice Queen is a character- and plot-driven mystery about revenge, power, and long-forgotten and covered up secrets from a time in German history that still affects the present

Title: The Unquiet Dead
Series: #1 in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series set in Toronto, Canada
ISBN: 9781250055118 
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover, 352 pages

Synopsis: "Despite their many differences, Detective Rachel Getty trusts her boss, Esa Khattak, implicitly. But she’s still uneasy at Khattak’s tight-lipped secrecy when he asks her to look into Christopher Drayton’s death. Drayton’s apparently accidental fall from a cliff doesn’t seem to warrant a police investigation, particularly not from Rachel and Khattak’s team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But when she learns that Drayton may have been living under an assumed name, Rachel begins to understand why Khattak is tip-toeing around this case. It soon comes to light that Drayton may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

If that’s true, any number of people might have had reason to help Drayton to his death, and a murder investigation could have far-reaching ripples throughout the community. But as Rachel and Khattak dig deeper into the life and death of Christopher Drayton, every question seems to lead only to more questions, with no easy answers. Had the specters of Srebrenica returned to haunt Drayton at the end, or had he been keeping secrets of an entirely different nature? Or, after all, did a man just fall to his death from the Bluffs?

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Standalone Thriller
ISBN: 9781594633669
Publisher: Riverhead
Hardcover, 336 pages

Synopsis: "Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

=== January 21 ===

Title: Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse
Author: Mike Befeler
ISBN: 9781432829643
Publisher: Five Star

Synopsis: "When a staged murder at a mystery dinner playhouse turns into a real poisoning death‚ recently retired detective Gabe Tremont is called back to solve the crime and discovers the playhouse director‚ the cast and a spy from a competing theater all have reasons to want the murdered man dead. "

=== January 22 ===

Title: Unbecoming
Standalone set in Tennessee and Paris, France
ISBN: 9780525427506
Publisher: Viking
Hardcover, 320 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity. With echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca Scherm’s mesmerizing debut is sure to entrance fans of Gillian Flynn, Marisha Pessl, and Donna Tartt.

There's a little something for everyone during the month of January, isn't there? Which titles caught your eye? Inquiring minds would love to know! As for me, of the new-to-me authors on this list, I have to admit that I'm really looking forward to reading The Unquiet Dead.

Here's to plenty of books on our wish lists-- and well-stocked To Be Read shelves!



  1. Oooh, a new Alan Bradley! I've heard this one's good. And interesting that there's a new Befeler coming out too. It doesn't look like one of his Paul Jacobson novels; wonder if he's started a new series?

    1. From my understanding, it's a standalone, Margot.

  2. I thought the plan for Flavia was that she was only going to have a run of six books. Not surprised if he changed his mind. It can be hard to let go of a popular character.

    1. It certainly can. I'm not surprised that he changed his mind either!


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