Wednesday, January 31, 2018

February 2018 New Mystery Releases!

When I lived elsewhere, January and February were months I loathed. Some sort of blizzard always blew through for my birthday. The skies were always gray. The snow always rapidly turned to grainy, ugly slush. Yuck.

Now here in the Valley of the Sun, I'm writing this post on January 29, and spring is definitely on the way. Certain flowers and shrubs are blooming, making me sneeze a time or two throughout the day, and it's amazing how quickly the days seem to be getting longer. Huzzah! This makes for a new and improved Miz Kittling, I tell you, and my reading speed has picked up accordingly, so I always have to be on the lookout for new material.

These are my picks of the newest in crime fiction being released throughout the month of February. I've grouped them according to release dates and given you a little information about each one. Covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon. Hopefully, I've chosen a title or two that tickles your fancy! Let's check them out....

=== February 1 ===

Title: The Mechanical Devil
Author: Kate Ellis
Series: #22 in the Wesley Peterson police procedural series set in the south of England.
384 pages

*UK Release 

Synopsis: "When archaeologist Neil Watson unearths a long-buried mechanical figure in a Dartmoor field, he is determined to discover the truth behind the bizarre find.

Soon, however, the sleepy village becomes the focus of press attention for another reason when two people with no apparent connection to each other are found shot dead in nearby Manor Field, seemingly victims of an execution-style double murder.

DI Wesley Peterson is called in to investigate, but the two murders aren't his only problem. The daughter of a local MP has gone missing and the pressure is on to find her, especially when it's revealed that she has a connection to one of the murder victims. And Wesley's own life is thrown into turmoil when a woman he helped on a previous investigation finds herself subjected to a campaign of terror . . .

Is there a link between the double murder and the accidental death of a young history student in Manor Field twenty years ago? And just what is the true identity of the Mechanical Devil?"

=== February 6 ===

Title: A Well-Timed Murder
Series: #2 in the Agnes Lüthi police procedural series set in Switzerland.
352 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Swiss-American police officer Agnes Lüthi is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show―and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer."

Title: Forty Dead Men
Author: Donis Casey
Series: #10 in the Alafair Tucker historical mystery series set in 1918 Oklahoma.
250 pages 

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "World War I is over. Alafair is overjoyed that her elder son, George Washington Tucker, has finally returned home from the battlefields of France. Yet she is the only one in the family who senses that he has somehow changed.

Gee Dub moves back into his old bunkhouse quarters, but he's restless and spends his days roaming. One rainy day while out riding he spies a woman trudging along the country road. She's thoroughly skittish and rejects his help. So Gee Dub cannily rides for home to enlist his mother in offering the exhausted traveler shelter.

Once made comfortable at the Tucker farm, Holly Johnson reveals she's forged her way from Maine to Oklahoma in hopes of finding the soldier she married before he shipped to France. At the war's end, Daniel Johnson disappeared without a trace. It's been months. Is he alive? Is she a widow?

Holly is following her only lead - that Dan has connected with his parents who live yonder in Okmulgee. Gee Dub, desperate for some kind of mission, resolves to shepherd Holly through her quest although the prickly young woman spurns any aid. Meanwhile, Alafair has discovered that Gee Dub sleeps with two cartridge boxes under his pillow - boxes containing twenty "dead men" each. The boxes are empty, save for one bullet. She recognizes in Gee Dub and Holly that not all war wounds are physical.

Then Holly's missing husband turns up, shot dead. Gee Dub is arrested on suspicion of murder, and the entire extended Tucker family rallies to his defense. He says he had no reason to do it, but the solitary bullet under Gee Dub's pillow is gone. Regardless, be he guilty or innocent, his mother will travel any distance and go to any lengths to keep him out of prison."

Title: The Imam of Tawi-Tawi
Author: Ian Hamilton
Series: #11 in the Ava Lee series featuring a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant whose work is based in Hong Kong.
400 pages.

Synopsis: "Ava has spent two nights luxuriating in a hotel in Yunnan Province with the actress Pang Fai, with whom she has begun a secret relationship. She receives an urgent phone call from Chang Wang, the right hand to the billionaire Tommy Ordonez and one of Uncle’s oldest friends. Years ago, Ava and Uncle helped Tommy recover $50 million in a land swindle.

Uncle Chang asks Ava to fly to Manila to meet with his friend, Senator Miguel Ramirez. Ramirez asks Ava to investigate a college in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in the Philippines, which he suspects is training terrorists. Ava’s investigation leads to a partnership with a CIA agent, and together they attempt to stop an international plot, horrific in size and scope, only to have it turn on them. Ava’s judgment and morals — which Uncle helped her forge — are tested like never before.

Title: Force of Nature
Author: Jane Harper
Series: #2 in the Aaron Falk police procedural series set in Australia.
336 pages

Synopsis: "When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?"

=== February 8 ===

Title: Death & the Viking's Daughter
Author: Loretta Ross
Series: #4 in the Auction Block cozy series set in Missouri. 
288 pages

Synopsis: "Auctioneer Wren Morgan and her private eye fiancé Death (pronounced "Deeth") Bogart are ready to meet each other's parents and settle down together. But their sleuthing days are far from over. While Death and Wren are helping prepare auction items at an old supper club, a Viking reenactor nearly dies at the historical settlement next door. The cause? Seeing the ghost of his daughter, who went missing twenty years ago.

As Wren looks into what happened to the Viking's daughter, Death is hired to investigate the theft of historical items that have high sentimental value. When their respective investigations turn out to be connected, the couple gets caught in a deadly conflict."

Title: The Dark Angel
Series: #10 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series set in Italy.
368 pages

*UK Release

Synopsis: "Dr. Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr. Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He's discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn't know what to make of them. It's years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock - the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.

===February 13 ===

Title: The Cat of the Baskervilles
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: #3 in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop cozy series set on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
304 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Legendary stage and movie star Sir Nigel Bellingham arrives on Cape Cod to star in a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles put on by the West London Theater Festival. When Sir Nigel, some of the cast, and the director visit the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop at 222 Baker Street, Gemma Doyle realizes that Sir Nigel is not at all suited to the role. He is long past his prime and an old drunk to boot.

The cast, in particular the much younger actor who previously had the role, are not happy, but the show must go on.

Before the play opens, Leslie Wilson, mother of Gemma’s best friend Jayne, arranges a fundraising afternoon tea to be catered by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. The tea is a huge success, but when it’s time to leave, Sir Nigel has gone missing―only to be found at the bottom of the rocky cliff, dead. Along with the dead body, Gemma finds evidence incriminating Leslie Wilson. When the police, in the presence of handsome detective Ryan Ashburton and suspicious detective Louise Estrada, focus their attention on Leslie despite the numerous other suspects, the game is once again afoot and it’s again up to the highly perceptive Gemma and the ever-confused but loyal Jayne to clear Jayne’s mother’s name.

Title: A Dangerous Crossing
Series: #4 in the Esa Khattak & Rachel Getty police procedural series set in various European countries.
352 pages

Synopsis: "For Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty, the Syrian refugee crisis is about to become personal. Esa’s childhood friend, Nathan Clare, calls him in distress: his sister, Audrey, has vanished from a Greek island where the siblings run an NGO. Audrey had been working to fast-track refugees to Canada, but now, she is implicated in the double-murder of a French Interpol agent and a young man who had fled the devastation in Syria.

Esa and Rachel arrive in Greece to a shocking scene, witnessing for themselves the massive fallout of the Syrian war in the wretched refugee camps. Tracing Audrey’s last movements, they meet some of the volunteers and refugees―one of whom, Ali, is involved in a search of his own, for a girl whose disappearance may be connected to their investigation. The arrival of Sehr Ghilzai―a former prosecutor who now handles refugee claims for Audrey’s NGO―further complicates the matter for Esa, as his feelings towards her remain unresolved.

Working against time, with Interpol at their heels, Esa and Rachel follow a trail that takes them from the beaches of Greece to the Turkish–Syrian border, and across Europe, reaching even the corridors of power in the Netherlands. Had Audrey been on the edge of a dangerous discovery, hidden at the heart of this darkest of crises―one which ultimately put a target on her own back?

=== February 20 ===

Title: The Tuscan Child
Author: Rhys Bowen
Standalone set in Italy.
352 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now…"

=== February 27 ===

Title: The Pajama Frame
Author: Diane Vallere
Series: #5 in the Madison Night cozy series set in Texas.
268 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Interior decorator Madison Night is no stranger to the occasional odd inheritance. But when an octogenarian friend dies and leaves her a pajama factory, the bounty is bittersweet.

Once a thriving business, Sweet Dreams closed decades ago after a tragic accident took the life of a young model. Or was that simply a cover-up?

Between her friend’s death and her own stagnant life, Madison is tempted to hide under a blanket of willful ignorance.

But when family members and special interest groups lobby to expose the secrets of the factory, Madison gets caught in a tangle of secrets and lies and discovers that sometimes, the bed you make is not your own.

Title: I Know What You Bid Last Summer
Author: Sherry Harris
Series: #5 in the Garage Sale cozy series set in Massachusetts.
320 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "When it comes to running a successful garage sale, Sarah Winston believes in doing her homework. She also believes in giving back. But when she agrees to manage an athletic equipment swap, she doesn't bargain on an uncharitable killer. The day of the event, the school superintendent is found dead in the gymnasium.
Suddenly the murder suspects are the school board members—including the husband of a very difficult client who's hired Sarah to run a high-end sale and demands she do her bidding. In between tagging and haggling, Sarah studies the clues to see who wanted to teach the superintendent a lesson. But as she closes in on the truth, the killer intends to give her a crash course on minding her own business . . .

I think you'll agree with me that February is a strong month for new mysteries. I'm especially pleased that two of my favorite British authors-- Kate Ellis and Elly Griffiths-- have new books out.

Book I'm looking forward to the most? The Dark Angel. Ruth Galloway in Italy? Count me in! Most striking cover? I'd have to make a choice between Force of Nature, Forty Dead Men, and The Dark Angel, and I think the nod would go to Force of Nature.

What say all of you? Which titles are you looking forward to the most? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Well, Jane Harper's new book and Elly Griffiths' last book in the Ruth Galloway series (sigh), are definitely on the list. Others look tempting.

    What will happen with Ruth and Harry? This will keep me up at night until I get this book.

    1. Yes, I am really looking forward to this one!

  2. So many lovely books - Donis Casey's Alafair book is a welcome sight. I need to read Tracee de Hahan's previous book so I can get to this next one soon. And, of course, a new Ruth Galloway book and Force of Nature. Have you read all of Kate Ellis' series? I think I read the first one and then didn't continue. Not sure why because I remember liking it.

    1. I have to admit to being a couple of books behind with Kate Ellis, but that's mostly because I tend to set hers aside for when I need a surefire good'un, if you know what I mean.

  3. Lots of great books on this list, Cathy. I want to read the Griffiths, the Harper, and Khan, and the Delany. Oh, and the Bowen. Don't tell my credit card company... ;-)

  4. The Hamilton book reminds me that I need to start this series - forensic accounting is my old field.

    Also, I want to move The Dry further up my TBR so I won't get behind in Jane Harper's series; and I need to read #3 in the Esa Khattak & Rachel Getty series, so I can pick up this new timely tome!

    1. Yes, I've got the third Khattak & Getty book waiting for me as well.

  5. Oh no! I didn't know this was the last Ruth Galloway. *sigh*

    How does that first series compare? They sound sort of similar, and I will definitely need a replacement.

    1. I didn't know that either, so that was my unwelcome news for the day. As far as comparing the two series... Griffiths' has the edge, but not by much. I've read 19 of Ellis' 22 books in that series (and have books 20 and 21 waiting on my Kindle), so you can tell that I really enjoy the books.

  6. Should one start at the beginning of the Kate Ellis books or are there any that stand out? Is it contemporary?

    1. Characters' lives do play an important part in this contemporary series, so I recommend starting at the beginning.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!