Wednesday, January 30, 2019

February 2019 New Mystery Releases!

When I was growing up in central Illinois, February was my least favorite month. The end of January all the way through February seemed to be reserved for all the rotten weather. If we didn't have trees and power lines downed by ice storms, there'd be snow drifted up to the eaves of the house, and if none of that was happening, then it would be an endless round of gray skies and mounds of filthy slush lining the roadways. And then there was the guy on the radio who made a concerted effort to say "Feb-ROO-ary" every chance he got. Instead of making me want to pronounce the word properly, I think he cemented the Feb-YOU-ary pronunciation in my mind. Not that I'm perverse or anything!

Nope. I much prefer Sonoran desert Februarys, when spring is well and truly on its way-- if it isn't already here. Wildflowers are blooming, days are getting longer, the pool water is warming up... but I digress!

Here are my picks of the best in new crime fiction being released throughout the month of February. I've grouped them according to release date, and the covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon. Let's see if I've found anything you want to add to your wishlists!

=== February 5 ===

Title: The Lost Man
Author: Jane Harper
Standalone mystery set in the Australian Outback.
345 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet for the first time in months at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback. 

Their third brother, Cameron, lies dead at their feet. 

In an isolated belt of Australia, their homes a three-hour drive apart, the brothers were one another’s nearest neighbors. Cameron was the middle child, the one who ran the family homestead. But something made him head out alone under the unrelenting sun.

Nathan, Bub and Nathan’s son return to Cameron’s ranch and to those left behind by his passing: his wife, his daughters, and his mother, as well as their long-time employee and two recently hired seasonal workers.

While they grieve Cameron’s loss, suspicion starts to take hold, and Nathan is forced to examine secrets the family would rather leave in the past. Because if someone forced Cameron to his death, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects."

Title: Brothers Keepers
Standalone mystery set in New York City
304 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "What will a group of monks do when their two-century-old monastery in New York City is threatened with demolition to make room for a new high-rise? Anything they have to. "Thou Shalt Not Steal" is only the first of the Commandments to be broken as the saintly face off against the unscrupulous over that most sacred of relics, a Park Avenue address.

Returning to bookstores for the first time in three decades, BROTHERS KEEPERS offers not only a master class in comedy from one of the most beloved mystery writers of all time but also a surprisingly heartfelt meditation on loss, temptation, and how we treat our fellow man.

Title: The Overnight Kidnapper
Author: Andrea Camilleri
#25 in the Inspector Montalbano police procedural series set in Sicily.
268 pages

Synopsis: "The day gets off to a bad start for Montalbano: while trying to break up a fight on Marinella beach, he hits the wrong man and is stopped by the Carabinieri. When he finally gets to the office, the inspector learns about a strange abduction: a woman was abducted, drugged, and then released unharmed a few hours later. A few days later, the same thing happens again, but this time the woman abducted is the niece of Enzo, the owner of Montalbano’s favorite trattoria. The only link between the two events is that both women are thirty years old and work in a bank.

Alongside this investigation, Montalbano has to deal with an arson case. A shop that sells household appliances has burned down, and its owner, Marcello Di Carlo, seems to have vanished into thin air. Has he run off with his lover after a holiday in the Canary Islands? Is he fleeing from his creditors, or was he murdered by the mafia for not paying their protection money? At first, this seems like a trivial case, but a third abduction—yet again of a girl who works in a bank—and the discovery of a body bring up new questions. Whose body is it? And where has Di Carlo’s secret lover gone?

Title: The Hiding Place
Author: C.J. Tudor
Standalone thriller set in England.
281 pages

Synopsis: "Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang--the betrayal, the suicide, the murder--and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn't have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe's sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town--while avoiding the enemies he's made in the years since--is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn't the day his sister went missing.

It was the day she came back.

Title: Bellini and the Sphinx
Author: Tony Bellotto
Series: #1 in the Remo Bellini private investigator series set in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
280 pages

Synopsis: "Who is the missing dancer Ana Cíntia Lopes? Why did her coworkers, Camila and Dinéia, disappear? What does the voluptuous prostitute Fatima want? Who killed renowned surgeon Dr. Samuel Rafidjian? And what is the role of the hulking live-sex performer known as the Indian?

To confront the puzzle of several sphinxes, most of them female, private detective Remo Bellini plunges into the underworld of São Paulo. Little by little, the mysteries unravel in a surprising fashion, until the solving of the final enigma leaves Bellini perplexed, with a bitter taste in his mouth." 

=== February 7 ===

Title: Dead Man's Lane
Author: Kate Ellis
Series: #23 in the Wesley Peterson police procedural series set in England.
400 pages

*UK Release

Synopsis: "Strangefields Farm is notorious for its sinister history ever since artist Jackson Temples lured young women there to model for disturbing works of art. Some of those girls never left the house alive.

Now, decades later, Strangefields is to be transformed into a holiday village, but the developer's hopes of its dark history being forgotten are dashed when a skull is found on the site. And when a local florist is found murdered in an echo of Temples' crimes, DI Wesley Peterson fears that a copy-cat killer is at large. Especially when another brutal murder in a nearby village appears to be linked.

As Wesley's friend, archaeologist Dr. Neil Watson, uncovers the secrets of Strangefields' grisly past, it seems that an ancient tale of the dead returning to torment the living might not be as fantastical as it seems. And Wesley must work fast to discover who's behind the recent murders . . . before someone close to him is put in danger.

Title: The Stone Circle
#11 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway police procedural series set in England.
384 pages

*UK Release

Synopsis: "DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to 'go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there'. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle's baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

Meanwhile, Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh - another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle - trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn't save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly."

=== February 12 ===

Title: The Victory Garden
Author: Rhys Bowen
Standalone historical mystery set in World War I England
347 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny."

Title: A Deadly Divide
#5 in the Khattak and Getty police procedural series set in Canada
384 pages

Synopsis: "In the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec, the local police apprehend Amadou Duchon—a young Muslim man at the scene helping the wounded—but release Etienne Roy, the local priest who was found with a weapon in his hands. 

The shooting looks like a hate crime, but detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty sense there is more to the story. Sent to liaise with a community in the grip of fear, they find themselves in fraught new territory, fueled by the panic and suspicion exploited by a right-wing radio host.

As Rachel and Esa grapple to stop tensions shutting the case down entirely, all the time, someone is pointing Esa in another direction, a shadowy presence who anticipates his every move."

=== February 19 ===

Title: Death in Provence
Author: Serena Kent
#1 in the Penelope Kite amateur sleuth series set in France.
368 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "It’s love at first sight when Penelope Kite sees Le Chant d’Eau—The Song of Water—the stone farmhouse tucked high in the hills above the Luberon valley, complete with a garden, swimming pool, and sweeping mountain vistas. For years, Penelope put her unfaithful ex-husband and her ungrateful stepchildren first. Since taking early retirement from her job in forensics at the Home Office in England, she’s been an unpaid babysitter and chauffeur for her grandchildren. Now, she’s going to start living for herself. Though her dream house needs major renovations, Penelope impulsively buys the property and moves to St. Merlot. 

But Penelope’s daydreams of an adventurous life in Provence didn’t include finding a corpse floating face down in her swimming pool. The discovery of the dead man plunges her headlong into a Provençal stew of intrigue and lingering resentments simmering beneath the deceptively sunny village. Having worked in the forensics office, Penelope knows a thing or two about murder investigations. To find answers, she must carefully navigate between her seemingly ubiquitous, supercilious (and enviably chic) estate agent, the disdainful chief of police, and the devilishly handsome mayor—even as she finds herself tempted by all the delicacies the region has to offer. Thank goodness her old friend Frankie is just a flight away . . . and that Penelope is not quite as naïve as her new neighbors in St. Merlot believe.

Title: That Old Scoundrel Death
Author: Bill Crider
#25 in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes police procedural series set in Texas.
279 pages

Synopsis: "When a man is run off the road by a thug with a snake tattooed around his neck, Sheriff Dan Rhodes knows it's his duty to stop and help out. The grateful victim gives his name as Cal Stinson, on his way to the nearby town of Thurston to take a look at the old school building before the city tears it down.

The next day, Cal Stinson turns up again. Only this time, he's dead.

His body is found in the dilapidated school that's about to be razed, and the woman who let Cal onto the premises claims he gave his name as Bruce Wayne. Whoever is he is, he was shot in the back of the head, and a piece of chalk lies inches away from his hand, under a lone line on the chalkboard, his last words unfinished.

Between not-so-bright hoodlums who can't seem to stay on the right side of the law, powerful families in town who are ready to go to battle over whether the old school should come down, and trying futilely to get private detective Seepy Benton to stop making mountains of molehills, Sheriff Rhodes is beginning to wonder if retirement might be as good as it sounds.

=== February 26 ===

Title: Hunting Game
Author: Helene Tursten
#1 in the Embla Nyström police procedural series set in Sweden.
288 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Twenty-eight-year-old Embla Nyström has been plagued by chronic nightmares and racing thoughts ever since she can remember. She has learned to channel most of her anxious energy into her position as Detective Inspector in the mobile unit in Gothenburg, Sweden, and into sports. A talented hunter and prizewinning Nordic welterweight, she is glad to be taking a vacation from her high-stress job to attend the annual moose hunt with her family and friends.

But when Embla arrives at her uncle’s cabin in rural Dalsland, she sees an unfamiliar face has joined the group: Peter, enigmatic, attractive, and newly divorced. And she isn’t the only one to notice. One longtime member of the hunt doesn’t welcome the presence of an outsider and is quick to point out that with Peter, the group’s number reaches thirteen, a bad omen for the week. Sure enough, a string of unsettling incidents follow, culminating in the disappearance of two hunters. Embla takes charge of the search, and they soon find one of the missing men floating facedown in the nearby lake. With the help of local reinforcements, Embla delves into the dark pasts of her fellow hunters in search of a killer.

How did I do? Did any of my picks get added to your own wishlists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Oh, so, so many great releases this time, Cathy! Ellis, Griffiths, Camilleri, Crider, and more. For the shortest month of the year, there's a lot coming out!

    1. There certainly is! Perhaps some of the publishers have the same opinion of February as I do and are trying to divert our attention from the weather?

  2. The Lost Man and The Hunting Game are already on my list. Now to look at some of the others. :)

    1. I've just started reading THE LOST MAN and I'm already hooked!

  3. Several are already on my list - THE LOST MAN, HUNTING GAME, THE HIDING PLACE...and I've already read THE STONE CIRCLE. I am determined to start Kate Ellis' series this year. I really do intend to focus more on series in 2019. Catching up and beginning and rereading. With a few other books interspersed.

    And I am so ready for spring. I can't tell you how ready. I saw a news report that someone had already seen a bluebonnet. I'm not sure about that,'s wouldn't break my heart.

    1. Someone must've gotten an ARC of THE STONE CIRCLE. I'm almost jealous!

  4. Oh, gosh, with this list, I might as well just pack it in and hibernate and stock the cupboards and refrigerator and read for the whole month.
    Harper, Griffiths, Khan, Tursten, Camilleri -- and four of those authors I've read and await their next books. Khan is new to me, but good reviews are prompting me to try one.

    But the other books look good, too, so I'll look for reviews.

    1. An embarrassment of riches for a cold month when it's best to stay inside with good books.

  5. Yes, I'm doing that now with Lucy Black in Derry (Brian McGilloway - why didn't I try his books earlier?) Started a book by Sjowall and Wahloo. Have "Her Name is Rose" (friend raved about it) and a book by Keigo Higashino. And "The Accident on A35," although the print is small and cramped together. And "November Road" is waiting for me at the library. I'll never get through this and will dig into "The Paragon Hotel," when it arrives.
    And so many on library hold. No time for movies this month.

    1. I have all sorts of things dragging me away from my books, not all of them pleasant. But one good thing is that I don't live within the confines of the Polar Vortex!

  6. Yes! I have stayed inside most of this week. But it is supposed to be 37 degrees tomorrow, a veritable heat wave. I can go out.

    I feel so bad for people in the Midwest; at least 12 people died. But for poor and homeless people a horror.

  7. The Lost Man, by Jane Harper is also in the NYTBR column on "Winter Thrillers," with a rave.


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