Wednesday, January 01, 2020

January 2020 New Mystery Releases!

Since I'm still supposed to be keeping this ornery leg of mine elevated, I really don't have time for a lengthy introduction. I know you'll forgive me because the books are the important things, right?

The following are my picks of the best in new crime fiction being released throughout the month of January. They are grouped by their release dates, and the covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon.

Let's take a look and see if I managed to include any titles that tickle your fancy, too!

=== January 1 ===

Title: Script for Scandal
Author: Renee Patrick
Series: #3 in the historical mystery series set in Hollywood featuring Lillian Frost and Edith Head.
240 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "1939, Los Angeles. Lillian Frost is shocked when her friend, glamorous costume designer Edith Head, hands her the script to a new film that's about to start shooting. Streetlight Story is based on a true crime: the California Republic bank robbery of 1936. Lillian's beau, LAPD detective Gene Morrow, was one of the officers on the case; his partner, Teddy, was tragically shot dead.

It seems the scriptwriter has put Gene at the center of a scandal, twisting fact with fiction - or has he? With Gene reluctant to talk about the case, the movie quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town, a suspicious death on the Paramount studio lot and the police reopening the investigation into Teddy's death, Lillian is determined to find answers. Can Lillian and Edith uncover the truth of what happened that fateful day and clear Gene's name?

Title: Lady of Perdition
Series: #17 in the Benjamin January historical mystery series set in 1840s Texas.
256 pages 

Synopsis: "April 1840. Benjamin January knows no black person in their right mind would willingly go to the Republic of Texas but when his former pupil Selina Bellinger is kidnapped and enslaved, he has no choice. Once there he is saved from being hanged by Valentina Taggart, wife of the wealthy landowner of Rancho Perdition. 

After Valentina is accused of the murder of her husband, she, in turn, calls on Benjamin for help. To do so, he must abandon the safe haven of New Orleans, where people know he's a free man, to return to the self-proclaimed "Slaveholders' Republic".

In a land still disputed between vengeful Comanche, disgruntled Mexican Tejanos, Americans who want to join the United States and those who want to keep Texas free, January must uncover what happened to Valentina's husband. Behind lies, betrayals and rising political tensions lies the answer... but finding it could cost Ben his life.

Title: The Hocus Girl
Author: Chris Nickson
Series: #2 in the Simon Westow historical mystery series set in 1820s Leeds, England.
224 pages

Synopsis: "Leeds, May 1822. Thief-taker Simon Westow owes Davey and Emily Ashton everything - the siblings gave him sanctuary when he needed it most. So when Davey is arrested for sedition and Emily begs Simon for help, he starts asking questions, determined to clear his friend. Are the answers linked to rumors of a mysterious government spy in town?

Davey's not the only one who needs Simon's help. Timber merchant George Ericsson has been 'hocussed' by a young woman who spiked his drink and stole his valuable ring and watch. Who is she, and how does she know one of Simon's assistant Jane's deepest secrets? The path to the truth is twisted and dangerous. Simon and Jane encounter murder, lies, betrayal and a government terrified of its own people as they attempt to save Davey and find the hocus girl.

=== January 7 ===

Title: Facets of Death
Series: #7 in the Detective Kubu police procedural series set in Botswana.
336 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "David Bengu has always stood out from the crowd. His personality and his physique match his nickname, Kubu―Setswana for "hippopotamus"―a seemingly docile creature, but one of the deadliest in Africa. His keen mind and famous persistence have seen him rise in the Botswana CID. But how did he get his start?

His resentful new colleagues are suspicious of a detective who has entered the CID straight from university, skipping the usual beat cop phase. 

Shortly after he joins the CID, the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats of diamonds in transit. The robbery is well-executed and brutal. Police immediately suspect an inside job, but there is no evidence of who it could be. The robbers die in a shoot-out, but the diamonds remain missing. So who masterminded the crime? Rumors of a witch doctor's involvement send the detectives down a dark path. Ultimately, new recruit Kubu finds himself engineering a risky trap. Will his first major case prove his worth―or kill his career?"

Title: There's a Murder Afoot
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: #5 in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop cozy series set in London.
336 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Gemma Doyle and her friends travel to London for a Sherlock Holmes convention--but will Gemma's father take the fall for a felonious forger's fatality?

The 6th of January is Sherlock Holmes's birthday, and lucky for Gemma Doyle, January is also the slowest time of the year at both the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, and Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room. It's a good time for Gemma and her friends to travel to England for a Holmes Convention. For Gemma, the trip provides an opportunity to visit her parents, Jayne Wilson is excited about seeing all the sites London has to offer, and Ryan Ashburton just wants to spend some time with Gemma. But the trip is immediately derailed when Gemma's father Henry recognizes his brother-in-law Randolph Denhaugh, who disappeared more than thirty years ago on the night he stole a valuable painting from his own parents.

Henry, a retired detective with Scotland Yard, has been keeping tabs on the man's career as a forger of Old Masters and he warns Randy to stay away from his family. It's up to Gemma, with the help of her friends, to plunge into the "lowest and vilest alleys" of London to save her father from prison.

=== January 14 ===

Title: The Missing American 
Author: Kwei Quartey
Series: #1 in the Emma Djan private investigator series set in Ghana.
432 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "When her dreams of rising through the Accra police ranks like her late father crash around her, 26-year-old Emma Djan is unsure what will become of her career. Through a sympathetic former colleague, Emma gets an interview with a private detective agency that takes on cases of missing persons, theft, and infidelity. It’s not the future she imagined, but it’s her best option.

Meanwhile, Gordon Tilson, a middle-aged widower in Washington, DC, has found solace in an online community after his wife’s passing. Through the support group, he’s even met a young Ghanaian widow he’s come to care about. When her sister gets into a car accident, he sends her thousands of dollars to cover the hospital bill—to the horror of his only son, Derek. Then Gordon decides to surprise his new love by paying her a visit—and disappears. Fearing for his father’s life, Derek follows him across the world to Ghana, Internet capital of the world, where he and Emma will find themselves deep in a world of sakawa scams, fetish priests, and those willing to kill to protect their secrets.

Title: The Hollows
Series: #2 in the Kinship historical mystery series set in 1920s Ohio.
352 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Ohio, 1926: For many years, the railroad track in Moonvale Tunnel has been used as a shortcut through the Appalachian hills. When an elderly woman is killed walking along the tracks, the brakeman tells tales of seeing a ghostly female figure dressed all in white.

Newly elected Sheriff Lily Ross is called on to the case to dispel the myths. With the help of her friends Marvena Whitcomb and Hildy Cooper, Lily follows the woman’s trail to The Hollows―a notorious asylum―and they begin to expose dark secrets long-hidden by time and the mountains."

=== January 21 ===

Title: The Words I Never Wrote
Author: Jane Thynne
Standalone suspense novel set in the present day and 1930s Europe.
400 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "New York, present day: On a whim, Juno Lambert buys a 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to celebrated journalist Cordelia Capel. Within its case she discovers an unfinished novel, igniting a transatlantic journey to fill the gaps in the story of Cordelia and her sister and the secret that lies between them.

Europe, 1936: Cordelia’s socialite sister Irene marries a German industrialist who whisks her away to Berlin. Cordelia, feistier and more intellectual than Irene, gets a job at a newspaper in Paris, pursuing the journalism career she cherishes. As politics begin to boil in Europe, the sisters exchange letters and Cordelia discovers that Irene’s husband is a Nazi sympathizer. With increasing desperation, Cordelia writes to her beloved sister, but as life in Nazi Germany darkens, Irene no longer dares to admit what her existence is truly like. Knowing that their letters cannot tell the whole story, Cordelia decides to fill in the blanks by sitting down with her Underwood and writing the truth.

When Juno reads the unfinished novel, she resolves to uncover the secret that continued to divide the sisters amid the turmoil of love, espionage, and war. In this vivid portrait of Nazi Berlin, from its high society to its devastating fall, Jane Thynne examines the truths we sometimes dare not tell ourselves.

Title: The Blaze
Author: Chad Dundas
Thriller set in Montana.
384 pages

Synopsis: "Having lost much of his memory from a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq, Army veteran Matthew Rose is called back to Montana after his father's death to settle his affairs, and hopefully to settle the past as well. It's not only a blank to him, but a mystery. Why as a teen did he suddenly become sullen and vacant, abandoning the activities and people that had meant most to him? How did he, the son of hippy activists, wind up enlisting in the first place?

Then on his first night back, Matthew sees a house go up in flames, and it turns out a local college student has died inside. And this event sparks a memory of a different fire, an unsolved crime from long ago, a part of Matthew's past that might lead to all the answers he's been searching for. What he finds will connect the old fire and the new, a series of long-unsolved mysteries, and a ruthless act of murder.

=== January 27 ===

Title: Mortal Music
Author: Ann Parker
Series: #7 in the Silver Rush historical mystery series set in 1880s San Francisco.
448 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "All Inez Stannert wants for Christmas is for the struggling music store she owns in San Francisco to be a success. When diva Theia Carrington Drake asks Inez to be her accompanist for several high-profile personal appearances, Inez is thrilled. This is the chance she was waiting for―a way to make some extra money and bring her store into the limelight of the city's polite society to enhance her business. 

But things are far from pitch-perfect. An unknown threat is stalking Theia; her pet bird is found slain, and her signature gown is destroyed. Soon, Inez realizes that a murderer is stalking the city's opera halls, and that it's only a matter of time before Theia is his next victim. She'll have to enlist the help of private investigator Wolter Roeland de Bruijn and uncover the killer before Theia's celebrated voice is silenced―permanently.

=== January 28 ===

Title: The Truants
Author: Kate Weinberg
Standalone suspense set in England.
320 pages

Synopsis: "People disappear when they most want to be seen.

Jess Walker has come to a concrete campus under the flat gray skies of East Anglia for one reason: to be taught by the mesmerizing and rebellious Dr. Lorna Clay, whose seminars soon transform Jess's thinking on life, love, and Agatha Christie. Swept up in Lorna's thrall, Jess falls in with a tightly knit group of rule-breakers--Alec, a courageous South African journalist with a nihilistic streak; Georgie, a seductive, pill-popping aristocrat; and Nick, a handsome geologist with layers of his own.

But the dynamic between the friends begins to darken, until a tragedy shatters their friendships and love affairs, and reveals a terrible secret. Soon Jess must face the question she fears most: what is the true cost of an extraordinary life?

Title: Hi Five
Author: Joe Ide
Series: #4 in the IQ private investigator series set in Los Angeles.
352 pages

Synopsis: "IQ is back- and working a case that involves juggling many more personalities than he expected. Cristiana is the daughter of the biggest arms dealers on the West Coast, Angus Byrne. She's also the sole witness and number one suspect in the murder of her boyfriend found dead in her Newport Beach boutique.

Isaiah Quintabe is coerced into taking the case to prove her innocence. If he can't, Angus will harm the brilliant PI's new girlfriend, ending her career.

The catch: Christiana has multiple personalities. Five radically different ones. Among them, a naïve, beautiful shopkeeper, an obnoxious drummer in a rock band, and a wanton seductress.

Isaiah's dilemma: no one personality saw the entire incident. To find out what really happened the night of the murder, Isaiah must piece together clues from each of the personalities- before the cops catch up.

What a lineup of excellent reading! Which books made you add them to your own wishlists? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Well, I'm so glad that Jess Montgomery has another book out with those terrific women characters, set in 1920s Ohio. I'll be looking for that one soon.

  2. Oh, a new Kwei Quartay, a new Michael Stanley, and a new Vicki Delany? This is going to be a good month, Cathy! May your leg heal quickly, and many 2020 be a good one for you.

    1. May 2020 be filled with treasure for you as well, Margot.

  3. Yes! I wish you a happy -- and healthy -- new year.

    And by the way, I got hooked on the Ryder Creed books, but mostly because of the dogs, their training, their skills. And what a real dog lover and protector is Creed, where he'll do anything to protect the dogs.

    1. I've been making myself stay away from those books. I don't want to devour them too quickly.

  4. I see that new series (think it's a new series) by Kwei Quartey. I'm watching for that one for sure.

    1. I'll be reading it soon. I enjoyed his Darko Dawson series and am looking forward to seeing what he does with a female lead character.

  5. I have The Hocus Girl and Hi Five, but I think I want all of the others, too. I'm so greedy!


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