Wednesday, June 24, 2020

July 2020 New Mystery Releases!

One of these days, we may all decide to buckle down to slow (and even stop?) the spread of COVID-19. It will be worth it, especially once a vaccine is found to stop it. That's one of the very first lessons my mother ever taught me: a little inconvenience can lead to countless rewards in the end.

In the mean time, there are plenty of people-- and businesses-- that have been scrambling for months. The publishing industry is one of them. I compile my list of new releases in advance, and lately when I doublecheck the release dates, many of them have been changed. I'm going to have to give my eyeballs plenty of vitamins because five of the advance reading copies I've been given now have the very same release date. That's something I try very hard to avoid! Ah well. What did I say? A little inconvenience can lead to countless rewards...

The following are my picks of the best new crime fiction being released throughout the month of July. I've grouped them according to those release dates (and hopefully none of them have changed). Book covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon. Let's see if I've chosen any that tickle your fancy!

=== July 7 ===

Title: Muzzled
Series: #21 in the Andy Carpenter series set in New Jersey.
304 pages

Synopsis: "Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who would rather not practice law. He'd rather spend his time working with the Tara Foundation, his dog rescue organization, and being with his family and his two dogs, Tara and Sebastian. But when a friend asks him for a favor that involves both dogs and his lawyerly expertise, he can't say no.

Andy's friend Beth has found a stray that seems to have belonged to a murder victim--in fact, the man and two of his colleagues died in an explosion a few weeks ago. But when the murdered man contacts Beth, asking for his dog back, Andy knows there must be more to the story. The man claims his life is in danger, and that's why he disappeared. As much as Andy doesn't want to get involved--anything to avoid a new case--he can't help but come to the rescue of a man who'd risk everything, even his life, to reunite with his dog.

Once again, David Rosenfelt delivers suspense and laughter in equal measure in another engaging mystery from "one of the most unforgettable voices in the genre." (Associated Press)

Title: Murder in Chianti
Series: #1 in the Tuscan Mysteries set in Italy and featuring Nico Doyle, a former NYPD homicide detective.
312 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Mourning the loss of his wife, Rita, former NYPD homicide detective Nico Doyle moves to her hometown of Gravigna in the winesoaked region of Chianti. Half Italian and half Irish, Nico finds himself able to get by in the region with the help of Rita’s relatives, but he still feels alone and out of place. He isn’t sure if it’s peace he’s seeking, but it isn’t what he finds. Early one morning, he hears a gunshot and a dog's cries near his cabin and walks out to discover a dead body in the woods, flashily dressed in gold tennis shoes. When the police arrive, Nico hastily adopts the fluffy white dog as his own and wants nothing more to do with the murder.

But Salvatore Perillo, the local maresciallo, discovers Nico's professional background and enlists him to help with the case. It turns out more than one person in this idyllic corner of Italy knew the victim, and with a very small pool of suspects, including his own in-laws, Nico must dig up Gravigna’s every last painful secret to get to the truth.

Title: Of Mutts and Men
Author: Spencer Quinn
Series: #10 in the Chet and Bernie private investigator series set in Arizona.
304 pages

Synopsis: "When Chet the dog, “the most lovable narrator in all of crime fiction” (Boston Globe), and his partner, PI Bernie Little of the desert-based Little Detective Agency, arrive to a meeting with hydrologist Wendell Nero, they are in for a shocking sight―Wendell has come to a violent and mysterious end. What did the hydrologist want to see them about? Is his death a random robbery, or something more? Chet and Bernie, working for nothing more than an eight-pack of Slim Jims, are on the case.

Bernie might be the only one who thinks the police have arrested the wrong man, including the perp’s own defense attorney. Chet and Bernie begin to look into Wendell’s work, a search that leads to a struggling winemaker who has received an offer he can’t refuse. Meanwhile, Chet is smelling water where there is no water, and soon Chet and Bernie are in danger like never before.

Title: The Golden Cage
Standalone thriller set in Sweden.
352 pages

Synopsis: "Faye has loved Jack since they were students at business school. Jack, the perpetual golden boy, grew up wealthy, unlike Faye, who has worked hard to bury a dark past. When Jack needs help launching a new company, Faye leaves school to support him, waitressing by day and working as his strategist by night. With the business soaring, Faye and Jack have a baby, and Faye finds herself at home, caring for their daughter, wealthier than she ever imagined, but more and more removed from the excitement of the business world. And none of the perks of wealth make up for the fact that Jack has begun to treat her coldly, undermining her intelligence and forgetting all she sacrificed for his success. When Faye discovers that he's having an affair, the polished façade of their life cracks wide open. Faye is alone, emotionally shattered, and financially devastated--but hell hath no fury like a woman with a violent past bent on vengeance. Jack is about to get exactly what he deserves--and so much more. In this splashy, electrifying story of sex, betrayal, and secrets, a woman's revenge is a brutal but beautiful thing."

=== July 14 ===

Title: Murder at the Falls
Author: Arlene Kay
Series: #3 in the Creature Comforts cozy series.
224 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Perri and her BFF Babette Croy team up to bring their therapy dogs to an upscale senior living facility. But The Falls’ pleasant façade hides some unpleasant secrets. Valuables are missing, feuds fester, and one resident even fears for her life. Sprightly senior Magdalen Melmoth swears she’s being targeted because her grandfather was none other than Oscar Wilde, and her legacy includes an unpublished novel by the literary genius.

Convinced it’ll take more than calming canines to sniff out the truth, Perri enlists the help of her beau, hotshot reporter Wing Pruett. When a nurse is poisoned by chocolates sent to Magdalen, and a physician is brutally murdered, the case takes a deeply troubling turn. Perri, Babette, and their furry friends race to bring a killer to heel, but can they outsmart an enemy who’s simply bad to the bone?

Title: The Lantern Men
Series: #12 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series set in England.
368 pages

Synopsis: "She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police's resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Amyas March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried - but only if Ruth will do the digging.
Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.
Is Amyas March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?"

=== July 21 ===

Title: Lineage Most Lethal
Author: S.C. Perkins
Series: #2 in the Ancestry Detective series set in Texas.
352 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "It's the week before New Year's Eve and genealogist Lucy Lancaster is ready to mix work and play at the beautiful Hotel Sutton, enjoying herself while finalizing the presentation for her latest client, hotel heiress Pippa Sutton.

Freshly arrived at the hotel―and determined not to think about Special Agent Ben Turner, who went radio silent on her after one date―Lucy is stopped in her tracks when a strange man comes staggering toward her. She barely has time to notice his weak, sweaty appearance before he presses a classic Montblanc pen onto her hand, gasps, “Keep them safe,” and collapses at her feet, dead.

When Lucy shows the fountain pen to her grandfather, an avid collector and World War II veteran, she’s in for another shock. Not only does Grandpa recognize the Montblanc, he also reveals a secret: he was an Allied spy during the war and the pen is both a message regarding one of his wartime missions and the key to reading a microdot left by the dead man.

On the microdot is a series of ciphers, some decrypted to form names. Could they be the descendants of Grandpa’s fellow spies? When two from the list end up murdered―including the chef at the Hotel Sutton―and Grandpa’s life is put in jeopardy, Lucy’s sure she’s right. And with Lucy’s and Pippa’s names possibly on the list, too, she’s got to uncover the past to protect those in the present.

With a secret Allied mission, old grievances, and traitors hiding behind every corner, Lucy must use her research skills to trace the list’s World War II ancestors and connect the dots to find a killer in their midst―a killer who’s determined to make sure some lineages end once and for all.

Title: I Saw Him Die
Author: Andrew Wilson
Series: #4 in the Agatha Christie historical series set in Scotland.
400 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Bestselling novelist and part-time undercover sleuth Agatha Christie is looking forward to a bit of well-deserved rest and relaxation when her longtime friend John Davison pleads with her to help him protect a retired British agent turned hotelier who has been receiving threatening letters.

Together they travel to Dallach Lodge, a beautiful estate on Scotland’s picturesque Isle of Skye. There they insert themselves among the hotel’s illustrious guests, including members of the owner’s family, a leading lady of the theater, a brilliant botanist, a local doctor, and two sisters who coauthor romance novels. After a pleasant first evening, Agatha thinks it unlikely that any of them are capable of evil, much less murder. But early the next morning, the sound of a gunshot rings out and the hotel owner is found dead in the arms of his nephew. At first, it appears to be a simple hunting accident, but as Agatha digs deeper, she discovers that each and every one of the residents has a reason for wanting the late proprietor dead.

=== July 28 ===

Title: Tea & Treachery
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: #1 in the Tea By the Sea cozy series set in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
304 pages
Synopsis: "As the proud proprietor and head pastry chef of Tea by the Sea, a traditional English tearoom on the picturesque bluffs of Cape Cod, Roberts has her hands full, often literally. But nothing keeps her busier than steering her sassy grandmother, Rose, away from trouble. Rose operates the grand old Victorian B & B adjacent to Lily’s tea shop . . . for now. An aggressive real estate developer, Jack Ford, is pushing hard to rezone nearby land, with an eye toward building a sprawling golf resort, which would drive Rose and Lily out of business.

Tempers are already steaming, but things really get sticky when Ford is found dead at the foot of Rose’s property and the police think she had something to do with his dramatic demise. Lily can’t let her grandmother get burned by a false murder charge. So she starts her own investigation and discovers Ford’s been brewing bad blood all over town, from his jilted lover to his trophy wife to his shady business partners. Now, it’s down to Lily to stir up some clues, sift through the suspects, and uncover the real killer before Rose is left holding the tea bag.

Title: A Royal Affair
Author: Allison Montclair
Series: #2 in the Sparks & Bainbridge historical series set in England immediately after World War II.
336 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "In London 1946, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is just beginning to take off and the proprietors, Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, are in need of a bigger office and a secretary to handle the growing demand. Unfortunately, they don't yet have the necessary means. So when a woman arrives―a cousin of Gwen's―with an interesting and quite remunerative proposition, they two of them are all ears.

The cousin, one Lady Matheson, works for the Queen in "some capacity" and is in need of some discreet investigation. It seems that the Princess Elizabeth has developed feelings for a dashing Greek prince and a blackmail note has arrived, alluding to some potentially damaging information about said prince. Wanting to keep this out of the palace gossip circles, but also needing to find out what skeletons might lurk in the prince's closet, the palace has quietly turned to Gwen and Iris. Without causing a stir, the two of them must now find out what secrets lurk in the prince's past, before his engagement to the future Queen of England is announced. And there's more at stake than the future of the Empire ―there is their potential new office that lies in the balance.

Title: The Silence of the White City
Author: Eva García Sáenz
Series: #1 in the White City trilogy, a police procedural series set in Spain and the Basque country.
528 pages
Synopsis: "Young Inspector Unai López de Ayala, known as "Kraken," is charged with investigating a series of ritualistic murders. The murders are eerily similar to ones that rattled the citizens of Vitoria twenty years earlier. But back then, police were sure they had discovered the killer, a prestigious archaeologist who is currently in jail. Now Kraken must race to determine whether the killer had an accomplice or whether the wrong man has been incarcerated for two decades. This fast-paced, unrelenting thriller weaves in and out of mythology and legends of the Basque country as it hurtles to its shocking conclusion."

Even if the release dates on books have been shifting as fast as the dunes in the Sahara Desert, there's still some mighty fine reading to be found during the month of July. Which books caught your eye? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. I couldn't agree more about a little inconvenience being worth it, Cathy. I really hope we do end up with a vaccine - soon. In the meantime, though, we need to act responsibly and stay safe. And read books. Lots of books. Like the new Griffiths. And the new Rosenfelt. And the new Läckberg. And...

  2. I'm frustrated that the people who won't wear masks and practice social distancing are the ones that may cause another serious lockdown.

    Number one for me will be Camilla Lackberg's stand-alone The Golden Cage. I'm also curious about The Silence of the White City.

    1. How very far we've fallen from "the greatest generation."

      I'm really looking forward to The Golden Cage, too.

  3. Oh, my gosh, well, dogs rate. Certainly, "Muzzled," and perhaps "Of Mutts and Men." Definitely, "The Lantern Men." I'm waiting for the library to open.
    Now the system plans on opening 8 branches in 3 boroughs, so it's one somewhat near me. But it's still a bus rider away, and I'm at a high-risk category and am leery of that. And, sadly, most of the transit workers in the city who have died of this dastardly virus have been bus drivers. So I am not certain of doing.
    Also, they don't have Griffith's latest Ruth Galloway book. So I may end up buying it. (Note to self: Get an ereader.)

    I'm still reading about the fabulous V.I. Warshawski in "Dead Land." I'm just not reading a lot, too much news on TV and (confession) I found Hearts on line and promptly god addicted. And I'm yelling at the fictitious other players. (Staying home 24/7 makes one a bit eccentric.)

    I have "Remain Silent," by Susie Steiner on my stack, and I love her Manon Bradshaw series.

    On to more good reading.

    1. With everything imploding here in Arizona, I'd dearly love to get out and go somewhere, but I'm just going to suck it up and stay home. Except for next Wednesday when I get to leave the house to go to the dentist. *sigh*

  4. Well, I have to go to the mailbox now to pay bills and pick up a treat if any store is open, wearing my scarf over my face. Don't have good cloth masks around here.

    I still have to pick up medicla records 15 blocks away (no car) as my 83-year-old doctor retired. And I have to find a doctor. How in this telemedicine time? And I need to get a mammogram? I got a notice but how do we do that when the technician is moving our body parts around on the x-ray machine? I'll put it off for awhile.
    I don't know where we are going. Take care of yourself and hope Denis does the same. Don't like to hear cases are rising in several states, including Arizona.
    And yet the buys in the WH are still resisting masks and social distancing. Politics over public health is their motto. Grrr!

    1. Maybe...just maybe...things will begin to change. At least in Arizona, because a much larger percentage of the 18-25 age group is being stricken by COVID-19 here. Hopefully that "I'm ten feet tall and bulletproof" mentality will give way to some good, old-fashioned common sense.

  5. Yes. Common sense, believing in science and listening to public health officials and doctors would help.
    I heard some weird testimony by anti-science people in Florida, who says masks kill people, etc. I was taken aback by their words.

  6. True. Ignorance knows no bounds either. Someone said masks cut off breathing. Another said masks take away the breath that God created! Others said stupid things.

    And meanwhile I have friends in Houston and San Antonio to worry about, and they are not young. One in San Antonio said they got loud alerts on their phones telling them to stay home, that the situation was perilous.


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