Wednesday, December 30, 2020

January 2021 New Mystery Releases!


I'm usually sad to see another year go, but not this time! I can't wait for the door to hit 2020 in the butt on its way out. I know there are still some tough times ahead, but I do believe that I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, and that is so worth working for.

Now if everyone would just get on the same page! COVID-19 is raging here. Hospitals are beginning to run out of room in their morgues and are using refrigerated trucks to store victims' bodies. And still people pour in to enjoy our weather, bringing who knows what with them (and taking who knows what away). Denis reports record numbers of golfers with all their clubs flying into the Valley, and although Phoenix cancelled all upcoming sporting events, the other towns in the metropolitan area did not follow suit, so those people are coming in droves. We need some key people in charge who have spines and who are willing to do what needs to be done.

It's a good thing that I seldom ever have problems being sidetracked by books because do I ever need that distraction! The following books are my picks of the best new crime fiction being released throughout the month of January and they are grouped by release date. Covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon. 
Let's take a look to see if any of my picks tickle your fancy, too.
===January 12 ===
Title: A Curious Incident
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: #6 in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop cozy series set in Massachusetts
304 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "'I am not a Consulting Detective,' Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor's garden shed. Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.

Sheila Tierney's garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club's early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police's prime suspect. 

Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident.
Title: Sleep Well My Lady
Author: Kwei Quartey
Series: #2 in the Emma Djan private investigator series set in Ghana.
336 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though notorious for his lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanizing. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a selfmade fashion empire. Fearing Augustus is only after her money, Araba’s religious family intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show, Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba’s favorite aunt, Dele, suspects Augustus Seeza was the real killer.

Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba’s murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past, but navigate a long list of suspects with strong motives. Emma quickly discovers that they are all willing to lie for each other—and that one may still be willing to kill.
Title: Laying Bones
Series: #8 in the Red River historical series set in Texas.
368 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "It's January 1969 in the small rural community of Center Springs, Texas. Constable Ned Parker is looking into the seemingly accidental death of his nephew R .B., who was found in his overturned pickup near Sanders Creek bridge. At first it appears that R. B. drowned in the shallow water, but something doesn't add up for Ned, who begins turning over stones in search of what really happened the night R. B. died.

Eventually, the investigation leads Ned back to the Starlite Club, a dangerous honky-tonk recently constructed in a no-man's land on the Lone Star side of the Red River. Although his investigation uncovers suspicious characters, drugs, and gambling, it's the series of murders that eliminated any potential witnesses to what happened to R. B. on that cold January night, that's the most troubling.

As he works his way through the cover-up, which leads all the way to the coroner's office, Ned finds himself involved in a high-stakes game of consequences with no good end in sight. Are the good citizens of Center Springs conspiring against Constable Parker in his search for the truth?"
Title: Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons
Series: #18 in the Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series set in England.
464 pages
Synopsis: "On a spring morning in London’s Strand, the Speaker of the House of Commons is nearly killed by a van unloading oranges and lemons for the annual St. Clement Danes celebration. It’s an absurd near-death experience, but the government is more interested in investigating the Speaker’s state of mind just prior to his accident.

The task is given to the Peculiar Crimes Unit—the only problem being that the unit no longer exists. Its chief, Raymond Land, is tending his daffodils on the Isle of Wight and senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May are out of commission—May has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound and Bryant has been missing for a month. What's more, their old office in King’s Cross is being turned into a vegetarian tapas bar.

Against impossible odds, the team is reassembled and once again what should be a simple case becomes a lunatic farrago involving arson, suicide, magicians, academics and a race to catch a killer with a master plan involving London churches. Joining their team this time is Sidney, a young woman with no previous experience, plenty of attitude—and a surprising secret.
Title: The Scorpion's Tail
Series: #2 in the Nora Kelly archaeologist series set in New Mexico.
416 pages
Synopsis: "Following the acclaimed debut of Old Bones, this second "happily anticipated" new thriller in Preston & Child's series features Nora Kelly, archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archeological Institute, and rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, as they team up to solve a mystery that quickly escalates into nightmare (Booklist).

A mummified corpse, over half a century old, is found in the cellar of an abandoned building in a remote New Mexico ghost town. Corrie is assigned what seems to her a throwaway case: to ID the body and determine cause of death. She brings archaeologist Nora Kelly to excavate the body and lend her expertise to the investigation, and together they uncover something unexpected and shocking: the deceased apparently died in agony, in a fetal position, skin coming off in sheets, with a rictus of horror frozen on his face.

Hidden on the corpse lies a 16th century Spanish gold cross of immense value.

When they at last identify the body -- and the bizarre cause of death -- Corrie and Nora open a door into a terrifying, secret world of ancient treasure and modern obsession: a world centered on arguably the most defining, frightening, and transformative moment in American history.

Title: The House on Vesper Sands
Standalone historical thriller set in England.
408 pages
Synopsis: "London, 1893: high up in a house on a dark, snowy night, a lone seamstress stands by a window. So begins the swirling, serpentine world of Paraic O’Donnell’s Victorian-inspired mystery, the story of a city cloaked in shadow, but burning with questions: why does the seamstress jump from the window? Why is a cryptic message stitched into her skin? And how is she connected to a rash of missing girls, all of whom seem to have disappeared under similar circumstances?

On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter’s sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance to tell a story that matters―despite her employer’s preference that she stick to a women’s society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

By turns smart, surprising, and impossible to put down, The House on Vesper Sands offers a glimpse into the strange undertow of late nineteenth-century London and the secrets we all hold inside us."
=== January 19 ===
Title: Knock Knock
Series: #8 in the Ewert Grens police procedural series set in Sweden.
448 pages
Synopsis: "Seventeen years ago, Criminal Inspector Ewert Grens was called to the scene of a brutal crime. A family had been murdered, and the only survivor--and witness--was the five-year-old daughter. The girl was placed in the witness protection program, and the case went cold, but years later, Grens is still haunted by the seemingly random slaying, and the little girl who was spared. So when he learns that the apartment where the crime occurred is now the scene of a mysterious break-in, Grens immediately fears that someone is intent on silencing the only witness. He races to find her...before they do.

Meanwhile, someone in the city's criminal underworld is executing weapons smugglers, and has placed former police informant Piet Hoffman's family in grave danger. He must unravel the secret threat to his family, all while keeping secrets of his own. Soon his hunt for answers intertwines with Ewert's, and the two men find themselves in the middle of a criminal conspiracy that is more complicated--and dangerous--than they could have imagined.

=== January 26 ===

Title: Ink and Shadows
Author: Ellery Adams
Series: #4 in the Secret, Book & Scone Society cozy series set in North Carolina.
304 pages
Synopsis: "Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl's Matilda and Madeline Miller's Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who's been selling CBD oil products.

Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife--but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can't explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora's doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.

The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation--before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste's past come back to haunt them all . . .

Well, what do you think? I was so pleased to see a new book in the Red River series by Reavis Wortham; the entire series puts you right in the middle of 1960s Texas, and the characters and stories are hard to beat. I want to read them all, but I must admit that-- along with Laying Bones-- Preston & Child's The Scorpion's Tail and Kwei Quartey's Sleep Well My Lady are the ones that I'm looking forward to the most. I need engaging stories with a strong sense of place to keep my mind from wandering into dangerous territory.

Here's to a new year of new and exciting books. Happy Reading!


  1. Ooh, good stuff coming out, Cathy! A new Vicki Delany and a new Kwei Quartey, and a Christopher Fowler, too! Good to have something to look forward to, isn't it?

  2. Definitely excited about the new Kwei Quartey - love all his books. Last evening I discovered two new (new to me Icelandic authors) - that I'm looking forward to:
    #5 and #6

    #5 "Creak On The Stairs" a $.99 Amazon Kindle - thought that was a real bargain.

    Happy healthy, safe New Year to all. Needs repeating - I really enjoy and always look forward to your blog entries. Thank you.

    1. I agree with you about both Icelandic authors, in fact, I already have The Creak on the Stairs on my Kindle.

      I'm glad you found my blog, Ev, and I need to tell you that I've been enjoying looking through your photographs on SmugMug.

    2. Great that you have enjoyed the SmugMug photos - its really been a nice activity for me to edit, organize, and display the photos. I appreciate the kind words.
      Wanted to mention your blog has been a great resource when deciding what I want to read next. Just use that handy search box and I can see what you thought about the book/series. Your search box lead me to the Barker & Llewellyn, Will Thomas series. Started the second one now - fast moving, just enough history.
      Happy New Year, Cathy!

  3. I am 72nd in line asking for Scorpion's Tale. I put it on hold some time ago so there are many readers of this series. Right now there are 5 books on order but that will increase I am sure.
    Sleep Well My Lady reminded me that I have to read The Missing American which has been on my Kindle for several months.(along with many others)
    I need to catch up with the Reavis Z. Wortham series which I enjoy.
    Like this monthly feature very much. Like to see what will be out there.

    1. I can always be lured by new books to read. Happy New Year, Lynn!

  4. Looks like you'll be getting off to a great start with the new year, Cathy. Those all look great, but I'm particularly drawn to the Reavis Wortham series you highlighted. It's a new one to me (as usual with so many of your choices) but I'm curious about it being set in 1960s Texas. Those were the coming-of-age years for me here in Southeast Texas, and even though it sounds like this one is set more in North Texas, I'm hoping it fits me like an old boot.

    1. I thought of you as I added Laying Bones on my list, Sam. I wondered if you'd read any of the books. What surprised me about Wortham's series is how much it brought back memories of my own childhood in rural central Illinois. I hope you get a chance to read the first book in the series (it's best read in order) The Rock Hole because I'd really be interested in your thoughts.

  5. This is a great list of books, Cathy, and I thank you for posting it. I've got Reavis Wortham's series on my list for 2021. My hope is that my reading life will be a source of peace and calm for me this year. I'm adding a little more yoga and breathing and less news. I agree that 2020 can just make it's way out the door and 2021 can come on in. Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year, Kay! I've trimmed down my consumption of news almost to the bone. Unfortunately, I still feel the need to know some of what's going on in the world even though I am a hermit.

  6. Bryant & May and Preston & Child make for a good month. I still need to try the 1st in that Kwei Quartey series, and all the comments are also increasing my interest in Reavis Wortham's series - the '60's are not usually one of "my" periods.

    Here's hoping 2021 is a vast improvement over this year!

    1. The 1960s aren't one of my favorite periods either, but these books are good!

  7. One book to read is Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore. Sense of place in western Texas during the 1970s oil boom is very good. A crime is committed, and the viewpoints of several women and girls are presented. Excellent characterizations and against anti-Mexican bigotry and pro women's rights. I couldn't stop reading this book.

  8. The House on Vesper Sands looks good! I haven't read Bryant & May for a while, nice reminder. :)

  9. Amazon UK will have Elly Griffith's next Ruth Galloway book, "The Night Hawks" in early February. Only a month away!

    1. I know-- but I've already scored the ARC. I have a feeling I'll be reading it sooner than the US release date!


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