Wednesday, April 28, 2021

May 2021 New Mystery Releases!


With my leg still going haywire, I think I'm going to find myself with my legs elevated much more than I'd like them to be, and I find that extremely frustrating at this time of year!

Fortunately, I never seem to be short of good books to read, and the afghan I'm knitting is growing by leaps and bounds. But still... Ah well. It is what it is, and whining about it won't do anyone any good.

But even if I whine a bit, I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for new mysteries to add to my Need to Read list. The following are my picks of the best new crime fiction being released throughout the month of May. They've been grouped according to their release dates, and the covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon.

Let's see if I've managed to choose any that are on your own lists... or ones that you'll just have to add!

=== May 4 ===

Title: Thief of Souls
Author: Brian Klingborg
Standalone police procedural set in northern China.
288 pages 

Synopsis: "Lu Fei is a graduate of China’s top police college but he’s been assigned to a sleepy backwater town in northern China, where almost nothing happens and the theft of a few chickens represents a major crime wave. That is until a young woman is found dead, her organs removed, and joss paper stuffed in her mouth. The CID in Beijing―headed by a rising political star―is on the case but in an increasingly authoritarian China, prosperity and political stability are far more important than solving the murder of an insignificant village girl. As such, the CID head is interested in pinning the crime on the first available suspect rather than wading into uncomfortable truths, leaving Lu Fei on his own.

As Lu digs deeper into the gruesome murder, he finds himself facing old enemies and creating new ones in the form of local Communist Party bosses and corrupt business interests. Despite these rising obstacles, Lu remains determined to find the real killer, especially after he links the murder to other unsolved homicides. But the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he puts himself and his loved ones in danger.

Title: The Girl Who Died
Standalone thriller set in Iceland.
320 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Teacher Wanted At the Edge of the World

Una wants nothing more than to teach, but she has been unable to secure steady employment in Reykjavík. Her savings are depleted, her love life is nonexistent, and she cannot face another winter staring at the four walls of her shabby apartment. Celebrating Christmas and ringing in 1986 in the remote fishing hamlet of Skálar seems like a small price to pay for a chance to earn some teaching credentials and get her life back on track.

But Skálar isn’t just one of Iceland’s most isolated villages, it is home to just ten people. Una’s only students are two girls aged seven and nine. Teaching them only occupies so many hours in a day and the few adults she interacts with are civil but distant. She only seems to connect with Thór, a man she shares an attraction with but who is determined to keep her at arm’s length.

As darkness descends throughout the bleak winter, Una finds herself more often than not in her rented attic space―the site of a local legendary haunting―drinking her loneliness away. She is plagued by nightmares of a little girl in a white dress singing a lullaby. And when a sudden tragedy echoes an event long buried in Skálar’s past, the villagers become even more guarded, leaving a suspicious Una seeking to uncover a shocking truth that’s been kept secret for generations.

=== May 11 ===

Title: City of Dark Corners
Author: Jon Talton
Standalone historical mystery set in Phoenix, Arizona.
256 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Phoenix, 1933: A young city with big dreams and dark corners

Great War veteran and rising star Gene Hammons lost his job as a homicide detective when he tried to prove that a woman was wrongly convicted of murder to protect a well-connected man. Now a private investigator, Hammons makes his living looking for missing persons―a plentiful caseload during the Great Depression, when people seem to disappear all the time.

But his routine is disrupted when his brother―another homicide detective, still on the force―enlists his help looking into the death of a young woman whose dismembered body is found beside the railroad tracks. The sheriff rules it an accident, but the carnage is too neat, and the staging of the body parts too ritual. Hammons suspects it's the work of a "lust murderer"―similar to the serial strangler whose killing spree he had ended a few years earlier. But who was the poor girl, dressed demurely in pink? And why was his business card tucked into her small purse? As Hammons searches for the victim's identity, he discovers that the dead girl had some secrets of her own, and that the case is connected to some of Phoenix's most powerful citizens―on both sides of the law."
=== May 25 ===
Title: Murder in a Scottish Garden
Author: Traci Hall
Series: #2 in the Scottish Shire cozy series set in northern Scotland.
304 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "In the charming Scottish shire of Nairn, sweater shop owner Paislee Shaw must root out a garden variety killer...
Paislee's custom sweater and yarn business, Cashmere Crush, is the sole support for not only the single mum and her ten-year-old son Brody, but also her eccentric Gramps and Wallace, their black Scottish terrier. So when her landlord, Shawn Marcus, serves her an eviction notice and then pulls a disappearing act, she'll go to any lengths to find the man and reason with him.
Shawn is heir to the Leery Estate, which Brody's class will be visiting on a field trip. So Paislee volunteers to chaperone in the hopes of tracking down Shawn and killing two birds with one stone. Unfortunately, the only one killed is a man Paislee sees falling out of the hedges after being shot. It's not her missing landlord, but Lady Leery's nephew, Charles Thomson. Gruff DI Mack Zeffer is on the case, but Paislee also has a stake in flushing out the shooter. With suspects sprouting up like weeds, Paislee may need to hedge her bets until she can determine who is trying to lead her down the garden path...

Title: A Peculiar Combination
Series: #1 in the Electra McDonnell historical series set in World War II England.
304 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Electra McDonnell has always known that the way she and her family earn their living is slightly outside of the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but World War II is in full swing, Ellie's cousins Colm and Toby are off fighting against Hitler, and Uncle Mick's more honorable business as a locksmith can't pay the bills any more.

So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in the empty house of a wealthy family, he and Ellie can’t resist. All goes as planned―until the pair are caught redhanded. Ellie expects them to be taken straight to prison, but instead they are delivered to a large townhouse, where government official Major Ramsey is waiting with an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints that will be critical to the British war effort, before they can be delivered to a German spy, or he turns her over to the police.

Ellie doesn’t care for the Major's imperious manner, but she has no choice, and besides, she's eager to do her bit for king and country. She may be a thief, but she's no coward. When she and the Major break into the house in question, they find instead the purported German spy dead on the floor, the safe already open and empty. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double-agent, as they try to stop allied plans falling into German hands.

Title: The Prodigal Daughter
Series: #5 in the Linda Wallheim amateur sleuth series set in Utah.
264 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Linda Wallheim, increasingly disillusioned with her religion, has begun marriage counseling with her husband, Kurt, a bishop in the Mormon Church. On other days, Linda occupies herself with happier things, like visiting her five grown sons and their families.

When Linda’s eldest son, Joseph, tells her his infant daughter’s babysitter, a local teenager named Sabrina Jensen, has vanished, Linda can’t help but ask questions. Her casual inquiries form the portrait of a girl under extreme pressure from her parents to be the perfect Mormon daughter, and it eventually emerges that Sabrina is the victim of a terrible crime at the hands of her own classmates—including the high school’s golden boys and future church leaders.

Linda’s search for Sabrina will lead her to the darker streets of Utah and cause her to question whether the Mormon community’s most privileged and powerful will be called to task for past sins.
Title: City on the Edge
Standalone thriller set in Lebanon.
288 pages
Synopsis: "In the wake of a baffling tragedy, 13-year-old Graham moves with his family to Beirut, Lebanon, a city on the edge of the sea and cataclysmic violence. Inquisitive and restless by nature, Graham suspects his State Department father is a CIA operative, and that their family’s fragile domesticity is merely a front for American efforts along the nearby Israeli border. Over the course of one year, 1972, Graham’s life will utterly change. Two men are murdered, his parent’s marriage disintegrates, and Graham, along with his two ex-pat friends, run afoul of forces they cannot understand. 
The City on the Edge is elegiac, atmospheric, and utterly authentic. It’s the story of innocents caught within the American net of espionage, of the Lebanese transformed by such interference, of the children who ran dangerously beside the churning wheel of history. One part Stephen King’s “The Body” and another John le Carre’s A Perfect Spy, it’s a transformative crime story told with heart and genuine experience."
=== May 27 ===
Title: The Coldest Case
Series: #14 in the Bruno Chief of Police series set in France.
352 pages
UK Release
Synopsis: "Bruno Courreges is Chief of Police of the lovely town of St Denis in the Dordogne. His main wish is to keep the local people safe and his town free from crime. But crime has a way of finding its way to him.

For thirty years, Bruno's boss, Chief of Detectives Jalipeau, known as J-J, has been obsessed with his first case. It was never solved and Bruno knows that this failure continues to haunt J-J. A young male body was found in the woods near St Denis and never identified. For all these years, J-J has kept the skull as a reminder. He calls him 'Oscar'.

Visiting the famous pre-history museum in nearby Les Eyzies, Bruno sees some amazingly life-like heads expertly reconstructed from ancient skulls. He suggests performing a similar reconstruction on Oscar as a first step towards at last identifying him. An expert is hired to start the reconstruction and the search for Oscar's killer begins again in earnest.
=== May 31 ===
Title: Collectibles
Standalone short story anthology
Synopsis: "A COLLECTION… OF COLLECTIONS What leads one person to collect stamps and another coins, one fine art and another butterflies? Who can say? But one thing is certain: those who've got the collecting bug care passionately—sometimes violently—about the objects of their obsession. No one covets like a collector; and as you will find in the pages of this brand new anthology from MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block, a truly dedicated collector will ignore the other nine commandments, too, in his quest for his personal Holy Grail. From Joyce Carol Oates' tale of the ultimate Marilyn Monroe collectible to Dennis Lehane's bookseller with a penchant for other people's tragic correspondence, from Lee Goldberg's Hollywood hustler with a collection of unaired TV shows to Joe R. Lansdale's stylish foray into noir, culminating in Lawrence Block's own classic story of a killer with a unique approach to choosing his victims, Collectibles illustrates the range of the collecting impulse and the lengths people will go to in their hunger to possess the perfect piece.

Well, did I manage to add any books to your wish lists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Nice choices this time, Cathy! A new Harrison, a new Martin Walker.... yes, some good things happening... I'm sorry to hear your healing is taking its time. It's so hard to just let the healing happen when you're used to being more active. I hope you get up and around soon.

    1. I'm afraid to say that I've run out of patience a time or two recently. I just hope I can avoid paying the price.

  2. I’m intrigued by The Girl Who Died, the setting of The Thief of Souls is also interesting in that it’s unusual.

    1. The Girl Who Died is an interesting read. I'm just about to write my review of it.

  3. I enjoyed The Thief of Souls, and I'm looking forward to the new Martin Walker. :)

    1. I always look forward to a visit with Bruno. :-)

  4. I am on the hold list at the library for A Peculiar Combination. Thief of Souls and Murder in a Scottish Garden look intriguing...

    1. I think we share a bit of reading DNA, Gretchen!

  5. As usual, you've brought a whole bunch of new authors and books to my attention, but the one that really jumps out at me is that last one, "Collectibles."

    I've been a collector of things all my life, always striving for completeness, etc. and that's certainly carried into my love of books and readings. This one seems perfect for me...a book of stories about how the collector-gene can get you into trouble...what more could I ask? LOL

    1. That book does sound right up your alley, Sam!

  6. So sorry to read about your continuing problems with your leg. I hope it resolves quickly.
    Meanwhile, you have a lot to read, and I will look for reviews here.
    Best wishes for your good health.

  7. I already have Thief of Souls and The Coldest Case on my radar. A Peculiar Combination sounds interesting, though I need to wait a little while first, to avoid overdoing WWII books.

    1. It's easy to overdose on a particular theme or time period, isn't it?

    2. Yes, especially when it's not a particular favorite. Pacing oneself is key.

  8. Thank you for the updates. I've got one from your list!


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