Tuesday, July 25, 2023

August 2023 New Mystery Releases!

With the temperatures creeping ever closer to the 120°F mark, common sense tells me that one of the best things I can do is to stay indoors with a plentiful supply of cold drinks and good books. As of this writing, I don't even have to call Dial-a-Ride to take me to my weekly doctor's appointment since he's taking a well-deserved week off in San Diego. (San Diego is one of the favorite getaways for Arizonans to beat the blistering summer heat of the Sonoran Desert.)

Speaking of blistering heat, I just have to shake my head at some people. The temperatures have been over 130°F in Death Valley, and adults with small children have been lining up in the blazing sun to have their photos taken by the park temperature gauge. Hopefully, none of them break down. Services are few and far between in that area (I've been there and NOT in summer), and I'd bet the farm that many of them didn't pack any water or other necessities just in case. 

Sensible me, with my ice water and stacks of books, decided to look for new books. You know. In case those stacks start running low. The following are my picks of the best new crime fiction being released in the month of August. I've grouped them by their release dates and the covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon. 

Let's see if you've already been tempted by some of my picks... or if I managed to add new ones to your list!

=== August 1 ===

Title: Evergreen
Series: #2 in the Japantown historical series set in post-World War II California.
312 pages
Synopsis: "It’s been two years since Aki Ito and her family were released from Manzanar detention center and resettled in Chicago with other Japanese Americans. Now the Itos have finally been allowed to return home to California—but nothing is as they left it. The entire Japanese American community is starting from scratch, with thousands of people living in dismal refugee camps while they struggle to find new houses and jobs in over-crowded Los Angeles.

Aki is working as a nurse’s aide at the Japanese Hospital in Boyle Heights when an elderly Issei man is admitted with suspicious injuries. When she seeks out his son, she is shocked to recognize her husband’s best friend, Babe Watanabe. Could Babe be guilty of elder abuse?

Only a few days later, Little Tokyo is rocked by a murder at the low-income hotel where the Watanabes have been staying. When the cops start sniffing around Aki’s home, she begins to worry that the violence tearing through her community might threaten her family. What secrets have the Watanabes been hiding, and can Aki protect her husband from getting tangled up in a murder investigation?
=== August 3 ===

Title: The Killing Place
Author: Kate Ellis
Series: #27 in the DI Wesley Peterson police procedural series set in England.
400 pages
Synopsis: "November. With the tourist season well and truly over in South Devon, Detective Inspector Wesley Peterson is looking forward to a quieter month in the CID. But when a man is shot dead on Bonfire Night, he finds he has a disturbing murder case on his hands.

The body of Patrick North was found in woodland connected to Nesbaraton Hall, a grand estate dating back to the eighteenth century. North worked for the Smithson family who now own the estate. The family are away on holiday, however when an anonymous letter threatening to abduct the Smithson son is uncovered, Wesley fears North's death might have been collateral damage in a kidnap plot.

Meanwhile, archaeologist Dr Neil Watson discovers a hidden grotto on land that was once part of the Nesbaraton estate. Evidence of past rituals and the shocking discovery of a skeleton raise questions about strange occurrences, past and present, on the land.

Then, just when Wesley's team seem to be making progress in their investigation, a resident of the nearby village is killed in a near-identical shooting to North's. A race is on to find the ruthless killer, before they strike again . . .

Whether you've read the whole series, or are discovering Kate Ellis's DI Wesley Peterson novels for the first time, this is the perfect page-turner if you love reading Ann Cleeves and Elly Griffiths.

Title: Day's End
Author: Garry Disher
Series: #4 in the Paul Hirsch police procedural series set in Australia.
368 pages

*UK Release

Synopsis: "Constable Paul Hirschausen's rural beat in the low hills of South Australia is wide. Daybreak to day's end, dirt roads and dust. Every problem that besets small towns and isolated properties, from unlicensed driving to arson.

But now, just as Hirsch has begun to feel he knows the fragile communities under his care, the isolation and fear of the pandemic have warped them into something angry and unrecognisable. Hirsch is seeing stresses heightened and social divisions cracking wide open. His own tolerance under strain; people getting close to the edge.

Today he's driving an international visitor around: Janne Van Sant, whose backpacker son went missing while the borders were closed. They're checking out his last photo site, his last employer. A feeling that the stories don't quite add up.

Then a call comes in: a roadside fire. Nothing much - a suitcase soaked in diesel and set alight - but two noteworthy facts emerge. Janne knows more than Hirsch about forensic evidence. And the body in the suitcase is not her son's.

Title: Kill for Me Kill for You
Standalone thriller set in New York City
368 pages
*UK Release
Synopsis: "One dark evening in New York City, two strangers meet by chance.
Over drinks, Amanda and Wendy realise they have so much in common.

They both feel alone. They both drink alone.
And they both desperately want revenge against the two men who destroyed their families.

Together, they have the perfect plan.
If you kill for me, I'll kill for you...

=== August 8 ===

Title: Dead and Gone
Series: #3 in the Detective Annalisa Vega police procedural series set in Chicago
336 pages

Synopsis: "For Chicago police detective Annalisa Vega, Sam Tran’s death presents an ominous puzzle. The ex-cop turned PI is found hanging from a cemetery tree with a message across his chest that suggests someone holds a murderous grudge against the police. Annalisa suspects the real answer lies in one of Tran’s open cases. She believes he stumbled on a dark secret during his investigations and someone killed him to keep him quiet. Her own family harbors plenty of secrets, something Annalisa is reminded of when her brother turns out to be one of Sam’s last clients.

Vinny Vega hired Tran to find a dangerous stalker on his daughter’s college campus. Now Sam is dead and the stalker remains at large, with Annalisa’s niece Quinn firmly in his sights.

To protect Quinn, Annalisa begins tracing Sam’s steps back through his open cases, which include not only the campus stalker but also a brutal double homicide from twenty years ago. Did Sam finally find the killer? Did he uncover the stalker’s identity? Annalisa must figure out which secret got Sam killed, and fast, or someone else will die. Every move she makes brings her closer to the truth of Sam’s death, and closer to a murderer who will stop at nothing to remain free

=== August 10 ===

Title: Death of a Lesser God
Author: Vaseem Khan
Series: #4 in the Persis Wadia historical series set in 1950s Bombay, India 
368 pages

Synopsis: "Can a white man receive justice in post-colonial India?
Bombay, 1950

James Whitby, sentenced to death for the murder of prominent lawyer and former Quit India activist Fareed Mazumdar, is less than two weeks from a date with the gallows. In a last-ditch attempt to save his son, Whitby's father forces a new investigation into the killing.

The investigation leads Inspector Persis Wadia of the Bombay Police to the old colonial capital of Calcutta, where, with the help of Scotland Yard criminalist Archie Blackfinch, she uncovers a possible link to a second case, the brutal murder of an African-American G.I. during the Calcutta Killings of 1946.

Are the cases connected? And if Whitby didn't murder Mazumdar, then who did?

=== August 22 ===

Title: Dead Mountain
Series: #4 in the archaeologist Nora Kelly series set in New Mexico
400 pages
Synopsis: "In 2008, nine mountaineers failed to return from a winter backpacking trip in the New Mexico mountains. At their final campsite, searchers found a bizarre scene: something had appeared at the door of their tent so terrifying that it impelled them to slash their way out and flee barefoot to certain death in a blizzard. Despite a diligent search, only six bodies were found, two violently crushed and inexplicably missing their eyes. The case, given the code name “Dead Mountain” by the FBI, was never solved.

Now, two more bodies from the lost expedition are unexpectedly discovered in a cave, one a grisly suicide. Young FBI Agent Corrie Swanson teams up with archaeologist Nora Kelly to investigate what really happened on that fateful trip fifteen years ago—and to find the ninth victim. But their search awakens a long-slumbering evil, which pursues Corrie and Nora with a vengeance, determined to prevent the final missing corpse from ever coming to light

=== August 29 ===

Title: A Ch√Ęteau Under Siege
Author: Martin Walker
series: #16 in the Bruno Chief of Police series set in the south of France
304 pages
Synopsis: "The town of Sarlat is staging a reenactment of its liberation from the British in the Hundred Years War when the play’s French hero, Brice Kerquelin, is stabbed and feared fatally wounded. Is it an unfortunate prop malfunction—or something more sinister? The stricken man happens to be number two in the French intelligence service, in line for the top job. Bruno is tasked with the safety of the victim’s daughters, Claire and Nadia, as well as their father’s old Silicon Valley buddies, ostensibly in town for a reunion. One friend from Taiwan, a tycoon in chip fabrication, soon goes missing, and Bruno suspects there may be a link to the French government’s efforts to build a chip industry in Europe—something powerful forces in Russia and China are determined to scuttle. Wading through a tangle of rivalries and secrets, Bruno begins to parse fact from fiction—while also becoming embroiled in some romantic complications, and, of course, finding time to put together some splendid meals.

=== August 30 ===

Title: The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp
Author: Leonie Swann
Series: #1 in the Agnes Sharp humorous mystery series set in England
360 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "It has been an eventful morning for Agnes Sharp and the other inhabitants of Sunset Hall, a house share for the old and unruly in the sleepy English countryside. Although they have had some issues (misplaced reading glasses, conflicting culinary tastes, decreasing mobility, and gluttonous grandsons), nothing prepares them for an unexpected visit from a police officer with some shocking news. A body has been discovered next door. Everyone puts on a long face for show, but they are secretly relieved the body in question is not the one they’re currently hiding in the shed (sorry, Lillith).

It seems the answer to their little problem with Lillith may have fallen right into their laps. All they have to do is find out who murdered their neighbor, so they can pin Lillith’s death on them, thus killing two (old) birds with one stone (cold killer).

With their plan sorted, Agnes and her geriatric gang spring into action. After all, everybody likes a good mystery. Besides, the more suspicion they can cast about, surely the less will land on them. To investigate, they will step out of their comfort zone, into the not-so-idyllic village of Duck End and tangle with sinister bakers, broken stairlifts, inept criminals, the local authorities, and their own dark secrets.

One thing's for certain: there's some good reading coming up during the month of August! Did any of my choices strike your fancy? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Oh, so many good 'uns here, Cathy! I really enjoyed Hirahara's Clark and Division, so I'm interested in seeing what Evergreen is like. And new ones from Disher, Ellis, and Martin Walker, too? Yeah, this'll be a good month. I'm glad you're staying cool and shaded. Even San Diego isn't appealing right now; temps in San Diego County have been awfully high too...

    1. San Diego County may not be appealing, but I checked the temperatures at 11 AM this morning. Here in Phoenix, it was 107° on its way to 120°, and in San Diego? 70°!

  2. Omigosh! More good books. I have to get Evergreen the minute it's available. And I'm so far behind in the Garry Disher series and Steve Cavanaugh's series (although this is a stand-alone). I can't even look at the rest of the list as I'm so far behind. But an excellent selection, as usual.

  3. I love how these mysteries are set all over the world from India to Australia to England and to 1940s Japantown in California. A fun setting like all of these is an even bigger draw for me when choosing which mystery to read next. Lots to look forward to next month! :D

    1. Yes, the setting often plays an important part in the books I choose to read.

  4. Wow! That is quite a lot of exciting new offerings. My birth month is shaping up as a very good one for us readers.

    1. And that's a Very Good Thing, as Martha used to say (or perhaps she still does, I don't keep track).

  5. Lots of good choices, as others have mentioned. Of course Bruno is already on my radar, and my library hold list :)

    You've reminded me that I still need to read Clark and Division, and to pick up with both Disher and Ellis again. Happiness is knowing there are more books that I want to read ....

  6. This makes me feel like saying 'the heck with the budget" and going crazy ordering books -- and then staying inside in the a/c with a new pile of books and ice tea and snacks.

  7. It's a plan. And I am owed some birthday gifts. I'd like to read "Stolen,"
    set among the Sami people in northern Scandinavia where an attack
    on a reindeer calf sets off the story. I hear there is much about Sami
    culture. The library doesn't have it, but it is available at online
    stores. And I will get "Evergreen" as soon as I can. Sounds so good
    from this blurb and Naomi Hirahara's newsletter.

    1. By all means, do some celebrating! (And don't forget to stock up on snacks as well as books...)

  8. Absolutely. And hope that your toes get into line, so to speak, so you can go into that pool sometime this summer.

    1. It would be nice, although with this unrelenting heat, the pool is more like a giant hot tub than a cool, refreshing place to swim.

  9. I am reading Evergreen and am pulled into the plot, set in LA. I think a lot of issues will come up. And I'm reading The Mistress of Bhatia House and also Futureface, a memoir about Alex Wagner's (commentator at MSNBC) family, particularly her mother's, as it pertains to Burma (Myanmar). But I'm picking up Evergreen when I sit down.

  10. Everygreen is that good! Up all night reading, and dismayed and angry that the government mistreated the Japanese troops who fought in the U.S. army in WW2 while they were in active duty and then when they returned, even the wounded. It's shameful. And postwar Japanese-owned land is being taken away in California from those who were interned. It is shameful.


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