Tuesday, January 30, 2024

February 2024 New Mystery Releases!

While I'm waiting for the rain to go away and the temperatures to warm up a bit, what better way to anticipate my next visit to the Desert Botanical Garden than by working with skeins of new yarn and keeping my eyes peeled for new books to read?

I did some birthday splurging and bought several skeins of yarn, and I had a box delivered from The Poisoned Pen Bookstore as well, but that doesn't keep me from continuing to look for new reading material.
The following are my picks for the best new crime fiction being released during the month of February. I've grouped them by their release dates, and the covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon.
Let's see if I can tempt you with any of my choices... or if you've already been tempted!
=== February 6 ===
Title: At Any Cost
Series: #13 in the Inspector Kaldis police procedural series set in Greece.
272 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Chief Inspector Kaldis is initially dismayed to be asked to investigate a series of suspicious forest fires that took place last summer. In Greece, forest fires are an inevitability, and he fears he and his team are being set up to take the political blame for this year's blazes.

He quickly becomes suspicious, though, that the forests were torched for profit - and for a project on a far grander scale than the usual low-level business corruption. There are whispers on the wind that shadowy foreign powers intend to establish a surreptitious mega-internet presence on the island of Syros, with the intent to weaponize the digital world to their own dark ends.

Can Kaldis and his team stop the hostile foreign takeover of the idyllic island - or will the rise of the metaverse set not just Greece, but the whole world, on fire?

Title: Cahokia Jazz
Author: Francis Spufford
Standalone historical thriller set in 1920s Illinois
464 pages
Synopsis: "Like his earlier novel Golden Hill, Francis Spufford’s Cahokia Jazz inhabits a different version of America, now through the lens of a subtly altered 1920s—a fully imagined world full of fog, cigarette smoke, dubious motives, danger, dark deeds. And in the main character of Joe Barrow, we have a hero of truly epic proportions, a troubled soul to fall in love with as you are swept along by a propulsive and brilliantly twisty plot.

On a snowy night at the end of winter, Barrow and his partner find a body on the roof of a skyscraper. Down below, streetcar bells ring, factory whistles blow, Americans drink in speakeasies and dance to the tempo of modern times. But this is Cahokia, the ancient indigenous city beside the Mississippi living on as a teeming industrial metropolis, filled with people of every race and creed. Among them, peace holds. Just about. But that corpse on the roof will spark a week of drama in which this altered world will spill its secrets and be brought, against a soundtrack of jazz clarinets and wailing streetcars, either to destruction or rebirth.

Title: A Matrimonial Murder
Series: #2 in the Temple Hill amateur sleuth series set in Mumbai, India
298 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "In her 30 years as Temple Hill’s most renowned matchmaker, Sarla thought she'd seen it all. Blissful unions, marriages of convenience, Mr and Mrs Good Enough. Not to mention the bitter unfortunates who never made it down the aisle.

She's received as many threats as thank-yous along the way. Surely no one would actually harm her.

A series of threatening notes, sent in blood-red envelopes, suggest otherwise.

Then the body of a woman is found at Sarla’s office, sprawled on her stomach next to a heavy bronze statue of the Nataraja — the god of dance. Who was the intended victim?

Sarla turns to Radhi, Temple Hill’s resident amateur sleuth, for help.

But in the marriage game, everyone has their secrets. And as Radhi quickly learns, some are more deadly than others.

Jealous rivals. Jilted lovers. Jaded rejects. But who among them would be angry enough to commit murder?

Fans of Faith Martin, Richard Osman, Victoria Dowd, Vaseem Khan, Ian Moore, Louise Penny, Shamini Flint and Agatha Christie will devour this brilliant, atmospheric murder mystery.

=== February 13 ===

Title: Fatal First Edition
Author: Jenn McKinlay 
Series: #14 in the Library Lovers cozy series set in Illinois and Connecticut
304 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Briar Creek Library director Lindsey Norris and her husband, Sully, are at a popular library conference in Chicago to hear book restoration specialist Brooklyn Wainwright give a keynote address. After the lecture, Lindsey looks under her seat and finds a tote bag containing a first edition of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, inscribed to Alfred Hitchcock. Brooklyn determines the novel is one of a kind and quite valuable, so Lindsey and Sully return the book to the conference director, not wanting to stir up any trouble.

But just hours after the pair boards the train back to Connecticut, rumors that the Highsmith novel has gone missing buzz amongst the passengers, and they soon find the conference director murdered in his private compartment. And worse—the murderer planted the book in Lindsey and Sully’s room next door, making them prime suspects. Now, they must uncover the murderer and bring them to the end of their line, before they find themselves booked for a crime they didn’t commit.

Featuring a cameo by a beloved character from the New York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile series!

Title: The Stranger in Her House
Author: John Marrs
Standalone thriller
352 pages
Synopsis: "Paul’s just here to help, or so he claims―sent by a charity for vulnerable people to do odd jobs for elderly widow Gwen. But for Gwen’s daughter Connie, there’s just something about Paul that rings alarm bells from day one. He’s a little too kind, a little too involved…Worse still, Gwen seems to have fallen under his spell.

The last thing Connie wants is a stranger meddling in the safe routine she’s built around Gwen. She loves being the one Gwen turns to for cooking, cleaning and company. But the more Paul visits, the more Gwen is relying on him. By the time he conveniently finds himself between homes and has no choice but to move in, Connie is certain he’s trying to push her out completely.

It’s her word against his, though, and as her attempts to unmask him become ever more desperate she’s not the only one left wondering if she’s lost her grip on reality. But when events start spiralling rapidly out of her control, should Connie wage all-out war on Paul and risk losing Gwen forever―or has that been his plan all along?
Title: Paper Cage
Standalone thriller set in New Zealand
320 pages
Synopsis: "Lorraine Henry is generally content to keep her head down and get on with her work as a records clerk at the Masterton police station. But when children start going missing in her small town, Lo can't help but pay attention. After all, she has Bradley, her young nephew, to worry about, and the cops don't seem to be putting much effort into finding the kids. And then the unthinkable happens: Bradley disappears. Distraught but determined, Lorraine vows to bring him home no matter what. And, together with a detective from Wellington, she embarks on a dangerous mission, one that will illuminate all the good and all the bad in Masterton.
Title: Village in the Dark
Standalone thriller set in Alaska
288 pages
Synopsis: "On a frigid February day, Anchorage Detective Cara Kennedy stands by the graves of her husband and son, watching as their caskets are raised from the earth. It feels sacrilegious, but she has no choice. Aaron and Dylan disappeared on a hike a year ago, their bones eventually found and buried. But shocking clues have emerged that foul play was involved, potentially connecting them to a string of other deaths and disappearances. 
Somehow tied to the mystery is Mia Upash, who grew up in an isolated village called Unity, a community of women and children in hiding from abusive men. Mia never imagined the trouble she would find herself in when she left home to live in Man’s World. Although she remains haunted by the tragedy of what happened to the man and the boy in the woods, she has her own reasons for keeping quiet.
Aided by police officer Joe Barkowski and other residents of Point Mettier, Cara’s investigation will lead them on a dangerous path that puts their lives and the lives of everyone around them in mortal jeopardy.

Title: The Lantern's Dance
Series: #20 in the Mary Russell historical series set in France, India, and England
320 pages
Synopsis: "After their recent adventures in Transylvania, Russell and Holmes look forward to spending time with Holmes’ son, the famous artist Damian Adler, and his family. But when they arrive at Damian’s house, they discover that the Adlers have fled from a mysterious threat.

Holmes rushes after Damian while Russell, slowed down by a recent injury, stays behind to search the empty house. In Damian’s studio, she discovers four crates packed with memorabilia related to Holmes’ granduncle, the artist Horace Vernet. It’s an odd mix of treasures and clutter, including a tarnished silver lamp with a rotating shade: an antique yet sophisticated form of zoetrope, fitted with strips of paper whose images dance with the lantern’s spin.

In the same crate is an old journal written in a nearly impenetrable code. Intrigued, Russell sets about deciphering the intricate cryptograph, slowly realizing that each entry is built around an image—the first of which is a child, bundled into a carriage by an abductor, watching her mother recede from view.

Russell is troubled, then entranced, but each entry she decodes brings more questions. Who is the young Indian woman who created this elaborate puzzle? What does she have to do with Damian, or the Vernets—or the threat hovering over the house?

The secrets of the past appear to be reaching into the present. And it seems increasingly urgent that Russell figure out how the journal and lantern are related to Damian—and possibly to Sherlock Holmes himself.

Could there be things about his own history that even the master detective does not perceive?

=== February 20 ===

Title: End of Story
Author: A.J. Finn 
Standalone thriller set in San Francisco
368 pages

Synopsis: "I’ll be dead in three months. Come tell my story.

So writes Sebastian Trapp, reclusive mystery novelist, to his longtime correspondent Nicky Hunter, an expert in detective fiction. With mere months to live, Trapp invites Nicky to his spectacular San Francisco mansion to help draft his life story . . . while living alongside his beautiful second wife, Diana; his wayward nephew, Freddy; and his protective daughter, Madeleine. Soon Nicky finds herself caught in an irresistible case of real-life “detective-fever.”

You and I might even solve an old mystery or two.

Twenty years earlier—on New Year’s Eve 1999—Sebastian’s first wife and teenage son vanished from different locations, never to be seen again. Did the perfect crime writer commit the perfect crime? And why has he emerged from seclusion, two decades later, to allow a stranger to dig into his past?

Life is hard. After all, it kills you.

As Nicky attempts to weave together the strands of Sebastian’s life, she becomes obsessed with discovering the truth . . . while Madeleine begins to question what her beloved father might actually know about that long-ago night. And when a corpse appears in the family’s koi pond, both women are shocked to find that the past isn’t gone—it’s just waiting."
=== February 27 ===
Title: Under the Storm
Author: Christoffer Carlsson
Standalone thriller set in Sweden
416 pages
Synopsis: "On a cold November night, a farmhouse burns to the ground. Inside a young woman is found dead—not from the fire but murdered. To the people in the rural community of Marbäck, this becomes a reference point: a before and after. For ten-year-old Isak Nyqvist, it sets in motion something he cannot control, igniting his future into an unpredictable inferno.

The police focus their attention on Edvard Christensson, the boyfriend of the murdered woman and Isak’s beloved uncle. After a quick investigation, Edvard is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison and Marbäck believes it can return to its innocence. Vidar Jörgensson, the rookie officer who first responded to the fire, prides himself on helping solved the murder. Little does he know this will become the defining case of his career and that it will drive him to the brink of professional and personal disaster—and link his fate to young Isak's.

A celebrated author and professor of criminology, Christoffer Carlsson digs deep into the psyches of ordinary people and shows how one crime can haunt a community for decades. A #1 international bestseller,
Under the Storm is already a modern classic of Scandinavian crime fiction and demonstrates why many regard Carlsson as one of the great crime writers of his generation.

There's a little something for everyone in February, isn't there-- from old favorites to debut authors. Are any of these books on your own wish lists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know! 


  1. I hope you really enjoy the new yarn, Cathy. I'll bet what you make will be beautiful. As for this month's releases, they look great - several new-to-me authors here. It's good to see a Siger here, too; I really like the sense of place in his novels.

    1. Siger's latest-- At Any Cost-- is a good'un. He's even gone a bit "Bruno" and had a feast scene that made me hungry for Greek food! LOL

  2. Nice list, Cathy! I already had VILLAGE IN THE DARK on my list and am definitely looking forward to that one. I think I had heard that A.J. Finn had a new book. He hasn't had one since THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW has he? Curious about that one. Always lots of fun books. Enjoy your yarn and hope you guys get to the Botanical Gardens before long.

    1. Yes, this is Finn's first book since The Woman in the Window.

      One good thing that's come of this latest batch of new yarn is that it's prompted me to use some yarn that's been in my TBK bins for years! TBK? To Be Knitted. ;-)

  3. I'm already waiting for Lantern's Dance, and am naturally interested in the stand-alones in Alaska and New Zealand as well. (Scandinavian mysteries don't appeal to me very often, because so many of them are so bleak.) But the one that really caught my eye is Cahokia Jazz, because I'm working on Egan's Fever in the Heartland right now, so getting another take on the same vicinity and time period should be interesting.

    1. I'll be interested in what you think of A Fever in the Heartland, Kate.

    2. I'm making a note to let you know. I read nonfiction more slowly, because I'm learning, so it may be a couple of weeks.

    3. No problem. I tend to read it more slowly, too.

  4. Cahokia Jazz interests me. Maybe the Finn and King. Have so many books here and on reserve at the library that I fear adding more books to the list. Can't wait for the reviews here, always matters.

    1. I know what you mean. I keep telling myself Must Read Faster, but life keeps getting in the way.

    2. Life and aging get in the way. If only I could zip through the pile of books I could in my teens and twenties.

    3. I know exactly what you mean.

  5. So many new books! I'm intrigued by the John Marrs one, and also Village in the Dark. But I think End of Story is the one I want to read most. Onto the infinite TBR list it goes. ;D

    1. Hey-- infinite means you'll never run out of something to read! :-)


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