Sunday, May 05, 2024

April 2024 Additions to My Digital Security Blanket


Now that Suzanne and Daisy are gone, I have found it difficult to get back into my usual daily routines, but (you knew that was coming) I did have plenty of "digital rewards" burning a hole in my digital pocket, so I had to do a little book shopping.
I've grouped my purchases according to genre/subgenre, and if you click on the link in each book's title, you'll be taken to Amazon US where you can learn more about the book, you know... in case I managed to find one that tickles your fancy.
Let's see where temptation led me last month!
=== Private Investigator ===
A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. Set in Scotland.
Synopsis: "Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators...

When patriarch Jim dies, it's left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn't the husband she thought he was. Hannah's best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything...

A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.
 █  There was something about the synopsis of this one that persuaded me to give it a try. Besides, I seem to be making Scotland my setting of choice so far this year.

=== Historical Mystery ===

Synopsis: "Inspired by the real-life mother of forensic science, Frances Glessner Lee, and featuring a whip-smart, intrepid sleuth in post-WWII Vermont, this debut historical mystery will appeal to fans of Victoria Thompson and Rhys Bowen.

Maple Bishop is ready to put WWII and the grief of losing her husband, Bill, behind her. But when she discovers that Bill left her penniless, Maple realizes she could lose her Vermont home next and sets out to make money the only way she knows how: by selling her intricately crafted dollhouses. Business is off to a good start—until Maple discovers her first customer dead, his body hanging precariously in his own barn.

Something about the supposed suicide rubs Maple the wrong way, but local authorities brush off her concerns. Determined to help them see “what’s big in what’s small,” Maple turns to what she knows best, painstakingly recreating the gruesome scene in miniature: death in a nutshell.

With the help of a rookie officer named Kenny, Maple uses her macabre miniature to dig into the dark undercurrents of her sleepy town, where everyone seems to have a secret—and a grudge. But when her nosy neighbor goes missing and she herself becomes a suspect, it’ll be up to Maple to find the devil in the details—and put him behind bars.

Drawing inspiration from true crime and offering readers a smartly plotted puzzle of a mystery,
Death in the Details is a stunning series debut.
█  I couldn't resist this one because of the ties to Frances Glessner Lee and the world of dollhouses and miniatures.
=== Thriller ===
Extinction by Douglas Preston. Set in Colorado.
Synopsis: "Erebus Resort, occupying a magnificent, hundred-thousand acre valley deep in the Colorado Rockies, offers guests the experience of viewing woolly mammoths, Irish Elk, and giant ground sloths in their native habitat, brought back from extinction through the magic of genetic manipulation. When a billionaire's son and his new wife are kidnapped and murdered in the Erebus back country by what is assumed to be a gang of eco-terrorists, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Frances Cash partners with county sheriff James Colcord to track down the perpetrators.

As killings mount and the valley is evacuated, Cash and Colcord must confront an ancient, intelligent, and malevolent presence at Erebus, bent not on resurrection—but extinction.
█ I really enjoy Douglas Preston's standalone thrillers. In fact, I've already read this one, so my review will be showing up in the future. I was thinking Jurassic Park with Pleistocene megafauna (woolly mammoths, etc.), but Preston took me in a slightly different direction. (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing!)
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke. Set in Louisiana.
Synopsis: "After her breathtaking debut novel, Black Water Rising, won acclaim from major publications and respected crime fiction masters like James Ellroy and George Pelecanos, Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a second novel easily as gripping and powerful as her first—a heart-pounding thriller that interweaves two murder mysteries, one on Belle Vie, a historic landmark in the middle of Lousiana’s Sugar Cane country, and one involving a slave gone missing more than one hundred years earlier. Black Water Rising was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an Edgar® Award, and an NAACP Image Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the U.K.

█  I've been meaning to read more Attica Locke since I enjoyed Black Water Rising so much, and I thought this story of old and new murders on a plantation sounded too intriguing to pass up.

That's it for April! I don't think I went overboard by any stretch of the imagination, do you? 

Have you already read any of these? Which ones? Did I choose any that made you add them to your own lists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. I must read The Cutting Season, Cathy. I really like the Attica Locke work I've read thus far, but I haven't (yet) gotten to that one. I need to. The Shelton looks good, too; I read one of his and liked it.

    1. Yes, I'm looking forward to reading both.

  2. Yes to Extinction! I really like Douglas Preston's books. And A Dark Matter sounds good, too. But then any book set in Scotland! ;D

    1. I think Preston's Thunderhead is one of my all-time favorites.

  3. You were actually quite controlled last month, Cathy. Four for a whole month seems very un-Cathy like. lol

    I've been buying some James Lee Burke novels when they pop up for $1.99 on Amazon lately, but I've read all but one of them already except for the very first novel that Burke ever published, one called Half of Paradise that showed up a few days ago. I don't know why I keep buying these things because I've only read 6 of my 26 2024 purchases so far.

  4. I have Extinction already on my list, and keep meaning to try Attica Locke. A Dark Matter is one that seems that it *should* interest me, but somehow the pieces haven't come together for that yet.

    1. Sometimes the timing has to be just right. I know that feeling well.

  5. Thanks for these recommendations, which I am adding to my reading list.

    1. I hope you're getting a lot of good reading done while you're healing, Dorothy.

  6. I love Attica Locke's book and her role in writing Little Fires Everywhere and making it an excellent film, covering so many issues. She broadened out Celeste Ng's book. And she directed a movie about her sister's tragic marriage which was good, but sad. But I didn't like The Cutting Season, which I think we one of her first books. I've liked everything else and think her Texas series are excellent, as is the work on Little Fires Everywhere and her sister's story.


  7. That is I love her books (plural).

    1. I must've figured it out because that's what I thought you said in the first place. :-)

  8. A typo. I had said book, not books, so I was self-correcting.


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