As we sink deeper into the fall season, here are a few titles we've hunkered down to read and enjoyed over at the Mysterious Bookshop. This monthly selection of staff favorites (and a slew of other new mystery-related content) is available every month in our newsletter, which is available via subscription (email or print), as well as directly through our website. Here's hoping you enjoy one or more of these titles as much as we did!
Michael Connelly, Dark Sacred Night, Little, Brown.
I don’t know how Connelly does it. It is common for readers to tire of series characters and inevitably say that the later books in a series are good but not as good as the earlier titles. However, after more than 30 novels, mostly about the iconic Harry Bosch, the new Connelly novel is just as fresh and compelling as anything he has ever written. Seeming always to find a new variation, this one features both Bosch and his new series character, the female cop Renée Ballard, who tell the stories in alternate chapters (or groups of chapters). Bosch has aged (he has a daughter in college) and now is a reserve officer for the San Fernando Police Department, while Ballard is a detective for the LAPD who has been punished for standing up to a superior officer and been assigned to the night shift, known in cop speak as “the late show’ (the title of the book in which she was introduced last year) and they find themselves working together on one major case and several others, most of which are tied to that long-ago cold case: the brutal murder of Daisy Clayton, a 15-year-old runaway. Bosch knows her mother, who has largely given her life over to drugs after her daughter was murdered, and he believes the killer is responsible for the destruction of two lives. As Bosch works on the case, he tells Ballard of some famous cases from his time in Hollywood Homicide—almost before she was born—when the media gave names to many of those cases: “The Woman in the Suitcase,” “The Man with No Hands,” “The Dollmaker,” and so on. “It was as though homicides back then were an event,” he muses. “Now it seemed that nothing was new, nothing shocked.” There’s no denying that I’m a devotee of Bosch and can’t wait for his next adventure, but I also think Renée Ballard is a fabulous character and am glad she’ll be a continuing presence. Hardcover (To Be Signed). $28.99. Pre-order here! | Exclusive Limited Edition also available for pre-order here.
Lou Berney, November Road, William Morrow.
Unfolding in the wake of the JFK assassination, Lou Berney’s November Road is a masterpiece of suspense, noir, and heart. New Orleans, 1963: Frank Guidry is a slick mob operator, making deals and greasing palms for Carlos Marcello, boss of the town. After a bullet kills President Kennedy, a nation mourns, and Frank panics, knowing that he recently delivered a car to Dallas on behalf of Marcello, a sworn enemy of the Kennedy brothers. When Frank realizes that loose ends are being cut and he might be next, he goes on the run, triggering a nation-wide mafia manhunt.
Frank’s flight takes him west in a road trip of fear, and surprising moments of tenderness once Frank’s path crosses with Charlotte, a woman leaving her husband with her two young daughters in tow. Realizing that acquiring a family might be the best disguise against the hitman hot on his tail, Frank the mobster must become Frank the family man. The world of November Road is spectacularly rendered, from the bars of New Orleans, to the nightmarish glass palaces of Las Vegas, and populated by an unforgettable cast of coldly calculating mobsters. Alternating chapters between Frank, Charlotte, and the hitman chasing them down, Berney deftly weaves these threads together, creating an incredible sense of paranoia and doom, all while writing with a supherb eye for human fallibility and longing. Hardcover. $26.99. A Thriller Club selection. Signed copies available here.
Anthony Horowitz, Forever and a Day, Harper.
007 is dead! The sea has given up its secrets before, but when a bullet-ridden body washes up off of Marseille, hell has frozen over and the unthinkable has happened. The notion of a ‘license to kill’ was a new one and had been enacted over certain misgivings within the Service. But it is only five years after V-E day and it might be said that the war is not yet over, for Great Britain has enemies foreign and domestic, and truly the battle rages on. Deliberately kept small and secret, the ‘00’ section now has one operative dead, one in hospital for the foreseeable future, and one underground in Miami. Enter the division’s newest recruit, a man named Bond--James Bond. He insists upon retaining the code number and is quickly dispatched to the South of France to determine what happened to his predecessor, who was investigating labour racketeering amongst the Corsicans. Of course there is a woman involved--code name Sixtine. Trained at Bletchley, she is an agent who knows no loyalty save to whoever will pay, and who may or may not be involved with the syndicates and who may or may not be in cahoots with the opposition.
Again Anthony Horowitz brings 007 to vibrant life in the latest thriller based upon Ian Fleming’s worldwide sensation. As in the author’s previous James Bond adventure, Trigger Mortis, he utilizes material from a set of scripts prepared by Fleming for a proposed television series. When the film franchise took off, this plan was abandoned, but author Horowitz bases one of the chapters on this work and another on information contained in Fleming’s nonfiction collection Thrilling Cities. A smashing, senses-shattering ride through postwar Europe--with the one and only 007. Hardcover. Signed UK Edition (Jonathan Cape), $48.00, available in limited quantities here. Unsigned US Edition (Harper, pictured) also available at $26.99.
Robert Olen Butler, Paris in the Dark, Mysterious Press.
The fourth book of this exciting series finds reporter/spy “Kit” Cobb in Paris. It's 1915 and Europe is at war. Cobb is reporting on the American volunteers driving ambulances to the front lines to the wounded back to Paris hospitals. The city is also under siege from within as someone is planting bombs and killing civilians. The French Secret Service is afraid the enemy is entering the city with the many refugees escaping the German onslaught. The German speaking Cobb is tasked with going underground, find whoever is responsible and kill them. His investigation from seedy bars to the front lines ends in a highly thrilling climax. Butler has written a fast-paced, entertaining but also a deeply-felt work that rises well above the “thriller” genre. Hardcover available. $26.00.
Thanks for reading!
Check in again next month for a new set of staff favorites.