- ISBN-13: 9780802126535
- ISBN-10: 0802126537
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
- Publish Date: June 2017
- Page Count: 432
- Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
Series: Tom Thorne Novels
Whodunit: A tragedy of mistaken identities
Apparently for the guilty parties involved, policewoman Nicola Tanner had been getting a bit too close for comfort in her investigation of honor killings among London’s South Asian population; and in a case of mistaken identity, her life partner, Susan, was brutally murdered in a failed attempt to shut down the probe. Now, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne has been seconded to the honor killings investigation—thanks in part to his well-known contrariness—in Mark Billingham’s latest gripping police procedural, Love Like Blood. And if Billingham’s fans know one thing about Tom, it’s that his dogged pursuit of justice will not be stopped until he gets his man (or in this case, men). This is a mighty fine police procedural, and it’s a pleasure, as always, to watch Tom sift through clues and intentional misdirection along the journey to find his perps. And in keeping with the time-honored tradition, there is a final-chapter surprise to keep you on your toes.
A FINAL REQUEST
An Amish mystery novel almost sounds like a joke, but I assure you, Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder novels are anything but. Burkholder is chief of police in Painters Mill, a tiny Ohio town with an Amish presence in the surrounding farmlands. Although she was raised Amish, Burkholder is largely shunned by the family and friends she grew up with. Her latest case, chronicled in Down a Dark Road, finds Burkholder forcibly brought into contact with one of those early friends, Joseph King, who recently escaped from prison where he was serving a life sentence for murdering his wife. Now Burkholder sits in a kitchen with Joseph, a gun pointed across the table at her, while outside a SWAT team and a hostage negotiator attempt to defuse the situation. Joseph wants to extract only one promise from Burkholder: find the person who really killed his wife, because he is innocent. After a police sniper gets off a lucky shot, killing Joseph, the rest of the cops are ready to put the whole thing to bed. But Burkholder can’t get King’s request off her mind, and she soon discovers unpleasant surprises as she starts to turn over some rocks.
INVESTIGATING THE UNSEEN
John Connolly pretty much single-handedly defined the supernatural noir genre, bringing a spectral element of suspense into his series featuring Maine private investigator Charlie Parker. In his latest adventure—book 15 in the series—A Game of Ghosts, Parker finds himself knee-deep in ectoplasm, thanks to an off-the-books investigation launched and funded by his FBI handler, Edgar Ross. Ross engages Parker to locate a missing private investigator by the name of Jaycob Eklund, who had been doing some work in the area of the paranormal—specifically, looking into murders linked to reported hauntings. Parker takes the paranormal with a grain of salt, although he finds himself coming closer and closer to wholesale belief thanks to his daughter, Sam, who displays an uncanny affinity for the unseen. Couple this with some otherworldly antagonists, like the Brethren, the Collector and the very unmotherly Mother, and it is more than sufficient to engender serious unease. My advice: Don’t start this book shortly before bedtime.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
Once every few years, a book comes along that stands head and shoulders above its genre. Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River was one; Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, et al.) was another. Don Winslow’s The Force is such a book. It chronicles the career of New York’s hero cop Denny Malone who’s on a downward spiral. Like all the best protagonists (and I am using the word “best” very loosely), Malone is a multifaceted character—by turns kind, just, ruthless, brave, sensitive, selectively dishonest, loyal (until push comes to shove, at least) and so much a cop that he just about bleeds blue. Recently, Malone helmed the largest investigation in New York City history when piles of dope and cash went into the evidence lockers, but even more did not. The missing evidence was enough to ensure the financial security of Malone and his support team for the rest of their natural lives. But Malone made one tiny peripheral mistake, and everything came crashing down. There is still a small chance for him to negotiate a deal that will pull him and his friends out of the line of fire, although it will take ingenuity and more than a bit of chutzpah to navigate the treacherous minefield he’s caught in. Film rights for The Force were acquired by 20th Century Fox before the book even had a title. In the right hands, it could be on par with The Long Good Friday, The Usual Suspects or Miller’s Crossing. I see Kevin Spacey in the lead role.