UNTOUCHABLE, by Jayne Ann Krentz

Part of the Sons of Anson Salinas paranormal series. The three sons are foster children whose parents were victims of the same deranged killer.
Winter Meadows has come to Eclipse Bay to hide from problems. Jack Lancaster is there to recoup between investigating the cold cases he's so good at. A hypnotist with extraordinary powers, Winter finds she msut support herself through other means: meditation counseling. Jack, an obsessive with a small problem of getting trapped in his dreams, goes to her for help. The attraction comes into the open when one of Winter's problems breaks into her house to kill her. Winter thinks the man is there only because he manged to track her down; Jack's convinced there's more to it. They join forces to find out the truth behind the attack The brilliant Quintin Zane, Jack's old nemesis and his mother's killer, has tracked him down, and will do anything in his considerable power to settle old scores. The chase is two-sided, however, and leads Winter and Jack on an intense chase through a labyrynth of clues to a denouement neither one of them could've foreseen.
No spoilers here. There's plenty of action, a fair amount of hot and heavy sex, and a couple of murders. Typical Krentz. I'll give it, barely, a four. it's a four in the sex department as well.

The prolific Krentz writes under two other names: Jane Castle (futuristic) romantic suspense and Amanda Quick (historical romantic suspense); she has written under a total of seven aliases, but has fined it down to three. She has over fifty New York Times Best Seller titles.).


BLOOD ORANGE, by Harriet Tyce

This may be the shortest book review on record.
I do not like whiny drunk female protagonists. Male ones don't do anything for me either. This one, a female, is particularly repellent as she's not only a drunk (albiet a functioning one, at least during the day), but a cheating, lying drunk wife and mother who is engaged in a particularly repellent and demeaning extramarital affair. What a total turn off.
Did I like this book? No.
The writing is excellent. But I'm not slogging through 200+ pages of sodden misery to find the pearl at the bottom of the compost.
I did not like it, and quit after about fifty pages.
You, of course, may feel differently.

TWICE TOLD TAIL, by Ali Brandon

#6 in the Black Cat Bookshop cozy series.
Everything you love about cozies is here: a winning amateur sleuth with a fascinating job (inherited, a bookshop and brownstone, a very generous auntie),  a wide range of good friends one of whom becomes a corpse.
And the cat, Hamlet: big, black, brilliant, and very adept at pushing books containing clues at his mistress. I personally find extra-intelligent felines a bit much (in our own homes, the beasts are sometimes too intelligent for their owners' good!).
When bookstore owner Darla Pettistone and her boisterous friend Connie Capello find a dear friendof Darla's dead in his own shop, one of his antique pieces (a small pillow) in his lap, Darla finds herself involved in what turns out to be a murder. Connie, on edge from a last-minute wedding gown search, actually finds the body (second of the day), and her fiance is the investigating detective.
Connie is the take-over-your-life kind of friend, and Darla spends a lot of time keeping the fast-approaching nuptials on an even keel, even though she and the soon-to-be-groom have a history. Pushing aside what might be feelings for the detective, she and Hamlet see someone lurking in the shadows near the murder site. Hamlet shows a keen interest in the lurker; is he also tied to the weird wedding dress shop employee? Is he the mysterious book purchaser who rejects a sought-after sale  for being the wrong book? Is it even a he?
A convoluted tale well told. It's a 4.



#28 in the Commisario Guido Brunetti mystery series
Over the years, Donna Leon has given the world a marvelus series of murders set in Venice, Italy, and its surrounding area. Brunetti, the police inspector, is a deeply-drawn character, as is his wife Paola and their two children, Rafi and Ciara. Brunetti's colleagues run the range from brilliant to seriously challenged, but all are handled by the inspector with care and respect. In each book, Leon has managed to bring Brunetti to new realizations and new insights. The reader gets to enjoy the ride, too.
Venice, of course, plays an important part in the tales, as does the Italian system of justice and - in this particular story - the Italian inheritance laws. In Italy, your relations get your estate. None of this cat shelter givewaway decisions.
When Brunetti's father-in-law, Count Falier, asks him to check out a young man the Count's oldest friend plans to adopt, Guido is uneasy. It's a family matter. He knows the man, an accomplished art dealer with a large fortune. A homosexual, the older man has found a new companion after his partner of many years left him. If the young man a fortune hunter? Does it matter? Once he's adopted, the entire estate of the elderly art dealer devolves to the young man.
It not only matters to the art dealer, it matters to his long-time friends. Including a delightful woman who shows up in Venice. Brunetti meets her, is impressed. And then...
Read the book. It's one of Leon's better books, multi-layered and thought-provoking.



Set in Cornwall, at the edge of the sea, Black Rabbit Hall is the crumbling ancestral home of the Altons, a down-at-heels family whose scion. Hugo, and his American wife Nancy bring their four children for a springtime visit. Tragedy strikes, ending one life and upending all the others.
Billed as women's fiction, the story is told in part by the oldest Alton child, Amber, and is loaded with raw emotion. I'm not a crier, but this was a two-hanky read (in a good way).
The other part of the story is told from the point of view of a young couple from London who, forty years later, come to the house to plan their wedding festivities. Fallen on harder times than before, it is either rent out the rooms for events or face selling everything. Lorna is mesmerized by the old house, which she thinks she remembers from childhood caravan trips to the area. Jon, a carpenter by trade and able to clearly see the house's perilous condition, is less than thrilled.
The lady of the house, Caroline, invites Lorna to stay as well as gives the couple a deal on their celebration. Caroline knows that one happy client will encourage others to book. Lorna, despite her intended's reservations, does come to Black Rabbit Hall.
In the spirit of our No Spoiler policy here at Nuts4Books, I can tell you no more. Sadly, you will have to actually read the book to find out what happened to Hugo and Nancy Alton, the four Alton children, how Caroline arrived on the scene, and what happened the fateful night that changed all their lives forever.
It's a 4, a no-rush book of unfolding cross-purposes, desires, bereavements, and bad decisions.


RADIANT ANGEL, by Nelson DeMille

Book seven in series. Further adventures of John Corey, feisty former New York City detective and now part of a task force monitoring the activities of the Russian espionage agents working in New York.
Corey, whose short fuse is legendary as well as the despair of his FBI wife, tracks
When Russian colonel Vasily Petrov of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and a dozen beautiful escorts walk down the beach and disappear from view at the height of a party Corey has infiltrated, alarms go off in the detective's head but nobody else is disturbed.  Rejecting the conservative approach of asking his superiors for direction, Corey and a reluctant counterpart with mysterious connections follow the fast-vanishing trail.
If you enjoy edge-of-the-seat, high body count tales, DeMille is the author for you, and John Corey is the character, in every sense of the word. Confrontational, confident, smart-ass Corey will keep you entertained as well as terrified.
It's a 5. The series is best read in order as there's quite a bit of carry-over.


Further adventures of Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, Regency-era not-exacty-nobleman sleuth and upsetter of applecarts. Devlin,  acknowledged heir to the Earl of Hendon, is asked to investigate the grisly murder of a sadistic nobleman who happens to be his own niece's dissolute husband. Found slashed to death in his bed, limbs tied with scarlet silk cords,  there is not a single person who mourns the end of Lord Ashworth. But St. Cyr, as always, will try to find the killer. It quickly is evident the murderer well could be a woman. Which leads St. Cyr reluctantly down a path to his beloved neice.
As always, Hero Jarvis plays an important part in the story, as do St. Cyr's physician friend Dr. Gibson. For evil pomposity, we get St. Cyr's father-in-law Charles, Lord Jarvis, and the bloated Prince Regent, Prinny. The great and good are contrasted through Hero's research with the mass of unwashed, uneducated, tragic humans upon whose backs the entire system rode.
I am totally hooked on this series.  They should be read in order if only to keep track of the twists and turns Devlin takes in his search for the truth about his own heritage. The first book will grab you, and the rest is gripping reading and a series of crimes that illuminate the glittering, glamorous, grisly, gruesome era. As always, the rich and connected had it good and the rest did not. Harris brings it to vivid life. A 5+, what else?


Most serious readers know about this book. Many, many others have reviewed it so there's little to say in that regard. It's beautifully written, with a nice easy-flowing style that will draw you in. For a debut novel, it is extraordinary. Owens has published award-winning non-fiction, but writers know that fiction is a whole other language. Which Owens has mastered on her first shot. Not many writers are that fortunate.
The main characters are finely drawn and compelling, the story likewise. Even minor characters get their hundred words of description. Nobody is a throwaway in this tale. Except, perhaps, Kya.
BUT...if you are the type of reader who compulsively sneaks to the last page of the book and reads it, you may as well not read the book at all. The pacing in this big story is complete, right down to that last paragraph. I urge you to resist that sneak-peek urge.
This is a 5 for me.


LAND OF SHADOWS, by Rachel Howzell Hall

1/series starring LA Homicide Detective Elouise Norton. For a debut novel, this is impressive. The author has done her homework and constructed a fast-moving crime tale with a troubled, feisty, black, female cop as lead detective. At times I felt that the whole tale was built around check-lists (let's see, this is the place a character has to have final evidence of spousal betrayal...) but the many layers to the back story are very well revealed. Detective Norton catches a murder: a teen-aged girl, the location tying in to her own sister's long-ago and unsolved disappearance. Click below for more, but no spoilers...

THE WINTER WITCH, by Paula Brackston

2.series set in Wales, is a mesmerizing tale of Morgana, descendant of witches, a young woman who has not spoken since she was a small child. Now of marriageable age, her mother finds her a husband, an earnest young widower who owns a farm. In his home village, Cai Jenkins is a man of substance and importance. He is the area drover, the man who drives the cattle to market and returns with the village's wealth in his pockets. Cai knows nothing of his pretty young bride other than she is essential to his position. A drover must have a wife, it's tradition and what legitimizes him. One of the many things Cai doesn't reckon with is Morgana's fierce independence. And then there's her uncanny abilities. Click below for more... 


DRINKING GOURD, by Barbara Hambly

7/series, starring Free Man of Color, Benjamin January. Eagerly awaiting the birth of his child, January is called away to Vicksburg on an urgent errand. A man deeply involved in the Underground Railway has been wounded and January, a physician and surgeon, must patch him up so he appears normal. Vicksburg is solidly in  slave-holding America, and anyone of color is fair game for poachers and slave-stealers. For a man his size, the perfect field hand, there is no law and no protection save his friend and companion Hannibal Sefton. Click below for more...

BROKEN MUSIC, by Marjorie Eccles

A post-Great War tale of love, both good and bad, deception, and lives broken by "The War to End All Wars". Herbert Reardon has returned to the village of Broughton Underhill, determined to solve the death of a young woman that happened just before he went into the British Army. Horribly scarred from a fire, Reardon has vowed to determine if the death was accidental or not. The village's "big house" family at Oaklands Park, beset with problems of their own, doesn't want the case reopened. Click below for more...


SKIES OF ASH, by Rachel Howzell Hall

2/series in the LA-based police procedural starring black homicide detective Elouise Norton. Feisty just begins to describe Norton, whose sidekick is a big white guy with a Tic-Tac problem. A woman and her two children die in a home fire. The husband survives, but barely, as he tries to go inside the inferno to rescue his family. Click below for more...


THE NAMESAKE, by Conor Fitzgerald

3/series with Commissario Alec Blume.American-born Italian murder squad cop Blume is not your average cop, he's unruly, untidy, single-minded, with incredibly poor people skills and an almost fatal (for Italy) sense of honesty. This time, however, Blume may have gone too far. His friendship with court magistrate Matteo Arconti leads him into a Ndraghetta-spawned plot with more layers than an Italian sfogliatelle  (pictured at right for your edification). In the toe of Italy's boot, this secretive mafia/camorra-type criminal organization is intimately involved with nearly every aspect of life, and has spread its tentacles north of the Alps as well. Click below for more..

DINNER WITH EDWARD, by Isabel Vincent

A charmer of a memoir about the author's long dinner relationship and growing friendship  with an elderly neighbor, Recently-widowed, his reason for living gone, Edward makes a comeback by cooking gourmet dinners for his new, troubled, neighbor. And, from time to time, a variety of friends he's made as he searches New York's gourmet food emporiums (not those you'd first think of) for the perfect ingredients. But it's about much more than food: Edward serves up lessons in living a meaningful life to a woman whose own life has gone sideways. A small, short read of significance; good things do indeed come in small packages. This could make a nice stocking stuffer for a foodie friend.
Find more book reviews in all genres at www.nuts4books.com.


THE MISTRESSES OF CLIVEDEN, by Natalie Livingstone

Three centuries separated the founding of Cliveden by the scandalously high-living Charles Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the Profumo Affair, the less-sordid-than-portrayed sex scandal that brought down a government. But those eras were filled with excitement, intrigue and power struggles.Set on a bluff overlooking the Thames, and a mere five miles from Windsor Castle, the imposing Italianate building has always been part of the power structure of England. Click below for more...


THE MEMORY KEY, by Conor Fitzgerald

4/series starring irascible Commissario Alex Blume. Winter in Rome is no joke, and Alex Blume is called out on a freezing night to the murder of a pleasant young women, shot in the head in what appears to be an assassin-style killing. Previously, another woman had been shot, this one an ageing terrorist who, many years before, had arranged a train station bombing that killed 80 people. The terrorist, miraculaously, survives, but the bullet took out her memory, both past and present. Is the young woman's death connected with the murder attempt? They must be: it's the same type of bullet. Click below for more...

BITTER REMEDY, by Conor Fitzgerald

5/series, with irascible, bull-headed Commissario Alec Blume. Estranged from work, girlfriend Caterina, and new daughter, Blume has signed on for a course in healing through flowers. The course is cancelled at the last minute and Blume, with nothing else to do but return to his disastrous apartment on the edge of Rome, stays. A Romanian lap dancer has vanished; Blume's landlady is a feisty 90+ year old countess, the flower expert is a slightly flaky but very pretty girl whose father saves Blume when he accidentally ingests some toxic seeds. Click below for more...


THE FORGOTTEN MAN, by Robert Crais

12/series starring World's Greatest Detective Elvis Col. A man is murdered in an LA alley. His last words: Elvis Cole is my son. But Elvis, who has never met his father, doesn't think so. Unravelling the mystery of who the man is and why he sought Elvis takes both the World's Greatest Detective and his impenetrable sidekick Joe Pike into unknown territory, and a terrible crime that dated back two decades. Click below for more...


THE FATAL TOUCH, by Conor Fitzgerald

2/series, set in Rome, starring Commissario Alec Blume. The art world and art forgeries figure in this mesmerizing novel. An artist is found dead on the pavement of a Trastevere piazza where scores of muggings have taken place. Known widely as a barely-functioning drunk, it may be misadventure. But a local, notoriously corrupt (even by Italian standards), Colonel of the Carabinieri inserts himself in Blume's investigation, and it appears that the artist may have written information many don't want to be known. Click below for more...

SUNSET EXPRESS, by Robert Crais

6/series starring Elvis Cole. This is an early Cole (there's over a dozen now) but it's a good one. A wealthy and obnoxious restauranteur is accused of murdering his wife, found in plastic trash bags on the side of a hill. The arresting cop will be tried first: she once was accused of fabricating evidence, and now the high-profile defense attorney will accuse her of the same. Elvis, hired by the defense attorney himself, finds no evidence of the cop's guilt. He's put on TV to proclaim this, the beaming attorney at his side. Click below for more...

ENEMIES AT HOME, by Lindsey Davis

2/Flavia Albia series set in ancient Rome. A delightful, cheeky spin-off from Davis's long-running Marcus Didius Falco series, we follow the cases of the young but widowed adopted daughter of Falco and his wife Helena Justina. Albia and aedele Manlius Faustus must clear a group of slaves from certain death. Their master and mistress were brutally strangled while the slaves were in house. By Roman law, they will go to the Colosseum as bait for gladiators and animals: slaves as supposed to defend their owners even to their own lives.  Click below for more...


SMOKE, by Dan Vyela

The old nickname for London - The Smoke - no doubt had to do with the smog from thousands of coal fires that once made the city's air nearly unbreathable and created impenetrable fogs. In this novel, set in (probably) the early 20th century, Smoke alludes to a visible evidence of sin, in thought or deed. Hundreds of years before, this strange manifestation changed British history, and over time isolated the island from the world's progress. We open at an elite boy's school where the children of the "smokeless" class send their sons.Click below for more...


THE DOGS OF ROME, by Conor Fitzgerald

1/series starring American-born Italian cop Alec Blume. An animal rights activist is bizarely murdered in his home. The victim's wife, a prominent politician, calls in favors before calling the police. The crime scene is totally compromised. Blume's corrupt supervisor wants a quick solution, hand-picks a victim, and wants it rolled up over night. The perp, a low-end criminal with a long record of running illegal dog fights, could easily be fitted up, but Blume knows he's not guilty. Click below for more...


VOODOO RIVER, by Robert Crais

5/series starring Elvis Cole .and unstoppable Joe Pike, world's greatest sidekick. Louisiana calls in this tale, sending Elvis to the bayous outside Baton Rouge where he nvestigates the past of a newly-discovered movie star. It quickly becomes apparent to the World's Greatest Detective that the information he received from the actress's delightfully crass agent is off-kilter. Then a new plot appears. But what's really important is the lawyer in Baton Rouge. Click below for more...



2/series, The Fitzhughs. Despite the absurd title which doesn't have much to do with the plot, you'll have another great read on your hands from this award-winning author who specializes in feisty heroines and unusual situations. This Victorian confection (sour apple flavor) illuminates a marriage of convenience: the heiress bride has the money, the handsome groom has the title. The groom also has a love he won't let go of, despite the perilous financial position his title is in. Click below for more, but never a spoiler...


2/Romance trilogy. With a specialty in mesmerizing beginnings (followed by an entire  mesmerizing story), this finely-crafted tale of estrangement and second chances will grab you by the heart and not let you go. Lord and Lady Tremayne have the perfect Victoria marriage. He lives in America and she lives a lavish life of privilege in London. This has gone on since their wedding, when the bride had discovered her groom had betrayed her. Now Gigi wants her freedom so she can re-marry, and long-gone spouse Camden Saybrook is back to fight for his marriage . . . or not. Click below for more...


LAMENTATION, by C. J. Sansom

6/series starring Tudor-eras lawyer Matthew Shardlake, who this time in in really deep. Queen Catherine Parr asks Matthew to find a dangerously provocative manuscript that's gone missing. A religious tract by the queen herself, in the atmosphere of the court her enemies could use it to turn Henry against her. A printer is murdered, and a fragment of the manuscript is found in his hand. The dead man was possibly an Anabaptist, a sect believing in commonly-held property that Henry loathes and fears. When an old adversary of Matthew's lies dying, instead of reconciliation, the man wonders what will happen to Matthew now. Before he can learn more, the man is gone. Click below for more...


BODY LINE, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

13/series with London Detective Inspector Bill Slider. If you ever yearn to binge on a series of ferociously well-written English police mysteries, this is the author, and the series, for you. A perfect combination of grit, disaster, humor, pathos, grief and laugh-out-loud dialogue, you'll stay entranced through all twenty of the tales. And they are not re-hashes, each is unique, and the problems faced by Slider and his team, and in their personal lives as well, are presented flawlessly. Click below for more...

THE HARVEST MAN, by Alex Grecian

4/series starring Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad. Victorian England had its share of serial killers, but communication wasn't good enough for news to travel far. The killer known as The Harvest Man may have eluded the police, but he's set his sights on the Day family. Walter Day has troubles of his own: his wife's wealthy, hostile family has come to visit and taken over the household. Hammersmith, recklessly throwing himself into his work, was stabbed in the chest; his superior, fearing Hammersmith would merely get killed on the job, fired him. Walter Day, whose injured leg still troubles him, is confined to a desk job. Click below for more...


THE BLACK COUNTRY, by Alex Grecian

2/series, starring Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad. Set in a tottering, snowed-in coal town in western England, where a mother and father have vanished, leaving behind three children who are curiously unaffected by their loss. The searchers include a massive American whose presence is unclear, but who refuses to reveal why he stays. Stalking the search party is a mysterious marksman with American roots. The town, built atop the coal tunnels, sinks from time to time as supports give way. Click below for more...

HEARTSTONE, by C. J. Sansom

5/series set in Tudor England. Few people today realize that France nearly invaded England at this time, and well might have succeeded given the perilous state of the country, its bankrupt economy and sullen, resentful population. When lawyer Matthew Shardlake visits Bedlam for clients religiously-obsessed son (a burn at the stake offense). An inmate, Alice, appears "normal" but seems to be afraid to leave the building. Bedlam is expensive. What put her there and who pays for it?  As the vicious battle between religious factions swirls around Henry VIIIs court, the ailing, licentious king is pulled in various directions, but still pursues his ruinous, futile war with the French. Click below for more...



3/series, translated from the Russian. Returning to Russia after six years in Japan, the mesmerizing Erast Fandorin is at once thrust into high-level plots and counter-plots when the country's most celebrated general is found dead in his hotel suite. Once again, the mesmerizing sleuth finds murder where nobody else has. The general, Sobolev, known to the adoring masses as the White General, is also known to Fandorin (they had fought together in The Turkish Gambit, reviewed in another post on this blog). Immediately, Fandorin knows all is not as arranged. Click here for more...

KING MAYBE, by Timothy Hallinan

5/series starring LA burglar-for-life Junior Bender. Sent to burgle the home of a notorious hit man called The Slugger, Junior's promised window of opportunity is abruptly closed just as he lays fingers on the prize. It's a set-up. Bender, with typical chutzpah and a spectacular save by his girlfriend, escapes, but The Slugger and a like-minded sidekick are hot and heavy on his trail. Along with the chase, his ex-wife texts a change in his daughter's birthday party plans. Yet another set-up that could turn lethal! Click below for more no-spoiler review...


THE FEAR ARTIST, by Timothy Hallinan

/series set in Bangkok starring Poke Rafferty. As he leaves a paint store, a man stumbles into Poke and dies in his arms. Police, including a Bangkok CIA contact, immediately cordon the area and question poke. He denies understanding the man's last words. They made no sense: a woman's name, an American city. Thugs visit Poke, who's hidden by his feisty little neighbor (who probably runs a brothel, but who really knows?). All Poke wants is to finish painting the apartment before Rose and Miao get back. But he's been sucked into a big problem, and there are people who want him dead. Click below for more...


REVELATION, by C. J. Sansom

4/series set in Tudor England, starring lawyer Matthew Shardlake. The grisly murder of one of Matthew's closest friends draws him back into the Court's orbit. After a chief coroner tries to sweep the murder under a rug, Archbishop Cranmer summons Matthew and his law clerk Jack Barak to Lambeth Palace. The Seymour brothers, powerful courtiers, are involved in keeping the murder quiet as well. The struggle between  reformists and ailing, overweight, newly-conservative King Henry VIII. Bishop Bonner, with the king's approval, scours the city for those who do not hew to the religion du jour. Punishment is quick and horrific, justice non-existent. Click below for more...

SOVEREIGN, by C. . Sansom

3/series set in Tudor England starring lawyer Matthew Shardlake. Religious persecution coupled with an aging King Henry VIII (now on wife #5, poor, silly, doomed Katherine Howard for whom the song Girls Just Want to Have Fun could've been written) have brought England to a state of constant fear and suspense. Who will go to the Tower next? The court embarks on a spectacular progress north to York, where a recent rebellion came close to succeeding before being savagely put down. Click below for more...


THE ZIG ZAG GIRL, by Elly Griffiths

1/series, Magic Men, set in post WW2 Brighton, England. Lovers of British cozies and non-gory police procedurals will fall head over heels in love with former Magic Man, now Detective Inspector  Edgar Stephens. A young woman's body, cut in three pieces with the top part absent, is found in two cases in Left Luggage. Stephens must figure out who and why. His old wartime comrade, the famous magician Max Mephisto, is playing at the local variety theater. Max points out there's a magic rick called the Zig Zag Girl, where the girl is supposedly cut in three parts. The woman's upper torso soon arrives at Stephens' office. This is getting personal. Click below for more...

DARK FIRE, by C. J. Sansom

2/series. Tudor-era suspense (and what, during that time, wasn't suspense-filled?) rarely entertain as this one does. Once connected to Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared right-hand-man, lawyer Matthew Sharlake is "just a jobbing lawyer". Asked to aid a young woman accused of murdering her cousin, Shardlake knows he has little chance of defending the girl as she refuses to speak. Her death, by "pressing", will be grisly and appallingly painful. Click below for more...


DISSOLUTION, by C. J. Sansom

1/series, with Tudor-era lawyer Matthew Shardlake. Absolutely marvelous! Mesmerizing! Authentic! If you love historical mysteries with details galore and a winning protagonist (in this case a brilliant but troubled hunchback lawyer), this is the book - and the series - for you. Henry VIII has become Head of the Church, Catholicism has been outlawed, and the powerful religious houses are being - literally - dissolved. Under the supervision of the ruthless Thomas Cromwell, Henry's right-hand man, agents are sent to monasteries to coerce them into agreeing to their own dissolution. But one agent is murdered, at a remote Benedictine house in the Sussex marshes. Click below for more...


CITY OF SECRETS, by Stewart O'Nan

1945, Jerusalem, in British-occupied Palestine. European Jews, those surviving, struggle to reach the Promised Land. Britain is determined to control the Mandate. Jossi, once called Brand, once a Latvian, once in a death camp, now a survivor without a living family, drives an underground-owned taxi for tourists. His more-or-less girlfriend Eva is a call girl. Both of them are also freedom fighters intent on driving the British out of their country. The myth of the Jew who does not fight no longer applies to them. To continue, click below...


WATCHMAN, by Ian Rankin

Miles Flint is a spy, one of those faceless men who slip around in shadows. Watching. Modest and unassuming, he's not in good odor at the London office at the moment: his last assignment brought about the death of a foreign official. Tailing another subject to a cocktail lounge in London, Flint belatedly discovers a switch: the real subject has swapped identities and is on the loose. The grisly murder of another player results. Had the suspect been warned? Casting an analytical eye back on recent debacles, Flint becomes convinced there's a mole, possibly high up,  in place. Despite assurances from the Director, he begins to investigate. Nobody's pleased with this. Click below for more...


SAVING JASON, by Michael Sears

3/mystery-thriller series starring Wall Street black sheep Jason Stafford, and his autistic son AKA The Kid. As always, Sears has cooked up a complicated financial plot as well as edgy, many-layered personal complications. This series is best read in order, so start with Black Friday, the debut book that put Sears firmly in the pantheon of award-winning authors. This time, the brokerage firm that Stafford is under contract with is threatened by a takeover, skillfully hidden behind layers of cutout companies. Click below for more...



The perfect book for a Francophile or someone planning on visiting France independently. Ivey recounts the six months he and his wife Tanya and a friend traveled throughout France's wine regions after being challenged to find its palest rose. Both charming and entertaining, it's a great way to plan your own trip. What started as a minor encounter at a French bistro in Provence became a pilgrimage searching all the rosé areas: Ivey and his friend were challenged by a Provencal vintner to find a rosé paler than hers. Click below for more...



2/series starring obsessed FBI Agent Lucy Guardino. Contemporary FBI thrillers don't get a whole lot more intense than this. Chained to her desk (where she's supposed to be anyway) and watched by her supervisors, Lucy misses the field, and tracking down criminals. Then a taunting letter arrives on her desk: she made a mistake on a case four years earlier and the letter hints there's more deaths to come. Lucy's told the closed case, with the psychopathic murderer being swept into an underground river, will not be re-opened.Click below for more...

SNAKE SKIN, by C. J. Lyons

1/FBI thriller starring Lucy Guardino. The old adage that a woman has to work harder, smarter and faster than a man to get even partway to where he is applies in spades to FBI Supervisory Special Agent Lucy Guardino. Known as a go-it-alone agent who doesn't like to wait for approval or assistance, kick-ass Lucy is the epitome of a driven, tightly-focused agent. Her job comes first, before spouse and daughter. Even when there's a pool of snakes in the mix. Click below for more...


THE YARD, by Alex Grecian

1/series set in Victorian London. The Metropolitan Police's failure to catch Jack the Ripper has led to a high in public contempt and a low in morale. The newly-established Murder Squad at Scotland Yard – a mere 12 detectives – is led by a new brook who intends to professionalize the squad. Detective Walter Day is summoned to Kings Cross Rail Station where an abandoned trunk was opened to reveal a partly-dismembered body...of a Murder Squad detective. Day is assigned the case, and he works closely with Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the new, self-styled forensic doctor. Click below for more...


HARD GOING, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

16/in the Bill Slider series of British police procedurals. When a retiring former barrister is found dead in his flat of blows to the head, finding out who and why becomes even more than the usual puzzle for Slider and his team. Who was Lionel Bygod? Why was he so reclusive, so secretive? Why did the killer leave before the victim had finished the check he was writing? Did the maid, with a neer-do-well husband, do it? How about the hard-eyed ex-wife? Click below for more...



For a debut novel - heck, for any novel - this is spectacular. Set flawlessly in Qing dynasty China (1708), exiled Imperial librarian Li Du comes to Dayan on the Tibetan border asking permission to pass through. His distant cousin, a pompous magistrate who is run by his secretary and his official hostess, oversees the province, long known to the ruling Manchus as a trouble spot. The Emperor will visit in six days to display his Son of Heaven moniker by predicting an eclipse of the sun. Guests arrive with spectacular gifts, among them a representative of Britain's East India Company, greedy for China's trade. Li Du meets a Jesuit priest, Father Pieter, an astronomer, one of the order of priests long influential in the country. Click below for more, but never a spoiler...