THE EMPIRE OF NIGHT, by Robert Olen Butler

3/series. It's 1915. Alpha male and all-round great tough guy Christopher "Kit" Cobb is at it again, this time in part impersonating a pro-German journalist in order to become close to a British Member of Parliament who has German sympathies. As zeppelins rain down destruction on London, Kit goes to the MP's palatial castle on the Dover coast, where his mother - renowned actress Isabel Cobb - is also playing a part. The MP, tall, handsome and vigorous, is a charmer. Even Kit likes him. But Isobel goes farther, and before long, she is in Berlin with her now-lover, and Kit has more risky impersonations to do. Click below for more...


MY FAVORITE BRIDE, by Christina Dodd

9/Governess Brides series. Victorian-era romance doesn't get much better than this: fashion, tension, action, attraction, repulsion, spies, trust, sex. And a clutch of adorable (most of the time) little girls. Samantha Prendregast, having made herself a notoriously unpopular governess in London, is sent north to Devil's Fell to oversee six girls whose mother died in India. Their father, Colonel William Gregory, runs a very tight ship. Too tight, Samantha thinks, and proceeds to do subtle battle with the handsome, domineering master of Silvermere. Click below for more...


DEAD LINE, by Chris Ewan

Ewan, a best-selling English author, is most famous for his Good Thief's series, but also does stand-alone books. I've reviewed Safe House elsewhere in this blog. But not every fine author hits them out of the park every time at bat, and Dead Line was maybe a double instead of his usual home run. Trent is a hostage negotiator in the busy field of European kidnapping. When a client of his insurance company is kidnapped, Trent's the one who holds the family together and brings the victim home, usually in one piece. But he has a parallel track, and that is to find his vanished fiancee, Aimee, who disappeared - kidnapped? unknown; it's been two months - while he was in Italy. Click below for more...


THE HEIRESSES, by Sara Shepard

Contemporary glamor fiction with a twist of suspense. The multi-millionaire Saybrook sisters, darlings of the media, are pitted against one another in this best-seller that kicks off with the suicide of the most glamorous, Poppy. This media superstar was also the workaholic president of legendary gem powerhouse Saybrook Diamonds. Who will take her place? Certainly not the party queen, Aster, nor the anti-Saybrook, Natasha, who publicly renounced the family fortune for reasons she hasn't articulated. When Rowan takes the helm, the family fortune – founded by their grandfather with a post-World War II flea market find – has taken a hit.  Click below for more...



13/series. Sociopath and New York City detective Kathy (never call her that) Mallory's back, in this grisly theater-oriented murder that revolves around the plot of a play that can't get past the first act without finding a (real) dead body. A patron dies of a heart attack (really?) the first night. The second night, the playwright dies in his seat (read it to find out how, you know how I am about spoilers). Mallory and her partner Riker must not only navigate the cast's obfuscations, but the meddling by all layers of the city's hierarchy, from the mayor on down to a glory-seeking police Captain.  Click to read more...


11/series. The fabulously popular Pink Carnation series now features the beautiful, irrepressible Sally Fitzhugh and the saturnine vampire-suspect Lucien, Duke of Belliston, who has returned after a twelve-year absence. And the ton is convinced the handsome duke is nothing more than a blood-sucking creature of the night. Practical Sally, however, pooh-poohs the idea...until she discovers the body of a young woman on the terrace, fang parks dripping blood. If not the handsome Lucien, then who? And why? To avoid Lucien being arrested by a lazy magistrate who was involved in his parents' murder investigation, Sally "discovers" the body by herself. Click below for more...



20?/series. A young woman runs her car off a deserted road outside Edinburgh. Ordinary mortals might accept the set-up, but John Rebus notices things and his long-honed suspicious mind starts putting odd facts together. Soon after, a robbery-turned-murder links to the young woman. Rebus, recently returned to the force (although with a demotion which he takes with amazing grace), finds his own way through the tangle of clues. (Tough cookie DI Sioban Clarke is in this story, too; wish we'd have a stand-alone starring her.) Another stellar mystery that takes us back into Rebus's early days on the Edinburgh police force, when he was a newbie at a free-wheeling police station whose officers took the law into their own hands. Decades on, is the past is about to catch up with them? As always, tight plotting, but not as tight as in other Rebus stories, and a denouement that isn't really up to Rankin's high standards. Still, an excellent read from the UK's top-selling mystery author. It's a 4.
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