It’s going to be a long winter……..start reading a series.

winterNow’s a good time to get involved in a gripping series to get you through those long winter days and nights.  Here’s a list of first titles in a series for a variety of Police Procedurals – Mystery, Thriller and Suspense.

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries) by Louise Penny – An engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces–and this series–with integrity and quiet courage.

Bruno, Chief of Police: A Novel of the French Countryside by Martin Walker – Meet Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, a policeman in a small village in the South of France.  He’s a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it.

Naked in Death (In Death) by J.D. Robb – In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line–between seductive passion and scandalous murder.  This series follows the lives of Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband, businessman Roake in mid-21st century New York City.

Eva’s Eye: An Inspector Sejer Mystery by Karin Fossum – A Scandinavian crime fiction starring Inspector konrad Sejer, a shy, old-fashioned, polite dad who never stops thinking of his latest case.

Gallows View (Inspector Banks)by Peter Robinson – A critically acclaimed thriller that first introduced the world to Yorkshire, England Chief Inspector Alan Banks.

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder Mystery)by Linda Castillo –  In a rural, sleepy town in Ohio, the Amish and English have lived peacefully until a series of brutal murders shatters the community.

White Sky, Black Ice (Nathan Active Mysteries)by Stan Jones – Nathan Active is an Inupiat Eskimo and Alaska State Tro0per who patrols the coldest beat in America.

Face of a Killer (Sydney Fitzpatrick Mystery) by Robin Burcell – Author Robin Burcell is currently a criminal investigator in California and was the first female police office hired in Sacramento – which makes this series about a female FBI Special Agent very believable.

The Cove (FBI Thriller) by Catherine Coulter – FBI Agents Dillon Savich and his wife, Lacey Sherlock tackle crime in San Francisco.

Lonely Hearts (A Charles Resnick Mystery)by John Harvey – Charles Resnick is a jazz-loving, melancholy cop in provincial Nottingham, England.

JK Rowling Secret Revealed!

jk rowling

JK Rowling

JK Rowling had hoped to keep her secret for a little while longer, but over the weekend, after receiving a tip, The Sunday Times of London reported that Ms. Rowling had written an adult fiction crime novel under a pseudonym.  The Cuckoo’s Calling, written under the guise of Robert Galbraith, was published in the United Kingdom back in April by Sphere – the same publisher as her first fiction novel after Harry Potter, The Casual VacancyMs. Rowling is quoted as saying “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name”.

The book is set in London and features a private detective named Cormoran Strike who lost a leg while serving in the military in Afghanistan.  He is barely making ends meet, he has just broken up with his long time girlfriend and he is living in his office  Then a client walks in the door with a story about his supermodel sister who fell to her death.  It is ruled a suicide, but the brother doesn’t believe it.  Strike wades into a world of multi-millionares, rock stars and designers to try to find answers about her death.   The book received a rave review in Publishers Weekly when it was released and called it a “stellar debut”.

Before the news broke of who the author really was, the book had only sold 1,500 copies.  Sales at Amazon have since soared 150,000% and is now number 1.

For the Harry Potter books, Ms. Rowling used her initials JK as her official published name because she was told books written by men sold better.  With this new book, she was able to create a male persona and a fictional biography was supplied by the publisher.  It states: ” Born in 1968, Robert Galbraith is married with two sons.  After several years with the Royal Military Police, he was attached to the SIB (Special Investigation Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP.  He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry.  The idea for protagonist Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who have returned to the civilian world.”

Rowling plans to continue writing the series with the next book due out next summer.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is available at the Cheshire Library.

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7/18/13 UPDATE – Today it was revealed that a partner at the British law firm, Russells, inadvertently revealed the information.  Chris Gossage let the information slip to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari and she tweeted it.  Her Twitter account has since been deleted.  Russells said in a statement that “we apologize unreservedly” to Rowling.  While Gossage is culpable, “the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly”.

Ms Rowling said:  “To say that I am disappointed is an understatement.  I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”

Author Profile/Book Review: Against the Edge by Kat Martin

kat martinKat Martin is a New York Times bestselling author of over fifty historical and contemporary romance suspense novels.  She currently lives in Missoula, Montana with her husband.  Kat is a graduate of the University of California where she majored in Anthropology and studied History.  Before starting her writing career in 1985, she was a real estate broker.  That’s where she met her husband, Larry Jay Martin, author of more than 20 westerns and mysteries.

Most of her ideas for books just pop up in her head, but she does occasionally get ideas from newspapers and television.  Her books are published in twenty foreign countries.

Against the Edge is book number eight in the Against series.  You  don’t need to read the others in any order as they stand alone just fine.

Former Navy SEAL Ben Slocum receives the shock of his life when a stranger appears on his doorstep announcing that a child he didn’t even know he had is missing.  Claire Chastain is a friend of the boy’s late mother and is desperate to find him and seeks Ben’s help.  They band together to track down the kidnapper, all the while trying to fight the attraction they feel for each other.  Ben enlists the help of his fellow private investigators and end up traveling through several states in search of an off grid survivalist group who might have his son, Sam.  To add an interesting twist to the story, Claire’s old boyfriend shows up with his own trouble that Claire gets drawn into.

This book is filled with drama, suspense, action, romance, and likeable characters.  It is fun to watch Ben and Claire’s relationship take hold.  The author weaves a believable story of both characters’ pasts that adds great interest to the book.  The secondary characters (some have been introduced in past Against books) add another enjoyable layer.

Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series

Last summer I was on a hiking trip in Scotland with 3 friends, all avid readers,  all fans of Kate Atkinson’s private investigator Jackson Brodie and all totally shocked that I had never read any of her books.  Well, you can bet I rectified that situation as soon as I got home.  After the first few pages of Case Histories I was hooked.  Nominally these books (there are four) are crime novels set in England and Scotland featuring the “tender curmudgeon and solver of mysteries” Jackson Brody.  These are not traditional mysteries–they are stories that feature fully realized and interesting characters,  vivid settings and complicated, somewhat meandering (though always compelling) plots.  In Atkinson’s skilled hands multiple story lines coalesce into a seamless narrative.  She is a wonderful writer and her books offer both marvelous entertainment and insight into the human condition.  If you prefer fast-moving mysteries with a linear plot, these are probably not for you.  But if you enjoy well-written character-driven fiction, these may be just the ticket.   And lest you think I am the only one pushing these books, Oprah recommended the 4th in the series, Started Early Took My Dog in her blog Mysteries Every Thinking Woman Should Read.

I would strongly recommend reading this series in order.

  1. Case Histories
  2. One Good Turn
  3. When Will There Be Good News
  4. Started Early Took My Dog

As a bonus, the first two books in the series have been made into BBC series.  The library will be ordering Case Histories, currently the only one available in DVD. Some titles are available in downloadable versions and all are available in audiobooks in our collection or through interlibrary loan.

Please let me know if you enjoyed them!

Deborah Rutter