Thursday, August 15, 2019

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Out of all the books available to read and limited time, what influences your choices? What books have you read this summer and which would you rate as your top recommendation?

For me, this summer has been a whirlwind (read torture) of final edits on TURN TO STONE, my seventh Ellie Stone mystery, which comes out January 21, 2020. I’ve completed eight full revisions in addition to the edits done by my publisher. And still I find maddening little errors. 

If not for the palate-cleansing respite I found in reading several books this past spring and summer, I might have choked on my own self-loathing, or at least the loathing of my book. Because, make no mistake, after combing through 110,000 of your now least-favorite words eight times in the space of three months, you want to leave an angry one-star review for your own magnum opus on Goodreads.

So, I’m grateful to the authors—and their books—who made this period bearable. I was honored to provide the following blurbs for these novels, all of which I enjoyed greatly.

Charlie-316 by fellow Criminal Minder, Frank Zafiro and his co-author, Colin Conway.

Conway and Zafiro deliver an engrossing socio-political drama that packs plenty of action and intrigue, while asking the difficult questions. Corruption, conspiracy, and compromise frame the downfall of a perfect cop. And Wardell Clint is the most nuanced, fascinating detective I’ve read in a very long time.
This one tackles tough issues and will leave no reader indifferent. Compelling.

Careful What You Wish For, Hallie Ephron

A masterclass in airtight plotting, obsessive characters, and sleight-of-hand twists and turns. CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR is a maddeningly compelling tale of shady schemes and ambushed trust. Ephron’s is a master storyteller at the top of her game. CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR is a hold-your-breath winner. 

The Pearl Dagger, L. A. Chandlar

An action-packed romp through 1930s New York’s dance clubs, hotels, and halls of power. Lane Sanders is a heroine with charm, brains, and guts. Working on special assignment for her boss, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, she pursues a criminal syndicate with long-buried ties to her own late parents.

Chandlar’s research is impressive, from lovingly detailed architectural descriptions to transatlantic crossings and swank 1930s New York nightlife. But it’s Lane herself, the engaging star of this series, who will delight readers most.

Judge Thee Not, Edith Maxwell

Rose Carroll lives in a world on the cusp of modernity, where horse-drawn carriages are giving way to bicycles and electric trams, and social change is on the march. Edith Maxwell’s latest Quaker midwife mystery teems with authentic period detail that fascinates as it transports the reader back to a not-so-simple time. A complex, subtle, and finely told tale, JUDGE THEE NOT’s sensitive portraits and vivid descriptions, along with Rose Carroll’s humanity, intelligence, and—yes—snooping, make this a sparkling addition to a wonderful series. A sublimely delightful read.

Dread of Winter, Susan Bickford

From the first page, Susan Alice Bickford’s DREAD OF WINTER grabs onto you and refuses to let go. Like a tongue frozen to a metal pole in frigid January. A harrowing, frostbitten sleighride through Central New York’s most forbidding winter landscapes and drug-addled small-towns, this is a hard-driving, thrilling novel. Beautifully written in all its harsh coldness and murderous rage.

Valley of Shadows, Steven Cooper 

A withering, sweltering trial by endless sun and swirling dust storms, VALLEY OF SHADOWS is a masterful mash-up of police procedure and psychic investigation. Gus Parker and Alex Mills form one of the most memorable detective teams in crime fiction today. You won’t put this down no matter how parched your throat or sweaty your brow. Steven Cooper has written a fiery gem of thriller, full of visions of tragedy and acts of loving devotion.

In addition to the ones I blurbed, I read some outstanding books over the past several months. Here is a sampling (in no particular order): 

Under a Dark Sky, Lori Rader-Day

November Road, Lou Berney

Below the Fold, R. G. Belsky

Blanche on the Lam, Barbara Neely

A Voice in the Night, Andrea Camilleri

The Widows of Malabar Hill, Sujata Massey

Murder at  the Mena House, Erica Ruth Neubauer

Give some of these a try. You won’t be disappointed.


Frank Zafiro said...

Lead off position? Thanks, Jim!

Susan C Shea said...

Wow, that's some list, with variety and style. A few I've read but several I have to add if they're already out. Thanks!