Friday, February 1, 2008

February feast

It's dark, it's dreary, it's February but there's hope in this month's new mystery releases.

Dropping into bookstores Tuesday is Stranger in Paradise, the new Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone mystery. While Stone has never become as popular as Spenser, Parker's books usually offer a cracking good read and Jesse Stone should deliver. Hitting stores the same day is James Patterson's not-for-the-numerically-challenged 7th Heaven, making that the, uh ... seventh in the Women's Murder Club series. (Note: We'd like Sue Grafton to team up at the end of her series with Janet Evanovich to write Z is for Zero, putting Kinsey Millhone and Stephanie Plum on the same case. We can dream, can't we?)

Among the books ready for release in the coming weeks are: Death of a Gentle Lady, the new Hamish Macbeth tale from M.C. Beaton; Martha Grimes' Dakota, featuring amnesiac waitress Andi Oliver being stalked by a killer; and Slip of the Knife, the new Denise Mina mystery about a journalist who discovers a suitcase filled with notes left behind by her murdered reporter boyfriend. All three are available next week.

Later in the month we get Old Red and Big Red back on the murder trail in The Black Dove as they do some "detectifying" in turn-of-the-last-century's San Francisco Chinatown. Author Steve Hockensmith has certainly turned the Sherlock Holmes pastiche on its ear with this way-out-West series. Previous entries (Holmes on the Range and On the Wrong Track) are currently available in trade paperback.

Further (or is it farther?) along this month (February 19 is the street date) we get Amerotke, chief judge of the Halls of Two Truths, looking into the death of some scribes in ancient Egypt in P.C. Doherty's The Poisoner of Ptah. Also on the 19th comes mid-21st century murder in J.D. Robb's Strangers in Death, with Eve Dallas on the case once again. Also on that day (be still my heart) comes the new Maise Dobbs mystery An Incomplete Revenge. Jacqueline Winspear follows Maise into a tiny village where petty theft and strange occurances lead her into danger.

Late in February comes Nancy Atherton's not-quite-dead Aunt Dimity in Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter (Aunt Dimity Goes West is now in paperback).

To round out the month there's Criminal Paradise by Steven M. Thomas and A Flaw of Blood by Stephanie Barron (ARCs please!).

And let's not forget that this month brings with it Valentine's Day. It would be criminal not to add a little mystery to his/her life.

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