New voices are always a happy discovery. And I find myself reading new authors or authors I've never encountered before. Some is dreck, but some is simply splendid.
So, if you are looking for a good mystery from a voice you've never heard before to brighten up you summer vacation, check out these great titles.
Blood Alley by Tom Coffey is a neo noir in a class by itself. Great background, snappy patter with hints of Raymond Chandler and a nod to the movie Chinatown.
Blood of the Wicked is Leighton Gage's initial outing for Brazilian detective Mario Silva as he investigates the assassination of a bishop and political corruption. It's a solid send-off for this Soho Press series which will continue in January with Buried Strangers.
For those who like their thrillers mean and lean, you can't do much better than Tom Rob Smith's Child 44, as Leo Demidov hunts a serial killer in Stalinist Russia.
Scott Heim, whose Mysterious Skin found fame in Hollywood, returned to fiction with We Disappear, examining the death of his own mother against a fictional background. Heartfelt, heartbreaking and redemptive, the book takes us on a meth-fuel investigation into fate of the missing.
The Water Room by Christopher Fowler sent me back to the first in his series, Full Dark House. Fowler's progatonists John May and Arthur Bryant are a couple of grumpy old men and head of London's Peculiar Crime Unit. If you haven't encountered this pair of aging agents, you're in for some delightful reading.
Finally, Jennifer McMahon's Island of Lost Girls bowled me over. Another writer I had yet to read (I had somehow missed Promise Not to Tell), Island of Lost Girls captures the fragility of innocence and the darkness of the world. This book is disturbing without beginning graphic, making it even more effective.
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