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May 12 2018
It may be Mothers' Day, but mothers have never fared too well in crime fiction. By turns obsessive, demanding, manipulative, or simply whacko, they are more frequently than not the source of much bad behaviour on the part of their criminally-inclined offspring. Certainly not mothers who deserve the traditional breakfast in bed and a bouquet on the second Sunday in May. So you won't find any mothers (or at least not many) in the books we're reviewing this week, but you will find a lot of books that may well go on your summer reading list. And for all the real mothers, here's to a very happy day.
Andrew Taylor follows his account of London in the 17th century that he began in last year's ASHES OF LONDON with FIRE COURT in which the protagonists of the earlier book deal as best they can with the aftermath of destruction. To my mind, it is simply superb.
We're in the early weeks of the baseball season, so Pamela Wechsler's THE FENS might be a timely read. The Fens in question are what Fenway park was named for, and Cathy Downs enjoyed this part mystery/part legal thriller involving the Boston Red Sox.
Nicola Nixon reports that THE LAST EQUATION OF ISAAC SEVERY, a debut by Nova Jacobs, is at once an engrossing introduction into the world of academic mathematics and a very smart mystery. It sounds like something even the math-averse among us might well enjoy.
The sub-genre called the police procedural can reveal differences in policing depending on where the police in question are actually doing their work. This time around we have procedurals set in New York's Chinatown (Henry Chang's LUCKY, reviewed by Cathy Downs), Kingston, Ontario (Brenda Chapman's BLEEDING DARKNESS, reviewed by Jim Napier), and the Big Bend country of Texas ( J. Todd Scott's HIGH WHITE SUN, reviewed by Susan Hoover). In each case, the police do prevail, but their approach reflects both who they are and where they live. All, however, were strongly endorsed by their respective reviewers.
Sebastian Rotella's RIP CREW is the third in his series of thrillers set along the US/Mexican border. Barbara Fister declares these represent "a smart and welcome riff on the international thriller." John Sandford's "Prey" series has been going on for a lot longer - TWISTED PREY is the twenty-ninth adventure for Lucas Davenport, but PJ Coldren feels it has not gone stale.
Sharon Mensing reviews two other thrillers of a somewhat different sort. THE DISAPPEARED, by C.J. Box is set in one of Sharon's favourite places, back country Wyoming, a background she says that makes sense of the intense events in a way that nowhere else quite could. THE GLASS FOREST, by Cynthia Swanson, is a psychological thriller set in Wyoming's polar opposite, suburban New York State. Sharon reports that this is a compelling thriller as well as an examination of the damage done to women by the gender roles assigned them in the 1940s and 50s.
Finally, we have a clutch of cosies. There's a comic cosy, an historical cosy, and a pair with cats on their covers, but not, sadly, even one with recipes. Diana Borse says that Auralee Wallace's DOWN THE AISLE WITH MURDER is in the tradition of the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers, over the top but very funny. MURDER AT HALF MOON GATE, by Andrea Penrose, is the second in this Regency series and Caryn St Clair says that it is even better than the first and has the added advantage of working well on its own. PJ Coldren remarks that Eileen Watkins' THE BENGAL IDENTITY, the second in the Cozy Cat series, has a strong plot and characters and that Watkins understands feline behaviour. The plot of ANTIQUE BLUES, the twelfth of Jane K. Cleland's antique dealer's series, is complex and well-handled and has an unexpected and surprising resolution, Ruth Castleberry reports. It looks like, with summer setting in, beach, back porch, and hammock readers will be well supplied.
Our guest in the Sixty Seconds With...spot this week is Iona Whishaw and you can read her answers to our questions in the box over to your left.
You'll find the latest reports on crime fiction in Britain at CRIMEREVIEW.
We'll be back at the end of the month and hope you will too. In the meantime, drop us a line if you're so inclined and let us know what's on your mind.
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