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Anthony Awards
2017 (Best Novel)
You Will Know Me
Click to search this book in our catalog   Megan Abbott
2017 (Best First)
Dodgers
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bill Beverly
2017 (Best Paperback)
Shot in Detroit
Click to search this book in our catalog   Patricia Abbott
 
2017 (Best Anthology)
Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns
 Eric Beetner
  Click to search this book in our catalog
2016 (Best Novel)
The Killing Kind
 Chris Holm
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2016 (Best First)
Past Crimes
 Glen Erik Hamilton

Library Journal [DEBUT] Iraq War veteran Army Ranger Van Shaw, recuperating from wounds received while serving in Afghanistan, receives a letter from his grandfather Dono, with whom Van has not communicated for many years, asking Van to come home. He dutifully does so, but only moments after his grandfather has been shot-he finds Dono bleeding profusely on the kitchen floor, barely alive. Dono has lived a larcenous life of mostly genteel, nonconfrontational crime, but things have taken a suddenly dangerous, possibly fatal turn. Van gets the unconscious Dono to the hospital and sets out to discover who shot him and why. Armed with his military training (and some criminal skills taught him as a boy by Dono), Van follows a trail that leads deeper into his grandfather's life-and closer to uncovering what drove Dono to reach out after years of silence. Verdict In his outstanding debut, Hamilton has created a tough and intriguing character in Van Shaw, one that will appeal to fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.-Vicki Gregory, Sch. of Information, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Van Shaw was brought up by thieves, who were a bit like an extended family. He displayed an alarming proficiency in the craft but decided it wasn't the life for him and escaped, as many do, by joining the army. After a tour of Afghanistan, he gets a summons from his old grandfather, who had been his coach in lawbreaking. Once home, he finds the old man wounded and near death, and Van's criminal skills must become detective skills as he tries to learn what happened. That means interacting at length with Grandfather's old cronies, and reader response to these long chapters of talk is going to be personal. Some may want more of what the author is awfully good at action. A warehouse break-in, with the old man guiding the kid's moves, is wonderful. And a battle on a yacht blends heightened language and dirty deeds to haunting effect, as when a vanquished opponent suddenly becomes two hundred pounds of wet cement. If he stays true to his talent, Hamilton is an author to watch.--Crinklaw, Don Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Hamilton's accomplished debut introduces Van Shaw, an Army ranger who returns home to Seattle after 10 years, in response to a terse message from the man who raised him, his grandfather Donovan "Dono" Shaw: "Come home, if you can." Dono taught Shaw to be like him, a skillful and careful thief, but at 18, Shaw left him after a bitter fight and joined the army. On arrival at Dono's house, Shaw finds him on the floor, dying of a gunshot wound. In his quest for vengeance, Shaw connects with Dono's old buddies Hollis Brant, a smuggler, and Jimmy Corcoran, a tech expert. Shaw has to figure out what Dono was up to, and he needs all his criminal skills and ranger training to do so. Hamilton details Shaw's upbringing in sharply honed flashbacks and surrounds him with a cast of intriguing characters on both sides of the law. Readers will be eager to see more of this tough, clever hero. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2016 (Best Paperback)
The Long and Faraway Gone
Click to search this book in our catalog   Lou Berney

Book list *Starred Review* Affable Las Vegas PI Wyatt is happy doing background checks for casinos on potential management hires and getting home in time for dinner with his significant other, Laurie. When a casino exec asks him to look into who is harassing one of his in-laws, Wyatt is reluctant to take the case. When he learns he must go to Oklahoma City for it, he is emotionally rocked. Twenty-six years before, he was a 15-year-old OKC movie usher who, inexplicably, was spared execution in the murder of every other employee. That same summer, Julianna attended the state fair with her adored older sister, the beautiful and occasionally wild Genevieve, who disappeared into the crowd and was never seen again. Now a nurse, Julianna remains obsessed with Genevieve's disappearance. Wyatt's return to OKC brings everything back in a rush. Berney's first two novels (Gutshot Straight, 2011; Whiplash River, 2012) were delightful, Elmore Leonard-style crime novels. This time he's focused, very insightfully, on love, loss, and memory, and he astutely portrays the immediate and long-term psychological impact of the loss of the most important people in his characters' young lives. Wyatt, Juli, Genevieve, and Wyatt's dead coworkers are all fully realized creations that readers won't soon forget. A genuinely memorable novel of ideas.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2016 (Best Anthology)
Murder Under the Oaks
Click to search this book in our catalog   Art Taylor
2015 (Best Novel)
After Im gone
Click to search this book in our catalog   Laura Lippman

Book list The catalyst for Lippman's (And When She Was Good, 2012) smart and mesmerizing nineteenth work of fiction is the 1976 disappearance of sexy and calculating Felix Brewer, the head of a megaprofitable Baltimore gambling operation. In flight to avoid prison, he tries to do right by his gorgeous, loyal wife, Bambi, nee Bernadette Gottschalk; his three temperamentally complex daughters; and his trusting mistress, Julie Saxony. But, instead, they all suffer emotional torment and financial deprivation. Ten years later, Julie's body is found in a park. Recently widowed former police detective Roberto Sandy Sanchez, a blue-eyed, blond Cuban, working cold cases freelance, now has a hunch that Saxony's murder can finally be solved. On this flexible frame, Lippman stretches a richly textured canvas that depicts, with wit and sensitivity, the wounded but tough women Felix left behind. As she traces the matrix of longing, jealousy, and betrayal that led to Julie's murder, Lippman incisively explores marriage, Jewish family life, class distinctions, and the power and liability of physical beauty, thus creating an involving and elegant novel of the psychological ravages of crime. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An extensive marketing campaign will cover all media bases as best-selling Lippman goes on tour.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly On July 4, 1976, shady businessman Felix Brewer escapes the law by fleeing suburban Maryland, leaving behind his wife, Bambi; three daughters; and a mistress, Julie Saxony. So begins bestseller Lippman's finely wrought study of what it means to move forward without answers. When Felix met Bambi in 1959, it was love at first sight. Without telling her how, he promised they'd get rich. And they did, even if he wasn't often home to enjoy it with her and their daughters. Julie-a stripper who loved Felix, despite knowing he'd never leave Bambi-wasn't even Felix's only bit on the side. When he ran, Felix made sure, or so he thought, that all his women would be looked after. Ten years later, Julie disappears. At first, rumors swirl that Felix came back for her, but when her remains turn up in a local park in 2001, the word on the street is that he killed her. Adept as always with character nuance, Lippman (And When She Was Good) uses Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a consultant who used to be a Baltimore cop, to dig into Julie's cold case, and to uncover the secrets of the women Felix left in his wake. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Rather than face 15 years in prison, Baltimore gambling boss Felix Brewer goes on the lam in 1976, leaving behind his wife, Bambi, the love of his life; his beloved daughters, Linda, 17, Rachel, 14, and Michelle, three; and his mistress, ex-stripper Julie Saxony. Ten years later, Julie disappears. It's suspected that she joined Felix, until her body is discovered in 2001 in a park near Bambi's childhood home. The Saxony cold case is reopened in 2012 by Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a widowed retired detective working as a consultant for the Baltimore police department. Chapters detailing critical points in the Brewer women's lives from 1959 forward alternate with those about the murder investigation, which is ultimately solved by following the money. VERDICT In this stand-alone (adroitly linked to the Tess Monaghan series), Lippman focuses on the inner lives of the women left behind. Despite the murder at its center, this is less a suspenseful whodunit than a masterly novel of character, with secrets skillfully and gradually revealed. Revel in the pace and pleasures of this book (including section headings that riff on the song "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me") that should add to Lippman's literary luster. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2015 (Best First)
The black hour
 Lori Rader-Day

Book list *Starred Review* After 10 months spent recovering from a gunshot wound, sociology professor Amelia Emmet returns to the classroom, delivering lectures on her now disturbingly familiar specialty: the sociology of violence. But Amelia's welcomes are laced with an undercurrent of suspicion about her role in the shooting. How could the shooter, a troubled student who committed suicide at the scene, have been a stranger to her? The truth is, Amelia doesn't know. Nathaniel, a new graduate student hoping to share Amelia's dark area of study, snags his dream job as her graduate assistant. Amelia's erratic behavior and battle to manage her pain make her a challenging boss, but he's dedicated to her, especially since he secretly plans to study her shooting for his graduate thesis. Separately, Amelia and Nathan seek answers about her attacker's motivation, goaded along by Rory McDaniel, a newspaper reporter. This accomplished debut bears favorable comparison to the work of Gillian Flynn (more Sharp Objects than Gone Girl), Cornelia Read, and S. J. Watson. Chicago writing instructor Rader-Day ably manipulates the elements that constitute academia's dark side (competition, campus politics, quests for identity, and, of course, sex) without the overlong academic digressions these settings sometimes court. Amelia Emmet is a sympathetic, yet jaded and darkly witty main character. An unputdownable read.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Chicago's Rothbert University was rocked when one of its sociology professors, -Amelia Emmet, was shot randomly; the student attacker committed suicide immediately after. End of story. Readers enter as Amelia returns to teaching months later, determined to take ownership of her own mystery case. Teaching assistant Nathaniel Barber is protective, but covertly he wonders if Amelia might become his dissertation topic. A newspaper reporter has pursued her story since day one, and he hovers too closely for comfort. Finally, there is the suicide hotline staff who seem extra-zealous. All of these behaviors create an air of paranoia. Not until Amelia's memory begins to loosen does she realize that danger has not left the campus. A seriously scary sailing regatta on Lake Michigan brings it all home, vividly! -VERDICT With disconcerting timeliness (in the wake of recent shootings), Rader-Day captures the more sinister aspects of campus life. While the author captivates from page one with her psychologically attuned debut, it is the sociological frames that work so well: class, power, and violence. This reviewer was bowled over by the novel's alternating points of view, superb storytelling, and pitch-perfect take on academia. [A July LibraryReads pick, see p. 119.-Ed.] (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Sociology professor Amelia Emmet, the heroine of Rader-Day's exceptional debut, returns to Rothbert University, near Chicago, 10 months after a student shot her and killed himself. Struggling with physical and mental problems caused by her injuries, Amelia is equally aware of irony: she's a scholar of violence in society, yet has no idea why she was attacked, had no acquaintance with the perpetrator, and only the sketchiest of memories of the incident. Nathaniel "Nath" Barber, her teaching assistant and student of Chicago's gangland past, is eager to investigate and soon links the shooter with associates of Rothbert's suicide hotline. Meanwhile, a reporter seems too conveniently at hand when trouble arises, an eccentric array of campus colleagues are inclined to blame the victim, and a scion of Rothbert's founder may have taken entitlement to a new extreme. Chapters that alternate between Amelia and Nath's viewpoints provide an irresistible combination of menace, betrayal, and self-discovery. Agent: Sarah Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2015 (Best Paperback)
The Day She Died
 Catriona McPherson

Publishers Weekly In this improbable tale of suspense from McPherson (As She Left It), heroine Jessica Constable's chance encounter with a stranger begins a journey that makes her phobia-induced nightmares seem tame by comparison. Constable works at a charity shop in Dumfries, Scotland, and struggles with an unusual affliction: pteronophobia, the fear of feathers. In an act of kindness, she gives a ride home to a shocked and distraught customer, Gus King, who has just learned his wife, Becky, has left him. News arrives that Becky died in a car crash shortly after hitting the road, and Constable finds herself spending increasing amounts of time with Gus and his children, Ruby and Dillon. Eventually, she moves into their cottage, despite repeated warning signals that something is amiss. As in a poor slasher film, Constable ignores imminent danger until it's almost too late. Agent: Lisa Moylett, Coombs Moylett Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal When Gus King has a meltdown at a Marks & Spencer grocery story in Dumfries, Scotland, saying his wife has left him, bystander Jessie Constable offers to drive him and his child home. Somehow, she gets suckered into staying in a remote cottage and caring for Gus's daughter and infant son. Readers will be on high alert, but Jessie's distorted logic makes it seem appropriate. When news comes that Gus's wife died in a car-crash suicide, Jessie worries about her two young charges. Then she meets frightened Polish immigrant neighbors who are searching desperately for the dead woman's best friend, who has recently gone missing. Jessie is psychologically damaged by her own childhood demons, and Gus's confusing jumble of explanations keeps her and readers off guard. A chill overtakes us all. -VERDICT Keep the lights on and batten down the hatches, for McPherson's psychologically terrifying stand-alone demands to be read all night. Miles away from her witty and award-winning historical cozy series (Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains), Scottish author McPherson has written a top-notch tale of modern gothic suspense that is sure to please Charlotte Bronte and Daphne du Maurier fans. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2015 (Best Anthology)
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
 Leslie S. Klinger

Publishers Weekly Devotees of the greatest of all fictional detectives will welcome this anthology from King and Klinger (A Study in Sherlock), who have assembled a murderers' row of talent, including bestselling authors not usually associated with Holmes and Watson. Only two stories are traditional pastiches; the other 13 pay homage to the spirit of the originals in very different ways. Michael Connelly's "The Crooked Man," in which Harry Bosch consults a coroner named Art Doyle, cleverly riffs on Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Crooked Man."A brilliant bipolar patient puts his gifts for Holmesian deduction to use while tracking a serial killer in Jeffrey Deaver's "The Adventure of the Laughing Fisherman." Cornelia Funke provides insights into Holmes's youth in her moving "Lost Boys," while an elderly Holmes plays a heroic role during WWII in John Lescroart's stirring "Dunkirk." Klinger himself weighs in with one of the more memorable entries, "The Closing," which offers a sophisticated variation on one of the most tragic canonical adventures. According to the editors' illuminating introduction, a similarly themed second volume is in the works. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2014 (Best Novel)
Ordinary grace : a novel
Click to search this book in our catalog   by William Kent Krueger

Library Journal Krueger, primarily known for his Cork O'Connor mystery series (Trickster's Point), ventures into new territory with this coming-of-age stand-alone that has a hint of mystery. In 1961 New Bremen, MN, Frank Drum is a typical 13-year-old who likes baseball and getting into trouble. He has an 11-year-old brother, a Methodist minister father, a sister bound for Juilliard, and an artistically inclined mother. Narrating the story 40 years after the events unfold, Frank recalls the five deaths that occurred that summer that scarred many, especially his family. He and his brother grow up that summer as they see, hear, and experience tragedy and love that is part and parcel of the adult world. Verdict For fans of Wiley Cash's A Land More Kind Than Home or Krueger's other works, this is a touching read, with just enough intrigue to keep the story moving along.-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Best known for the Cork O'Connor mystery series, Krueger (Trickster's Point) has produced an elegiac, evocative, stand-alone novel. The summer of 1961 finds thirteen-year-old Frank Drum living in small-town New Bremen, Minn. He and his younger brother, Jake, idolize their older sister, Ariel, a talented church organist who's also the "golden child" of their parents, WWII veteran and Methodist pastor Nathan and church music director Ruth. Nathan and Ruth befriend the accomplished musician Emil Brandt, a veteran left blinded by his service, who tutors Ariel in her music education. Meanwhile, Jake, who has a stutter, forms a close bond with Lise, Emil's deaf older sister and caretaker, while Ariel dates Emil's wealthy nephew, Karl. The Drums' peaceful existence is shattered, however, when Ariel fails to return from a late-night party. In the aftermath of her disappearance, Karl comes under suspicion, Ruth undergoes a crisis of faith, and dark secrets about New Bremen come to light. The small-town milieu is rendered in picturesque detail, accurate down to period-appropriate TV programs, for what becomes a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Krueger, the author of the best-selling Cork O'Connor mysteries, largely set in Minnesota, has written a stand-alone novel that is part mystery but mostly an extended (and often overly extended) meditation. The narrator, Frank Drum, writes as a middle-age man looking back on a summer in 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, when he was 13; the Minnesota Twins were in their first season; and death, in five different instances, shook his family and their community in the Minnesota River valley. The first death is that of Frank's sometime friend Bobby Cole. The proximate cause was a train, but the mystery is whether Bobby stood in front of that train, or was pushed or placed there. More deaths follow, one of which rips apart Frank's family. This coming-of-age story is obviously an attempt to show how grace can work through the fissures of suffering. While the setting is well rendered, the characters are too flat, and Krueger keeps striking the same monologist's meditative note throughout, while most readers will long for variety in style.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2014 (Best First)
Yesterdays Echo
Click to search this book in our catalog   Matt Coyle

Library Journal "The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget." This delectable opening line sets the tone for Coyle's hard-boiled crime series debut, which introduces Rick Cahill, a former cop whose wife was brutally murdered eight years ago. Rick was accused of the crime but never convicted. Unable to fight the media maelstrom, he retreats to La Jolla, CA, to help run a restaurant with his best (and only) friend. It isn't much of an existence but Rick is slowly regaining control of his life. Fate arrives in the figure of Melody, a gorgeous Filipina who embroils Rick in a lethal entanglement. Before too long, the protagonist finds himself back in the crosshairs of the media and the police, who remember all too well the cop that got away with murder. VERDICT Coyle does a superb job of drawing the reader in and keeps a steady pace of action along with solid character development. This celebration of the crime noir novels of old with a modern sensibility in Rick Cahill as hero will strongly appeal to fans of classic hard-boiled PI novels.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Coyle's promising debut introduces ex-cop Rick Cahill, a tarnished knight who battles internal and external demons. Cahill now ekes out a living in La Jolla, Calif., managing Muldoon's Steak House, but has lots of baggage. His police officer father was kicked off the La Jolla force in disgrace 25 years earlier, and eight years ago Cahill was arrested for his wife's murder. One night at Muldoon's, he rescues a damsel in distress, TV reporter Melody Malana, from a guy who was about to assault her. For her safety, Cahill takes the captivating Melody home to his place, where they make love. When Melody later disappears, a pair of thugs beat Cahill up because they think he knows her whereabouts. Coyle breaks no new ground, but Cahill turns out to be both tough and resourceful when forced to confront his past. Readers can hope his future will be brighter. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2014 (Best Paperback)
As she left it
Click to search this book in our catalog   Catriona McPherson
 
2014 (Best Non-Fiction)
The hour of peril : the secret plot to murder Lincoln before the Civil War
 Daniel Stashower

Book list *Starred Review* Some of President Lincoln's associates and some historians have questioned if the supposed conspiracy to assassinate him upon his arrival in Baltimore was serious. Stashower has no doubt that the plot was real, and he has written a convincing and well-researched chronicle of it and the successful effort to thwart it. His story has the necessary elements of a successful historical thriller, including a determined assassin; a wily, intrepid detective; a serpentine plot; and, in Lincoln, an important and sympathetic potential victim. Stashower seems determined to lay out the painstaking details of the plot; although it provides credibility, it sometimes acts as a drag on the narrative. Still, the stakes are high, so the story has a built-in urgency and excitement. The detective, the soon-to-be-famous Allan Pinkerton, is a relentless and clever sleuth, and the chief conspirator, a Baltimore barber named Ferrandini, is a formidable adversary. Despite some slow moments, the book generally succeeds as both a historical inquiry and a detective story.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly John Wilkes Booth succeeded in 1865, but the first major plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln unfolded in 1861 in anticipation of the then president-elect's railway trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) explains how Allan Pinkerton, a temperamental Scottish cooper turned "fierce and incorruptible lawman" and founder of the Pinkerton Agency, sought to infiltrate and obfuscate a murderous group led by Cypriano Ferrandini, an outspoken Italian barber in Baltimore. Interwoven with the tale of Pinkerton and company's efforts to foil what would become known as the Baltimore Plot, Stashower offers a rich portrait of a resolute but weary Lincoln as he makes his way, both politically and physically, to the White House. As everyone knows, he arrived without incident, but while he saved his skin, he lost some respect for stealing into the capital "like a thief in the night," as one newspaper put it. The book starts out slow, but once Stashower lets the Pinkerton operatives loose, their race against time as Lincoln's train speeds toward Maryland makes for an enthralling page-turner that is sure to please true crime, thriller, and history fans. Photos. (Feb.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal The first known attempt to murder Abraham Lincoln occurred in February 1861 during his railway journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC, for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) details how Allan Pinkerton, head of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, managed to stop a band of rebels bent on killing the president-elect in Baltimore. Stashower describes a campaign-weary, nonchalant, and somewhat incautious Abraham Lincoln, traveling east toward the presidency. The author records him arriving safely in DC after stealing through Maryland's darkened countryside and Baltimore's precincts as "a thief in the night"-at Pinkerton's behest, but in the process forfeiting a measure of political stature to his detractors, who questioned his courage and fitness for office. The tale builds methodically before shifting into dramatic mode as Pinkerton, in fewer than two weeks, uncovers and quashes the would-be assassins' designs, assisted by agent Kate Warne, the leader of Pinkerton's female undercover unit. VERDICT Stashower's character-driven narrative and lively writing style reveal the finely honed skills of an accomplished mystery writer. Recommended.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2014 (Best Childrens)
The Testing
 by Joelle Charbonneau

Publishers Weekly Making the jump from adult mysteries to YA, Charbonneau (the Rebecca Robbins series) launches a dystopian trilogy reminiscent of the Hunger Games. Cia Vale is one of four teens chosen to represent her small colony at the annual Testing, an intensive mental and physical examination aimed at identifying the best and brightest, who will go on to the University and help rebuild their shattered world. Forewarned not to trust anyone, Cia nonetheless forms a tentative partnership with resourceful Tomas, with whom she shares an unexpected emotional connection. As the Testing pushes its candidates to the breaking point and beyond, the body count rises, forcing Cia and her friends to fight for survival. The rising tension, skillfully executed scenarios, and rich characterizations all contribute to an exciting story bound to capture readers' imaginations. However, it's the last-minute revelations, a cliffhanger laden with potential, and the intriguing status quo of Cia's world that will bring readers back for the next installment. Charbonneau works action, romance, intrigue, and a plausible dystopian premise into a near-flawless narrative. Ages 12-up. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Like almost every 16-year-old in the United Commonwealth, Cia Vale hopes to be called for the Testing, her ticket out of rural Five Lakes Colony and into the University in Tosu City. Cia's father was selected, but only vaguely remembers the experience in nightmares. Her four older brothers were passed over. Just when she has resigned herself to life as a mechanic or farmer, she gets word that she is one of four students selected from Five Lakes and is expected to board the skimmer to Tosu City the next day, most likely never to return. The bulk of the book is taken up with the Testing-devious exercises to identify those with superior leadership skills as society has suffered through Seven Stages of War and desperately needs to repair the damage to living creatures and the environment. The mental and physical trials will weed out 80 percent of the candidates, leaving several maimed or dead. Cia teams up with Tomas for both practical and romantic reasons. She is independent and smart for the most part, and Tomas seems almost too good to be true. There are double-crosses, mutant life-forms, and booby traps to navigate before 20 hearty souls receive word that they have passed. Cia's story is expected to span a trilogy. The influence of The Hunger Games is obvious, and The Testing will satisfy readers who want similar dystopian adventures.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Mystery writer Charbonneau throws her hat into the YA dystopian ring with this series opener that bears more than a slight resemblance to The Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old newly graduated Cia Vale is selected to take part in The Testing, a process that offers the only chance at a college education and training to become part of the next generation of leaders. Cia has spent years preparing for this it's her chance to help the United Commonwealth recover from the devastating Seven Stages War. Cia's father, who took part in The Testing himself, warns her to trust no one. Charbonneau is treading familiar ground as she sets her young heroine against a government machine that is focused, brutal, and duplicitous. Though the story moves quickly, readers might be confused as to the reasons behind the government's methods. Why the brutality against students? There is no indication that the citizens are oppressed, and they're unaware of how gruesome The Testing is. The ending will ensure interest in the next installment, but hopefully book two will deliver some answers.--Dean, Kara Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2013 (Best Novel)
The Beautiful Mystery
 Louise Penny
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2013 (Best First)
The expats : a novel
Click to search this book in our catalog   Chris Pavone

Library Journal Former CIA agent Kate is enjoying the expat life in Luxembourg until she gets suspicious of some acquaintances. "Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable"; a big debut. (LJ 1/12) (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Fans of John le Carre and Robert Ludlum will welcome former book editor Pavone's first novel, a meticulously plotted, psychologically complex spy thriller. When Dexter Moore, a financial systems security expert in Washington, D.C., receives a lucrative offer to work for a bank in Luxembourg, his wife, Kate, resigns her position as a CIA operative-a job her husband knows nothing about-and vows to recreate herself as a devoted wife and mother to their two boys. But Kate soon discovers that computer geek Dexter has been living a secret life as well, and that he may be a thief being investigated by the FBI and Interpol who's stolen millions of euros in online banking transactions. The sheer amount of bombshell plot twists are nothing short of extraordinary, but it's Pavone's portrayal of Kate and her quest to find meaning in her charade of an existence that makes this book such a powerful read. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* The premature death of her parents turned Kate into a driven loner who never expected to find someone to love. After college, clandestine fieldwork for the CIA filled the void; then she met decent, somewhat nerdy Dexter Moore. Marriage and two young sons convinced her to transfer into intelligence analysis, but she never told Dexter about her CIA employment. But when Dexter is offered a job in Luxembourg with a private bank, Kate abruptly finds herself an expat mom. Housework and lunches with other expats don't fulfill her, and she maintains the suspicious nature the CIA fostered. Soon, she focuses on expats Julia and Bill, as well as Dexter's new, uncharacteristic behavior. Her spook instincts bear fruit: Julia and Bill aren't what they seem; Dexter is up to something; and Kate must find out what it all means. The Expats is a stunningly assured first novel. Kate's character, her CIA experiences, and her new life are examined in granular detail, all of which helps drive an intricate, suspenseful plot that is only resolved in the final pages. The juxtaposition of marital deceptions and espionage is brilliantly employed. European locales, information on private banks and cybercrime, and the particulars of expats' quotidian but comfortable lives ooze verisimilitude. A must for espionage fans.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Kate is a young mom cozily wrapped up in her expat life in tiny Luxembourg-her two young sons and husband fill her days. What keeps her up at night glued to the Internet is the suspicion that a couple of casual buddies she met on the cocktail circuit are really assassins. Fueled by her 15 years as a covert CIA agent, Kate's obsession soon leads her to deeply hidden plots that involve 50 million euros, a suddenly flaky husband with curiously muddy shoes, and herrings-red and not-that rip her comfy world to tatters. VERDICT Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable, this debut thriller breaks the espionage genre bounds with its American-as-apple-pie heroine. Standing on the shoulders of such giants as Robert Littell, Gayle Lynds, Eric Ambler, Helen MacInnes, and Daniel Silva, Pavone displays the best characteristics of the form and will earn a faithful and yearning readership. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/11; see the Q&A with Pavone on p. 98.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, Va (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2013 (Best Paperback)
Big Maria
Click to search this book in our catalog   Johnny Shaw

Book list *Starred Review* Shaw is back with another crazy buddy picture of a caper novel (following Dove Season, 2011), this one featuring three engaging losers who band together for a Treasure of the Sierre Madre-like search for an abandoned gold mine. Fortunately, our gang of bumblers is a bit less greedy than Fred C. Dobbs and associates, but the job they've set for themselves is a lot more demanding: first, they must find the treasure map buried under a house that is itself residing at the bottom of a lake; then it's a simple matter of trespassing on federal land being used as a test-bombing site and climbing a mountain while dodging artillery and skipping through a minefield. It doesn't help that our heroes are, respectively, a drunk named Schmidttberger (guess what his nickname is) with a broken leg; another drunk, this one a foolish optimist with an atrophied arm; and a senior citizen suffering from cancer and a heart condition. The comedy is low but hilarious and often tinged with violence ( Everything got a lot more confusing after the burro exploded ), but the emotion is real and often heartrending. Shaw somehow manages to drag you into his mix of absurdity, mayhem, and pathos against all your better instincts. You really shouldn't be liking this book so much, you tell yourself before peeling off another 50 pages to see what explodes next and whether our guys get home safely. Comic thrillerdom has a new star.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2013 (Best Non-Fiction)
Books to die for : the world's greatest mystery writers on the world's greatest mystery novels
Click to search this book in our catalog   edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
 
2012 (Best Novel)
A trick of the light : a Chief Inspector Gamache novel
 Louise Penny

Publishers Weekly In Penny's outstanding seventh Chief Inspector Gamache novel, Gamache and his loyal deputy in Quebec's Surete, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, are still coming to terms with the multiple physical and emotional traumas they suffered in the previous book, Bury Your Dead. These tribulations have already cost Beauvoir his marriage. Meanwhile, the day after the triumphant opening of a show of their friend Clara Morrow's paintings at Montreal's Musee d'Art Contemporain, a dead woman with a broken neck turns up in Clara's garden in the small town of Three Pines. Gamache and his team return to this outwardly idyllic community once again to ascertain whether one of its residents is a murderer. With her usual subtle touch and timely injections of humor, Penny effectively employs the recurring motif of the chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, which distinguishes Morrow's artwork and which resonates symbolically in the souls of the author's characters. 100,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Whereas Penny's superb Bury Your Dead (2010) was an elaborately constructed crime novel incorporating three freestanding stories, her latest in the Inspector Armand Gamache series is much more focused. The action, of course, is centered in Three Pines, the Brigadoon-like village outside of Montreal, a seemingly idyllic oasis from civilization except for the remarkable number of murders that occur there. This time the body is discovered during a party in celebration of Clara Morrow's breakthrough art show in Montreal. The victim, art critic Lillian Dyson, was a childhood friend of Clara's, but her savage review of Clara's work early in her career put an end to that. Gamache and his team, including the troubled Jean Guy Beauvoir, gather at Three Pines yet again to make sense of the crime. While the investigation burrows deep into the cutthroat art world, the narrative line is fairly straightforward, building to an Agatha Christie-like finale in which all the suspects gather for dinner at Clara's home. Readers who have watched Penny's novels develop from character-driven cozies into deeply textured, multifaceted crime fiction may find this one just a bit disappointing but only in context. Like P. D. James, Penny shows how the tight structure of the classical mystery story can accommodate a wealth of deeply felt emotions and interpersonal drama. . HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Penny's remarkable string of successes and awards has moved her to the top of the genre. A 100,000 first printing and the attendant publicity will ensure that her latest effort finds the author's adoring audience quickly.--Ott, Bil. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal This follow-up to the Agatha Award--winning Bury Your Dead finds Armand Gamache, chief inspector of the Montreal police force, and Beauvoir, his lieutenant, still healing physically and psychologically from a fatal police operation gone awry. But this doesn't prevent them from taking on yet another murder case in the secluded village of Three Pines. When resident artist Clara Morrow's solo show at Montreal's premier art museum causes a sensation in the art world, it sets into motion a series of events that expose the vicious jealousies of artists and dealers. Clara's joy rapidly gives way to perplexity when the body of her sociopathic, long-estranged roommate is found in her garden. Gamache's investigation reveals the sad panoply of crippling human aspirations and failures. VERDICT Readers who love literary mystery writers such as Donna Leon will enjoy Penny's latest excellent series entry. [100,000-copy first printing.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Best First)
Learning to swim : a novel
 Sara J Henry

Publishers Weekly Freelance writer Troy Chance, the protagonist of Henry's impressive first novel, impulsively, and literally, dives into trouble when she sees a youngster fall from a ferry boat on Lake Champlain. Troy manages to rescue the boy, discovers that his fall was no accident, and after brief, anonymous reports to the police, embarks on an ill-conceived attempt to become the boy's protector. Bonding with the boy, she eventually learns his name, Paul Dumond; his age, six; and that he and his mother had been kidnapped and his mother later shot and killed. Troy locates Paul's Canadian father, Philippe, and reunites father and son, but she is unwilling to end her involvement. When the police can't find the kidnappers, Troy starts to probe more deeply into the lives of Philippe, his abducted wife, and Paul's captivity. Henry adroitly handles Troy's exposure to new emotions as she re-examines her life and relationships. An inconclusive ending may signal that Chance's journey is not yet over. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list When Troy Chance spots what she thinks is a small boy being tossed off the back of a passing ferry, she instinctively jumps into the icy waters of Lake Champlain. She rescues the youngster and discovers that his arms were bound with an adult sweatshirt. He's incredibly frightened, speaks only French, and won't tell her what happened. Troy determines that she will keep him safe rather than turn him over to the police. When he finally begins to confide in her, he tells a bizarre tale of being kidnapped, hearing his mother murdered by gunshot, and then being held for months. As Troy tracks down the boy's father, she begins to question whether she will be able to let him go, since he has unleashed within her a maternal instinct she had no idea she possessed. In her debut, the first in a projected series, Henry proves herself to be a smooth and compelling storyteller. And her lead is highly appealing: an athletic, fiercely independent young woman who, like crime-fiction author Gillian Flynn's feisty females, is capable of making delightfully acerbic observations.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Freelance writer Troy Chance sees a child thrown from a ferry and jumps into the water to save him. Haunted by a past experience with an abandoned child, she decides to be sure that his parents weren't responsible before she notifies the police. She travels to Canada to meet with Paul's divorced father and realizes that she has become more attached to the child than she wanted to be. Accepting an invitation to stay with the family for a few days while Paul recovers from the trauma of his kidnapping, Troy finds herself falling for his father. At the same time, she is unable to leave the investigation in the hands of the police, still fearing that one of the parents could have been involved. Verdict Fans of both mystery and romantic suspense will welcome this promising new author; the unsettled ending hints at a follow-up mystery.-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Best Paperback)
Buffalo West Wing
 Julie Hyzy
  Click to search this book in our catalog
 
2012 (Best Non-Fiction)
The Sookie Stackhouse companion
Click to search this book in our catalog   edited by Charlaine Harris
2011 (Best Novel)
Bury your dead
Click to search this book in our catalog   Louise Penny
2011 (Best First)
The damage done
Click to search this book in our catalog   Hilary Davidson

Book list Travel writer Lily Moore is called back to New York by news of the death of her younger sister, Claudia, but on arrival, she discovers that the body found in the bathtub of her apartment isn't Claudia's. (Lily had taken her heroin-addict sister in to save her from life on the streets, but she fled to Spain when living with Claudia became unbearable.) So who died in the apartment that Lily still pays for? Where is Claudia? And how are Claudia's close friend and onetime lover, wealthy Tariq Lawrence, and Lily's ex-fiancé, real-estate magnate Martin Sklar, involved? With the help of her best friend, Jesse, and a couple of sympathetic cops, Lily traces strands of a tangled web back to a shady rehab facility. Travel-journalist Davidson does a fine job with characterizations, gradually fleshing out the Moore sisters' backstory, and she keeps plot tangents under control to spin a tale of nonstop action with a nice final twist. An entertaining and promising crime-fiction debut, with the potential for a sequel.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In Davidson's razor sharp mystery debut, travel journalist Lily Moore, who's been living in Spain, rushes home to Manhattan's Lower East Side on learning that her younger sister, Claudia, a recovering heroin addict, has apparently drowned in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. The corpse in the morgue, however, is that of a stranger who'd been posing as Claudia for months. So where's Claudia? An increasingly frantic Lily launches her private investigation while NYPD detectives Norah Renfrew and hunky "Brux" Bruxton oversee the official one. As Lily dodges the amorous attentions of Martin Sklar, her wealthy ex-boyfriend, who she suspects might've had a secret affair with Claudia, she discovers Claudia's connection to a recently deceased "pseudopsychologist" who had a habit of getting too involved with his female patients. Davidson, herself a travel journalist (Frommer's Toronto 2010), offers a great portrait of sisterly love, despite a dysfunctional past, as well as a highly satisfying mystery. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Successful writer Lily Moore returns to New York from Spain when her heroin-addicted sister is found dead in her bathtub on the anniversary of their mother's suicide. Lily is shocked to find that the dead woman is not her sister but has been living as Claudia Moore for six months. Where is the real Claudia? At this very vulnerable time, Lily's ex-fiance reappears, causing further emotional turmoil, and then her life begins to disintegrate as everything that Lily believes is turned upside down. VERDICT Making a notable fiction debut, travel journalist Davidson has written an intriguing psychological mystery with a fully drawn protagonist who is surrounded by real characters who either care for her or who want her to fit their idea of who she should be. Readers will eagerly await Davidson's next book. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011 (Best Paperback)
Expiration date
 Duane Swierczynski

Publishers Weekly In this workmanlike time travel thriller from Swierczynski (Severance Package), 37-year-old Mickey Wade, a struggling journalist who's lost his job with an alt-weekly newspaper, the Philadelphia City News, accepts his mother's suggestion to move into his grandfather's apartment in the city's seedy Frankford neighborhood. After popping some long-expired Tylenols for a hangover, Wade is transported back to February 22, 1972, the day he was born. Wade's time-traveling self proves vulnerable to light, as shown by his losing two fingers. On returning to the present, Wade finds those fingers restored but without feeling. Subsequent deliberate trips into the past give Wade some background on the great trauma of his life, the apparently motiveless stabbing murder of his father, a musician known as the Human Jukebox. Predictable complications follow from Wade's efforts to prevent the killing. This one will appeal mainly to Swierczynski fans. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Swierczynski (Severance Package, 2007) originally planned to write this beguiling, pulp-style mix of fantasy and mystery as a magazine serial, but when the New York Times Magazine bowed out of the fiction business, he turned it into a stand-alone novel. Mickey Wade, an unemployed journalist, moves into his grandfather's apartment in the family's old Philadelphia neighborhood and, after gobbling a few aspirin to fight a hangover, finds himself beamed back to the day of his birth in 1972. Turns out those weren't your garden-variety aspirin but, rather, the pills a crackpot scientist had created as part of a government-funded plan to investigate out-of-body travel. Only, in Mickey's case, he can only go back to the early 1970s. But there's plenty to do there: if he can somehow divert the young boy who will eventually murder Mickey's father, he can change his family's history. Swierczynski cleverly melds the thriller and fantasy elements (especially the notion of nonlinear time), producing a thoroughly readable, suspenseful romp that evokes John D. MacDonald's pulp classic The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2011 (Best Graphic Novel)
The chill
 writer, Jason Starr ; art, Mick Bertilorenzi ; letters, Clem Robins

Book list In 1967 on the County Clare coast, Arlana discovers she is erotically gifted, which is bad news for her boyfriend, though her pop is overjoyed. Fast-forward to present-day New York, where three undergrads' night out leads to the decapitation of the one who scores. Hunky homicide dick Pavano encounters a major hitch when everyone who saw the victim's apparent pickup describes her radically differently, and a surveillance camera disagrees with all of them. A laid-off Boston cop an Irish immigrant, as it happens horns in on Pavano after a second sensational murder, with similar details, occurs. He acts as loony as the story of ritual murder he tells, but, of course, he's right on the money. Pavano almost becomes another victim before the killings stop. Well, at least these killings stop. For his thirteenth crime novel, Starr goes graphic and adds lethally dark fantasy to the mix. Bertilorenzi's black-and-white art is too superheroic for the story's would-be noirish aura, though about right for its supernatural trappings.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly There seems to be a serial killer at work in New York, hacking up young men in elaborately grotesque ways, and a drunken ex-cop claims that it is the work of some sort of druidic witch, eating souls for immortality. But there's never any mystery or suspense, just one chase from something to something else, with a lot of yelling and killing going on. Starr is known for his novels, including Panic Attack, but his first graphic novel misses the mark. The ugly and nasty script claims it is neo-noir, but it's actually splatterpunk, with a lot of plot holes. Why are the FBI such interfering jerks? No reason, except to frustrate the heroes' attempts. Meanwhile, the borderline racist caricatures of the Irish and Irish druids are practically embarrassing. Bertilorenzi's art is a cut-rate mishmash of Hellboy and Dylan Dog. Often the book feels as if it was a script for the old Night Stalker TV show rewritten as a Cinemax soft-porn movie. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Best-selling author Starr tries his hand at graphic novels with this supernatural murder mystery steeped in sex and violence. Heroine Arlana has the power to freeze young men whilst in the throes of passion. Her magical ability has its roots in ritualistic sacrifice, which her abusive father continues to exploit, forcing her to lure young men to their deaths so that he may feast on their remains and retain eternal vigor. The true suspense in this book isn't whether the stock characters-a grizzled NYPD detective, a shady FBI agent, a mentally unsound old timer-will catch the killers, but how and when. The bold, atmospheric artwork of Mick Bertiorenzi steals the show, bringing gritty city streets, dirty back alleys, and foreboding industrial spaces to life with detail and personality. Verdict For readers accustomed to hard-edged crime dramas, this is a quick, uncomplicated read. It's not a cozy mystery, however. Copious nudity, graphic sex, and unsettling murder scenes comprise the bulk, so YA librarians take note.-M. Brandon Robbins, Wayne Cty. P.L., Goldsboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The scene is rural Ireland in 1967. Two young lovers are becoming intimate when Arlana inadvertently does something to her boyfriend, Martin Cleary. She nearly kills him. When she runs to her father for help, he savagely beats her and ominously says, "Your time has come!" Fast forward to present-day New York City. Young men keep meeting the woman of their dreams, only to be savagely murdered when they start to get lucky. An older Martin Cleary figures out that Arlana and her father have traveled to the New World to spread their Druidic nightmare overseas. How can an old man stop such powerful magic? This graphic novel, set in a noir-type world, lacks a coherent story and solid plot. Arlana, the one female character, is depicted as both victim and seductress in equal measure. Readers will feel little sympathy for her situation because it's never really clear why she's following her father's evil wishes. The overall story is scrapped for gratuitous sex, violence, and seemingly every character swearing for no reason other than shock value. The spooky twist at the end will leave most readers underwhelmed.-Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In 1967 on the County Clare coast, Arlana discovers she is erotically gifted, which is bad news for her boyfriend, though her pop is overjoyed. Fast-forward to present-day New York, where three undergrads' night out leads to the decapitation of the one who scores. Hunky homicide dick Pavano encounters a major hitch when everyone who saw the victim's apparent pickup describes her radically differently, and a surveillance camera disagrees with all of them. A laid-off Boston cop an Irish immigrant, as it happens horns in on Pavano after a second sensational murder, with similar details, occurs. He acts as loony as the story of ritual murder he tells, but, of course, he's right on the money. Pavano almost becomes another victim before the killings stop. Well, at least these killings stop. For his thirteenth crime novel, Starr goes graphic and adds lethally dark fantasy to the mix. Bertilorenzi's black-and-white art is too superheroic for the story's would-be noirish aura, though about right for its supernatural trappings.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly There seems to be a serial killer at work in New York, hacking up young men in elaborately grotesque ways, and a drunken ex-cop claims that it is the work of some sort of druidic witch, eating souls for immortality. But there's never any mystery or suspense, just one chase from something to something else, with a lot of yelling and killing going on. Starr is known for his novels, including Panic Attack, but his first graphic novel misses the mark. The ugly and nasty script claims it is neo-noir, but it's actually splatterpunk, with a lot of plot holes. Why are the FBI such interfering jerks? No reason, except to frustrate the heroes' attempts. Meanwhile, the borderline racist caricatures of the Irish and Irish druids are practically embarrassing. Bertilorenzi's art is a cut-rate mishmash of Hellboy and Dylan Dog. Often the book feels as if it was a script for the old Night Stalker TV show rewritten as a Cinemax soft-porn movie. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Best-selling author Starr tries his hand at graphic novels with this supernatural murder mystery steeped in sex and violence. Heroine Arlana has the power to freeze young men whilst in the throes of passion. Her magical ability has its roots in ritualistic sacrifice, which her abusive father continues to exploit, forcing her to lure young men to their deaths so that he may feast on their remains and retain eternal vigor. The true suspense in this book isn't whether the stock characters-a grizzled NYPD detective, a shady FBI agent, a mentally unsound old timer-will catch the killers, but how and when. The bold, atmospheric artwork of Mick Bertiorenzi steals the show, bringing gritty city streets, dirty back alleys, and foreboding industrial spaces to life with detail and personality. Verdict For readers accustomed to hard-edged crime dramas, this is a quick, uncomplicated read. It's not a cozy mystery, however. Copious nudity, graphic sex, and unsettling murder scenes comprise the bulk, so YA librarians take note.-M. Brandon Robbins, Wayne Cty. P.L., Goldsboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The scene is rural Ireland in 1967. Two young lovers are becoming intimate when Arlana inadvertently does something to her boyfriend, Martin Cleary. She nearly kills him. When she runs to her father for help, he savagely beats her and ominously says, "Your time has come!" Fast forward to present-day New York City. Young men keep meeting the woman of their dreams, only to be savagely murdered when they start to get lucky. An older Martin Cleary figures out that Arlana and her father have traveled to the New World to spread their Druidic nightmare overseas. How can an old man stop such powerful magic? This graphic novel, set in a noir-type world, lacks a coherent story and solid plot. Arlana, the one female character, is depicted as both victim and seductress in equal measure. Readers will feel little sympathy for her situation because it's never really clear why she's following her father's evil wishes. The overall story is scrapped for gratuitous sex, violence, and seemingly every character swearing for no reason other than shock value. The spooky twist at the end will leave most readers underwhelmed.-Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011 (Best Non-fiction)
Agatha Christie's secret notebooks : fifty years of mysteries in the making
 John Curran
  Click to search this book in our catalog
 
2010 (Best Novel)
The brutal telling
Click to search this book in our catalog   Louise Penny
2010 (Best First)
A bad day for sorry
Click to search this book in our catalog   Sophie Littlefield

Publishers Weekly Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on. After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victimhood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son. Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Stella Hardesty's sideline business delivering justice to men who abuse women has earned her a reputation far beyond her home in rural Prosper, Missouri. By day she's the sole operator of Hardesty Sewing Machine Sales & Repair, started with her wife-beater husband, Ollie, before he died (after his head connected with the wrench in Stella's hand). When Roy Dean Shaw gets a very pointed warning from handgun-toting Stella to stay away from Chrissy, the wife he beats, Stella's job seems to be done until someone takes off with Chrissy's 18-month-old son. Stella's concern for the missing child is great enough to involve Sheriff Goat Jones in the case, but not before launching her own clandestine and well-armed search, along with a newly fierce Chrissy. Ass-whuppin' 50-year-old Stella is nothing if not inventive, from using high-quality sexual restraints on abusers to going toe to toe with some very bad Mafia types; she's ably backed up by Goat, a divorcee who sends Stella sexual vibes and winks at her vigilantism. Littlefield puts a new spin on middle-age sleuths in this rollicking, rip-roaring debut.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2010 (Best Paperback)
Starvation Lake : a mystery
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bryan Gruley

Publishers Weekly Gruley's outstanding debut effortlessly incorporates his inside knowledge of both the newspaper business and his hockey avocation into a tale of violence and betrayal that will remind many of Dennis Lehane. After crossing an ethical line while writing an investigative series for the Detroit Times, reporter Gus Carpenter has returned to his hometown of Starvation Lake, Mich., to work for the local paper, whose stories mostly reflect the pedestrian and placid nature of smalltown life. That changes when evidence surfaces that the town's legendary hockey coach, Jack Blackburn, who disappeared after an apparent snowmobile accident a decade earlier, was actually murdered. Carpenter's reopening of the case, which has personal resonance for him (he'd been the goalie for the amateur boys' team Blackburn coached), shakes all sorts of skeletons loose. Gruley, the Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau chief, has a gift for making all his characters, from the leads to the bit players, realistic. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Gus Carpenter's big-city journalistic career has gone down in flames, and he returns to Starvation Lake, a faded resort town at the northern end of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. There, he faces another ignominy: everyone in town remembers that he is the goalie who gave up the winning goal in the state ice-hockey championship more than a decade before, and many relate the town's economic slide to that loss. Soon after his return, evidence that might explain the mysterious snowmobiling death of Gus' coach is found, and as de facto editor of the local paper, Gus must pursue the truth but the cost of redemption is high, for everyone. Starvation Lake is a wonderfully polished and assured first novel. Gruley's portrayal of a struggling small town in a harsh environment rings with authenticity. His characters are believable small-town archetypes; some are self-aware, some are in denial, others are oblivious. The plot is convoluted, but Gruley maintains the suspense very effectively. Ice-hockey scenes not only advance the plot but also offer insights into the sport's culture and its importance to small, very cold towns. Many good crime novels appear every month, but few have the depth and poignancy of Starvation Lake, which deserves comparison with Dennis Lehane's Mystic River.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal The discovery of pieces of a snowmobile owned by the late Jack Blackburn, the much revered hockey coach in Starvation Lake, MI, prompts a new look into what happened ten years earlier, when Blackburn perished in the frozen water. Gus Carpenter, recently returned from Detroit after a failed attempt at working for a bigger publication, edits the local newspaper. With a young journalist, he works on the Blackburn story and uncovers some secrets no one wants exposed. In confronting the ghosts from his past and the evils of the present, Carpenter finds his moral and ethical footing. Gruley, a Michigan native, an amateur hockey player, and the Chicago bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, has written a terrific first novel about what it means to be a journalist. Full of insider knowledge about hockey and great local color, this is not to be missed. Highly recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2010 (Best Non-fiction)
Talking about detective fiction
 PD James

Publishers Weekly One of the most widely read and respected writers of detective fiction, James (The Private Patient) explores the genre's origins (focusing primarily on Britain) and its lasting appeal. James cites Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone, published in 1868, as the first detective novel and its hero, Sergeant Cuff, as one of the first literary examples of the professional detective (modeled after a real-life Scotland Yard inspector). As for Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, James argues that their staying power has as much to do with the gloomy London atmosphere, "the enveloping miasma of mystery and terror," as with the iconic sleuth. Devoting much of her time to writers in the Golden Age of British detective fiction (essentially between the two world wars), James dissects the work of four heavyweights: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. Though she's more appreciative of Marsh and Allingham (declaring them "novelists, not merely fabricators of ingenious puzzles"), James acknowledges not only the undeniable boost these women gave to the genre but their continuing appeal. For crime fiction fans, this master class from one of the leading practitioners of the art will be a real treat. 9 illus. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In 2006, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University asked celebrated novelist P. D. James to write about British detective fiction. Had they requested this of James 20 or even 30 years ago, the result would have been much the same. James pontificates on detective fiction, primarily British but with an occasional nod to American writers, as if she has just emerged from the 1950s or1960s. Except for a reference to Sara Paretsky, which sticks out like a body in the library, this overview is decidedly old school. What makes her fairly conventional history worthwhile, however, is the personality of James herself. She talks about her own methods for coming up with ideas and for plotting. She talks about how Agatha Christie broke some of the most cherished rules of crime fiction. And the book is filled with quirky asides for example, James holds that the formation of a British police force in 1842 made detective fiction possible. It's like sitting across from James over tea, and that, naturally, is a delight.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal James, who lives and breathes detective fiction, tackles her genre in this examination of British detective fiction. It is important to note this is not literary criticism in the academic sense. James will introduce readers to lesser-known detectives from the past, such as two from the 1920s: H.C. Bailey's doctor Reggie Fortune and Gladys Mitchell's psychiatrist Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley. Because of these types of discoveries, the volume has the potential to stimulate investigations beyond the text. James includes chapters on Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown; a brief nod to Americans Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler; and a discussion of four women writers: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. She is not afraid to share her opinion of writers' strengths and weaknesses, especially when the focus is on Christie. VERDICT Considering James's devoted following and her highly recognizable name, there is sure to be interest amongst fans and readers of detective fiction. The writing is entertaining, approachable, and interesting, and this makes it an appealing read for a wide audience.-Stacy Russo, Chapman Univ. Libs., Orange, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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