There’s nothing like a good murder mystery to help you while away the hours and perhaps even cause you to question the characters and motivations of those nearest and dearest to you. Whether you’re in the mood for a gentle mystery, an action-packed thriller, or a shocking example of real-life crime, the following new releases have got you covered.
Greer Hogan might be a librarian with a fondness for murder mysteries, but she has no desire to become embroiled in anything death-related herself. Unfortunately for Greer, both murder and mystery seem to be taking center stage in her life. First, her husband was murdered, which prompted Greer to start afresh in the idyllic community of Raven Hill, where for a time she was happily employed in the town’s library. Things take yet another turn for the worse, however, when she finds her best friend dead in the library. There have been two other suspicious deaths in Raven Hill in recent times, although the police deem them to be accidental, Greer is starting to think that there is something seriously amiss in the seemingly tranquil community. Could there be a serial killer on the prowl in Raven Hill? How are the recent deaths related to a murder from decades ago? And perhaps more importantly, how is any of it related to the death of Greer’s husband? The Unkindness of Ravens is an intriguing murder mystery packed with plenty of red herrings and loads of fun references to crime fiction from the golden age.
A chance encounter in a bookshop––two strangers reaching for the same book at the same time––should be a minor incident at most, but in Chris Power’s A Lonely Man, it changes the course of a writer’s life. Struggling to write that difficult second book, currently, eighteen months overdue, Robert Prowe spends his time wallowing, avoiding writing, and occasionally attending readings at bookshops near his Berlin home. During one such event, he meets a drunk and belligerent fellow named Patrick, another Brit adrift in Berlin, who he later has to save from a beating. The two end up going for a drink and, to Robert’s surprise, Patrick ends up being good company. They actually find a lot to talk about, and that’s before Patrick mentions that he was working as the ghostwriter for a Russian oligarch who has recently been found hanged. Patrick claims that he is being followed and maintains that his own life is in danger due to his association with the oligarch. It all seems a bit unbelievable to Robert, but since he has been struggling for months to come up with a storyline for his new book, he decides to use Patrick and his story to get his own writing started. This kick-starts a thrilling game of cat and mouse in which Patrick can never be sure what is real, what is fiction, and whether the distinction really matters.
On Christmas Eve in 1880, an attempt was made to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte, who had recently been appointed First Consul of the French Republic. It wasn’t the first such attempt, although it did cause more devastation than more, resulting in buildings in Paris being destroyed and civilians killed. This much is a historical fact but in The Eagle and the Viper Loren D. Estleman crafts an explosive story around what might have happened if pro-royalist plotters had been inspired by the Christmas Eve assassination attempt to launch their own conspiracy to bring down Napoleon. In Estleman’s alternative reality, the plotters are led by Georges Cadoudal, a former French military offer who fled to England following the birth of the Republic. Cadoudal hires a mysterious assassin known as the Viper, who seems to have his own deep-seated reasons for wanting to kill Napoleon. Mixing history with fiction, real people with intriguing characters gives rise to an action-packed story of assassins and spies that whizzes along at a cracking pace as the Viper heads toward Paris and his fateful encounter with Napoleon.
When best friends Emma Lawson and Kate Doyle decide to give up their careers in the cut-and-thrust world of Sacramento politics in order to open a preschool, they have no idea just how dangerous their new endeavor will prove to be. Things seem to be going well when the Governor of California’s three-year-old daughter Vivian is enrolled in their preschool, but when both Vivian and Kate’s fifteen-year-old son Luke are kidnapped during a tour of the preschool, events take a turn for the deadly. Kate is shot and seriously wounded during the kidnapping, leaving Emma to puzzle out what the kidnappers are after and where they could have stashed the children. Despite the dearth of clues, Emma’s tenacity means that she makes more progress than the authorities, linking the kidnapping to long-buried secrets with serious implications for those at the highest level of Sacramento society. Kris Calvin’s All That Fall is an intriguing and suspenseful story of corruption and murder that grips readers from the outset and holds their attention throughout as Emma Lawson seeks to unravel the most complex of political scandals.
In At Any Cost, Rebecca Rosenberg and Selim Algar relate the shocking story behind the real-life murder of Shele Danishefsky by her former husband Rod Covlin. Danishefsky had already accumulated considerable wealth through her job with Merrill Lynch by the time she married Covlin, who was eleven years younger and worked as both a stockbroker and a professional backgammon player. Although the couple initially seemed well suited, cracks soon began to appear in their relationship. In addition to frequent affairs, Covlin enjoyed gambling and the finer things in life, and he expected Danishefsky to pay for them. Despite the fact that they went on to have two children, Covlin didn’t change his ways, and the couple eventually separated. This proved to be the tipping point for Covlin, who wanted to hang on to Danishefsky’s money at any cost, even murder. As Rosenberg and Algar explain, Covlin was initially able to get away with his wife’s murder due to her death being ruled accidental, although he was finally brought to justice ten years later. The authors clearly and respectfully set out all that happened leading up to the murder and in the years before Covlin was charged, including his bizarre schemes to murder his parents. It all makes for a disturbing read.