Tuesday, July 01, 2014

August Treasures in My Closet

It's hard to believe it's July 1, and we're talking about August book releases already. But, we are, including mysteries by some of my favorite authors. So, let's get started.

Steph Cha brings back crime heroine Juniper Song in Beware Beware. The young woman is no longer an errand girl. She's working as an apprentice for Chaz Lindley's P.I. firm, and she has her first case. She's deep in the middle of a Hollywood murder scandal. An independently wealthy painter in New York wants someone to keep an eye on her boyfriend, Jamie, a freelance screenwriter in Los Angeles. When Jamie becomes the prime suspect in a movie star's murder, she agrees to help the couple find the truth in a world of blackmail, hidden identities and violence. (Release date is Aug. 12.)

In Douglas Corleone's thriller, Payoff, former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk tracks a missing girl through the wilds of the South American jungle and ritzy beaches of the Caymans. When a movie star mogul's teenage daughter is kidnapped during a violent home invasion in Calabasas, California, Fisk is called upon to ensure a smooth ransom exchange. But once it becomes clear the kidnappers never intended to return the girl, Simon follows the lethal trail. (Release date is Aug. 19.)

Whoever wrote the cover blurb for Sarah Creech's Season of the Dragonflies caught my attention when they said, "As beguiling as the novels of Alice Hoffman, Adriana Trigiani, Aimee Bender, and Sarah Addison Allen". It's a story of "Flowers, sisters, practical magic, old secrets, and new love, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains". That's all I really need to know, but others might want to know it's about the Lenore women, a family that has manufactured perfume for generations, guarding the mysterious ingredients. But, trouble is brewing in the company itself, and the unique flowers used in the perfume is dying. Whoever can save the company will inherit it. The oldest sister seems the obvious choice, but the younger, who never wanted a part in the family business, returns to the mountains, heralded by a swarm of blue dragonflies. Interested? (Release date is Aug. 12.)

I love Bill Crider's ability to put Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes in the most unlikely situations, as he does in Half in Love with Artful Death. A workshop for artists turns into a riot when a local man is accused of vandalizing some paintings. On his way to discuss the vandalism, Rhodes helps round up runaway donkeys, and deals with a robbery at a local convenience store. The sheriff's work is never done since he's faced with a naked woman in a roadside park, a gang of meth-cookers, and then, there's murder. (Release date is Aug. 12.)

Charles Cumming has been called "A premier writer of espionage thrillers". In A Colder War, a defecting Iranian asset is killed in a fiery explosion just as he's about to reach safety. The MI6 agent in charge dies soon after in an apparent accident. Worried that there's more to all this, disgraced MI6 agent Tom Kell is brought in from the cold to discover the truth. (Release date is Aug. 5.)

Max Everhart's debut novel is Go Go Gato, the first Eli Sharpe mystery. When Almario "Go Go"Gato, a young Cuban baseball player goes missing, his agent hires a private investigator to track down her best client. No police. No press. Eli Sharpe, an Asheville, North Carolina-based ex-ballplayer turned private detective specializes in investigating professional athletes. The deeper he digs, the more nasty people Eli finds. He has to locate the elusive ballplayer before someone - or his own bad habits - do him in. (Release date is Aug. 1.)

Carolyn Hart turns to historical suspense with Cliff's Edge, a story of love and treachery in First Century Rome. Camilla was married at fifteen to a man chosen by her father, and she's resigned to her loveless union. Even when she meets a good, gentle man, she doesn't want to bring scandal on her family. But, then she learns she's become a liability to her husband who wants to gain favor with the emperor Caligula. (Release date is Aug. 8.)

The Furies by Natalie Haynes is a psychological page-turner set at a "last-chance" school for teens. A teacher hides from her own terrible tragedy by teaching the Greek classics to her troubled students. Lessons filled with themes of revenge and retribution start to have devastating consequences when the students take the tragedies to heart. (Release date is Aug. 26.)

The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association recently named Tammy Kaehler's Braking Points as the 2013 Motorsports Book of the Year. Now, she brings us the latest Kate Reilly mystery, Avoidable Contact. Race car driver Kate Reilly is ready for the start of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona. But, even before the green flag waves over Daytona International Speedway, she learns her boyfriend Stuart is hospitalized nearby in a coma, fighting for his life after a hit-and-run. But more shocks follow, and Kate faces not just a racing challenge but a harrowing test of her will and nerve off the course as she tries to identify the person willing to kill to keep a secret buried. (Release date is Aug. 1.)

In Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller, fears grips the Appalachian town of Acher's Gap when two killings have people suspecting that a serial murderer may be prowling through the town at night. County prosecutor Belfa "Bell" Elkins teams up with Sheriff Nick Fogelson to piece together hints that seem to swirl around a young woman who harbors secrets, secrets that could make her either a suspect or a potential victim. And, Bell has personal worries as well. Her sister has been released from prison after serving a lengthy sentence for killing the man who molested her throughout her teens - her and Bell's father. (Release date is Aug. 26.)

Norma Lehr brings back Abby Rollins, a retired dancer and owner of a flourishing dance supply business, in Deadly Shuffle. When Abby was a child, her mother, Trish Malone, was often on the road as a member of the Malone Sisters' singing trio, which rose to fame in the '60s. When Trish's sister Ginny has to drop out of the Palm Springs Follies because of hip surgery, Abby gives her mother a few dancing lessons. But, the trip with her boyfriend, Beau, to see the Follies doesn't turn out as planned. Things get complicated when a poker game involving some men from Trish's past ends in the death of one. Then Trish vanishes. Is she the killer, or is she hiding from the killer, or is she dead? Abby must fill in the blanks from her mother's past to find the truth. (Release date is Aug. 15.)

The international bestseller, The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier, might be a little too gruesome for me. In the French Pyranees, the headless body of a horse is found suspended from the edge of a frozen cliff a few miles from an asylum for the criminally insane. The same day, a young psychiatrist, Diane Berg, has just started her new job there. After DNA from one of the asylum's most notorious inmates is found on the corpse, it's only a matter of days before the first human body is found. It's up to Commandant Servaz and his colleague, Irene Ziegler, to use all their skill to solve the sinister mystery. (Release date is Aug. 12.)

The only nonfiction title on the pile is Pat O'Brien's memoir, I'll Be Back Right After This. This is the story of the sports and entertainment reporter, chronicling his wild life in sports and Hollywood, the highs and lows, and his recovery from crippling substance abuse. (Release date is Aug. 19.)

The book I wait all summer to read is Louise Penny's latest Chief Inspector Gamache novel. The Long Way Home finds Armand Gamache happily retired in the village of Three Pines. While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds, his neighbor Clara tells him about hers. Her artist husband, Peter, is missing. Gamache, together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, journey deep into the soul of a man desperate to recapture his fame, traveling deep into Quebec. It's an area so desolate the first mariners called it "The land God gave to Cain." There they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul. (Release date is Aug. 26.)

The third Eli Paxton mystery, Cat on a Cold Tin Roof by Mike Resnick, finds the hard-luck detective searching for a missing cat. It's an investigation that takes him into a perilous journey into a murky underworld. The woman who hired him is the wealthy widow of a recently murdered financial adviser with an alias and mobster ties. Now, Eli can only hope to survive. (Release date is Aug. 5.)

The Devil Takes Half is Leta Serafim's first novel, and the first Greek Islands Mystery. At an archaeological dig on the Greek Island of Chios, a severed hand is found lying in a trench, and a beautiful archaeologist and her assistant are both missing. Then bodies turn up. Chief officer of the local police force, Yiannis Patronas, has little experience with homicide, but he is determined to conquer the evil that threatens his formerly peaceful island. (Release date is Aug. 1.)

I'm a big fan of Kelli Stanley's Miranda Corbie mysteries. The third one, City of Ghosts, is set in June 1940 when Hitler's army has conquered France and is turning on England. Miranda Corbie, with her background as a nurse in the Spanish Civil War, knew war was coming. Working in San Francisco as a PI means the war is a world away, until she learns her mother is trapped in England. She'll do anything to find her long-lost mother, but to do so she must expose a Nazi spy and clear her name when she tops the list of people suspected of killing a former client. (Release date is Aug. 5.)

Favorite authors, some debuts, and a novel of magical realism. Does it get any better than this? Which books jump out at you?


Mason Canyon said...

So many wonderful books to select from. I must admit Louise Penny's book is first on my list. Can't wait to find out how Gamache is doing.

Lesa said...

First on my list, too, Mason. I may have to sneak a peek before August.

Glen Davis said...

I've been waiting all year for Bill Crider's next book!

Kaye Barley said...

I've sneaked a peek at Louise Penny's next and it is, of course, going to tickle you pink!!!!!

One on your list I had not heard of, but can't wait to read, is Sarah Creech's Season of the Dragonflies. Sounds like my cup of tea, for sure!

Reine said...

Oh, Lesa... these are making me drool and breathe heavy. Louise's next, of course, and Season of the Dragonflies... then I'll have to go for City of Ghosts, and next... probably want to try the new author with The Devil Takes Half. Wow! What a great batch of books!

Lesa said...


Bill Crider's is always fun, with a touch of common sense. Just a touch!

Lesa said...

Doesn't Season of Dragonflies sound like us, Kaye? I knew Louise's book would be special. Her editor told me, but didn't give anything away!

Lesa said...

Isn't it a great bunch of books, Reine? August is going to be fun!

Nancy said...

I hadn't heard of Season of the Dragonflies. It sounds very good. Bill Crider books are always a pleasure. The one I am anticipating and almost giddy about is the upcoming Louise Penny. In fact, I will be giddy when I get my hands on it!

Lesa said...

Doesn't Season of the Dragonflies sound wonderful? You're right, Nancy. Louise Penny's books make me feel giddy, too, when I get my hands on one.