The following is a list of 2008 titles which have garnered excellent reviews from critics, booksellers and library journals.
The purpose of the list is to make available to you, the reader, current information of what books are generally considered to be among the best of the year. If you are so inclined to vote for fan awards such as the Barry Awards, the Anthonys, the Agathas and the Macavitys, then this list will give you a head start.
If any of the following novels received a glowing review in Deadly Pleasures, or a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist or Library Journal, it is indicated at the end of each entry with the abbreviations of the periodicals which gave such reviews.
Looking for good recommendations for paperback purchases or good all-around recommended reading lists? You may want to look at:
DP List 2007
DP List 2006
DP List 2005
DP List 2004
DP List 2003
DP List 2002
DP List 2001
DP List 2000
**WILD INFERNO, Ault, Sandi (Berkley, $23.95). Wild Indigo introduced rough-and-ready Bureau of Land Management agent Jamaica Wild. Now she returns, deployed to a wildfire on the Southern Ute reservation, where a puzzling plea whispered by a burning man points to a mystery more menacing than murder. PW & LJ
**A FLAW IN THE BLOOD, Barron, Stephanie (Bantam, $24.00). An enquiry into the death of Queen Victoria’s beloved Prince Consort. DP
**THE SILVER SWAN, Black, Benjamin (Holt, $25.00). The inimitable Quirke--the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist--returns in another spellbinding crime novel, in which a young woman's dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions. PW, BL & LJ
**BLUE HEAVEN, Box, C.J. (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). With true-to-life, unforgettable characters, Box has created a thriller that delves into issues close to the heart--the pervasiveness of greed, the banality of evil, and the truth about what constitutes a family. BL, Kirkus & DP
**BLOOD TRAIL, Box, C.J. (Putnam, $24.95). When an elk hunter is shot and gruesomely gutted, Wyoming governor Spencer Rulon assigns Joe to the investigative team headed by Joe's nemesis, game and fish director Randy Pope. BL & LJ
**CROSS, Bruen, Ken (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). Jack Taylor investigates a gruesome crucifixion in Galway, in the fifth entry in this critically acclaimed, award-winning series. BL, PW & DP
**PALACE COUNCIL, Carter, Stephen H. (Random House, $26.95). Philmont Castle is a man who has it all: wealth, respect, and connections. He’s the last person you’d expect to fall prey to a murderer, but when his body is found on the grounds of a Harlem mansion, the young writer Eddie Wesley, along with the woman he loves, Aurelia Treene, are pulled into a twenty-year search for the truth. PW, BL & Kirkus
**A PERSON OF INTEREST, Choi, Susan (Viking, $24.95). Intricately plotted and emotionally riveting, A Person of Interest asks how far one man can run from his past, and explores the impact of scrutiny and suspicion in an age of terror. BL & PW
**HOLD TIGHT, Coben, Harlan (Dutton, $26.95). Coben asks the provocative and terrifying question: How much do parents really want to know about their kids and how far will they go to find out? PW, LJ & BL
**THE BRASS VERDICT, Connelly, Michael (Little, Brown, $26.99). When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Vincent's killer may be coming for him next.Enter Harry Bosch. Determined to find Vincent's killer, he is not opposed to using Haller as bait. DP
**MASTER OF THE DELTA, Cook, Thomas H. (Harcourt, $24.00). June, 2008. 1954 Mississippi. Jack Branch teaches a class in historical evil and encourages a student (who happens to be the son of a notorious killer) to investigate his father’s crimes. But the investigation starts getting uncomfortably close to Jack’s own family. BL, PW & DP
**BLACKMAN’S COFFIN, De Castrique, Mark (Poisoned Pen, $24.95). Sam Blackman is an angry man. A Chief Warrant Officer in the Criminal Investigation Detachment of the U.S. military, he lost a leg in Iraq. His outspoken criticism of his medical treatment resulted in his transfer to the Veteran's Hospital in Asheville, NC. Then an ex-marine and fellow amputee named Tikima Robertson walks into his hospital room. Tikima hints that she has an opportunity for Sam to use his investigative skills--if he can stop feeling sorry for himself. But before she can return, Tikima is murdered, her body found floating in the river. LJ & PW
**THE POISONER OF PTAH, Doherty, Paul (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). A new novel of murder in the reign of Pharaoh Hatusu featuring Judge Amerotkeas the crime solver. PW & LJ
**TERRA INCOGNITA, Downie, Ruth (Bloomsbury, $23.95). Army doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso strikes out for the uncivilized borders of Roman Britain in this highly anticipated sequel to Downie's debut, Medicus. Kirkus & PW
**GAS CITY, Estleman, Loren D. (Forge, $25.95). Setting this drama in a blue-collar metropolis dominated by an oil company, Estleman crafts a fascinating, deadly tapestry of love, ambition, revenge, and redemption--in all, a stunning portrait of the human condition. PW, Booklist, PW & Kirkus
**PLUM LUCKY, Evanovich, Janet (St. Martin’s, $17.95). Diesel's back and hot on the trail of a little man in green pants who's lost a giant bag of money. Problem is, the money isn't exactly lost. Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur has found it, and like any good Jersey senior citizen, she's hightailed it in a Winnebago to Atlantic City and hit the slots. DP
**THE SERPENT’S TALE, Franklin, Ariana (Putnam, $25.95). Franklin combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of historical fiction in the enthralling second novel in the Mistress of the Art of Death series, featuring medieval heroine Adelia Aguilar. Kirkus & DP
**THE LIKENESS, French, Tana (Penguin, $24.95). Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. Another gripping psychological thriller featuring the headstrong protagonist. PW & BL
**THE DIRTY SECRETS CLUB, Gardiner, Meg (Dutton, $24.95). Dr. Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist (or deadshrinker), performs psychological autopsies to uncover the truths behind grisly crimes. Recruited to consult on the possible suicide of prosecutor Callie Harding, who drove her BMW off a San Francisco bridge and struck an airport minivan on the road below, Jo discovers this accident is the latest in a string of high profile murder-suicides. DP
**CARELESS IN RED, George, Elizabeth (HarperCollins, $27.95). Scotland Yard's Thomas Lynley is caught in the middle of a seemingly perfect crime. PW & LJ
**THE FORGERY OF VENUS, Gruber, Michael (Morrow, $24.95). Gruber creates a fascinating world of secrets, genius, and conspiracies and combines it with brilliant storytelling, complex characterizations, and sterling prose to produce this spellbinding novel. Kirkus, PW & BL
**CHEATING AT SOLITAIRE, Haddam, Jane (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian, fleeing from his own wedding preparations, is hired to review a case--one that he finds has little evidence and twisted by an out-of-control media--in what may be the most compelling case of his entire career. PW. BL, Kirkus & LJ
**GAME OVER, Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia (Severn House, $28.95). A Bill Slider Mystery - When ex-BBC correspondent Ed Stonax is found dead, the last thing Detective Inspector Slider needs to complicate his life is the reappearance of an old enemy issuing death threats. Trevor Bates, aka The Needle, is on the loose and trying to kill him, and with a high-profile murder to solve, Slider must try to find a spare moment to marry Joanna before their baby is born and stay alive long enough to do it . BL & DP
**GONE TO GROUND, Harvey, John (Harcourt, $25.00). When police detective Will Grayson and his partner, Helen Walker, investigate the violent death of Stephen Bryan, a gay academic, their first thoughts are of an ill-judged sexual encounter or a fatal lovers quarrel. But they soon shift focus to the book Bryan was writing about a film stars mysterious death. Kirkus & Booklist
**MUMMY DEAREST, Hess, Joan (St. Martin’s, $24.95). After a somewhat long and, at times, strange courtship, Claire Malloy -- a single, widowed mother of a teenage daughter and a bookseller in Farberville, Arkansas - has finally said 'I do' to her swain, Lt. Peter Rosen of the Farberville Police Department. Now they are on their honeymoon in Luxor, Egypt. Then things go bad. DP
**WHAT NEVER HAPPENS, Holt, Anne (Grand Central, $24.99). All over Oslo, celebrities are turning up dead in the most macabre of situations. Its clear that the killer seeks some sort of retribution, but for what? New parents Adam Stubo and Johanna Vik are reluctantly drawn into the investigation. BL & DP
**GOODBYE SISTER DISCO, Hunt, James Patrick (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). In The Betrayers, Hunt introduced George Hastings, an even-handed St. Louis police detective who caught a dirty FBI agent. Now Hastings is back on the case when the daughter of a wealthy businessman is kidnapped and her boyfriend killed. LJ & BL
**THE DRAINING LAKE, Indridason, Arnaldur (St. Martin’s Minotaur). The declining water level of lake reveal human remains tied to Russian-made spy equipment. DP
**THE NIGHT FOLLOWING, Joss, Morag (Dell, $22.00). The quiet wife of a doctor discovers that her husband has been having an affair. Moments later, driving along a winding country road and distracted perhaps by her own thoughts, perhaps blinded by sunlight, she fails to see sixty-one-year-old Ruth Mitchell up ahead, riding her bicycle. She hits her, killing her instantly. And drives away. DP
**THE WATER’S EDGE, Judson, Daniel (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). When Jake "Payday" Bechet hears that two men have been murdered a few miles from where he lives in the Hamptons---hanged from the Shinnecock Bridge, their hands severed---he knows that trouble is coming. Trouble for him, for everyone, because it means that someone has betrayed the Castello crime family. Whether it’s someone trying to move in on their drug operation or the cops making their own statement, he doesn’t know, but he wants to stay far away from it all. DP
**TOUCHSTONE, King, Laurie R. (Bantam, $24.00). Laurie R. King takes us to a remote cottage in Cornwall where a gripping tale of intrigue, terrorism, and explosive passions begins with a visit to a recluse upon whom the fate of an entire nation may rest. Booklist, LJ & DP
**HEAD WOUNDS, Knopf, Chris (Permanent Press, $28.00). Part-time carpenter, full-time drinker and co-conspirator with an existential mutt named Eddie Van Halen, Sam Aquino tries to lead the simple life. But as always, fate intervenes, this time in the form of Robbie Milhouser, local builder and blundering bully who shares at least one thing with Sam; an irresistible attraction to the beautiful Amanda Anselma. PW & DP
**THE HEADHUNTERS, Lovesey, Peter (Soho Press, $24.00). Gemma loathes her sleazy boss, which she confides in her friend Jo. On a double date with Rick and Jake, they discuss forming a mutual murder society, in jest of course. When three of Gemma's coworkers go missing, is it just a coincidence, or has the joke gone too far? PW & DP
**CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS, Lutz, Lisa (Simon & Schuster, $25.00). The "parental unit" started a private investigation business when Dad retired from police work. His wife assists him and their two daughters, Isabel, (Izzy) a 30-year-old with a habit of being arrested, and Rae, a 15-year-old Cheetos-loving teen, would like to think that they help out in the family business. Especially where Izzy is concerned, this is a stretch. This is the second adventure of this humorously dysfunctional family. PW & DP
**DEATH'S HALF ACRE, Maron, Margaret (Grand Central, $24.99). In the shadows, corrupt county commissioners use their political leverage to make profitable deals with new developers. A murder will pull Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant into the middle of this bitter dispute and force them to confront some dark realities. PW & DP
**THE KILLING ROOM, May, Peter (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). After the mutilated bodies of 18 women are discovered in a mass grave in Shanghai, detective Li Yan and American pathologist Margaret Campbell arrive and are met by Mei-Ling, deputy head of the citys serious crime squad. The closer they get to the killer, the closer they come to realizing their own personal nightmares. LJ, BL & DP
**STILL WATERS, McCrery, Nigel (Pantheon, $23.95). When the badly decayed body of an elderly woman is unearthed, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lapslie and his sergeant, Emma Bradbury, are called in on the case. Kirkus & LJ
**DEVIL’S PEAK, Meyer, Deon (LittleBrown, $24.99). From rising South African thriller writer Meyer comes a gripping suspense novel about revenge, forgiveness, and the race to catch a trained killer. PW & DP
**SLIP OF THE KNIFE, Mina, Denise (LittleBrown, $24.99). Paddy Meehan is no stranger to murder--as a reporter she lives at crime scenes--but nothing has prepared her for this visit from the police. Her former boyfriend and fellow journalist Terry Patterson has been found hooded and shot through the head. Booklist & PW
**L.A. OUTLAWS, Parker, T. Jefferson (Dutton, $24.95). Allison Murietta is a modern-day Jesse James with the compulsion to steal beautiful things, the vanity to invite the media along, and the conscience to donate much of her bounty to charity. Nobody ever gets hurt—until a job ends with ten gangsters lying dead and a half-million dollars worth of glittering diamonds missing. Booklist & PW
**BONE RATTLER, Pattison, Eliot (Shoemaker & Hoard, $26.00). Aboard a British convict ship bound for the New World, Duncan McCallum witnesses a series of murders and seeming suicides among his fellow Scottish prisoners that thrusts him into the bloody maw of the French and Indian War. As the only man aboard with any medical training, Duncan is ordered to assemble evidence to hold another prisoner accountable for the deaths--or face a lethal punishment. PW, DP & LJ
**THE TURNAROUND, Pelecanos, George (LittleBrown, $24.99). On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and six lives were altered forever. Thirty five years later, one survivor of that day reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor is now out of prison, looking for reparation in any form he can find it. BL & Kirkus
**THE CRUELEST MONTH, Penny, Louise (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). The cozy, seemingly idyllic town of Three Pines is thrown into chaos when an impromptu sance turns deadly. In this complex, accomplished mystery, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache must confront a myriad of baffling questions surrounding the case. Kirkus, LJ & PW
**FEVER, Pronzini, Bill (Forge, $24.95). Nameless told Mitchell Krochek that he’d do whatever he could to find his missing wife, Janice, who is in the “fever” of her gambling addiction. She is found, but soon disappears again. Kirkus & DP
**THE CRAZY SCHOOL, Read, Cornelia (Grand Central, $23.99). From the acclaimed author of A Field of Darkness comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare. Booklist & LJ
**A GRAVE IN GAZA, Rees, Matt Beynon (Soho, $24.00). Omar Yussef is chosen to go on an inspection tour of the Gaza Strip and becomes embroiled in an attempt to release an imprisoned teacher. Booklist, LJ & DP
**AT THE RIVER’S EDGE, Sakey, Markus (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Home from Iraq and still reeling from his discharge, Jason Palmer plans to spend his summer drinking and chasing girls. But when his brother is brutally murdered, Jason is all that stands between his eight-year-old nephew and a pair of ruthless killers. LJ & DP
**SALT RIVER, Sallis, James (Walker, $23.95). The poignant and surprising new thriller by one of Americas most acclaimed writers follows ex-cop, ex-con, and war veteran John Turner as he goes in search of a truth he’s not sure he can live with. Kirkus, Booklist & PW
**THE TRIUMPH OF CAESAR, Saylor, Steven (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of ‘Finder’, but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife. Troubled by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. But that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead – murdered -- on her doorstep. PW, BL & DP
**JUDAS HORSE, Smith, April (Knofp, $23.95). Maverick FBI Special Agent Ana Grey goes undercover to infiltrate the volatile core of a domestic terrorist cell, where she must negotiate a minefield of loyalty and betrayal under constant threat of discovery. PW, Booklist, LJ & Kirkus
**I SHALL NOT WANT, Spencer-Fleming, Julia (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Award-winning author Spencer-Fleming shows that it is possible to escape danger--but not desire--in her most suspenseful, passionate novel yet. LJ & BL
**A PALE HORSE, Todd, Charles (Morrow, $23.95). A body found in the ruins of an ancient abbey sends Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge after a brutal killer in another superb atmospheric mystery by the author of A False Mirror. PW & BL
**THE FAULT TREE, Ure, Louise (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Arizona auto mechanic Cadence Moran was blinded in a horrific car accident eight years ago. When she is almost run down by a speeding car on the way home from work, Cadence at first thinks that she is the victim of road rage or a bad driver. But that's not the case. In fact, she is the only witness to the murder of her elderly neighbor, and now the killer believes that she's seen the getaway car. Kirkus, Booklist & LJ
**THE CHAMELEON’S SHADOW, Walters, Minette (Knofp, $24.95). British lieutenant Charles Acland returns home from Iraq, but his serious head injuries are only the outward manifestation of a profound inner change. Booklist & LJ
**AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE, Winspear, Jacqueline (Holt, $24.00). Maisie Dobbs, the extraordinary psychologist and investigator, delves into a strange series of crimes in a small rural community. LJ & DP
**THE CALLING, Wolfe, Inger (Harcourt, $24.00). When terminally ill patients are found gruesomely murdered in Port Dundas, Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef finds herself tracking a truly terrifying serial killer across the country, while everything she had been barely holding together begins to spin out of control. LJ & PW
BEST FIRST NOVEL
**SINGULARITY, Casey, Kathryn (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). When wealthy businessman Edward Lucas III is found murdered along with his mistress, their bodies posed in grotesque ways, Texas Ranger/profiler Sarah Armstrong quickly senses that this will be the deadliest case of her career. While others focus the investigation on Lucas's estranged wife, Sarah disagrees and hunts a suspect only she believes in. Yet nothing in her career could have prepared her for the horror of a young man who believes he has been sent from heaven to massacre innocent people. PW & BL
**THE KILLER’S WIFE, Floyd, Bill (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). A story driven by psychological insight and harrowing revelations, asking how well you can ever "really" know the person sleeping beside you. LJ & DP
**THE ANATOMY OF DECEPTION, Goldstone, Lawrence (Delacorte, $24.00). A forensic thriller that thrusts the reader into the operating rooms, drawing rooms, and back alleys of 1889 Philadelphia, this novel follows a young doctor as he grapples with the principles of scientific process to track a daring killer. PW
**MOONLIGHT DOWNS, Hyland, Adrian (Soho Press, $24.00). Emily Tempest, a feisty part-aboriginal woman, left home to get an education and has since traveled abroad. She returns to visit the Moonlight Downs “mob,” still uncertain if she belongs in the aboriginal world or that of the whitefellers. Within hours of her arrival, an old friend is murdered and mutilated. The police suspect a rogue aborigine, but Emily starts asking questions.
**CHILD 44, Smith, Tom Rob (Grand Central, $24.99). In Stalin’s Russia no law officer is more courageous, conscientious, or idealistic than Leo Demidov. A war hero with a beautiful wife, Leo’s only ambition has been to serve his country. A different kind of criminal – a murderer – is on the loose. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, his world turned upside down, and every belief he's ever held shattered. The only way to save his life and the lives of his family is to uncover this criminal. BL, PW, Kirkus & DP
**A CARRION DEATH, Stanley, Michael (HarperCollins, $23.95). Detective Kubu makes his debut in a gritty and evocative new series set amid the beauty and darkness of contemporary Africa. PW & DP
BEST BRITISH NOVEL
**LAST POST, Barnard, Robert. (Allison & Busby, £19.99).After the funeral of her widowed mother, only child May McNabb is going through her mother’s things and runs across a recent letter with some puzzling and disturbing information that indicates that her mother may have had secrets of which May was unaware. So she goes snooping into her mother’s life and what she uncovers may not only prove dangerous to her but to others.
**INNOCENT BLOOD, Corley. Elizabeth (Allison & Busby, £18.99, trade £10.99). Major Jeremy Maidment only wants to help when his neighbour Mrs Pennysmith is robbed by local con man Luke Chalfont. Appealing to DI Bob Cooper, Maidment is on a mission to help police trap the subject. But the arrest goes rapidly awry when Chalfont threatens Bob with a knife and Maidment's 'shoot first, ask questions later' policy lands him in deep water. With a suspect near death and Maidment's possession of an unlicensed gun raising questions it's time for the Sussex force to draft in their Secret Weapon, Sergeant Nightingale; young, dynamic and determined to find answers...DCI Andrew Fenwick is also up against a tough case. The Choir Boy investigation, a project outside of ordinary police jurisdiction, aims to expose an infamous and increasingly powerful paedophile ring.
**COLD IN HAND, Harvey, John (William Heinemann, ₤12.99). The romance of Valentine’s Day is shattered when a dispute between two rival teenage gangs escalates into violence and a female police detective becomes caught in the middle. DI Lynn Kellogg was merely trying to stop the fight, but when she recovers consciousness she finds that one girl is dead and that she is blamed by the girl’s father for the killing. Charlie Resnick investigates.
**A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES, Hill, Reginald (HarperCollins, £17.99). Some say that Andy Dalziel wasn't ready for God, others that God wasn't ready for Dalziel. Either way, despite his recent proximity to a terrorist blast, the Superintendent remains firmly of this world. And, while Death may be the cure for all diseases, Dalziel is happy to settle for a few weeks' care under a tender nurse. Convalescing in Sandytown, a quiet seaside resort devoted to healing, Dalziel befriends Charlotte Heywood, a fellow newcomer and psychologist, who is researching the benefits of alternative therapy. With much in common, the two soon find themselves in league when trouble comes to town. Sandytown's principal landowners have grandiose plans for the resort -- none of which they can agree on. One of them has to go, and when one of them does, in spectacularly gruesome fashion, DCI Peter Pascoe is called in to investigate -- with Dalziel and Charlotte providing unwelcome support.
**A QUIET FLAME, Kerr, Philip (Quercus, £14.99). The fifth novel in the Bernie Gunther series. 1950 Argentina. Bernie is on the trail of a missing wife and daughter of a prominent German banker. Nazi war criminals people this well-told tale.
**THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Larsson, Stieg (Quercus, £14.99). This worldwide publishing phenomenon tells the story of Salander, a freelancer with a security company who is the girl with the dragon tattoo. She is asked to look into why a business journalist folded without a fight when he was convicted of libel and sent to jail for three months. First of a trilogy.
**THE HEADHUNTERS, Lovesey, Peter (Sphere, £19.99). See description under Best Novel
**SHATTER by Michael Robotham (Sphere, ₤9.99). SHATTER features the return of the clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin. Summoned by the police to help with a potential suicide, O’Loughlin arrives at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in time to witness a naked woman in red high-heeled shoes whisper “You don’t understand”, before jumping to her death. Like the police, O’Loughlin is quick to dismiss it as a tragic suicide until the woman’s teenage daughter convinces him otherwise, and he finds himself engaged in a deadly duel with a deranged killer.
**A KILLING FROST, Wingfield, R.D. (Bantam Press, $14.99). The discovery of two young girls' bodies leaves Detective Inspector Jack Frost in a race to hunt down the killer before he, or she, can strike again. At the same time he faces a crisis at Denton police station which could result in him being sacked.
**COLLISION, Abbott, Jeff (Penguin, $24.95). This is the story of two men living very different lives – one, a successful corporate consultant who is mourning the murder of his new bride; the other, a former CIA agent known only as Pilgrim, a whose current assignment for a fringe espionage agency is so treacherous he doesn't trust even his own boss. When they are thrown together in a violent, unexpected event, the two men realize that theyave been framed in an elaborate setup. LJ & DP
**THE DECEIVED, Battles, Brett (Delacorte Press, $24.00). In his world, Jonathan Quinn has a few rules. He’ll get rid of bodies that have to disappear; nothing ever gets traced back to him. But when Quinn is called to a busy Los Angeles port where a shipping container has just come in from the sea, it’s clear his rules have been violated. Inside the crate is a dead man—a man who once saved Quinn’s life. And while no one knows how CIA agent Steven Markoff died, Quinn has to do more than clean. He has to find Markoff’s girlfriend, Jenny. To tell her that Markoff is dead. To find out why—and why someone sent Markoff’s body to him. DP
**HIT AND RUN, Block, Lawrence (HarperCollins, $24.95). Doing one more hit before his retirement, assassin Keller is on the run from authorities, while he plans revenge on those who set him up. LJ & DP
**CHASING DARKNESS, Crais, Robert (Simon & Schuster, $25.95). Did Elvis Cole make a mistake that sprung a killer? Some think so. DP
**THE SPIES OF WARSAW, Furst, Alan (Random House, $25.95). Set in Warsaw, Selsia, and Paris, Furst's action-packed new thriller combines espionage with deadly romance, all happening during the rearing threat of Hitler's gathering war against Europe. PW, BL & LJ
**THE FINDER, Harrison, Colin (Farrar, Strauss, $25.00). Jin-Li is a young, beautiful, secretive Chinese woman who gets involved in a brilliant scheme to steal valuable information from corporations in New York City. When the plan is discovered by powerful New Yorkers who stand to lose enormous sums of money, Jin-Li goes on the run. Meanwhile, her former lover, Ray Grant, a man who was out of the country for years but has recently returned, is caught up in the search for her. DP & PW
**HOUSE RULES, Lawson, Mike (Atlantic Monthly Press, $22.00). An atmosphere of fear and panic overruns the country because of several thwarted terrorist attacks, and when the junior senator from Virginia proposes to deport all non--citizen Muslims and run extensive background checks on all Muslim Americans, his bill gains surprising traction.Speaker of the House John Mahoney is not pleased. He knows it is the kind of knee-jerk response people will come to regret, like Japanese internment camps, and he needs to find a way to kill the bill before it exposes a secret he wants to keep. So Mahoney calls his man DeMarco. DP
**FIDELITY, Perry, Thomas (Harcourt, $25.00). When Phil Kramer is shot dead on a deserted suburban street in the middle of the night, his wife, Emily, is left with an emptied bank account and a lot of questions. How could Phil leave her penniless? What was he going to do with the money? And, most of all, who was he if he wasn’t the man she thought she married? DP, BL & LJ
**DON’T TELL A SOUL, Rosenfelt, David (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Tim Wallace’s wife died in a boating accident several months ago. Tim was the only eye witness, and one New Jersey cop is sure he killed her. He didn’t and the police eventually clear his name, On New Year’s Eve, his two best friends and business partners finally convince him to go out for the first time since Maggie’s death, and at their neighborhood pub. “Can you keep a secret? A really big one?” a drunken stranger asks him. Before Tim can say anything or turn away, the man confesses to a months-old murder, even offering as proof the location of the woman’s body. “Now it’s your problem,” he says and walks away. LJ, PW, BL & DP
**TIMEBOMB, Seymour, Gerald (Bantam, ₤14.99). A disgruntled KGB security man steals a suitcase bomb, smuggles it out and buries it in his backyard. Sixteen years later the ageing former security agent decides to put it on the market to the highest bidder. DP
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
**OSCAR WILDE AND A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE, Brandeth, Gyles (Touchstone, $14.00). One of Britains premier royal biographers pens the first in a series of fiendishly clever historical murder mysteries, featuring Oscar Wilde as the detective. Booklist & DP
**THE PRINCE OF BAGRAM PRISON, Carr, Alex (Mortalis/Random House, $14.00). Jamal is a CIA informant on the run from his former bosses. Little does he know that he holds the key to expose a CIA dirty secret. Some of his former handlers risk their lives and careers to help him. DP
**THE FIRST QUARRY, Collins, Max Allan (HardCaseCrime, $6.99). The never-before-told story of Quarry’s first job: infiltrating a college campus and eliminating a professor whose affair with one of his students is the least of his sins. PBO DP
**CALUMET CITY, Newton, Charlie (Touchstone, $14.00). Among the most self-assured and sharply crafted debuts in recent years, Calumet City detonates a hard-nosed cocktail of character-driven suspense and Chicago-ghetto intrigue. BL & LJ
**VIENNA BLOOD, Tallis, Frank (Random House, $15.00). In 1902, a serial killer in Vienna embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt summons Dr. Max Liebermann to assist him with the case. The investigation draws them into the sphere of Vienna’s secret societies, in this second novel to feature literatures first psychoanalytic detective.
Booklist, PW & Kirkus