The following is a list of 2010 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 2009
DP List 2007
DP List 2006
DP List 2005
DP List 2004
DP List 2003
DP List 2002
DP List 2001
DP List 2000
Best Mystery/Crime Novels of 2010
**THE CAVALIER OF THE APOCALYPSE (Minotaur, $24.99). A prequel to Game of Patience and A Treasury of Regrets, Alleyn's latest delivers a thrilling mystery brimming with historical detail. LJ & PW
**BELOW ZERO, Box, C.J. (Putnam, $25.00). Box returns with a vengeance in this thrilling new novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. LJ & PW
**OSCAR WILDE AND THE DEAD MAN’S SMILE, Brandeth, Gyles (Touchstone, $24.00). Playwright and raconteur Oscar Wilde embarks on another adventure as he sets sail for America in the 1880s on a roller coaster of a lecture tour. But the adventure doesn't truly begin until Oscar boards an ocean liner headed back across the Atlantic and joins a motley crew led by French impresario Edmond La Grange. PW & BL
**SWORN TO SILENCE, Castillo, Linda (Minotaur, $24.95). Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish. LJ, BL & PW
**GONE TOMORROW, Child, Lee (Delacorte, $27.00). New York City. Two in the morning. A subway car heading uptown. Jack Reacher, plus five other passengers. Four are okay. The fifth isn’t. Susan Mark was the fifth passenger. She had a lonely heart, an estranged son, and a big secret. Reacher, working with a woman cop and a host of shadowy feds, wants to know just how big a hole Susan Mark was in, how many lives had already been twisted before hers, and what danger is looming around him now. BL & DP
**THE SCARECROW, Connelly, Michael (Little, Brown, $27.99). Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paper to write the definitive murder story of his career. He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent. PW, LJ, BL & DP
**PERSONA NON GRATA, Downie, Ruth (Bloomsbury, $24.00). The third novel in the Gaius Petreius Ruso series. LJ & Kirkus
**THE LOST WITNESS, Ellis, Robert (Minotaur, $25.95). Now Lena Gamble is a cop held in disgrace by department higher-ups for the explosive way the Romeo case played out, though she’s still hailed as a hero by her colleagues for catching the killer. For her punishment, she hasn’t handled a real murder investigation in eight months. When the chief finally tosses her a case, she’s thrilled until she gets a look at the scene and realizes he’s probably setting her up to be exiled once and for all: The victim is unidentified, and there are no witnesses, and no leads. PW, BL & DP
**BLOOD’S A ROVER, Ellroy, James (Knopf, $28.95). Summer, 1968. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are dead. A dirty-tricks squad is getting ready to deploy at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Black militants are warring in southside L.A. The Feds are concocting draconian countermeasures. And fate has placed three men at the vortex of History. Dwight Holly is J. Edgar Hoover’s pet strong-arm goon, implementing Hoover’s racist designs and obsessed with a leftist shadow figure named Joan Rosen Klein. Wayne Tedrow—ex-cop and heroin runner—is building a mob gambling mecca in the Dominican Republic and quickly becoming radicalized. Don Crutchfield is a window-peeping kid private-eye within tantalizing reach of right-wing assassins and left-wing revolutionaries. Their lives collide and each of them will pay “a dear and savage price to live History.” PW & Kirkus
**DARK PLACES, Flynn, Gillian (Shaye Areheart, $24.00). Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her. BL & PW
**GRAVE GOODS, Franklin, Ariana (Putnam, $25.95). England, 1176. Beautiful, tranquil Glastonbury Abbey— one of England’s holiest sites, and believed by some to be King Arthur’s sacred Isle of Avalon—has been burned almost to the ground. The fire has uncovered two hidden skeletons, a man and a woman. The skeletons’ height and age send rumors flying—are the remains those of Arthur and Guinevere? King Henry II hopes so. Struggling to put down a rebellion in Wales, where the legend of Celtic savior Arthur is particularly strong, Henry wants definitive proof that the bones are Arthur’s. If the rebels are sure that the Once and Future King will not be coming to their aid, Henry can stamp out the insurgence for good. He calls on Adelia Aguilar, Mistress of the Art of Death, to examine the bones. LJ, PW
**IN THE DARK, Freeman, Brian (Minotaur, $24.95). A brutal unsolved murder case from Jonathan Stride's past is reopened and deadly secrets emerge. BL & PW
**BURIED STRANGERS, Gage, Leighton (Soho, $24.00). A playful dog finds a bone at the outset of this mystery set in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the federal police based in Brasilia and his team of investigators, Hector Costa and Arnaldo Nunes, are called in. The bone is human and the investigators soon unearth a clandestine cemetery. Someone has secretly disposed of the bodies of unknown human beings, often interred in family groups. BL & DP
**SPADE & ARCHER: The Prequel to The Maltese Falcon, Gores, Joe (Random House, $24.00). A gritty, pitch-perfect noir novel, Spade & Archer is the authorized prequel to Dashiell Hammett's classic, The Maltese Falcon. In 1921, P.I. Sam Spade tangles with a villain who's planned what he thinks is the perfect crime. And he'll fall in love--though it won't turn out for the best. BL, Kirkus, LJ & PW
**THE LAST CHILD, Hart, John (Minotaur, $24.95). Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone. Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe.. Then a second child goes missing . . . LJ, BL, Kirkus & DP
**THE RISK OF DARKNESS, Hill, Susan (Overlook, $24.95). This novel continues a story arc from the second book, which centers around the disappearance of a schoolboy. Another missing child case sees Simon Serailler teaming up with another policeman, and when a young girl is kidnapped, the team goes all out to solve the cases. BL & LJ
**THE INCREMENT, Ignatius, David (Norton, $26.95). A novel that takes the reader inside the most volatile secret of the 21st century: the Iranian nuclear program. Kirkus & LJ
**ARCTIC CHILL, Indridason, Arnaldur (Minotaur, $24.99). On an icy January day, the Reykjavik police are called to a block of flats where a body of the young boy has been found in the garden, frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on an investigation but have little to go on. Kirkus, PW & DP
**THE DARK HORSE, Johnson, Craig (Viking, $24.95). Wade Barsad, a man with a dubious past, locked his wife’s horses in their barn and burned the animals alive. In return, Mary shot Wade in the head six times—or so the story goes. Walt doesn’t believe Mary’s confession, and he’s determined to dig deeper. PW, Kirkus, BL & DP
**STARDUST, Kanon, Joseph (Atria, $27.99). A tale of Hollywood glamour, postwar espionage, and family secrets. Kirkus & PW
**DEATH WORE WHITE, Kelly, Jim (Minotaur, $24.95). Rookie detective Peter Shaw, along with his chain-smoking, hard-as-nails veteran partner is confronted with a baffling crime that stretches him to the breaking point. PW & Kirkus
**A QUIET FLAME, Kerr, Philip (Putnam, $26.95). 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. PW, BL & DP
**THE SILENT HOUR, Koryta, Michael (Minotaur, $24.99). When Perry starts receiving letters from convicted murderer Parker Harrison, he ignores them until the man shows up in his office. Twelve years earlier, the then recently paroled Harrison worked for Alexandra and Joshua Cantrell, a couple who ran a rehabilitation program for violent offenders. Then they disappeared, and Harrison wants Perry's help in tracking down Alexandra. PW & Kirkus
**DEADLY INTENT, LaPlante, Linda (Touchstone, $24.99). In the latest police procedural from La Plante, detective Anna Travis must juggle old and new love affairs while tracking down one of the world's deadliest drug dealers. PW & BL
**THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, Larsson, Stieg (Knopf, $25.95). Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in the first book of the trilogy. BL, LJ & DP
**LIFE SENTENCES, Lippman, Laura (Morrow, $24.99). When Cassandra was a girl, growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, her best friends were all black: elegant, privileged Donna; sharp, shrewd Tisha; wild and worldly Fatima. A fifth girl orbited their world—a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins—who, years later, would be accused of killing her infant son. Yet the boy's body was never found and Calliope's unrelenting silence on the subject forced a judge to jail her for contempt. For seven years, Calliope refused to speak and the court was finally forced to let her go. Cassandra believes this still unsolved real-life mystery, largely unknown outside Baltimore, could be her next bestseller. PW
**SKELETON HILL, Lovesey, Peter (Soho Crime, $24.00). On Lansdown Hill, near Bath, a battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers that took place over 350 years ago is annually reenacted. Two of the reenactors discover a skeleton that is female, headless, and only about twenty years old. One of them, a professor who played a Cavalier, is later found murdered. Kirkus & DP
**REVENGE OF THE SPELLMANS, Lutz, Lisa (Simon & Schuster, $25.00). The third novel to feature Izzy Spellman and her zany family. PW, LJ & BL
**BLIND EYE, MacBride, Stuart (Minotaur, $26.99). Aberdeen’s growing Polish community is under attack from a serial offender who leaves mutilated victims to be discovered on building sites. PW, BL & DP
**DARK MIRROR, Maitland, Barry (Minotaur, $24.99). Newly promoted to Detective Inspector, Kathy Kolla is called in to investigate a student's poisoning. As Kolla looks further into the case, it becomes increasingly clear that behind what really happened--and why--lies the most difficult-to-crack case the team has ever faced. PW & DP
**GALLOWS LANE, McGilloway, Brian (Minotaur, $23.99). Inspector Devlin returns to the borderlands separating the North and South of Ireland, waiting for a notorious ex-con, James Kerr, to return home on early release. Kerr claims to have found God while in prison, but the superintendant of police wants him to stay on the other side of the border. PW & BL
**BLOOD SAFARI, Meyer, Deon (Atlantic Monthly, $19.95). Emma Le Roux, a beautiful young woman, sees her brother named on the Cape Town news as the prime suspect in the killing of four poachers and a witch doctor. But it can’t be possible: he disappeared twenty years ago in Kruger National Park and is believed to be dead. PW, LJ & DP
**NEMESIS, Nesbo, Jo (HarperCollins, $25.99). Gripping and surprising, Nemesis is the new police thriller by one of the biggest stars of Scandinavian crime fiction. Kirkus, BL & PW
**LORD OF DEATH, Pattison, Eliot (Soho Crime, $24.00). Shan Tao Yun is an exiled Chinese national and a former Beijing investigator on parole from the Tibetan gulag. He is ferrying a corpse on muleback over the slopes of Chomolungma--Everest--when he encounters what looks like a traffic accident. A government bus filled with imprisoned illegal monks has overturned. Then Shan hears gunfire. Two women in an approaching sedan have been killed. One is the Chinese minister of tourism; the other, a blond Westerner, organizes climbing expeditions. Shan must find the murderer.
**THE RENEGADES, Parker, T. Jefferson (Dutton, $26.95). Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Deputy Charlie Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his police cruiser. LJ, PW & BL
**STONE’S FALL, Pears, Iain (Spiegel & Grau, $27.95). Pears tells the story of John Stone, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War I, he was able to manipulate world markets. Kirkus, BL & PW
**A RULE AGAINST MURDER, Penny, Louise (Minotaur, $24.95). Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines, when a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. Kirkus, BL & LJ
**EXECUTION DOCK, Perry, Anne (Ballantine, $26.00). A deftly plotted Victorian crime novel featuring the long-awaited return of police superintendent William Monk. PW & LJ
**DOG ON IT, Quinn, Spencer [pen name of Peter Abrahams] (Atria, $25.00). “In this irresistible new detective series featuring a canine narrator, Quinn speaks two languages--suspense and dog--fluently. Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, and in a few places terrifying . . . [a] one-of-a-kind novel.” (Stephen King). BL, LJ & PW
**SHADOW AND LIGHT, Rabb, Jonathan (Farrar, Strauss, $26.00). When an executive at the renowned Ufa film studios is found dead, it falls to Nikolai Hoffner, a chief inspector in the Kriminalpolizei, to investigate. With the help of Fritz Lang and Alby Pimm, Hoffner finds this case taking him into the treacherous underbelly of Berlin. Kirkus, LJ & PW
**SAMARITAN’S SECRET, Rees, Matt Beynon (Soho, $24.00). A member of the tiny but ancient Samaritan community has been murdered. The dead man had controlled millions of dollars of government money. If the World Bank cannot locate it, all aid money to the Palestinians will be cut off. Omar Yussef must solve the murder and find the money, or all Palestinians will suffer. BL & LJ
**SHATTER, Robotham, Michael (Bantam, $24.95). 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.
Kirkus & DP
**ALL THE COLORS OF DARKNESS, Robinson, Peter (Morrow, $25.99). When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. At least that's what it initially looks like to Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot. The man is soon identified as Mark Hardcastle, the set and costume designer for the local amateur theater company. But when Mark's older and wealthier lover is discovered bludgeoned to death in his home, Annie begins to think differently. Could it have been a crime of passion, or did overwhelming grief lead to a man taking his own life? Increasingly confounded, she calls in the vacationing Chief Inspector Alan Banks—even if it means prying him away from his new girlfriend.
**NEW TRICKS, Rosenfelt, David (Grand Central, $24.99). Andy Carpenter gains possession of an adorable Bernese puppy whose owner was brutally murdered. Few can rival Andy's affection for dogs, and he will do whatever it takes to insure that this little pup doesn't fall into the wrong hands. However, his playful new friend is valued by several people, many of whom are willing to resort to violence to get what they want. It will take more than Andy's usual courtroom theatrics to save this dog, including a little help from his beloved golden retriever, Tara. PW & DP
**SHANGHAI MOON, Rozan, S.J. (Minotaur, $24.95). Rozan returns to her award-winning, critically acclaimed series featuring Lydia Chin and Bill Smith. Estranged for months from fellow P.I. Smith, Chinese-American private investigator Chin is brought in by former mentor Joel Pilarsky to help with a case that crosses continents, cultures, and decades. LJ
**REVELATION, Sansom, C.J., (Viking. $25.95). It is 1543 and King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, a woman he wants for his sixth wife. Meanwhile lawyer Shardlake is working hard to defend a boy, a religious fanatic, who is being held in the notorious Bedlam hospital for the insane LJ & PW
**LOOK AGAIN, Scottoline, Lisa (St. Martin’s, $26.95). When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. Kirkus, LJ & PW
**DROOD, Simmons, Dan (Little, Brown, $26.99). Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life, Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. LJ, BL & PW
**UNDONE, Slaughter, Karin (Delacorte, $26.00). In the trauma center of Atlanta's busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the city's poor, wounded, and unlucky--and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. Then, in one instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation, coming face-to-face with a driven detective and his quiet female partner. PW & LJ
**THE SECRET SPEECH, Smith, Tom Rob (Grand Central, $24.99). Smith's first novel, Child 44, was one of the most critically acclaimed books of the year. Now the author returns with a new thriller set in the turmoil and upheaval of the post-Stalinist Soviet Union. Kirkus & BL
**WHISPER TO THE BLOOD, Stabenow, Dana (Minotaur, $24.95). Between two suspicious murders and a series of attacks on snow mobilers up the Kanuyaq River, part-time P.I. and newly elected chairman of the Niniltna Native Association Kate Shugak has her hands full. BL & PW
**THE TOURIST, Steinhauer, Olen (Minotaur, $24.95). Milo Weaver used to be a “tourist” for the CIA—an undercover agent with no home, no identity—but he’s since retired from the field to become a middle-level manager at the CIA’s New York headquarters. He’s acquired a wife, a daughter, and a brownstone in Brooklyn, and he’s tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind. However, when the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into one of Milo’s oldest colleagues and exposes new layers of intrigue in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who’s holding the strings once and for all. LJ. BL & PW
**A MATTER OF JUSTICE, Todd, Charles (HarperCollins, $24.99). The superb new entry in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series. A man seeks revenge for a brother who was murdered in the Boer War. PW & DP
**LIAR’S ANONYMOUS, Ure, Louise (Minotaur, $25.95). Roadside Assistance Operator, Jessie Dancing, knows what it’s like to take a life, and she’s trying to put that memory behind her. But when the call comes in from real estate tycoon Darren Markson, she thinks she hears him being killed while she’s on the phone with him. This can’t be, but she knows the world of violence and death is never far away. Jessie travels from Phoenix to her hometown of Tucson to let Markson’s wife hear that last communication from her husband. But according to Emily he’s very much alive. PW, BL, Kirkus & LJ
**THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT, Vine, Barbara (Shaye Ayeheart, $25.00). Ivor Tesham is a handsome, single, young member of Parliament whose political star is on the rise. When he meets a woman in a chance encounter–a beautiful, leggy, married woman named Hebe–the two become lovers obsessed with their trysts, spiced up by what the newspapers like to call “adventure sex.” Then a mock kidnapping goes wrong. PW & LJ
**GET REAL, Donald E. Westlake (Grand Central, $23.99). This time out the Dormunder gang are asked to play themselves in a reality TV show. BL, LJ & PW
**THE INNOCENT SPY, Wilson, Laura (Minotaur, $25.99). The first in a series set in WWII London featuring a police detective. Won the Ellis Peters Historical Mystery Award in the U.K. PW, LJ & DP
**AMONG THE MAD, Jacqueline Winspear (Henry Holt, $25.00). Maisie Dobbs must catch a madman before he commits murder on an unimaginable scale. BL & DP
BEST FIRST NOVEL
**CITY OF SILVER, Alfieri, Annamaria (Minotaur, $24.99). The silver-rich, Spanish-ruled city of Potos, Peru, faces brutal upheaval in this intricate history mystery debut. PW & LJ
**BEAT THE REAPER, Bazell, Josh (Little, Brown, $24.99). In this wild and hilarious debut thriller, Peter Brown is a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with a past, a secret, and a gun--and he has 24 hours to save himself and beat the reaper. LJ & PW
**THE MANUAL OF DETECTION, Berry, Jedediah (Penguin Press, $25.95). This imaginative work of fiction is set in an unnamed city where Charles Unwin toils as a clerk in a huge detective agency. What he knows about solving mysteries comes from the reports he’s filed for detective Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor is murdered, Unwin finds himself suddenly promoted to detective. Unwin is then framed for murder and must go on the run.
**THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, Bradley, Alan (Delacorte Press, $23.00; Orion, £12.99). Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce is an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950—and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” Kirkus, BL & DP
**A TRACE OF SMOKE, Cantrell, Rebecca (Forge, $24.95). This suspenseful first novel follows an undercover crime reporter in Berlin in 1931 as she searches for her brother's killer, a trail that leads from the city's dark underbelly to the top ranks of the rising Nazi party. Kirkus & LJ, PW
**BAD THINGS HAPPEN, Dolan, Harry (Putnam, $24.95). The man who calls himself David Loogan is leading a quiet, anonymous life in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He’s hoping to escape a violent past he would rather forget. But his solitude is broken when he finds himself drawn into a friendship with Tom Kristoll, the publisher of the mystery magazine Gray Streets—and into an affair with Laura, Tom’s sleek blond wife. What Loogan doesn’t realize is that the stories in Gray Streets tend to follow a simple formula: Plans go wrong. Bad things happen. People die.
**THERAPY, Fitzek, Sebastian (St. Martin’s, $25.95). This suspenseful first novel follows an undercover crime reporter in Berlin in 1931 as she searches for her brother's killer, a trail that leads from the city's dark underbelly to the top ranks of the rising Nazi party. PW & BL
**EVEN, Grant, Andrew (St. Martin’s, $24.95). David Trevellyan is a Royal Navy intelligence operative who usually works undercover. On a late-night walk in New York City, he finds a homeless man who has been shot to death. Just then, a cop car arrives. A split second too late, Trevellyan realizes he's been set up. LJ, PW & DP
**THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT, Hall, Tarquin (Simon & Schuster, $24.00). The first in an irresistible new detective series introduces Vish Puri, who styles himself as the best private investigator in India. His main gig is running background checks, but bigger, more sensational cases are coming his way. Kirkus, LJ & BL
**RIZZO’S WAR, Manfredo, Lou (Minotaur, $24.99). When the two detectives are given the delicate task of finding and returning the runaway daughter of a city councilman, who may or may not be more interested in something his daughter has taken with her than in her safety. Kirkus & LJ
**THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST , Neville, Stuart (Soho Press, $25.00). See cover articles. PW, LJ, Kirkus & DP
**A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE, Nunn, Malla ( $25.00). Screenwriter Nunn draws on her true-life experience growing up in Africa to create this darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa. Detective Emmanuel Cooper is caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make for dangerous times. PW & DP
**IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM, Pintoff, Stephanie (Minotaur, $24.95). An atmospheric, taut, and truly original historical mystery, In the Shadow of Gotham features an engaging main character and a gorgeously rendered setting: turn-of-the-century New York. PW & LJ
**WIFE OF THE GODS, Quartey, Kwei (Random House, $24.00). Kwei Quartey's debut novel brings to life the majesty and charm of Ghana-from the capital city of Accra to a small community where long-buried secrets are about to rise to the surface. LJ & BL
**OLD CITY HALL, Rotenberg, Robert (FSG, $26.00; in U.K. John Murray, £11.99). A talk-show host confesses to the brutal murder of his young wife. The evidence is cast iron. But when a determined detective, an ambitious rookie prosecutor and a defence lawyer keen to make her mark piece together the details of the case, nothing fits. BL & LJ
**MIXED BLOOD, Smith, Roger (Henry Holt, $25.00). Reluctant bank robber Jack Burn is on the run after a heist in the United States that left $3 million missing and one cop dead. Hiding out in Cape Town, South Africa, he is desperate to build a new life for his pregnant wife and young son. But on a tranquil evening in their new suburban neighborhood they are the victims of a random gangland assault that changes everything. DP
BEST BRITISH NOVEL
**WHISPERS OF THE DEAD, Beckett, Simon (Bantam Press, £12.99). In America to escape London and the violence that nearly killed him, forensics expert David Hunter has returned to the research facility where he trained – the Body Farm in Tennessee. He needs to know whether he's still up to the job of confronting death in all its strange and terrible forms. So when his former mentor invites him to accompany him to a crime scene, he agrees. He'll be there as an observer, so what could possibly go wrong? What awaits them in the remote cabin out in the woods is a decomposed body that is bound and was evidently tortured. Although fingerprints seem to identify the killer, Hunter is uneasy: nothing is quite as it should be.
**RED BONES, Cleeves, Ann (Macmillan, £16.99). Cleeves continues her series set on the Shetland Islands. When a young archeologist discovers human remains, the island community wonders if this is an ancient find or a more contemporary mystery. Meanwhile an elderly woman is shot on her land in what appears to be an accident, but her grandson calls in Jimmy Perez anyway.
**MIDNIGHT FUGUE, Hill Reginald (HarperCollins, £17.99). Gina Wolfe has come to Mid-Yorkshire in search of her missing husband, believed dead. Her fiance, Commander Mick Purdy of the Met, thinks Dalziel should be able to take care of the job. What none of them realize is how events set in motion years ago will come to a violent head on this otherwise ordinary summer's day.
**THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, Larsson, Stieg (Maclehose, £16.99). Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.
But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past.
**SHADOW OF BETRAYAL, Battles, Brett (Delacorte, $25.00). The meeting place was carefully chosen: an abandoned church in rural Ireland just after dark. For Jonathan Quinn--a freelance operative and professional “cleaner”--the job was only to observe. If his cleanup skills were needed, it would mean things had gone horribly wrong. But an assassin hidden in a tree assured just that. And suddenly Quinn had four dead bodies to dispose of and one astounding clue--to a mystery that is about to spin wildly out of control.
**THE SILENT MAN, Berenson, Alex (Putnam, $24.95). This third thriller featuring CIA agent John Wells finds our hero exhausted after his undercover work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When he and colleague – and fiancée – Jennifer Exley are driving to work, traffic comes to a standstill due to accidents on two bridges into Washington. A pretty big coincidence, and Wells begins to get a very bad feeling.
**THREE WEEKS TO SAY GOODBYE, Box, C.J. (Minotaur, $24.95). A man who will do just about anything to protect his wife and adopted daughter, from people who are trying to take the daughter away. PW & DP
**NO SURVIVORS, Cain, Tom (Viking. $25.95). Carver is lying in a Swiss sanitarium being tended to by his lover, Alix Petrova. When the former employers of Alix force her to leave Carver in order to pay for his care, Carver springs back into action quickly.
**EVEN, Grant, Andrew (Minotaur, $24.95). David Trevellyan is a Royal Navy intelligence operative who usually works undercover, sometimes with the approval of his masters—and sometimes not. On a seemingly normal evening, he takes a lonely late-night walk between a restaurant and his New York City hotel. A familiar huddled shape in the mouth of an alley catches his eye—a homeless man has been shot to death. Trevellyan steps forward…and a cop car arrives. A split second too late, Trevellyan realizes he’s been set up. LJ & PW
**THE DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL, Iles, Greg (Scribner, $26.99). Frustrated by his limited ability to change the system, Mayor Cage is plunged into a deadly duel of wits with some bad guys after a childhood friend, Tim Jessup, now a card dealer, alerts him to illegal dog fighting and sexual abuse connected with a floating casino. PW & BL
**HOUSE SECRETS, Lawson, Mike (Atlantic Monthly, $22.00). DeMarco, fixer for the Speaker of the House, is sent to investigate the death of a reporter, the son of one of his boss’s old colleagues, even though it appears to be nothing more than an unfortunate accident. He soon learns that the reporter was on the trail of Senator Paul Morelli, a rising star considered a shoe-in for his party’s presidential nomination. BL & PW
**RUNNER, Perry, Thomas (Houghton Mifflin. $26.00). Perry returns to his popular series featuring Jane Whitefield. BL & DP
**WALKING DEAD, Rucka, Greg (Bantam, $25.00). Atticus knew very well that people came to a place like Kobuleti to hide. After all, that’s why he and Alena Cizkova had come to the secluded Georgian town in the former U.S.S.R. But Atticus never asked his friend and neighbor Bakhar Lagidze why he was in Kobuleti or what he might be hiding from. Now it’s too late. Bakhar and his family have been brutally murdered, and the thuggish local police chief has declared it a murder-suicide. Everyone—even Alena—seems satisfied to leave it at that.
Except for Atticus.He knows what the police won’t acknowledge: that one person survived the bloodbath in the Lagidze household—their fourteen-year-old daughter. Kirkus
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
**BURY ME DEEP, Abbott, Megan (Simon & Schuster, $15.00). Abbott, simply one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation (Laura Lippman), turns her attention to the Jazz Age--one of the most notorious periods for inciting scandalous crimes. Kirkus & LJ
**STARVATION LAKE, Gruley, Bryan (Touchstone, $14.00). In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake -- the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder. BL, LJ & PW
**DEATH AND THE LIT CHICK, Malliet, G. M. (Midnight Ink, $14.95). As the wildly successful darling of the publishing industry, chick lit mystery writer Kimberlee Kalder is the guest of honor at an exclusive writers' conference at Dalmorton Castle in Scotland. But jealousy and resentment are soon replaced with shock when Kimberlee is found dead at the bottom of the castle's bottle dungeon. PW, BL & DP
**SIX SECONDS, Mofina, Rick (Mira, $6.99). Three strangers become entangled in a plot to change the world in only six seconds. PW
**THE COLDEST MILE, Piccirilli, Tom (Bantam, $6.95). Raised to be a thief and getaway driver, Chase left the bent life after he found his true love, Lila. For ten years he walked the straight and narrow—until Lila was murdered. Now Chase is looking for his grandfather Jonah, the stone-cold-killer con man who raised him anis the last living repository of his family’s darkest secrets. In returning to his criminal roots, Chase hopes to save Jonah’s infant daughter from the life that Chase himself can’t escape. DP
**FATAL LIES, Tallis, Frank (Random House, $15.00). Vienna, 1903. In St. Florian’s military school, a young cadet is found dead – his body lacerated with razor wounds. Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt, baffled by details surrounding the case, turns to his friend – the psychiatrist and disciple of Freud – Doctor Max Liebermann, for help. PW & BL