Best Mystery/Crime Novels of 2011
**PAST TENSE, Aird, Catherine (Minotaur, $26.00). DCI Sloan and Constable Crosby are on the case again. A young girl has been murdered, found dead in the river. But what connection does she have to the recently deceased Josephine Short? PW & Kirkus
**STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG, Atkinson, Kate ( Reagan Arthur, $24.99). Retired police detective Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life--until she cares for a young child. Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective from Case Histories, rescues an abused dog. Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished. DP, BL & PW
**DARKSIDE, Bauer, Belinda (Simon & Schuster, $15.00). In bleak midwinter, the people of Shipcott are shocked by the murder of an elderly woman in her bed. As snow cuts off the village, local policeman Jonas Holly is torn between catching a brutal killer and protecting his vulnerable wife, Lucy. Soon Jonas is taunted by a series of increasingly sinister anonymous notes from someone who seems to know every move he makes. PW & LJ
**SCHOOL OF NIGHT, Bayard, Louis (Henry Holt, $25.00). An ancient mystery, a lost letter, and a timeless love unleash a long-buried web of intrigue that spans four centuries, from 16th-century England to modern-day Washington, D.C. LJ & PW
**A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, Block, Lawrence (Mulholland, $25.99). After a childhood friend is shot down while attempting to atone for past sins, Scudder is drawn into a murder investigation that threatens to upset his path toward recovery--and get him killed in the process. DP, BL & PW
**NOW YOU SEE ME, Bolton, S.J. (Minotaur, $25.99). One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building’s darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt. Kirkus & PW
**FEAST DAY OF FOOLS, Burke, James Lee (Simon & Schuster, $25.99). Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay. When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert and reports it, Hack's investigation leads to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman whom the locals refer to as La Magdalena and who is known for sheltering illegals. BL & PW
**THE AFFAIR, Child, Lee (Delacorte, $28.00). Everything starts somewhere. . . .For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A coverup. A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington.
Reacher is ordered undercover—to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. BL & LJ
**HURT MACHINE, Coleman, Reed Farrel (Tyrus, $24.95). At a pre-wedding party for his daughter Sarah, Moe Prager is approached by his ex-wife and former PI partner Carmella Melendez. It seems Carmella?s estranged sister Alta has been murdered, but no one in New York City seems to care. Why? Alta, a FDNY EMT, and her partner had months earlier refused to give assistance to a dying man at a fancy downtown eatery. Moe decides to help Carmella as a means to distract himself from his own life-and-death struggle. PW
**THE FIFTH WITNESS, Connelly, Michael (Little, Brown, $27.99). Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. PW & DP
**THE DROP, Connelly, Michael (Little,Brown, $27.99). Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two. DNA from a 1989 rape and murder case matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? PW, BL & DP
**KILLED AT THE WHIM OF A HAT, Cotterill, Colin (Minotaur, $24.99). When reporter Jimm is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she’s convinced her career—maybe her life—is over. So when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies, one of them wearing a hat, is inexplicably unearthed in a local farmer’s field, Jimm is thrilled. Shortly thereafter an abbot at a local Buddhist temple is viciously murdered, with the temple’s monk and nun the only suspects. PW, LJ & BL
**WYATT, Disher, Garry (Soho Crime, $25.00). Disher's cool, enigmatic anti-hero Wyatt has a job--a jewel heist. Wyatt prefers to work alone, but this is Eddie Oberin's job. Eddie's very smart ex-wife Lydia has the inside information. Add Wyatt's planning genius and meticulous preparation, and what could possibly go wrong? PW, BL & LJ
** THE OCTOBER KILLINGS, Ebersohn, Wessel (Minotaur, $24.99). Only 15 when her parents were killed in a massacre of anti-apartheid activists by white security forces, Abigail Bukula was spared by soldier Leon Lourens. Twenty years later, Lourens comes to Abigail, now a lawyer, for help. Someone is killing off members of the team who killed her parents. LJ & PW
**MURDER SEASON, Ellis, Robert (Minotaur, $25.95). Detective Lena Gamble knows how to handle the hottest cases--do it fast and keep her head down. Because if it all goes south, the department won’t hesitate to make a scapegoat out of her. So when she gets called to the scene of a double murder at Club 3 AM, the latest A-list hangout for Hollywood celebs, she knows the fun is only beginning. And she's not wrong. It's just much worse than she imagined. As expected, one of the victims is club owner Johnny Bosco, one of the most well-connected men in Hollywood politics. But the shocker comes when Lena sees the other victim: twenty-five-year-old Jacob Gant, acquitted just days ago of murdering his sixteen-year-old neighbor, after L.A.'s latest trial-of-the-century. DP
**THE WHITE DEVIL, Evans, Justin (Harper, $24.99). An American teenage boy with a dark past is sent abroad to Harrow, the famous British boarding school, and finds himself fighting to save his own life by solving a 200-year-old literary mystery and freeing a ghost of its bonds. Annotation: An American teenage boy with a dark past is sent abroad to Harrow, the famous British boarding school, and finds himself fighting to save his own life by solving a 200-year-old literary mystery and freeing a ghost of its bonds. PW & BL
**THE JANUS STONE, Griffiths, Elly (Houghton Mifflin, $26.00). When construction workers demolishing a large old house in Norwich uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway--minus its skull--archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called upon to investigate. Is it a Roman-era ritual sacrifice, or is the killer closer at hand? Kirkus, LJ & PW
**IRON HOUSE, Hart, John (Minotaur, $25.99). Mob enforcer Michael wants out of his job because he wants to settle down with the lovely Elena who is now pregnant. But the mob won’t let him go without a fight. Michael escapes to North Carolina where he was raised in an orphanage, The Iron House. BL, PW, LJ & DP
**THE WOODCUTTER, Hill, Reginald (Harper, $25.99). Wolf Hadda’s life has been a fairy tale. From his humble origins as a Cumbrian woodcutter’s son, he has risen to become a hugely successful entrepreneur, happily married to the woman of his dreams. A knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison while protesting his innocence, abandoned by friends and family, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later, prison psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo makes a breakthrough. Wolf begins to talk, and under her guidance he is paroled, returning to his family home in rural Cumbria. Will he seek revenge? PW, LJ, Kirkus & DP
**THE HOUSE OF SILK, Horowitz, Anthony (Mulholland, $27.99). For the first time since the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a new Sherlock Holmes story has been sanctioned by his estate, whetting the appetites of fans everywhere. PW & DP
**DEAD MAN’S GRIP, James, Peter (Minotaur, $25.99). Carly Chase is still traumatized 10 days after being in a fatal traffic accident which kills a teenage student from Brighton University. Then she receives news that turns her entire world into a living nightmare. The drivers of the other two vehicles involved have been found tortured and murdered. PW & DP
**FIELD GRAY, Kerr, Philip (Putnam, $26.95). In 1954, Bernie is living quietly in Cuba, doing a little work for underworld boss Meyer Lansky, when he runs afoul of the U.S. Navy and lands in prison in Guantánamo. Later, at an army prison in New York City, FBI agents ask him about his service in WWII, in particular as a member of an SS police battalion on the Eastern Front. Another transfer sends him to Germany's Landsberg Prison, where Hitler was imprisoned in 1923. Officials from various governments question and torture him, but grimly amusing Bernie, who's smarter than any of his interrogators, successfully strings each one of them along. PW, LJ & BL
**THE CYPRESS HOUSE, Koryta, Michael (Little, Brown, $24.99). Arlen Wagner has seen it in men before--a trace of smoke in their eyes that promises imminent death. He is never wrong. When Arlen awakens on a train one hot Florida night and sees death's telltale sign in the eyes of his fellow passengers, he tries to warn them. Only 19-year-old Paul Brickhill believes him, and the two abandon the train, hoping to escape certain death. Kirkus, LJ & PW
**NORTHWEST ANGLE, Krueger, William Kent (Atria, $24.99). With his family caught in the crosshairs of a group of brutal killers, detective Cork O’Connor must solve the murder of a young girl. LJ, DP & PW
**UNTIL THY WRATH BE PAST, Larsson, Asa (Silver Oak, $14.95). As spring arrives in the far north of Sweden, a young woman's body surfaces through the breaking ice of the River Thorne. At the same time, visions of a shadowy figure haunt the dreams of Rebecka Martinsson, a prosecutor in nearby Karuna. Could the body belong to the ghost in her dreams? And where is the dead girl's boyfriend? Joining forces once again with Police Inspector Anna-Maria Mella, Rebecka finds herself drawn into an investigation that stirs up long-dormant rumors of a German supply plane that went missing in 1943--and of Nazi collaborators in the town, where shame and secrecy shroud the locals' memories of the war. PW & BL
**THE MOST DANGEROUS THING, Lippman, Laura (Morrow, $25.99). Once the best of friends until a terrible secret tore them apart, a group is suddenly brought back together under tragic circumstances and wonder if their long-ago lie is the reason for their troubles today and if someone is out to destroy them. Kirkus & PW
**WICKED AUTUMN, Malliet, Gin (Minotaur, $23.99). Max Tudor has adapted well to his post as vicar of St. Edwold's in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip. The quiet village seems the perfect home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past as an MI5 agent. Now he has found a measure of peace among urban escapees and yoga practitioners, artists and crafters and New Agers. But this new-found serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women's Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre. The death looks like an accident, but Max's training as a former agent kicks in, and before long he suspects foul play. Max has ministered to the community long enough to be familiar with the tangled alliances and animosities among the residents, but this tragedy surprises and confounds him. LJ & BL
**THE TROUBLED MAN, Mankell, Henning ( Knopf, $26.95). From a master of Swedish noir comes the first Kurt Wallender mystery in more than a decade: the much-anticipated return of the brilliant, brooding detective. PW, BL, Kirkus & LJ
**RED WOLF, Marklund, Liza (Atria, $25.99). In the middle of the freezing winter, a journalist is murdered in the northern Swedish town of Lulea. Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon suspects that the killing is linked to an attack against an air base in the late sixties. Against the explicit orders of her boss, Annika continues her investigation of the death, which is soon followed by a series of shocking murders. LJ & PW
**BLOWBACK, May, Peter (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95). Enzo Macleod takes on his fifth cold case and delves into the big business and high stakes of French haute cuisine. LJ & Kirkus
**THE MAGIC BULLET, Millett, Larry (U.of Minnesota Press, $25.00). St. Paul, Minnesota. October 1, 1917. High above the city, a renowned local financier named Artemis Dodge lies facedown on the floor of his armored penthouse sanctuary, a single bullet hole in his head. Thirty stories up, in the city’s tallest building, and not a shred of evidence or sign pointing to anyone having broken into the wealthy man’s fortress. It is—to all appearances—an impossible crime.
Enter Shadwell Rafferty: Irishman, St. Paul saloonkeeper, sometime detective, and old friend of the celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Summoned by Louis B. Hill—son of railroad magnate James J. Hill—to investigate, Rafferty descends into a world dominated by greedy tycoons and awash in political intrigue and wartime fearmongering. PW & BL
**THE REVISIONISTS, Mullen, Thomas (Mulholland, $25.99). A fast-paced literary thriller that recalls dystopian classics such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, from the award-winning author of The Last Town on Earth. Zed is an agent from the future. A time when the world's problems have been solved. No hunger. No war. No despair. His mission is to keep it that way. Even if it means ensuring every cataclysm throughout history runs its course-especially The Great Conflagration, an imminent disaster in our own time that Zed has been ordered to protect at all costs. Zed's mission will disrupt the lives of a disgraced former CIA agent; a young Washington lawyer grieving over the loss of her brother, a soldier in Iraq; the oppressed employee of a foreign diplomat; and countless others. But will he finish his final mission before the present takes precedence over a perfect future? PW & LJ
**THE SNOWMAN, Nesbo, Jo (Knopf, $24.95). A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Inspector Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. BL & LJ
**THE CUT, Pelecanos, George (Reagan Arthur, $25.99). Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home after serving in Iraq, he has been doing special investigations for a defense attorney. He's good at it, and he has carved out a niche: recovering stolen property, no questions asked. His cut is forty percent. BL & PW
**TRICK OF LIGHT, Penny, Louise (Minotaur, #25.99). Lillian Dyson is dead. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Surete du Quebec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. PW & DP
**THE OFFICERS CLUB, Peters, Ralph (Forge, $25.99). Stunning, promiscuous, and brilliant at spotting the weaknesses in others, Jessie Lamoureaux may have been killed by a jealous lover, a drug smuggler—or a ghost from a life she hoped she had left behind. Was her murderer the Green Beret she betrayed? The captain whose marriage she shattered? The senior officer hoping to save her from herself? A female sergeant fighting for dignity in a man’s world? Or a fellow lieutenant with a secret of his own? PW, BL & LJ
**SECRETS OF THE WHITE ROSE, Pintoff, Stefanie (Minotaur, $24.99). The murder of a judge sets off a witch hunt that only Detective Simon Ziele and criminologist Alistair Sinclair can stop, in the third novel of Pintoff's Edgar Award-winning series. PW, LJ & DP
**THE COMPLAINTS, Rankin, Ian (ReaganArthur, $ 24.99). Nobody likes The Complaints--they're the cops who investigate other cops. It's where Malcolm Fox works. He's a serious man with frustrating problems about which he cannot seem to do anything. Then the reluctant Fox is given a new case. BL, LJ & Kirkus
**THE BROTHERS OF BAKER STREET, Robertson, Michael (Minotaur, $25.00). Reggie Heath's latest client is the driver of one of London's famous Black Cabs, accused of murdering two American tourists. But the letters to Sherlock Holmes are piling up--including one from someone who claims to be the descendant of Professor James Moriarty. PW, LJ & BL
**THE WRECKAGE, Robotham, Michael (Mulholland, $24.99). Dual track narrative: a journalist follows billions of dollars missing from Iraqui banks and in London, retired police detective Vincent Ruiz (Lost) is robbed and shortly thereafter one of the robbers is found murdered. Ruiz can’t resist investigating. The two story lines eventually intersect. DP
**ON BORROWED TIME, Rosenfelt, David (Minotaur, $25.00). After an accident on the way to Kendrick Falls, Richard Kilmer's fiance Jennifer Ryan vanishes. However, no one in Richard's life will even confirm Jen's existence. But where could she have gone? Has Richard lost his mind or is someone else behind it all? PW, Kirkus & LJ
**THE DEATH INSTINCT, Rubenfeld, Jed (Riverhead, $26.95). Under a clear blue September sky, America's financial center in lower Manhattan became the site of the largest, deadliest terrorist attack in the nation's history. It was September 16, 1920. Four hundred people were killed or injured. The country was appalled by the magnitude and savagery of the incomprehensible attack, which remains unsolved to this day. PW & LJ
**REDBACK, Russell, Kirk (Severn House, $28.95). Eighteen years ago, Special Agent John Marquez was forced to watch as his informant, Billy Takado, was gunned down, the victim of a set-up by criminal mastermind Emrahain Stoval. In the fallout from the affair, Marquez lost his job. Now, working for California’s Department of Fish and Games, John is contacted by a former colleague. Ted Desault is determined to take Stoval down, but to do that, he needs Marquez’s help. BL & PW
** HEARTSTONE, Sansom, C. J. (Viking, $27.95). Summer, 1545. England is at war, and Matthew Shardlake is about to encounter the most politically dangerous case of his career. While a massive French fleet prepares to attack, every able-bodied man is being pressed into military service. Meanwhile, an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr asks Shardlake to investigate claims of "monstrous wrongs" committed against a young ward of the court. PW & BL
**ONCE WAS A SOLDIER, Spencer-Fleming, Julia (Minotaur, $25.00). On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town. BL & LJ
**THOUGH NOT DEAD, Stabenow, Dana (Minotaur, $25.99). The residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned by the death of one of their oldest members, eighty-seven-year-old Old Sam Dementieff…even private investigator Kate Shugak. Sam, a lifelong resident, dubbed the “father” of all of the Park rats—even though he had no children of his own—was especially close to Kate, his niece, but even she is surprised to discover that in his will he’s left her everything, including a letter instructing her simply to, “find my father.” PW, BL & DP
**THE ANATOMY OF GHOSTS, Taylor, Andrew ( Hyperion, $24.99). This historical thriller has wonderful period detail about Cambridge in the 1700s--the secret societies, the Cambridge dons, the brothels, and the bookshops. PW & DP
**LUCIFER’S TEARS, Thompson, James (Putnam, $24.95). Inspector Kari Vaara returns, more haunted than ever, in the follow-up to Snow Angels. Kari is pushed into investigating a 90-year-old national hero for war crimes committed during World War II. Soon, the past and present collide in ways no one could have anticipated. Kirkus, BL & PW
**ATTENBURY EMERALDS, Walsh, Jill Paton (Minotaur, $25.99). Lord Peter Wimsey and detective novelist Harriet Vane return in this mystery that takes Wimsey back to his very first case. It was 1921 when Wimsey first encountered the Attenbury Emeralds. Now, 30 years later, the grandson of Wimsey's first client seeks his help. LJ & BL
**THE GENTLEMAN’S HOUR, Winslow, Don
BEST FIRST NOVELS
**THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, Adler-Olsen, Jussi (Dutton, $25.95). This first in a series features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen's best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren't so lucky, and Carl, who didn't draw his weapon, blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects. But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl's been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen's coldest cases to keep him company, Carl's been put out to pasture. So he's as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she's dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he's wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process. PW, LJ, BL & DP
**BURNING, Casey, Jane (Minotaur, $24.99). The Burning Man. It’s the name the media has given a brutal murderer who has beaten four young women to death before setting their bodies ablaze in secluded areas of London’s parks. And now there’s a fifth. Maeve Kerrigan is an ambitious detective constable, keen to make her mark on the murder task force. Her male colleagues believe Maeve’s empathy makes her weak, but the more she learns about the latest victim, Rebecca Haworth, from her grieving friends and family, the more determined Maeve becomes to bring her murderer to justice. But how do you catch a killer no one has seen when so much of the evidence has gone up in smoke? LJ & PW
**GUILT BY ASSOCIATION, Clark, Marcia (Mulholland, $26.00). With her expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Clark, the lead prosecutor in the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson, combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in this debut novel. PW, BL & Kirkus
**RED ON RED, Conlon, Edward (Spiegel & Grau, $26.00). The author of the award-winning, New York Times-bestselling memoir Blue Bloods delivers his first novel--the story of two NYPD detectives with radically different approaches to life and work. PW, Kirkus, LJ & Booklist
**THE TERRITORY, Fields, Tricia (Minotaur, $24.99). At the end of State Road 170 and just past a ghost town lies Artemis, population 2,500. The townspeople had sought out this remote corner of Western Texas in hopes of living lives of solitude and independence. None of them realized that their small town would become a hot spot for Mexican drug runners, whose turf battles have turned both sides of the Rio Grande into a war zone. Still, many of the locals would rather take the law into their own hands than get help from police chief Josie Gray, even when they're up against a cartel's private army. After arresting one of the cartel's hit men and killing another, Josie finds her life at risk for doing a job that many people would rather see her quit. LJ, PW & BL
**RANCHERO, Gavin, Rick (Minotaur, $24.99). Repo man Nick Reid will do anything to retrieve his landlady's stolen Ranchero in a wild race across the Mississippi Delta. PW, LJ & BL
**THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, Higashino, Keigo (Minotaur, $24.99). Yasuko Hanaoka thought she had escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day, the situation quickly escalates and Togashi ends up dead. Yasuko's next-door-neighbor Ishigami offers his help, not only disposing of the body, but plotting the cover-up as well. LJ, PW & Kirkus
**THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE, Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnette Friis (Soho Crime, $24.00). Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can't say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive. Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy's are in jeopardy, too. LJ & DP
**TURN OF MIND, LaPlante, Alice (Atlantic Monthly, $24.00). As the book opens, Dr. Jennifer White’s best friend, Amanda, who lived down the block, has been killed, and four fingers surgically removed from her hand. Dr. White is the prime suspect and she herself doesn’t know whether she did it. Told in White’s own voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between these life-long friends—two proud, forceful women who were at times each other’s most formidable adversaries. As the investigation into the murder deepens and White’s relationships with her live-in caretaker and two grown children intensify, a chilling question lingers: is White’s shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her to hide it? LJ, Kirkus, BL & PW
**WHITE HEAT, McGrath, M.J. (Viking, $25.95). Half Inuit and half outsider, Edie Kiglatuk is the best guide in her corner of the Arctic. But as a woman, she gets only grudging respect from the elders who ruled her isolated community on Ellesmere Island. When a man is shot and killed while out on an "authentic" Arctic adventure under her watch, the murder attracts the attention of police sergeant Derek Palliser. As Edie sets out to discover what those tourists were really after, she is shocked by the suicide of someone very close to her. Though these events are seemingly unrelated, Edie's Inuit hunter sensibility tells her otherwise. BL
**STEALING MONA LISA, Morton, Carson (Minotaur, $25.99). The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich--they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left behind--Paris. Kirkus & LJ
**TRIPLE CROSSING, Rotella, Sebastian (Mulholland, $24.95). Valentine Pescatore, a volatile rookie Border Patrol agent, is trying to survive the trenches of The Line in San Diego. He gets in trouble and finds himself recruited as an informant by Isabel Puente, a beautiful U.S. agent investigating a powerful Mexican crime family. As he infiltrates the mafia, Pescatore falls in love with Puente. PW & DP
**BENT ROAD, Roy, Lori (Dutton, $25.95). For twenty years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding his sister Eve's death. As a young man, Arthur fled his small Kansas hometown, moved to Detroit, married Celia, and never looked back. But when the 1967 riots frighten him even more than his past, he convinces Celia to pack up their family and return to the road he grew up on, Bent Road, and that same small town where Eve mysteriously died. And then a local girl disappears. Kirkus, LJ & PW
**THE INFORMATIONIST, Stevens, Taylor (Crown, $23.00). See Best Thrillers
**BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, Watson, S.J. (Harper, $25.99). Every morning, Christine awakens beside a stranger in an unfamiliar bed. She sees a middle-aged face in the bathroom mirror that she does not recognize. And every morning, the man patiently explains that he is Ben, her husband, that she is forty-seven-years-old, and that an accident long ago damaged her ability to remember. In place of memories Christine has a handful of pictures, a whiteboard in the kitchen, and a journal, hidden in a closet. She knows about the journal because Dr. Ed Nash, a neurologist who claims to be treating her without Ben’s knowledge, reminds her about it each day. Inside its pages, the damaged woman has begun meticulously recording her daily events—sessions with Dr. Nash, snippets of information that Ben shares, flashes of her former self that briefly, miraculously appear. But as the pages accumulate, inconsistencies begin to emerge, raising disturbing questions that Christine is determined to find answers to. Kirkus, Booklist & DP
**THE DANGEROUS EDGE OF THINGS, Whittle, Tina (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95). Tai Randolph thinks inheriting a Confederate-themed gun shop is her biggest headache — until she finds a murdered corpse in her brother's driveway. Even worse, her supposedly respectable brother begins behaving in decidedly non-innocent ways, like fleeing to the Bahamas and leaving her with both a homicide in her lap and the pointed suspicions of the Atlanta PD directed her way. Suddenly, she has to worry about clearing her own name, not just that of her wayward sibling. PW & LJ
**OR THE BULL KILLS YOU, Webster, Jason (Minotaur, $24.99). Either you kill the bull, or the bull kills you." Chief Inspector Max Cámara thinks in proverbs,and he hates one thing above all: bullfighting. One hot afternoon in Valencia, however, he has to stand in for his boss, judging a festival corrida starring Spain’s most famous young matador. That night, he is back in the bullring, and what he finds on the blood-stained sand shocks the city of Valencia to its core. Cámara is roped into investigating a grisly murder while dealing with violent shadows from his own past, as well as confronting the suspiciousness of the bullfighting community and the stonewalling of local politicians in full electoral campaign. PW & LJ
**THE STRANGER YOU SEEK, Williams, Amanda Kyle (Bantam, $25.00). In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer before another victim meets a shattering end, A.P.D. lieutenant Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: ex–FBI profiler Keye Street. Kirkus & PW
**ADRENALINE, Abbott, Jeff (Grand Central, $24.99). Sam Capra--brilliant CIA agent, loving husband, soon-to-be father--loses everything that matters to him in a horrifying moment in London. An unknown enemy has set him up as a traitor. However that enemy has targeted the wrong man. PW & DP
**THE SECRET SOLDIER, Berenson, Alex (Putnam, $25.95). John Wells may have left the CIA, but it hasn't left him. A mysterious call brings a surprise meeting with the aged monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah. "My kingdom is on a precipice," he tells Wells. "Powerful factions are plotting against me, and my own family is in danger. I don't know who I can trust, but I'm told I can trust you." Reluctantly, and with the secret blessing of the CIA, Wells goes undercover; but the more he learns, the more complicated things become, and soon he, too, is unsure whom to trust, in Saudi Arabia or Washington. DP
**COUP D'ETAT, Coes, Ben (St. Martin's, $25.99). A radical cleric has been elected president of Pakistan and, upon taking power, sets off a rapidly escalating conflict with India. Eventually it becomes clear that India is only days from resorting to a nuclear response, one that will have unimaginably disasterous results for the world at large. With only days to head this off, the President sends in his best people, including Jessica Tanzer, to do whatever it takes to restore the fragile peace to the region. Tanzer has only one viable option -- to set up and execute a coup d'etat in Pakistan - and only one man in mind to lead the team that will try to pull off this almost unimaginable task in the nerve-wrackingly short time frame, Dewey Andreas. DP
**THE TRINITY SIX, Cumming, Charles (St. Martin’s, $25.00). London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'. But Crane was much more than that – and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem. Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money. When a journalist friend asks for his help researching a possible sixth member of the notorious Trinity spy ring, Gaddis knows that she's onto a story that could turn his fortunes around. But within hours the journalist is dead, apparently from a heart attack. Taking over her investigation, Gaddis trails a man who claims to know the truth about Edward Crane. Kirkus, PW, DP & BL
**SPYCATCHER (in the U.K., SPARTAN), Dunn, Matthew (Morrow, $25.99). Will Cochrane, the CIA’s and MI6’s most prized asset and deadliest weapon, has known little outside this world since childhood. And he’s never been outplayed. So far…Will’s controllers task him with finding and neutralizing one of today’s most wanted terrorist masterminds, a man believed to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general. Intending to use someone from the man’s past to flush him out of the shadows, Will believes he has the perfect plan, but he soon discovers, in a frantic chase from the capitals of Europe to New York City, that his adversary has more surprises in store and is much more treacherous than anyone he has ever faced—and survived—up to now. DP
**BALLISTIC, Greaney, Mark (Berkley, $15.00). Ex-CIA assassin Court Gentry thought he could find refuge living in the Amazon rain forest. But his bloody past finds him when a vengeful Russian crime lord forces him to go on the run once again. Court makes his way to one of the only men in the world he can trust-and arrives too late. His friend is dead and buried. Years before, Eddie Gamboa had saved Court's life. Now, Eddie has been murdered by the notorious Mexican drug cartel he fought to take down. And Court soon finds himself drawn into a war he never wanted. But in this war, there are no sides- only survivors...
**DEVIL TO PAY, Kemp, Ross (Arrow, £6.99). Nick Kane is finally adjusting to civilian life when he finds out that his old army buddy Ben is dead. He goes in search of those responsible and that search takes him back to Afghanistan. DP
**THE PAYBACK, Kernick, Simon (Bantam Press, £12.99). Dennis Milne is a man with a past, and a past that involves murder. A former cop, he’s earned his living killing the bad guys – drug-dealers, corrupt business men - people who, in his opinion, deserve to die. DI Tina Boyd is a woman on a mission. Tough, spiky and determined, she’s looking for the man she holds responsible for the death of her lover. She knows he’s dangerous. Two cops with pasts that haunt them -- and a present that could see them both dead. They are about to meet for the first time. DP
**HOUSE DIVIDED, Lawson, Mike (GroveAtlantic, $23.00). With his boss out of commission, DeMarco is on his own, a sacrificial pawn in a lethal game between a master NSA spy and a four-star army general. DeMarco learns all too well just what the NSA is capable of, but he doesn’t like being used, so he fights back. BL & DP
**TRACKERS, Meyer, Deon (GroveAtlantic, $24.00). Lemmer's first rule is: "Don't get involved." A highly skilled bodyguard with a violent, criminal past, he has settled into a quiet life in Loxton, South Africa, where the rural tranquility has helped to calm his explosive temper. But when a wealthy farmer asks for his help in smuggling a pair of rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe (where they are murdered for their horns), he has a hard time saying no. Before he knows it, Lemmer is on a small airplane, zipping across the border, an airsickness bag in his hand and a military-grade shotgun at his feet. Soon, he will regret the trip very much. PW, LJ, BL, Kirkus, DP
**THE INFORMANT, Perry, Thomas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27.00). A professional killer (known to some as the Butcher’s Boy) betrayed by the Mafia leaves countless mobsters dead and then disappears. Justice Department official Elizabeth Waring is the only one who believes he ever existed. Many years later, the Butcher’s Boy finds his peaceful life threatened when a Mafia hit team finally catches up with him. He knows they won’t stop coming and decides to take the fight to their door. PW, Kirkus & DP
**PORTRAIT OF A SPY, Silva, Daniel (HarperCollins, $26.99). For Gabriel Allon and his wife, Chiara, it was supposed to be the start of a pleasant weekend in London—a visit to a gallery in St. James’s to authenticate a newly discovered painting by Titian, followed by a quiet lunch. But a pair of deadly bombings in Paris and Copenhagen has already marred this autumn day. And while walking toward Covent Garden, Gabriel notices a man he believes is about to carry out a third attack. Before Gabriel can draw his weapon, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as the nightmare unfolds.
**THE INFORMATIONIST, Stevens, Taylor (Crown, $23.00). Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle's most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she's never looked back. Until now. PW, DP & LJ
**THICK AS THIEVES, Spiegelman, Peter (Knopf, $14.95). Carr—ex-CIA—is the reluctant leader of an elite crew planning a robbery of such extraordinary proportions that it will leave them all set for life. PW & DP
BEST BRITISH CRIME NOVELS
**THE CALLING OF THE GRAVE, Beckett, Simon (Bantam Press, £12.99). It was eight years ago that they found the body buried on the moor. They were certain that this was one of psychotic rapist and multiple murderer Jerome Monk's teenage victims. Which left just two more bodies to find. But the ill-conceived search ended badly. And with Monk safely behind bars, the momentum faltered. For forensics expert David Hunter, and those others who were part of the recovery team, life moved on. And the dead were left undisturbed. Now, though, a nightmare scenario unfurls. Monk has escaped and seems to be targeting anyone involved in that original ill-fated operation.
**NOW YOU SEE ME, Bolton, S.J. (Bantam Press, £12.99). Despite her fascination with Jack the Ripper, Detective Constable Lacey Flint has never worked a big case or seen a dead body up close. Until now... As she leaves a south London estate one night, she is horrified to find a woman has been viciously stabbed, right next to Lacey's car. Thrown headlong into her first murder hunt, Lacey's quiet life changes overnight. Then Lacey receives a familiar hand-delivered letter, written in red blood, and it is clear the police have a Ripper copycat on their hands.
**CARVER, Cain, Tom (Bantam Press, £14.99). The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 sent shockwaves around the financial world. It began a domino effect, hitting banks and economies around the world. Theories abound as to the cause of the collapse - the sub-prime bubble, bad management, even good old fashioned greed. But what if it was none of the above. What if Lehman Brothers had been brought to its knees by the deliberate and wilful act of one man bent on a course of financial terrorism? Samuel Carver is about to find himself on the biggest mission of his life.
**HELLS BELLS (THE INFERNALS), Connolly, John (Hodder & Stoughton, £12.99). Samuel Johnson -- with a little help from his dachshund Boswell and a very unlucky demon named Nurd - has sent the demons back to Hell. But the diabolical Mrs Abernathy is not one to take defeat lying down.When she reopens the portal and sucks Samuel and Boswell down into the underworld, she brings an ice-cream van full of dwarfs as well. And two policemen. Can this eccentric gang defeat the forces of Evil?
**FIRST FROST, Henry, James (Bantam Press, £12.99). R.D. Wingfield's unforgettable Jack Frost returns in this prequel to the best-selling series. DP
**THE PAYBACK, Kernick, Simon (Bantam Press, £12.99). Dennis Milne is a man with a past, and a past that involves murder. A former cop, he’s earned his living killing the bad guys – drug-dealers, corrupt business men -- people who, in his opinion, deserve to die. For the past two days, he’s been in Manila, waiting for his next target: a young woman who’s made herself some poor life-choices, and some even worse enemies. DI Tina Boyd is a woman on a mission. Tough, spiky and determined, she’s looking for the man she holds responsible for the death of her lover. She knows he’s ruthless. She knows he’s dangerous. But he’s in Manila, and she’s determined to find and kill him – before he kills her. Two cops with pasts that haunt them - and a present that could see them both dead. They are about to meet. DP
**THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD, Rankin, Ian (Orion, £18.99). Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs are back. They've been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct with his own uncle, also in the force, having proved to be his nephew's nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy and cover-up - and a brutal murder, a murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist.
**THE WRECKAGE, Robotham, Michael (Sphere, £16.99). In London, ex-cop Vincent Ruiz rescues a young woman from a violent boyfriend but wakes next morning to find that he's been set up and robbed. As he tracks down the thieves, he discovers the boyfriend's tortured body and learns that powerful men are looking for the girl. What did Holly Knight steal that is so important to them? Meanwhile in Baghdad, the bank robbery capital of the world, billions of dollars in reconstruction funds has gone missing and Pulitzer prize-winning Journalist Luca Terracini is trying to 'follow the money'. The dangerous trail will lead him to London where he teams up with Vincent Ruiz and together they investigate the disappearance of an international banker and a mysterious 'black hole' in the bank's accounts.
**AGENT 6, Smith, Tom Rob (Simon & Schuster, £16.99).Former Soviet Secret Service agent Leo Demidov has built himself a new life as a civilian with his wife Raisa, and their two teenage daughters, Elena and Zoya.Raisa and their two daughters travel to the United States on a diplomatic mission, but a horrifying tragedy destroys everything Leo and Raisa have built. Leo must get to the States somehow and find out what happened.
**ECHOES OF THE DEAD, Spencer, Sally (Severn House, $28.95). When a recently released prisoner claims in a deathbed confession that he is innocent of the rape and murder of a young girl for which he was convicted twenty-two years earlier, DCI Monika Paniatowski is tasked to lead an unofficial investigation into his claims. At first she is reluctant, but when she learns that her old mentor Charlie Woodend was the lead detective in the case, she knows she must do everything she can to protect his reputation . Kirkus, DP, BL & LJ
**WITNESS, Staincliffe, Cath (Robinson, £7.99).Four bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time. Witnesses to the shocking shooting of a teenage boy. A moment that changes their lives forever.
**GAMES TRAITORS PLAY by Jon Stock (Blue Door, £14.99). Salim Dhar is the world's most wanted terrorist. Embarrassed by his nearly successful attempt to kill the US President, the CIA launches an unprecedented campaign to hunt down Dhar that only results in further unnecessary bloodshed. Only Daniel Marchant, a renegade MI6 officer, knows where he is. DP
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINALS
**THE SILENCED, Battle, Brett (Dell, $7.99). Professional “cleaner” Jonathan Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty years ago inside the walls of a London building, before the building is demolished. But Quinn and his team are being watched. Suddenly caught in the cross fire between two dangerous rivals, Quinn must unravel the identity of the body and why it still poses so great a threat even in death.
**DEATH LINE, Carter, Maureen (Creme de la Crime, $14.95). When ten-year-old Josh Banks's body is discovered dumped on waste ground, Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss wants justice. She's not alone. Everyone hates child killers - even hardened criminals. Tip-offs trickle in, and the new press liaison officer has his work cut out when the squad springs a leak. But trial by tabloid is the least of the cops' worries. If Bev's under pressure, her boss faces more - as if nightmare memories of an earlier case weren't enough, he's facing an internal enquiry. Even if he's cleared he's no longer convinced he wants the job. And if the boss goes -- where does that leave Bev? DP & BL
**FOUND WANTING, Goddard, Robert (Bantam, $15.00). In the summer of 1909, an unassuming English bobby crossed paths with Russian royalty. Now, a century later, the secret entrusted to him is about to be revealed. Richard Eusden is on his way to work in London one unremarkable winter morning when he is intercepted by his ex-wife, who asks him to ferry an old attaché case to their friend Marty Hewitson in Brussels. Richard expects to be back in London within the day, but in Belgium, Marty is nowhere to be found. Instead, Richard comes face-to-face with a ruthless kidnapper and his outrageous demand: the attaché case in exchange for Marty’s life. DP
**THESE THINGS HIDDEN, Gudenkauf, Heather (Mira, $16.00). When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. PW & DP
**MOZART’S LAST ARIA, Rees, Matt (HarperPerennial, $14.99). The news arrives in a letter to his sister, Nannerl, in December 1791. But the message carries more than word of Nannerl’s brother’s demise. Two months earlier, Mozart confided to his wife that his life was rapidly drawing to a close . . . and that he knew he had been poisoned. In Vienna to pay her final respects, Nannerl soon finds herself ensnared in a web of suspicion and intrigue—as the actions of jealous lovers, sinister creditors, rival composers, and Mozart’s Masonic brothers suggest that dark secrets hastened the genius to his grave. Kirkus
**DEATH OF THE MANTIS, Stanley, Michael (Harper, $14.99). In the southern Kalahari area of Botswana--an arid landscape of legends that speak of lost cities, hidden wealth, and ancient gods--a fractious ranger named Monzo is found dying from a severe head wound in a dry ravine. Three Bushmen surround the doomed man, but are they his killers or there to help? Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is on the case, an investigation that his old school friend Khumanego claims is motivated by racist antagonism on the part of the local police. But when a second bizarre murder, and then a third, seem to point also to the nomadic tribe, the intrepid Kubu must journey into the depths of the Kalahari to uncover the truth. LJ
**A DOUBLE DEATH ON THE BLACK ISLE, Scott, A.D. (Atria, $15.00). Nothing is ever quite at peace on Scotland’s Black Isle—the Traveling people are forever at odds with the locals, the fishermen have nothing in common with the farmers, and the villages have no connection with the town. But when two deaths occur on the same day, involving the same families from the same estate—the Black Isle seems as forbidding as its name. Joanne Ross, typist at the Highland Gazette, is torn whether to take on the plum task of reporting on these murders—after all, the woman at the center of both crimes is one of her closest friends. Joanne knows the story could be her big break, and for a woman in the mid-1950s—a single mother, no less—good work is hard to come by. Kirkus & BL
**FUN & GAMES, Swierczynski, Duane (Mulholland, $14.99). Languishing in self-imposed exile, ex-cop Charlie Hardie has become a glorified house sitter. His latest gig comes replete with an illegally squatting B-movie actress who rants about hit men who specialize in making deaths look like accidents. Unfortunately, it's the real deal. Hardie finds himself squared off against a small army of the most lethal men in the world: The Accident People. DP
**HELL & GONE, Swierczynski, Duane (Mulholland, $14.99). After barely walking away with his life from a shootout that will go down in Hollywood history, ex-cop Charlie Hardie discovers things can, in fact, get even worse. He is kidnapped by a team of undercover operatives and forced to stand guard over an underground prison that houses the most dangerous criminals on earth. Or so he's told. PW & DP
**VIENNA TWILIGHT, Tallis, Frank (Random House, $15.00). Vienna, 1903. Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt finds that young women are being slain in an unnerving—and ingenious—manner, with a small, almost undetectable, hat pin. For Dr. Max Liebermann, the killer is unique in the annals of psychopathology, one who murders in the midst of consensual love. Is the culprit a patient, one who swears he has a double, a shadow figure that is far more forward (in fact, indecent) with women? BL
**TWO FOR SORROW, Upson, Nicola (Harper, $14.99). They were the most horrific crimes of a new century: the murders of newborn innocents for which two British women were hanged at Holloway Prison in1903. Decades later, mystery writer Josephine Tey has decided to write a novel based on Amelia Sach and Annie Walters, the notorious “Finchley baby farmers,” unaware that her research will entangle her in the desperate hunt for a modern-day killer. LJ & PW