We have a small field this month, but some excellent choices. Each of these selections is widely available in North America and through Amazon.uk for our European and British members, and all have used copies available.
Two books are standalone titles, and both have recently won major awards. Another is the first of a relatively new series, and the Spencer books don't really need to be read in publication order. I have included published reviews of each title. The first two selections are easily available in multiple audio formats. The third is only available on cd, while the last, a paperback original, has not been recorded.
Unless we have a huge voter turnout this time and/or a close vote, we are only selecting for July.
Bad Business by Robert B Parker. Booklist Review: Parker, declared a Grand Master in 2002 by the Mystery Writers of America, delivers another combination of wry satire and sly action in his thirty-first mystery starring Spenser, the Boston private eye. This time he employs to devastating effect one of his signature devices--an observation on how someone dresses or walks into a room, or a few lines of dialogue between the victim and his hero--to fillet the greed and arrogance of corporate types. At novel's outset, Parker indulges in Keystone Kops comedy played out by private eyes. A distraught wife hires him to tail her husband. Surveillance turns complex and comic when Spenser finds that the husband is having his wife watched; an outside party is having both husband and wife watched; and Spenser himself is being tailed. Spenser is soon being watched by the Boston PD, since he is sitting in the lobby when the husband he's following is shot to death in his office. The action takes a more serious turn here, as Spenser is hired by the energy-selling corporation's CEO to investigate the murder. Of course, Spenser uncovers big-time corruption. Longtime love and psychologist Susan Silverman figures in as a commentator on the action. Spenser sidekick Hawk seems more like a vestigial remnant from other books than a realistic character here. Spenser swaggers a bit too much, and the dialogue can get one-two punch formulaic, but even so, Parker still runs at the front of the private-eye pack. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association.
Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connolly, winner of 2006 Macavity and Shamus Awards, 2006 Edgar nominee. Booklist Starred Review* "Defending deadbeats is a way of life for Los Angeles attorney Michael "Mickey" Haller. Operating out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car (hence the moniker, "Lincoln Lawyer"), Haller takes on the case of Louis Ross Roulet, a rich, young Beverly Hills realtor accused of beating a prostitute. Roulet's guilt or innocence is of little concern to Haller, who sees him as nothing more than a "franchise," a client who can make him a lot of money over an extended period of time. But the deeper Haller digs, the more he suspects Roulet might have been framed. Links to a past case, which landed a client on Death Row, prompt the jaded lawyer to reassess his professional M.O. This is the first legal thriller for Connelly, author of the best-selling series featuring Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch and winner of every major prize in crime fiction. It has all the right stuff: a sinuous plot, crisp dialogue, and a roster of reprehensible characters (including a marijuana- and crystal meth-dealing biker and an internet con artist who steals credit card numbers through a tsunami relief fund). As the trial progresses, Mickey ponders the words of his late lawyer father, who knew the most frightening client of all was an innocent man. "If . . . he goes to prison, it'll scar you for life." Allison Block"
Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Picard, 2007 Agatha Winner, Edgar nominee. Library Journal Review: Cold case, indeed: a blizzard with too many parallels to a long-ago storm shocks 33-year-old Abby Reynolds into unraveling the mystery behind a 17-year-old homicide. The unidentified young woman found bloodied and naked in the snow has literally haunted the small Kansas town ever since, her unmarked grave emitting a miraculous glow. The secret begins to peel away when Abby realizes that the stories told about that night don't quite ring true. As she asks the people she loves to return to that time in 1987, Abby fears the murderer might be staring her in the face. Pickard's careful plotting builds slowly toward a climax, with the weather contributing to a sense of foreboding. Using flashbacks and multiple viewpoints, she provides an absorbing tale of love and deceit. This very readable standalone suspense novel, the first by popular mystery series author Pickard (Jenny Cain, Marie Lightfoot), will appeal to those who relished Martha Grimes's Hotel Paradise. -Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Whiskey on the Rocks: A Whiskey Mattimoe Mystery by Nina Wright. Publishers Weekly review: Set in the small resort town of Magnet Springs, Mich., Wright's diverting debut introduces Whiskey Mattimoe, a recently widowed 30-something real estate broker. Things are pretty slow in Magnet Springs, until an out-of-towner drops dead at a local massage parlor. Pricklier still, the mystery man's wife shows up in Magnet Springs to tie up loose ends—and is bludgeoned to death in the house she just happens to be renting from Whiskey. Throw in dognapping and art forgery, and it's quite a caper. Unfortunately, the denouement is so complicated and depends on so many coincidences that readers will need to take notes to keep track of all the details. Still, this is a fun read, and if Wright can simplify things a bit, she'll have a cozy series as satisfying as a fine single malt.Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.