Friday, January 01, 2010

Firsts on the 1st: New Series Characters Being Introduced in January 2010 Mysteries

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of as well shelved new January paperbacks on The Mystery Bookshelf. In this post, which we're calling Firsts on the 1st, we're introducing readers to new series characters who will make their debut during January.

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No Mercy by Lori Armstrong
More information about the book

Title: No Mercy
Author: Lori Armstrong
Series Character: Mercy Gunderson
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Mercy Gunderson is a former Army sniper living in South Dakota.

Her first assignment: Mercy is a straight shooter with a hard edge. On medical leave from the army, she returns home to South Dakota, which isn't much safer for her than Iraq. Arriving just after the death of her father, it is up to Mercy to decide what to do with the family ranch and try to deal with her irresponsible sister and nephew. Feeling guilty that she didn't make it home soon enough to see her father one last time, Mercy is suddenly pulled into the local community when the body of an Indian boy is found on her land. But nobody seems to be doing anything about it, especially not the local law enforcement. When tragedy strikes again, Mercy is ready to throw all her energy into her own investigation, and she's out for revenge. As she digs up the truth behind the shocking crimes, Mercy uncovers dark and dangerous secrets and must race to stop a killer before everything she's fought for is destroyed forever.

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Death by the Book by Lenny Bartulin
More information about the book

Title: Death by the Book
Author: Lenny Bartulin
Series Character: Jack Susko
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Jack Susko owns a second-hand bookshop in Sydney (Australia).

His first case: Jack is trying for a quiet life in his second-hand bookshop in downtown Sydney. It’s more tin mine than gold mine, yet it’s his and that’s something. But when a wealthy businessman hires Jack to locate some books for him, life starts to get a little more complicated. Soon he’s up to his neck in family secrets, corruption and murder, plunged into a world he thought he’d left behind. Making a play for the businessman’s beautiful daughter doesn’t help matters. And as the bodies start piling up, Jack can’t help but wonder when second-hand book dealing became so dangerous.

Originally published in Australia as A Deadly Business.

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Double Black by Wendy Clinch
More information about the book

Title: Double Black
Author: Wendy Clinch
Series Character: Stacey Curtis (Ski Diva)
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Bostonian Stacey Curtis is a self-described ski bum.

Her first case: Twenty-something Stacey ditches her cheating fiance and heads for a Vermont ski town. She's living the life she’s always dreamed about -- until she finds a dead body in the ski chalet and stumbled into financial intrigue, bitter family warfare, and murder. And after her new landlord turns out to be the local sheriff, her life contains a whole lot more suspense than she bargained for.

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The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
More information about the book

Title: The Crossing Places
Author: Elly Griffiths
Series Character: Ruth Galloway
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist living with her two cats in a Saltmarsh cottage.

Her first case: Nearing 40 and overweight, Ruth is content with her life, teaching at the University of North Norfolk and living in a cottage on remote Saltmarsh. When DCI Harry Nelson enlists her help in identifying the bones of a child unearthed in the marsh, he anticipates closing the case of five-year-old Lucy Downey, snatched from her bed 10 years earlier. But Ruth confirms that the bones date from the Iron Age, an exciting find that recalls memories of a dig led by her mentor, Erik, at which she met her former lover, Peter. Impressed with Ruth, Nelson shares his file on the missing child and calls on her when another little girl goes missing, putting Ruth herself at risk.

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A Deadly Wilderness by Kelly Irvin
More information about the book

Title: A Deadly Wilderness
Author: Kelly Irvin
Series Character: Ray Johnson
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Ray Johnson is a homicide detective in San Antonio, Texas.

His first case: An idyllic wilderness hike turns deadly when Ray tumbles into a ravine and lands on a corpse. Not just any corpse, but the son of a prominent citizen that turns the case into a political hot potato. Ray teams up with his troubled partner and their boss to solve the murder before city leaders bump them from the case and out of their jobs. As the pressure builds to solve the case, Ray finds himself with multiple missions: solve a murder ... save a partner from career suicide and another from matrimonial destruction ... and win a woman’s heart. And stay alive to enjoy happily ever after.

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Dead Air by Mary Kennedy
More information about the book

Title: Dead Air
Author: Mary Kennedy
Series Character: Maggie Walsh (Talk Radio)
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Maggie Walsh is a radio psychologist in South Florida.

Her first case: Maggie left her clinical practice in Manhattan and moved to sunny Cypress Grove, Florida, where she became host of WYME's "On the Couch with Maggie Walsh." From co-dependent wives to fetish fiends, all the local crazies love her show. Then threats start pouring in against one of the station's special guests-self-styled new age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii. When one of the threats becomes a deadly reality, Maggie's new roommate, Lark, is surprisingly the prime suspect. Now, Maggie has to prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy ...

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Short Squeeze by Chris Knopf
More information about the book

Title: Short Squeeze
Author: Chris Knopf
Series Character: Jackie Swaitowski
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Jackie Swaitowski is a Hamptons attorney, first introduced in the Sam Acquillo mysteries.

Her first case: Jackie is a smart-aleck attorney whose legal turf is supposed to be the buzzing Hamptons real-estate market. But when a new client turns up dead, things take a sudden and decidedly dangerous turn. In a client's pocket is an envelope that contains a shocking piece of evidence that suggests that the death was anything but an accident. Still, Jackie has bigger fish to fry -- like her old flame Harry's surprise return to town -- until a late-night car chase changes her priorities. Now she has every reason to believe that the next name on the killer's list is her own.

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The Breach by Patrick Lee
More information about the book

Title: The Breach
Author: Patrick Lee
Series Character: Travis Chase
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Travis Chase is an ex-con/ex-cop living in Alaska.

His first case: Trying to regain his life in the Alaskan wilds, Travis stumbles upon an impossible scene: a crashed 747 passenger jet filled with the murdered dead, including the wife of the President of the United States. Though a nightmare of monumental proportions, it pales before the terror to come, as Chase is dragged into a battle for the future that revolves around an amazing artifact. Allied with a beautiful covert operative whose life he saved, Chase must now play the role he's been destined for—a pawn of incomprehensible forces or humankind's final hope—as the race toward Apocalypse begins in earnest. Because something is loose in the world. And doomsday is not only possible ... it is inevitable.

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Silver by Steven Savile
More information about the book

Title: Silver
Author: Steven Savile
Series Character: Ogmios Team
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the characters: The Ogmios Team consists of Ronan Frost, Orla Nyren, Konstantin Kharvin, Noah Larkin and Jude Lethe, on adventures that are steeped in history, religion and a good old fashioned dose of political skulduggery.

Their first adventure: Two thousand years ago, thirty silver Tyrian shekels were paid to secure the most infamous betrayal of all time. Melted down by the grandsons of Judas Iscariot, Menahem and Eleazar ben Jair, in the dark heart of the Sicarii fortress, Masada, the silver was re-forged as a dagger. When the Sicarii zealots committed mass suicide in AD73 the dagger of Iscariot and the truth of his sacrifice were lost. Until now. A religious cult calling itself the Disciples of Judas has risen in the Middle East. Its influence is pernicious, its reach long. In thirteen cities across Europe thirteen people martyr themselves in the name of Judas, promising forty days and forty nights of terror. They twist the words of ancient prophecies to drive home the fear. On the last day, they promise, faith will fall. Everything you believe in will be proved wrong. Everything you hold true will fail. Day by day the West wakes to increasingly more harrowing acts of terror. Fear cripples the capitals of Europe, who will be the next to fall? London? Rome? Berlin? In a race against time – and prophecy – believing the terrorists intend to assassinate the Pope as part of their plan to bring down the Catholic Church, Sir Charles Wyndham’s team of combat specialists, codename Ogmios, tracks a labyrinthine course through truth, shades of truth and outright lies that takes them from the backstreets of London to the shadow of Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin all the way into the heart of the Holy See itself.

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Snow Angels by James Thompson
More information about the book

Title: Snow Angels
Author: James Thompson
Series Character: Kari Vaara
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Kari Vaara is a police inspector in Finland.

His first case: Kaamos: Just before Christmas, the bleakest time of the year in Lapland. The unrelenting darkness and extreme cold above the Arctic Circle drive everyone just a little insane ... perhaps enough to kill. A beautiful Somali immigrant is found dead in a snowfield, her body gruesomely mutilated, a racial slur carved into her chest. Heading the murder investigation is Inspector Vaara, the lead detective of the small-town police force. The vicious killing may have been a hate crime, a sex crime -- or one and the same. Vaara knows he must keep this potentially ex­plosive case out of the national headlines or else it will send shock waves across Finland, an insular nation afraid to face its own xenophobia. The demands of the investigation begin to take their toll on Vaara and his marriage. His young American wife, Kate, newly pregnant with their first child, is struggling to adapt to both the unforgiving Arctic climate and the Finnish culture of silence and isolation. Meanwhile Vaara himself, haunted by his rough childhood and failed first marriage, discovers that the past keeps biting at his heels: He suspects that the rich man for whom his ex-wife left him years ago may be the killer. Endless night can drive anyone to murder.

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For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during January, please visit our home page. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with January 2010 releases.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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