The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of April 2010 hardcover mysteries as well shelved new April 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 April.
— ◊ —
Title: Marfa Shadows
Author: John DeMers
Series Character: Brett Baldwin
What we know about the character: Brett Baldwin is a chef and owner of the Mesquite Restaurant in Marfa, Texas.
His first case: When Meridyth Morgan, a Hollywood star and Brett’s high school love interest, shows up in Marfa and begs him to help find her missing brother and then is kidnapped herself, Brett soon finds himself in a world of drug smuggling, human trafficking, corruption, extortion, and murder. With the support from his best friend Jud Garcia, an orphaned Native American who raises bison and enjoys smoking illegal substances, Brett embarks on a dangerous journey to reunite with Meridyth and must confront some unfinished childhood business that, no matter how famous he became as a chef, had kept him from truly becoming a man.
— ◊ —
Title: A Deadly Draught
Author: Lesley A. Diehl
Series Character: Hera Knightsbridge
Format: Trade Paperback
What we know about the character: Hera Knightsbridge is a master beer brewer in New England.
Her first case: The lack of water and capital could put Hera out of business ... and then things get worse. Much worse.
Money is always a problem for Hera's microbrewery, but now water is scarce, as well. Worse, Hera discovers a rival brewer murdered in her Butternut Valley brew barn, making her the authorities' favorite suspect. To clear her name, Hera joins forces with local lawman Jake Ryan, her former lover from law school days. There's unfinished business between these two, and the sparks fly as they pursue a killer who has targeted Hera as his next victim.
— ◊ —
Title: A House to Die For
Author: Vicki Doudera
Series Character: Darby Farr
Format: Trade Paperback
What we know about the character: Darby Farr is a real estate agent in Hurricane Harbor, Maine.
Her first case: Darby has spent years trying to forget her hometown of Hurricane Harbor—especially the painful memories of being raised by her controlling aunt following her parents' tragic deaths. Then one morning, she learns her aunt is dying, and the calculating woman has one final demand: clinch the multimillion-dollar sale of Fairview, a breathtaking waterfront estate.
The deal seems simple, but trouble is brewing on the rocky coast. Within hours of Darby's arrival, an obscure deed restriction scuttles the sale just as the backup buyer is found bludgeoned to death on the property's grounds. Assisted by handsome journalist Miles Porter, Darby uncovers dark secrets that reveal an ugly scandal ... and even uglier motives for murder. As a brutal storm surges up the coast, Darby must salvage the deal, find the killer—and somehow stay alive.
— ◊ —
Title: The End Game
Author: Gerrie Ferris Finger
Series Character: Moriah Dru
What we know about the character: Moriah Dru is an ex-cop and the founder of Child Trace Inc., an organization that finds missing children.
Her first case: Moriah's weekend off with her lover, Lieutenant Richard Lake, is interrupted when Atlanta juvenile court judge Portia Devon hires Dru to find two sisters who’ve gone missing after their foster parents’ house burns down. Judge Devon sees to it that Lake is assigned to head the police investigation, because Dru and Lake together have a habit of solving cases.
After questioning the neighbors, the couple decide that the abduction of the girls looks like more than an ordinary kidnapping. Dru learns that in the past eight years two other foster children from the area have gone missing. The investigation turns up a snitch who tells Dru he’s heard that a secret sex organization, with members named after chess pieces, is bound for Costa Rica with two girls. The chase is on to stop the kidnappers before they escape the country.
Winner of the 2009 Minotaur Best Traditional Mystery Novel Contest.
— ◊ —
Title: Six Mile Creek
Author: Richard Helms
Series Character: Judd Wheeler
What we know about the character: Judd Wheeler is the Chief of Police in the small (fictional) town of Prosperity, North Carolina.
His first case: Prosperity is a town in transition. A former farming community populated mostly by descendents of the families that pioneered it over two centuries earlier, Prosperity is now a target of urban sprawl, overrun by real estate developers, garage-Mahal communities, and upperclass tax refugees drawn across the county line from the metropolis to the north for low tax rates and the opportunity to "get away from it all."
Wheeler, chief of the town's three-cop police department, was a football star at Prosperity Glen High School a quarter century earlier, and returned to his hometown after working for a decade as an Atlanta beat cop to take over the fledgling cop shop there. It's been mostly quiet for seven years, with one tragic exception, but now Wheeler has his first murder to investigate. A teenaged illegal Mexican immigrant girl has been found dead on the banks of Six Mile Creek, her neck broken. Racial and class tensions, already stretched to the limit in Prosperity, now threaten to overflow into widespread violence, and Judd Wheeler has to keep a lid on the pressure cooker even as he tries to solve the murder.
— ◊ —
Title: Stress Fracture
Author: D. P. Lyle
Series Character: Dub Walker
What we know about the character: Dub Walker is a crime scene and evidence analyst, a consultant to the FBI Behavioral Assessment Unit.
His first case: When Walker’s close friend Sheriff Mike Savage becomes the victim of a gruesome murder, he's called upon to track down the serial killer who's been terrorizing the county. Having been involved in more than 100 cases of foul play and witnessed the bloody remains of rape, torture, and unthinkable mutilation, Dub thought he had seen it all—yet the killer is unlike any murderer Dub has ever encountered. Vacillating between wildly divergent personalities fueled by post traumatic stress disorder—at times calm, cold, and calculating; at others maniacal and out of control—the psychopath taunts, threatens, and outmaneuvers Dub at every turn. The stakes are suddenly elevated as Dub uncovers a deadly conspiracy tainted with unrestrained greed, corruption, and ties to the military establishment and the medical community.
— ◊ —
Title: Random Violence
Author: Jassy Mackenzie
Series Character: Jade de Jong
What we know about the character: Jade de Jong is a private investigator in South Africa.
Her first case: In Johannesburg, prosperous whites live behind gates; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife's murder.
Jade fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father's former assistant, Superintendent David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his “old line” boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.
As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father's murder and involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.
— ◊ —
Title: Black Petals
Author: Bryan Rostron
Series Character: Maucauley Vogel
Format: Trade Paperback
What we know about the character: Macaulay Vogel is an archivist in South Africa.
His first case: Vogel, who is examining a recently discovered cache of old police archives, is jolted when he comes upon a surveillance file about himself. It’s a terrible shock: he doesn’t recognize this person at all. Had he suffered a memory loss in his youth? Had someone stolen his identity?
To find some answers, he seeks out old friends: a lover, former comrades, and even his nemesis, Boschard, an eerie former security policeman. At the same time Vogel is making his rounds, there are signs of growing racial anger over the excavation of a mysterious accumulation of bones in the center of Cape Town, which might be a secret human burial pit. Amidst the personal and civic confusion, Vogel begins to crack, despairing of his lapsed hopes and the lost love of a woman named Marda.
— ◊ —
Title: Farm Fresh Murder
Author: Paige Shelton
Series Character: Becca Robins, Farmer's Market
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What we know about the character: Becca Robins owns a farm where she makes her own jams and preserves.
Her first case: Becca leads a simple life on her own farm. But when there's a murder in her quaint little town, she puts herself in the line of fire to defend her friend's innocence -- and goes from making jam to being in one.
— ◊ —
For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during April, please visit our New Mysteries home page. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit The Mystery Bookshelf where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with April 2010 releases.
Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of mystery books with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.
Return to Mystery Books News ...