The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of June 2011 hardcover mysteries as well as shelved new June paperbacks on The Mystery Bookshelf.
In this series of monthly posts, which we call Firsts on the 1st, we're introducing readers to new series characters who will make their mysterious American debut during June.
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Title: The Ranger
Author: Ace Atkins
Series Character: Quinn Colson
What we know about the character: Quinn Colson is an Army Ranger in northeast Mississippi.
His first case: Northeast Mississippi, hill country, rugged and notorious for outlaws since the Civil War, where killings are as commonplace as in the Old West. To Quinn Colson, it's home — but not the home he left when he went to Afghanistan.
Now an Army Ranger, he returns to a place overrun by corruption, and finds his uncle, the county sheriff, dead — a suicide, he's told, but others whisper murder. In the days that follow, it will be up to Colson to discover the truth, not only about his uncle, but about his family, his friends, his town, and not least about himself. And once the truth is discovered, there is no turning back.
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Title: Dire Threads
Author: Janet Bolin
Series Character: Willow Vanderling
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What we know about the character: Willow Vanderling owns In Stitches, a notions store in Elderberry Bay "Threadville", Pennsylvania.
Her first case: Threadville has everything — a fabric store, yarn shop, notions store, quilting boutique, and Willow Vanderling's brand new shop, In Stitches, a hit with tourists eager to learn embroidering in the latest way, with software and machines.
But when the village's bullying zoning commissioner picks a fight with Willow and turns up dead in Willow's yard, the close-knit community starts unraveling at the seams.
Willow must stitch together clues and find the real murderer, or the next thing she embroiders may be an orange prison jumpsuit ...
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Title: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
Author: Sara Gran
Series Character: Claire DeWitt
What we know about the character: Claire DeWitt is a private investigator in New Orleans (Louisiana).
Her first case: Claire is not your average PI. She has brilliant deductive skills and is an ace at discovering evidence. But Claire also uses her dreams, omens, and mind-expanding herbs to help her solve mysteries, and relies on Détection — the only book published by the late, great, and mysterious French detective Jacques Silette.
The tattooed, pot-smoking Claire has just arrived in post-Katrina New Orleans, the city she’s avoided since her mentor, Silette’s student Constance Darling, was murdered there. Claire is investigating the disappearance of Vic Willing, a prosecutor known for winning convictions in a homicide- plagued city. Has an angry criminal enacted revenge on Vic? Or did he use the storm as a means to disappear? Claire follows the clues, finding old friends and making new enemies — foremost among them Andray Fairview, a young gang member who just might hold the key to the mystery.
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Title: The Hypnotist
Author: Lars Kepler
Series Character: Joona Linna
What we know about the character: Joona Linna is a Detective Inspector in Stockholm.
His first case: In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of DI Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness — the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.
It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again — ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.
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Title: Death at the Chateau Bremont
Author: M. L. Longworth
Series Characters: Antoine Verlaque and Marine Bonnet
Format: Trade Paperback
What we know about the characters: Antoine Verlaque is the chief magistrate of Aix. His on-again, off-again love interest is law professor Marine Bonnet.
Their first case: When local nobleman Etienne de Bremont falls to his death from the family château, the town is abuzz with rumors. Verlaque suspects foul play and must turn to Marine for help when he discovers that she had been a close friend of the Bremonts.
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Title: Classic in the Barn
Author: Amy Myers
Series Character: Jack Colby
What we know about the character: Jack Colby owns Frogs Hill Classic Car Restorations.
His first case: When Jack glimpses a 1938 Lagonda V12 lying uncared for in a Kentish country barn, he has to have a closer look — which brings him face to face with its angry owner, Polly Davis. Is it the car or Polly that captivates his heart? He decides to find out more about both, but his enquiries are abruptly cut short when Polly is murdered. Convinced that the Lagonda is somehow involved, he is determined to bring her killer to justice, even at the expense of his own safety ...
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Title: The Phoenix Apostles
Author: Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore
Series Character: Seneca Hunt
Format: Trade Paperback
What we know about the character: Seneca Hunt is a magazine journalist.
Her first case: Seneca is reporting on the opening of Montezuma's tomb in Mexico City when the dig team learns that the remains of the Aztec emperor are missing. Within moments of the discovery, an apparent terrorist attack kills everyone at the site except Seneca, who barely escapes the carnage.
Determined to get answers, Seneca starts investigating. She finds out that someone is stealing the remains of the most infamous mass murderers in history — and plotting to slaughter millions in the name of an ancient cult. Seneca needs to prove the threat really exists while trying to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. With time running out, she must follow a deadly 2,000-year-old trail that leads back to the death of Jesus Christ.
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Title: The Rock Hole
Author: Reavis Z. Wortham
Series Character: Ned Parker, Red River
What we know about the character: Ned Parker is the law in Lamar County, Texas.
His first case: When Ned is summoned to a hot cornfield one morning to examine the remains of a tortured bird dog, he finds a dark presence in the quiet community of Center Springs. A farmer by trade, Ned is usually confident when it comes to handling moonshiners, drunks and domestic disputes. But the animal atrocities turn to murder, and the investigation spins beyond his abilities.
After a dizzying series of twists, eccentric characters and dead-ends, Ned’s friend, cranky Judge O. C. Rains, is forced to contact the FBI. Worse, sinister warnings that his family has been targeted by the killer lead Ned to the startling discovery that he knows the murderer very well. After the failed abduction of his precocious grandchildren Top and Pepper, the old lawman becomes judge and jury to end the murder spree in the Red River bottomlands.
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For a list of more hardcover mysteries scheduled for publication during June, 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 June 2011 releases. See also our regularly updated eBook site for new mysteries, suspense novels and thrillers, MysterEbooks.com.
Please also 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.